תמונות בעמוד

disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household".” “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God: for consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied, and faint in your minds".” Direct. xii. “Be of good cheer: our Lord hath overcome the world". And shall we fear inordinately a conquered world? Yea, he overcame it by suffering, to shew us that by suffering we shall overcome it.’ He triumphed over principalities and powers (greater than mortals) “on the cross P.” And therefore “all power in heaven and earth is given to him",” and he is “Lord both of the dead and living',' and “is made head over all things to the church".” And so, though “for his sake we be killed all the day long, and counted as sheep to the slaughter, yet in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us:” that is, we have a nobler victory than if we conquered them by the sword. Direct. xiii. “Think how little your suffering is in comparison of what your sin deserved, and your Lord hath freely saved you from.” Should a man grudge at the opening of a vein for his health, who deserved to have lost his life? Can you remember hell which was your due, and yet make a great matter of any thing that man can do against you? Direct. xiv. “Remember that to sin through fear of suffering, is to leap into hell to escape a little pain on earth.” Are you afraid of man? Be more afraid of God: Is not God more terrible 2. “It is a fearful thing to fall into his hands: for he is a consuming fire".” O hear your Lord. “And I say to you my friends, be not sfraid of them that kill the body and after that have no more that they can do; but I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him which af. m Matt. x. 24. n Heb. xii. 1–3. • John xvi. 35.

[ocr errors]

ter he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him ".” If their fire be hot, remember that hell is hotter: and that God is the best friend, and the dreadfullest enemy.

Direct. xv. “Remember that you shall suffer (and it is like as much) even here from God, if you escape by sin your suffering from men.” If you sin to escape death, you shall die when you have done: and O! how quickly! and how much more joyful it is to die for Christ, than a little after unwillingly to part with that life, which you denied to part with for your Lord? and what galls will you feel in your guilty conscience both in life and at your death? So that even in this life, your fear would drive you into greater misery.

Direct. x v 1. ‘Think of the dangerous effects of your immoderate fear.’ It is the way with Peter to deny your Lord : yea, the way to apostasy, or any wickedness which men shall drive you to by terrors. If you were where the Turk is now tyrannising among Christians, if you overcome not your fear, he might overcome your fidelity”, and make you turn from Jesus Christ: and that is the sin which the apostle so dreadfully describeth, Heb. x. 26, 27. 29. “If we sin wilfully, (that is, wilfully renounce our Lord) after the acknowledgment of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for of judgment, and fire which shall devour the adversary.” O how many have been drawn by the fear of men, to wound their consciences, neglect their duties, comply with sin, forsake the truth, dishonour God, and undo their souls. And often in this life they do as poor Spira did, who, by sinning through the fear of man, did cast himself into melancholy and self-murdering despair. Your fear is a more dangerous enemy to you than those that you fear are. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Many seek the ruler's favour, but every man’s judgment cometh of the Lord J.” Fear is given to preserve you: use it not to destroy you.

" Luke xiii. 4, 5.

* Qui propter timorem reticet veritatem, veritatis proditor est. Hincmar. Rhemens. Dialog. de Statu. Eccl.

y Prov. xxix. 25, 26.

Direct. xv.11. “Believe and remember God's special providence, extending to every hair of your head, and also the guard of angels which he hath set over you.” “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father: but the very hairs of your head are numbered: fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows’.” O that this were well believed and considered “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”

Direct. xv.111. ‘Think what a vile dishonour it is to God, to have his creature, even breathing dirt, to be feared more than he.” As if he were less powerful to do good or hurt to you than man, and were not able or willing to secure you, so far as to see that no man shall ever be a loser by him, or any thing which he suffereth for his cause! “And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart: have I not held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not"?” How did Daniel and the three confessors honour God, but by fearing him more than the king and the flaming furnace: saying, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter: if it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thy hand, O king: but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, &c".” Daniel would not cease praying thrice a day openly in his house, for fear of the king, or of the lions. “Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing him that is invisible".” “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me".”

Direct. xix. “Remember the dangers which you have been saved from already: especially from sin and hell.’ And is an uncircumcised Philistine more invincible than the lion and the bear !

Direct. xx. “Remember the great approaching day of judgment, where great and small will be equal before God: and where God will right all that were wronged by men, and be the full and final avenger of his children P. He hath promised, though “he bear long, to avenge them speedily".” Can you believe that day, and yet not think that it is soon enough to justify you fully and finally, and to make you reparations of all your wrongs? Cannot you stay till Christ eome to judge the quick and the dead? You will then be loath to be found with those that, as Saul, made haste to sacrifice, because he could not stay till Samuel came ; whose souls “drew back, because they could not live by faith.” “Fear them not therefore; for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and hid that shall not be known".” “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance, &c. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe *.” Direct. xx 1. “Remember that the fearful and unbelieving shall be shut out of heaven":’ that is, those that fear men more than God, and cannot trust him with their lives at all, but will rather venture upon his wrath by sin, than on the wrath of man. Direct. xx11. ‘Turn your fear of the instruments of the devil into pity and compassion to men in such lamentable misery:’ and pray for them as Christ and Stephen did: foresee now the misery that is near them. When you begin to be afraid of them, suppose that just now were the day of judgment, and you saw how they will then tremble at the bar of God, (as conscience sometimes makes some of them do, at the hearing or remembering of it; as Felix before Paul:) see them as ready to be sentenced to the fire prepared for the devil and his angels, as Matt. xxv. Can you fear him that is near such endless misery, whom you should condole and pity (as the ancient martyrs used to do?) “What shall the end” of the persecutors be, “and where shall the ungodly sinners appear, if judgment begin at the house of God, and the righteous be saved with so much ado i !”

* Matt. x. 29, 30. * Isa. lvii. 11. " Dan. iii. 16–18. c Heb. xi. 27.

* Heb. xiii. 6. Plus dicam: tanto est melius juste etiam damnari quam injuste absolvi, quanto est pejus impunitum crimen quam punitum: in hoc enim celeri juncta justitia est: malo magno bonum ingens. In illo autem scelus et impunitas, qua, nescio, an scelere ipso pejor sit. Petrarch. dial. 66. lib. 2.

* Luke xviii. 7, 8, f Matt. x. 26. & 2 Thess. i. 6–10. * Rev. xxi. 8. | 1 Pet. iv. 17.

About the fear of death, I have written largely already in my “Treatise of Self-denial,” and in the “Saints' Rest,” and in “The Last Enemy Death,” &c. and in “The Believer's Last Work.” Therefore, I shall here pass it by *.

Tit. 9. Directions against sinful Grief and Trouble.

Sorrow is planted in nature to make man a subject capable of government, by making him capable of punishment, that he might be kept from sin by the fear or sense of that which nature hath made its punishment: and that the beginnings of pain might help to prevent the sin that would bring more; and might drive the wounded soul to its remedy: or by sympathy might condole the misery of others.

Sorrow or grief, in itself considered, is neither morally good nor evil; but it is a natural passion, and evil, that is hurtful to him that hath it; but good, that is an apt, conducible means to the universal or higher ends of government to which the Creator and Universal King hath planted it in man: the same may be said of all capacity of pain and natural misery.

Mere sorrow in itself considered, is a thing that God commandeth not, nor taketh pleasure in. Sorrow for our natural or penal hurt, is in itself no duty, but a necessary thing. God doth not command it, but threatens it: therefore there is no moral good in it. God will not command or entreat men to feel when they are hurt, or mourn under their torment; but will make them do it whether they will or no : therefore humble souls must take heed of thinking they merit or please God merely by sorrowing for their sufferings. But yet sorrow for misery may accidentally become a duty and a moral good, 1. ‘ Ratione principii,' by respect to the principle it proceedeth from. As when it is, (1.) The belief of God's threatenings which causeth the sorrow. (2.) When it cometh from a love to God. 2. ‘Ratione materiae,’ for the matter's sake, when it is the absence of God, and his favour, and his Spirit, and image, which is the misery that we lament (which therefore savoureth of some love to God); and not mere fleshly, sensitive suffering. 3. ‘ Ratione finis,' in respect of the end; when we

* See after Part iii. c. 29. tit. 3. and c. 30.

« הקודםהמשך »