A SERMON AT THE FUNERAL OF The Virtuous Lady, and Honoured, ANN, late Wife of Thomas Yarburgh, Esq;.

Preached on Monday, the 10th day of July, 1682.

By MATTHEW SƲTCLIFFE.

LONDON: Printed for Thomas Cockerill, at the Three Legs in the Poultrey, over-against the Stocks-Market, 1682.

JOB 14.1.

Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

WHEN the Royal Psalmist looked upon these aspectable Heavens, and beheld there the glo­ry of God written in Characters of Light, he admires that grace that first made Man a lit­tle lower than the angels,Psal. 8.5.and crowned him with glory and honour; and that Providential care which is mindful of him, and visi [...] him every moment. Such an infinite distance there is betwixt God and man, that it is a wonder God will spend a thought upon us. Lord, Psal. 134.3, 4.what is man that thou takest knowledg of him? or the son of man, that thou takest account of him? Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. His being in this world hath nothing firm and solid, but is like a shadow, which depends upon a cause that is always in moti­on, the light of the Sun; and is always changing, till it vanisheth in the darkness of the night. The consideration whereof made the same Psalmist in another place break forth in that pathetical ex­clamation, How vain a thing is man! How vain indeed in every act and scene of his life, from his first entrance to his exit! He is begotten in sin, formed in darkness, brought forth in pains. His first voice is Cryes; no sooner is he disclosed from his Maternal Cells into the open air, but he weeps; and no wonder, seeing his birth is his unhappy entrance upon the valley of tears, where he is attended with so many miseries, as nothing but the shortness of his abode there could make tollerable: that so this compendious Draught of Man might in all its parts be exactly conformable to the wretched Original, which holy Job hath exposed to our view, in the words of the Text, Man that it born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.

These words comprehend a picture of Man in Minature, but very like, and to the life. He is born of a Woman, that's his Ori­ginal; and as from thence he receives his being, so together with it his weakness and infirmities; he liveth here a few days, but in so short a time he endureth a multiformous multitude of mise­ries. In each step of Man's progress we read his vanity. He is vain in his procreation, born of a woman; there is nothing more mean, nothing more abject. And lest the thoughts of that pleasure his senses may furnish him withal from corporeal objects, should ex­alt him, in his very ingress into life he is sadly warned of his de­parture out of it; he must not expect many days, for he shall live but a few: And lest he should flatter himself, that this short space of time which is allowed him, he shall enjoy free to himself, he is here told, that even that time shall be taken up with misery and sorrow. His sew days are full of trouble.

1. Let us consider Man in his Original, or first entrance into the World, and in respect of that, How mean and abject is he? What came we from at first, and originally, but from nothing? There was a time when we were not, having alone a potential be­ing, a being not yet in being, but wrapt up in the causes of it; yea, there was a time when we were not in any secondary causes, but alone in the Omnipotency of God, who was able to make us out of nothing. And that which came from nothing, can surely be no excellent thing in it self, or if it have any excellency, it hath it from another, even from that Almighty Efficient which did produce it, to whom the glory of it is due. But we must consider Man in his natural or more immediate Original, or in his procreation; Man that is born of a woman. He is the sinful Off-spring of sinful Pro­genitors. To be born of a woman, imports both the sinfulness and the weakness of our Nativity. We are all conceived in sin, and before we enjoy the light, we are spotted and stained in our Originals; and before we enter upon the scene of life, we receive that infection which wraps up in it the seeds of death. The Infant of a day old is not without sin; and the continuation of his life is but a multiplication of that first guilt. Wherefore holy David had just cause to deplore so sensibly the corruption of his nature, which bears equal date with life it self, Psal. 51.5. Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. And how can he be free from sin that is born in sin? Job 25.4 How can man be justified with [Page 3]God? Or how can he be clean which is born of a woman? Sin hath possessed our reins, and covered us in our mothers womb. Eph. 2.3. We are all born children of wrath, and heirs of vengeance. Indeed our Nature, as it proceeded from God, in our primitive creation, was perfectly pure and undefiled; but as it comes now by natural ge­neration propagated from Adam, it is corrupted and unsound. All the good we possess in our life, and in our faculties, in our senses and in our understanding, we received from God our Creator, the chief Fountain of all good; but the vicious pollution which hath infected and depraved all these, proceeded not from that most pure Author of our beings, but from Original sin committed by the wilful prevarication and apostacy of man from his Maker.

Let the consideration of this teach us humility, and repress in us the poyson of pride; the first sin that ever sprung out in our natures next to Infidelity, and last in rooting out. Consider, O man, thy Original; that thou wast born void and destitute of all holi­ness, and in a state of pollution; and by reason thereof a child of wrath, without any possibility to escape eternal damnation by any merit or power of thy own; but must needs sink down to Hell, and be made fewel for eternal burnings; and canst thou find any thing in thy self whereof to be proud? Let us therefore look back to the vileness of our Original, and be humbled; let us la­ment and bewail our most wretched estate by nature, and consi­der seriously how deeply our first Parents have engaged us in sin and misery. Before we had any possession of felicity, or could claim any interest in it, we had forfeited it in Adam. We had a punish­ment before we had a being. We are all of us here born in the last age of the world, but we dyed in the first. This is the portion left us by our Parents, Original sin, and a corrupt inclination in our na­tures unto all evil. And sin being the cause and forerunner of death, it hath so sown and involved the seeds of it in our natures, that as the Apostle saith, The body is dead already because of sin. Rom. 8.10. The Offi­cers and Serjeants of Death, Dolours, Infirmities, and Diseases, have seized already upon our bodies, and marked them out for lodgings, which shortly must be the habitations of death. Not on­ly is the sentence pronounced against us, Thou art dust, Gen. 3.19.and to dust thou shalt return; but it is already begun to be executed. Our car­casses are bound by the Officers of Death; and our life is but like that short time which is granted to a condemned Criminal betwixt his Judgment and his Execution. And this brings me to

2. The second thing we have to consider in the Text, Man's duration or abode in the world, which is very short, he is of few days. Tho the hope of life may so bewitch us, that in our false imagination we conceit there is more solidity and continuance in one year that is before us, than in ten that are passed by us; the time that is past being vanished like a thought: but that which is to come, we are apt to think it longer than indeed in experience we shall find it; yet the Spirit of God, who best knows how short and vain our life is, calls the time we have to abide here, but a few days. And if we judg aright, he that liveth longest, hath no more: for the days that are past are dead already, and those that are yet to come, are uncertain; so that no more is left to us we can be said to live, but the present moment; which immediately flyes away to give place to another, that by a succession of fleeting mo­ments our vain life may be prolonged. But that the days of man upon earth are few, I shall further shew you, by illustrating it in an instance or two.

1. Our days are few, if they be compared with God, and presented to measure with Eternity. If the days of our life be set in comparison with the duration of Gods Eternity, they bear no proportion to it, but vanish in the consideration as nothing. There­fore David confesseth unto God, Psal. 39.4. Thou hast made my days as an hand bredth: and mine age is as nothing before thee. And in another Psalm he saith, Psal. 102.25, 26, 27. Of old, O God, thou hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. And agreeable is that of holy Job, Job 10.5. Job 36 26.Are thy days as the days of a man? Are thy years as mans days? And again, God is great, we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. Therefore he is called the living God, as St. Acts 14.15 Paul in his Sermon to the Lystrians, opposeth to their vain Idols the living God. I need not make man worse than he is, nor his con­dition more miserable than it is; but could I, if I would? As a man cannot flatter God, or over praise him; so neither can he un­dervalue man. Job 7.3. He is made to p [...]ssess months of vanity. But Gods Eternity is interminabilis vitae, tota simul, & perfecta possessio. The Living God is a simple, absolute, and eternal Being. There is no similitude will bear any proportion in illustrating this comparison of our days with God. A furlong is a great journey to a Snail; to [Page 5]a Horse, or a Hound, it is nothing. A Ship with a fair Wind, will sail a great way in a day; but what is that to the Voyage of the Sun, that every day surrounds the world? In all these there is an intermediate necessity of place, time, and motion, which belongs not to the infinite Eternity of God. Thus we are bounded, and bound up with time; but God is Eternity, and into that, Time never entered. For Eternity is not all everlasting flux of Time; but time is a short Parenthesis in a long Period; and Eternity had been the same that it is, tho Time had never been at all.

2. Our days are few, if they be compared with what we our selves shall have after this life: They bear no proportion to that Eternity of Joys or Misery which shall succeed them. This mortal life is very short, if we compare it with the life to come, which shall never have an end. The difference betwixt this life, and that to come, is somewhat resembled by the difference be­twixt a Lease for years, and an Estate in Fee-simple: the one runs on still, but the other expires at a certain period. So are our days but few, if we compare them to that eternity of days we expect in Heaven. For this corruptible, 1 Cor. 15.53.must put on incorrupti­on: and this mortal, must put on immortality. There is Eternity which hath neither beginning nor end, which is the duration of God: and there is Perpetuity, that which the Scripture calls e­verlasting Life, the state of our Souls in Glory. This hath a time to begin; but it shall out-live time, and be when time shall be no more. Now what a minute is the life of the durablest Creature to this Everlastingness? What a minute is a Mans life, in respect of the Sun's, or a Tree's? The duration of the World, is but a minute to Eternity: Man's life is but a minute to the World: Occasion is but a minute to our life; and yet we scarce apprehend a minute of that occasion, if we do not lay hold on this opportunity, wherein we may receive good, and become blessed.

In both these respects it is manifest, That our days on earth are very few; of which the Patriarch Jacob being sensible, confes­sed, Few and evil have the days of my pilgrimage been. And holy Job, tho he was a man of sorrows, and a great part of his life­time was swallowed up by many bitter calamities; on which score one would think he should rather complain of the tediousness, than of the shortness of his life; (for sorrow makes time long, [Page 6]Minutes seem Hours, and Days Months to the miserable. Our imagination makes the day of our sorrow like Joshua's day, when the Sun stood in Gibeon; the Summer of our delight is too short; but the Winter of our adversity goes slowly on): yet notwithstanding this, he concludes, That mans days are few: he cometh forth as a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also, as a shadow, and continueth not. Whereunto is exactly consonant that of the Evangelical Prophet, Isa. 40 6 7. All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof, as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth. Nay, the Scripture sometimes to insinuate how short our time is, vouchsafes not to number it by days, but calls our whole life a Day. Long life is a Summer day, short life is a Winter day, joyful life is a Sun-shine day, trouble­some and sorrowful life, is a gloomy and tempestuous day. But it seems a day is too long a term for it; and therefore the Pro­phet calls it a moment; Isa. 26.20. Hide thy self for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past. So vain a thing is man!

And that our days are few, will further appear, if we consider those similitudes by which the holy Scriptures do sometimes set forth the vanity of this our mortal life. Job 7 6 7, 9. Holy Job compares it to a Weaver's Shuttle, that runs swiftly through the Web; to the Wind, that passeth away speedily, and returneth no more; to a Cloud, which vanisheth, and is seen no more, when the Sun, whose influence drew it up, suddenly dissipates it by its Rayes. He complains also, that his days were swifter than a post, Job 9.25, 26.they flee away, they see no good. He compares also the course of our life to an hungry Eagle, who besides the velocity of her natural motion, being incited by the eagerness of her Ap­petite, flyeth hastily upon her Prey: to a Ship sailing swiftly be­fore the Wind, which loosing from the Harbour with a prosperous Gale, immediately leaves the land behind, and is soon out of sight, leaving no footsteps or impression behind it, by which it can be discern'd that it hath been there. And as it is with the pas­sengers that sail in it, whether they sit or walk, or howsoever they change their actions, yet do they still go on to their designed Ha­ven: So it is with us; whether we eat or sleep, or whatsoever we do, we are still posting forward toward our end. Moses compareth our life to the grass, Psal. 90 5, 6. which in the morning flourisheth and groweth up, in the evening is cut down and withereth. To a Sleep, which in­sensibly passeth away before we know what we were doing in it: [Page 7]and to a dream of the night, than which nothing is more vain or uncertain. This is a true representation of the vanity of our life, which like the shadow of a Dial is in perpetual motion, tho its progression be by minute and imperceptible steps. Our days vanish and flye away as a vapor, or the morning dew, and we our selves as the flower of the field soon wither away.

By all this we see how little the Spirit of God esteems of that whereof the sons of men esteem so much. Our sin hath short­ned our days, and made them few and miserable. The pleasures of life are worm-eaten, and the glory of the flesh is but like Jo­nas's gourd, which one day grows up, and the next day is con­sumed by the worms. If Solomon, who had experimented all the pleasures this life could yield, after tryal of them cryed out all is vanity; and Job when he was divested of all his wealth, look­ing back to his fore passed days, was constrained to confess, I have possessed months of vanity; how can we look to find more comfort or felicity in this wretched life, than those holy men have found before us? If we seek our comfort in the perishing gain, glory, or pleasures of this life, we shall be compelled to la­ment at last, That we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; we have wearied our selves in vanity, and it doth not profit us.

Since then our days are few, let it be our care to spend them well, and to make the best improvement of them. Let us there­fore pray with the Prophet Moses, Psal 90.12Lerd so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. And the consi­deration of the shortness and vanity of our life, will teach us true wisdom in these respects.

In reference to the works or actions of our life, it will teach us to be wisely diligent. Wisdom is requisite to direct our choice of the best business for the employment of our time. For the best use we can make of this short life, is to provide in it for a better. For when death comes upon the stage, it sweeps away all, and as to the good things of this life, is an utter privation of them. Then the soul must go forth of this world, and of all her followers in life, can only be attended with good or evil: If she have done good in the body, her reward is great and certain in heaven; but if she be surprized in sin, hell shall be her share; hell, the lake of Gods wrath, the storehouse of eternal fire, a [Page 8]bottomless Abyss of misery, where there is no evil but must be expected, nor good that can be hoped. And as Wisdom, so Di­ligence is no less required of us. Since we have much work to do, and but little time to do it in, it behoves us to beware that we squander it not away in trifling or idleness. Seeing our time is short, Eccl. 9 10. we must double our diligence. Whatsoever thine hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledg; nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest. If we trifle away our days in vanity, he that is the ancient of Dayes will call us to a severe account for them. We should therefore be covetous of no worldly thing but Time, and that not for the duration of our pleasures, but to work out the salvation of our souls. There is no usury so allowable as this; not that men should sell time to improve money, but husband time to improve grace. Otherwise a long time will bring but a long and a sad reckoning. When God gives us time, to do the business we came for, it leaves us either without imputation of idleness, or with­out excuse. Our life wears away by living, and is diminished by addition; every day added to it, is so much taken from it. Each step sets us forward to our graves; and we are nearer now, than when we entred the Church dores. Time goeth away by mi­nutes, therefore it is not perceived: the shorter steps it taketh, the more insensibly it passeth. Therefore as it stealeth upon us, let us welcome it with good industry; and as it stealeth from us, let us send it away with a good Testimony. Thus though it quickly leaves us, it shall not leave us worse than it found us.

In reference to the good things of this world, Phil. 4.5. it calls upon us to use moderation. Let your moderation be known to all men, the Lord is at hand. The consideration of the fewness of our days, may justly teach us to moderate both our desires and pursuits af­ter, and our enjoyments of the things of this world. For why shouldst thou set thine heart upon that which is not? As God said to Baruch by his Prophet Jeremy, Jer. 45.4, 5.I will destroy this whole land, and seekest thou great things for thy self? So, shall we de­sign or promise to our selves great things in this life, when life it self so suddenly flyeth away? Or shall we set our affections on the things of this world, when they cannot tarry with us? Or if they like true servants could continue, yet we like frail Ma­sters [Page 9]must vanish. This I say, brethren, the time is short: 1 Cor. 7.29, 30, 31.it re­maineth, both that they that have wives, be as they that have none; and they that weep, as those that weep not; and they that rejoyce, as those that rejoyce not; and they that buy, as those that possess not; and they that use this world, as those that use it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

And in reference to the sufferings and afflictions of this life, it teacheth us to bear them with patience and true Christian mag­nanimity, because they are but short, and can endure but a little while. Therefore we should not fear them before they come, nor shrink under them, or be discouraged when they are come, seeing we know they cannot last long, but must shortly have an end. The time of trouble in the holy Scripture is called some­time a day of trial, and sometime an hour of temptation. And as our blessed Lord said to the three Disciples, Could ye not watch with me one hour? So may he say to us all so often as we faint under affliction, Could ye not suffer with me one hour? It was the comfort Athanasius gave to the Church in his time, a­gainst the cruel violence of Julian, the persecuting Apostate, That he should be but Nubicula cito transitura, a little stormy cloud that should quickly pass over: and it is certainly true con­cerning all our troubles, and the instruments of them, that if we wait a while upon our God with patience, we shall see them no more. And then Olim hac meminisse juvabit; our sufferings here shall add to the weight of our joy hereafter, and that by way of remembrance. 2 Cor. 4.17 For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a most superlative eternal abundance of glory.

3. I come now to the third and last thing we are to consider in the text, which is the quality of mans duration, and full of trouble. Trouble is a disquiet or commotion of the mind, ari­sing from the sense of some good thing which we cannot attain, or cannot keep; or of some evil which is either felt or feared. But I understand it here of the things which trouble us; those afflictions and crosses either inward or outward, which are real troubles and disquietments, to which our lives are subject. For as this holy man saith, Job 5.6. Although affliction cometh not forth of the earth, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is [Page 10]born to trouble as the sparks flye upwards. And agreeably the Wise man hath observed of man, all his days are sorrow, and his travel grief. And if any man desire me to give him an ex­ample of this, I may call upon the whole World to give an ex­ample to the contrary. Now the meritorious or procuring cause of all our trouble, is sin: for as all trouble is from God as the primary efficient Cause; so he never inflicts it without a just rea­son. Never came Judgment from God, but some provocation from man went before. The hand of Divine Justice never makes man smart without a cause. David might complain of his cruel and malicious Enemies, They persecute me without a cause. No man could ever challenge God of this; he is provoked every moment; and wo were it for us if he should strike so often as he is provoked.

The objective cause is in those circumstances of the world, which are such, as it cannot be otherwise. In hoc posi [...]i sumus; we are so placed, and in such circumstances, as we cannot avoid being in trouble. Sorrows encompass our whole life, as the earth is inviron'd with the Seas; yea, as the Sea is vaster than the Earth, so our happiness is exceeded by our infelicity. Few and evil have the days of my pilgrimage been, said that Patriarch; he speaks not a word of any good ones: and Job saith, Our few days are full of trouble; so sull of troubles, as if there were no room for any comforts to crowd in. Indeed if we put our hap­piness in one ballance, and our misery in the other, we shall find a mighty difference, this last far outweighing the former. VVe drink misery, we do but taste of happiness; we journey in mi­sery, we do but walk in happiness; nay, which is more, our mi­sery is positive and dogmatical, our happiness is but disputable and problematical. All men call troubles by the name of trou­bles; but happiness changeth the name according to the man, that either thinks himself, or is thought by others to have it. Nay, there is scarce any happiness that hath not in it so much of false and baseimoney, as that the allay is more than the Metal. All our felicity is like an Island floating in the Sea, it is now in such a point, to morrow in another, and the next day quite o­verwhelmed. Troubles break in upon us from the world, as wa­ters from the Channels; and God sends down others from above as waters from the Clouds; so that there are undi (que) flu [...]us, trou­bles on every side.

And this being the universal Condition of humane life, we may the less wonder, if this pious deceased Gentlewoman, whose Funeral we are now met together to solemnize, had her share in it; since none, how holy soever, could ever obtain a total exemption from trouble. She injoyed indeed a fair and happy freedom from outward troubles, and the causes of them; but it pleased God, who dispenseth all things most wisely, to imbitter the serenity of her external condition, with some inward troubles, which are more pressing, and insuppor­table. Yet was she not alone in this, nor suffered more than the dearest Servants of God have before been exercised withal. How often doth the man after Gods own heart, complain in the bitterness of his Spirit; Thine arrows stick fast in me, Psal. 38.2, 3. and 69.1, 2. and 88.6, 7.and thine hand presseth me sore: There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones, be­cause of my sin. And again, Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps; thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. And holy Job; Job 6.4. and 7.20.The arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poyson whereof drink­eth up my spirit: the terrors of God set themselves in array a­gainst me. And, Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burthen to my self? And it was a bitter complaint of the good King Hezekiah; I reckoned till morning, Isa. 38.13, 14, 17.that as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day, even to night, wilt thou make an end of me. Like a Crane, or a Swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a Dove. It is not therefore always a mark of Gods wrath, to be in trouble; but it is often a token of his Paternal love, an argument of our Adoption, and a title to an excellent Inheritance. Heb. 12.6, 7, 8. For God chasteneth every son whom he receives; and if we be not chastened, then are we ba­stards, and not sons. And Christ saith to the Church of Lao­dicea, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Rev. 3.19. Therefore God suffers us to feel the more sorrows, that we may have the more assurance of his Paternal love. It was the ground of that long Disputation betwixt Job and his Friends, Whether that woful calamity was a sign of Gods love, or of his hatred to him. God himself was the Moderator, and decided the question, That all this was in love to him, and tended to his salvation. If the Lord be with us, Judg 6.13.why then is all this befallen [Page 12]us? John 11.3. It was Gideon's Expostulation with the Angel: and this was Mary's Message to Christ, Lord, he whom thou lovest, is sick: Si amatur, quomodo infirmatur? As if none could be sick whom God loves. Yes, therefore are they sick, because God loves them. A Fever does not more burn up our blood, than our Lusts: and together with sweating out the Surfeits of Na­ture at the Pores of the Body, we weep out the sinful Corrup­tion of our Nature, at the Pores of our Conscience. Let us take heed of interpreting every heavy Cross, for a sign of Gods Anger; and of making that an Argument of Rejection, which the Scripture makes an Argument of Salvation. That whom the Lord loves, he chastens, is Orthodoxal Truth; but that whom he scourgeth, he hateth, what strange Divinity is this? Where doth the Scripture ever speak so? But lest any should think it strange, concerning the more than ordinary tryals and troubles of Gods own Servants; because since the deceased Lady was so eminently exercised therewith, it seems to me to have a great suitableness to the present occasion that hath brought us together, I shall endeavour to give you some further account of it. And,

1. This is founded in Nature: Good men are flesh and blood, built up of the same Materials, produced from the same Original with other men; Eccles. 9.2. and therefore subject to the same troubles, and all those evils that attend mankind in this lapsed degenerate state. All things here come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked, &c. What­soever difference Piety makes in mens Minds, in their Conversa­tions, and in their future states, it seldom makes any in their outward Condition in this World. We are born to suffer­ings; the Laws of Mortality, which are unchangeable, subject us to them. 1 Cor. 10.13. And homo cum sim, humani nihil a me alienum pu­to. There hath no temptation befallen you, saith the Apostle, but such as is common to men. It is the common and ordinary lot of all men to suffer afflictions and troubles. We may not therefore refuse to suffer that common lot to which all men are born; nor take grievously what we can no way a­void.

2. It is more peculiarly founded in Grace. The state of Grace is a suffering state; and it is the ordinary condition of Gods Servants to be in affliction, and to be under the Cross. Acts 14.22. We must through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God. God seeth that men are most miserable, in not being misera­ble: therefore he suffers those he cares not for, to swim in plea­sures; but they shall be sure to have affliction and sorrow upon earth, to whom he intends joy in Heaven. It is the greatest affliction, to be without affliction; and on this account, pro­sperity is more to be suspected and feared, than adversity. It is a heavy judgment which God threatens his people with; Ezek. 16.42. I will make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousie shall depart from thee; and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry. O, how deplorable and wretched is that mans condition, from whom the Lord withdraweth his jealousie, and gives him up to his own ways! Not to be angry, is the greatest anger. There can be no condition more fully repleat with danger and misery, than theirs is, whom God lets alone in sin, and suffers to go to Hell undisturbed. Thus the Psalmist observes of the wicked, That they are not in trouble as other men; Psal. 73.5.neither are they pla­gued like other men. But God owes them a grievous payment, whom he suffers to run on so long unquestion'd. Their securi­ty is like that of the Prophet Jonas, who slept most soundly, when he had most cause to watch and pray. God was pursuing him as a Fugitive Servant; his Officers were gathered about him, to lay hands on him: the Winds roared against him; the raging Waves of the Sea refusing all other satisfaction offered by the Mariners, rolled with impetuous violence about the Bark, resolved not to rest till they had apprehended him: all his Companions in the Ship were astonished, and amazed, and cryed out every one to his God; only Jonas was fast asleep. Was this true peace? or rather false security? So it is with the wicked: God is offended with them, Heaven above is shut a­gainst them, Hell beneath opened to receive them; Satan, that roaring Lion, watching when they shall be given him for a prey: All this while they are eating, and drinking, and ma­king merry, in the depth of a dead sleep: But this wretch­ed security shall have a dismal wakening, when they shall be taken out of their bed of ease, and cast into the lake [Page 14]of Gods Wrath, where the worm dieth n [...]t, and the fire is not quenched.

But if we look to the true pious Christian, Whose Crosses are so continual as his? And who more exercised with inward troubles than he? Yet his comfort is, That tho troubles inter­rupt his peace, they cannot destroy it, or take it from him; but being sanctified to him, become a means to establish it the more. Corda electorum aliquando concussa, melius solidantur. The hearts of the Elect, are best settled after they have been shaken with troubles. And the servants of God find by expe­rience, that their inward troubles are Preparitives to inward Consolations. As he that goes to build a House, the higher he intends to raise it, the deeper he lays the Foundation: so God is pleased to humble them lowest with troubles, to whom he pleaseth to communicate the highest measures of his Con­solations and Glory. 2 Cor. 1.5. As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolations shall abound through him.

And if it be enquired, Why it pleaseth God thus to suffer his own servants to be in trouble, and to exercise them oftner, and more therewith, than other men? it is answered, that he doth it for great and weighty Reasons.

Sometimes for the tryal of their Faith: James 1.1, 2. My brethren, saith St. James, count it all joy when ye fall into temptations, know­ing this, that the tryal of your faith worketh patience. And Moses bids the Israelites remember all the way which God led them forty years through the wilderness, Deut. 8.2.to prove them, and to know all that was in their hearts. Thus God dealt with Job; and thus he deals with many of his servants: he casts them into the Furnace of affliction, that their Faith being tryed, may shine the brighter.

Sometimes for the exercise of their Graces. Rom. 5.3, 4. We glory in tribulations, saith the Apostle, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. Altho afflictions be in their own nature bitter, and not joyous, but grievous; yet they are the occasions to exercise, and thereby to work in us the habit of many excellent Virtues, such as pa­tience, and Christian for titude, and constancy under the great­est evils, which begets in us a great experience of our own hearts, and knowledg of our sincerity: and this produceth a [Page 15]firm hope in the promises of God, which can never fail us in the day of Evil. Thus afflictions do but give us opportu­nity for the Exercise of many noble acts of Religion, and of many Divine Graces, which otherwise there would be no place for. For some virtues are principally exercised with Evil, and all their strength is employed in the victory of that. Wherein consists the honour of Patience, but in the quiet and unmoved enduring of troubles? Nusquam est patientiae vir­tus in prosperis. Where there are no troubles, patience hath nothing to do. Had Job never been afflicted, his Patience had wanted matter for Exercise, and had never become so eminently Exemplary. This and such like Virtues, like Stars shine brightest in the Night. Therefore Afflictions are called Gods Wine-press; when they happen to good men, they do but press out the Sap and Juice of Grace that is in them, and make those Graces, which lay hid before, ma­nifest and apparent unto others. The good man being pres­sed with troubles, brings forth the fruit of praise and thanksgiving with patience. Sciut aromata odorem, non nisi cum accenduntur expandunt; As sweet spices disperse not their odours till they be burnt or beaten; so the Servants of God, who otherwise seem to be void of Spiritual strength, when they are beaten with afflictions, send out a sweet smelling savour of rich and manifold Graces.

Again, troubles in good men may sometimes have a re­spect to Sin, and that either to Sin past, or future. In re­spect to past Sins, they are Medicinal Restoratives, by which they are awakened to recover their health by Repentance of those Sins through which they have become spiritually sick and diseased. For howsoever God giveth loose reins to the Children of wrath, and delivereth them up to their own hearts desires; yet he will hedg in with thorns the way of those he purposeth to save, and by some sharp Rod or other will awake them from the mortal sleep of Security, as he awaked Jonas by casting him into the Sea; and arrested Saul in the full career of his persecution, by striking him at once from his horse, and from his carnal confidence in the flesh. And in respect to future Sins, troubles are preserva­tives from such Sins, into which God seeth them of their [Page 16]weakness ready to fall, if they be not prevented: And so he sent an Angel of Satan to buffet St. Paul, not for any Sin he had committed, but for a Sin he might fall into; lest he should be exalted above measure through the Abundance of his Revelations.

Again, the Servants of God are exercised with troubles, sometimes to withdraw their affections from the World and to awaken their desires and pursuits after those better and more enduring riches, which are reserved in Heaven for them. Should they injoy alway an undisturbed course of prosperity, they would be ready to say with St. Peter, when he saw the glory of Mount Tabor, It is good to be here: and never think of any other Heaven. But when we find nothing but trouble and disquietness here, then our hearts being thereby convinc'd of the vanity and vexation of all earthly things, do long after that Rest which remains for the People of God. There is no Rest to be found here. What the Devil sought in envy, and Solomon in curiosity, that all men seek in vanity. Mar. 12.43. Walking through these dry places, they seek rest, and find none. Here we dwell in Mesek, and meet with no­thing but disquietness. And they that are tossed in a tem­pest, how do they long for a good Haven, or harbor of rest! The more our Pilgrimage is imbittered, the more we seek this Rest. But here we cannot find it: the Heavens move, they have no rest; the Earth fructifies, it hath no rest; the Waters, Winds, Clouds, are all at work, they have no rest. Nor is any rest allowed to man below. Let us not think to set up our rest here in this tumultuous throng of troubles. Where envy and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work. Upon this Wheel, ever whirling about, we are no sooner set down, but some trouble or other rowseth us in the words of the Prophet, Mic. 2.10. Arise and depart, for this is not your rest.

Lastly, troubles prepare the Servants of God for Salvation: as Grapes must be pressed before they become Wine, and Corn thrashed and ground, before it make Bread. And tho this seem a meer paradox to the men of the World, who go on in a course of Sin and Pleasure: Yet the Spirit of God hath assu­red us; that tho no chastening for the present be joyous but greivous; nevertheless afterwards it yeildeth the quiet and peaceable fruits [Page 17]of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby. As God sendeth afflictions to scourge us, so they scourge us in­to the way to Him: and when they have shewed us, that we are nothing in our selves, they also shew us, that Christ is all things to us. And tho they shall remove us out of the World, yet they assure us, that no extremity of sick­ness, no temptations of Satan, no horror of Death, shall re­move us from him: but when we dye, we shall dye in him, and by that death be united unto him that dyed for us, and rose again. Thus God afflicts his own Servants here, that he may crown them hereafter: they are exercised with troubles in this present life, that in that to come they may have rest in the Lord. Thus the Apostle saith, When we are judged, 1 Cor. 11.32.we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the World. The sorrows and troubles of the Saints, prepare them for Christ, and help to gather them to him. Psal. 126.5, 6. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bear­ing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoycing, bringing his sheaves with him.

And that that this was the Case of this excellent person, this deceased Gentlewoman, whose earthly Reliques we have committed to the Grave; those manifold Graces, and Divine Virtues, that were so illustriously resplendent in her whole Life, may give us a great and convincing Argument to believe, If we should run through all the several ranks of Virtues, Intellectual, Moral, and Theological, we should find her defectvie in none of them. But that being too prolixa Theme for our narrow limits of time, I shall crave your pardon and leave to mention briefly some few of those virtues that were most conspicuous in her, tho without method or order, and as they occur to my thoughts.

Her intellectual Virtues were known to all that knew or convers'd with her, to be very great. Nature had furnish'd her with a great quickness of Apprehension, acuteness of Wit, and Retentiveness of Memory, Solidity of Judgment; which she had improved by diligent Reading and Conversa­tion, whereby she had accomplish'd her self in an eminent manner, with the knowledg of all things decent and praise­worthy in her sex: and had acquired an ablity to discourse, [Page 18](at least with any of her Sex) in concerning most matters, ei­ther of humane or Divine knowledg. She conversed much with the Books of various kinds of Learning, and employed much time in Reading. But her cheif study was, with those Noble Bereans whom St. Paul commends, Acts 17.11, 12. to search the Scrip­ture daily, because she knew these only contain the Words of eternal Life: and therefore with Mary she chose the better part of Learning, even the Doctrine and Knowledg of Jesus Christ. In these sacred Books she sought that Knowledg which alone is able to make men wise unto Salvation, which she preferred before all other Wisdom: and by her serious and assiduous Study and Meditation in them, she did adorn her Soul with the glorious Ornaments of rich and manifold Graces.

Amongst her personal Moral Virtues, the Virtue this Gen­tlewoman did most study and exercise, was Humility. This indeed is the peculiar Grace of Christians, most becoming our state, both as Creatures, and as Sinners; the Parent and Nurse of other Graces, that preserves us in the light of Faith, and heat of Love; that procures Modesty in Prosperity, and Patience in adversity; and is so lovely in the eyes of God, that tho he resisteth the proud, yet he gives grace to the humble. It is the foundation of honour and glory: for he that hum­bleth himself shall be exalted. This Grace of Humility was most conspicuous through the whole course of her Conver­sation, being most eminently apparent in the meekness and modesty of her behaviour, in the gentleness and affability of her converse, in the low thoughts she had of her self, and her freedom from censoriousness of others; in the plainness of her apparel and dress. She was, as the Apostle exhorts, cloathed with humility; and her chief ernaments were those of a meek and quiet Spirit, which are in the sight of God of great price.

Her Temperance and Sobriety were great and exemplary, no further indulging the body, but to make it more servicea­ble to her mind. She was far from excess, even in lawful pleasures; but strictly abstinent from all that are unlawful, that stain and debase the Soul, and alienate it from converse with God, and mortifie its taste to spiritual delights. Dili­gence [Page 19]was also a known Virtue in her, her active mind filling up all the empty spaces of time with something useful or de­lightful to her self or others.

But besides all her personal moral Virtues, her Piety toward God deserves our serious consideration. Her Religi­on was grave and sober, not mimical, or superstitious; free from Phanatical Whimsies, and Enthusiasms on one hand, and superstitious Dotages and Fopperies on the other; not flou­rishing in the leaves of a gay, but barren profession; but bringing forth the fruits of Faith, Patience, Meekness, Mortification, Charity, Devotion, and holiness of Life. She was a constant and diligent Attender upon the publick Wor­ship of God, and not less careful in the performance of her private Devotions, giving her self with great assiduity and intention of mind to Reading, Meditation and Prayer; set­ting a part certain hours of every day, for the exercise of those holy Duties; in which she was regular and constant, so long as her Memory and other Rationals remained in­tire.

And in short, there shone in her such a happy Constellation of precious Virtues, as sufficiently manifested it to have been her pious care and study, to build up her self in all Grace and Holiness, and to add to her faith virtue, and to virtue knowledg, and to knowledg temperance, and to temperance pati­ence, and to patience godliness, and brotherly kindness, and cha­rity. And tho it pleased God, either for the Causes by us be­fore mentioned or others best known to himself, to suffer these Lights in the latter end of her life to be eclipsed and obscured by the thick fumes of a black Melancholly, and the distempers of a troubled Spirit; yet we who have often seen the Sun setting in a Cloud, and yet arise in his wonted lustre, do no less hope, that these Graces shall rise, with her a more bright and radiant in the morning of the Resurrection.

In fine, her whole life was led according to the strict Rules of Piety and Virtue; whereupon we may in Charity believe, and on good grounds conclude, that she hath fought a good fight, she hath finished her course, and kept the faith, and is now gone to receive her reward, the crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judg shall give to all that love his appear­ing.

Therefore leaving her to her quiet and happy rest, let us return to our selves. You have heard how few our days are, and how full of trouble! Let the consideration thereof awa­ken us, to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear, and to give all diligence to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, that we may pass from this short and troublesome life, to that everlasting one, which no troubles can disturb, or discompose, no end shall ever determine. Let us prepare for that happy state by sincere repentance, and a holy life; and send up our hearts to Heaven, as an Earnest, that we would have our Souls there. Let our desires be above, tho our bodies are below; and being weary of the troublesome vanities of this world, let us aspire and long after the blessed Seat of Rest, wherein dwelleth Righteousness and her insepa­rable Companions, Peace, Joy, Glory, Happiness, and eternal Life. As there is no sin in Heaven, so there are no sufferings, no troubles there, no sorrow can ever enter into those blessed Regions. Thither the reedee [...]d of the Lord shall come with everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and glad­ness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

FINIS.

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