The Perfect Man described in his Life and End.

IN A Funeral Discourse Upon Psalm XXXVII. 37.

Occasioned by the DEATH Of that Pattern of Uprightness Mr. EDWARD LAWRENCE.

By Nathanael Vincent, M. A. Minister of the Gospel.

Whereunto are added some Passages out of Two Letters, written by Two Excellent Ministers concerning Mr. Lawrence; who were well acquainted with him, and with the Worth of him.

LONDON: Printed for B. Aylmer, at the Three Pigeons against the Royal Exchange, in Cornhill. 1696.

Mr. VINCENT's Funeral Discourse Occasioned by the DEATH of Mr. EDWARD LAWRENCE.

[...]

TO THAT CONGREGATION Who had Mr. EDWARD LAWRENCE For their PASTOR.

My much respected Friends!

WHen I preached this Sermon, which now I present especially to you; I was so far from having the least thought of Printing it, that I had not written so much as one word of it; and when your Desires were express'd that it might be Publish'd, I discovered a great averseness, because I knew how much averse my deceased and most true Friend was from a Discourse relating to Himself; and much more would he have been against the Printing any thing con­cerning Him. But your reitereated Desires prevailed, being seconded by that Argument, that Mr. Law­rence [Page] himself went contrary to the declared Will of an Eminent Christian, in Preaching a Funeral Ser­mon, and giving him his deserved Commenda­tions: Adding, that because that Excellent Saint was against his Preaching, therefore he was the more forward to do it. So that I have only made bold to mete the same Measure to my Friend who is dead and gone, which He did mete to his Friend that died before him.

This Sermon for the Substance of it was taken from my Mouth in Short-hand, and brought to me written out in Long. And since you have importuned the making of it publick, I desire you may give it a serious perusal.

A perfect Man is the most glorious and love­ly of all visible Creatures. How much of the Image of the invisible God does shine forth in him! The Grace of God in Truth whereever ▪tis wrought, what a blessed Change does it make! Out of the rubbish and ruins of corrupt Nature, there is built an Holy Temple for the living God! And in this Temple how is He honoured and served! The perfect Man hath an high Aim, and a commen­dable Emulation; he desires to do the will of God on earth, as it's done in heaven. And Heaven is esteemed a blessed place, because there he shall be able fully to do what he does desire.

I have heard your deceased Pastor express his long­ings to be in an holy and happy Eternity. Tho he had many other Loads, Sin was his heaviest Bur­then; and perfect Holiness was look'd upon as a great part of his expected Blessedness. He was a power­ful and a profitable Preacher; and this must be added, that he preached continually. His serious Looks, his edifying Communication, which administred Grace to the Hearers; his holy, just, and un­blameable and shining Conversation, were great­ly instructive; and by these he was ever speaking to all that observed him, that it was much for their In­terest to be like him. And now being dead, he yet speaks to you, that the Counsels he gave you, which are the Counsels of God, should not dye with him, nor be buried in Oblivion. The Flock of such a Pastor should be Eminent for Contempt of the World, serious Holiness, and Heavenly-Mindedness, else they will be far from resembling their Faithful Shep­hard.

I cannot wish you better, than that the Lord would direct you to settle under a Minister most like him who is taken from you; and who will naturally care for your Spiritual Estate. I wish his Family may be cared for by that God, whom he served in Truth and Sincerity, whose mercy is from everlasting to ever­lasting upon them that fear him, and his righ­teousness [Page] unto childrens children, to such as keep his covenant, and remember his commandments to do them.

Earth is emptying apace of them who are ripe for Heaven; I wish the Death of those that are gone, may make both Ministers and Saints that remain and survive, to be more lively and diligent in their Lord's Work! The Time of Labour is short; but to Eter­nity it will be found, that labour is not in vain in the Lord.

My Friends, I commend you and yours to the Great Shepherd of Souls, and to the Word of his Grace; and wish your Perfection and Peace, living, dying, and for ever.

Your Servant for Jesus sake, NATHANAEL VINCENT.
PSALM XXXVII. 37.‘Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.’

ALTHO Liberty to Preach the Gospel is justly esteem­ed the privilege and pleasure of my Life; and tho a Regal Throne, or a Triple Crown, is to me contemp­tible in comparison of a Pulpit; yet I must needs confess that I come with a sad heart to preach the Word this day; and the reason of my Sorrow is, the loss of that Excellent Man and Minister of Christ, who dwelt in this place, who is now effectually silenced by Death, and must be heard to Preach no more for ever. This burning and shining Light, a great ma­ny Years ago, was put under a Bushel, which was worthy to have been set in a Golden Candlestick; but now alas! in a sense 'tis quite extinguished: He is gone into darkness and the shadow of Death, where there is no order, and where the light is as darkness.

He had in his life-time declared his Will against a Funeral Sermon; for he was far from affecting those Praises and Commendations which are usually given in Funeral Discourses; but I must say, that the less he desired, the more he deserved to be praised and commend­ed; having such a large share of Humility, joyned with his other great Ministerial Accomplishments. When the news of his Death came first to my ears, I said what I thought, and had good ground to be perswaded of: Now there is a Man gone out of the World, that was one of the best Men in it. Good Men may truly be called Pillars of the Earth; and when a very strong Pillar is thrown down, there should be great Lamentation; and the Earth may tremble at the fall of it. But tho he is gone down to the Dust, where his Face is bound in secret, and must be seen no more, till this World be no more; yet methinks I have a view of him plainly in the Text I have chosen; here we have his Character both Living and Dying: Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

In which words, I shall offer these particulars to your Observa­tion.

First, Here is a remarkable Man, and he is the perfect Man.

Secondly, Wherein the perfection of this Man lies; it lies in his being upright.

Thirdly, What the perfect and upright Man is worthy of; he is worthy to be marked, he is worthy to be beheld.

Fourthly, What of this perfect and upright Man our eye in a spe­cial manner should be upon, and that is his end.

Fifthly, His end is remarkable as well as himself, for his end is peace. An upright Life, and a peaceful Death, how truly desirable are they! and the former is the way to the latter; whereas there is no peace, saith the Lord, to the wicked while he lives; and when he dies and his Soul is required at his hands, he will perceive how foolish he was, in crying peace and safety to himself.

These Particulars I shall insist on, and then conclude with the Ap­plication.

In the first place I am to speak of the remarkable Man in the Text, and he is the perfect Man. It is a wonder, considering the general Corruption and Depravation of Humane Nature, and how full of Snares and Temptations this World is, that there should be ever a perfect Man upon Earth! But see what the powerful Grace of God can do. It can renew and alter Nature it self, and change it from contrary to contrary, from wickedness and deceitfulness, to holiness of truth.

That the perfect Man may be the better understood, you must know that there is a threefold Perfection spoken of in Scripture.

  • Legal.
  • Coelestial.
  • Evangelical.

1. There is a Legal Perfection: This was in Adam before the Fall; he was made perfect and upright; but being made mutable, he quickly sought out many inventions, Eccles. 7. 29. and made himself quite and clean another Creature from what he was at first created. When other things were made, God's bare word of command that they should be, gave them a Being; but when Man was to be [Page 3] formed, it was not done without some kind of Solemnity and Consul­tation, Gen. 1. 26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And how did Man shine with this Image upon him, when he came first out of his Maker's hands! If all things were very good in their kind, how perfect was Man's Goodness in his kind! not the least moral Evil was to be found in him. What a clear light was there in his mind! How exactly conformed was his Will to the Divine Will! How regular were his Affections! Not the least Evil was in him, either in Action, Thought, or Inclination.

He had a Power to keep the whole Law of God in every Part and Point of it, and a Will most free and forward in it. He could, and for a while did come up to the terms of the first Covenant, Do this and live. And thus perfect he did remain, till through the Temp­tations of the evil One, he let go his primitive Righteousness and Integrity.

2. There is a Coelestial Perfection, and that is the Perfection of glo­rified Saints in Heaven; we cannot aspire unto, or desire any thing for our selves, higher than, or so high as this. This the Apostle speaks of, 1 Cor. 13. 9, 10. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall he done away. This Perfection is preached of, and heard of at present; and they who attain to the greatest measure of Grace and Holiness, can best give a guess at it: Our Brother, who is lately taken away from us, now understands and experiences to his Joy what Hea­vens perfection is. We read, Heb. 12. 23. of the general Assembly and Church of the first-born which are written in Heaven, and the spirits of just Men made perfect. How clear is that light, in which God, who is light, is seen! How perfect is that Purity which is consequent up­on this Vision of him! how have they all been transformed into the Image of him whom they do behold, fully resembling him in Righteousness and true Holiness! 1 John 3. 2. We know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

The separated Spirits of Saints, having left their Earthly House and Tabernacle, have put off their sinful Infirmities; nothing that makes them in the least unlike to God, or that he dislikes, remains in them. The great Physician began the Cure of those blessed Souls in this World, and now in the other World 'tis perfected; that Scrip­ture is applicable to every one of them, Cant. 4. 7. Thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee.

And as the Spirits of just Men in Heaven are perfect; so their vile bodies will be changed and made like unto Christ's glorious body. Heb. 3. 21. this corruptible will put on incorruption, this mortal immortality. Adam's Body before the Fall was of an admirable Make and Constitution, not the least peccant Humour in it. And if he had stood, the Tree of Life, the Sacrament of the first Covenant, was to assure him of Immortality; yet that Body was much inferior to a Spiritual Body at the Resurre­ction. Oh how illustriously perfect as to their whole Man, will all Saints be, when Christ their life shall appear, and they appear with him in glory! Col. 3 4. The perfection of Heaven, which Christ is the Pur­chaser of, will be found by many degrees to be beyond that Perfection which was in the first Paradice.

3. There is an Evangelical Perfection: and the Man spoken of in the Text, is in this Sense perfect. Legal Rigour is abated in the Go­spel; the Gospel does not curse every one that continues not in all things required in the Law. Legal exactness is not expected from Belie­vers; God does not mark iniquities, nor enter into judgment with them. A sincere Saint is evangelically a perfect Man; tho in strictness of Law, there is some Imperfection in his Holiness. The Apostle, without Self­contradiction, affirms himself to be perfect and not perfect, almost in the same breath Phil. 3. 12. Not as tho I had already attained, or were already perfect; and yet he says ver. 15. Let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus indeed. He had a perfection of sincerity; but unto a sinless perfection he had not attained.

The Evangelically perfect Man, I am now to describe.

The perfect Man is renewed in all his Parts and Powers. The whole Man is corrupted by Nature, and the whole Man is renewed by Grace. This the Apostle expresses by Sanctification throughout, in body, soul, and spirit, 1 Thes. 5. 23. Tho in degree, Sanctification be put in part; yet every part is truly and really sanctified. When the Lord makes a perfect Man, he works a change in the whole Man. Nothing in the Soul but has some gracious Alteration wrought in it. No one Power or Faculty is let alone to be altogether as it was. The Mind is enlightned, the Conscience awakened, the Will and Affections have a new byass; and the Memory retains things necessary and worthy to be remembred; and the heart being purified, the members are yielded as Instruments of Righteousness unto Holiness. The new Creature lacks not any parts, and degrees of Grace are still to be added: In this Sense all things are become new, 2 Cor. 5. 17. and yet the inward man is further to be renewed day by day, 2 Cor. 4. 16.

2. The perfect Man is made pertaker of every Grace. Moral Phi­losophers have observed a Concatenation of all moral Virtues, that they are inseparable; where one is indeed, there are all of them. There cannot be truly any Vertue in any man, where any one Vice is allowed to be predominant. 'Tis a great truth concern­ing the Graces of the Spirit, that they are all linked together. There is no Grace insincerity in that man, who ordinarily and presump­tuously does what he knows to be evil in God's sight, and willingly suffers, tho it be but one Iniquity to have the dominion over him.

The Spirit of God works like himself; and all Grace he works, where he works any. The Stone or Kernel of the Fruit tree, has vertually the whole Tree in it; and if it be sown in the Ground, a Tree with Leaves and Fruit at length grows up from it. We read of the seed of God, 1 John 3. 9. and this Seed vertually has all Grace in it: And this Seed does remain; and Grace of every sort, as there is occasion, in some degree or other, is produced into act and exercise.

In the perfect man's breast plate, or if you will in his breast, there is Faith, and Love, and Righteousness: It is Hope that is his Helmet. It is Humility that is both his Cloathing and Ornament; and Zeal is not so much one single Grace, as an high degree of all. The Spirit of the Lord dwels in the perfect man; and where the Spirit is and abides, all his Graces are with him. This is plainly intimated, John 1. 16. Of his fulness we all have received and grace for grace. There are several Interpretations of these Words, but the truest is this: Of Christ's fulness all sincere believers have received [...], Grace answerable to every grace that is in Christ himself; as the Child receives Limb for Limb from the Parent. How truly Rich and Happy is he who has no Grace wanting! and what a satisfaction is it to perceive plainly in himself, that every Grace is growing!

3. The perfect man prises all the promises of the New Covenant, and esteems himself highly favoured in being Heir unto them all. Hypocritical Professors, and Wicked Men, may put a value upon some promises; as when the Lord promises to bless in the City, and in the Field, to bless in the fruit of the Body, and of the Cattle, and of the Ground; to bless in the Basket, and in the Store, Deut. 28. 3, 4, 5. when he promises length of days, and long life, and that peace shall be added, Prov. 3. 2. Nay one that is ungodly, designing to die the death of the Righteous, may put a value upon the promises of deliverance from the wrath to come, and from eternal condemnation.

But the perfect man, though he sets an estimate upon any Bless­ing which God has promised, and values Temporal Mercies, and Salvation from the Vengeance of eternal Fire: Yet there are also other kind of promises he gladly embraces, as the promise of an heart to know the Lord. Jer. 24. 7. I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. That promise al­so of an heart circumcised to love God, is much valued and rested on by the perfect man. Deut. 30. 6. The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayst live. So is that promise, Ezek. 36. 25. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols I will cleanse you. There is good reason that the promises of sanctification should be look'd upon as exceeding great and precious; for by these the perfect man is made a partaker of the divine nature, and escapes the corruption that is in the world through lust, 2 Pet. 1. 4.

4. The perfect man hath a respect unto all God's commandments; he does not chuse some, and pass by others; but readily receives every precept. Psal. 119. 6. Then shall I not be ashamed when I have re­spect unto all thy commandments. He looks upon every Law with an eye to the Authority of the Lawgiver, who has a right to rule him, and has power to save and destroy, John 4. 12. He looks upon the Law delivered on Mount Sinai, as in force upon Mount Zion; and that by faith the law is established, Rom. 3. 31. The Apostle's manner of Expression carries in it a strong motive to Obedience, 1 Thess. 4. 2. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. Commands are given by his Authority, who is Lord of all; and Obedience is urged for his sake, who himself has obeyed and suffered for us; and who is so ready to strengthen us to obey, and to make what we do acceptable.

The perfect man has his eye upon God and Christ, and cannot find in his Heart to cast any Command of theirs behind his Back; that's his perpetual wish, that's his daily groan; Oh, that my ways were directed to keep thy Statutes! Oh, let me not wander from thy Commandments! Psal. 119. 5, 10. Whereas the unsound Pro­fessor is not reconciled to every Command, nor indeed to any. Though his Obedience seem exact in many respects, yet offending in one point or other, he is guilty of violating the whole law, James 2. 10. His partial Obedience to the Commands, shews he is not sincere in [Page 7] keeping any one of them. If any were kept upon a right ground, then every one of the Precepts would be kept upon the same ground.

5. The perfect man keeps judgment and does righteousness at all times, Psal. 106. 3. He sticks to the Lord's testimonies, and cleaves to the Lord himself with an unshaken purpose of heart, even in times of great Apostacy and falling away: He will not leave the Ship of the Church, and put to shore when a storm of Persecution arises; 'tis better to be in the Vessel where Christ is, though the Tempest be never so fierce and sore, than trust to a sinful compliance with the men of the World. The perfect man's goodness is not like the morn­ing Cloud, and the early Dew that goes away; but his Righteousness is like a River.

Labitur & labetur in omne volubilis aevum.

It holds on its course, and keeps running continually. He shews himself a Disciple indeed by still following his Master, and abiding in his word. John 8. 31. If ye continue in my word, then are ye my Disciples indeed.

6. The perfect man wishes and longs for a sinless perfection. He really and earnestly desires to be as good as the Law would have him to be, every whit as Righteous as the Commandment requires; and when through Infirmity he breaks the Law, he is troubled. When the Apostle says, This we wish were your perfection, 2 Cor. 13. 9. Certainly his Charity began at home, and he wish'd his own perfection also. These longings after unspotted Purity, and to do the will of God on earth as it's done heaven, God observes, and is well pleased with. David did not build the Temple yet the Lord tells him he did well, in that it was in his heart to do it, 2 Chron. 6. 8. What was in heart to do, God reckons as done, and well done. Abraham did not actually Sacrifice his Son Isaac, yet 'tis said again and again that he offered him up, Heb. 11. 17. The Will for the Deed is accepted. The perfect man's Will, to be every way perfect, is very well taken. The more there is of a willing Mind, the more there is of a perfect Heart, 1 Chron. 28. 9.

In the second place I am to shew wherein the perfection of the per­fect man lies; it lies in his being upright. I have described him in part already; but I shall farther give you the perfect man's Cha­racter, by setting him forth in his uprightness. This upright­ness does not only include Integrity, in opposition to Partiality, but it includes Truth and Power, in opposition to Shew and Form; for [Page 8] Form wants the principal Dimension of Uprightness, which is Depth and Substance.

I shall tell you in several particulars how the Scripture represents the upright man. Let Conscience diligently mark the representati­on, that you may discern whether you are upright or otherwise.

1. The upright man acknowledges his sin without allowed guile. He has no secret regard to any iniquity, so as to connive at it himself, so as to refuse to acknowledge it to God. He freely and ingenuously con­fesses to the Lord the worst he knows of himself; and while he thus declares his Sin and dislikes it, and himself for it, God covers it, and no longer imputes it to him, Psal. 32. 1. 2. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, wh [...]se sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Holy Job was censured by his Friends, as unsound in his Religion; but by many Arguments he vindicates his uprightness, Job 31. And among the rest by this, ver. 33. That he had not covered his transgression like Adam, by hiding his iniquity in his bosom.

To excuse Sin is inexcusable; to defend Sin, How offensive is it unto God! The upright man, in his Repentance, exposes his Sin with its many Aggravations, till it appears as it is, out of measure sinful; and concludes it, beyond measure, hateful. He is ready to speak all he knows amiss in himself; and that which he sees not, he desires may be detected, that he may be cleansed from it: Search me, O God, says upright David, and see if there be any evil way in me, Psal. 139. 23, 24. He was sensible of the wickedness of his Heart, and begs that God would create in him a clean one; and because of the deceitfulness of his Heart, he prays that a right spirit might be renewed within him, Psal. 51. 10.

2. The upright man keeps himself from that sin which in a special manner may be called his iniquity. He is so well acquainted with himself, as well to know, and much to observe what Sin or Sins do most easily beset him; and he sets the strongest guard against those Corruptions which he takes notice that naturally he is most strong­ly addicted to. Psal. 18. 23. I was also upright before him, and I kept my self from my iniquity. The upright man, who is naturally inclined to Covetousness, watches and prays against the love of worldly wealth, as that which is the root of all evil. If his Constitu­tion inclines him to impure Lusts, he endeavours to prevent, or to quench these hellish sparks at first kindling, and to possess his heart, as well as vessel, in sanctification and honour. If he be of an hasty [Page 9] Temper, what pains does he take to keep Passion under, and to be adorned with the meekness and gentleness of Christ! He is an upright man, who because God has been so often displeased by it, can banish and hate that which was once a darling sin.

3. The upright man is a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, Cant. 1. 4. Draw me, we will run after thee; we will be glad and rejoyce in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine; the upright love thee. The upright man is what he is by the Grace of Christ; that Grace made his Heart a good and honest one, which naturally was no better than the Hearts of others; and even now he cannot stand in Law, be­cause of his many Faults and Failings; were it not for Jesus the Me­diator, his very uprightness could never be accepted. He has his all from Christ, he does all by his strength; and what he does is through him acceptable to God: Well may his love to the Lord be strong, to whom his Obligations are vastly great.

His love to Christ is not in Word and Tongue only, but in Deed and in Truth. Love to Christ constrains him to live to him that died for him, 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. and rather than be separated from Christ and from his love, he resolves by the glorious Spirit's aid, to part with the most desirable outward Comforts, and with Life it self. It was [...], an uncorrupt and fervent love to the Lord Jesus, which made the Apostle full of earnest expectation and hope, that in no­thing he should be ashamed; and very willing that Christ should be mag­nified in his body, whether it were by life or death, Phil. 1. 20.

4. The upright man walks before God in truth. He sets himself before God, unto whose pure and piercing eye the inmost secrets of his Heart are open and naked; and he is sensible the Lord can take no pleasure in him without sincerity. 1 Chron. 29. 17. I know, O my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. The upright man sets God before himself also. Psal. 16. 8. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. The Psalmist studi­ed to approve himself to God, who always observed him; and he stays himself on God's everlasting arm and strength, that he might be upheld against all Temptation and Opposition, and be kept immoveable in Well-doing.

Upright Hezekiah walked before God in truth and with a perfect heart, and did that which was good in his sight, Isa. 38. 3. His heart was in what he did, and he had the Heart-searcher's Approbation, and his Conscience giving a Testimony for him; he has confidence towards God. An upright man may be influenced by the fear of punishment. [Page 10] They were the Friends of Christ, to whom he speaks thus, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but I will forewarn you whom you shall fear; fear him which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell. Yea, I say unto you, fear him. The Psalmist also thus expresses himself, My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgements.

But though fear has an influence, 'tis not the only inducement to walk with God. He that is upright knows that love is the great thing which God commands; and love hinders any other command from being accounted grievous. A man has a great evidence of up­rightness, when love is predominant in him, when he is byassed by love to God, to do these things that are pleasing in his eyes; and he is overcome with a sense of God's loving-kindness to him, and is truly his servant, Psal. 26. 3. Thy loving-kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in thy truth.

5. The upright man holds fast his integrity. When Mammon and Satan combine to rob him of this Jewel, yet neither fair means nor foul can make him part with it. The reproaches of Job's Friends did enter, and go deep into him; but a reproaching Conscience would have been a thousand times worse: Therefore though he ceased to be Job the wealthy, Job the greatest of all the men in the Fast; yet he remained Job the upright still, Job 27. 5, 6. Till I die I will not remove my inte­grity, neither the thing it self, nor the evidence of it from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

The Providences of God may sometimes be dark and cloudy, and his Hand very heavy upon his upright ones; so that themselves and others may be amazed at those Trials which their Faith and Patience may be put upon: Yet true Gold will endure the hottest Furnace, and lose nothing of its Weight and Worth. However the Lord deals with them, the upright have reason to conclude the immutabi­lity of his love, and that his faithfulness never fails. Job 17. 8, 9. Ʋpright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite. The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.

And if it be ask'd how the upright man comes to be thus tena­cious of his sincerity? I answer, 'Tis not only because of the delight and sweetness he finds in reflecting upon it; but also, and that chief­ly, because God's right hand upholds him, God fixes his heart, re­news a stable and a constant spirit in him; it's God who keeps holy [Page 11] Inclinations and religious Purposes alive, and firm, and strong in him. This is acknowledged by David, Psal. 41. 12. As for me, thou upheldest me in my integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.

In the third place it follows, What the perfect and upright man is worthy of.

He is worthy to be marked.
He is worthy to be beheld.

First, He is worthy to be marked. Mark the perfect man, saith the Text: And marked he should be; and that both

For conviction, and also
For imitation.

1. The perfect and upright man is to be marked for conviction. As the Saints shall judge the World at last, so they are a conviction to the World at present. The wicked think it strange that believers run not out with them to the same excess of riot; and their Tongues speak evil of them, 1 Pet. 4. 4. But their Consciences at the same time may fly in their own Faces, and tell them plainly that those whom they speak ill of, are much wiser and better than themselves. An ex­emplary Conversation is a very convincing thing, it stops the mouths of ignorant and evil Speakers. 1 Pet. 2. 15. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. It fills the faces of such with shame; they being convinced that accusa­tions are false, when consciences and conversations are good, 1 Pet. 3. 16. Having a good conscience, that whereas they speak evil of you as of evil doers, they may be ashamed who falsly accuse your good conversation in Christ.

If the World did but mark the perfect man, it might prevent that woe from falling upon them which is denounced against them, be­cause of offences which they are apt to take at Religion, as if it self were but an imaginary thing, and all that profess it were Dissemblers. And if loose and carnal Professors would but mark them whose exact and circumspect walking does shew them to be sincere, and Saints indeed; it might startle their Consciences and make them very unquiet, because they are so very unlike those, who in their manner of living, do shew forth the power of godliness; their Consciences might call them vain men, their faith a dead faith, their profession an empty and vain shew; Jam. 2. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

[Page 12] 2. The perfect man is to be marked for imitation. That excellent Company of Faithful ones, mentioned Heb. 11. are called [...], a cloud of Witnesses, Heb. 12. 1. here seems to be an al­lusion to the cloud in the Wilderness which directed the Children of Israel to the land of Canaan. Perfect men are Clouds, their dark side, their faults and failings, if we observe any in them, it must be our care to eschew them. But their bright side may be of great use for our direction and encouragement. When we observe how holy, heavenly, full of love to God and goodness, and diligent in the Lord's work others have been; we should shew the same grace and diligence, to the full as­surance of hope, to the end. We should by no means be slothful, but followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb 6. 11. 12.

Our Lord himself indeed is incomparably the best Pattern; Sin ne­ver found any place in him. 1 Pet. 2. 22. Who did no sin, neither was guile sound in his mouth. Never in the least faulty, either in word or deed: Yet perfect and upright men are fair Copies for others to write after. Phil. 3. 17, 20. Brethren, be ye followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example; for our conversation is in heaven. And Chap 4. 9. He says not only those things which ye have heard, but what ye have seen in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you. All would be better, if the best were but more imitated.

Secondly, As the perfect and upright man is to be marked; so he is worthy to be beheld; the Text says, Behold the upright. The Psalmist beheld the transgressors, and was grieved: Upright men may be beheld with joy and pleasure; though grief may well be raised, when by death they are snatched away. Now that the Upright man may be beheld to good purpose.

1. Behold him in his usefulness: Though the perverse and preju­diced World does think the Upright man not fit to live in it; yet in­deed the world is not worthy of him; and is very much beholding to him. When the world which lives in wickedness, and grows more and more wicked, is hastening its own Judgment and Condemna­tion, for the sake of the Upright ones that are therein, 'tis spared. Though there was such an abominable Crew of Wicked men in Sodom, which were sinners before the Lord exceedingly; yet Sodom had stood undestroyed by Fire and Brimstone, if ten righteous persons had been found therein, Gen. 18. 32. when Abraham said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak but this once; peradventure ten righteous ones shall be found there; and he said, I will not destroy it for ten sake.

Nay, One Moses stood in the Breach, when the Sins of Israel had opened a wide Gap for the Wrath of God to break in upon them, Psalm 106. 23. Therefore he said, he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. However Infidels and ungodl ones may prate maliciously, the Puritans of a Nation are very much the security of it. Job 22. 30. He shall deliver the Island of the innocent; or it may be translated, The Innocent shall deliver the Island; and it is delivered by the pureness of thy hands.

2. Behold the Grace of God in the upright Man, which makes him thus useful. Both the esse and the operati of the new Creature is from Divine Grace; by Grace the upright man is what he is, and by the same Grace he does what he does. Who ever laboured so abundantly as the Apostle Paul? Whose Labours were more succeeded to the Glory of God, to the Church's, and the World's benefit, than his were? Yet he ascribes nothing to himself, but gives unto Grace all the Glory. 1 Cor. 15. 10. I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. When you behold the upright man, you must see God in him, and with him of a truth. Men are not to glory, or to be gloried in; but he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, 1 Cor. 1. 31.

3. Behold the upright man, so as to desire and hope that the same Grace which made him upright, may make you so. Upright ones were not such by their first Birth, but by their second. The Apostle readily makes this acknowledgment, Eph. 2. 3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Therefore concerning sincere Saints, it must be said, That they are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, John 1. 13. And that God who of his own will begat them with the word of truth, can easily also regenerate you by the the same means, and by his own powerful Grace, make more vessels of honour (all upright ones are such) out of the Mass of corrupted Nature.

In the fourth place I am to shew, What of this perfect and upright Man our eye in a special manner should be upon, and that is his end. To look to the end of Persons and Things, and likewise those things that are endless, is a great piece of Wisdom. By the upright man's End we are to understand his Dissolution and Death, whereby he [Page 14] ceases to be any longer in this World. Not that Death does make an end of him; the Soul is redeemed from the power of the grave, for God doth receives it, Psalm 49. 15. and the Body shall not always be the Graves prisoner; but the Union between these two constituent parts by Death is dissolved. Now there are several things of the perfect and upright man which Death does put an end unto.

1. Death puts an end to the upright man's Labour. Labour in the Lord, and for the Lord, is the upright man's business in this World. He has no time to waste, neither is he allowed to be idle. Working hard and living, must run parallel: Nay, with allusion to what Caesar once said, we may affirm, Necesse est laborare, non est necesse vivere. La­bouring is more necessary than living. While the upright man lives, he must be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the doing of good. But when Death comes, it signifies to him that his Work is at an end. Rev. 14. 13. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.

2. Death puts an end to the upright man's Sorrows; here in this World, he is in his Minority, and is under the Discipline of the Rod; after Death he will not need it. His gracious Father in great faith­fulness, consults the upright man's necessity; and if need be, he is in heaviness through manifold temptations, 1 Pet. 1. 6. and yet still there is a mixture of mercy with the greatest severity; the Son of God is with the sincere Saint in every Furnace, and his Presence makes the Furnace both tolerable and purifying: Under the heaviest Burthens; everlasting Arms shall sustain him, and well may he be comforted with the thoughts of everlasting Love. But the end of his days puts a full period to his Troubles and Sorrows; his Heart shall ake, his Tongue complain, his Eyes shall weep no more; Rev. 7. 17. The Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto li­ving fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

3. Death puts an end to the upright man's Conflicts. His Life is a warfare, he fights every step of his way to Heaven; his Enemies are much stronger than he; called Principalities and Powers whom he wrrstles with; but he is furnished with the whole Armour of God, and his strength lies in Christ the Captain of his Salvation▪ [...]: Christ has encountred these Enemies in his own Person, tried their force, and triumphed over them; and as he has his Followers at command, so he can command Salvation for them. Satan is a [Page 15] troublesome and unwearied Adversary; and when the upright man is just going; this Enemy may give him a blow at parting. He usually endeavours to make a Saint's Death-bed uneasy and uncomfortable; and sometimes he strives to lift up the perfect man with Spiritual Pride; As the famous Knox of Scotland was tempted to an high Opinion of himself when he was near expiring, because he had been so faithful in his ministry; but he ascribed all that he was and did unto the Grace of God; and Satan was quite soiled. But when Death comes, it removes the upright man out of Satan's reach. He is made more than a conqueror through Christ who has loved him; having overcome, he sits down in that throne with his blessed Lord himself, where he shall never be molested more with any of the Enemies of his Sal­vation.

4. Death puts end to the upright man's natural Life. Tho his Life on Earth is far from being a noxious and hurtful Vapour; yet 'tis a vapour which appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away, Jam. 4. 14. The Bodies of the Just must be brought down into the Grave, as well as the Bodies of others; that mankind, and best of men may have a sensible Document how hateful Sin is to God; upon all that have sinned death passes, Rom. 5. 12. Tho the Bodies of the Saints are Members of Christ, and Instruments of Righteousness to Holi­ness, and the Temples of the Holy Ghost himself, yet these Temples must be demolished and cast to the ground, and for a while turned under it; and after they have been so long imprisoned in the Grave, how glorious will be the strength and love of Christ their Lord and Head, in rescuing his Members all of them from under Death's Dominion, and in totally abolishing Death it self! and how will the power of the Spirit be manifested in rearing up his Temples out of the Dust, and in making them so transcendently glorious, and likewise so firm and durable, that they shall stand and abide unto eternity! Rom. 8. 11. If the spirit of him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his spirit that dwelleth in you.

5. Death puts an end to all that Corruption which remains in the up­right Man. Sin was the Parent of Death, and at Death sin it self is totally destroyed. The mortal and corruptible Body of the Saint shall at length put on Incorruption and Immortality; but the body of Sin is annihilated, and shall be no more; he shall never complain of any evil present with him, nor be troubled with any the least lustings of the flesh against the Spirit. How contrary and offensive to the new Nature, were [Page 16] the remainders of the old Man which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts! But at Death the upright man when he puts off his earthly Tabernacle, does quite put off the old Man; not the least Member of that Body can remain unmortified; and in what glorious perfection does he put on the Lord Jesus Christ! He is perfecting Holiness while he lives, 2 Cor. 7. 1. which intimates that at Death his Work and La­bour to cleanse himself will be at an end, and Holiness will be per­fected. And how beautiful and glorious will his separate Soul be in its perfected and unspotted Purity!

In the fifth place, The end of the perfect and upright man is re­markable as well as himself, for his end is Peace. The Scripture is true concerning him, Eccl. 7. 1. The day of his death is better than the day of his birth. He was born into a wicked and a wretched World, but Death sends him to an everlasting Habitation of Bliss, and Life, and Glory. His dying day may well be the joyfullest day that ever he lived, because the last moment of his time is his entrance into a blessed Eternity. He is indeed a Son of Peace, and Death should not disturb it.

1. The perfect and upright man dies in peace with God. He is reconciled to God by the death of his Son: How sure is Salvation upon such a Reconciliation! The Enmity between God and him, being slain by the Cross of Christ, Eph. 2. 16. the Value and Virtue of Christ's Crucifixion must needs make Peace that is lasting. The middle Wall of Partition that is thrown down, shall never be reared up again. The upright man's Sins are all removed from him, as far as the East is from the West, Psalm 103. 12. and he may as well imagine the two Poles that are so far distant should meet together, as fear that any of his Sins which are not imputed to him, should again be laid unto his charge. Rom. 8. 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? it is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died. Neither at Death nor Judgment shall any of their Sins be found against them that are upright. A Covenant of Peace is made with them more firm than the strongest Hills and Mountains. Isaiah 54. 10. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, nor the covenant of my peace be re­moved, saith the Lord that hath mercy upon thee.

2 The perfect and upright man dieth in peace with others. If all things are to be done with charity, 1 Cor. 16. 14 then dying must be in Charity likewise. How can he dye in the love of God, whose heart [Page 17] is full of malice and hatred to his Brother? I remember what that blessed Martyr, Bradford, said at his Death, I ask all the World for­giveness, and I forgive all the World; there was a great deal of Judg­ment and Grace in this Expression. The World had dealt very hardly with him, and was so furious as to burn him with Fire, yet he forgave the Injury. Thus the Protomartyr Stephen of old, from his heart for­gave his Persecutors; and his last Prayer was for them, that God would not lay their Sin and blood-guiltiness to their charge, Acts 7. 60. When the heart is emptied of Wrath and Bitterness, and desire of Revenge, whatever Injuries have been received; when peace has been pursued, and there has been an universal Love to all Saints; and in Obedience to Christ's Command it has been extended even to despightful Enemies; here is a comfortable evidence of Peace with God, and of an interest in his Love. Forgive, says Christ, and you your selves shall be forgiven.

3. The perfect and upright Man when he comes to dye, has rea­son and good ground to have peace within himself. I dare not affirm, That every good Man concludes his Days with this Peace. The Letters of Mr. Paul Bains discover a great measure of Grace and Holiness, and an excellent Spirit in him; yet he professes himself a great Stran­ger to the Sweetness of Religion, and the Joys of the Holy Ghost; that disconsolate humour of Melancholly possibly might be one rea­son of it. Nay, when he came to dye, his Death-bed was uncom­fortable, and sadness remained upon his Spirit till he entred into the Joy of his Lord.

Yet I am sure there is sufficient ground for peace within the per­fect Man. For Christ died that Death might be unstung; and that Believers might not be terrified at it, but triumph over it. Through Death he destroyed the Devil, as he had the Power of Death, that is, to make Death terrible, and consequently deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage, Heb. 2. 14, 15. What a most desirable way of dying is this, when Conscience has great Peace, being purged and healed by the Blood of Christ! When the God of Love and Peace, speaks Peace to the departing Soul by his comforting Spirit! And a Saint can say with righteous Simeon of old, Luke 1. 29, 30. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy salvation!

4. When the perfect and upright man dies, what a glorious and per­fect Peace does he enter into in the other World. In those blessed Regions unto which he goes, there is Light without Darkness, there is Love with­out [Page 18] the least Discord, there is Joy without any Sorrow, and secure Possession without any Disturbance, or fear of Deprivation. The gulph that is fixed, Luke 16. 26. as it for ever banishes Hope out of Hell, so it leaves not the least room for Fear in Heaven. It is much to be lamented, that Saints at this day discover no more of love, and of a peaceable Temper, but when they are all come to the same Heaven, God who is Light and Love will be all in all, 1 Cor. 15. 28. and they all will be perfectly One in Him!

I come now to the Application.

And here I shall speak,

First, Concerning the perfect and upright Man, who is lately taken from us.

Secondly, A few words to you that survive him.

First, Concerning the Person deceased. And truly I speak not only my Affection, but my Conscience, when I say, I do believe there was not a Man upon Earth that better deserved to be called a perfect Man, than our Mr. Edward Lawrence. A Man more free from all the tricks of fleshly Wisdom, more free from petty Revenges, and petty Designs against any Party; I confess I knew not any. Upright he was towards God, downright in his Dealings with Men. An even and well-spun Thread of Truth, and Honesty, and Faithfulness ran through the whole Course of his Conversation in the World.

Several things more particularly worthy of our notice, I shall men­tion concerning him.

1. He had attained to a great strength and perfection of Faith. As he saw the invisible God, and his Faith was the substance of things hoped for, and he mainly minded the invisible World; so he could trust in God, for the things of this World, when Sense being judge, there was no probability of supply. He [...] had a numerous Family when he left his Living on the Black Bartholomew-day; and being asked how he hoped to be provided for? He answered, That the Sixth of Mat­thew should maintain him By Faith he rested on that promise, that all other things shall be added to them who first seek the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness. He said, His Heavenly Father knew he needed these things; and he made no question but what he needed, would be given him. There is, I am perswaded, an extraordinary Relish in the Meat and Drink, when Faith spreads the Table, and fills the Cup [Page 19] every day, and Sense cannot perceive a Day before-hand how this should be done.

2. How perfect a Work had Patience in him! He was conformed to his Head Christ, in being a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with Grief. He was exercised with Affliction in his own Person, and with Domestick Troubles which went very near him; yet he justified God in all; he believed that Good would come out of the Evils he felt; no Burthen tired his Patience, for he knew how happy they are that endure. In all Chastizements he perceived the Faithfulness and Love of his Chastizer, and this made all strokes tolerable. His sick Fits, his Pains, his wearisome and wakeful Nights, [...], never made him, that ever I could hear, or hear of, to break forth into Murmurings or Complaints unbecoming him; whatever he wanted, he still possessed his Soul in Patience.

3. He was a Man of a most Publick Spirit, and of a Catholick Charity. He was troubled to see the Members of the Body of Christ divided; so little consulting the honour of their Head, or their own Interest. He was stiffly for no Party, very moderate towards all. True Goodness he liked and loved where-ever he saw it, and tho he had suffered very much from some bot Men of the Church of England, yet he was not bitter in his Speeches against them; where-ever he perceived use­fulness, an unblameable Conversation, and a design for God carried on, he did readily acknowledge it, and rejoiced in it.

He was not in the Quarrels of this present Age; he loved and fol­lowed after Peace as well as Holiness, and shared in the Blessedness which is promised to the Peace-makers. He was troubled to see roots of Bitterness bringing forth such bitter Fruits almost every where, and in every Party. And with such meekness of Wisdom, with such calm­ness and sedateness of Spirit, he carried it towards Men of all Per­swasions; and his Words and Ways were so inoffensive, that I never heard any one speak ill of Mr. Edward Lawrence, but all that knew him were ready to acknowledg that he was a Man of eminent Godli­ness, of a most peaceable Temper, and of a very great Integrity.

And as he loved all Saints as such, by what Name soever distinguish­ed, so he vexed his righteous Soul from day to day, because of the Ʋn­godliness, Infidelity, and Debaucheries of this wicked Age. In his last Sermon which was upon that Text, Isaiah 29. 6. When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world-will learn righteousness, with very great Zeal and warmth, he pressed upon his Hearers the learn­ing, [Page 20] the loving, the practice of Righteousness for the Nations sake, and for their own Souls sake, that it might be well with the one, and with the other.

4. He was a man of great Ministerial Accomplishments. His worth was like the deep Rivers which run more silently, whereas the shallow Brooks do make the greater Noise. He was very able in Controversial Divi­nity; his Judgment was sound, his Arguments strong, his Head and Notions very clear; and having a clear Apprehension of Truths himself, he could make them very plain to others understandings; and in his arguings he was very free from Passion; and when he saw he was likely only to stir up the Passion of others, instead of rectifying their Judgments, he would be silent.

In his Preaching he was very solid and substantial; he had a great firmness in Memory which continued to the last. He prayed and preached with such a Spirit, as did evidence much of the presence of God with him. How did he speak to God? as one that saw him just before him! And when he spake to man, he spake as the Oracle of God with greatest seriousness, and as about things of the highest and everlasting Concernment. How firmly was he himself perswaded of those Truths he propounded to others? He taught the Commands of Christ, and himself obeyed them, and was great useful in his King­dom.

In the second place I shall speak a few Words to you that sur­vive him.

And that both to his Relations.

And to Others.

To his Relations I shall say these three things,

1. Take notice of his great Affection to you, and how this Affe­ction was spiritualized; he loved you, but especially your Souls, the most precious part of you; he was full of care that it might be well with you for ever, and was faithful in reproving, as the World can witness, when he saw occasion; he used various Ways and Methods that his great end, your Happiness, might be attained.

2. Be sure to follow his very good Example. What kind of Children should the Children of such a Father be! there would be a kind of monstrousness in being very grosly unlike to him! As to his youngest Son, who is a Minister of the Gospel, I heartily wish, tho it be an hard thing which I wish, that a double portion of his Fathers Spirit may be vouch­safed to him!

[Page 21] 3. Be encouraged by this, That your deceased Father has treasured up a stock of Prayers for you; and you may expect a gracious return. If you give your selves to Prayers, God may answer his Supplications af­ter his death in bestowing Temporal, Spiritual, and Eternal Bene­fits upon you.

To others that hear me this day; I shall only give two words of Counsel.

Think much of your later end.

Let it be your great care that your end may be peace.

1. Be all of you wise to consider your later end. Death did set out against you as soon as you were born, and it makes still nearer and nearer ap­proaches to you every day, and hour, and moment of your lives. Every step you take is a step towards the Grave. Every moment of your time which passes away brings you nearer to Eternity. God wishes you wise to consider your later end; he will be much pleased to see you very earnest with him to make you so; he is ready to teach you so to number your days, that you may apply your hearts unto wisdom, Psal. 90. 12. The serious thoughts of death will quicken you in your Duties, and break the force of Temptations: Think of the time when you must leave the World, that eagerness after the World may be aba­ted. To how good purpose will you live, if with the Apostle you dye daily! 1 Cor. 15. 31.

2. Let it be your care that your end may be peace. Believe in Jesus the great Peace-maker between God and Man, that you may joy in him, because by him you have received the atonement, Rom. 5. 11. Let your Faith be accompanied with Obedience and Love to the Laws of God. Psal. 119. 165. Great peace have they that love thy law, and no­thing shall offend them. Value the inestimable Jewel of a good Conscience, and take heed of every thing that may defile and wound it. When the Apostle had the sentence of death in himself; the testimony of his Con­science, that by the grace of God he had had his Conversation in the World in simplicity and godly sincerity, did fill him with Peace and Joy, 2 Cor. 1. 9, 12. Never be weary of well-doing, that your Lord when he comes may find you so doing. 'Tis labour best bestowed when you are diligent, that you may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless.

Several Passages concerning Mr. Lawrence, out of Two Letters, which were sent by Two Mini­sters, Eminent for Learning and Godliness, and both of them intimately acquainted with Him.

The First LETTER concerning Mr. Edward Lawrence.

MR. Lawrence was admitted into Magdalene Colledge in Cam­bridge, in the Year 1645, and was Studious, a Promoter of serious Godliness among the young Scholars; and was so noted also for his Parts and Learning, that we would have made him a Fel­low. But when he had taken his Degree of Batchellor of Arts, (some Years after, he took the Degree of Master of Arts) he, be­ing some ways engaged, went into the Countrey, and began to preach (having been of a good Age when admitted, about 18 as I remember), and with much Acceptance. He took up with Baschurch, a Vicaridge of about 60 l. a Year; where (though if he had sought great things he might have been removed to a greater Place, considering the Love and Esteem he had) he continued till Bartho­lomew 1662, and then left his Station and Subsistence, though he had a Wife and seven or eight Children, and no Estate; and oft used to say, He lived upon the sixth of Matthew. About the Year 79, the Quakers rising thereabout, he Disputed with one of their Chief Ring­leaders, and shamefully baffled him in the Judgment of the Multi­tudes of the Hearers, and as appears by the Relation of it put out by the Quaker. He was dangerously ill, and upon his recovery put out his useful Book, Of Christ's Power over bodily Diseases; which, though very good, I then told him was below most of his Sermons he usually preached, of which I had heard many.

How he was driven from Whitchurch, Mr. H. who was then in those parts will, I suppose, punctually inform you; and for these last four or five and twenty Years, his Brethren in the City can give a good account of Him.

The Second LETTER.

AFter Mr. Lawrence his remove by the Bartholomew Act from Baschurch, where he had been many Years a Faithful Minister of the Gospel of Christ, he sojourn'd▪ while with his Wife and Children, at a Neighbouring Gentleman's House within the Parish, who had a great Respect for him, and was very Kind to him; and he account­ed it a great Mercy that though the Law had silenced him, that he must not preach to his beloved Flock, yet he had his Abode amongst them, and might be many ways useful to them. But when the Five Mile Act, so called, was to be put in Execution in March 66. he went to Tilstock, a Village in Whitchurch Parish, in the same County, to sojourn there, and there the Power of the Lord was with him greatly and made him Instrumental of much Good, both to the Town and in the Neighbourhood; the remembrance where­of is still sweet to many who are yet living. As he had opportunity he preach'd to them, both in Season and out of Season; and which was more, his Prudent, Pious Conversation was a continual Ser­mon. He had many Children and all with him, and no visible Income wherewithal to buy them Bread, yet the Lord was graci­ously pleased to make Provision both for him and them, so that they did not want: The sixth of Matthew, as he was used to say, did maintain him. During his Abode there he buried a dearly be­loved Daughter, named Sarah, which was a great Grief to him, for she was grown up, and began to be useful; but it Comforted him that she finished Well; and God gave him two Sons instead of her, which repair'd the loss. Another remove he had to Whitchurch Town, and while he was there in May 1670, when the severe Act against Conventicles commenc'd in the same Month; upon a Sabbath-day in the Afternoon he preach'd in a private House only to four and the Family, where they were disturbed by the Minister himself, Dr. M. F. in his own Person, with others attending him; and the Week following Convicted and Fined; the Minister 10 l. because Poor; the Master of the House 20 l. and two other of the Town 5 l. a piece; and one Woman 5 s. Upon each of which Distress was made shortly after with the greatest Rigor. They judging them­selves wrong'd, made their Appeal according to Law, and in March following had a Tryal at Salop, before Judge Twisden. The Pre­tence [Page 24] against them was, That a Daughter of the Family (who was sixteen Years of Age but a few Days before) coming home from Chester from an Uncle the had there, was one present, and being none of the Family of her Father made a fifth. The Case was argu'd by Council, and the Prosecutors made no other account but that the Jury would give their Verdict for the Justices, who were the Defendants, and lay treble Damages upon the Plantiffs, which were intended to be made very great to their utter undoing. But it pleased God, in whose Hands are the Hearts of all Men, without any Motion or Pro­curement of theirs to incline one of the Jurors to differ in the Ver­dict from the rest, saying, He would rather dye than say the Girl was none of her Father's Family. This occasioned their stay toge­ther all Night; and in the Morning being accused of some words spoken by him in their heat of Arguing, to one of his Fellow-Ju­rors, he was severely Rebuked and Fined 10 l. and the Cause re­ferred to two Lawyers, who never made any Decision of it, so that each side sat down with his own Loss; and not long after such of their Goods, as were taken from them they had again, but much demnified. 'Twas observed, That one of the Prosecuting Justices dying during the Prosecution, his Houshold-Goods were Proclaimed in the Town to be Sold, and were Sold before Chapmen could be found that would buy the Distrained Goods. The Informer that told he saw the Persons going into the House, did afterwards beg his Bread from Door to Door. This Event occasioned the remove of this Excellent Person out of his own Native Countrey, where he dwelt among his own People, to seek a Habitation elsewhere among Strangers; and to London he went, where God gave him Favour in the sight of many who sat down under his Ministry, and with whom he ended his Days.

FINIS.

Lately Printed,

THe Cure of Distractions in attending upon God. In several Sermons from 1 Cor. 7. 35. That we may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

The Love of the World cured. In several Sermons preached upon 1 John 2. 15. Love not the world, &c.

Both by Nathanael Vincent.

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