Divine Arithmetick, OR THE RIGHT ART Of numbring our DAYES.

Being a SERMON preached June 17. 1659. at the Funerals of Mr Samuel Jacomb, B. D. Minister of the Gospel at S. Mary Wool­noth in Lumbardstreet, London, and lately Fel­low of Queens Colledge in Cambridge.

By Simon Patrick, B. D. Minister of the Gospel at Batersea in Surrey.

1 COR. 7.29, 30, 31.

The time is short: It remaineth that both they that have wives, be as they that have none: and they that weep, as though they wept not: and they that rejoyce, as though they rejoyced not, &c. for the fashion of this world passeth away.


Plato in Critone.

LONDON, Printed by R. W. for Francis Tyton, at the Sign of the three Daggers in Fleet-street, 1659.

Reader, be pleased before thou readest, to Correct these Mistakes of the Presse.

EPist. line ult read your shops. p. 7. l. 25. r. the daies. p. 9. l. 27. r. unto. Eut he —p. 10. l. 4. r. lesse. p. 13. l. 12. r. evil, &c. l. 17. deserve. p. 20. l. 26. r. 3dly. p. 22. l. 20. r. any mind. p. 36. l. 24. r. his Port. p. 38. l. 17. r. good thoughts. p. 43. l. 10. r. they spend. p. 63. l. 25. r. [...] and [...]. p. 65. l. 11. r. his man­ners. p. 68. mar g. r. [...]. p. 78. l. 15. r. bonds. p. 79. l. 27. r. as he saith. l. 31. r. Shall I say. p. 80. l. 7. Did I think. l. 10. after Funeral, adde—

To my Worthy Friend Mr Thomas Jacomb, Minister of the Gospel at Martins Ludgate.


I Know that I shall but revive your grief by sending this Sermon to your hands; but it is a trouble which you have drawn upon your self, by desiring to see that which you heard. It was not meet that I should resist your re­quest, because he whom I had reason to love as my self, used to deny you nothing; yet if I had obtained leisure to have considered these things over again more deep­ly, you might have seen them (it is possible) pressed with more weight of argument, and put into a more exact order: But since you were desirous that I would dispatch them to the Press speedily, these Pa­pers come to you to entreat you, that you will be con­tent to bear a share in the faults that by reason of haste may (it is likely) be discerned in them. And if I could requite you in a greater matter, by alleviating your griefs, and helping you to bear your sorrows, I [Page]should readily lend you my hands, yea & my shoulders. But thanks be to God you need not my assistance, but have learnt to bear patiently this sad providence. It is an easie matter to be pleased with Gods providences when he doth what we would have him, but to rejoyce in adverse things, and to suck some sweetness out of gall and wormwood, is very hard. Every body can thresh corn out of full sheaves, and fetch water out of the Thames; but to bring an harvest out of the dry stubble, and to draw water out of a rock, is the work only of a divine power which can bring good out of evil. I need not doubt but you are indued with it, and that God will comfort you with the same comforts wherewith you comfort others, and that you will say Even this is good too. Let me have a share in your prayers that it may be sanctified to me also, who ought to think my self concerned in it, and I shall ever remain

Your true Friend to serve you, Simon Patrick.

To the Right Worshipfull THOMAS VINER Alderman of the City of London, and the rest of the inhabitants of the Parish of Mary Woolnoth Lumbardstreet.

WHEN the soul is set in sad circumstances, and cloathed with black and mournfull thoughts, it is very apt to hearken to so­ber Counsels, and to entertain pious pur­poses and resolutions. I imagine it pos­sible that the sight of the Corps of your beloved Pastor, might open a wider gate then ordinary for the truths which were then propounded to enter into your hearts, and that in that sad silence of your souls they might have more of your attention, and better audi­ence. If they found any good acceptance with you then; they come now again to ask you whether you still stand so af­fected, and continue in the same mind, and can find in your heart upon a second motion to renew your good resolutions.

For when the soul that hath been shut up in it self, shall but open again to let in some light of mirth and gladness, all our sad and serious purposes are ready to run out at the [Page]same door, unless we take good heed and give an express command for their stay by laying fast hold upon them. When the souls grows gay and pleasant again, it is apt to look upon its former resolves but as Melancholy fancies, or to retain only such a weak remembrance of them as we do of the shadow of a dream, or they seem as things do that we are run a great way from, and have left far behind us, which when we were present lookt as big as a Church Steeple, but now at a distance seem no bigger then the stump of a Tree. And therefore it is necessary that you ask your selves how the truths that were then plainly represented, appear unto you at ten or eleven dayes distance from them. Ask your selves I say, whether now they appear so great and weighty as its possible they might when you were very near unto them, and whether now that you are counting your mo­ney and about your trades, you have as good a mind to reckon your dayes aright, as perhaps you had when God and you were reckoning together. If you would know your souls aright, and be acquainted with your own temper, you must take your selves in all moods, both when you are merry and when you are sad, when you are in health as well as when you are sick; and if you like the same truths alike at all times, it is an ar­gument of a healthful constitution. So some of the Persian wise men advised that a man should consider of a business both when he had drunk liberally and when he was fasting, in the night and in the day, when he was angry and when he was well pleased, and he might be sure it was a reasonable thing if it appeared so from whatsoever station he looked upon it. In like manner I advise and intreat you to consider whether you like these things not only when you were swal­lowed up with sorrow, but now that you have dried your eyes. Do they appear the same now to your sight, that they did when you lookt upon them through tears? can you like these things in shops, as you did in the Church? Now that [Page]they are presented to your eyes, as when they struck your ears? Ask your souls whether they are at so much leisure as to con­sider once more of them. Tell your selves whether any such sence of the truth remain upon them, that you will try how you like them upon second thoughts. And I pray our good God that whosoever of you taketh a review of these things, may learn so much of this Divine Art as to take an account of the dayes he hath passed, to keep a fair account of the rest of his life, and to give up his accounts with joy at the day of our Lord. I use this boldness and freedom of speech to you, because you have been used unto it by my dear friend, and because I think thereby I shall best serve both the truth and you. Let me be so importunate therefore with you as to conjure you by all the names of love and dearness, by all that is pretious and valuable to you, by the remembrance of our Lord; by the remembrance of all the servants of the Lord that have laboured among you, by the love you bear to your own souls, and as you desire after heaven, that you wil consider seriously how pretious a thing a day is, and that you will not spend it all in the business of this world, much less in sports and recreations, but let God have a considera­ble portion of it. Some of the Heathens have carefully pro­hibited the wastefull mispense of mens hours; [...], &c. L. 2. Var. hist. cap. 5. and therefore I may well be suffered if I be urgent with you to redeem them. It is a notable Testimony that Aelian gives of the Lacedae­monians, that they were hugely parsimon ous and even covetous of their time; spending it all about necessary things, and suffering no Citizen either to be idle or to play: In so much that when it was told that some used to walk in the afternoons for their recreation, the Ephori forbade it as savouring of pleasure, and would have them to recreate their bodies by some manly exercises which had some profit in them, and would breed them to be servicable to the Common good. How much will they shame us in the day of judgement [Page]when it shall appear that all this thriftiness of theirs was not so much for their souls, as for the profit of their City, and we would not use half so much care for immortal be­ings and the securing of a better Countrey which is an hea­venly. Ib. cap. 28. Themistocles seeing two Cocks fight when he was going to a battle, pointed his Souldiers to them, and said, Do you see yonder Combatants how valiantly they deal their blows? and yet they fight not for their Countrey, nor for their Gods, nor for the honour of their Ancestors, no nor for glo­ry, nor liberty, nor children, but meerly to overcome and crow over the vanquished. What courage then my brave Countreymen, should this put into your hearts, on whose reso­lution all these depend, and by whose valour they subsist? The same I say to you; Do you see how sparing and saving of their time the Old Lacedaemonians were? And yet it was not for the worshipping of their Gods, nor for the attending to their souls, V. Wheatly of redemp­tion of time &c. but meerly that they might be hardy Souldiers and might overcome all their enemies. How good Husbands then ought we all to be? how valiantly should we resist all Theeves and Robbers that would steal away our time from us? when it is for God, for heaven, for the safety of our souls, yea and for our happiness, peace and quiet in this world also. If this discourse may any thing quicken you, let not me be forgot in those good hours that you spend with God, and I shall not forget to pray for you, that he would provide a Pastor for you after his own heart, that will feed you with knowledge and understanding, and guide you in the good old paths that lead to everlasting life.

Your Servant in the Lord Jesus, Simon Patrick.

Divine Arithmetick, OR The Right Art of numbring our DAYES.

PSALM 90.12.

So teach us to number our dayes, that we may apply our hearts unto Wisom.

IF I were come hither to vent my own passions, they would have been better pleased in the choice of some other Text then this that I have read unto you. When I first heard of the departure of mine and your dear friend, those words of David did strike my mind, and me thought did very well fit my mouth, with the alteration of a name only. I am distressed for thee my Brother Jacomb, 2 Sam. 1.26. very plea­sant hast thou been to me, thy love to me was wonderfull, passing the love of Women. Upon this Text it is pos­sible that affection would have taught me eloquence. [Page 2]Grief it self it would have been pleased that. I should have related his pleasantness. Sorrow would have been contented that I should have remembred the joyes of his-society; for they would have been huge gainers by it in the conclusion, when the heat and ardency of the affection would have but ended in greater drops of tears for the loss of such a friend. Oh how willing­ly could I fill your ears with such pathetick groans as those of David saying, O my Friend, my Friend, would God I had died for thee my friend, my friend! And then I imagine that I should hear the reboation of an universal groan from all your hearts, more sad then his dolefull knell. I imagine that at least you would say in your thoughts as the Disciples did, when they saw our Saviour weep, Behold how he loved him! It were easie with a very little art to make this place a Bochim, a place of weepers, so that it should be said by those that see you, as they said at good Jacob's Funeral, This is a grievous mourning to this people. But then my beloved, when the flood was a little faln, and the tempest blown over, when reason and religion had leave to return and take their places, you and I would begin to ask our selves, What have we done? what a folly is it to suffer such a deluge that should drown the thoughts of God? what forgetfulness to let grief stifle the motions of our soul to him that ought to have the precedence of all our other relations? then should we begin again to lament our too forward lamentations, then should we call for a new tide to wash away the former mud. Yea and the soul of our pious Brother if it could be sensible of what we say and do here, would be much grieved too, that he should leave such an unworthy friend behind him to discourse at his Funeral, as knew not how to prefer Gods honour, before all the respect that is owing unto him.

I will remember therefore that it was his desire, and ought to be mine also, that I should serve the good of your souls, and accordingly I shall speak as much as I can for God, before I speak any thing of him. And what I say of him, I shall endeavour likewise may re­flect honour and glory upon God, and redound to your profit and edification.

For this purpose I have chosen these words of the Psalmist, which are no less suitable to the occasion, then they will seem perhaps to some of you to be to the times wherein we live.

The Title of the Psalm tells us that they are part of a prayer of Moses the man of God, and as the Chaldee Paraphrase saith, of a prayer which he made when the children of Israel sinned in the wilderness, and many of them were suddenly cut off, and the rest wasted away in that barren place. He begins his address to God with an acknowledgement of his eternity, and everliving goodness, and of mans dependence on him, even as a word doth upon the mouth of him that speaks it; so that if he do but say to man Return, he presently goes unto his dust, ver. 1, 2, 3, 4. And more especially he acknowledgeth how obnoxious men have made them­selves to God by contumacy and rebellion against him; and how they shorten too often their own lives by kind­ling the anger of God against them, from ver. 5. to ver. 10. where he shews how he sweeps them away as a torrent that bears all before it; ver. 5, 6. how he surprizeth them suddenly when they never dream of it; and makes them wither away like a flower by some unex­pected nipping blast, that causeth it to hang down its head and die: The reason of which severity and sharp proceeding is from their sins, whereby they dar'd him to his face and openly contemned his sacred Go­vernment. ver. 8 [Page 4]This was the very case of the Israelites in the wilderness, when the wrath of God came upon them and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men among them, as it is Psal. 87.31.

But how inconsiderate foolish man is, in thus sinning against God, the Psalmist seems to confess when he saith, ver. 10. The dayes of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow, &c. i.e. There is no need to stir up thy wrath: for our dayes are short enough of themselves: we have much ado to crawle to eighty years: and if we do, the very weakness and in­firmities of our age will breed us sufficient trouble and sorrow without any additional griefs from the just dis­pleasure of the Almighty.

And yet for all this, he sadly complains that very few minded or considered the power of Gods anger, which is as great as men can possibly fear or imagine it to be, and greatest of all toward those that profess to fear him, but yet rebell against him, ver. 11. Who knows the power of thy anger, &c. Alas! very few that consider how often they provoke God, how jealous he is of his name, and consequently how short their dayes are like to be who do dishonour unto it. In the words of my Text therefore he heartily beseeches the Lord that he would teach them to number their dayes as they ought, and promises that (after all these corrections) they will bring a heart of wisdom. For so the words run in the Hebrew, as obviously as may be to any ones ob­servation; shew us so (i. e. so as we should) to number our dayes [...] And we will bring a heart of wisdom, or a wise heart.

According to this rendring of them, they contain A Frayer to God, and A Promise of mans. He first prayes [Page 5]for some thing that he would have God to do, Teach us so to number our dayes; and Secondly he promises some­thing that they will do; We will bring a wise heart. Or according to the ordinary translation, the words are an intire petition, First for grace to teach us to num­ber our dayes aright; Secondly for effectual grace that may so teach us that good may come of it; so that there may be some good effect of the account, and it may amount to some valuable consideration.

I shall neglect neither of these translations, nor any else that shall appear to be genuine and unforced, but shall speak to them in these following Observations, or in the use and application of them.

First, That we are very apt to misreckon, and in nothing more then in the business of life.

Secondly, That our life is very short if we take it at the best.

Thirdly, That the right numbring of our dayes is ear­nestly and diligently to be inquired out.

Fourthly, That the best disposition to attain this true Art of numbring is a praying heart and a pious mind.

For the first, it is most plainly supposed in that we need a Master to teach us to reckon right. It would be worth my pains to shew you how much we are out in our accounts about the things of this world. What a summ do we make these Cyphers, these empty nothings amount unto? What a rate do we set upon riches? at what huge summs do we purchase honours? &c. How vainly do we think that such an enjoyment will make an addition to our contentment? how do we multiply our hopes without any certainty, &c. And in the mean time heaven and all the great realities of another world stand for nothing in our account. So in reference to our selves I might shew you, how few sins or miscarri­ages [Page 6]we take any notice of, if ever we happen (which is but seldom) to call our selves to an account, and how many good deeds we very falsely reckon up. But I shall confine my self to the bad Arithmetick of men in numbring of their days, which the Text most na­turally leads me unto; and in a few words I shall shew you how men misreckon in the business of life.

First, They are very much out in their reckoning, if we look upon the account it self; And secondly, if we examine the rule by which they number.

For the account, that is very false which men make.

First, 1 About the length of their days, they tell to so many thousands, and are very loth to make an end, when perhaps their life may be sum'd up in one figure. Yea the rich fool in the Gospel would rather tell by many years then many days, Luke 12.19. saying, Soul, thou hast goods laid up for many years, Eat, drink, and be merry. He that could not tell truly to one, (for that night his soul was required) tels till he came to a million. What an huge mistake! what an irrrecoverable error was this, that could never be amended! But thus do all men generally miscount in the days of their health; and which is most strange, even dying men oft-times think of nothing but recovering and living still in the world. They number by years and not by days, or reckon all days to be long, and none short.

Secondly, 2 Their account is very false about the qua­lity of these days. You shall scarce meet with any man, but he reckons so much pleasure in such a condition which shortly he hopes to attain; and ac­counts upon so much joy from every mutation and change that he shall make. He thinks that all his dayes, be they short or long, must all be Summer and [Page 7]Sun-shine dayes. He dreams not of the evil dayes (as the Scripture cals them) i. e. the dayes of adversity and misery; he thinks not of a storm or a tempest, of a cloud that may cover his Sky, and bring a sad dark­ness upon all his mirth and pleasure; and so he never provides against it, but is miserably surprized when he sees all his expectations perish. Men are like Baby­lon, that said, I shall sit as a Lady for ever: Isa 47. I shall never know widdowhood, nor the loss of chil­dren. I shall be happy when I am for my self; when I am married, when my Father dies and leaves me a fair estate; when I have builded me an house, and purchased so much land, &c. And so they reckon many years in the same manner, which must be all days and no nights, all fair days and none foul. This makes them heavy and oppressed when the days of darkness come, and every one saith, non putaram (the fools Motto) I never thought of this. One sad accident blots their whole account, and tels them to their grief how the whole work is wrong wherein their thoughts have laboured.

Thirdly, About the use of these days, they are no less dangerously mistaken. Men reckon that there are none but Play-days in their life, and they can find never a working day among them. All their days in their Calendar are Festivals: And they are so far from minding the business of life, viz. dressing up their souls for God in a blessed eternity by Religion and Holiness, that a Saint should have no respect from many that pretend to honour him, were it not that he gets them leave to play more freely. The whole course of their lives is but a sporting business, and when they lay aside their worldly affairs, it is but to obtain leisure to be more frolick. There are those in the [Page 8]world that do nothing else but make their bodies spruce and trim, that learn to speak finely, and court Ladies, that in the morning are imployed between the comb and the glass, Inter pecti­nem & spe­culum occupa­ti, &c. Sen. and in the afternoon would have others look on them as much as they did in the glass. These account a hair or two out of their place of as great moment as the sacking of a town; and you may say they are imployed in the same sense that Children are, when they are dressing up a Baby.

A second sort we can not but see in the world, whose study is to flatter those that are great; who learn to crouch and comply most basely with all their humours, who gape for a place of preferment as a dog doth for a bone; and they know no other use of a day, but to provide for to morrow if they can. How many others do we see sit all the day at wine, and know no other business but to eat, and drink, and walk from one jolly place unto another? who turn days into nights, and nights into days; who are meer Paradoxes in nature, desiring to live for ever in this world, and yet gor­ging themselves as if they meant to die to day, and ne­ver to taste more of Gods creatures. And I wish I could not say there are another sort that have nothing at all to do, but are eat up with laziness: Men that have no other thoughts but how they may spend their time which lies upon their hands, with least trouble to themselves: The vermin of the world, that do no good themselves, and devour the labours, yea and the time of others. And for those who you think are busie and full of imployment, that have not a day of play inal ltheir lives, (unless they sleep on the Lords day) I pray what can you say of them, but what Seneca doth, operose nihil agunt, they take a great deal of pains to do nothing! But do they do nothing, will you say, [Page 9]that labour hard all day long and sweat at their work with the strength of an ox? I answer yes, if they were oxen and horses, I should commend their pains, and think they deserved a reward; but since they have a diviner shape, I can call this toil by no better name then a laborious loitering. The man is miserably ridden by the Beast, and seeing he takes no time to tame it, all the rest of his toil is but a more painful sort of playing, a more serious kind of Idleness. Ask such a man what he would do if he could live an hundred years longer then yet he hath done, and he would tell you that he would add house to house, and increase his acre of land into an hundred, and eat & drink of the best; the very voice of a cow or such a creature if it could speak. In such poor fancies do these mens souls sport them­selves & they do no more of the work of a man (which is to mortifie these carnal affections, and store their mind with divine knowledge) then he doth that rolls himself in a softer and more delicate laziness. Alas poor souls! that play away their time in a most ty­rannous slavery, that are at leisure from themselves, that they may drudge in the service of baser things. And will you say a man that coasts about to every shore of the world to get riches, and lade himself with goods, is really imployed? His Ship takes as long journies as himself, and is laden with as much riches as he pretends unto: but he knows how to make use of that riches, and he buys land, or provides for his chil­dren, &c. What then? He dyes, and as to the other world he is worse then Nothing. Is this all you can say of the life of a man, that he hath fair possessions, and provides well for those that stay behind him? Then sure there is no other state to come; or if there be, [Page 10]the man hath play'd away his day, having done nothing that will last to all eternity. Nay, if this be the work of a man, it had been better for us to have been Apes or such like creatures, for they take least pains to live, and they need no such inheritance to leave their young ones. And so you may say of him that studies imper­tinent things, or takes up all his time with other affairs of this present world, he hath stood all the day idle, as our Saviour saith to those that he sends into the Vine­yard; [...]. Plut. and his account at the last will appear so false, that it will be corrected as Ph. loxenus did the book that was sent to him to amend, with one great blot from the beginning to the end. The very Heathens have reproved the folly of these men, and given such a dash to their accounts, that it is a wonder they should not begin to think how they may live. There is a saying in many mens mouths, but I wish they would think from whom it came that they may be ashamed not to practise it, [...]. Plut. de aud. poctis. and it is that which Socrates used, Wicked men live that they may eat and drink, and good men eat and drink that they may live. This one saying strikes I know not how many out of the num­ber of the living; and if this Heathen were alive, he would take most to be dead men, playing in the shape of the living.

2 But let us look a while upon the rule by which men reckon, and you shall see more clearly how bad their accompts are.

1. Some reckon by their age. They account that the old must needs die before those that are yong; and they reckon that the fewer dayes any one hath spent, the more he hath to come, and so few think of dying till they think it cannot be avoided. Hence it is that one [Page 11]who is old saith, I shall never live to see an end of these troubles, but you that are young will behold the con­clusion, and perhaps that party drops into the grave in his youthful dayes. And he that is young saith, These will be fine things to talk of when we are old; our Nephews will wonder when we tell them of such strange revolutions, when perhaps the next week he is sent into the place of silence. These are they that reckon by ages, and who think when child-hood is past, that Youth, Manhood, and gray hairs are all to come: But they forget the vulgar proverb, which some of the Jews elegantly express, The old Ass very often carries the skin of the young one to the market. Young men must not let their fancy be so brisk as not to make account that they are but men: And what is that? Man is like to vanity, Psal. 144.4. (saith the Psalmist) his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

2. Others reckon by their strength and lustiness of body, and imagine that their constitution is so health­ful that they are able to wrastle a fall with the greatest sickness. Their rule is that the best built house shall stand longest: a very false and deceitful rule! For on a sudden we see the fire of a feaver will burn up and con­sume the best timbred body in the world. The flames of a Calenture will make him melt away as grease, whose strength is as the strength of stones, and whose flesh is like unto brass. And who can hinder his spirits from catching fire? who knows what vipers he nourishes within him by his meat and drink, and especially his intemperance, which will eat through his own bowels, even while his breasts are full of milk, and his bones moistned with marrow? Job 21.23, 24. who knows what [Page 12]rottenness there is at the core of the fairest fruit? and who doth not know that the goodliest Oaks prove oft­times hollow and without heart within? And there­fore let us not stay till the Axe be laid at the root and the stroke of some terrible disease teach us to reckon better.

3. Another sort reckon by the care they have of themselves. They measure their dayes by temperance, chastity and good use of their bodies, by freedom from excess and riot, & whatsoever might be the matter and occasion of diseases. To say the truth, these men have a great many good rules, ex. gr. Too much oyl puts out the Lamp. Spare diet is the greatest cordial of nature. Discreet fasting is the best Physick. But they have one rule which spoils all: Temperance must needs prolong our time. The moderate man shall have many dayes. It is pitty such men should never think of the chances, the suddain accidents, and unexpected surprizals which yet we have many instances of in the world. Plagues and infecti­ons they say soonest seize on the finest tempers, pesti­lent breaths do soonest choak the purest spirits. And there are secret malignant causes which are unknown to the best of natures Secretaries. Yea the most certain cures of known diseases have sometimes proved fatal to mens bodies. So Gesner reports that one year he observed, Omnes pleuriticos à secta vena expirasse, that all those who were let blood in Plurisies gave up the Ghost. The opening of a vein which useth to give the soul breath, proved through the corruption of the air (as he thinks) to be but the gate of death.

4. Others perhaps do reckon their dayes by their [Page 13]usefulness and the good which they do in the world. There are a great many promises made to dutifull and obedient persons, to such who are charitable and mer­cifull to others, which may make them apt to promise to themselves a certainty of long life. R. Nechonia a Jew when his Schollars asked him on his death-bed how he came to live so long, He answered, I never sought mine own honour by any mans disgrace. I never re­proached nor cursed my neighbour, and I was a liberal di­spenser of my riches to others, &c. alluding it is like to that in Psal. 34.12, 13, 14. Who is he that would live long and see many dayes? let him keep his tongue from evil. But though there be some truth in this, yet there are many exceptions, and such men do count wrong if they have no other rule but this. For sometimes by reason of one great sin (as in the case of Moses) sometimes for the sins of others who discern not such Iewels, and sometimes that they may not live to see miserable and evil times which are the punishments of sin, the good man is taken away. You see the days of our dear Brother are summed up, and we are taught to number aright by the brevity of his life. If the King of ter­rors could have been affrighted by piety and usefulness to have let his dart faln out of his hand, I had not been now here, unless it had been to have offered Sa­crifices of praise for his recovery to health again.

5. A fifth sort there are that measure their own lives by the lives of others; and that not of all others neither, but of the longest livers. They hope to attain to the days of the oldest man in the Parish, and think not that they may go away in the company of the youngest. And especially if they see drunkards and such sinners with gray beards upon red or rotten faces, they think [Page 14]surely that they are many miles off from a grave. I do not know what kind of dotage it is that possesses mens hearts; but so it is that though they see many flowers cropt in their fullest beauty, yet they mind not them so much, though they be in their own hands, as they do the rest that still flourish in the garden. Though a wife be snatcht out of mens bosomes, yet they think to live and embrace another. Though a child be ravished out of their arms, yet they think to live and get more, as if death must be so kind as to let them grow old, seeing he hath devoured their relations in their youth. You see now the corps of one before you that is gathered in the flowr of his age; and yet which of you is there that doth not think that he shall be at the choice of another Minister, & that he shall hear him preach a great many Sermons, because some in the Parish are grown so old as to have seen the Fune­rals of three Ministers besides this? I wish heartily men would but a little ponder upon this common mi­stake, and when they think of the large extent of some mens lives, they would likewise cast their eyes upon the shortness of others, and see whether they will not over­ballance the former account.

Sixthly, Some mens rule is, that all mens dayes are numbred by a fatal decree, and therefore they need not number them. They measure their dayes by the stars, and fetch their rule from Astrology and some secret fate: or rather they do not measure them at all, nor make any reckoning how they live, whether piously or wickedly, temperately or lewdly, thinking that the one cannot naturally prolong, nor the other naturally shorten men dayes. This is the Turkish way of ac­count, who think that every mans fortune as they call [Page 15]it, and the length of his dayes is written in his forehead by the Angel that stands by when he is born. And so one of them not many years ago when he was hanged in the Low-Countreys pointed to his forehead, as though it was his destiny and not his fault. A barba­rous brutish opinion, fit to nourish bloody Souldiers and make men desperate, and was no Question cun­ningly devised by the Impostor to make them fear no danger. But whatsoever is determined above concer­ning our lives, it is plainby Scripture and reason that our wisdome, care, and good behaviour is required, and that by wickedness we may cut short those dayes which nature hath assigned unto them. Though there be an appointed time beyond which we shall not go, yet we may never come up to that time, but be taken away in the midst of our dayes.

Many such false rules there are; but it is no wonder if you do but consider, First what a great love men have to this world. The pleasure and fine things that tickle their senses, possess them with a fond desire of long life, that they may enjoy all the kindnesses which the world offers them; and this most ardent de­sire will let them think of nothing else but many days to entertain her courtships, and answer her love when she seems to smile & look with a pleasing countenance upon them. Or if she begin afterwards to frown, they are loth to think of death, because they hope to mend their fortune, or are wholly unprovided for any better company in another world. Facile credimus quod vo­lumus; we would fain live long, and therefore we will not be of any other belief but that we shall. And the thoughts of death are unwelcome because we love the dalliances of the flesh so well, which will certainly by [Page 16]it be broken off. This false numbring proceeds not so much from the weakness of mens understanding, as from the wickedness of their wills and distempered af­fections. They have no mind that it should be true that our dayes may be short, and therefore they will think so as seldom as they can. And Secondly, the love of our selves that is in us, is of no less power to blind us and make us very fools. This will not let us think that we may die presently, though many others do. As when two Ships meet at Sea, they that are in the one, think that the other sails exceeding fast, and that they themselves go fairly and easily, or rather stand still; even so it is in this case. Though men see the days of another to run away like a Post, and fly after the manner of a swift Ship that saileth by (as Job speaks) yet they think that they themselves scarce stir at all, Job 9.25, 26. and that their time runs on more slowly, and they seem to be now no older nor nearer unto their graves then they were a year or two ago. They feel their blood doth dance as pleasantly through their veins, and the light sparkles as clearly in their eyes, and their flesh is as warm and moist as formerly they used, and so they think their life is no shorter then it was, be­cause they feel no sensible decays in their nature. A third reason of which mistake is, that the shortness of their thoughts will not let them number aright. Most men look but at a few things, and those few they consider of by halfs, and that half they search not to the bottom, and so they mistake lamentably, and call those years which are but days, and think they live when they lie rotting in their graves. I conceit such men who seldom seriously think, to be like to a child that knows not how much twenty is, who ima­gines [Page 17]it is a number that can scarce be told. If they think of living twenty or thirty years, their short thoughts makes them seem to be time that will never have an end, wherein they may accomplish all their de­sires. And though they know that they may fall far short of such an age, yet they only know it, and think no lon­ger of it then a little child with whose thoughts the next object runs away. It is one of the great mischiefs of the world that so few love to consider, and of all other things they least love to consider themselves, and of all parts of self-knowledge they least know what to do with themselves. Many can tell what life is, who know not how to live; many that confess how short it is, who throw it away as if they had too much.

This mistake is of so evil and dangerous conse­quence, that we had all need make great speed to cor­rect it. Else we shall begin to think of living when it is too late, and some will never think of it at all, and the best will cry out, ‘O mihi praeteritos, &c. —’ O that God would give me again that time which is flown away. O that I could call back a day that I might spend it better!

And that I may quicken you to reform this errone­ous account, Let me give a brief touch upon the se­cond Observation, and the Lord make it to touch your hearts.

Our life is but very short if we take it at the best, Obser. 2 se­parate from all those dangers which are continually impendent over us. You all know this, and are apt to be guilty of another mistake, which is to account [Page 18]this Doctrine of the brevity of mans life but a dry and trite theam; and therefore believe it, and be affected with these two things in the text which do point to this observation, which are all that I shall mention.

1. Our life is but dayes. He doth not say Teach us to number our years; for it is not safe for us to account upon too much, least we should we be deceived in our computation. Yea Job saith that man who is born of a woman, is but of few dayes and full of trouble; he comes up like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not, Job 14.1, 2. Seneca makes the same observation from his Poet, that I do here from the divine Psalmist, ‘Optima quaeqne dies miseris mortalibus aevi Prima fugit. De brev. vi­t [...] cap. 9. —’

He saith not aetas, saith he, but dies; he speaks not of an age but a day, that thy thoughts might not be infinite. Why then dost thou promise to thy self (as he goes on) moneths and years, and whatsoever thy inordinate desire of life listeth? De die tecum loquitur, & hoc ipso fugiente. He speaks to thee of a day, and that is upon the wing too hasting very fast away. So may I say, the Psalmist speaks to thee of dayes, it will not be long ere one Sun be set, and then thou liest in the arms of the Brother of death. If another day shine upon thy head, Job 9.26. yet it flies likewise as an Eagle that hasteth to his prey, and it will be a greater wonder if thou out­live all the accidents and dangers of one day, then that rhou diest and descendest to thy grave. Yet some of the Heathens will not allow us such a large measure for our lives as a day, nor suffer us to account above [Page 19]an hour, or a minute, or if there be any thing less then the least minute; such a diminutive expression hath Plutarch somewhere concerning it. [...]. Punctum est quod vivi­mus, & ad­buc punct [...] minus. All our life is but a point of time, which Seneca well in­terprets when he saith, It is but a point, yea less then a point that we live. If we believed this, we should not draw so long a line of life as we do in our Phansie, nor describe such a large circle wherein we make a thou­sand figures, and have infinite contrivances as though it were without any end.

2. Our dayes may be numbred, and therefore they are but few. If he had said years, yet seeing every body can count them, we could not justly look upon them as long. That which every man can reckon is but little; and that is infinite which no man can num­ber. As who can tell the dayes of eternity? What thought can conceive the duration of God who ever was and is and will be? But every fool can tell what the dayes of man is if he will but set his mind to the account. You can say of man no more but that he hath been so many years, and that he is, and no body can tell whether he shall be. Here you are at a stop, unless you will at random speak of a few dayes that perhaps shall never come; or if they do, Moses dare let his pen run no further then eighty year, and these pass away as a tale that is told. Or if you will venture to tell by the Son of Sirachs account, they are but a hun­dred, according as you read in Eccles. 18.9.10. The number of mans dayes at the most are but an bundred years; as a drop of water to the Sea, and a gravel stone in com­parison of the sand, so are a thousand years to the dayes of eternity.

Which if we did seriously believe, then first we [Page 20]should not desire, love, or design any thing in this world, as though we should live to the years of Methu­saleh, or be like Melchizedeck, without end of dayes. How soon might we tell what would content us, if we could but tell our dayes aright? what a just measure should we set to all our affections, if we had but once measured our time and drawn it into a narrow compass? innumerable designs would vanish out of our minds, even as a shadow doth when the Sun shrinks in his head, if we did but look upon our selves as a shadow, and our lives as a vapour that goes out of our mouths. And secondly, if we did seri­ously think what a few figures will serve to number our years when we have their total sum, and how many of them are spent before we can do any more then a Beast, and how many we cast away without considering after we are men, and how many ne­cessary refreshments by meat and drink, and sleep, will still devour, we would not be so prodigal and lavish of the small number that remains, but save them for good uses and the service of our souls. We would never indure to be such spend thrists of that of which only we can be honestly covetous, but rate our time at such a price, that one minute of it would seem more valuable then all the world.

The belief of these things that men account so common, that they scarce think of them, would not suffer men to be so late before they begin to live. They would instantly step beyond reso­lution, and labour to do their work lest they should have no time to do it in. It is a wise and good saying of Seneca, Male vivunt qui semper vive­re incipiunt. They never live well who are always [Page 21]beginning to live. Yet this is the state of most men in the world who are at all awakened, they resolve to live too morrow or the next week, when their busi­ness is over, and then they resolve again, and set ano­ther day, or perhaps they pray, and read, and begin a better life for a few dayes, at the end of which some occasion breaks off all: And then they are to begin again, and new resolutions come into their minds, and if God be content to stay their leisure a few dayes hence, he shall hear more of them: As if they had their times in their own hands, and could make death wait upon them till they thought good to come to their graves. How strangely do men forget them­selves? how dead do many good notions lie in their minds? one would think they were in a dream; for like men in a sleep, they say yea and no to all the que­stions we ask, and yet remember nothing that is said. Ask them if their life be short, and their dayes uncer­tain; they will fetch a sigh & say that all flesh is grass, or as the flower of grass that soon fadeth away: Ask them if they have no work to do but may take their pleasure, and they say that all eternity depends on this moment, that their work is great, and their time is little, and their account is dreadful. Ask them if God will take the dregs of their time, and be content with the bottom of their dayes, and they will judge it unreaso­nable. Yea ask them if it be fit that he should let such live that do nothing for him, and they cannot but say that we kill vermin, caterpillers, and such like things that destroy Gods Creatures, but bring no good to the world. Would you not expect now that they who make such acknowledgements, should be busie about their salvation? would you not imagine that they [Page 22]esteemed time more then thousands of gold and silver? Alas, ! their senses are all lockt up, they are fast asleep, though they thus speak; not one syllable of this comes from their hearts, but they talk of dying and the grave as if they had seen nor thought of either. If they had a thousand years still to live in the world, they could not be more drousie about their souls, nor more expensive and wastefull of their precious hours, then they are in this short moment of which they talk. Awake, Awake for the sake of your poor souls. Let it feel it self I beseech you, and shake off these heavy and sleepy thoughts that hang upon its mind. O let it not talk like the soul of a bird that prattles according as it is taught, but let it look into a grave, let it reason with it self about the true number of our dayes, let it speak its sense to the full, and state things so that thou mayst not only resolve to live, but make account that thou must either live now or never, for any thing thy soul can tell. If I could see any soul looking forth out of its Tomb, and mind lifting up its head, and demanding leave of the body that it may live, how blessed an hour should I count this! I would reckon it among the best times of my life, and it would turn all my present sorrow into joy, that God hath got a friend when I lost one. O let us not wound the air with noises of death and judgement, and your hearts remain insensible and unmoved. Let us not seem as fools that fill the world with sounds and clamours, which no body heeds or gives ear unto. Who do we preach unto but men? what do we preach for, if you will not beleive? to what purpose do we call for belief if you will not consider? and how should it come to pass that a thing of daily occurrence as death [Page 23]is, should work no more if men did consider? We could find no worse entertainment from a herd of beasts then we do from many men, if we should preach unto them: And we shall be as unsuccessfull upon incon­siderate men, as upon the Birds that fly over our heads; for men that will not consider, will not be men. Therefore I beseech you resolve to take things into your more retired thoughts; and whosoever he be that lays. his eyes upon these Papers, let him well con­sider what I have to say upon the third Observation which is chiefly intended, and it is this.

The right numbring of our dayes is earnestly and dili­gently to be enquired out. Obser. 3 It is plain enough from the prayer of this man of God. For his prayer for learning shewes that we are highly concerned in the numbring of our dayes; and his prayer to be taught So, signifies that he desires to be taught as is before expressed in the Psalm; or else So signifies right or well without any mistake. For we find the Hebrew word [...] which is here rendred So, taken for right and well, as Numb. 27.7. [...] &c. right have the daughters of Zelo­phedad spoken, &c. and 2 Kings 7. 9. the lepers say, [...] We do not well, this day is a day of good tydings. And therefore thus we may render the Psal­mists words, Teach us aright and well to number our dayes, or Teach, so as we should, &c. But the sense will be the same every way, because we shall reckon aright if we number So as he spoke before in the Psalm. How is that will you say? what is the right and good account?

I shall spare the labour of giving you reasons why you should so diligently inquire, (in hope that you are a little awakened by what hath been said, and in fear that I should extend this discourse beyond the [Page 24]length of a Sermon) And answer to the Question as distinctly as I can with some reference unto what you find in this Psalm.

The word numbring is a word of consideration, and signifies a meditating or casting in our mind, a seri­ous thinking with our selves what our dayes are, and for what end and purpose our life is given unto us. And if we would not mistake in our accounts of which there is such danger, Then

Let us number by ones. 1 Let all our account be pure addition, and that but by unites. Let us not multiply our dayes too fast in our own thoughts, nor venture to add one moment to another till God add it. I mean, we must reckon only upon what is present, and ac­count that all our time that is to come, is in gods hands, which we must not number to our selves be­cause it is none of our own. And so ver. 3. the Psal­mist saith, Thou turnest man to destruction, &c. i.e. Man is wholly in thy power, and he hath no more then thou givest him, and the next moment if thou saist re­turn, he gives up the Ghost. This now therefore is only ours, and so we must set that down, and there stay till God bestow another moment upon us. He may be poor enough that will value his estate by what he hath only in hopes; and yet such an one is he that reckons his stock of time by what is future. He was a distra­cted man who stood at the Key at Athens and took a note of all the goods in the Ships that came into the port and made account that they were his; yet just such is the vanity of a man that puts more time into his accounts then this present instant; for he reckons ano­thers goods, not his own, he takes that which is in the hands of God only (who was, is, and is to come) to [Page 25]be his own proper possession. He that numbers thus, must reckon over again before he reckon right; and if he will account what is his, he must take great heed that he set not down in the summ that which is Gods, and none of his yet. Let him say Now I am, and I shall be as long as God pleaseth, in whose hand is the breath of my nostnls. He that is hasty and quick in casting of accounts you know, is frequently mistaken; and the surest way is to proceed leisurely and slowly that we may mind the figures and comprehend the numbers clearly in our thoughts. There is no less danger in letting our thoughts run too fast when we are about these sacred accounts; let us stay and pause, let our minds go along with the moments that number our time, but not outrun them; for then all our accounts will be but a fancy because we have put into them more then is our own. If we could reckon thus, and tell no faster then God adds unto our dayes, and increases our stock of time, then God would be more in our thoughts, we could not but be more sensible of our de­pendence upon him, and acknowledge him more feri­ously in all our wayes; we should be apt at every breath to look upon him as the Sun that continues the sha­dow of our lives; and likewise we should look upon our graves more then upon our houses or any thing else; For as Lipsius well saith, our houses are but Inns, Cent. 4. Epist. 30.and our graves are our houses.

2. Yet let us count those things that may put an end to our dayes, by greater numbers. Or thus, Let us reckon that there are more enemies to life then one. Though we can tell but by ones when we number our dayes or mo­ments rather; yet we may tell by twenties or hundreds when we number those things that may conclude and [Page 26]put a period to our time. Look over a Bill of mortali­ty and there you may tell thirty or forty diseases. Then add forty more to them, and two or three hun­dred more to that forty, and so proceed untill you come near to a thousand. For according to the account of some of the Jews, there are nine hundred and three diseases in the world This they gather from the word [...] Psal. 68.20. the numeral letters of which are 103.. And let us be sure in this ac­count to put down more wayes to the grave then from a sick bed. And above all take heed of that dotage to think that we must die of old age; for there are fewer die of that disease then any other in the world.

We must think that our lives may suddenly be snatcht away, and not carried off leisurely by the steps of many days ilness. Some diseases do no sooner appear, then we vanish and disappear. An enemy sometimes gives no warning, but strikes us dead at one stroak. And our sickness doth not alwayes lay seige to our strength wherein we trust, but we are blown up in a moment as the Israelites were, ver. 5.6. Thou carriest them away as with a flood, &c. They were swept away with plagues, they fell before their foes, they went qu [...]ck into the pit, and were gone out of the world as soon as a dream out of our mind. And so still we see some are drowned in the water, others are strangled suddenly in their own blood, and a world of contingen­cies and casualties there are besides: so that ten thou­sand things besides these nine hundred diseases, may put an end to our days. Anacreon the Poet was choaked with the kernel of a grape; Aeschylus by the shell of a Tortoise which fell from an Eagles Talons, who mis­took as was thought his bald Head for a white Rock. An Emperour died by the scratch of a comb, Essayes l. 1. cap. 19. and a Duke of Britany (as Lord Mountaigne tells us) was [Page 27]stifled to death in such a throng of people as is now in this place; one of the Kings of France died mise­rably by the chock of an Hogg; and a Brother of that Lords playing at Tennis, received a blow with a Ball a little above the right ear which struck him into his grave. What serious considerations would these things breed in us, if we thought of them? we should often say in our mind, What if now the house should fall? What if my foot should slip? what if I should be trodden under foot in this press, or drowned in this sweat? what if the Boat should overturn, or the Horse should throw me? What would become of me if my meat should choak me, or my drink should quench my life? What? then if I be not well provided, I go down in a moment to Hell. And therefore I must alwayes live well, that so I may never die suddenly. V. Locman. The Cock in the Arabick fable, because he had overcome in a battle against another of his neighbouring Cocks, thought he had now no enemy, and therefore he got upon a top of the house, and began to crow and clap his wings in token of his triumph, when behold on a sudden a Vultur comes and snatches this great Conqueror away. Just such is the state of silly man, he overthrows some disease, and gets the better of it, he escapes in a battle, and rejoyces as if now he were out of danger, when some accident or other lies in ambush for him and strikes him dead upon the place. We must not therefore be secure at any time; the strong man must not glory in his strength, nor the great man in the honour of his family and nu­merous progeny, for all may be cut off in a moment. [Page 28]I can not but here remember how three hundred of the Fab [...]i in Rome were slain in one day, and but one man of the Family left that was not extinct. And about five hundred years agone, the whole family of the Justiniani in Venice perished in defence of their Countrey against Emanuel the Greek Emperor, ex­cept one only who was a Priest. B [...]b [...] Comes Abusinu [...]. And Aventinus re­lates of a Count in the time of Henry the second Em­perour, that had thirty Sons (besides eight Daugh­ters) who attended on him to the Emperors court, and were all preferred to offices by him, and all di­ed in a very short space of time. And so in Scrip­ture we find all Gideons children slain at once, ex­cept one; and the like of Ahabs, a wicked family, whom God intended to root out. And yet which of us thinks that if we have nine or ten children, they may all die before us? Or who thinks that they may all die in a day? nay we are apt to imagine not only that we may stay in the world till we have done all we design, but that we shall go out of the world the ordinary way, and not be let out at any new gate. Let us reform this error and be verily perswaded that there is a vast uncertainty of life and all worldly things, and that death is drest in a thou, sand shapes, and may be in every thing we see in the world.

3. Make account that there is no greater enemy to life then sin. Sin is not to stand for one thing in our ac­count but for a thousand, for all the miseries and evils that can be reckoned up. The Stone, the Gout, the Plague, &c. all the pains, and stinches and noi­some evils that were ever heard of, are in the Womb [Page 29]of sin, and therefore reckon a sinfull life to be of all other the most uncertain, and that which provokes the holy God to shorten our days. So you read, ver. 7, 8, 9. of this Psalm, that they were consumed in Gods anger, and their dayes passed away in his wrath, when he took notice of their rebellions, and saw how heinous their crimes were. If you will be­lieve the wise man, the years of the wicked shall be short­ned, Prov. 10.27. Or if you will believe his Father, God shall shoot at them; with an arrow suddenly shall they be wounded, Psal. 64.7. Or the Prophet Malachi, by whom God saith, I will be a swift witness against the Sorcerers and Adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, &c. Hear what Observations one of Jobs friends made, Job 20.4, 5.6. Ever since man was placed upon the earth it was a known rule, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment; though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung; they which have seen him, shall say where is he? He shall flee away like a dream and shall not be found, he shall be chased away like a vision of the night. And Job himself doth assent to the truth of the Observation, when he saith, cap. 21.17, 18. How oft is the Candle of the wicked put out? And how oft cometh their destruction upon them? God distri­buteth sorrows in his anger. They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. This Consideration might a little stop men in their violent pursuit of sinfull and unlawful de­sires. [Page 30]If they would but think that every sin may strik off a figure or two from their lives, that every act of it may cut their dayes some moments shorter, what heart could they have to sin? With what pleasure could they drink if they thought that it were poyson? how could they indure passion and revenge, if they thought it would send a fire into their bones? and yet there is all reason that we should expect it should be so (unless God think fit to alter the course of things for what ends he sees best in his Government of the world) seeing none are such a trouble and burden to man­kind as wicked men. He that is so prodigal of his time, hath little reason to think that God should give him more in whose hands it only is. He knows not what to do with that he hath already, and therefore how can he with any face come to begg for a day longer to dishonour God! Won­der in thy self that Gods lets thee live who knowst not how to live. Admire that he should give thee any time who knowest not how to use it. And let this one thing lead thee to repentance, and not make thee presume to continue in the same unreasonable mispence. Me thinks every sinner when he is sick should think of nothing but dying, and yet they think the least of it. Me thinks they should be in a horrible fright, and never imagine to escape (seeing they do no good) unless they have less reason then the Hogg in the Arabick fable.

That tells us that a Butcher carrying three creatures upon his Horse, Locman. a Sheep, a Goat and [Page 31]a Hogg; the two former lay very quiet and still, but the Hogg kickt and cried and never rested. Thereupon the man said, Why art thou so impati­ent when the other two are so quiet? The Hogg answered, Every one knows himself; and the Sheep knows that he is brought into the City for his Wools sake, and the Goat for the sake of his Milk, and so they need take no care; but I alas know very well that I have neither Wool nor Milk, but that assoon as I come into the City I must be killed, for that is all that I am good for. A wicked man must be worse then such a Swine that doth not think every plague will sweep him away, and that when there is a great mortality he shall be one of the dead; for he is good for nothing else but to be killed, and to make some room for a better per­son to stand up in that place which he takes up in the world. But if God be pleased for the punishment of others, and to punish them worse hereafter, to let them stay still here, Let them know that a sinfull life is a meer death (as the Apo­stle saith of the lascivious Woman, 1 Tim. 5.6.) and they can expect nothing hereafter but such a state as will make them wish they had died soon­er here.

4. Reckon that no mans life seems shorter then his that thinks not often how short it is. Time ne­ver seems to pass away so swiftly as when we are thinking of something else then our time. I told you life is very short of it self, and we must reckon it by minutes rather then years, or by fractions ra­ther [Page 32]then whole numbers, and yet it is still shorter in our thoughts, because we mind not how these minutes run away. They are as a steep, saith the Psalmist, ver. 5. and in sleep you know there is no observation of time at all, but a night seems as one moment. How soon is an hour gone when we are in any pleasure? Yea in business or any imployment which takes up our mind, how quickly is a day flown away? A day seems but as an hour to him that thinks not at all of his day. Just as a man that is in a journey, who talks or reads or thinks, is come to the end of it before he thought that he was near the place; so it is with every one of us; our life is gone and we know not how, while we think of all things but only of our life. He seems to himself not to have lived at all that minds not how his time passes away, because it slips through his fingers and he feels it not. His thoughts being busied alwayes about other things, a year to him is but as a day, and he complains miserably when he comes to die that God hath given him no longer time. If we did consider this, we should often think how our time spends, and that would make us la­bour to spend it well. We should think what our life is and how it goes, and that would make us prolong it by doing of Good. For life seems long to no man so much as to him that minds how it passes on, and how many hours he hath for to imploy, and who doth some thing in those hours. His very work will tell him that he hath lived, or else he could not have done so many things.

5. We must account that in our life there will be some nights as well as days. We must not expect all kind u­sage from the world, but look to meet with much trouble and sorrow. So ver. 10. the Psalmist tells us, That if we live till Eighty years, our strength will be but labour and sorrow, and besides you see from what hath been said, that we must indure much grief before that, from the loss of our friends and relations that God takes away, be­sides all the vexation that will be apt to arise from other accidents. It is a foolish flattery of our selves, to think that all ours must be Halcyon daies, and that no disgust shall wrinkle our foreheads, nor no black vail be cast o­ver our faces. We had better reckon truly, and put down more black daies than white in our Calendar; and then if they be fairer than we expect, our contentment will be the greater; and howsoever the thoughts of trou­ble will make us desire more after our Fathers house, and long more in our hearts for the heavenly Country. The travell and toyl here would make us have a care top ro­vide for our rest with the people of God; and these black nights of affliction, for the eternall day that knows no night at all. We should not be so much in love with life, if we did reckon upon the evils of it; nor so much in fear of death, if we considered how many wayes we die daily. What pleasure is there in living when we are eighty year old, when we are a burden to our selves, and too oft to others what contentment can we have? What chear can there be when those that look out of the window are darkned? when the sound of the grinding is low, and we rise up at the voice of every bird, and al the daughters of musick are brought down? i. e. when we have lost our eyes, and teeth, and voice, and sleep, and are but a little distance from a clod of earth, what joy can we feel in our hearts? And yet this is the time that we would fain live to, though we [Page 34]creep to it upon our hands and feet through a world of mire and dirt, Si vita humana esset 500 aut 600. annorum omnes despera­tione vitam fi­nirent. Card. de vita prepria. and swim through the waters of many af­flictions to be more miserable. I am of Cardans mind, that if the life of man should last five hundred or six hundred years, many a one would make away themselves out of madness and desperation (there are so many mi­series that befall them,) and yet we are now madly desi­rous to live till we be weary of life. Let us think that life if it be long may be but a kind of death, and nothing will comfort us then, but the hopes of another life. It was a sharp saying of Caesars to one of his Guard, that by reason of his craziness, asked his leave that he might cause himself to be put to death; Dost thou think then that thou art alive? Alas! such a decrepit thing as man is, when he comes to Old age, is but a walking Carcase that is ready at every step to stumble upon its Graves. Yea death is preying upon us every day, he gets a mouth full of our flesh every moment, and sometimes by a sick­ness, even eats us to the very bone; and then though we recruit again and repaire our bodies, yet we do but make food for new diseases. It is said to Adam, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt dye, which teaches us that we are next dore to death every day, and that we do not so much live as borrow something from death, and if we live long, it will make us pay intollerable usury for not paying our lives sooner.

As these things will correct our mistakes about the length and quality of our daies, so I shall now adde some things that will teach us better the use of them.

6. We must reckon our daies by our work and not by our time, by what we do, and not by what we are. Let us account that the longest day which is best spent, and that the oldest life which is most holy. Plutarch Con­sol. ad Apollon. [...]. A long life is not the [Page 35]best but a good life. As we do not commend (saith he) him that hath played a great while on an Instrument, [...]. or made a long Oration, but him that hath played and spo­ken well, and as we account those Creatures best that give us most profit in a short time, and every where we see maturity preferred before length of age, so it ought to be among our selves. They are the worthiest per­sons, and have lived longest in the world, who have brought the greatest benefit unto it, and made the great­est advantage of their time to the service of God and of Men. Let our Conscience therefore be the Ephemeris or Diary of our life. Let us not reckon by the Alma­nack, but by the Book of God, how much we live. And let us account that he who lives godlily lives long, and that other men live not at all.

We must not say that a man hath lived seaventy years if he hath done nothing worthy of a man, but that he hath been so long. Diu fuit, sed parum vixit, he had a great many daies, but lived few or none.

In one sense most men may count their lives by nights rather then daies, for they are as men asleep, and do no­thing at all that is the business and intent of life.

They are as Childish in their desires, as weak in their fears, as unreasonable in their hopes, as impertinently and vainly imployed, as if they were but newly come in­to the world, and had not attained to the use of their Reason. Shall we think a man hath lived because he is a yard higher then he was? is this enough to denominate us men, that we have hair growing upon our Chin? No, there are more Children then those that are in Coats, and while we look no further then the present life, we are but great Infants, and are at play with Babies. And alas! if we account the right way by our work and im­provement of our selves in true understanding, Consci­ence [Page 36]and godliness, the best of us must reckon fewer years then eighty; for how little of this time do we tru­ly live. When we do no good we may say as the Em­perour did Diem perdidi, I have clearly lost a day; I had as good not have been to day: you can scarce say that I was, if you look at the purpose of being. For to acknow­ledg God, and get acquaintance with him, to govern our selves in conformity to him, to do good to others, &c. are the great businesses of life; and of him that minds not these chiefly, you may say, that there is such a thing called by such a name, and that hath an existence, but you cannot say that the man lives. Shall we say that he sailed much, who was taken in a storme, as soon as he put out to Sea, who was tossed by contrary winds in a Circle to and fro, and in conclusion is brought just where he was, De Brev. vitcae. cas. 8. when he first launcheth forth? Non ille multum navigavit, sed multum jactatus est, as Seneca well saith. He did not Saile much, but was tossed very much. Shall we then say, that a man hath lived much, whose soul was filled with Aire and vanity, as soon as he was born; who had tumbled to and fro in variety of business in the Sea of this world, and is never quiet in the pursuit of earthly affairs? Alas! when he comes to the end of his daies he is as far from his part, as when he first began them; Heaven is as far out of his reach (and further too) as when he lay in his mothers Womb. He was much busi­ed, but he did nothing. He was much employed, but he lived idly. For as I told you, daies and living are truly to be measured by the work of a man. And therefore much less can you say, that he hath lived, who hath eaten and drank, and got one of the same kind, &c. For so doth a Beast, and therefore all you can say, is that the Beast in him lived, but not the man. And if we did reck­on thus, and consider how much time this toy, and that [Page 37]trifle, this business and that service, this man and that woman have devoured, besides what every day will have for necessary uses: Se [...]. ib. cap. 3. Videbimus nos pauciores habere annos quam numeramus, we shall see that we have fewer years than we number. We say perhaps sixty years is our age, but we may set down ten, yea though we have seriously minded our great work. Let us therefore hereafter when we ask our selves how old we are, reckon from that time that we are born again. And let us distinguish between time and what is done in time, for all creatures have time as well as we, and unless our work differ us from them our age will not. O be ashamed to be a child with a great beard! Blush to reckon forty or fifty years, when thou knowest not for what thou camest into the world. Let not the Sun see thee again so void of the knowledg of Jesus Christ, as if thy soul were but newly dropt into thy body. Be not twenty or forty years in learning to be sober; and for very shame let it not be said, that in so many years thou knowest not how to pray and repre­sent thy needs to God. How many years dost thou ex­pect to live, if in so many thou canst not learn to mortifie one lust? If in the space of fifty years thou canst not get the victory over a cup of drink, how many must God give thee to overcome all the rest of thy sinnes? If so long experience will not teach thee humility or content­edness, who can hope that thou shouldest live long e­nough to put on Jesus Christ, and be conformed to all his Image? O live, live I beseech you as fast as you can, for it is certain that is little or nothing that we have lived.

Seventhly, We must not account all dayes alike, or we must not measure our time by the length, but by the weight; not by its greatness, but by its worth. Let us not measure our dayes (as we do) by the motion of the Sunne [Page 38]which we see, but by the shining of the Sonne of Righte­ousness upon our souls: not by the coelestiall bodies, but by the coelestiall inspirations. Think that a long time wherein there are many dayes of grace, and mind that time and improve it above all the rest. Alwayes think that time is of a different value as to the chief use of time; and in some dayes we have more of opportunity though but the same time. This makes a great diffe­rence in our days if we well understand it, and should make us very watchfull to lay hold upon this flower of time when it presents it self unto us. A day of grace, a Lords day when God shall move upon our souls, such an opportunity as this, if God affect our hearts, is worth all our days beside when we are left unto our selves. As to the purposes of holiness and getting nearer to Hea­ven, one moment, when the Spirit of God is upon us, and strongly possesses our mind with good things, and breathes into us holy affections, is worth many hours, yea days and years when that is not with us, or doth not so powerfully incite us. Let us therefore imploy such time well, and set our selves to our business, earnestly entrea­ting more of such time, and that Gods Spirit will visit us more frequently with its company. Then our work will go on fast, and if it be possible at all to recall the time past, it must be by doing that in a few moments, which naturally could not have been done in a whole Life. We must value time hereafter as Mariners do at Sea, by the wind that blows upon us, and then we must hoise up our Sailes. We must look at some as Harvest daies, and then we must gather and lay up in store by hard labour; or as Market daies, and then we must buy what we want, and lay in provision for the following daies. Yea the blackest day of affliction, if we were well skilled, might be numbred among the best times of our life; For God [Page 39]chastneth us for our profit, that we may be made parkers of his holiness.

Eighthly, Reckon time to stand in order to eternity. Consider it not in the absolute notion, but in the rela­tive. Look on it as a River running into the Ocean, and account that time it self must be accounted for. So number thy dayes as to think that they must be num­bered again by God. Think that time passeth, and yet that it remain upon thine account. Think that as thou art now, so to eternity thou shalt be. Do not look up­on thy life as a few dayes to be passed, and there is an end, but reckon so many dayes I have lived, and the next moment is eternity for any thing I can tell. Ever­lastingness hangs upon this moment, and the state of the one depends on the state of the other; as time is used by us, so shall we find our selves used in the other life. I doubt we seldom look on these two, as having a reference to each other; but men live, as if when time was trifled away, they might begin upon a new score in Eternity. Men live as if all should be forgotten that is done here, and they should have something else to think of when they go from hence. Remember therefore that both God and thy self will call thee to another reckoning; all the dayes which thou hast never told, but went away without any observation, shall be recalled back unto thy mind. Then the mind shall tell deliberately, and run thee thorow at every thought, how many hours thou satest with the cup at thy mouth; how many dayes thou didst spend in sport; how long the time seemed when the Preacher over-run his hour; and how many motions of Gods Spirit thou didst send back, and bid come at some more convenient time. Yea all thy false accounts shall then be accounted for, and thou shalt never have done numbring thy errours, but shall tell them all over [Page 40]again with a new torment that thou shouldst be so wil­fully mistaken. O that you would let your souls which are apt to number so many dayes in this world, and are loath to make an end, let them lanch into the depths of eternity, and there spread their thoughts. Seeing they have such a mind to be telling out so many years for us, let them runne into that vast Ocean. Bring forth all your numbers wherewith your minds are pregnant, heap million upon million, lay one hundred thousand of millions upon another, and they are all but as an unite to eternity. In this vast eternity you must certainly live; and therefore why do you not let your thoughts be more upon eternity than upon a few uncertain dayes in time? Why do not your minds, which love to count so unboundedly the dayes of this narrow life, extend themselves into eternity, which is without any limits at all? Tell the torments of an everlasting fire, tell the aking thoughts, if you can of a burning soul, number the sighs and groans of a heart, that fries in the wrath of God to eternall ages. Then reckon the joyes of Heaven, number all the sweet notes of Heavenly quire, tell all the Songs and Hymnes of Praise which they sing. And if thou hadst an head as big as Archi­medes and couldst tell how many atomes of dust were in the Globe of the Earth; yet think that such a vast num­ber is but as one little atome in compare with those end­less sorrows and those endless joys. Seeing thou canst look so far as to the very end of thy daies, seeing thou art prone to run in thy thoughts as far as it is possible, take one step further then eighty years, and then thy thoughts are in eternity; go a little further then the end of thy life, and there let thy thoughts lose themselves. Let this be thy Impress, or Motto, let this be writ upon thy mind, that a Learned man writes upon all his Books, [Page 41] Aeternitatem cogita, Think of eternity. Johan. Meu. sius. This will make thine account more exact, when thou lettest thy thoughts run thither, whither thy time is running, into all Eternity.

9. Though our time be little, yet let us account that it is great enough for what we have to do in time. I said that our life was short of it self, yet let us reckon that it is long enough to serve all the ends of living. We have day enough to do our reall business. We have time enough to prepare for eternity. We must alwaies ac­count that we have daies enough to number our daies, and make up our accounts, and what can we desire more? If we will charge our selves indeed with unnecessary things to bring about some great design, and accomplish some covetous desire, and raise our estate to such an height, we may not have time enough to execute out purpose. But must we therefore whine and complaine and say, nature hath dealt hardly with us? No. Vita, si scias uti, longa est; life is long enough, if thou knowest the use of it. If thou considerest what thou hast to do, thou hast time enough to do it. There is time enough to moderate those worldly desires; to break off those impertinent imployments▪ to throw away those designs; to subdue thy passions; to cultivate thy mind, to submit thy will to God, to know the intention of the Son of God, his appearing in the world; to work out thy salvation, and to make ready for his coming again. Though we have not time to resolve all Questions that are started in the world, yet we have sufficient time to resolve this great one, What shall we do to be saved? Heaven may be got in that time, that the world cannot. Why then do we murmur at the shortness of life? why do we sigh that we can number no more daies? what would men do with them, and to what use would they im­ploy them? is it their souls they would save? they need no [Page 42]more daies then God hath assigned them for that pur­pose. Is it an estate they would get, or pleasures they would enjoy? they have too much time for such ends, seeing they are not the goods of a man. Would they know all the secrets and subtilties in Learning? two or three Ages will not suffice for that; and seeing that know­ledg will dye, it is not worth living so long for it. Would they be able to determine all Controversies in Religion. How absurd a thing is this for a wicked man to take up his time in disputes, when he lets the Devill without a­ny quarrell run away with his soul? It is as preposterous a thing, as for a man that is in a deep Consumption to consult with his Physician for the curing of a cut finger. But this is the misery of it, that the fashion of the world is not to mind Religion. Most men and especially great persons are led by the opinion of the world; now vul­gar people do not expect that we should be godly, and so they mind every thing but only that, and then com­plain that they are straitned in their time. People expect that we should keep open house, and let them eat and drink their fill, &c. And so they tempt their. Landlords to think that it is below them to live. Let us correct our selves in this mistake, and when we account the daies are short, we must mean no more but this.

We have one thing necessary to be done, To do the will of our Father, to get ready for Heaven; this must be constantly and seriously minded, and we have no spare time to throw away without any reference to this busi­ness. Our life runs away so fast, that unless we take good heed, we shall not be able to do the work for which we live. It would be accounted a piece of madness, if when the enemy is at the Walls, when the storm is rea­dy to be made, when the Bullets fly about the Streets, A man should sit considering whether a Bow will carry [Page 43]further then a Gun, and whether more were killed by the Ancient weapons, then by the modern Armes. And yet just such is the folly of mankind. When death is at their back, and life flies before their faces, when they are beset with evils in the world, and have little strength to resist them, when they are in the straits of time, and yet have a huge deal of work to do; they are thinking with themselves whether it is best to hunt to day, or to Hawke; whether they should visit a friend at this town or the next, &c. and then spend their time as though they had too much, and yet at last cry out upon the bre­vity of life. Come, come, let us be honest and reckon right, De brev. vitae. cap. 1. Non exignum temporis habemus, sed multum per­dimus, as Seneca well said. It is not a little time that we have, but it is not a little that we lose. God hath not given a little, but we throw away much. Our portion is not small, for what we are to trade, but our mispense is exceeding great. Non accepimus vitam brevem sed fecimus. We did not receive a short life, but have made it so. Not God but we our selves have made our time little. He is not niggardly and sparing, but we are prodigall and make a lamentable wast of our houres. Just as when a great estate and faire possessions come to an unthrifty Heir, they are presently consumed and spent; whenas a little Portion well husbanded, increaseth to large demeans; so it is with our life. They that have abundance of time given unto them, through their grofs improvidence and mispense are utterly undone, and whine like beggars, as if they had had none, whereas carefull and diligent persons so improve a little, that thanks be to God they are rich in good works, and say it is enough, let God call for them when he pleaseth.

Tenthly, Let us reckon death to be the best accountant, and so number our daies now, as we shall do when we come [Page 44]to dye. Then a day will appear a pretious thing; then will a covetous man offer all that he hath got in his whole life, for one day; then will a voluptuous man be ready to purchase a day with any pains, though it were all rainy, and he were forced to spend it in tears. But it is a sad reckoning when a man must reckon twice, and one of them must be when he hath no time to mend his er­rors and mistakes. It will go very ill with us, if we make one account in our life, and another at our death. If we should see then that there are as many faults as there are daies; and that so many lines as there are in our life, so many blots we must make: how fearfully shall we be a­mazed, in what perplexity of spirit shall we see our selves so foul and black, in the midst of such grosse and damnable errors. Let us therefore see and consider, now what account dying men make of their time, and take their reckoning as most certainly true. Though men now be lavish of their time, and play away their houres, though they give all or most to the world, and little or nothing to God; yet come to a dying man and he will tell you that daies were good for something else, then for a man to eat and drink and trade in; he will tell you of feeding and nourishing the Diviner part, or providing for a soul, of dressing it for the Bride-groome by con­stant acts of godliness; besides all those of temperance and sobriety, of justice and mercy. He will tell you of a Book more worth your reading and studying, then all that ever you turned over. And as for a day of grace at what rate would he purchase such a pretious season? He will tell you he is ashamed that he ever sate at his dore talking vainly among his neighbours on the Lords day. He will tell you that he cannot sleep now for the aking of his heart, that he should sleep at a Sermon. He praies that he might but live and Pray with his Family Evening [Page 45]and Morn. Yea let him be a good man, that hath made a good use of his time, yet he will tell you that such an houre he might have spent better; in such a company he might have done more good, at such a time he might have been more solicitous and industrious about Hea­venly things: and he will Pray as a good Bishop did, Lord pardon my sins of omission. [...]p Ʋsher. And therefore let us now judg as sensible and good men do when they are taught by death that cannot flatter. That is a sterne Master, but very just and faithfull, he speaks with a dreadfull voice, but things that are infinitely true and serious. He cuts their very heart whose accounts they leave him to write, but he will truly state them. Let us then learn of those that he teaches, and not stay till we be taught, when perhaps we shall be past Learning. Let us imagine that the roome is darkned, that the Physician stands by our bed side, that we hear our friends sigh and groan, that we feel the approaches of death, and then con­ceive that our Books of account are brought to us, and we have our pen in our hand. What now shall we write? Let us eat and drink and be merry? Let us take our ease for we have goods laid up for many years? will you reck­on thus, our time is long enough, let us take care for no­thing but to please our selves? why not thus now I pray you? when perhaps two or three daies agon this was your language. Oh! but now eternity, eternity appears; and therefore set down so many houres for prayer to God, if we live; write down so much pains to understand the Word of God; and we make account that so much time must be spent in meditating of the will of God. Make a golden letter at the Lords Day, for that must be more pretious time, &c. Whosoever thou art that readest this, do the same now, that thou maist do perhaps three daies hence. Do that which now thou canst, which ere [Page 46]long thou wilt wish to do and canst not. This may be more then an imagination before the morning, and be sure one day it will be a reality unless thou shalt be struck dead without any warning, and have no leave for one deliberate thought; and therefore now reckon after the same sort, set down the same things in thy resolution, yea ingrave them and cut them upon thy heart, that so thy death beds account, may agree with that in thy life. Be sick now in thy thoughts, that thou maist find thy self well then. And seeing then we shall think that we have lived so much as we have done good, and as we have designed the glory of God, let us now think that we do not live unless these be in our hearts and lives.

Eleventhly, If we would number aright, let us every day cast up our accounts. Let us so number our daies, as at the foot of every day to write the total Summe. Let us say, thus long have we lived, perhaps we may live no longer, nor turn over another leaf; let us see there­fore how our accounts stand. Say as Pythagoras taught his Scholars, [...], &c. What sinne have I committed? What good have I done? What good have I neglected? What stand all these actions for? Are they figures or cyphers? Have I lived or only been? Doth my work go on, or am I running in arrears? Do I live as if I were going to die? Is eternity in my thoughts, and the great account that I must give? If we could call our selves to such a reckoning, then we might correct any fault we find betime, before it be grown to such a number, that it will be beyond our thoughts, and give up our account more fair, and in or­der when God calls for them, and might hope they would be accepted by him. And for the doing of this it is necessary, that we account every day as if it were our last. Which is a maxim in this divine art of num­bering, [Page 47]that flows from the first Proposition. Seeing our time that is to come is in Gods hand, therefore we must live this day as though we had no more dayes to live. And a Heathen could say, That it is impossible for a man to live the present day well, Musonius apud Stob. Serm 1. Epist. 52. [...], That doth not propose to himself to live it as his last. And so Seneca professeth, Id ago, ut mihi in­star totius vitae sit dies, that he laboured one day might be like a whole life to him. We must spend our dayes as though our life were but a day. And if we did, then sure God would have a portion of every day, if we in­tend him any in our life, and we could not but be dili­gent to set all right, and to make up our accounts at night, as if it were the end of our lives and our dayes were summed up. The Mariner which guides and steers the Ship aright sits alwayes in the Stern or hindermost part of it, and so must we, if we will guide and direct our life aright through the troublesom sea of the world, according to the course God hath prescribed; be often in the contemplation of our death; dwell much in our last end, and then shall we manage all the better, pos­sesse our vessel in holinesse, and bring her at the last to a safe Haven. It is a good saying of one of the Jews, wherewith I shall conclude this, Mind thy business as if thou wast to live alway, but think of thy end as if thou wast to die to morrow.

Twelfthly, Let us number as much backward as we are apt to number forward. Let us cast up our accounts both wayes, and tell the time that is past as we are for­ward to account that which is to come. It is a great fault sure that we skip over such a great part of our time, and never think what we have done, what mercies we have enjoyed, which of them we have abused, and how little profit God hath received from us for all the bene­fits [Page 48]he hath bestowed. And therefore we must not on­ly now begin to take an account of the passages of every day, but take some time also to study our lives that are past. We shall find such a huge advantage by this, that it will recompense all our pains. For

1. Hereby we shall at least know how long we have lived, and therefore what a little time in all likelihood remains. And

2. How foolishly we have spent that time that is past, and therefore how chary we ought to be of what God will give us more. And

3. We shall consider how soon those years (perhaps thirty or fourty) are gone, which will be a good mea­sure whereby to judge of the time to come, which will run away as swiftly if it should be as long. And

4. We shall wonder that we have lived so long, ra­ther than that we die so soon, seeing our Lord attained not to so many years as we perhaps number. All these and many other advantages we shall get by our serious review of our lives which I must leave to your own me­ditations. And I beseech you think of them thorough­ly; for it is for want of some such reflections that we live as we were but beginning to live. Though men have lived fourty or fifty years, yet velut ex pleno & abundanti perdunt, they wast as if they had their whole and full stock of time to spend upon, and had a great deal to spare; whereas if they did well consider what it gone, and that the lesse remains, they would double their diligence to gather up what is lost, to provide for that state, for which they have but a little time left wherein to provide. And suppose we have fourty or fifty years to come, or let our imagination run as far as it pleaseth, yet we must consider how much of this time must be spent in rectifying our accounts and bringing our [Page 49]souls to good order; and how much will be devoured by the needs of our bodies; and likewise how speedily they will be all gone if we measure by what is past. How few do the days which we have spent seem? How soon are they gone and seem as if they had not been? Just so fleetly will all that run away, which is to come, let it be never so much, and though it seem a great deal to us while we look forward, Senec. Epist. 4. yet it will seem as a few dayes, if we look but behind us. Infinita est velocit as temporis, quae magis apparet respicientibus. Time is in­finitely swift, but it most of all appears to those that cast their eyes back. They that are in the bottome of the Ship think they do not stirre, but they that look to the place from whence they are come, will wonder how fast they have run before the wind. If we did but cast up the summe of our dayes, when we have numbered as many years as we think good, alas they amount but to a trifle. What are eighty or a hundred years, when we have put them altogether in one number? How few figures will tell the longest term of life? But we are so foolish that we tell dayes, and months, and years one af­ter another, which severally spoken of, seem to make a great show, and never put them together, and consider what all these will amount unto, if we should live them all. Then one figure and a cypher will number them all. But if we likewise did consider how fast a great part of this little number is fled away, it would make our life seem so short and transitory that we should never fancy more that there is no haste to make ready for ano­ther world. And if we added this consideration like­wise that he who best deserved to live, came not to these years which we perhaps have attained: What should we think? What should we look for but death the next moment? Jesus Christ the Sonne of the living [Page 50]God lived in our flesh but a little more than three and thirty years. Why I beseech you should not this be accounted old-age among us Christians, since the Head of us all was no elder when he died? Though they rec­koned to seventy or eighty years when Moses lived, yet why should we count to more than thirty three, as the ordinary term of life since the great Prophet is come into the world? If God lengthen not our dayes beyond this, we should rather look upon it as a wonder that we live so long, then that we live no longer.

To conclude, the safest way is to reckon no more dayes then we have, as I told you at first. For Moses you see reckons but to eighty years, which was the very age that he was of when he entred into the wildernesse. Fourty years he was in Pharaohs Court, and fourty year more he was in banishment, as St. Stephen informs us, (Acts 7.23, 30.) and then he went to Pharaoh and brought the people out of Aegypt, who presently in the first year of their enlargement began to provoke God, and the second year were threatned to be all destroyed in the wildernesse: Act. 7.36. Deut. 34.7. now Moses reckons as if his dayes were at an end also, when as God lengthened them four­ty years longer, even to an hundred and twenty years. So let us do also and reckon that our dayes are past and gone, though God may lengthen them to many more years; but if he do, we must remember that they will flie away as swiftly as the rest have done, and therfore we must lay hold upon them, and fly away with them, that they may not go away without us. Let us not be left be­hind by our time, but let us be going on as fast we can a­long with it, til we and it end comfortably both together. That we may not still call for life, when that cals for death, but we may be fit to die, when our time of life is done.

But how shall we learn all these good lessons will you say? Who shall teach us to number aright? Death you say is a good accountant, but who will lead us unto these deep thoughts?

The fourth Observation (which I shall briefly open and commend to your Meditations) will give you some Answer to this Enquiry. Observ. 4.

We may best learn this right numbring of our dayes, by a praying heart and a pious mind.

The prayer herein the Text is directed to God, that he would teach them, and for their part they promise to bring an heart of wisdom, Prov. 28.9. that is a godly and religious mind. The prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (saith the Wiseman.) If a man will not hear Gods Law, it is no wonder that God will not hear his prayer. When we come in a complement and for fa­shion sake, having no great mind that God should do that for us that we ask, it cannot be expected that God should regard us. If we have no heart to number our daies according to the account that I have laid before you, though we say, Lord teach us to number our dayes, yet he cannot but turn away his ear from us. Prov. 15.8, 29. But on the contrary, That God who is farre from the wicked hear­eth the prayer of the righteous, and delighteth in it. If our heart apply it self to wisdom, if we come with a se­rious resolution and a sincere deliberate desire to be what we say, God will answer our requests, and fullfill our petitions. If we bring but a heart of wisdom, we should presently by the help of God reckon right, and make the best use of our life.

By an heart of wisdom here in the Text is meant a wise heart, as an heart of stone or flesh, signifies an hard or soft heart. And it is made up of these things:

First, We must bring a serious heart, for a spirit that [Page 52]is vain and trifling that acts like one in jest, cannot be wise. We must all labour to take off that lightness and giddiness that agitates our spirits, and to bring our souls to some composure and settlement by a reverence unto God; yea and unto our selves. We must resolve to be in good earnest about our salvation, and to preferre this art of numbring our daies aright, before all the fan­cies of riches and pleasures, and such like things that are apt to tosse and whirl our minds, we know not whi­ther.

Secondly, We must bring considering hearts. For he will never number and cast accounts well, whose mind is not fixed, and whose thoughts cannot put things to­gether. We many times think, but we do not consider. Let us therefore raise observations unto our selves, and let us weigh them, and give them their due value. Let us consider which is more, and which is lesse in all things; let us balance things in our thoughts, and well mind what equality and what disproportion there is between them. Say, is not a soul like to live longer than a bo­dy? Had I not more need tell its dayes, and take care of it, then labour thus about a dying thing? What com­pare is there between Time and Eternity? How soon have I done telling the dayes of my life? And how am Host and even drowned in that vast Ocean? But I need not teach a serious man to consider. And I need not tell you that an heart that minds nothing, that layes nothing (as we say) to heart must needs be ignorant and bruit­ish in its knowledg. And therefore this is a piece of wisdom acceptable to God to labour in good sadnesse to take things into our thoughts till our hearts be touched by them. We are gone a great way to learn any thing of God, and particularly this great business how to live, when we are once made inquisitive and thoughtfull in a serious sober manner.

Thirdly, A wise heart is such an one as designs some­thing to it self, and intends to improve the knowledge it gets to some purpose. The heart of a fool looks no further than the beginning of a thing, and thinks not of what shall follow, and therefore we must bring such a serious disposition as is determined to deduce some good out of every thing that is propounded to our considera­tion. Many truths lie by men, but they cannot be said properly to know and skill them, because they are con­tented with the bare notion of them. They know the number of their dayes, the shortnesse of their lives, and the rest that I have said, but they make no use of it at all; it is as meer a speculation, as that twenty and fourty make sixty, or the like. And therefore we must not only number and tell how short they are, and whither they are running, and what use they are for; but we must conclude in some resolution, and set down something that results from the whole account for the good of our souls. All these things are but means to something else; reading, praying, considering and examination are but the beginnings of Religion, not the end; they are the way only, and therefore we must not rest in them, but let our souls go further, till we are carried to something else by them. As when we account but one day to our life, when we tell so many evil days if we live long, &c. We must ask our souls, What then will you do? Cast in your minds and speak, what course do you mean to take? And by such like Questions bring your work to some good issue. And

Fourthly, A truly wise heart is that which designs ho­liness, to be like to God, and eternally to enjoy him. For the fear of the Lord that is wisdome, and to de­part from evil is that understanding, Job 28. ult. And this therefore is it we must intend, to this issue we must [Page 54]bring our souls, and if we do consider and contrive this heartily, then we may be encouraged to pray to God, that we may know how to take the right measure of our dayes. We may say to him, Lord teach me what my life is, for else I am afraid I shall not live. Lord affect me with the shortness of my time, for else I am in dan­ger to want thy self. And thee it is that I seek, thou knowest it is the desire of my soul to be godly; I am resolved it shall be my work and imploi­ment in the world, that I may be friends with thee; and therefore teach me so to use my dayes, that I may not lose both them and thee. God cannot resist such im­portunate and unfeigned desires. He seeks such Scho­lars as have a mind to learn, and he will teach them to make a right use of what I have said.

What Use should that be may some say? What will a pious mind, and praying heart learn from hence? I will tell you, how it will shape its life according to this reckoning which I have made, and thereby briefly suggest many good Rules of life unto you.

A wise man will learn to be diligent, because the time is short. To be watchfull and alway prepared, because the end may be sudden in every moment. To be fear­full of sinne, because the anger of God cut sinners off in the midst. To think much of time, because it pas­seth most swiftly when we think of something else. To remember our Creator betimes, because evil dayes will come wherein nothing else will please us. To do good, because that is the work of life. To work together with God, and zealously improve opportunities, because all times are not alike. To be very exict in our actions, because they must stand upon record to Eternity. To [...]nnounce unto all unnecessary things, because we may have no time nor leisure for them. To seek first the [Page 55]Kingdom of God, because that is the only thing we are sure to attain. To die daily, because death makes the best and truest reckoning. To be constant in self-exa­mination, because this day may be our last. To look back to our beginning, because the more we have lived, the less we have to live. In a word, A wise heart will learn to be a very good Husband of its time, and make it serve the most noble design. And he is a wise man indeed that of a few days can make an eternal advantage, by the improvement of a short life gain endless felici­ties. He would be accounted a wise man, who had an art by a peny in a little space of time to raise an estate of many thousand pounds. But he is far wiser, and hath a greater reach, who by the good use of this moment, obtains the inheritance of Angels, yea of the Son of God, gets possession of the ever-living Good, and settles himself in the joyes of a never-dying life.

Let me conclude with a brief Exhortation to you in the words of the Text, as they lie in our Translation. Pray unto God earnestly that he would so teach you to number your dayes, that you may apply your hearts un­to wisdome. Do you seriously indeavour, and then intreat of him to give you such an effectual grace, that there may some good arise to you out of your labour. Pray till you feel your heart inclining unto wisdom, till it apply it self to understanding, Till you seek for it as for silver, and dig for it as for hid treasure. Never leave importuning the Father of mercies through Christ the wisdom of the Father, till you be made wise unto sal­vation.

Let us never cease numbring, and taking every con­sideration several by it self, and beseeching God to im­press them on our hearts, till we find this effect and fruit of it, that our hearts are brought to the wisdom of the [Page 56]just; till we judg of things as doth God, and chuse that which he loves, and follow the thing that good is, and altogether become of the same mind with him. Let us number and pray till we find these considerations taking down the heights of Pride, and the heats of lust, the huge desires of a covetuous mind, and the humorous desires of a fond fancy; till we find them quieting our passions, moderating our affections, and bringing our wills to the measures of God. Till we have found a place in another Countrey, a Kingdome that cannot be shaken, a house not made with hands eternall in the Heavens. Till we can live as well in poverty as in riches; in hardship as in soft injoyments, without distrust or envy, without fear or cares, without perplexed or careless thoughts; in short, till we have learned to live the life of Men, and the life of Christians, till we make God our only joy, and love our Neighbours as our selves, and look death in the face as a friend.

Let us every day call our selves to an account, and think that we have one day less to live, and one day more to reckon for. We every day make our account greater, and have less time to make it in, and therefore let us make it alwaies as we go along. And suppose (my Bre­thren) that God should come this night and say to any one of us, as he did to Belshazzar, by a hand writing on the Wall in the Chaldee tonge, Mene, mene, it is num­bred, it is numbred, (which Daniel applies to his King­dome,) thy dayes are told, God hath counted them up and finished them, thou shalt not live to see a mor­row. Are thy accounts and Gods even? do they not differ very much? dost not thou reckon for a great ma­ny years longer, and shall he not cut them short in the midst of those dayes, which thou hast told out for thy self? dost not thou tell twenty, when he tels but one [Page 57]or not so much? Are not thy thoughts a huge way off from eternity? hast thou not most of thy great work to do? art thou not in the midst of a designe; as building an house, or the like, while thy soul lies in its ruines and rubbish? If they be not the same, if thy reckoning do not agree with his, then it will make thee shake and trem­ble as it did him, to see thy self so much mistaken in thy numbring, to behold so much of thine account stricken of by the hand of God; so many of the dayes which thou reckoned wiped quite out of the Book of the Living.

If thou dost account as he doth, and thinks that thou maist dye to night; then how canst thou live otherwise then as a dying man? how canst thou quietly lay thy self on thy Pillow for to sleep, with the Conscience of a­ny guilt upon thy soul? why dost thou not say every night as the Philosopher could direct? ‘Vixi, & quem dederit cursum fortuna, peregi:’ I have lived and finished my course which providence hath assigned me to run. Then if God give thee a mor­row, thou wilt look upon it as a new life, and be more thankfull for it.

He that tels his time by ones and by moments will think that if he donot live now, he may live never; he will be­take himself to the most serious and strictest course of Piety, knowing that that life is long enough which is good and that is too long, or rather none at all which is bad. Truly there is nothing so much to be lamented, as the folly of men; whereby they think they live but do not, and whereby they desire alway to live but cannot. Weep for the dead (saith the Sonne of Syrach, 22. Eccl. 11.) for he hath lost the light; and weep for a fool for he wants un­derstanding, i. e. is without light, even whilst he lives. And therefore it follows presently in him, Make little [Page 58]weeping for the dead; for he is at rest, but the life a fool is worse then death; Seavendaies do men mourne for him that is dead, but for a fool and an ungodly man all the dayes of his life.

We make it an argument you know of a fool, that he cannot count a right, nor tell to ten or twenty: and there is no greater argument of stupidity, no doltishness should more move our tears and compassion, then when men reckon, after that foolish sort that I spoke of in the be­ginning, whereby they live in a dream, and dye in an a­mazement. And therefore the holy man puts these to­gether in my Text, right numbering and a wise heart, which if we bring not, we are dead while we live, and our friends have reason to take up lamentations over us and say, Ah my Brother, ah my Sister.

Let me once more beseech you therefore to be wise. Go home and tell how many dayes remain, and if you can find never an one for any thing you can tell, rise not up from your knees, before you have taken up some good resolutions against the morrow if you have it, and then work out your salvation with fear and trembling; e­very day watch and pray, because you know not in what houre the Lord will come. And to this end, re­member that Counsell, and study it throughly, which I have already mentioned. Look back the first thing thou dost, and think how few daies thou hast lived, Exigua vi­tae pars est, quam nos vivimus, it is a very little part of our life, that we truly live, all the rest of the space, tempus est, non vita; is time and not life. And therefore let that which remains be Life.

PErhaps I may awaken you and my self the more if I leave this Text and take another, which is our Dear Brother, that not long ago stood in this place from whence I speak unto you. Whose Life was a continu­all Sermon, and upon whom I might make another Ser­mon to you, now that one is done. His Life was but short in the Vulgar account, and yet it was long if you use the Arithmetick, which I have been now teaching you. He minded the true end of living, and he lived so long as to do his work, and he did a great deal of work in a little time, and therefore he died old and full of daies, and was laded with more of life, then many a man with a gray Beard. Old Age is not to be known by a withered face, but by a mortified spirit, not by the de­caies of the naturall body, but by the weakness of the body of sin; not by the good we that have enjoyed, but by the good that we have done; and if we be prepared for death, we have lived long enough; if our Life be a death, then no death can be untimely to us.

But then while I tell you the price of such a Jewell, I shall but make you mourn the more for such a loss. How desireable would it have been to us all, if such an Aged soul might have dwelt a little longer in a young body? How much more good might he have done by his pru­dent counsell, by his wise discourses, by grave and serious Sermons, by a mature judgment, by a Religious and well governed life? Thus you are apt to speak within your selves, and I think I shall do well to asist these thoughts now they are begun, and help your soul to be delivered of their sighs, and to number their losses, that so they may by serious weighing of them, redound to some good.

Consider therefore that the Church of God hath lost [Page 60]a burning and a shining Light, the Commonwealth an excellent and peaceable Subject, the Ministers a Dear Brother, this Parish a tender Father, the City a most worthy Member, and when you have wept to think of these, you will have no tears left to condole with me who have lost so sweet a friend.

If we should consider only what a large stock he had of usefull Learning, there would be reason that all intel­ligent persons should bewaile his loss; for there is not such plenty of profitable Learning in the world that we can well spare any, and we know not how long there will be any at all. But then considering the Piety to which it was wedded, our loss is the far more deplorable, be­cause these two are but seldome found conjoyned in so large a measure. Orat. 20. Nazianzen accounts that they who want either of these [...], do dif­fer nothing at all from men that want one eye, who have not only a great defect, but cannot so confidently ap­pear in the world, to look on others, and let others look on them. Now many one eyed men there may be in the world, some that want Learning, and more that want grace, but in very few heads shall you see these two lu­minaries of knowledg and goodness in any great Splen­dor. The more therefore ought such to be valued, and their extinction to be lamented.

Sigismund the Emperour (as Dubravius tell us) hav­ing knighted a Doctor of the Law that was very learn­ed, Hist. Bohx [...]m. and one of his Counsell, and observing that when the Counsell went aside to deliberate about any-busi­ness, he joyned himself to the Knights as more honou­rable, and left the Doctors. He cald him to him and said. Fiscellin, (for so was his name) I did not take thee to be such a fool, as to prefer honour before Learning. For thou knowest very well, that I can dub six hundred [Page 61]Knights in a day, but cannot make one Doctor in all my life. What would this brave King have said, if he had spo­ken of the value of true godliness which is to be preferred before all things else. I will imagine that he would have spoken such words as these, I can make Knights as ma­ny as I will, and only such as thou canst make Scholars; But it is God alone that can give grace; and therefore judg which thou art to prize at the highest rate.

Give me leave to make use of this to our present pur­pose. Men may make others rich, or they may confer upon them honours, yea and they may appoint Preach­ers, but alas they cannot make them Learned, much less can they breath into them the Heavenly spirit, and therefore such men living are to be the more esteemed, and dead to be the more honoured. Especially where these two are accompanied with morall prudence and de­cent behaviour, which came nothing behind the other, in our deceased Friend and Brother. Oh what an unaf­fected gravity was there in that countenance! What in­nocent smiles in that face! what manlike humility in his deportment! chearfullness in him did contend with se­riousness, affability with awfullness, love with dis­cretion, wisdome with simplicity, &c. and the result of all these recouciled graces, was the very Picture of virtue and goodness. Donot think that I flatter him with my Pencil, alas! it gives so rude a stroke, that I am affraid I shall rather disfigure him; and I am ready to draw back my hand, now that I am going to draw the Lines of his Life and present you with a brief Narrative how he spent his daies.

Yet since it will be expected from me who have known him now near fifteen years, I shall give you a draught of what is most material, and leave the fillings up and finish­ings to your own thoughts, which may have been obser­vant of more particulars.

God was pleased early to sow the seeds of grace in his heart, and to sanctifie him to himself, partly by the Re­ligious education of his godly Parents, and partly by the Preaching (as I have heard him say) of one Mr. Ludlam now with God, whose sweet and Christian eloquence I have heard him speak often of with great affection. We little think perhaps how much we are indebted to God for Praying Parents, and for a painfull Ministry. By whose meanes he was kept from blotting his soul with any of those foul things, wherewith the Consciences of many are grievously deboshed.

Coming unto Cambridge he was placed in Queens Colledg under a very worthy Person, M.r Whitaker. who did hugely love him, both for his choise Parts, and early Piety. There he followed his Study very hard to the prejudice I fear of his body. Nulla dies sine linea, might well have been writ over his Study door in those youthfull daies, which use to be spent in doing worse then nothing. And the work of godliness I am sure he no less laboured in, as some few persons alive can witness, who used to meet together once in a week to confer about things that concerned their souls, the benefit of which some can to this day remember. For Christian Communion discreet­ly managed, is that which keeps our Religion in Breath. As soon as there was any occasion for him to appeare in publick, he was noted for his good Parts, and after he had been between four and five years at the University he was chosen Fellow of the Colledg, with the unani­mous consent of the whole Society. After that time though he neglected not other usefull Learning, yet he applied himself chiefly to the Study of Divine things. And he did not vent his conceptions while they were but half digested notions, but gave his soul leisure to concoct them, and turn them into its habit and constitu­tion. [Page 63]Thus he laboured to do while he wrastled with the ill habit of a splenetick body, which created him (to my knowledg,) no small disturbance in his Studies. And indeed it doth a great deal of mischief in the world, that men teach others who had need to be taught themselves. Imperfect apprehensions of things, and raw indigested notions have made as great stirs and convulsions amongst us, as the Wind makes in the Body, which arises from the ill concoction of a sour and cold stomach. It was a wise saying, (whosoever was the Father of it) That an indifferent Shoomaker might make a good Cobler; and an indifferent Taylor might make a good Botcher, but an in­different Scholar was good for nothing. And therefore he laboured to have the mastery of such Learning as was necessary for his end, and also avoided another dange­rous errour which many fall into, and that is medling with the higher things, before they had gained some good knowledg of the lower. By this meanes they may be both discouraged with the difficulty, and also lose their labour, if they fall not into a worse disease, to have their mind blown up and swolne with things they do not un­derstand. He followed the Rule of Simplicius, In Epict. which is to begin [...], with small things first, least it happen (saith he) unto us according to the Proverbe, [...], to begin the trade of a Potter by making a huge vessell first, before we know whether we can make a less, and so we lose both our labour and cost, and credit altogether. But which is worst of all, Orat. 1. [...]. such men do [...], as Nazi­anzen speaks, exercise Religion upon other mens souls, before their own, which is the part saith he of a fool, and of a bold man. We had better begin any trade Igno­rantly, and venture before our time at great things in a­ny calling, then in this Divine profession undertake to [Page 64]teach souls, and practice godlinesse upon our Hearers hearts, when we have not the first rudiments of Piety in our own. And therefore it was his indeavour to un­derstand well the grounds of godlinesse, and to settle those Foundations on which a soul might [...]ely, and ha­ving overcome the crudities of other knowledge, and arrived to some strength, his next care was to study that learned Ignorance (that a great Master commended) To be willing not to know those things which our supream Master is not pleased to teach us.

Then as soon as he was fit, he should appear in the Pulpit, he was presently famed for an excellent Prea­cher. And he drew not only the common people af­ter him, but the most learned ears were chained to his tongue. I shall never forget with what a becomming boldnesse, and modest gravity above his years, he prea­ched att St. Upon the 2 Rom. 23, 24. Maries before the University, when he was appointed among others, to be of a Combination be­fore the ordinary time, by a new order from the higher Powers: A Sermon, I accounted it, of self-denial, though his speech was not of that subject, because it was so hearty, plain, and searching, and stripped of all those Ornaments which young men love to dresse and trim their discourses withall.

Not long after, he undertook to preach constantly in the afternoons at a Church belonging to the Col­ledge, St Buttolphs. which I may say he did freely; for the stipend amounteth not to much above the wages of an ordina­ry servant in one of your Houses. There might you have seen a great throng of pious Scholars and people hanging upon his lips, many of which desired nearer acquaintance with him, and used to frequent his Cham­ber for advice and counsell. There, me thought, he was in his Kingdom, he did so reign and domineer (as [Page 65]it were) over the minds and hearts of his Auditors, who could not but attend unto him. And yet notwith­standing, he did not neglect the charge which he had likewise undertook of many Pupils; but they thrived so well under the wings of his care, and great love (a thing for which he was noted) that several of them are now fellows of the House. And really, in the mana­ging of all these affairs, he so out-stripped his years, that it might have been an argument (had not our eyes been blinded with love) that he was old already, [...]. Greg. Nyss. de Bas. his manner being so gray-headed in his youth. He did not grow up by degrees as we do, but all on a suddain me-thought he was a man. He acted and preached, when his hottest blood boiled in his veins, as men do in their coole age, with great seriousnesse, gravity, and a certain majestick humility which commanded reve­rence to his youth. It is no wonder therefore that God hath gathered him so soon, seeing he brought forth fruit so early, and was ripe when others begin to bloom, or but to put forth a tender bud. He had runne half of his course, and seemed to be in his Meridian, when it was but day-break with us his Contemporaries, and we did but begin to peepe above the Horizon with a timorous light. And besides, this is not to be forgotten, that though he was of excellent good learning, and had all this work to do, yet he lived not alway among his Books, which is to die among the living, and to live a­mong the dead; a dying to all, and perhaps not a living to a mans self. But he was exceeding free to all good good converse, and let his Ftiends enjoy so much of him, that sometimes he could scarce enjoy himself, but only in them. Yea, I doubt that he was better to them then to himself, and disregarded his own health to sa­tisfie their desires. The Arabick Proverb is, Si ami­cus [Page 66]tuus sit mel, ne comedas totum: If thy Friend be Honey, do not eat him all up. I wish that it had been known more familiarly in England, for I fear the sweet­nesse of his society, did tempt his friends to devoure him among them.

After he had been in Cambridge between a eleven and twelve years, and had preached much both there and in the Countrey, the Providence of God so ordered it, that coming to London about threee year and a half ago, upon another occasion, he was desired to preach in this place, and instantly was chosen to be Pastor of this Congregation. I remember that he was not received with lesse joy, then now he is carried forth with sorrow. Nor was he lesse esteemed, as far as I can hear, in other places of the City, then in this Parish, who I know had a very great affection to him. His Brethren in the Minstry did highly value (as I have heard from some of them) his excellent endowments, and looked upon him as one like to be very instrumental in the work of the Lord. And so I hope he hath been; for you have fully known his Doctrine, his manner of life, his purpose, Faith and Charity, as the Apostle saith concerning him­self to Timothy, 2 Epist. 3.10. I will but remember you a little of the first, [...]. Solen. in Laert. viz. his Doctrine and speech, for by that you may judge of the rest, it being accor­ding to the ancient saying, The Character of a man, and the Image of his life.

His Sermons were stings, [...]. Plato. rather then words: They were [...], winged words in a diviner sense; for they were the Arrows of the Almighty, shot with a strong arm into mens hearts. His Discourses were so rational and demonstrative, that they were able to con­vert an Atheist to the Faith: So clear and full of light, that they might turn the most ignorant soul unto wise­dome. [Page 67]So awakening and lively they were, that it will be a wonder if he have left one soul asleep among you. So perswasive and moving, that they might charm the cup out of the hand of the Drunkard, and intice a sin­ner out of the most delicate embraces. So cordial like­wise and reviving, that if any persons droop who heard him, they never drank them down, but only lickt the glasse. So considerate and digested, that as he beat down confidence in mans proper strength, so he rouzed them from their lazinesse, and an idle indifferency about their souls. So discreet and fervent, that as he affright­ed cold formality, so he tempered zeal, that it might not be frighted out of its wits. And as the Apostle hath married Truth to Charity, so he endeavoured to keep this bond inviolable, For his degree of Batch. in Divinity. that they might never be di­vorced either in his heart or word. But the Text upon which he preached the last Commencement before the University was his constant practice, Eph. 4.15. Speaking the truth in love. He was a Preacher indeed, that sought to find out acceptable words, and written upright; even words of truth, as the great Preacher speaks, Eccles. 12.10. And whereas there are too many Sermons that are full of words without matter, and not a few that have excellent matter without words, to set it of, and convey it into mens minds; God had given him an excellent faculty to dive into the bottom of the truth, and then to adorn it with such good and rich expressi­ons, that it should loose nothing for want of one to commend it. There was a sweet vein of Eloquence that ran through his reason. His Arguments were interlaced with handsome illustrations. And after he had drawn the Picture of the truth he intended to represent, he had the art to hang it in a convenient light, so that it should look upon every body in the House. Nazianzen com­pares [Page 68]a mans mind, [...] Orat. Vices. that cannot utter its mind, to the motion of a man whose joynts are struck with a benum­ming disease. And I may compare a mind which speaks without any understanding, to the motion of a Puppet that frisks and skips most nimbly, but hath no soul with­in. But he of whom I speak was not frozen and be­nummed, so that his mind could not flow forth, neither had he a flood of words, and a drop of sense, but he rapt away his Auditors with a double torrent of Rheto­rick and reason sweetly mixt together. And truly, if a Divine could stirre up all kind of affections and pas­sions by his Sermons, as well as a Comedian can do by a play, yet unlesse there be a sound and substantial truth at the bottom, they will be but like the scorching flames in straw, which will quickly expire for want of something to foment and feed them. It is possible that a man may by earnestnesse and violence exprimere af­fectus (as Erasmus I think speaks) express and squeeze out affections from his Auditors, but he will never im­presse them with any, unlesse there be the strength of reason and weight of Argument to presse and perswade mens understanding into obedience. I am sure his Ser­mons were of this sort that were apt to imprint some­thing, both upon mind and heart; and I hope he hath left some such seal upon you that will never be blot­ted out.

But it pleased God that he had many ill fits since he came hither, which were but spurres I believe unto him, to make him runne the faster. And especially the last September he was encountred with a most dangerous di­sease, which assaulted him with such a violence, that it made all the pillars and supporters of his body tremble. Your hopes were even at the last gasp, when God gave his life to your Prayers and teares, and let him breath [Page 69]a little longer among you. Now which of you can think upon his excellent Sermons since his recovery, without thankfulnesse to God that he lent him to you a while longer. Who can be impatient (even for his death) who remembers those words of our Saviour with his Comment in many Sermons; Joh. 18.11. The Cup which my Father hath given unto me, shall I not drink it? And who can be prodigal of his time, and loose in his life, that felt any of those Arrows which he took out of the Apostles quiver; See that you walk circumspectly, Eph. 5.15, 16.not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, &c. It would be a good work for every one of you to examine if you have not been carelesse in following those Directions which might provoke God to stop the breath of this sweet Organ of his, and cut off the thred of his life by another sharp sicknesse which arrested him on the first day of this moneth. Then God put a bitter cup into his hand, and he drank it off to the bottom with such an admirable patience, as he himself had preached. Then he felt the comfort of a holy walking and good use of his time, so that as he was not heard to murmur or repine that God should thus soon take hold of his rod again; neither did he call for time to come back again, as if he were loath to die by this rod.

I cannot but remember a few things that I observed in this sicknesse, which will be partly for our imitation, and partly for our comfort.

First, His resignation in the beginning of his disease: God is wise (said he to me) and his will is guided by wisdome; and therefore let him do as seems him good, for I am indifferent.

Secondly, The Expression of his Faith. When his disease began to make some offers at his head, and a lit­tle to obscure his mind, he said to me, Truly this is the [Page 70]only thing that troubles me, that I fear I shall loose my understanding, But my Saviour intercedes in Heaven; He doth, he doth.

Thirdly, His patience and quietnesse under the vio­lence of his Disease. For when he was desired either not to speak or not to stirre, his Answer still was, Well, I will not. So that I might say of his Feavour as Dio­genes did when he was sick of the same disease; Nazian. Epist. 64. [...]. Ib. It was nothing else but [...], the wrestling of the soul with the body, as two Combatants use to do in the Olympick Games, and his soul got the better by patience and lying still. When Epictetus broke his leg, they say he talkt and discoursed as if he had been in ano­ther mans body; and when the bones of our deceased Brother were sore vexed, me thought he lay as if his soul were somewhere else, and was gone out to God. For

Fourthly, God was pleased to blesse him with a qui­etnesse and peace in his conscience. Though he had no raptures and excesses of mind (which he never af­fected) yet he thanked God he had a solid peace, and a sweet calm, and he passed out of the world just as he lived, in an even temper. And

Fifthly, According to his Faith in the Mediation of Jesus Christ, so it was unto him. God was very good to him in giving him his understanding unto the last, e­ven when the cunning Adversary of man-kind made an attempt upon him toward his latter end, when his strength declined, and he was least able to resist an as­sault. He would have slily conveyed such thoughts in­to his mind, that he had been a stranger to practical god­linesse, but he had so much understanding as to consider that he was not himself, nor fit to be a judge when he could look but at a few things. And truly, I told him [Page 71]that it was the best way for one that had setled a well­grounded hope in his life, to give the Devil no other Answer at such a time, but Satan thou lyest; and enter into no further dispute with him. Whereupon he said, Thou cowardly Devil, take me now? Why didst thou not come sooner, if thou hadst any thing to say? This ex­pression he had more then once, and was troubled no further, but to give testimony afterward to some that stood by, that thanks be to God we have the victory through Christ Jesus. And

Lastly, He had such an [...] as the greatest man once in the world wished for, and he placidly and qui­etly, without being torn by force out of his body, slept in the Lord, on the Lords day the twelfth day of this moneth.

And considering the time of his end, I think it is not a meer fancy to remark upon these three things, which made his death just proportionable to his life. First, That as he died in the noon of his age, so he died in the noon of the day: That may seem but an inconsiderable cir­cumstance, unlesse we joyn it with the rest. For se­condly, He went to receive his Reward upon that day wherein he most laboured. From the communion of Saints on earth, he went to the consort of Saints and Angels in Heaven. And it was one of the last words that he spake, There remains a Rest for the people of God. Thirdly, He died on one of the longest daies in the year, as if God would tell us, that he had lived long e­nough; as long as was fit, and that being now come to his full height, he was at his Tropick, and must return to him that sent him forth.

Men, Brethren and Fathers, you will pardon it to the affection I bear to his memory, that I have given you this long, though I hope not tedious, Narration: And [Page 72]if any think it is too short (which I may rather suspect) let them be pleased to consider, that his life consisted but of a few dayes; and that it is no small part of virtue, to conceal ones virtues. And therefore they may be­lieve without danger that the greatest part of what I have told you, is but the least part of that worth which lay latent in him.

And now as you have had the patience to bear with me thus long out of your love to him, so let your love to your selves bestow so much patience upon you as to suffer a little longer, till I speak a few words to every one in this Assembly.

And first of all to you my Brethren of the Ministry, I shall not take upon me to speak any words of my own, but acquaint you with two words of his to the dearest re­lation he had in his former sickness.

First, Let us be much in private prayer. Our time is short as well as other mens, and many times shorter, though our account be greater; therefore let us spend much time with God, as we indeavour to spend it all for him. Let not a croud of thoughts in our studies, nor a croud of company here in the City, thrust God away from our souls, but let them frequently retire unto him, as the fountain of all light and good. Prayer before our studies is the key to unlock the secrets of God, and pray­er afterward is the turning of the key to lock them safe into our hearts. Dexterius lo­quentur cum ho­minibus, qui pri­us tota mente cum Deo fue­rint collocuti. l. 3. derat. Concion. Prayer sharpens our appetite after truth, and when we have found it, it sets an edg upon the truth, and makes it more cutting and penetrating into the heart. And as Erasmus well said, We shall speak more dexterou­sly to men, when with our whole hearts we have first spoken with God.

Secondly, Let us look to our ends in our work. This was another of his counsels, without which indeed our labour [Page 73]will be in vain. Let us believe our selves what we speak, and then we should mind the glory of God, and not our selves. Alas! what is the applause of men when we are gone, but like a sound in a dead mans ear? And what is it when we are alive, but an empty breath that is lost sooner than got, and is got ofttimes by idleness sooner than taking pains? And what is there else that can tempt an ingenuous mind? Our very breeding doth teach us to despise money and gain, but the example of our Lord and his Apostles will make it seem a sordid thing to be trampled under our feet. Let the good of men therfore, and the glory of God be the mark at which we aim. And the Lord in Heaven hear our prayers, and bless our preaching.

Secondly, Then to you of this Parish, let me say a few things. And first, Pray earnestly among other Petitions for these two things, That God would pardon your un­profitableness, which perhaps you may have been guilty of under such means; and that he would bless you with another Minister of such a temper as he was, and that will design so seriously the good of your souls. He desi­red you should know that he loved you, and he prayed God to bless you. I hope God will so hear his desires, and you will so remember his instructions, and those you have received from former Lights, that I may spare that prayer which Mr Udal used at the Funeral of Mr Shute, viz. That God will neither let you fall into the hand of a dark Lanthorn, nor be led by an Ignis fatuus. The Jews have a saying (God grant it be true) That never doth there die any illustrious man, but there is another borne as bright on the same day. God loves the world so well, that when one Sun sets, another arises. To which they acco­modate that place in Eccles. 1.5. The Sun ariseth, and the Sun goeth down. Nay they observe further, That he makes some starre or other arise before a Sun be set. As Joshua be­gan [Page 74]to shine before Moses his light was darkned, and before Joshua went to bed, Othniel the son of Kenaz was risen up to judg. Eli was not gathered to his fathers before Samuel appeared to be a most hopefull youth. And among the other Sex they also note, That Sarah was not taken away, till Rebekah was ready to come in her stead. The Lord grant that you may find this true, and that as now the nights are at the shortest, so you may have but a very short night before another Sun arise in this place. But if we be so unworthy, that God will not bless us with such a fa­vour, May it please him but to let posterity twenty year hence fit under such a burning and shining Light: May it please his goodness and mercy, that the day of his Death may be but the Birth-day of some eminent per­son to illuminate this City.

Secondly, Let me beseech you to write down any memorable thing that you have heard from him, and hath much affected you, that it may be engraven upon your heart, and do you good for ever. By this means you will cause the lips of the dead to speak, and you will not lose all converse with him now that he is gone from you. For a mans discourses are the picture of his soul, which is himself. O my Beloved, how sad an account will you have to make, if you be not truly Religious who have had so many Lights in your Candlestick that have spent themselves to illuminate you? How will you appear before the Judgement seat of God, when not onely one, but foure or five Ministers shall witnesse against you? How will you look not only him, but those that delivered the Lamp to him in the face? Or rather, how will you look God in the face when you shall think what means of obtaining salvation you have enjoyed, and yet are not saved? Remember therefore now all those wholsom counsels you have received from their mouths, and if there be any beginnings of godliness in your [Page 75]hearts, any tasts of Religion, let me remember you of two Directions which were some of the last he gave you, and write them upon your hearts. He told me not long before his sickness, that he had begun at his own house to give some short Exhortations to you his Communi­cants, in which he intended (I think once in a fortnight) to insist upon the chief things that belong to the esta­blishing a soul in grace. He begun this course April 14. and lived to give but two Directions, which I shall again commend to your thoughts.

First, He desired you to beware lest you should be found in the number of the giddy, or of the lazy Pre­fessours of this age; and one Argument whereby he pressed to diligence, was this, Death is neer you, like to a Mole it is digging your graves under you (so was his expression,) therefore whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, Eccles. 9.10. My Beloved, Death may be as near to you now, as it was then to him, and therefore take heed that you be not found idle and useless servants.

Secondly, He advised you to give diligence not only to be sincere Christians, but also growing Christians, and at length excellent and very exemplary. Here he dire­cted you to lay the foundation well, and then intended to show how to raise the building and superstructure up­on it; but God took him away before he could do that. I beseech you labour to be true and real Christians, though perhaps you may not live to grow to any great height, no more than helived to direct you to it. Look to your hearts lest there be any root of bitterness that may make you to backslide, and remember, as his very expression was, That there is no such Antidote against Apostasie, as real integrity and sincerity. Yea remem­ber all other good Discourses of his, and your other Mi­nisters, that you may frame your lives according to [Page 76]them, and grow taller (if you live still) by so many showrs. Let me a little quicken you by this Story. Ze­no Cittiaeus consulted with the Oracle, how he might live well, and he received this Answer, [...], If he was of the same colour with the dead. This he interpreted to mean, that he should get and read all the ancient Books that he could hear of, and then steep and die his mind in their sacred notions. My Brethren, what St. Paul said of Epimenides his sentence, Tit. 1.13. that I may say of this, This testimony is true. Look as like to the dead in the Lord, as ever you can, and labour to turn your souls into their shape. Not as though there were not living examples and teachers which you are to mind (thanks be to God there are a great number here before you) but I would wish you not to forget men when they are dead and gone, For you cannot tell how soon you must live according to the manner of the dead, and not of the living. The world may prove so bad, that if you will be of their colour, you may be all, but on­ly white. Let me beseech you therefore to remember his Doctrine, and his manner of life too, to tread in his steps, and be followers of him, as he was of Christ. And though I have already made your patience sweat, yet let me ex­ercise it a little longer, and borrow so much time of you, as but to remind you of a few things I would have you imitate. 1. Remember how great a reverence he did bear to the Name of God. You should not hear him speak ofit (I think) without alteration of his countenance, and the manner of his pronunciation. Learn from him not to take it up on every trifling occasion, and when you have any discourse of him, let your mind be serious, and lay aside laughter and jesting with whatsoever at another time may be lawfull, but not grave enough to keep com­pany with God. 2. Remember how serious he was in Prayer and addresses unto God. His soul seemed to be [Page 77]gathered into it self, and then gathered up to God. And I believe you can remember that his expressions were such that all might joyne with him, and that he was not acted by any private, but a publick and divine spirit. 3. How he taught you to observe the Lords day. Not long ago he entred with me into a discourse of that thing, and I per­ceived by it he had earnestly desired of you in some Ser­mons to spend that time more religiously, in recounting the mercies of God, in telling to your Children and Ser­vants the great things that the Lord hath done since the beginning of the world, that they may be had in everlast­ing remembrance. But especially in magnifying the good­ness and wisdome of God in the glorious work of Re­demption by Christ Jesus. 4. Remember his Charity to the Poor, to which he excited you not only in publick but in private, and if you could have seen it, by his exam­ple also. From some of you sure it was that he obtained yearly a good summe for poor Scholars in the Universi­ty, not being content with doing good himself, unless you did reap some fruit too. Do not forget I say this Cha­rity, now that he is gone, but let it be still as a living water, though it doth not run through the same hands.

Fifthly, Get a faithfull Friend if you can; for a Friend was a thing, that he much loved and valued as the rarest Jewel in the world next to Piety, without which no man can be our true Friend. A true Friend will tell you of your faults, he will advise you of your concernments, he will be to you as the Wife in your Bosome. He may in­deed sometimes be more deare then the nearest relation which we have, and there is a Friend that sticketh closer then a Brother, or whatsoever name of love there is in the world. And therefore it is observable that in the 13. Deut. 6. he is put in the last place as the chiefest of all relations. If thy Brother, or thy Son, or thy Daughter, or the Wife of thy bosome, or thy Friend which is as thy [Page 78]own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, &c. It is very clear that Moses rises up by steps from the lowest to the highest, from a Brother of the same venter, to a Child, and then to a Wife, and at last to a Friend, as the high­est of all: And it is likewise clear, that a Man and Wife are but one flesh, but a Man and his Friend are one soul, and therefore unless they be friends as well as Man and Wife, there is a greater love then theirs; but when both these conspire together, the relation of a friend and of Consorts too, then it is the highest of all love, and the Image of the love that is between Christ and his Church.

Friendship is such a sacred thing, that though we are sometimes mistaken in our choice, yet it is not fit to snap the bones asunder, but gently to dissolve them, that there may be some love afterward. Amicitiam eti­am subdolam non lacerabo, sed dissuam. De vita propria So Cardan professeth that he would never rend and tear a false friendship in pieces, but would fairely unloose it, and pick the threds by which they were sown together. I have said more of this then of the rest because it is so rare, and we are most apt to talk of the thing we love.

To conclude this my address to you, Let me prevaile with you to remember but this in Generall, how he commended Religion to you both in his words, and in his practise, as the life of the soul, as the soul of friend­ship, as the best friend of men, and the best natured thing and fullest of humanity in the world. It did not appear in him with its face all clouded, with looks sable and sad, with eyes heavy or distorted; but he represented it as the very joy of ones heart, the marrow of our bones, and that which gives health to all our flesh. Methinkes it should make you all in love with Religion, when you remember how chearfull, how pleasant, and I had almost said, how sportfull a thing it seemed. When we have once attained to the true gust and rellish of it; a man that shall [Page 79]perswade us to forsake it, shall be like to him that is in love with his own Dreams, & would perswade us into the Paradise of fools. And if at any time you be sad, O wha [...] sweet things are those tears? how full of joy are those sorrows? they are but like a Cypress cast over a beauti­full face, or at the worst but like the clouds which cover the face of the Sun for a while, that it may be more ac­ceptable when it shines, and beside they water the Earth with their showres, which make it flourish and spring the better.

But there are some other here present, who will ex­pect a few words from me, and therefore I must pass these things over without any further enlargements.

Thirdly, To you then who were his Auditors and Friends, let me say that I hope you have learned by his instruction to chuse another Guide if you want one in your own Parishes; and that you cannot honour his ac­quaintance more, then by a devout and strict life, and walking orderly and peaceably according to the Gospell. I am sure he loved his Friends with an ardent love, and he was as void of complement, as he was of gall. And therefore love his memory, and labour to do that which you think would have pleased him best, if he had still liv­ed. And what is that? as St. John saith concerning his Children, so would he have said of his Friends, I have no greater joy then to hear that you walk in the truth, 3. Epist. v. 4. and therefore he saith v. 11. Beloved follow not that which is evill, but that which is good; He that doth good is of God, but he that doth evill hath not seen God.

Fourthly, To his Relations I need only say that I need say nothing. For should I say remember him? alas! he was so dear, that they cannot forget him. Shall I say be of good comfort? their piety is so great, that it will let them want no Cordials. Shall I bid them prepare them selves against all other changes? that is counsell [Page]common to us all. And therefore I will not address my speech unto them, not knowing how to Administer any [...]ounsell where there are so many Physicians.

Fifthly; But lastly to my self, what shall I say [...] If he that hath lost a friend [...] half dead, and like a worme cut in two, [...]. Orat. 20. (as Na [...]ianzen speaks) then it is a wonder that I have said already so much to you. Little do I think when he so passionately bewailed the death of our Friend Mr. Bright, that I should so soon have come to pay my tears at his Funerall.

I have said enough, having called my self fool by say­ing so much. But love made me blind, and love makes me speak it. And O that we could all show that we loved him by our tears! O that we could all water his ashes with such affectionate showres, that nothing but Roses and Violets might grow upon his Grave, that his name may be like a sweet perfume, that none may violate that precious thing by any envious and pestilent breath. May thy dust sleeep in peace my dear friend! may thy ashes take an indisturbed rest. May thy memory be alwayes green and fresh in my mind. May I live and do as much good. And may I be as happy in my latter end! Oh my soul, let us begin then to take our leave more seriously of this world; let us cease to weep for him, and weep for our own folly. Nazian. Epist. 63. Arise, arise, [...], &c. Let us go away from hence. Let us throw away these dreams. Let us not live among these shadowes. Let us not be mockt any more by these false pleasures. Let honour, glory, and applause find some body else to make their fools. Fare­well all the Puppets that dance on the scene of this world. Farewell all these painted clouds, these gilded vani­ties, these hyperbolized nothings. Let this henceforth be writ upon my heart, yea let it be ingraven on us all. Vani­ty of vanities saith the Preacher, all is vanity. Surely man at his best estate is altogether vanity.


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