A Cordiall for a Heart-Qualme
Severall Heavenly Comforts
for all those who suffer
any Worldly crosse or
By Simon Birckbeck, Bachelour
of Divinity, sometime Fellow
of Queenes College in
And now Minister of Gods
Word at Gilling, in Rich
London, Printed for Richard
Best, and are to be sold at his
shop at Grayes Inne
To the Right Worshipful, Colonell
Richard Shuttleworth of Galthrop,
in the County of Lancaster, a Mem
ber of the Honourable House
of Commons, in this pre
sent Parliament. 1646.
IT is too apparently visible, how it hath pleased our only wise good God, to suffer this poisonously infected Cup of heartdividing distractions, to be generally and strongly handed to most of this Kingdome, yea and the dreggs thereof to seize upon the vitals of many; which hath produced, even very dangerous and unexpressible epidemicall Anxieties and Sinco [...]s.Upon serious and frequent meditation therof, raysed through my owne sad experiences, even in the midst of our greatest continuing miseries, I heer have endeavoured to fit and prepare this discourse, as aConfectionary of spirituall Reliefe and Cordiall Comfort for all such as may faile and faintunder the heavy pressures of any of this worlds Afflictions; and now make bold to present them unto you, not as if[Page 1]any necessity in you called upon any such advertisements: But that I very well know with what christian resolution and patience you have out passed the losse of hopeful and valorous son, slain in the publike cause of Religion & Kingdomes, besides the danger of your own, hazard and wounds of divers other your sons, banishmet from your own house & family, plundering of your goods, and the continued want (even untill this time) of a part of your estate. These, I say, may sufficiently testifie your proficiency in this more then Aesculapian Art: Yet howsoever in tender of my due observance to your selfe, hoping their shortnes may no way impedite your more serious imployments,now of publick concernment and present agitation: I dedicate this Cordiall, and offer the perusall thereof unto you: Desiring from my heart, as they are by me intended, they may strengthen the weake and feeble, be oyle of joy for mourning, and the garment of prayse for the spirit of heavinesse, and so safely to usher us along in uprightnesse and holinesse heere, that we all may receive eternall blisse and happinese hereafter; throughChrist Jesusour Lord, which is the constant and fervent prayer of
Yours ever bounden, S.B.
|The Preface, or Preparative to the Cordiall Pag.||1.|
|Sect.Sicknesse the ordinary Harbinger of Death||p. 1.|
SECT. I. Comforts for the sickbed.3
|Sect. 1. Comfort from the Author of sicknesse, that God hath a speciall hand in it||1|
|Sec. 2. How, and in what sense Affliction is good||7|
|Sect. 3. Tis some comfort that Health and Sicknesse come by courses||8|
|Sect. 4. How to serve God in Sicknesse and Health||11|
|Sect. 5. The sweet fruit and effect of Affliction||12|
|Sect. 6. The benefit of Affliction, Affliction is medicinall||15|
|Sec. 7. Affliction is a Trier||18|
|Sect. 8. Affliction weaneth us from the World||21|
|Sect. 9. Whether Affliction be desirable. Of a three sold Affliction, Punishments, Chastisements, Trials||23|
|Sect. 10. We shall meete with Crosses, wee neede no selfe created Crosses||28|
|Sect. 11. God Corrects, but we put the rod into his hand||30|
|Cordials & Comforts gainst the loss of our goods||34|
|Sect. We want, whose fault is it||36|
|Sect. 1. Consider how litle sufficeth Nature||37|
|Sect. 2. The Godly destitute, not forsaken||39|
|Sect. 3.Consider the worst Condition of others||47|
|Sect. 4. Consider the benefit of a slender Condition||55|
|Sect. 5. The Cares that attend on wealth||57|
|Sect. 6. The Securitie of a small state||64|
|Sect. 7. The fickle nature of earthly goods||67|
|Sect. 1. Uncertainty of Riches, their staying with us||70|
|Sect. 2.Uncertainty of our staying with them||72|
|Sect. 3. Uncertaine, to whom we shall leave them||74|
|Sect. 8. Riches, they are not ours, but lent us||76|
|Sect. 9. Labour to be Content with a simple Condition, not depending upon many things||79|
|Sect. 1. The Benefit of an Independent Condition||83|
|Comforts against Imprisonment||87|
|Sect. 1. We are free Prisoners, the mind is at libertie||87|
|Sect. 1. The Saints Imprisoned||88|
|Sect. 2. Imprisonment not strange; we are Imprison'd in the wombe, the world, the Body, and the Grave||ibid.|
|Sect. 3.Hell a feareful prison, the [...] no light no favour there, no deliverie thence||89|
|Sect. 4. Pray, we never be delivered to that Prison||92|
|Comforts against Banishment||93|
|Sect. 1.We are all pilgrims, Heaven is our Home||93|
|Sect. 1. The benefit of Remooveall||95|
|Sect. 2. Abraham enjoyned to leave his owne Countrey||97|
|Sect. 3. We have Right in any Countrey, by the Lord's Title||98|
|Sect. 4. The Saints Banisht||ibid.|
|Sect. 5. God accompanieth His, even in Banishment||99|
|Comforts against publique Calamities||100|
|Sect. 1.Of the series of a Civil warre||100|
|Sect. 2. Comfort from the sence and sympathic of common evils||104|
|Sect. 3.Comfort from the justice of Gods proceedings||110|
|Sect. 1. Personall Corruptions||111|
|Sect. 2. National sins common and peculiar||ibid.|
|Sect. 3. Warre the Malady, Repentance the Remedie||118|
|Sect. 4. Comfort from Gods overruling Providence||122|
|Sect. 1. Gods providence instanced in Joseph||124|
|Sect. 2. To depend upon Gods Providence||128|
|Sect. 5. The Remedye, our Particular and Generall Repentance||131|
|Of meanes to worke us to Patience under the Crosse||143|
|Sect. 1. Comforts from the greater sufferings of Holier men||144|
|Sect. 2. Our Sufferings short of our deserts||151|
|Sect. 3. Our Sufferings inferior to our Glory||152|
|Sect. 4. Looke on our Comfort, as well as our Corrasive||156|
|Sect. 5. Compare our selves afflicted, with our selves at ease||158|
|Sect. 6. Our good dayes more than our evil dayes||160|
|Sect. 7. Of patience in suffering||162|
|Sect. 8.God exchanges his blessings; denyes us wealth peace and deliverance; and gives us Contentment, Patience, and Supportation||164|
|Sect. 9. We must be sitted for mercy, and then find it||166|
|Sect. 10. The use of patience, and the neede of it||169|
|Directions for the recovered Patient.||174|
|Sect. 1. Be thankfull after Recovery||174|
|Sect. 2. See whether Affliction have bettered thee||176|
|Sect. 3. Take heed of Relapses they are dangerous||178|
|Sect. 4. Strive for a Blessing, Prayer will procure it||181|
1.1. A Cordiall for a Heart-qualme.
The Preface or Prepara
tive to the Cordiall.
DEath (as (a)Sect. I. Sickeness the ordinary Harbinger of Death (a) Job. 18.14. Job calleth him) is the King of terrours, who, (like some greate Commander) hath large quarters, and sends forth his Harbingers before him: Affliction is the ordinary fore-runner of Death, taking up his billet and lodging almost in every house. One crieth out, (b) My head, (b)2.Kin14.19.My head,with [Page 1] with the Shunamites sonne; another,(c)(c)2.Mac 9.5. my bowels, my bowels, as Antiochus; another, my feet,(d)(d)1.Kin. 1 [...].2 [...] my feet, asAsa; being troubled (as it is probable) with the gout. One complayneth of a Palsie, another of a burning Feaver, another of the Stone, or Strangury: and they that are not troubled with any of these, yet they are still under this King of Feare, lest hee should enlarge his quarters, and take in them too. But is there no Balme in Gilead? Yes, there be (God be blessed for it) Cordials, and Scripture Comforts, appliable to such as are cast on their Sickbed, their Death-bed, their Gravebed; for so (e)(e)Isai. 57.2. Isaiah calleth it: they shall rest[Page 3]in their beds: that is, their graves; every one walking in his uprightnes, where they shall securely sleepe in a bed of ease, till the morning of the Resurrrection.
1.2. SECT. I.
Comforts for the Sicke-bed.
C Onsider with thy selfSect. I. Comfort from the Author of Sickenesse,that God hath a speciall hand in it.dear Patient, and fellow labourer, under the Crosse ofChrist; that God hath a speciall hand in thy visitation, even thy God the Father of Mercy, which chastiseth thee for thy good, and then thou wilt kisse both [Page 4] the Rod, and hand that correcteth thee. For, as Job sayth,(f)(f) Job. 5.6.Affliction comes not out of the dust. Sicknes and Affliction, that alights upon men, comes not either by casualty, or of it selfe, or meerely from the second causes, whether of men, or other creatures, or by distempers of body onely, but it comes from above, and is inflicted by the divine hand of supreame and infinite Ju-stice, so as thou mayst say with the Psalmist,(g)(g) Psal. 119 75. ‘I know o Lord, that thy judgements are right, and that of very faithfulnesse thou hast afflicted me.’ It were not well with us, if these maladies came by chance, or were let loose to alight where they[Page 5] list: it is our comfort they are swayed by the provident hand of a loving Father, who like a skilfull Physitian tempers the Dose and Receit according to the neede and strength of his Patient.(h)(h) 1. Cor10.13. God is faithfull, who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with the temptation also, make a way to escape, that we may be able to beare it: He will give a happy issue out of it, and enable us to go through with it. He corrects his children, not out of measure,(i)(i) Jer. 46.28 but in discretion; with the Rod of men,(k)2 S [...] 7.15. that is, moderately, and with compassion, in a fatherly tendernesse and love, for their good and amendment. He [Page 6]knowes their strength is not the strength of stones,(l)(l) Job 6.12. nor their flesh as brasse; his an-ger endures but for a moment.(m)(m) Psal. 30.5. Look the upon the Author of thy sicknesse, and how it is stinted, and under Commission; and this will worke thee an unmooved patience and humble submission. And thus Ely when God foretold by Samuel the ruine of his house, quiets himselfe,(n)(n) 1. Sal 3.18. It is the Lord, let him doe what seemeth him good. And thus the people of God, when Paul was resolved to goe to Hierusalem, submitted, saying,(o)(o)Act 21.14. the will of the Lord be done; a speech fit to proceed out of the heart, and mouth of a Christian.[Page 7]
It is true indeed, sicknesseSect.II. How, and in what sense Af-liiction is good and affliction simply considered, and in their owne nature, are not good; but consequents of sin; their use and fruit is a blessing of God, giving us thereby a sight and sense of our sinnes; but that good, it is not wrought out of the nature of misery, but comes from them by accident only. No chastning for the present seemes to be joyous, but grievous:(p)(p) Heb [...] 12. 1 [...]. Neverthelesse afterward it yeelds the peaceable fruit of righteousnesse unto them which are exercised thereby. As it is in these humane corrections, those chastisements, which were grievous unto us in our childhood, are afterwards allowed of us, as [Page 8]profitable unto us: So is it in these afflictions from the hand of God; none of them are for the time pleasing, but grievous and irksome; yet afterwards we find them to be exceeding beneficiall, by taming, disciplining, and fitting us to an holy life, which bringeth peace of conscience after all the unquiet broiles and tumults of triall and temptation: Now blessed is that sicknesse, that prooves the cure of the soule: Oh welcome Feavers, that may quit our soule from everlasting burnings.
Thou complainest thatSect. III. 'Tis some comfort that helth and sicknes come [...]y coursesnow thou art sick, now thou art grievously pained; I apprehend it as such, and pity thee with all my soule: But [Page 9]tell me, wert thou not before a long time healthfull? Canst thou not be content to take thy turnes, and let God have his intercourse of favours and crosses, health and sicknesse? Can we looke for faire weather every day? As well may the day be without succession of night, as a mortall body, of so f [...]aile and britle consistence, without fits of distemper. It was the answer(q)(q)Job 2.10. wherewith that patterne of patience, Job, stopt the clamorous mouth of his tempting wife; shall we not receive good at the hands of God, and shall wee not receive evill? It was a memorable example(r)(r) B.Hall of Con-tentation. Sect.15. of a worthy Christian, who had lived to his middle age in [Page 10]much health and prosperity, and was now for his last two yeeres, miserably afflicted with the S [...]gury; who in the midst of his torments could say; Oh my Lord God! how gracious hast thou beene unto me? Thou hast given me eight and forty yeeres of health, and now but two yeeres of pain thou mig [...]st have caused me to [...]e in this torture all the daies of my life; and now thou hast carried me comfortably through the rest, and hast mercifully taken up with this last parcell of my [...]ment;bl [...]ffed by thy n [...] for thy mercy in forbearing mee, and for thy justice in afflicting me.
[Page 11]Yea,SectIII[?]How to serve God in Sicknes and healthbut thou complainest of these fits and changes, that they interrupt thee, and breake off the workes of thy calling; it is that erstwhile thou hadst so much respite and breathing, as to follow thy vocation. This cessation and intermission, will upon thy recovery, make thee fall more freshly to thy taske. If the Lord be pleased to send thee a Writ of ease, a [...]Quletus est, to take thee off thy businesse by sicknesse, yet even then thou hast time to serve God another way, to wit, by a selfe-resignation, and patient submitting to his will. If he meane to use thy service any further, hee will restore thee to thy health & strength, to doe the work he [Page 12]sets thee about. For health is at his command, and sicknesse stayes at his rebuke. In the interim, and meane, this time of sicknesse, is a purging from that defilement, wee gathered in time of health, till wee come purer out; which should move us the rather willingly to abide Gods good leysure.
TheSect. V. The [...]Lord seeth, that if the body bee not sicke, the soule would. Blessed is that sicknesse of the body, which procures the health of the soule. Wee are best for the most part, when we are weakest: when we are Gods p [...]i oners, and cast on our sickbed, then it appeares wh [...]t good proficients wee have beene in the time of health. If there wee learned any good lesson, this is the time to practise it. This will put us to it, and make us, (if ever,) turne Confessants, Supplicants, Comprecants: doe we then, under Gods visitation, confesse our faults more fully, then formerly? doe we sue for pardon more earnestly, and pray more fervently? This is a good symptome and token of our spirituall state, if wee can practise that in time of sicknes, wee learned in time of our health: Affliction indeed gives understanding, and we may thanke affliction for it: gramercy affliction, that now we are promising men, that now we promise amendment of life, that now wee are [Page 14]peaceable men, as bring tied (as it were) to good behaviour, that now wee are not catch with those baytes of the world,(s)(s) 1. Job. 2.16.the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, that is, with carnall lusts and concupiscences, covetous desires, proud & ambitious thoughts and affectations, but that we can say,(t)(t)Eccles. 32.2.I have now no pleasure in them. I was somtimes alive to those sinfull courses, I relisht them: I was then in mine element, even there where I would have beene: now, I finde no more taste in them, then in the(u)(u)Job 6.6.white of an egge: now I am dead to them, as(w)(w) [...] Sam 25. Abigailto deadNabal. Gramercy affliction. And yet affliction, [Page 15]as of it selfe, could not work us to any good, were it not that the Lord gave us a sanctified use of Crosses, and sweetned these bitter waters ofMarahto theIsraelof God.
TheSect. VI. the benefit of Affliction. Affliction is MedicinalBenefit of Affliction. Affliction is of a medicinall quality: 'tis a preparative to for further trialls, and namely, for our last duell, our combat with Death. It is of a purgative nature also: when the Physition findes the body distempered, the blood fowle and enflamed, he ordereth the opening of a veine, and the drawing out of so many ounces, as may leave the rest meet for correction: Our spirituall Physitian findes we have distem[Page 16]pered our selves by riot and surfets, and now he diets us with the bread and water of affliction, and ministers some bitter potion to take downe our foule body of sinne, to(x)(x)Isai.1.25. Dan. 11 35. refine and purifie his Patients; wherein they lose nothing but drosse.
Affliction hath its alterative property; where it works kindly, it changeth and reformes the Patient. David drank of it, and found himselfe better after it,(y)(y)Psal. 119.67.Before I was afflicted, saith he, I went astray; but now I keepe thy word. Manasse was farre gone in a Lethargy of sinfullnesse, but this Antimonian cup of Affliction recovered him, When he was in Affliction, saith the story, [Page 17]he(z)(z)2Chr.33.12. besought the Lord, and humbled himself greatly before him. The Goale was a happier lodging to him than his Palace; Babylonschooled him better thanHierusalem. It changed him from an Idolatrous and murderous Manasse, to a Convert, and penitent Manasseh.
Affliction is a correctory for sinnes past; and thus the Lord awakened Jonahout of the sleepe of security, by casting him into the Sea: he curedZacharyof his Infidelity of not beleeving the Angels message, by striking him with dumbnesse. 'Tis a Defensative, a Preservative to prevent our future falling into sinne: Thus was Paul(a)(a)2 Cor. 1 2 7" buffeted by the messen[Page 18]ger of Satan, and why? lest hee should be exalted above measure: The Lord suffered Sathan to lay hard both at his faith and his sincerity, lest hee should bee puffed up with multitude of Visions, Revelations, and Angelicall Apparitions.
AfflictionSect. VII. Affliction is a tryer.is a Trier. The Lord afflicts us to prove us, whether we can endure the hammer and the test: What drosse of corruption, and what sound mettle of Faith, Love and Obedience is in us: he proves us, even as silver is tryed in the fire(b)(b)Psal. 66.10. , when the Sea is calme, it lookes even and levell, let the winde rise, it rages and swells, and casts up wrack: Stirre the liquor in the [Page 19]glasse, and the lees and dregs will appeare: in time of peace and prosperity many carry themselves moderately towards God and Man; but if God lay, I say not his hand, but his little finger upon them, then they begin to murmur and grudge, and discover their hidden corruptions: Yea the godly man would hardly thinke there were so much distrust, impatience, frowardnesse, faintheartednesse and love of the World, as he shall find in himselfe in the day of his affliction.(c)(c) Deur. 8 2. Exod. 16.4. Mosestold the Israelites, that God therfore humbled them with want, to prove them, and to know what was in their heart; that is, to try them, [Page 20]or make them knowne, no to himselfe, who knew them well enough before (without any experimental trial of them) but to make it known to themselves, and others, whether afflictions or favors would worke them to obedience. And thus the Lord prooved Abraham's obedience in offering up his son, & Job's patience, upon the losse of his children & substance, albeit he knew what was in them, what was in man. Affliction quickens Gracelanguishing, it manifests hidden and secret graces, and justifies a man's sincerity; & so it cleared David, Job& Ezechiahit cleared them from hypocrisy, & justified their sincerity. Affliction reviveth Grace, [Page 21]which otherwise would faint and languish for want of exercise and imployment: were it not for affliction, there were not altogether that use of patience, nor of temperance, but for the many incentives and provocations there are to riot and excesse: nor of christian valour, but that wee have spirituall enemies to encounter.
AfflictionSect VIII. Affliction weans us from the World serves to weane our affections from the world: thus the Lord visits his children with crosses: as losse of friends, losse of goods, weakenesse of body, meannesse of estate, and the like; that in case they will delight in some sinfull course, and doate on things vaine and transitory: then these[Page 22] corrasives and corrections may vex and disquiet them as the Canaanites did the Israelites: as the Nurse weanes the childe; by laying some bitter herbe on her breast; so the Lord imbittereth the pleasures of this life, to make us long after that better life to come: for those whom he afflicts more feelingly, can part with the pleasures of sin more freely, and say with him in the Preacher(d)(d)Eccles. 12.1., ‘I have no pleasure in thee, nor thee, nor thee. My Soule (saith David(e)(e)Psal. 131.2.is even as a weaned childe. A childe that cannot want the teat for an houre or two, yet if it bee disused and weaned a while, seekes not after it: doe thus [Page 23]with thy bosome sinne, thyDalilah, thyHerodias, the sinne that hangs on thee more then the rest, be it chambering and wantonnes, surfetting and drunkennesse, or the like, single it out, doe to it asDaviddid to his: I kept my self (saith he) from mine iniquity: I kept my selfe from following my corrupt affections to the sin I was most enclined unto.’
IfSect.IX. Whether Affliction be de [...]able.Of a three fold Affliction. Punishments. Chastisements. Trials.Affliction be (as is pretended) such a benefit, why doe wee not give thankes for it? why doe we seeke by all meanes how to avoide it, how to come out of it?
Here the old distinction must be remembred. Of Afflictions, some are punishments [...]Punishmentsproperly so called, they bee such as proceede from God's vindictive Justice, and are not matter or occasion of thankfullnesse, but rather of deepe humiliation and trembling, unlesse the offendor repent: others [...]Chastisements.are chastisements, or fatherly Corrections; they differ from the former, not so much in the matter, as in their Fountaine and measure, and end: their Rise is from God's love (for whom he loveth,(f)(f)Prov. 3.12. them he correcteth) and from his Fatherly care, willing thereby to reclaime us: they have their temper, measure,(g)(g)Esay 27.8.and mitigation, according to the ability of the Patient: they tend to [Page 25]make us partakers of the(h)(h)Hebr. 12.11.quiet fruit of righteousnesse. Sicknesse and other scourges of God, which are punishments to the wicked, inflicted upon them for their sinnes, are Fatherly chastisements of God's children [...]Nocumenta. Documenta. for their instruction and amendment. In afflictions of this nature, in respect of their use and fruite, we have cause of thankfulnesse: [...]Trialls. Corrections are instructions. Lastly, some are Trials, and trials of faith: whether by Sathan, as those of Jobwere, or by men that persecute others for righteousnesse sake: In this sort wee finde great cause of thankefullnesse and rejoycing.Peterand his fellowes(i)(i)Act. 5 [...]41. rejoyced therein, as in a great dignity; that they were counted worthy to suffer for his name: Paulin his Epistle to the Philipians calls his crosse his Grace.(k)Phil p. 17.It seemeth say the learned Annotators on the B ble; that some of the Philippians were partakers with the Apostle in his bonds, which the Apostle was so farre from esteeming any disgrace or disparagement to him, that he accounted them a grace and an ornament to him. As also did the noble MartyrBabylas,who gave charge at his death, that his bolts should not be knockt off his feet, but be buried with him. Now, how farre forth we may desire affliction, I con[Page 27]ceive it thus: Some things are desirable for themselves, as happinesse and holinesse; some things are desireable not for themselves, but as they make way to better things, being lower and bitter to nature themselves; as Physick is desired not for it selfe, but for health; we desire health for it selfe and physick for health: and so is it in the case of affliction; we should hardly take down the bitter pills of Affliction, were it not for the good use, and quiet fruit of righteousnesse that it yeeldeth.
Belike then if Crosses be so penall and afflictive, 'tis not fair for us to call in Crosses.
WeSect. X. We shall meet with Crosses, we need no selfe-created Crosses. shall meet with crosses, we need not create crosses. There bee some selfe created crosses, which wee have reason to beare, and bewaile, as having pulled them upon our owne heads, for want of forecast, unthriftynesse and rash suretyshippe, We fall into want; upon willfull distempers of drinke riot and surfets, into fevers, upon intemperances, and licentiousnesse into consumptions: There be other Crosfes which are immediately God's hand-worke: ‘Shall there bee evill in a City, to wit, evill of paine and adversity, and the Lord hath not done(l)(l)Amos 3.6.it?’saith the ProphetAmos. There can be [Page 29]no evill of punishment wherein God hath not an hand; but some evils are more immediat from a divine stroke. We must set our thoughts on worke or else like milstones wanting grist, they wi l grate and wast one another. Yet take heede lest we spend our spirits with carking care of fore thought and future evils, which (haply) either fall not out at all, or not in our time; so as they need not trouble our heads. Some man is haunted with thoughtfullnesse, what shall becom of his child when he is gone; or least his wife marry after his departure; whereas they dye in the me time, and he outlives [Page 30]his owne griefe: Another frettingly feares he shall be undone in a deare yeare, or in case there be some change in Religion; whereas he dies in the interim, and ends his daies in the same professaon, in peace and plenty. A moderate care and forecast doth well, either for provision of things necessary, or prevention of dammages and dangers; but not to antidate our misery by such foreconceits of imaginary evills: Wee have our hands full already;(m)(m)Mat. 6.24.sufficient unto the day is the evill thereof.Sect II. God corrects, but we put the Rod into his hand.Wee complaine of crosses; and yet wee put the Rod into Gods hand, so as he is glad to deale with us, as wee do with frisking horses[Page 31]in a large pasture, which will not be taken, till they come to a strait gate: The(n)(n)Jer.2.24.wild Asse, that snuffes up the wind, to coole her heate, will not be taken, till she be in her moneths, till she be with foale, and loaden with her burden. Wee have growne wanton with ease and long peace and plenty; and if the Lord should not tame us with affliction, wee should run wild after the excesse of riot with the world; there would be no rule with us. Wee are like untoEphraim;(o)Jer.31 18. 19.the Prophet saith of Ephraim, that, before he was chastised, he was like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, but after he was instructed, then he smote his thigh;[Page 32]he was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because he did beare the reproach of his youth: As if he should say; Thou hast afflicted me O Lord, and I am humbled, I doe now bow my neck, and stoope under thy yoke; I was like an untamed Colt, but now the hand and rod of affliction hath broken me, now I smote upon my thigh, in token of remorse, shame and detestation of my former wicked waies; I did beare the reproach of my youth, of mine excesses committed in my younger daies. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; after that thou hadst wrought upon me, and shewed me my sin, I repented. ‘When he smote them’, saith[Page 33]the(p)(p)Psal. 78.34.Psalmist, ‘then they sought him, yea, they sought him early;(q)(q)Ho [...] 5.15yea, then (saith the Lord) they will seeke me diligently; early, and diligently.’ God that can draw light out of darkenesse, can give a good issue and successe of our affliction; albeit they be harsh to flesh and blood; yet he can turne them to our good, to our profit. Metals are never so bright, as when they are scoured; Perfumes and spices never so redolent and savoury, as when they have felt the fire, and the p [...] . Affliction serves to scoure our earthen vessells of that soile and rust of corruption, that wee formerly contracted. Wee may thinke it were well if wee escaped this scou[Page 34]ring and burnishing, but it is good for us to be thus afflic-ted; (r)(r)Psal. 9 1 [...]that now the Lord pricks the swelling of our pride, extracts the malignity of our humour; so as now wee give up the sweet morsels of sin that overcharged us, and pay deere for the stollen pleasures of sin.
1.3. SECT. II.
Cordials and Comforts a
gainst the losse of our
HEere, me thinkes, I heare the tender Patient reply; It is not this present malady and infirmity[Page 35] afflicts me so much: this comes by the wise and orderly guidance of the good hand of God, and is layd upon me for my correction and amendment, or for triall of my faith and patience, and will (I trust) work for my good, if I make a sanctified use of Gods visitation there, in my sicknesse, I fell into the hands of God,(s)(s)Sam 24 14whose mercies are great: heere I have lost my goods by Plunderers, and am fallen into the hands of men, into mine enemies hand, whose mercies oftimes are cruelties. I was but a little displeased with my people (saith the Lord)(t)Zach. 1.25. but they, to wit, the Chaldeans, their enemies, they helped forward [Page 36]the affliction; and so have these sons of violence done. Indeede these be heavy pressures, and such as require more sovereigne Cordialls.
YouSect. We want, whose fault is it?complaine of want and poverty; but who hath caused it? Had it come through your owne negligence and lasinesse, your unprovidence and unthristinesses, your rash suretiship and engagements; then you had reason to have borne that burden you had drawne on your owne back; as women that marry husbands of their owne chusing against their friends consent, if they be never so ill used, yet you shall seldome see them complaine, but set a good face on it. Now that others have [Page 37]spoiled you, you may beare your crosse more comfortably, as not being accessary thereto; And yet therein you may diserne, the rod of the Lords anger (as the Assirian is termed)(u)Isai. 10 4.chastising you by their hands, as his instruments; wherein yet you may rather be grieved at their wrong doing, and ill dealing, then at your owne innocent smart, and suffering.
ThouSect I. Consider, how little sufficeth nature.complainest thou hast lost thy goods; why, but hast thou not necessaries left? if so, then 'tis the Apostles Charge; having food and raiment,(x)1. Tim. 6.8.let us therewith be content: Other things serve for Ornaments, and Trappings of state; but that's most usefull, that nourisheth[Page 38] us within, and covereth us without. Nature is content with a small pittance, and Grace with lesse; [...]Said Socratesthey that have taken the measure of our throat, and other instruments, say, that it is lesse then in other Creatures of answerable proportion; to teach us temperance, and to beware of superf [...] considering how little suffiseth Nature. The Country-man expressed his contentment, who comming into a Marchants Shop furnish't with great choice of commodities; Oh, said he, how many things be heere, which I stand no need off? It wasAgu [...]swish,(y)(y)Prov.30.8. ‘feed me with food convenient for me; and so wee have a competent [Page 39]livelihood for our estate and charge; why should wee Marthalike, trouble our selves about many things?’ As our Saviour said in an other case, one thing is needfull:(z)(z)Luk. 10.41.42. And if [...]be not so competently ministred to us; it may (haply) be good for us to be kept short for a time; and that God will make provision for us in the Mount, (a)(a)Gen.22.14.that is in extremity, when all other meanes faile us.
DavidSect II. The godly destitute not forsaken. saith,(b)(b)Psal.37.25he never see the righteous forsaken, nor their feed begging bread: Godly men in all Ages have beene put to want; but this poverty of theirs, came not through their owne lewd and wastfull course of(c)Job.30 1.3. Psal.59.15.life,[Page 40]as it is with divers lasie and idle beggers, but from Gods visitation: Christ saith,(d)(d)Matth.26.11.wee shall have the poore alwaies with us, that so their poverty might exercise the rich man charity: They have beene straitned with penury for the time, but it was not derived along from the needy Parents to their Children, but it was ere long supplied either to themselves, or theirs: He might see them destitute, but not forsaken, not so forsaken, but there were ever some that releived them, or tooke compassion on them: And thus the Israelits found favour in the eyes of the Aegyptians, and borrowed Jewels of them; so did Joseph with [Page 41]the Keeper of the Prison; Ruth was suffered for her reliefe to gleane in Boaz his field. Jeremie being imprisoned was highly respected by the Steward of the Kings household, Ebedmelech the Ae hyopian, as also by Nebuzaredan the Captaine of the Guard; Paul and his Company were kindly intreated by the Barbarians.
The Lord is my Sheep-heard (saith David)(e)(e)Psal.23.1.& 34.10.I shall not want: and yet David was an hungred, and wanted bread; when Abiathar was glad to releive him with the hollowed bread,(f)(f)1.Sam.21.3 4which none but the Priest might off, unlesse (as this was) in case of necessity and charity, which dispence with [Page 42]Ceremonies: He was thirsty, and wanted drinke when he wished, that one would helpe him with drinke of the water of the Well of Bethlem;(g)2.Sam.18.104.22.168 and when he saw it was purchased with the hazard of the lives of three of his Worthies or Colonels, he would not drinke of it, but poured it out as an Oblation, to testifie his thankfulnesse to God for preserving these men in this extreame danger. The Lord is our Shepheard, wee shall not want, he takes care of us, and ministreth things necessary to us, albeit wee may be pinched for the present: The Lord hath his appointed time of reliefe; it is seasonable with him to reach forth his hand, when [Page 43]we are brought (as Master Calvin speakes) (h)Calvin [...] in ultimas angustias, to the last cast, then to helpe at a dead life. And if wee be strip [...] of all, wee be but as wee were, and as wee shall be. For, wee brought nothing into the world,(i)i 1.Tim.6.7. neither shall wee carry any thing out: Wee are but as others have beene. Was not the victorious(k)k Osiand . Epis.Cen.Eccles.Emperour.Emperour, Henry the Fourth, who had fought fifty two pitch Fields (at last) compelled to make suite in his old age, for a poore Prebend, in the Church of Spyra? And was not Bellisarius(l)l Carion. Chron.(sometime the only man for prowesse and honour) driven to that hard exigent, that having his eyes put out, and be[Page 44]ing led in a string to beg by the high way side, he cryed out to the passengers,‘Date obulum Belliisario’, for God's sake bestow one halfe penny onBellisarius?
Thou art stript of all, and yet thou livest; the Prophet Jeremie(m) (m)Jer.45.5. [?] comforts Baruch the Scribe against the publike calamities of the time, that his life should be givenSave my life & take my goods unto him for a prey; as if he should say: tis not a time for thee now, in this common danger of all things, to be casting about for any great matters for thy selfe; thou maist think thy selfe well dealt with, if (what ever become of thy outward state) thou escap'st with thy life. If ones house [Page 45]be fired, or plundered, he thinks it well, if he can save a brand, a desk, a trunk, a Cabinet or his Box of writings: he that's in danger of sh pwrack, cast's his goods away, and is glad if himself come safe to the harbour. The Emperour Conrade,History of the [...]Roman Emperours third of that name, having beseiged Guelphe Duke of Bavaria, would yeeld to no milder conditions, but onely to suffer such Gentlewomen as were with the Duke in the City, (their honour's safe) to issue the town a foot, with such things as they could carry about them: they resolved (neglecting all other riches, or Jewels) to carry their husbands, children, and the Duke [Page 46]himselfe on their backs. The Emperor perceiving the queintnesse of their device, tooke so great pleasure at it, that he wept for joy, and after entreated the Duke and his with all favour. Is not the life more excellent than meat, and the Body more than raiment?(n)(n)Mat. 6.25.
It will not bee amisse sometimes to step aside into the homely cottages of our poore neighbours, and there take an Inventory ('tis soone done) of their meane utensils, course fare, and hard lodgings, thereby to make us relish our owne condition the better: Wee are apt to complaine of our courser diet, and thinner meales; and yet the ProphetElijahwas [Page 47]fed by(o)(o)1 King 17 4Ravens, and one bit from their mouth, more pleasing to him than a whole tablefull of Ahab's delicate dishes. Obadiah hid the Prophets of the Lord, by fifty in a Cave(p)(p) 1 King 18.4., and fed them with bread and water: this was but poore feeding; yet in such a famin and drought as that was, bread and water was good fare, brown-bread and the Gospell are good cheere. When the ProphetElijah was boorded with the widow of Sarepta (q)(q)1 King 17.12., shee had not so much as a little Cake baked on the hearth, no bread at all baked in the Oven, nothing but a little meale in a barrell, and a little oyle in a cruse to entertayne him withall. Daniel(r)(r)Dan [...] 12.15. and [Page 48]the captive children were fed with pulse and water, and yet were fatter and fayrer than those that were dieted at the Court. We finde John Baptist feeding on Locusts & wild hony(s)(s)Mar.3.4., such as Bees made ordinarily in woods and clefts of the Rocks; he fed on such homely and voluntary diet as that wilde place of his abode would affoord; a few barly loaves,(t)(t): Math. 14.17.and some little fishes was all the provision was ready for our Saviours traine.
Do we complaine, that our Lodgings are homely, and unfurnish't? When the good Shunamite prepared a chamber for the Prophet E-lisha;(u)(u)2 King 4.10. what other furni[Page 49]ture had it, save a Bed, a Table, a Stoole, and a Candlestick? these were such things as were fit for Study and Rest: the Prophet is not curious, so things be convenient. When the Sons of the Prophets were straitned for roome, they went to the banks of Jordan,(w)(w)2 King 6.1.&c. and tooke thence every man a beame to build withall: now one of them lets fall the head of his axe into the River, and makes his mone to Elisha, Alas Master, for it was borrowed:Elisha causeth the Iron to swim like Corke, and move towards the hand that lost it. Here was a building towards, none of the curiousest; here is no hyring of any curious [Page 50]Artificers, no procuring of some costly marble or ceda [...]: every man is to hew, and square and frame his owne beame; they are their owne Carpenters, and their tooles are borrowed(x)(x)M [...]h 8.20.. The Foxes have holes, the Birds have nests, but the Son of man hath not whereon to lay his head. Hee doth not say, Kings have Palaces, but I have none; or, rich men have house and land, but I have none. He layes downe his Condition to be belowe the very of the ayre, and the meanest beasts upon earth: In this humbled condition of his, hee did not so much as provide a set houseroome for himselfe and his family: the stable was his Inne[Page 51], the crach was his bed. The Disciple is not above his Master. St. Paulsaith(y)(y)1.Cor.4.11., ‘to this present houre, wee both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and have no certaine dwelling place.’
Doe wee complaine that our attire is meane, our clothing homespun? Elijah(z)(z)2 Kin 1.8.was clad with a rough hairy coat (such as the Prophets used to weare) and girt about with a plaine girdle. John Baptist, as he came in the spirit of Elias, so he resembled him in his Habit: He wore a rough garment of Camels haire, and a leathern girdle,(a)(a)Matth. 3.4." not as was usuall with those of the better sort in those parts, of finer stuffe. If some say his garment was[Page 52]Chamblet,Dr.Fulks Answer to the Rh [...] Matt.3.they speaken to of fine Chamblet, but of a rough and course cloth, made of the great, and hard haires of Camels; not of the fine and soft haires, called Camels wooll, whereof our Chamblet and Grograines are made. But what ever Johns garments were made off, or how course soever ours be, Freese or Russet, or as it comes off the sheepes back, without further [...]ncture or dye; wee finde that others, perhaps better deserving then our selves, have wandred in sheepsskins, goatskins, being destitute, afflicted and tormented.(b)(b)Hebr.11.37.
In a word: If I lie in a poore Cabbin: Those ancient Worthies, wee read of,[Page 53]in the Church-story, they wandred in Desarts, and in Mountaines, and in Dens, and Caves(c)(c)Hebr.11.38. of the earth. If I live in a low thatcht Cottage, the Prophet(d)(d)Jonah.4.5. Jonah had but a Lodge, or a Booth made of boughes, that he sate in. If I have a hard lodging; Jacobs was harder, when the earth was his bed, and a stone(e)(e)Gen.28.11." his pillow. If I want money; so did Peter; silver and gold (saith he,(f)(f)Act. 3.6. to him that asked him an A [...]me.) have I none. If I be but a daylabourer, and put to earne my living with my hands; so was that great Doctor of the Gentiles, Paul; he was a Tentmaker,(g)(g)Act 18.1. and stitcht up skins for his Tentworke; a Trade which then was[Page 54] much in use in those hot Countries, and by this meanes he maintained himselfe. And to speake of later times, so did that learned writer, Musculus(h)(h)Mel [...], who after his worthy service in the Ministry, was faine to get into a Weavers house, and learne to weave, to get bread for himselfe and his Family; and after thrust out of the house by his Master the Weaver, was forced to the common dich of the Towne, and worke with his spade to get his living. Why should I looke for Joseph's party-coloured coat, or Benjamin's five Messes? When as others of my brethren, deeper (happily) in Gods bookes, then my selfe, have [Page 55]beene so homely entertained. What am I that I should speed better then the meanest of these Patients? What had they done that they should fare worse then I? If I have little, others have lesse.
ConsiderSect.IIII Consider the benefit of a slender condition the benefit, that accreweth (by accident, at least) out of a mean state and condition of life; and it will helpe to worke out our present discontentment. It is true, we want some former conveniences, & accommodation for our diet, lodging, attendance, and entertainement: But if our allowance be shortned, our retinue must be reduced. Wee shall have courser fare, thinner meales, meaner utensils, homelier at,[Page 56]tire fewer attendants; but withall we shall have as quiet rest, as found Sleeps, as safe security, a better appetite, freer merriment, fewer cares and feares, lesse danger of distemper by surfeits; wee shall not be so deepe charged in the Excise Office, but quietly enjoy such provision as nature, and honest earnings shall furnish our Table withall. Wee cry up rich places, and great purchases; but are not those places attended with cares and emulation, and those purchases charged with secret encombrances? How often are their Masters [...]eep broken, and their beds disquieted with cares? What toile tooke wee in getting a little wealth, what care to [Page 57]keepe it, what feare to lose it, what griefe is to part with it? And now wee are eased of our burthen, full sore indeed against our will, and yet we complaine.
WhatSect. V.The cares that attend on wealth paines tooke wee to digge into the bowels of the earth? Not as others doe, who search there for minerals, aud hidden treasures, to enrich themselves withall; but to hide some poore utensils, lest others should find them, and spoile us. What feare had wee then, lest some curious eye should watch, & observe us, lest our owne trustee should betray us, or some casualty fall upon our close Reserve? How ready were wee then to sequester our owne state, to be [Page 58]strangers at our owne home, and to goe into a kind of voluntary exile? Me thinks I heare what thoughtfull consultations wee had in those plundering times. Shall we fly with David(i)(i) 1.Sam 23.19.into the Wildernesse of Ziph? Why, the Ziphites (of whom David afterwards complaines, strangers are risen up against mee)(k)(k)Psal.34.3. they will discover mee toSaul, to mine enemy. Shall I be beholden to the suttlety of a woman for my shelter? For, even that weake Sexe hath of entimes saved the lives of Gods servants. Shall I goe to Rahab,(l) [...].6 Hebr. 31. who hid the Spies, and covered them with the stalkes of flaxe, and is commended for it? Shall I hide my selfe on [Page 59]her flatroofed house? I feare the Terrase and Leads are too open; and exposed to the view of the enemy;the lumber there, were soone rifled, and remooved, and my selfe discovered. Shall I goe to the Well of Bahurim,(m)(m)2 Sa 17.18.19. where that good woman hid the messengers, that carried secret intelligence to David, of Absolons plot, and Achitophel's counsell? she covered the Well's mouth, and spread ground corne thereon. The suddaine wit of a woman hath choked the mouth of her Well with dried corne, that it might not bewray the Priests Sons, the messengers. Is not this Well (being in an open Court) too well kowne to the neigh[Page 60]bours that repaire thither, so as some one false brother or other may give the searchers some notice of it? May not the corne thereon, and the covering thereof, serve for provender and provision for themselves and their horses? The well is uncovered, and I am discovered. I feare this Well is too shallow to hide me.
Shall I betake me to Michals wile? When Davids house was beset with murderers, Michal (n),(n) [...].9 to gaine time for Davids escape, fayned that David was sick, and laid a statue in his bed, with a pillow of goates hayre for his bolster, as if it had beene Davids hayre, thereby deluding Saules men with hope [Page 61]of taking him, till by this their stay David had time to escape out at a window: this was a queint device, but who but Michal, Saul's daughter, would have adventured to delude Saul'sMessengers? This wile of hers, would in another have beene held a meere mockage and affront, and have enraged the pursuers: our searchers are not so tame as to bee couzned with a picture or a pillow, Michals wile is not for my safety. Well yet I remember Rachels device; shee was one could hide as close, and carry the matter as covertly as any of her sexe. When Rachel perceived that Laban made search for his Idols in the Tents, she tooke the Ima[Page 62]ges and put them in the Camels litter(o)(o)Gen. 31 33.&c., or furniture, & she sate upon the Idols, and covered them with her coats pretending for her not rising to her Father, the necessitie of her present condition, (Levit. 15. 19.) according to her sexe, that the accustomed infirmity of women was upon her, & therefore she desired to be excused, so Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. This of Rachel's was subtle, but not warrantable. For, first she stole her Fathers Idols, and then she cloked her thest with a lye; yet this excuse of hers passed; it passed with a Father, but it would not now bee admited; the childbed, the sickbed, the [Page 63]gravebed, all are rifled and ransacked.
I will not balke any meanes that may make for the preservation of my life and my state; but I will not rely on any but that of David's,(p)(p) Psal. 119.114.Lord, thou art my hiding place, my refuge and my sheild. The Lord hath his close Reserves; he provided a little Zoar for Lots entertainment, the land of Goshen for his Israelits, an Aegypt for Mary and the babe; the towne of Pella, for the Christians that quitted Hierusalem: he hath Caves and Rocks forDavid, and for Obadiah's hundred Prophets, and a basket for Paul, to let him downe the wall. Thou shalt hide them in[Page 64]in the secret of thy presence,(q)(q)Psal.31.20. from the pride of man: thou shalt keepe them secretly in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues: It may be (saith the Prophet(r)(r) Zeph.2.3. Wee shall be hid in the day of the Lords anger.
WeSect VI.The Security of a small estatehave heard the complaint & troubles of a full estate, looke now upon a mean condition, and observe the better temper thereof; what an advantage is it to be freed of those cares that fret the owners heart, as a moth doth a garment? Arise (saith the Prophet)(s)Jerem 49.31. get ye up into the wealthy nation, or to a nation without eyther feare or care, a secure nation, as it is explaned by the words following, which have neyther gates nor barres, which dwell alone. He meanes the Kedarens of Arabia, that dwelt without care in their Tents; without gates or barres. If you came to a mans house that hath neither lock nor key, neyther doore nor barre, you may well resolve that he dwells securely and in safety: And if you come to a City that hath neither gates nor barres, you may well say, eyther this City hath no enemies, or else it feares none: A City without gates or barres, is the emblem of security; and such is the plundred man's character. Hee sleepes with his doores open, no dangers threaten him, no feares breake his rest: he starts not out[Page 66] of his bed at midnight, and cries Theeves Theeves; there's none needes give him the warnword, the watchword. The Philistims be upon thee Sampson; Sampson the Philistims be upon thee: Hee lookes the taker in the face, and siniles to think how hee is disappointed of his prey: Hee is not troubled with hiding his treasure, nor tortured for discovering of it. Hee is not served with a writ of Latitat, but makes his appearance upon any law full summons and occasions: He feares no rifling or pilaging, for he can carry the choice of his wardrobe on his back, if any casualty befall his cottage hee takes it not to heart, as knowing that[Page 67]a little labour and charges will make him another H [...]t. He is like the Pinetree,which (they say) if his barke be pulled off lasts long, else it rot : He lives the longer and better for his losses.F [...]x necessit as quae in mel [...]ra com-pell it August. 45. [...]in fine.; well fare that want and necessity, which bettereth a man in the course of piety.
ThouSect.VI. The fickle nature of these earthly goods. complainest of the suddaine and unexpected losse of thy goods; why doe but consider the fickle nature of these earthly commodities, and it will helpe to allay thy griefe. Riches (as(u)(u)Prov.23.5. Solomon saith) have wings, and what use is there of wings but to fly? Sometimes they fly of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to[Page 68] bring in more; and yet even then, by trusting of ill customers, by the unfaithfulnesse of facto, or the unexpected falls of Markets, they may (happily) come home with their feathers, and traine shorter, till they be imped againe. Some have erected a winged Statue in honour of the Lady Victoria, hoping thereby to have her more favourable and propitious to them; yet fearing lest she should desert them, and fly into the enemies Campe, they clipt her wings, to make her reside with them: If wee could pinion the wings of our riches, and naile them fast downe to us, it were something; but We can have no steadenesse, no [Page 69]certainty of them. The Apostle charges us not to trust in uncertaine riches,(w)(w)1.Tim.6.17in the uncertainety of riches; the very forme of money (tis Austin's conceit)(x)(x)Aug in Psa.83. agreeth well with the condition thereof; for it is stamped round, as being very apt to run from us; wee call it current, and our goods, moveables. If riches were certaine, how is it that they that trade most for them, are driven to hazard, and put their goods continually in a venture, Marchant Adventurers? If riches were certain, what neede such Bils and Bonds, and Assurances so strong as our learned Councell, and the wit of man can devise, and all to secure them? They [Page 70]pretend it is because of mans mortality, but they meane many times, the mortality of his wealth, as well as of himselfe, and yet if the man live, there be some will breake these bands asunder, as easily as Sampson did the seven withs, or cords, wherewith he was tied; even in security ther's uncertainty.
Ther'sSect.I. Uncertainty of riches,their staying with us. double uncertainety in riches; their staying with us, and our staying with them; our parting certaine, their stay uncertaine. How many men have beene driven to an untimely want, by casualty of fire, inundation of waters, violence of tempests, by robbery of theeves, negligence of servants, or suretiship for [Page 71]friends? By Pirates and Rovers by Sea, by Robers and Pillagers by Land? By perils from strangers, and those of their owne houshold? Besides, if there fall an invasion, or some garboil in the State by forreine, or (as now) by Civill Wane, then if ever is Job's Simile verified, that Riches are like a Cobweb,(y)(y)Job.14. which is to day, and to morrow is swept away; that which a man shall be weaving all his life long, with great a doe and much travell, there comes me a souldier, a barbarous souldier, a Plunderer, with his broome, and in the turning of a hand sweeps it cleane away. How many good men during these dangerous times have [Page 72]tasted of this incertainty? As it is in a wheele, the spoke that is now upward, is by and by downeward; so comes it to passe, hee that is now rich, shortly becomes poore. Job was yesterday the richest man in the East, to day he is so needy that he is grown into a Proverb, As poor as Job: Bellisarius the great and famous commander, to whom Rome owed her life twice at least, came to Date obulum Belisario, one halfe penny to Belisarius. How many have gone to bed rich, and risen poore men in the morning?
ButSect.II.Uncertainty of our staying with riches. be it that they were certaine to tarry with us, yet except wee our selves were sure to tarry with them also, it is as good as nothing. Now [Page 73]wee are not certaine of our selves, we may have Leases of them for three lives, or one and thirty yeares, but they have no Leases of us for three houres. For when the grounds are stock'd and stored, and the barnes full; Hâc nocte,(z)(z)Luke 12.20. if God say but this night, it dasheth all. This night thy Soule shall be required of thee; and then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? here is another uncertainty; we may be outed of possession: many (as the Prophet (a)(a) Habbak.2.6.speakes) lade themselves with thick clay, that is, with earthly riches, the desire whereof is like a burthen that overcommeth and smothereth the bearer alive: but [Page 74]as the question is there, How long? this lading must be laid downe againe, and if the times proove dangerous, we have but a poore fruition and enjoying of that whereof we are possessed:Sect.III. It's uncertaine to whom we shall leave them. Besides there's an uncertainty in the conveighing them, and our leaving them, by reason of the danger of our childrens scattring of them. Whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? perhaps a strangers, perhaps some fals Executors, perhaps an Enemies. We may indeed with Zacharias call for writing tables, and write his name John, but doe we not often see that men make heritages, but God makes Heires; that many sonnes roste not that [Page 75]their fathers got in hunting? He heapes up riches, saith the(b)(b) [...] 39.v.6.&49. [...] Psalmist, and knoweth not who shall gather them, whether his children or strangers: I must leave them (saith the Preacher(c)(c)Eccl.18.19 to the man that shall bee after me, to my successour, to the generation following, I cannot be sure to leave it to one that will use it well: Who knowes whether he shall bee a wise man or a foole, a good husband or not? The snowe in the Sunne never melted faster than some mens riches as soone as themselves bee gone. A moderate portion and provision doth well: A great estate left to an Heire, is as a lure to all the byrds of prey, round about, to seize [Page 76]on him, if hee be not all the better educated and stablished in yeares and judgement.
Besides,Sect. VIII Riches,they are not ours,but lent us these riches, they are not ours, but lent us: wee may say of them, as the poore man of the hatchet, Alas Master, it is but borrowed(d)(d)King.6.5 : we have jus adrem not dominium in rem: right to these earthly things, not any Lordship over them, and but a right of favour, as Tenants at the will of the Lord, the Proprietarie; and we must be accountable for them, and the greater our Receit, the greater will our reckoning be. Bernard saith,(e)(e)Serm. 4. de Advent these earthly riches, nec verae, nec vestrae sunt; they are neither true riches, nor [Page 77]yet your owne. If they be yours, saithGregorie; why doe you not take them with you, when you goe? By leaving them behind you to the world, you confesse they are not yours, but the worlds. Indeed they are the riches of this world, for here you get them, and here you may lose them; heere you get them, and here you must leave them. The very certaintie is, losing or leaving, that is, forgoing them; so the very certainty, is an Uncertainty.(f)(f) [...]v.17.18. Leave them, or lose them we must: leave them when we dye, or lose them while we live. You must either leave them when you die, or they will leave you while you l[Page 78]live, this is certaine: but whether you them, or they you, this is uncertaine. Job tarried himselfe, his riches went. The rich mans riches , but he himself went, Luke 12. 20. One of these shalbe, we know, but which of them shall be, or when, or how, or how soone it shal be, that we know not, sayth that sweetsinger ofIsrael. We have an usuall phrase among us, and it is a very proper one; When a rich man dies, (we say) he left a great estate, he leaves it indeed, for hee cannot carry it with him: he must go out naked, how wel clothed soever he was while he was heere. Well then, since these earthly goodes are of so fraile and brittle [Page 79]consistence, let us according to our Saviours charge,(g)(g)M [...]h. 6..20. lay up for our selves treasures in heaven, where neyther moth, (which builds in another mans possession) and [...]ust doth corrupt, and where theeves doe not breake thorow and steale.
If Sect.IX Labour to be content with a simple condition, not depending on many things.wee seeke for contentment (as who doth not?) We must not like Martha trouble our heads with many things, but some few necessaties; and reduce our affections to some short dependances. It is true wee have a body consisting of divers members, which have neede of severall helps and supplies, as aire, diet, houses, exercises, recreations; and wee are subject to much weaknesse, hurts, [Page 80]losses, and hinderances: See B.Hall of Con-tensionThe best way for our conveniency and accommodation, will be to draw out minde into as narrow a boundary & compasse as may be, like thrifty husbands that cash ere unprofitable retainers; and not to depend upon many things: But taking the Lord for the portion of our Inheritance;(b)(b)Psa.6.5. Content our selves with a simplicity of condition, not hankering upon this, and that, and the other changeable object, as if (forsooth) we could not live, nor subsist without it. As for example; some cannot live without sports and pleasure, and great meanes; another is all for a convenient house, and sociable company; take [Page 81]any of these from him, you touch him in his freehold, and he is (as it were) dead in the nest.
Why, you will say, may wee not use such things?
Yes, but with weaned affections, so using them as if wee used them not,(i)I 1..Cor.7.21 not abusing them by an inordinate use of them, or by too much doting on them, and cleaving unto them; not so, as if wee were wedded to them. You shall have some their hearts so glued to them, as they are like to breake, if their friends, estates, or credit faile them, or they be hindred of their pleasures, and profits. Now he that enjoyes these[Page 82] things so, as to set up his rest thereon, so as he terminates his comfort and contentment therein; such an one Idolizeth them, and committeth a kinde of Idolatry with the Creature; in such sort as St. Paul calleth a covetous man an Idolater.(k)(k)Ephes. [...]The Idols of the Heathen (saith the Psalmist) are gold and silver, so are they of the covetous man: The one worshippeth the Image of gold and silver in the Church, the other of the Prince stampt upon his Coyne in his chest. And as the Idolater putteth his trust and confidence in his gods; so doth the covetous man in his goods, saying to the wedge of gold,(l)(l) [...]thou art my hope, and confidence.
[Page 83]GiveSect.1.The benefit of an Independent condition. me now the man that can sit downe with a slendernesse of condition, that depends not on many things, and see how he hath taken out St. Paul's Lesson, and can say; I have learned in whatsoever estate I am, (m)(m)Phil. 4.1 [...].therewith to be content, that is, riches or not riches, honour or not honour, I can be happy with them, and without them: I can live by them, and without them, I can live without liberty, I can live without friends, I can live without sports and pleasures, without worldly credit and esteeme, without wife and children, without riches, without conveniency of aire, Gardens and Orchyards: Yea, were he put into a[Page 84] a Country Towne far from all suitable acquaintance; yea were he shut up in close prison, yet even there he could walke with God, and doe asPaul and Silas, have his heart filled with joy and peace through beleeving. And how so? because he fetcheth comfort from God's All sufficiency, so as come what will come, whatsoever condition he is put into, let him be up and downe (like the Springweather) sometimes faire, sometimes foule, he hath a bottome of his owne to stand upon, he hath somewhat to comfort his heart.
Let our conversation (as the Apost. saith)(n)(n)Hebr. 23 5 [...] be without covetousnesse, and be [Page 85]we content with such things as wee have. If wee have [...]egumenta , covering only for our nakednesse, and alimenta, food for our emptinesse, let us therewith be content, albeit wee have not ornamenta, rich attire also for comlinesse, and oblectamenta, delicious fare for daintinesse. If we have an easy saddle, what though wee want trappings? Rest is good, though it be betweene two panyers. Let us neither grudge at the leannesse of our owne portion, nor envy at the fatnesse of anothers lot. Far be it from us to deale with God herein, as Hiram did with Solomon. Solomon gave him twenty Cities in the Land of Galilee, (o)(o)1.King 9.11.13but because the [Page 86]Countrey was low and deep (and so in all likelihood more fruitfull for that, wee say deepe riding, good abiding) they pleased him not: So as he said to Solomon, what Cities are these thou hast given mee? And he called themCabul, that is to say, displeasing or dirty; or therfore displeasing, because dirty: Say rather with David,(p)(p)Psal.16.5.6. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, the lines are fallen unto mee in a pleasant place; yea I have a goodly heritage.
Comforts against Im
[Page 87]THouSect. I. Wee are free Prisoners,the mind is at liberty complainest of want, but it is want of liberty, that troubleth thee more. Indeed liberty is a blessing wee prize next to our life; so deare, as many have lost their life, to purchase their liberty. But be not disheartned with this confinement: The outer man is restrained; the inner man,See Bp. Hall of the free Prisoner. the minde, is at liberty: Thou are thine enemies prisoner, and Gods freeman; thou art barred from the Country [Page 88]thou wert borne in, not from the Countrey thou art borne for, borne to.
ThouSect. I. The Saints imprisoned. art imprisoned, (see thou suffer not for thine own fault, but for a good cause) thou art clapt up within foure walls; why thou hast worthy Precedents; so wasJoseph, Michaiah, Jeremie, John Baptist, Peter, Paul and Silas, who sang like Nightingales in their Cages.
WhatSect. II. Imprison-ment not strange: we are imprisoned in the womb, the body and the grave. though I be coup [...] up in prison? Why should that be so strange to mee? I was kept close prisoner nine moneths together in my mothers wombe, when I came into the world, I was put in-to a liber â custod â, a wider prison; my soule is now imprisoned in my body, and [Page 89]ere long I looke for an habeas corpus to remoove me out of this place, to the Grave, the Land of darkenesse, as Job(q)(q)Job.10 21. calleth it. But God, who hath all times in his hand, will in his good time send me my writ of ease, and give me my liberate, and thereby free both this body of mine, from these outward prison-walls, my soule from the prison of this body, and both body and soule from the(r) Rom.8.21. bondage of corruption, and restore me to the glorious liberty of the Sons of God.
ThereSect.III.Hel a fearful prison,there's no light, no favour there,no delivery thence. is yet a terrible and fearfull prison, whence there is no redemption, no goale delivery, without baile or mainprise, but this is our [Page 90]comfort, the Lord hath the keyes of H [...]ll(s)(s)Revel.1.18., so as he hath an absolute power over it, to deliver and discharge the penitent from the feare and danger thereof: He hath the keyes of death to unlock the graves, and the keyes of Hell,(t)(t)Revel. 20 3. to locke up the old Dragon, and his crew, into the bottomlesse pit,
When I was an Embryo in the da [...]ke Cell of the wombe, I was pen't up there as a close Reserve, and yet there I had a kinde and loving keeper, my mother my midwife, and afterwards my nurse: But in that other p [...]ison, the keeper there is our(u)(u)I Pet. 5.8. Adversary the Devill, who walkes about, as a roaring Lyon, seeking whom he [Page 91]may devoure. In other prisons men have fou [...]d some favour and mitigation; Joseph was put in fetters,(w)(w)Gen.39.21. but the Lord was with him, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison, but never any in that prison. Jeremie was in the dungeon,(x)(x)Jer.38.7. yet he had Ebedmelech a Courtier to interceede for him to the King: But ther's none to solicit for the prisoners there, as being extrà statum merendi, without all capacity of favours, and acts of grace.(y)(y)Acts 12.7. Peter was put into a darke prison, but the light shoone round about him, his fetters fell off from him, and the Angel led him foorth, and set him free. But in that other prison, ther's nothing but utter darknes, no Angels there, but such as kept not their first estates,(z)(z)Jude 6. reserved in everlasting chaines under darkenesse, unto the Judgement of the great day.
NowSect.IIII. Pray, wee never bee delivered to that prison then asJeremie prayed unto the King Zdechias ,(a)(a)Jer.37.20. that he would not cause him to returne to the house of Jonathan the Scribe (which was the prison) lest he dyed there. So let us put up our supplications to the Lord, that he would not send us into that eternall prison to die for ever.
Comforts against Ba
THouSect.I. We are all Pilgrims, Heaven is our true home. complainest that thou art banish' [...] out of thy Country; why, who is not? Wee are all of us Pilgrims and Strangers;(b)(b)1 Per.2.11. our conversation is in Heaven;(c)(c)Philip.3.20. Zanchius translates it, our Burgesship, our societie is in Heaven, we looke higher then the earth, wee set our affections upon the things that are above; wee carry our selves like fellow-Citizens of Saints, there wee live according to the [Page 94]Lawes of Heaven, and heere on earth in part enjoyes the priviledges of that heavenly Corporation, the new Hierusalem that is above. It was a gracious speech of a worthy Divine (d)(Dr.Preston) upon his Deathbed that he should change his place, not his company: His conversation was now beforehand with his God, and his holy Angels, and now he was going to a more free and full fruition of the Lord of life, in that Region of glory above. Whil'st wee are at home in the body, wee are absent from the Lord, as St. Paul saith:(e)(e)2 Cor.5.6. ‘This is not our true home, wee seeke for a better countrey’,(f)(f)Hebr.11.16. that is, an Heavenly. There is our true [Page 95]home, and were wee (as it is thought S [...]. John was) banish' [...] into theIsle Patmos,(g)(g) Revel.1.9.or the Archipelago, for the word of God, and the Testimony of Jesus Christ; even there wee should find as ready a passage to Heaven in our addresses to God, as in our native soile. This Center of earth is equidistant, alike distant from the glorious circumference of Heaven; as Hierom said of old to his Paulinus, ‘De Hierosolymis & de Britanniâ aequaliter patet aul a caelestis’, Heaven is as open in Britaine as in Hierusa-lem.
ItSect.I. The benefit of remooveall. is Cyril's observation, that Abraham whil'st he was in his owne Countrey, had never God appearing to him[Page 96]him save only to bid him go forth of his Countrey,(h)(h)Gen.12.1. his Kindred, and his Fathers house; but afterwards, when he was gone forth, he had frequent visions of his Maker. Had Joseph beene ever so great, or had such trust in Potiphar's House, or Pharaoh's Kingdome, if he had not beene sold into Aegypt? Had Daniel and his three companions of the captivity ever attained to that honour in their native Land? Themistocles(i)(i)Plutar. in Themist. being banished fromAthens, grew into great favour with the King of Persia, so as he was wont to say, ‘my sonnes, we should have been undone, if we had not beene undone’.
[Page 97]ArtSect.II.Abraham enjoyned to leave his own Countrey thou banish [...]'out of thy Countrey? Why, what other thing hath befallen thee then it pleased God to enjoyneAbraham the father of the faithfull? Saying to him,(k)(k)Ge.12.1. ‘get thee out of thy Countrey, and from thy kindred, and from thy fathers house, to a Land that I will shew thee.’ He must goe from the place of his birth, and wonted abode, but he knoweth not whether,(l)(l)Hebr.11.8.9. to a place he knew not, and to men that knew not him. He must sojourne(m)(m)Gen.14.23. in a strange Countrey, where he is constrained either to buy, or hire, or borrow both a place for his dwelling, as also a plot of ground, for the buriall of his dead.(n)(n) [...] 23.4.
[Page 98]WhatSect.III.We have right in any Countrey, by Gods title though wee be strangers at home? The Lord can provide us an home amongst strangers. Aegypt the slaughterhouse of Gods people, the furnace of Israel's affliction; hath neverthelesse three severall times beene the Sanctuary and Harbour to preserve Gods Church, as namely; in Abraham, in Joseph, and in Christ. God oftentimes makes use of the world for the behoofe of his owne. The earth is the Lords, and all places are alike to the wise and faithfull. God that is every where, the same, makes all places alike to his.
InSect IV. The [...] a word; am I banish't from home I meet with many of whom the world [Page 99]was not worthy,(o)(o)Hebr.11.38. wandring about in sheep-skins, in goat-skins, in Dasarts, and in mountainns, and in Dens, and in Caves of the earth. Why am I then discouraged or disheartned? There hath no temptation taken mee,(p)(p)I.Cor.10.13. but such as is common to man: Ther's nothing hath befallen mee heerein, but what is incident to other men holier then my selfe; such as usually hath been incident to Gods dearest children; such as may be borne by man in this life, specially assisted by Gods grace, which is alwaies sufficient for his children.
Besides,Sect.V.God accompanied his, even in Banishment. if I be east upon a forrein Coast, I shall have good company, For he [Page 100]hath said,(q)(q)Hebr.13.5.Jof.1.5. who cannot faile, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee; which though it were spoken to Joshua, yet it belongeth to us: For even particular promises may be generally applied, specially when the thing promised appertaines unto all.
Comforts against pub
HE e Sect.I. Of the miseries of a Civil war.me thinkes I heare the tender hearted Patient reply; It is not the want of health, or losse of goods, re[Page 101]straint home, or exile abroade, or the like personall grievances, that affect me so much, as the publique calamities; to see the Sword, the Famine, and Pestilence like the three bands,(r)(r)1.Sam.13.17. or Companies of the Philistines, ready to wast the land of Israel. My heart bleeds to see the fearefull effects of this Civill Warre waged in the hands of our homebred enemies. Many of our deare brethren are staine and fallen by the sword, their bloud hath beene spilt like water, and their bones have beene seattered, as when one cleaveth and cutteth wood upon the earth: what tumbling of garments, and weltring of the horse and his Rider in [Page 102]their mingled bloud? The spoiled cry to us for bread, the sick and wounded for helpe and healing. Many Townes have beene plundered, many Matrons and Virgins have beene ravished, many Families have beene plundered, many Wives and Children deprived of their Husbands and Parents, left Widowes, and fatherlesse Children Many Parishes bereft of faithfull Pastors, and some of our dwellings turned to ashes. What an unspeakeable misery is it, to heare the shrieks and horrour of some dying, to see the gashly rage of others kil-ling To see the streets and fields strewed with carkases, and the channels running with[Page 103]with streames of bloud?
Indeede it is just with God, and our sinnes (personall and national ) did well deserve it; that our plenty should be turned into want, and famine; our health into sicknesse; and our long peace (the Crowne of all these blessings, and the Envy of the Nations round about us) into the worst and most miserable of all warres, (for, it is ever a dangerous fire that begins in the bedstaw) a Civill War, a War of Christian against Christian, Neighbours against Neighbours, Brethren against Brethren, a war of Ephraim against Manassch, of Manasseh against Ephraim, so as the Lords Judah is endangered. O thou sword[Page 104]sword of the Lord, how long wil it be ere thou be quiet?(t)(t)Jer.47.6. Put up thy selfe into the scabberd, rest and be still.
TheSect.II.Comfort from the sense and sympathy of common evils. (t)Amos 6.6. Prophet complaineth of Israel's wantonnesse, that they dranke wine in bowles, but were not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph: They let themselves loose to all intemperance and carnall pleasures, drinking in measures without measure; and in the meane time were not sensible of the miserable condition of Gods wrongfully oppressed servants. It is a dead member that is not sensible of the state of the body: You doe well to be touched with the sense of the common calamities of these wofull times;[Page 105]by this your sympathy, and fellow-feeling, you shew your selfe to be a member of the Church and State wherein you live; wee are not whole, and entire peeces, but as St. Paul saith,(u)(u)Cor.12.26.27. members in part, members in particular, each one for his part, and in his place, so as wee share, and have community both in commodities and discommodities. If one member suffer, all the rest suffer with it: If there be a thorne in the foot, which is the lowest member, the head stoopes, the back boweth, the eye discovereth, the hand searcheth, and all are set a worke to relieve the engaged part: How much more if the whole body suffer? It[Page 106]
It is a rule in Law,(w)(w)Reg.Juris.29.ab omni-bus approbari debet Quod on nes tangit, [...]abomnibus each one must take care of that, wherein all are alike concerned. Wee have each of us some [...]of commodities [...]that common vessell set foorth by the Church and State, so as we had need pray for a gale to bring it to harbour; for if that miscarry, what will become of our stock, of us passengers? God is pity-full,(x)(x)Sam.5.11.of many bowels, and of tender mercy: now as his bowels are tender, and yea towards us, so should his people have rowling and tender bowels towards Him, his cause, his people, and his Church. A Christian, as he [Page 107]must not be proud flesh, so neither must hee bee dead flesh, but feeling and sensible, as of his owne sinfulnes, so also of the common malady. Now the fruit of this sensiblenesse, is earnest prayer to God. Melanchton said well;‘Si nil curarem, nil orarem’: If I cared for nothing, I would pray for nothing. There bee some that have hard bowels, hidebound, such as take little care what becoms of Church or State, sinke or swim, so themselves may sleepe in a safe skin: but if the Publike suffer either in Church or State, no mans private pleasure, or profit, can stand firme unto him. And Cicero(y)(y)Lib.1.ep.15.ad Attic Qui amisia Republica Piseinas suas sore salvas sperare videntur.had reason enough to laugh at the folly [Page 108]of those men, which in his time seemed to conceive such a windy hope, that their fishponds, and places of plea ure, should be safe, when the Commonwealth was lost.
When David would have gone to the field in person, his Worthies disswaded him from so doing, saying; the enemy,(z)(z)2.Sam 8.3.they care not for us, but thou art worth ten thousand of us, their principall aime is at thee; they had rather surprize thee our Generall, then thousands of us: so may wee say; wee are all interessed in the publique, and should be more deepely affected, what befals it, then our owne private, as being of more value and con[Page 109]cernment then our particular. He is too wary, that hath more care of himselfe, then the cause of Christ, the Churches, and his owne Countrey. Old Eli was sorry to heare the newes of Israels discomfiture, and his sonnes death; but when he heard the report, that the Arke (the Testimony of Gods presence) was taken by the enemy, this struck(a)(a)1.Sam.4.17.18. him dead. His Daughter in law,(b)(b)1.Sam.4.20.&c. no sooner heard of that heavy newes, but she sell to her travell; and when the women that stood by her, bid her, feare not, for she had borne a sonne, she regarding more the losse of the Arke; the common losse, then rejoycing at her new [Page 110]sonne, she cal's her child Ichabod, that is, where is the glory? And with her last breath answers her selfe: The glory is departed from Israel, the Arke is taken.
ThouSect.III.Comfort from the Justice of Gods proceedings. mournest for the common sufferings; Indeed these be wofull and distracted times, and much to be bemoaned; but as the Prophet saith,(c)(c)Lam.3.39. wherefore doth a living man complaine, a man for the punishment of his sin? Why doth he complaine of Gods hand? He suffereth nothing but what he hath brought upon himselfe by his sin. Man sinneth, and God proceedeth to punishment; this is an Act of divine Justice; of corrective Justice; and shall not the [Page 111]Judge of all the earth doe right? (d)(d) Gen.18.25It cannot be denied, that our sinnes have reach't up to Heaven, and called downe these judgements.
For,Sect.I.Personall corrupti-ons. besides those secret personall corruptions, which are in every one of us, and whereunto every mans heart is privy; there be many publique and nationall finnes, whereof the people of this Land are generally guilty; such as are abundantly sufficient ( Gods actions were to be [...]nned) to justifie his dealing towards us, to acquit and cleere him when he is judged.(e)(e)Psal.5. 4.
ForSect. II.Nationall sins,common and peculiar. besides the sinnes, common to us with other Nations, there be some peculiar to us alone, as namely: our wretched unthankfullnesse unto God, for the long continuance of his Gospell, and our Peace: our long peace bred us to security, and we grew wanton with plenty: we ranne into Ryot and excesse (the noted proper sinne, of our Nation) and much intemperate abuse of the good creatures of God in our meats and drinks and disports, and other provisions and comforts of this life. The people of Israel required meat for their lust, and the people of England nourish't their lust and appetite for their meate; so as we became a by-word to the neighbour nations for gluttony and belly-cheare. [Page 113]And for Novelties, in fashion, in opinion; Athens(f)(f)Acts.17.21. it selfe was nothing so mad thereon, as our English Nation; witnesse, our guises in apparrell so many times disguised; the people so Cameleon-like transfashioned into the Italian, Spanish, French, any forrein forme they had but seene in Countreyes where they traffiqued or travailed, so as one might thence conclude, Levity to be, after a sort, our Nationall sinne: and for novelty in opinion it is too palpable, our wantonnesse and toyishnesse of understanding, hath almost corrupted the simplicity of our Christian Faith; we have troubled the peace of the Church with a [Page 114]thousand nic [...] ties and novelties, and unnecessary w [...]lings in matters of Religion: we pitty the former Ages contending about leavened and unleavened bread, keeping of Easter, fasting on Sundayes, and the like. The future ages will doe the like for us, and our bickerings, about gestures and postures, habits and attyres, rites and Ceremonies, and the like.
Now to these peculiars, may bee added, our carnall confidence and security, in our woodden and watry walls, our shipping. Wee were a wealthy and a carelesse Nation; our deliverances were great, wee dwelt alone without feare of evill, and were become the envy [Page 115]of those that were round about us. Looke into the Church, and there might bee many, rather professing the forme, then practising the power of piety; our cheape and irreverent regard unto God's holy Ordinances of his Word and Sacraments and Sabbaths and Ministers, our hearing of the Word, our partaking of the Sacraments, our praying and invocating God's sacred name, were become both in Pastor and People, for want of true devotion, and the inward guidance of the holy-Spirit, but as it were so many outward fashions, formes, and complements, Walke into the courts of Judicature and there behold corruption [Page 116]by sale of offices and enhancing of fees; by making the petty penall Statutes like trappes to catch the weaker sort, and the more weighty and materiall Lawes, like Cobwebs, for the abler and mightier to breake; and passe thorow at their pleasure. Step aside into our shops and warehouses, and see (though I confesse it is hard to discover that mystery, and handy craft) how our trades and traffique were become the practice of deceit; while we made our gaine by lying, and forswearing, by false lights, false weights, false measures, which are abomination to the Lord. And (to reckon no more) our Incompassion to our brethren miserably[Page 117] wasted with warre and famine in other parts of the World, and our heavy oppressions of our bretheren at home, in racking the Rents, and grinding the faces of the poore(g).(g)Esay.15 Wee were (as the Prophet speaks(h)(h)Jer.49.31. a wealthy nation, which dwelt alone; a secure people, as eyther having no Enemies, or fearing none: Peace was within our walls, and plenteousnesse within our Pallaces. But when wee had eaten and were full, and had waxen fat, we rose up aagainst the Lord our maker, who had done so great things for us; our heart was lifted up, and we forgat our God, and lightly esteemed the Rock of our Salvation, [Page 118] wee loathed the Manna that rained downe upon us.
ThereforeSect.III Warre the maladie,Repentance the remedy. the Lord hath recompenced our wayes upon our heads, and suffered our destruction to proceede from our selves; our wickednesse doeth correct us; our backsliding doth reprove us, and our iniquity is become our ruine. The Lord hath broken us with a grievous breach, his anger hath divided us, and his fury hath dashed us one against another. The sword is drunk with our bloud, and wee are numbred to the slaughter: the high wayes are unoccupied,(i)(i)Judg.5.6.7. ther's not that commerce and intercourse of trading, because men dare not travell in the high wayes for [Page 119]feare of enemies and robbers; they forsake the beaten roads to escape the enemy; the travellers walked through bywayes, or crooked waies; the inhabiters of the villages ceased, the unwalled Towns lay wast, because the country people durst not dwell in them, our goods are for a spoile, and our substance to the robbers. Now in all this,(k)(k)Ezek.18.25. the way of the Lord, is it not equall? Is there any can taxe his actions with unjustice? nay, are not our waies unequall? Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord?(l)(l)Jer.5.9. Shal not my soul be avenged on such a Nation? Lord, thou hast visited us, and that sharply: say to the destroying sword, It is now evough.[Page 120]Let our (m)(n)2.Sam [...]1.7. sword blades be turned into plow shares, and our speareheads into Scithes, and our helmets into bee-hives. Peace is a Compendium of all prosperity, even the prosperity of war is called peace. David de-mands ofUriah, how Joab the Captaine did? In the originall it is,(n)(o) P [...].22.214.171.124. how Joab's peace did? and how the people did, and how the war prospered: As on the contrary, war is the Master of all misery: the Hebrewes they call war Milchama, from eating, because it devoureth all things. Returne, (O Lord) how long? And let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfie us early with thy mercy; that wee may [Page 121]rejoyce and be glad all our daies. Make us glad according to the daies wherein thou hast afflicted us; and the yeares wherein wee have seene evill. But how shall we either remoove present, or prevent future judgements? There is no way under Heaven but this, to breake off our sinnes by a seasonable and serious repentance.
When the body is distempered, and the bloud inflamed, the Physitian ordereth the opening of a veine, and the drawing out some ounces of bloud, for the preservation of the whole: The great Physitian of the State hath taken the like course with us; wee ran into riot and excesse, sinne was our [Page 122]surfeit, and war is our disease and now her's a deepe incisi [...] on made in the maine body and it lies a bleeding: Ther' no way to stanch and stop this issue, but by bewailing and abandoning our forme wickednesse, and to diet our selves hereafter by abstinence from sinne, lest otherwise our disease grow desperate.
ThouSect.IIII.Comfort from Gods overruling Providence complainest of thes confused and tumultuary courses; indeed they are lamentable and distracted times: But he that sits in Heaven orders these earthly affaires, according to the eternall counsell of his will: He sits at the sterne, and steeres this tossed vessell of Church and State; and how [Page 123]ever the proud billowes arise, and threaten to overturne it, yet he can tack about, and serve himselfe even of contrary winds, to bring it safe to Harbour. God doth not put things into a frame, and then leave them to their owne motion, as wee doe clocks, after wee have once set them right, and ships after we have once built them, commit them to winde and waves; but as he made all things, and knowes all things, so (by a continued kind of Creation) he preserves all things in their being and working, and governes them to their ends. There is nothing so high, that is above his providence, nothing so low that is beneath it, nothing so large but is bounded by it, nothing so confused, but God can order it, nothing so bad, but he can draw good out of it; nothing so wisely plotted, but God can disappoint it, as he did Achitophel's counsell, nothing so simply and unpolitiquely carried, but he can give a prevailing issue unto it.
ASect.I.Gods providence instanced in Joseph, Gen.37.1.&c notable precedent hereof wee have in Joseph.Jacob sends Joseph toDothan to visit his Brethren, his Brethren cast him into the Pit, Reuben relieves him, the Ishmaelitish Marchants buy him, and sell him to Potiphar, his Mistresse accuseth him, his Master condemnes him, the Butler (after long forgetfulnesse)[Page 125]recommends him, and Pharaoh exalts him. O what instruments were heere! how many hands about this one poore man of God? How was he passed over from hand to hand, from his Brethren to the Ishmaelits, and from them to Potiphar? Never a one of them looking to that end which God had purposed unto him; yet the Lord contrary to their intention, makes them all worke together for Josephs advancement inAegypt. ‘It was not you that sent me hither,’ saith Joseph(p)(p)Gen.45.8. to his brethren, but God; yee thought evill against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to passe, as it is this day, to save much people, to [Page 126]wit, the Aegyptians, and other people, who in the famine were furnished with corne, by the store which Josephs providence had layd up in the yeeres of plenty. Joseph meant not to cleere his brethren from all fault, but to cheere them up in contemplation of Gods providence, who turned their malice and his misery, into a meanes of great mercy. And indeed God is so good, that out of the worst conspiracies and deeds of the wicked, he can worke the greatest wellfare; as from the bloudy counsells of Herod,(q)(q)Acts.4.27. and Pilate, and many others against our Saviour, the salvation of the Elect.(r)(r)Ephe.4.7. This may minister comfort, and [Page 127]confidence against the plots, and attempts of the wicked; wherein though they meane nothing but mischiefe, God can by his omnipotent providence, bring forth quite contrary effects to that they intend; and as he brings light out of darknesse,(s)(s)2.Cor.4.6. so he can bring peace out of warre, quiet and orderly government out of confused commotions. Gods goodnesse overmasters the malignity of men, turning their evill into good, ex viper â theriacum, triacle out of the viper, and make a medicine of a poyson. He that is so infinitely wise to know the designes of his enemies before they are, could as well prevent them, that they might [Page 128]not be; but he lets them run on their owne courses, that he may fetch glory to himselfe out of their wickednes. This cannot but bring strong security to the soule, to know that in all conditions, and in all variety of changes, and intercourse of good and bad events, whatsoever befalls us: God and our good God, hath such a disposing hand.
IfSect.II.To de [...]ped on Gods Providence. thou seest (saith the Preacher)(t)(t)Eccles.5.8.the oppression of the poore, and violent perverting of Judgement & Justice in a Province, marvel not at the matter: for hee that is higher than the highest, regardeth, and there bee higher than they. Stand not as it were at a bay, in a careful & combersome thoughtfulnesse, as if God did not see and regard these things below: bee not amazed and dismayd, as if all things were let loose: as if these earthly things were not orderly swayed by a wise and most provident God, who in his good time will redresse these things, and therefore we must depend upon him: for wee are under a providence that is above our own. That wise Moderatour of all things, that workes his will in us, loves so to doe it, as may be least with our foresight and acquaintance, and would have us fall under his decrees unawares, that wee may so much the more adore the depths of his providence, which wee cannot fathome.[Page 130]Every creature walks blindfold, only he that dwells in light, sees whither they goe.
God is like to a skilfull Artisan, who out of a crooked and untoward piece, can frame an excellent worke: he can dispose of things confused and out of order, and even contrary to their nature turne them to good ends and uses. Where wee cannot trace him in the course of his providence, there wee ought with Saint Paul(u)(u)Rom.32.33., to admire and adore him, when we are in heaven, it will bee one part of our happinesse, to see the harmony of those things that seeme now confused unto us. All God's dealings will appeare beautifull in their due seasons, [Page 131]though wee for the present see not the contiguity and linking together of one thing with another.Sect V. The Remedy our purticular, and generall Repentance.Thou complaynest of these woefull times, thy Soule (thou sayest) mournes in secret, for the common maladies of this distempered State; thou dost well to mourne over such sinnes as the Land is generally guilty of, but let mee tell thee, hast thou not reason so to doe? Hast thou not put thine hand to the wickednesse of the times? Hast thou not carried in some fuell to this common fire, and cast in thy mite to the common shot? Though others be principall, yet thou art accessary to the evill thereof. Hast thou not eyther com[Page 132]manded it, as Jezebel did to the Elders of Israel? Advised it, as Jonadab did to Amnon? Consented to it, as Bathsheba did to David? Soothed it, as Zedekiah did to Ahab; Furthered it, as Joab did to David? Forborne to disswade it, as Hirah the Adullamite to Judah? Not resisted it, as partiall Magistrates? Not revealed it, as treaeherous Confessaries? Thou hast not mourned for the corruptions of the time so feelingly, nor endeavored the reformation of them to thy power so faithfully as thour oughtest, and mightest have done. Thou shalt doe well to beginne at home, and to make thine owne composi[Page 133]tion and peace with God, for thy particular offences, and then to move for an Act of Oblivion, for a generall, a Nationall Pardon; so shall thou put out the brand which thy selfe cast in, and helpe to abate and quench the common shame. Indeed publique humiliations have ever beene thought, and so they are, proper remedies against publique Judgements: yet if every man would cleanse his own Frontstead, the whole City would soon be cleered. Let every one then returne to his owne heart, to know there (as Salomon saith(w)(w)K[?]8.38. his owne plague, even the sins where-with he hath grieved God, to be sorry for them, and [Page 134]henceforth with the duty of repentance, and reall reformation, with more precise caution against spirituall Relapses; to betake himselfe more frequently to privat supplication, and to performe both that and the publique with more sincerity and servency of affection: that so the God of Peace might bee pleased to put an end to these warres.
How shall wee know when a man is cast downe and disquieted, otherwise then is befitting?
There is a threefold miscarriage of inward trouble.
I.When the Soule is troubled for that it should [Page 135]not be vexed for, as Ahab,(x)(x)I.Kin.21. when he was crost in his will for Naboths Vineyard.
II. In the measure and extent, when we trouble our selves (though not without cause) yet without bounds. Put the case a man be disquieted for sinne (for which not to bee disquieted is a sinne) yet we may looke too much and too long upon it: for the Soule hath a double eye, one to looke to sinne, another to looke up to God's mercy in Christ. Having two objects to looke on, wee may sinne in looking too much on the one, with neglect of the other: Wee should so minde our griefe, as not to forget God's mercy. SaintPaul would have the Corinthian Delinquent, upon his unfayned tokens of Repentance, released of the censure and received againe into the Church, and comforted, lest hee be swallowed(y)(y)2.Cor.3.7. up in the gulph of despayre.
III. Thirdly (And this to our present case) there may bee a miscarriage in the ground of our trouble, as when we greive for that which is good, and for that which we should grieve for; but it is with too much reflecting upon our owne particular.
For instance sake; in these unhappy times, and dismall dayes, ther's great troubles both in Church and State; three Kingdomes involved in a blody unnaturall [Page 137]warre, betwixt those who are brethren by nature, nation, and profession of Religion; wherein what party soever gaines, the Kingdome loseth many loyall subjects, and the Church many Christian professors; which causeth our enimies to insult; our selves and all good Christians to lament, and be deeply affected herewith. But now if we would deale truly with our owne hearts; what is it indeede that makes us take on so? Is it not because these troubles hinder the liberties of the flesh, and restraine the pride of life? Is it not because our liberty is abridged, our ease disquieted, our wealth pared with the razor of warre,[Page 138]our attendants reduced, our recreations stopped, and our visits discontinued? Other things, (the common sufferings) may be pretended, but it seemeth it is our private sore that toucheth us, and if it be so, our respects are but private, and personall, selfe-respects. Men are usually grieved for publique miseries from a spirit of selfe love only, or specially, because their owne private is imbarqued in the publique. There is a depth of deceit of the heart in this matter.
If our trouble have no higher rise, it is but private and personall, but if we take to heart the wofull breaches that are made amongst us, for that by these troubles God is[Page 139] dishonoured, the publike exercises of Religion hindled, & the gathering of souls thereby stopped; that heerby, the States and Commonwealths, which should have been harbors of the Church are disturbed, lawlesse courses and persons prevaile, Religion and Justice is triumphed over, and trodden under, this shewes that wee are men of publike spirit.
To discover this selfe deceit, we may make this homely triall. If we can be as hot as tostes in our owne private cause and quarrell, and yet as cold as ice, when most dishonourable indignities and affronts are offered to the Lord, without our own impeachment: then it is evident,[Page 140] that in those cases, where Gods and the common cause are joyned together, our zeale was onely for our owne interest, and not for Gods, and the publicke good. Heere was the triall ofMoses his meekenesse, and his passion. When the people murmured, & when Korah,(z)(z)Num.16. Dathan and Abiram rebelled against him, heer was just cause of anger: but heer Gods cause and his owne were coupled. Let us therefore marke Moses behaviour, when they were singled. (a)Num.32.1.3.When Miriam and Aaron spake againstMoses, because of the Aethiopian Woman, whom he had married; and when they offered him this private injury, it is [Page 141]sayd Moses his meckenesse was such, that he gave them not a word: inasmuch as hee is commended for the meekest man that was upon the face of the earth. Look now upon him in another posture When the people had fallen to Idolatry,(b)(b)Ex.32 and had made a Calfe, andAaron had his hand therein. Heere Gods quarrell was severed from his own, and how carrieth he himselfe heere? Hee spares neither Aaron, nor the people, but in a godly fit of zeal takes on, and breaks the two Tables in peeces, being transported with zeale (though for Gods glory) as hee some times spake unadvisedly with his lips,(c)(c)Psal.106.33. so he might now doe unadvisedly with his [Page 142]hands, and so may bee a example of mans imperfect sanctity, which hath a mixture of divine grace, and humane weakenesse even i [...] the b [...]st of Gods children however, hee was a meek Lambe, and patient in his owne quarrell, and as fierce as a Lion in Gods cause, and the common cause of salvation. In the Lords service we should bee common men as well as private.
In a word, we complaine of these wofull times, that wee are the worse for them: but may not the times complain of us? Let us take heed wee bee not a part of the misery of the times, that they be not the worse for us.
Of meanes to worke us to Patience under the Crosse.
[Page 143]WE have seen what fruit the Crosse beares; our next care must be with Simon of Cyrene to beare it patiently, when we are put to it: For if wee be impatient in word, or behaviour, wee shall afflict our selves the more, like the bird caught in the net, the more she struggles, the more she is entangled.
[Page 144]ThouSect.I.Comforts from the greater sufferings of holier men. complainest that thy malady increaseth; I bemoane thy case, and wish I could give health and ease, as well as advice. Wee cry out, my body is troubled, my state is broken, my friends faile me; but all this while, there is not that care for the poore soule to settle that in peace. See that all be well within, and then all troubles from without, cannot much annoy us. Besides, holier men have suffered more. The Lord measures out affliction according to the ability(d)(d)1.Cor.10.13. of his children. Now our strength when it is at the best, is farre inferiour to the strength of Job, David, or Abraham; and therefore we must [...]trialls[Page 145] and troubles are far shore of theirs. The Lord, lest any should be discouraged, or faint under the weight of the Crosse, hath sampled out the sufferings of his Saints, men of our owne mould, and subject to the like infirmities that wee are, that have gone before us in the hardest duties of affliction. What duty so harsh to flesh and bloud, as to take up the Crosse, and follow Christ? What Crosse can be named, which they have not borne, and comfortably endured to the end? It is hard, you will say, to part with our goods; yet there have beene they that have taken joyfully, the spoiling of their goods;(e)(e)Hebr.10.34. not that the losse of their goods,[Page 146]was of it selfe, and its owne nature joyfull to them; but they were so farre from being dejected, and disheartned with the afflictions they suffered for Christ, as they accounted them matter, or occasion of joy; and why? Both because they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ;(f)(f)Act.5.41. as also because of the blessed fruit (g)(g)Heb.12.11.and issue of their affliction. Tribulation (as the Apostle saith)(h)(h)Rom.5.3. worketh patience. Tribulation accustometh us to patience, and patience assures us by experience of Gods mercifull sustentation and ayde; and this experience of Gods goodnesse, puts us in hope of his further mercy, and seasonable[Page 147] deliverance: besides this experience under the Crosse, it confirmes and fastens this our Anchor-hope, and this hope deceiveth us not, it disappointeth us not, it being grounded on the love of Christ, shed abroad in our hearts. Tribulation then worketh patience, not, that of it selfe, and its owne nature it worketh so; for it often produceth contrary(*)*Job 3.1.&c. Ps.73.12. Jer.12.1. effects both in the wicked, and the godly, as inJob, David, and Jeremie; but it doth so, when God gives us a sanctified use of Crosses, conforming us thereby to (i)(i)Rom.8.28.our Head Christ Jesus.
It goes had to exchange hoped of advancement for rebukes,(k)(k)Hebr.22. 6. and reproches; [Page 148]and yet Moses chused it willingly, and counted it an honour to him: Moses was jeered for marrying the Aethiopian woman,Joseph was nicknamed a Dreamer in scorne: This is the manner of ill minded men to set termes of reproach upon the religious; so Christ was called a Galilean by Julian; the ApostlePaul a babler(l)(l)Acts.17.18. by prophane Phylosophers. This Age abounds with such abusive appellations cast upon the best Christians, by such as are of an Hereticall Religion, or of no Religion at all, the practice of this kinde of contumelie is ancient, and the patience under it as ancient; which may make us both to looke for it,[Page 149]and make light of it.
'Tis too much to leave Countrey and kindred and Fathers house, and yetAbraham did so. 'Tis hardest of all to leave our sweet life, especially by violent torments: what death can wee thinke so full of shame and torture, but it hath beene endured(m)(m)Hebr.11.37. by the Saints of God? by the Prophets, Apostles and Martyres: some of them have beene put on gridirons, others in boyling Cauldrons, some on the spits, others under the sawes, some in the flames, others crushed with the teeth of wilde Beasts, some on the racks, others in fiery furnaces, most of them in such torments, as in comparison whereof, our [Page 150]paines are but fleabitings. We doe but taste and sip of that cup of affliction whichChrist and his Saints dranke sheere off, as appeares by the Churches story, the Martyrologies, the Acts and Monuments of the Saints. Why then doe wee grudge to wet our feete, where they wa [...]ded over the foord, even a red Sea of blood? Wee should looke to others as good as our selves (as well as to our selves) and then wee shal see it is not our own case only: who are we that wee should looke for an exempted condition from those troubles which God's dearest children are addicted unto?
Comparison to this end is [Page 151]very availeable.Sect.II.Our Sufferings shore of our deserts Compare we our sufferings for Christ, with his sufferings(n)(n)Hebr.12.1. for us: Compare we our momentary afflictions of this life, with the endlesse torments of hell endured by others, and deserved by our sinnes, from which by those, as meanes, we are freed (for we are chastened of the Lord(o)(o)1 Cor.11.32., that wee should not be condemned with the world.) Wee are mercifully chastened by the Lord, on purpose that we may escape that eternall condemnation which befals the wicked of the world, and we shall finde that there is no proportion betwixt our sufferings and our deserts. Alas the wages of every sinne is Death, a double death; of the [Page 152]body, and of the soule; both temporall and eternall: Any thing the Lord sends belowe this, is mercy. We must not looke so much at what wee fele, what we have deserved to feele. What ever our crosses are, or may be, justly we are in them, our sinnes have deserved that, & more, so that we are to beaer Gods chastisement willingly, si [...]h wee have so sinned against him. I will beare the indignation of the Lord with patience and humility, ‘because I have sinned against him’, saith the ProphetMicah(p)(p)Mich.7.9..
CompareSect.III.Our sufferings inferior to our glory. wee our sufferings with our glory that shall be revealed: our suffering is but for a moment, our reward shall be great and glorious[Page 153] farre above the proportion of all our service, or suffering for our light affliction,(q)(q)2 Cor.4.17. which is but for a moment, worketh for us a farre more exceeding and eternall weight of glory. The afflictions of the godly are not light in themselves, but Comparatively, to the infinite and eternall weight of heavenly glory, which our affliction worketh for us, not by any merit of ours, but out of Gods meere grace and mercy for Christ his sake. Rom. 8. 17. 18. or, they be called Light, because God maketh them seeme light unto us by the strong support and comfort of his Spirit, Rom.8.37. I reckon (saith SaintPaul(r)(r) Rom.8.18. that[Page 154]that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall bee revealed in us: word for word it is, the sufferings of this now season, whereby the Apostle intimates, that our tribulations and afflictions last but for a [...] , that is a moment, in comparison. St. Paul calls the afflictions of this life light, and but for a moment: Our sufferings, our sorrow shall have an end,‘Haec [...]non d [...] -rabunt atatem’, as A [...]hanasius said of his troubles: For his anger endureth but a moment(s)(s)Psal.30.5. Isai 54.7., his corrections last but a while, but his favour lasts all out life long, our joy shall have no end. St.Bernard(t(t)(t)Bern.Sermon 14 in [...] computing the time of[Page 155]of his owne affliction, and the Saints, reduceth it to an houres space or thereabouts,‘Opus meum vix unius est ho-rae, & siplus, prae amore non sentio’; my worke and labor is but an houres taske: if it be more, I am scarce sensible thereof, by reason of the love I beare to my Saviour, who hath suffered so much for me. How gratiously hath the wisdome of our God thought fit to temper our afflictions, so contriving them, that if they bee sharpe, they are not long: if they be long, they are not over sharp? What a short moment is it that we can suffer? Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry(u)(u)Hebr.10.37.. Let us waite a while[Page 156], and wee shall see the salvation of the Lord, Exod. 14. 13.
InSect,IV.Look on our Comfort,as well as our Cor [...]asive all our grievances (saith an excellent D [...]vine,(w)(w)Dr.Sibbs of the Souls Conflict. pag.171.173. let us looke to somewhat that may comfort us, as well as discourage us. Look to that we enjoy, as well as that we want. God usually makes up that with some advantage in another kind, wherin we are inferiour to others. Others are in greater place, so they are in greater danger. Others be richer, so their cares and snares be greater: the poore in the world, (as St. James sayth(x)(x)Jam [...] may bee richer in faith then they. Others are not so afflicted as wee; why then they have lesse experience of Gods gracious pow-er[Page 157]er than we. Others may have more healthy bodies, but soules lesse weaned from the world. We would not haveNabals wealth, not Hamans preferment, nor change conditions with them, so as to have their spirits with their condition. For one halfe of our lives, the meanest are as happy and free from cares, as the greatest Monarch: that is, whilest both sleepe; and usually the sleepe of the one, is sweeter than the sleepe of the other. What is all that the earth can affoord us, if God deny health? And this a man in the meanest condition may enjoy. That wherin one man differs from another, is but Title, and but for a little time: death levelleth all.
[Page 158] WeeSect.V.Compare ourselves afflicted,with our selves at case. have compared our selves with others: compare we now our selves with our selves: our selves afflicted, with our selves at ease: how languishing in devotion, how inordinately walking, how secure and forgetfull of our God, did prosperity make us? Before I was afflicted, I went astray,(y)(y)Psal. 19.67. I was a waive and stray, but now have I kept thy word, the use of Gods rods is to bring us home. To bee afflicted, and not to be purged by it, to be stricken with Gods rod, and not to be thereby corrected and amended, is an ill token. I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried, saith the Lord.(z)(z)Zach.13.9. [Page 159]Now if the wicked bee not plucked away, as the Prophet speaks,(a)(a)Jer 6.29.30. that is, if our wickednesse be so tough that it will not bee wrought out of us in the Crucible of affliction, then it is a plaine token, that wee are but base mettall, drossie matter, and refuse silver: the bellowes are burnt, the Founder melteth in vaine; that is, all the paines and labour that hath been taken about refining of us, is lost. Fire makes mettalls pliable and malleable, so doe the sanctified use of affliction: it worketh the heart to be pliable and ready for all good impressions of holicos and obedience.
[Page 160]IfSect.VI.Our good dayes more then our evill dayes. wee looke into the Diary, or Journall booke of Gods dealing with us from our youth up to this present time; wee shall find, he hath sent us more faire HalcionianHalcion is a sea fowl betokening a calme season whiles she hatcheth her young.Isidor.Etim.1.12.c 7. dayes, than foule weather. There is scarce any man, but the good he receives from God, is more than the ill he feeles, if our unthankefull hearts would suffer us to thinke so. Is not our health more then our sicknesse? Do wee not enjoy more then wee want, I meane, of the things that are necessary? are not our good dayes more then our evill? Joseph was a precedent of affliction, insomuch as the Prophet gives instance in him,(b)(b)Amos.6.6. they were not grieved for the afflictions[Page 161] ofJoseph; yet the yeeres of his affliction were but about thirteene, the yeeres of his honourable preeminence and principali-y fourescore: So the Lord blessed the later end ofJob (c)(c)Job 42.12.more then his beginning: God made him twice so rich in cattell, as he was before, and gave him as many children, as he had taken from him, which may cheare up the hearts of the godly, though for a season they suffer under the prevailing power, and spight of the ungodly; for they may assure themselves that God (if they suffer not as evill doers) will doe them right, and make them a full amends for all their wrongs. But wee would [Page 162]have a velvet Gospell, wee would goe to Heaven upon Roses; and usually one crosse is more taken to heart, then an hundred blessings. So unkindly wee deale with God. Is God indebted to us, doth he owe us any thing? Shall the River be beholding to him that drinkes of it, because he comes and quencheth his thirst? Or shall the Sun be beholding to him that hath the use of his light? Those that deserve nothing, should be content with any thing.
Object.Sect.VII.Of patience in suffering.
Alas, I shall never get through such a Crosse.
But if God bring us into the Crosse, he will be with [Page 163]us in the Crosse, and at length bring us out more refined. Wee shall lose nothing but drosse: of our owne strength wee cannot beare the least trouble, and by the spirits assistance wee can beare the greatest; the spirit will joyne his shoulders to helpe to beare our infirmities. The Lord will put his hand to heave us up; he will uphold(d)(d)Psal.37.24.us with his hand.
Wee have prayed for Peace and Prosperity, for Health and Deliverance; and yet the sere runs and ceaseth not; the sword is not sheathed; wee are still exposed to dangers, and threatned with Famine and cleannesse of teeth; wee are like to [Page 164]Issacha's Tribe, couching under two burthens:(e)(e)Gen.49.14. we undergoe the heavy burthens of Cesses, and Taxes, and other oppressions.
InSect.VIII.God exchanges his blessings:he denies us wealth,peace and deliverance,and gives us contentment, patience, and supportation. the midst of these unsupportable pressures, 'tis our comfort, that God will grant us, either what wee pray for, or what he in more wisedome, sees more expedient for us, if wee faint not. The Lord sometimes in bestowing his blessings at our request, deales by way of exchange, and commutation; and tis well for us, for hereby he makes us, if not gainers, yet savers by the bargaine.
[Page 165]Doth the Lord deny wealth, and the peaceable possession of that stock and store, he hath bestowed on us? It is well for us, if he give us contentment. For godlinesse is great gaine, if a man be content with that he hath.
Doth he deny us deliverance from dangers? 'Tis well if he give us supportation; if he give us grace to support, and beare up, like the Palme tree, against the weighty pressures of these times; if he support us by grace, his grace is sufficient for us.
Doth he deny us Peace? 'Tis well if he give us Patience, that however we cannot keepe our goods with others[Page 166]patience, yet wee may possesse our owne soules in patience, Luk. 21. 19.
Yea, but wee lye long under the Crosse, and cry out, how long Lord? How long? Seaven yeeres is a mans age, a long time.
ComfortSect.IX.We must be fitted for mercy,and then find it. thy selfe with this, it shall lie no longer on thee then there is neede, the plaister shall not lie a jot longer on thee then the sore is a healing; if it were sooner healed, it fall off sooner, but then fall off alone. The Lord will [Page 167]heare thee, but it may be, thou art not yet fit for the mercy; not because he doth not heare thy prayer, and tender thee in that case thou art in, but thou art not yet fit. Herein God deales with us as the Physitian with his Patient; The Patient earnestly desires such and such things; the Physitian wants not will to give them him, but he resolves to give them as soone as he is fit; and therefore he makes him stay till he have purged him, and made him fit for it, till he be fit for such a Cordiall, for such a Medicine. God heares the complaints of this our distressed Church and State: it may be, God staies us for this end; wee are not yet[Page 168](haply) in that capacity of mercy, as is fit. Twice was the Israelits, the better part foiled by the men of Benjamin, the lesse in number, and such as had the worse cause. The Israelits,(f)(f)Jud.23.26.30 they wept, and fasted once or twice, and adventured upon the Benjamits, but prevailed not till the third time: They were fitted and prepared when they fasted, and wept, and prayed three times. Tis to be feared wee are not yet fit, there is somewhat more that must be done; wee are not yet humbled enough. Some Colts are so untamed, they must needs be broken; so some corruptions are so unruly? that they will not be [Page 169]wrought out without great afflictions.
WeeSect.X.The use of Patience and the neede of it. shall have neede of Patience, as the Apostle saith,(g)(g)Heb.10.6. to endure these penall and painfull evils. Fulgentius, a godly Father, was often divers dayes before his death, heard to cry out; (h)Surius invita Ful [...]gent. ‘Domine da mihi modò patientiam, & postea indulgentiam’: Lord grant me patience heer and case heereafter. Lord give us patience to bear, and constancy to endure, whatsoever it shall please thee to inflict. And since this evill of paine, this painfull evill, must come heere, or elsewhere, say we with S. Austin, ‘Domine hic ure, hic seca,[Page 170]ut in aeternum parcas’: Lord feare us, lance us heere, let us smart heere, so thou spare us hereafter.
And, yet since wee must suffer (for our sins have so deserved) 'tis our comfort, that wee are under the protection of the highest, and guided by such a providence as stoupeth to the lowest, and wisely disposeth of whatsoever can befall us. Let us then lay our hands upon our mouthes, and command our soules an holy silence, not daring to yeeld to the least rising of our hearts against God. I was dumbe and opened not my mouth, because thou did'st it, saith David.(i)(i)Psal.39.9. That which I [Page 171]could not attaine to by reason, while I looked on the second causes, now I have obtained by grace, looking up to thee, now I keepe silence. ThusAaron when he had lost his two sonnes, both at once, and that by fire, and by fire from Heaven, which carried an evidence of Gods great displeasure with it, yet held his peace.(k)(k)Lev [...] 10.12. In this silence and hope is our strength: Flesh and bloud is proane to expostulate with God, and to question his dealing as Gedeon(l)(l)Judg.6.23. did; If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us But after some struggling betweene the flesh and the spirit, the conclusion will be, [Page 172]yet howsoever matters goe, God is good toIsrael.(m)(m)Psal.73.1. Truely God is good toIsrael, saithDavid; though God may seeme to favour bad men, because they prosper; and to hate good men,De operi Dei non judicandum ante Actum quintum because they are crossed; yet he assures himselfe, that God in the end would blesse the godly, and such as were not hypocrites. Hold out faith and patience then, and our worke will speedily be at an end; and, wee shall receive the end of our faith,(n)(n)1.Pet.1.9. even the salvation of our soules; and through faith and patience(o)(o)Hebr.6.12. inherit the promise; If wee strive but a little wee shall be happy for ever.
[Page 173]Here it will (haply) be expected that I should goe on, to make up other Cordials for severall maladies, but this is done to my hand by a rare Confectioner, in his Balme ofGilead, to whose storehouse I referre the Patient.
1.8. SECT. VII.
Directions for the recovered Patient.
WhenSect I.Be thankfull after recovery. thou art cased of the Crosse, be thankfull for thy recovery, bee not like the unthankfull Lepers(p)(p)Luke 17.17.18., or Pharaoh's cupbearer(q)(q)Gen 10. 22. , who admired Joseph in the jayle, but forgat him in the Court. Forget not God in thine health and prosperity, whom thou pliedst with suites and promises in thine adversity; even the wicked can be somwhat[Page 175] good whiles they are under the crosse, and with Ahab hang downe the head like a bulrush, and bee humbled: but take them off the rack, ease their paine, and they run to their old Byas againe: these are like Iron, which is soft, and will bow, as the workeman will, when it is in the fire, but soone after it is drawne out, it returns to the old hardnesse, like hoggs that seldome looke towards heaven, but when they are cast to ground, and overturned, which if they be let goe, they begin to pore on the ground, and roote in the earth.
[Page 176]TrySect II.See whether affliction have bettered thee. thy selfe, how the Crosse hath wrought with thee, whether it hath bettered thee or no. Thou callest it a visitation, a correction, how is it so, if thou bee not corrected by it? If the mettle bee put into the furnace and not refined, it is but refuse. If after thou hast been humbled under God's hand, thou grow more faithfull and Conscionable in thy calling than before, 'tis a good token; this is like Triacle out of the Viper, and with Sampson to taste sweet honey out of the sowre carkasse of a dead Lion(r)(r)Judg. [?], now that thou art recovered, and the Lord added to thy daies,as[Page 177]as he did toEzekiah(s)(s)Esay 38.5., doe thou add Repentance and Amendement of life to thy daies: as the Lord hath made thee young and lustie like an Eagle(t)(t)Psal.103.5., renuing thy youth and strength like an Eagles beake: doe thou likewise renue thy Repentance, and pay(u)(u)Eccles.5.3. that now in thy health, which thou vowedst on thy sickbed, to wit newnesse of life. Sin no more(w)(w)John 5.14. lest a worse thing come to thee, to wit death, naturall or spirituall. Returne not with the Dogge to his vomit(x)(x)2Pet. 2 20.22., or the Hogge that was washt, to wallow in the puddle of thy former uncleannesse. Fall not to thine old diet, lest thou fall to [Page 178]thine old disease; beware of a downcast, and be more precisely cautionate against spirituall Relapses.
TakeSect.II.Take heed of relapses, they are dangerous. heede of a Relapse, Relapses are dangerous; when I fell sick, it was some comfort to me, that I was but in the common condition of mankind; now in my relapse, I am barred hereof. I charge the fault (and that juftly) upon mine owne selfe, mine owne carelesnesse and disorder; I have pull'd downe a falling house on mine owne head; I have marred, what Physitians and friends under God, had amended. At the first grudging of my [Page 179]maladie, I had some strength and resisted it, now it falls upon me, like an enemy, that finding the countrey weakned and depopulated, over runs it; the Relapse proceedes without controll, now that my body is weakened, my spirits wasted and my forces spent. If Sathan bee outed of possession, wee must be watchfull, lest he make a Reentry, hee hath beene our old guest, and knowes every hole and corner in the house. It is this reiterating, this redoubling of the crime, which the Lord takes so ill. How oft did they provoke me?(y)(y)Psal.78.40. How oft did they grieve me? Lord, by too lamentable [Page 180]experience, wee finde, how prone we are to recidivate and relapse, how hard it is to leave an ill custome. Lord if wee should (which God forbid) yet let not thy spirit of remorse and compunction depart from us. Thou that hast commanded us to pardon our trespassing Brother seaventy seaven times(z)(z)Math.38.22., that is many times, hast not limited thy selfe to any number, yet farre bee it from us, to worke upon thy forbearance, and long sufferings. The bone that is once or twice broken may bee set together again , but (haply) not so streight; or if it bee, yet it will afterwards ake and paine a man at certaine [Page 181]seasons; a skarre still remaines after the wound be healed.
Jacob Sect.IIII.Strive for a blessing,Prayer will get it. wrestled with an Angel, and had his thigh put out of joynt,(a)(a)Gen.31.25.26. yet would he not let the Angel goe, except he blessed him, he lost a joynt, and won a blessing. Though by his hurt in his thigh, he was made more weake, yet was he strong, 2 Cor. 12. 10. so strong, as to wrestle againe for a blessing. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, Calar. 6. 12. that is, not against these alone; nor chiefely against these; for our principall enemy is Satan, who sets the world, and the men of this world, [Page 182]Psal. 17. 14. and the flesh against us; and they serve, as it were under his banner; we grapple also with pressures and afflictions, private and publique, inward and outward; and in all these conflicts wee receive some venies to humble us, and we feele the smart thereof, so as it makes us goe halting to Canaan. Yet, as the Prophet saith,(b)(b)Hos.12.4.) Jacobhad power over the Angel, and prevailed, he wept, and made supplication unto him; he prevailed by a most vehement wrestling with weeping and supplication, that's the sovereigne Receit to procure a blessing. The power of prayer is next to Almighty, and [Page 183]by this sometimes are the hands of the Almighty as it were bound to peace, when he hath a quarrell with his people.Moses after a sort forceth the Lord, insomuch that he craves dimission, let me alone,(c)(c)Exod.32.10. Deut. 9.14. that I may consume them, let me alone; ‘Domine quis te ligavit?’ Saith a Father,(*)(*)Greg.l.2.moral.c.12. Lord who staies thee? Surely Moses his instance and importunity. Ther's no way for us to prevaile with that Angel of the Covenant, as the Prophet(d)(d)Mal.3.1. calleth him, but by an holy striving (e)(e)Rom.15 30.with God by importunity of prayer, for a blessing upon our Church and State; that the God of Peace would be pleased to [Page 184]put an end to these our unhappy Warres, and to settle Peace and Truth amongst us; and to deliver us from every evill worke,(f)(f)2Tim 4.18. and preserve us to his Heavenly Kingdome; whither, God the Father, who prepared it, and God the Son, who purchased it for us, and the Holy Ghost, that giveth the livery and seisin vouchsafe to bring us in his good and appointed time. Amen. Amen.