THE LABOVRING SAINTS Dismission to REST.

A SERMON Preached at the FUNERAL of the Right Honourable HENRY IRETON Lord Deputy of IRELAND: In the Abbey Church at Westminster, the 6th. day of February 1651.

BY JOHN OWEN, Minister of the Gospel.

Licensed and Entered according to Order.

LONDON, Printed by R. and W. Leybourn, for Philemon Stephens, at the Gilded Lion in Pauls Church-yard. 1652.

To THE HONOURABLE, And my very worthy friend Colonell HENRY CROMWEL.

SIR,

THe ensuing Sermon was preached upon as sad an occasion, as on any particular ac­count hath been given to this Nation in this our Generation. It is now pub­lished, as at the desire of very many who love the savour of that perfume which is diffused with the memory of the Noble person peculiarly mentioned therein: so also upon the requests of such others, as enables me justly to entitle the doing of it, Obe­dience. Being come abroad, it was in my thoughts to have directed it immediately in the first place to Her, who of any individuall person was most neerely concerned in Him. But having observed how neere she hath been to be swallowed up of sorrow, and what slow progresse, he who tooke care to seale up instruction to her soule by all dispensations, hath given her hitherto toward a conquest thereof: I was not willing to offer directly a new occasion unto the multitude of her perplexed thoughts about this thing. No doubt, her losse being as great as it could be upon the account of one subject to the law of mortality, as many grains of grief and sorrow are to be allowed her in the balance of the Sanctuary, as God [Page] doth permit to be laid out and dispended about any of the sons of men. He who is able to make sweet the bitterest, waters, & to give a gracious issue to the most grievous tri­all, will certainly, in due time, eminently bring forth that good upon her spirit, which he is causing all these things to work together for. In the mean time, Sir, these lines are to you: Your neer relation to that rare example of Righteousness, Faith, Holiness, Zeal, Courage, Self-denial, Love to his Countrey, Wisdom and Industry, mentioned in the ensuing Sermon, the mutuall tender affection be­tween you whilest he was living; your presence with him in his last triall and conflict, the deserved regard you bear to his worth and memory; your designe of looking into, and following after his steps and purpose in the work of God in his Generation, as such an accomplished patern, as few ages have produced the like; with many other reasons of the like nature, did easily induce me hereunto. That which is here printed is but the notes I first took, not having had leisure since to give them a serious peru­sall, and upon that account, must beg a candid interpreta­tion unto any thing that may appear not so well digested therein as might be expected. I have not any thing to ex­press concerning your self, but only my desire's that your heart may be fixed to the Lord God of your fathers, and that in the middest of all your Temptations and Opposi­tions wherewith your pilgrimage will be attended, you may be carried on and established in your inward subje­ction unto, and outward contending for the Kingdome of the dearly beloved of our souls; not fainting, or waxing weary until you receive your dismission to rest, for your lot in the end of the dayes.

SIR,
Your most humble and affectionate servant JOHN OWEN. Ox. Ch. Ch.
April. 2d.

THE LABOURING SAINTS Dismission to REST:

DAN. 12. 13.‘But go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in the lot at the end of the dayes.’

THe words of my text having no dependance (as to their sense & meaning, but only as to the occasion of them) on the Verses foregoing, I shall not at all look back­ward into the Chapter, but fall immediately upon them, that I be not hindred from my principall Intendment; being unwilling to detein you long, though willing to speak a word from the Lord, to such a Congregation gathered together by such an eminent Act of the Providence of God.

The words are the Lords dismission given to a most eminent ser­vant, [Page 2] from a most eminent Imployment, wherein these four things are observable.

  • 1 The dismission it self in the first words, Go thou thy ways.
  • 2 The term allotted for his continuance, under that dismission, untill the end be.
  • 3 His state and condition under that dismission, for thou shalt rest.
  • 4 The utmost issue of all this dispensation, both as to his fore­going labour, his dismission and Rest following, stand in thy lot at the end of the dayes.

Go thou thy wayes, &c.

In the first, I shall consider two things.

  • 1 The person dismissed, (Thou) Go thou thy wayes.
  • 2 The dismission it self, Go thou thy wayes.

1 The person dismissed is Daniel, the Writer of this prophecie, who received all the great visions of God mentioned therein, and I desire to observe concerning him as to our purpose in hand, two things.

1 His Qualifications. Secondly, his Employment.

For the first, I shall only name some of them that were most e­minent in him, and they are three.

1 Wisdome. 2 Love to his people. 3 Uprightnesse and Righteous­nesse in the discharge of that high place whereunto he was ad­vanced.

For the first, the holy Ghost beareth ample Testimony there­unto, Dan. 1. 17, 20. As for these foure children, God gave them know­ledge and skill in all learning and wisdome, and Daniel had understand­ing in all visions and dreams.

And in all matters of wisdome, and understanding that the King enquired of them, he found them ten times better then all the Magicians and Astrologers that were in all his Realm.

In all matters of wisdom, and understanding none in the whole Ba­bylonian Empire full of Wise-men and Artists, were to be compa­red unto Daniel and his companions, and Ezekiel, 28. 3. rebuking the pride and arrogancie of Tyrus with a bitter scorn, he sayes; Behold, Thou art wiser than Daniel, or thou thinkest thy self so, in­timating that none in wisdom was to be compared unto him.

[Page 3] 2 Love to his people. On this account was his most diligent en­quiry into the time of their deliverance, and his earnest contend­ing with God upon the discovery of the season, when it was to be accomplished, Cha. 9. 1, 2, 3, 4. Hence he is reckoned amongst them, who in their generation stood in the gap, in the behalf of others, Noah, Daniel and Job. Hence God calls the people of the Jews, his people, Ch. 9. 24 Seventy weeks are determined on thy people: the people of thy Affections and desires, the people of whom thou art, and who are so dear unto thee,

3 For his righteousnesse in discharging of his Trust and Office, you have the joynt testimony of God and Man: his high place and preferment you have; Chap. 6. 2. he was the first of the three Presidents who were set over the hundred & twenty other Princes of the Provinces; & the Holy Ghost tels you that in the discharge of this high Trust and great Employment, he was faithfull to the ut­most, Verse 4. Then the Presidents and Princes sought to finde occa­sion against Daniel concerning the Kingdome, but they could finde none occasion nor fault: forasmuch as he was faithfull, neither was there any errour or fault found in him. Which also his enemies confest, Verse 3. Then said these men, we shall not find any oc­casion against this Daniel, except we finde it against him concern­ing the Law of his God.

These qualifications I say amongst others were most eminent in this person, who here received his dismission from his employ­ment.

Secondly, there is his Employment it self, from which he is dis­missed, and herein I shall only observe these two things.

  • 1 The nature of the Employment it self.
  • 2 Some considerable Circumstances of it.

For the first, it consisted in receiving from God, and holding out to others cleer and expresse Visions concerning Gods won­derfull providentiall Alterations in Kingdoms, and Nations, which were to be accomplished, from the dayes wherein he lived, to the end of the World. All the Prophets together had not so many cleer discoveries, as this one Daniel concerning these things.

2 For the latter, this is observable, that all his Visions still close with some eminent Exaltation of the Kingdome of Christ; that is [Page 4] the centre where all the lines of his Visions do meet, as is to be seen in the close almost of every Chapter, and this was the great intendment of the Spirit in all those glorious revelations unto Da­niel, to manifest the subserviency of all civill revolutions unto the interest of the Kingdom of the Lord Christ.

This then is the person concerning whom these words were u­sed, and this was his Employment.

2 There is his dismission it self, Go thou thy wayes, Now this may be considered two wayes,

  • 1 Singly, relating to his Employment only.
  • 2 In reference to his Life also.

In the first sence, the Lord dischargeth Daniel from his further attendance on him, in this way of receiving visions and Revelati­ons concerning things that were shortly to come to passe, al­though happily his portion might yet be continued in the Land of the living: As if the Lord should say. Thou art an inquiring man, thou art still seeking for further aquaintance with my minde in these things, but content thy selfe, thou shalt receive no more Visions; I will now imploy Haggai, Zechariah, and others, thou shalt receive no more, but I cannot close with this sense, for;

1 This is not the manner of God to lay aside those whom he hath found faithfull in his service, men indeed do so, but God chan­eth nat: whom he hath begun to honour with any employment, he continueth them in it, whilest they are faithfull to him.

2 Daniel was now above an 100 yeares old, as may be easily demonstrated by comparing the time of his captivity, which was in the third yeare of the Reigne of Jehojakim, Chap. 1. 1. with the time of his writing this prophecy, which is expresly said to be in the reigne of Cyrus the King of Persia, Chap. 10. 1. and therefore probably his end was very nigh; and after this you heare of him no more; who had he lived many dayes, it had been his sin, not to have gone up to Jerusalem, the decree of Cyrus giving liberty for a returne being passed.

It is not then Gods laying him aside from his Office simply, but also his intimation that he must shortly lay down his morta­lity, and so come into the condition wherein he was to rest un­till the end; This then is his dismission, he died in his work, life and employment go together, Go thou thy wayes.

[Page 5] Obs. 1. There is an appointed season wherein the Saints of the most eminent Abilities, in the most usefull employment, must receive their dismission, be their work of never so great importance, be their Abilities never so choice and eminent, they must in their season receive their dismission.

Before I handle this Proposition, or proceed to open the fol­lowing words, I shall crave leave to bring the work of God, and the vvord of God, a little close together, and lay the parallel be­tvveen the persons dismissed, the one in our Text, the other in a present providence, vvhich is very neare, only that the one lived not out halfe the dayes of the other.

Three personall qualifications we observed in Daniel, all which were very eminent in the person of our desires.

1 Wisdome. There is a manifold wisdome, which God imparteth to the sons of men; there is spirituall wisdome, that by the way of eminency is said to be from above, Jam. 3. 17. which is nothing but the gracious Acquaintance of the soule with the hidden wisdome of God in Christ, 1 Cor. 2. 7. and there is a civill wisdome, or a sound ability of minde for the management of the affairs of men in subordination to the Providence, and Righteousnesse of God. Though both these were in Daniel, yet it is in respect of the latter that his wisdome is so peculiarly extolled. And though I am very farre from assuming to my self the skill of judging of the Abilities of men, and would be farre from holding forth things of meere common report, yet, upon assured grounds I suppose this gift of God, Ability of minde, and dextrous industry for the management of humane Affairs may be ascribed to our departed friend.

There are sundry things that distinguish this wisdom from that policie which God abhors, which is carnall, sensuall and devillish, Jam. 3. 15. though it be the great darling of the men of the world; I shall name one or two of them.

1 A gracious discerning of the minde of God, according to his appearance in the Affairs wherein men are employed, Micah 6. 9. the Lords voice cryeth unto the City, the man of wisdom shall see thy name, heare the rod, and who hath appointed it. It is the wisdom of a man, to see the name of God, to be acquainted with his will, his minde, his aime in things, when his providentiall voice crieth [Page 6] to the City. All the works of God have their voice, have their in­struction: those of signal providences speak aloud, they cry to the City; Here is the wisdome of a man, he is a man of substance, a substan­tiall man, that can see his name in such dispensations. This carnall policie enquires not into, but is wholly swallowed up in the con­catenation of things among themselves, applying secondary cau­ses unto events, without once looking to the Name of God, like Swine following Acorns under the tree, not at all looking up to the tree from whence they fall.

2 Such acquaintance with the seasons of Providence, as to know the duty of the people of God in them, 1 Chron. 12. 32. the children of Issachar, men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do: this it is indeed to be a man of under­standing, to know in any season the duty of Israel, that they may walke up to Acceptation with God in the performance thereof. A thing which is neither prescribed in the Rules, nor followed in the practise of men, wise only with that cursed politie which God ab­hors: to have a minde suited unto all seasons and tempers, so as to compasse their own selfish ends, is the utmost of their aime.

Now in both these did this gift of God shine in this deceased Saint.

1 He ever counted it his wisdom to look after the name of God, and the testification of his will, in every dispensation of provi­dence, wherein he was called to serve: for this were his wakings, watchings, enquiries; when that was made out, he counted not his businesse half done, but even accomplished, and that the issue was ready at the doore; not what saith this man, or what saith that man, but what saith the Lord? that being evident; he con­sulted not with flesh and bloud, and the wisdom of it, (where­of perhaps, would he have leaned to it, he was as little destitute as any in his Generation, I mean the whole wisdom of a man.) The Name of God was as land in every storm, in the discovery where­of, he had as happy an eye at the greatest seeming distance when the clouds were blackest, and the waves highest, as any.

2 Neither did he rest here: what Israel ought to do, in every sea­son, was also his enquiry; some men have a wisdome to know things, but not seasons in any measure; surely a thing in season, is [Page 7] no lesse beautifull then a word in season: as apples of gold in pi­ctures of silver: there are few things which belong to civill affairs, but are alterable upon the incomprehensible variety of circum­stances. These alter and change the very nature of them, and make them good or bad, that is useful or destructive. He that will have the garment that was made for him one yeer, serve him and fit him the next, must be sure that he neither increase nor vvane. Importune insisting on the most usefull things, without respect to alterations of seasons, is a sad signe of a narrovv heart. He of vvhom vve speak, vvas vvise to discern the seasons, and performed things, vvhen both themselves, and the vvayes of carrying them on vvere excellently suited unto all coincidences of their season. And indeed, vvhat is most wisely proposed in one season, may be most foolishly pursued in another. It had been vvisdom in Joshua not to have made any compact, but to have slain all the Gibeonites; but it vvas a folly sorely revenged in Saul, vvho attempted to do the same. He vvho thinks the most righteous and sutable propo­sals or principles, that ever vvere in the vvorld (setting aside ge­nerall rules of unchangeable Righteousnesse, and Equity compas­sing all times, places, wayes and forms of Government) must be perform'd as desirable, because once they were so, is certainly a stranger to the Affairs of humane kinde.

Some things are universally unchangeable and indispensable a­mongst mem, supposing them to live answerable to the generall principles of their kinde: as that a Government must be, without which, every one is the enemy of every one; and all tend to mu­tuall destruction, which are appointed of God for mutuall preser­vation, that in Government some do rule, and some be in subjecti­on, that all rule be for the good of them that are ruled, and the like principles that flow necessarily from the very nature of politi­cal society.

Some things again are alterable & dispensable, meerly upon the account of preserving the former principles, or the like: if any of them are out of course, it is a vacuum in nature politick, for which all particular elements instantly dislodge and transpose them­selves to supply, and such are all forms of Government amongst men, which if either they so degenerate of themselves that they be­come [Page 8] directly opposite, or are so shattered by providential Revo­lutions as to become uselesse to their proper end, may and ought to be changed, and not upon other accounts: but now for other things in Government, as the particular way, whereby persons shall be designed unto it, the continuance of the same persons in it, for a lesse or a greater proportion of time, the exercise of more or lesse power by some sorts, or the whole body of them that are ruled, the uniting of men for some particular ends by bonds & en­gagements, and the like occasional emergencies, the universal dis­posal of them is roll'd on prudence to act according to present circumstances.

2 Love to his people: This was the second qualification, where­in Daniel was so eminent. And our deceased friend, not to enter into comparison with them that went before, had cleerly such a proportion, as we may heartily desire that those who follow after, may drink but equall draughts of the same cup; that as his pains, labour, travel, Jeopards of his life, and all that was dear to him, Re­linquishment of Relations and contentments, had sweetnesse and life from this motive, even intensenesse of Affection to his people, the people of whom he was, and whose prosperity he did desire, needs no further demonstration, then the great neglect of self and all self-concernments which dwelt upon him, in all his tremendous undertakings: vicit amor patriae, or certainly he who had upon his brest and all his undertakings self-contempt so eminently en­graven, could not have persisted wrestling with so many difficul­ties, to the end of his dayes: It was Jerusalem, and the prosperi­ty thereof, which was preferr'd to his chief joy. Neither

3 Did he come short in Righteousnesse in the administration of that high place whereto he was called? nay, then this, there was not a more eminent stone in that Diademe which he had in the earth. If he lay not at the bottom, yet at least he had a signall concurrence in such Acts of Justice, as Antiquity hath not known, and Posterity will admire. Neither was it this or that particular act that did in this bespeak his praise, but a constant will and pur­pose of rendring to every one his due.

I shall not insist upon particulars, in these and sundry other personall Qualifications, between the persons mentioned a Paral­lel may lie.

[Page 9] 2 As to Employment, that of Daniel was mentioned before: it was the receiving, and holding out from God, Visions of signal pro­videntiall Alterations, disposing and transposing of States, Na­tions, Kingdoms, and Dominions; what he had in Speculation, was this mans part to follow in Action, he was an eminent instru­ment in the hand of God in as tremendous Providentiall Altera­tion, as such a spot of the World hath at any time received since Daniel, foresaw in generall them all: and this, not as many have been carried along with the stream, or led by outward motives, and considerations far above their own principles and desires, but seeingly and knowingly, he closed with the minde of God, with full purpose of heart, to serve the will of the Lord in his Generation. And on this account did he see every mountain made a plain before­hand, by the Spirit of the Lord, and staggered not at the greatest difficulties, through unbelief, but being stedfast in faith, he gave glory to God. And to compleat the Parallel, as Daniel's Visions were still terminated in the Kingdom of Christ; so all his actions had the same aime and intendment. This was that which gave life, and sweetnesse to all the most dismall and black engagements that at anytime he was called out unto. All made way to the comming in of the promised glory. It was all the vengeance of the Lord and his Temple. A Davidicall preparation of his paths in bloud, that he might for ever reign in Righteousnesse and Peace; but be he so or so, the truth of our Proposition is confirmed towards him.

There is an appointed season when the Saints of the most eminent abi­lities in the most usefull Employments shall receive their dismission, &c.

I shall briefly open the rest of the words, and so take up the proposition again, which vvas first laid dovvn.

2 Then, there is the term allotted to him in this state of his dis­mission, untill the end be.

Three things may be here intended in this vvord end, untill the end be.

1 The end of his life, Go thou thy wayes to the end of thy life, and dayes; but this we before disallowed, not consenting that Daniel received a dismission from his Employment, before the end of his life and pilgrimage.

[Page 10] 2 The end of the World, Go thy wayes to the end of the World: till then thou shalt rest in thy grave; but neither yet doth this seem to be peculiarly intended in these vvords. The vvords in the close of the text do expresly mention that, calling it the end of the dayes; and in so fevv vvords, the same thing is not needlesly repeated: besides, had this expression held out the vvhole time of his abode in the state of rest here signified, it must have been, Go thou thy wayes, for thou shalt rest untill the end be; So that,

Thirdly, the end here is to be accommodated unto the things, whereof the Holy Ghost is peculiarly dealing with Daniel; and that is the Accomplishment of the great Visions which he had received, in breaking the Kingdomes of the World, and setting up the Kingdome of the holy One of God: Daniel is dismissed from further attendance in this service, he shall not see the actuall Accomplishment of the things mentioned, but is dismissed and laid, aside unto the end of them. The vvord, untill, in the Scripture is not such a limitation of time, as to assert the contrary to vvhat is excepted, upon its accomplishment: untill the end, doth not signifie, that he should not rest after the end of the things intimated, no more then it is affirmed that Michal had chil­dren after her death, because it is said, that untill her death, she had none, 2 Sam. 6. 23. this then is that end that he is dismissed unto; the appointed season for the accomplishment of those glorious things which he had foreshovvn.

Obs. God oftentimes suffers not his choicest servants to see the issue and accomplishment of these glorious things wherein themselves have been most eminently engaged.

3 The third thing (that vve may make haste) is his state and condition, during the time vvhich he lies under this dismission, in these vvords, for thou shalt rest.

There is nothing of difficulty in these vvords, but vvhat vvill naturally fall under consideration in the opening of the proposi­tion which they hold out; which is

Obs. 3. The condition of a dismissed Saint is a condition of Rest, Thou shalt rest untill the end be. What this rest is, and from what, with wherein it consists, shall be afterwards explained.

4 The last thing in the Text is; the utmost issue of all these [Page 11] dispensations, both as to his fore-going labour, and his present dis­mission, and following Rest. Thou shalt stand in thy lot, &c.

Here are two things considerable in these words, The season of the accomplishment of what is here foretold, and promised unto Daniel, and that is in the end of the dayes, that is, when time shall be no no more, when a period shall be put to the dayes of the World: called the last day, the great day, the day of Judgement; that is the season of the accomplishment of this promise, the day wherein God will judge the world, by the man whom he hath ordained.

Obs. There is an appointed determinate season, wherein all things and persons according to the will of God will run into their utmost issue and everlasting condition.

2 The thing foretold, and promised, that is, that he should stand in his lot.

Obs. There is an appointed lot for every one to stand in, and measu­red portion, which in the end they shall receive.

2 There is an eminent lot hereafter, for men of eminent employment for God here.

I shal not be able to handle all these several Truths which lie in the words; those only which are of most Importance and most suit­able, may briefly be handled unto you, and the first is,

There is an appointed season wherein the Saints of the most emi­nent abilities, in the most usefull Employments must receive their dismission, Zach. 1. 5. Your Fathers where are they? and the Prophets do they live for ever? Fathers, and Prophets have but their sea­son, and they are not: They have their dismission; so old Simeon professeth, Nunc Dimittis, Luke 2. 29. Now thou givest me a dis­mission: they are placed of God in their station, as a Centinel in his Watch-tower, and they have their appointed season, and are then dismissed from their Watch. The great Captain of their sal­vation comes, and saith, Go thou thy wayes, thou hast faithfully dis­charged thy duty; go now unto thy rest. Some have harder ser­vice: some have harderduty then others: some keep guard in the Winter, a time of storms and temptations, trials and great pressures: others in the sun-shine, the Summer of a more flourish­ing estate and condition; yet duty they all do; all attend in the service; all endure some hardship, and have their appointed sea­son [Page 12] for their dismission: And be they never so excellent at the dis­charging of their duty, they shall not abide one moment beyond the bounds which He hath set them, who saith to all his creatures, thus far shall you go and no further. Oftentimes this dismission is in the midst of their work, for which they seem to be most eminent­ly qualified.

The three most eminent works of God, in and about his chil­dren, in dayes of old, were 1 His giving his people the Law, and setling them in the land of Canaan. 2 His recovering them from the Babylonish Captivity, and 3 His promulgation of the Gospel unto them. In these three works, he employed three most eminent persons; Moses. in the first; Daniel in the second, and John Baptist in the third, and neither of them saw the work ac­complished, wherein they were so eminently employed: Moses died the yeer before the people entred Canaan: Daniel, some few yeers before the foundation of the Temple: and John Baptist in the first yeer of the Baptisme of our Saviour, when the Gospel which he began to preach, was to be published in its beauty and glory. They had all but their appointed seasons, though their abilities were eminent: who like unto them, and their employment excel­lent, what like it in the earth? yet at their seasons, they must go their ways to rest, and lie down, till they stand in their lot at the end of the dayes.

Reas. 1. The generall condition of their mortality doth re­quire that it should be so: It is appointed to all men once to die, Heb. 9. 27. There is a stable law fixed concerning the sons of men, that is not upon the account of any usefulness here to be dispensed with­all, The number of our moneths are with God; he hath fixed our bounds, which we shall not passe: our dayes are as the dayes of an hireling, that have a certain prefixed and determinate end: their strength is not the strength of stones, neither is their flesh of brasse, that they should endure for ever. See Job 14, 10, 11, 12. This (I say) re­quires that there should be an appointed season for their Employment, for it is so for their lives: and yet there is more in it then this: for in the course of 5000 yeeres, God hath exempted two persons by his Sovereignty from the condition of mortality, who walked with him in their generations. So that the bounds fixed to them were [Page 13] not upon the account of their lives, but meerly of the work they had in hand.

2 God doth it, that he may be the more eminently seen in the carrying on his own works, which in their season he commits to them. Should he leave his work always on one hand it would seem at length to be the work of the Instrument only. Though the peo­ple opposed Moses at the first, yet it is thought they would have worshipped him at the last: and therefore God buried him where his body could not be found. Yet indeed he had but the lot of most, who faithfully serve God in their generations: despised whilest they are present, idolized when they are gone. I do not know of any great work, that the Lord carried out the same per­sons to be the beginners and enders of. He gave them all their sea­sons, that his power and wisdome might the more evidently ap­pear in carrying it from one hand to another.

3 God makes room as it were in his Vineyard, for the budding, flourishing and fruit-bearing of other Plants which he hath plant­ed. Great Employments call for great exercise of graces. Even in Employments in and about providentiall things, there is the exercise of spirituall grace: as much Faith and Prayer, as much communion with God, walking before him and wrestling with him, may be used in casting down of Armies, as in setting up of Churches: God exerciseth all the graces of his, in the work he cal­leth them out unto. He principles them, by faith and fellowship with himself, for their Employment; and therefore He gives each individuall, but his appointed season, that others in whose hearts he hath lodged the same spirit wherewith they are endued, may come forth, and shew the fruits thereof. Daniel lieth down in the dust, in rest and peace, and why so? the spirit of prophecie is pou­red out on Haggai and Ze [...]hariah, &c. they must also carry on this work, and beare my name before my people. Consider the use of this.

Ʋse 1. of Exhortation unto all that are imployed in the work of God, especially such as with eminent Abilities are enga­ged in eminent Employments, you have but your alotted season for your work: your day hath its close, its evening: your night com­eth, [Page 14] wherein none can work: The grave cannot praise the Lord, death cannot celebrate him, it's the living, the living that are fitted for that worke, Isa. 38. 18, 19. It is true, men may alot you your season, and all in vain, but your Times are in the hand of God; that which he hath appointed out unto you shall stand; be you never so ex­cellent, never so usefull, yet the dayes of your service are as the dayes of an hireling, that will expire at the appointed season: be wise then to improve the time that is in your hands; this is the praise of a man, the onely praise whereof in this world he is par­taker, that he doth the will of God, before he fall asleep: that he faith­fully serves his generation, untill he be no more.

For a dying man to wrestle with the rebukes of God, and the complaints of his own conscience, for meeting with the end of his dayes, before he hath attained the midst of his duty, is a sad con­dition.

You have your season, and you have but your season, neither can you lye down in peace, untill you have some perswasion that your worke as well as your life is at an end; what ever then you finde to do, do it with all your strength, for there is neither wis­dome, nor power in the grave whither you are going, Ecclesiast. 9. 10.

Some particular Rules may direct you herein.

1 Compare yonr selves with the Saints of God, who were faithfull in their generations, and are now fallen asleep; What a deal of work did Josiah do in a short season? what a Light did John set up in a few yeares? with what unwearied paines and industry did our deceased friend serve his generation? It is said of Caesar, that he was ashamed of his own sloth, when he found that Alex­ander had conquered the Eastern world, at the age wherein he had done nothing. Behold here, one receiving his dismission a­bout the age of 40 yeares, and what a world of work for God, and the Interest of the Lord Christ did he in that season? and how well in the close, hath he parted with a temporall life for him, who by his death procured for him an eternall life, And now Rest is sweet unto this labouring man. Provoke one another by examples.

[Page 15] 2 Be diligent to passe through your work, & let it not too long hang upon your hands: Your appointed season may come before you bring it to the close; yea search out work for God. You that are intrusted in power, trifle not away your season. Is there no op­pressed person that with diligence you might relieve? is there no poor distressed Widow or Orphane, whose righteous Requests you might expedite and dispatch? are there no stout offenders against God and man that might be chastized? are there no slack and slow Counties and Cities in the execution of Justice, that might be quickened by your example? No places destitute of the Gospel that might be furnished and supplyed by your industry and wisdome? can you not finde out something of these or the like nature to be dispatched with vigour and diligence? nay do not innumerable particulars in each kinde lye upon your hands? And is not your performance of them such a sacrifice as wherewith God is not well pleased? your time is limited and appointed, you know not how soon you may be overtaken with it; and would it not be desireable unto you, that you had done these things? will it be bitternesse in the end, that you so laid out your endevours?

Vse 3. All men have but their seasons in any worke, onely God abideth in it for ever: in every undertaking let your eye still be on him, with whom is the fulnesse and the residue of the spirit. Je­remiah's great bewailing of Josiah's death was doubtlesse made up­on the account of his discerning that none would come after him to carry on the worke which he had begun, but the wickednesse of that people was come to their height: else God can raise up yet more Josiahs: let him be eyed as the principall and onely abi­ding Agent in any great undertaking.

In the residue of the observations I shall be very brief. The next is.

Obs. 2 God oftentimes suffers not the choicest of his servants to see the accomplishment of those glorious things wherein themselves have been most eminently engaged.

The case of Moses is most eminently known, he had a large share in suffering the persecutions which were allotted to the peo­ple: [Page 16] 40 yeers banishment he endured in the Wildernesse, under the reproach of Christ 40 yeers more spent in wrestling with in­numerable difficulties, dangerous perils, mutinies, wars and con­tentions. At the close when he comes to look upon the Laud, when the end of all that dispensation was to be wound up, and the Rest and Reward of all his toile and labour to be had, which formerly he had undergone for tvvice 40 yeers; Go thou thy wayes, saith the Lord, thou shalt rest, take thy dismission, thou shalt not enter into the good Land, lie down here in the Wildernesse in peace.

John Baptist goes and preaches the drawning nigh of the kingdom of God, but lived only to point out Christ with his finger, cryes; Be­hold the Lambe of God, I must decrease, and is cut off. David makes the great preparation for the Temple, but he shal not see so much as the foundation laid. Men must take their appointed lot. God will send by the hand of him whom he will send. Daniel must rest untill the end be. It is said of some they began to deliver Israel. The case of Zerobbabel was very rare, who saw the foundation, and also the top-stone of the Temple laid, and yet the work of Jerusalem was not halfe finished in his dayes, as you may see, Zach. chap. 1.

Reason 1. God oftentimes receives secret provocations from the choicest of his servants, which moves him to take them short of their desires. Those of his own whom he employes in great workes, have great and close communion with him. God usually ex­ercises their spirits in neer acts of fellowship with himself: they receive much from him, and are constrained to unburthen themselves frequently upon him; now when men are brought into an intimacy with God, and have received great engagements from him, the Lord takes notice of every working and acting of their soules in an especiall manner, and is oftentimes grieved and provoked with that in them which others can take no notice of: let a man read the story of that action of Moses, upon which the Lord told him directly he should not see the finishing of the work he had in hand, nor enter into Canaan, Numb. 20. 7, 8, 11. It will be a hard matter, to finde out wherein the failing was: he smote the Rock with the rod, with some words of impatience, when he should one­ly [Page 17] have spoken to it, and this with some secret unbelief, as to the thing he had in hand: God deales with others visibly, according to their outward Actions, but in his own he takes notice of all their unbelief, fears, withdrawings, as proceeeding from a frame in no measure answering those gracious discoveries of himselfe, which he hath made unto them, and on this account it is, that some are taken off in the midst of their work.

2 To manifest that he hath better things in store for his Saints then the best and utmost of what they can desire or ayme at here below. He had a heaven for Moses, and therefore might in love and mercy deny him Canaan. He employeth some eminently, their work is great, their end glorious, at the very last step almost of their journey, he takes off one and another, lets them not see the things aymed at: this may be thought hard measure, strict seve­rity, exact justice, yea as Job complains, taking advantages against them; see but what he calls them to, in calling them off from their greatest Glories and Excellencies on the earth, and all this will appear to be love, tendernesse and favour in the highest. Whilest you are labouring for a handfull of first fruits, he gives you the full harvest; Whilest you are labouring for the figure here below, he gives you the substance above. Should you see the greatest worke, wherein any of you were ever ingaged, brought to perfecti­on, yet all were but as a few drops compared with that fulnesse which he hath prepared for you. The Lord then doth it to wit­nesse to the children of men, that the things which are seen the best of them, are not to be compared with the things that are not seen, yea the least of them, in as much as he takes them whom he will honour, from the very doore of the one, to bear them into the other. The meanest enjoyment in heaven is to be preferred before the richest on earth, even then when the Kingdome of Christ shall come in most beauty and glory.

Use 2. You that are ingaged in the work of God, seeke for a reward of your service in the service it selfe. Few of you may live to see that beauty & glory which perhaps you aime at as the end of all your great undertakings for God, whereinto you have been engaged. God will proceed his own pace, and calls on us to go along with him, and in the mean time, untill the determinate [Page 18] end come, to wait in faith, and not make haste. Those whose mindes are so fixed on, and swallowed up with some End (though good) which they have proposed to themselves, do seldome see good dayes, and serene in their own soules, they have bitternesse, wrath and trouble all their dayes: are still pressing to the end proposed, and commonly are dismissed from their station before it be attained. There is a sweetnesse, there is a wages to be found in the work of God it selfe: men who have learned to hold com­munion with God in every work he calls them out unto, though they never see the maine harvest they aime at in generall, yet such will rest satisfied and submit to the Lords limitation of their time: they bear their owue sheaves in their bosomes. Seeing God often­times dismisses his choisest servants, before they see, or taste of the maine fruits of their endeavours; I see not upon what account consolation can be had in following the Lord in difficult dispensati­ons, but only in that reward which every duty bringeth along with it, by Communion with God in its performance. Make then this your aime, that in sincerity of heart, you do the work of God in your generation: finde his presence with you, his Spirit gui­ding you, his Love accepting you, in the Lord Christ, and when ever you receive your dismission, it will be Rest and peace, in the meane time, you will not make haste.

2 See a bottome and ground of Consolation, when such emi­nent Instruments as this departed worthy, are called off from their station when ready to enter upon the harvest of all their labours, watchings, toylings, and expence of bloud, God hath better things for them in store, abiding things, that they shall not in­joy for a day or two, which is the best of what they could hope for here, had they lived to see al their desires accōplished; but such as in the fulnesse whereof, they may lie downe in peace to eterni­ty. Why do we complaine? for our ovvne losse? is not the re­sidue, and fulnesse of the Spirit vvith him, vvho gave him his dismission? for his losse, he lived not to see Ireland in peace, but enjoyes the glory of that eternall Kingdome that vvas prepared for him before the foundation of the World, vvhich is the con­dition held out in the third observation.

Obs. The condition of a dismissed Saint is a condition of Rest, Go [Page 19] thy way, untill the end be; for thou shalt rest. The Apostle gives it in as the issue of a discourse from a passage in the Psalmes, there re­maineth, Therefore a rest unto the people of God, Heb. 4. 9. it remains, and is reserved for them, this the Lord hath solemnly proclaimed from Heaven, Revel. 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: they go into a blessed con­dition of rest; There is not any notion under which the State of a dismissed Saint, is so frequently described as this, of Rest, which in­deed is the proper end and tendency of all things; their happinesse is their rest; their rest is all the happinesse they can be partakers of: Fecisti nos ad te Domine, & inquietum est cor nostrum, donec veniat ad te.

Now Rest holds out two things unto us, 1 A freedom from what is opposite thereunto, wherein those that are at rest, have been exercised, in reference whereunto they are said to be at rest. 2 Some thing which suites them, and satisfies their nature in the condition wherein they are; and therefore they are at rest, which they could not be, were it not so with them, for nothing can rest, but in the full fruition, and enjoyment of that which satiates the whole nature of it in all its extent and capacity. We must then briefly inquire, 1 what it is that the Saints are at rest from, and secondly, what it is that they are at rest in, which I shall do very speedily.

1 The many particulars which they are at rest from, may be referred unto two general heads, 1 Sin. 2 Labour, and travel.

1 Sin; this on all consideration, whatever, is the main disquiet­nesse of the soule; Temptations to it, Actings in it, troubles for it, they are the very Egypt of the soule, it's house and place of bon­dage, and vexation; either the power of it indwelling, or the guilt of it pressing, are here still disquieting the soule. For the first, how doth Paul complain, lament, yea cry out concerning it, Rom. 7. 24. O wretched man that I am! and what a sad, restlesse, and tumultu­ating condition upon this account doth he describe in the Verses foregoing? The best, the wisest, the holiest of the Saints, on this account are in a restlesse condition.

Suppose a man a conquerour in every battel, in every combate [Page 20] that he is engaged in, yet vvhilest he hath any fighting, though he be never foiled, yet he hath not peace. Though the Saints should have successe in every engagement against sin, yet because it vvill still be rebelling, still be fighting, it vvill disturbe their peace.

2 So also doth the guilt of it; our Saviour testifieth, that a sense of it wil make a man to be weary and heavy-laden, Mat. 11. 28. This oftentimes makes the Inhabitants of Sion, say they are sick, for though an end be made of sin as to the guilt of it in the bloud of Christ, yet by reason of our darknesse, folly, and unbeliefe, and the hiding of the countenance of God, the conscience is oftentimes pressed with it, no lesse then if it lay indeed under the whole vveight and burthen of it.

I shall not instance in more particulars, concerning this cause of want of rest, and disquietnesse, the perplexity of Temptations, buffettings & winnowings of Satan, Allurements and Affrightments of the World, darknesse and sorrows of unbeliefe, and the like do all set in against us upon this account.

This in general is the first thing, that the dismissed Saints are at rest from: They, sin no more, they wound the Lord Jesus no more, they trouble their own souls no more, they grieve the Spirit no more, they dishonour the Gospel no more, they are troubled no more with Satans Temptations without, no more with their own cor­ruption within, but lie down in a constant enjoyment of one ever­lasting victory over sin, with all its Attendants: saith the Spirit, They rest from their labours, Revel. 14. those labours which make them faint, and vveary, their contending with sin to the utter­most; they are no more cold in communion, they have not one thought that wanders off from God to Eternity: they lose him no more, but alwayes lie down in his bosome vvithout the least possibility of disturbance. Even the very Remembrance of sin is svveet unto them, when they see God infinitely exalted, and ad­mired in the pardon thereof.

They are free from trouble, and that both as to doing, and suf­fering: fevv of the Saints, but are called out in one kinde or ano­ther to both these. Every one is either doing for God, or suffering for God, some both do and suffer great things for him: in either of [Page 21] them there is pain, vvearinesse, travel, labour, trouble, sorrovv-and anxiety of spirit; neither is there any eminent doing or vvork­ing for God, but is carried on vvith much suffering to the out­vvard man.

What a life of labour and trouble did our deceased friend lead for many yeers in the flesh? hovv vvere his dayes consumed in travel? God calling him to his foot, and exercising him to un­derstand the svveetnesse of that promise, that they that die in him, shall have rest: many spend their dayes deliciously, vvith so much contentment to the flesh, that it is impossible they should have any foretaste and svveet rellish of their Rest that is to come.

The Apostle tels us that there remains a Rest for the people of God; and yet vvithall, that they vvho believe are entred into that Rest, those vvho in their labours, in their Travels do take in the svveet­nesse of that promise of Rest, do even in their labour make an en­trance thereinto.

This then secondly, they rest from all trouble and anxiety that attend them in their pilgrimage, either in doing or suffering for God. Heb. 4. 10, 7. They enter into rest, and cease from their work▪ God wipes all tears from their eyes, there is no more watching, no more fasting, no more wrestling, no more fighting, no more bloud, no more sorrow, the ransomed of the Lord do return vvith everlasting joy on their heads, and sorrovv & sighing flyavvay. There Tyrants pretend no more title to their Kingdom; Rebels lie not in vvait for their bloud; they are no more awakened by the sound of the Trumpet, nor the noise of the Instruments of death: They feare not for their relations, they weep not for their friends, the Lambe is their Temple, and God is all in all unto them.

2 This will not compleat their Rest, something further is re­quired thereto: even something to satisfie, everlastingly content and fill them in the state and condition wherein they are. Free them in your thoughts from what you please, without this, they are not at rest. This then you have in the second place, God is the rest of their soules, Psal. 116. returne to thy rest, O my sou. Dis­missed Saints rest in the bosome of God, because in the fruition and enjoyment of him they are everlastingly satisfied, as having [Page 22] attained the utmost end whereto they were created, all the bles­sednesse whereof they are capable. I could almost beg for li­berty a little to expatiate in this meditation of the sweet, gracious, glorious, satisfied condition, of a dismissed Saint.

But the time is spent, and therefore without holding out one drop of water to quench the feigned fire of Purgatory, or draw­ing forth any thing to discover the vanity of their Assertion, who affirme the soul to sleep, or to be nothing untill the Resur­rection; or their's who assigning to them a state of subsistence and perception, do yet exclude them from the fruition of God, without which there is no Rest, untill the end of all, with such other by-perswasions, as would disquiet the condition, or abridge the glory of those blessed soules, which yet were a facile under­taking, I shall draw towards a close.

There are 3 points yet remaining, I shall speak onely to the first of them, and that as an use of the doctrine last proposed, and I have done.

1 Then you see there is an appointed determinate season, wherein all things and persons, according to the will of God will runne into their utmost issue and everlasting condition. Thou art going, who ever thou art, into an abiding condition, and there is a lot appointed for thee, wherein lies an Estate everlastingly unchangeable. It is the utmost end whereunto thou art designed, and when once thou art entred into that lot, thou art everlastingly engaged: no more change, no more alteration, if it be well with thee, it will abide: if otherwise expect not any relief. In our few dayes we live for Eternity, in our mutable estate we deal for an unchange­able condition. It is not thus onely in respect of particulars, but God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge all the World by the man whom he hath ordained. An End is comming unto all that whole dispensation under which we are. To you who by the rich­es of free grace have obtained union and communion with the Lord Jesus, Rest and Peace, when God shall everlastingly raine snares, fire and brimstone upon the workers of Iniquity. Some mock indeed, and say, where is the promise of his Comming? but we know, the Lord is not slack, as some men count slacknesse, but exerci­seth patience untill the appointed season, for the bringing about [Page 23] of his own glorious Ends, which he hath determined concern­ing his creatures. Why should we then complain, when any one, perhaps before our expectation, but yet according to Gods deter­mination, makes an entrance into the end of all? All things work, to that season. This state of things is not for continuance. That which is incumbent, is in this uncertain space of time alotted to us, to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure, as also to serve the Lord faithfully in our Generations, wherein we cannot be surprized: we have an example in him who is gone before; It is true, the Lord Jesus is our primitive pattern and ex­ample: but those also who have followed him, wherein they have followed him, are to be eyed and marked as provocations to the same labour of faith and love, wherein they were exercised. And that this use may be made by this Assembly, I shall adde one word concerning him from whom is the occasion thereof.

Every man stands in a threefold capacity. 1 Naturall 2 Civill. 3 Religious. And there are distinct Qualifications, that are suit­ed unto these severall capacities. To the first as the ornaments and perfections of Nature, are suited some seeds of those Heroi­call vertues, as courage, permanency in businesse, &c. which be­ing in themselves morally indifferent, have their foundations e­minently laid in the Natures of some persons, which yet hinders not, but that their good Improvement is of grace.

2 To the second, or mans civill capacity, there are many emi­nencies relating as peculiar endowments, which may be referred unto the three heads of Ability, Faithfulnesse, and Industry, that through them neither by weaknesse, treachery nor sloth the workes and employments incumbent on men in their civill state and con­dition may suffer.

3 Mens peculiar ornament and emprovement in their Re­ligious capacitie, lies in those fruits of the Spirit which we call Christian Graces: of these in respect of usefulnesse there are three most eminent, viz. faith, love, and selfe-deniall. I speak of them upon another account then the Apostle doth, where he placeth hope amongst the first three of Christian Graces. Now all these in their severall kindes vvere as eminent in the person decea­sed in his severall capacities, as perhaps is usually found in any [Page 24] one in a generation. My businesse is not to make a Funerall O­ration. onely I suppose that without offence I may desire, that in courage and permanency in businesse, (which I name in opposition to that unsetled pragmatical shufling disposition which is in some men) in ability for wisdome and counsell, in faithfulnesse to his trust and in his trust, in indefatigable Industry in the pursuit of the work committed to him, in faith on the promises of God, and Acquaintance with his mind in his mighty works of providence, in love to the Lord Jesus and all his Saints, in a tender regard to their Interest, delight in their society, contempt of himself and all his for the Gospel's sake, with eminent self-deniall in all his con­cernments, in impartiality and sincerity in the execution of justice, that in these and the like things we may have many raised up in the power and spirit wherein he walked before the Lord, and the Inhabitants of his Nation. This (I say) I hope I may speake without offence he upnn such an occasion as this; my businesse being occasionally to preach the Word, not to carry on a part of a Funerall Ceremonie, I shall adde no more, but commit you to him, who is able to prepare you for your eternall condition.

FINIS.

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