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never so much tofled with storms of misfortune, that is a SERM. sure haven; be we persecuted with never so many enemies, XLVII, that is a safe refuge ; let what pains or diseases soever infest us, that is an assured anodynon, and infallible remedy for them all; however we be wearied with the labours of the day, the night will come and ease us; the grave will become a bed of rest unto us. b Shall I die? I shall then cease to be fick; I shall be exempted from disgrace ; I shall be enlarged from prison; I shall be no more pinched with want; no more torniented with pain. Death is a winter, that as it withers the rose and lily, so it kills the nettle and thistle; as it stiflcs all worldly joy and pleasure, so it suppresses all care and grief; as it hulhes the voice of mirth and melody, so it stills the clamours and the fighs of misery; as it defaces all the world's glory, so it covers all disgrace, wipes off all tears, Glences all complaint, buries all difquiet and discontent. King Philip of Macedon once threatened the Spartans to vex them forely, and bring them into great straits; but, answered they, can he hinder us from dying c? that indeed is a way of evading which no enemy can obftruct, no tyrant can debar men from; they who can deprive of life, and its conveniences, cannot take away death from thein. There is a place, Job Job iii. 17. tells us, where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary be at rejt: where the prisoners reft together ; they hear not the voice of the oppressor: the small and great are there ; and the servant is free from his master. It is therefore but holding out a wbile, and a deliverance from the worst this world can moleft us with shall of its own accord arrive unto us; in the mean time it is better that we ato) pinaus present owe the benefit of our comfort to reason, than after- rõ xeoma ward to time; by rational confideration to work patience cero
χαρίζεσθαι, , and contentment in ourselves; and to ule the thortness nórn zuei
cus. Plut. ad of our life as an argument to sustain us in our amiction, Apol
Dolore perculfi mortem imploramus, eamque unam, ut m feriarum ma. lorumque terminum exoptainus.
SERM. than to find the end thereof only a natural and neceffary XLVII.
means of our rescue from it. The contemplation of this cannot fail to yield something of courage and solace to us in the greatest pressures; these transient and short-lived evils, if we consider them as fo, cannot appear such horrid
bugbears, as much to affright or dismay us; if we rememOmnia bre- ber how short they are, we cannot esteem them so great, or
so intolerable. There be, I must confess, divers more noble bent, eti- considerations,
considerations, proper and available to cure discontent and fint. Cic. impatience. The considering, that all these evils proceed Lal, ad fin. from God's just will, and wife providence; unto which it is
fit, and we upon all accounts are obliged readily to submit; that they do ordinarily come from God's goodness and gracious design towards us; that they are medicines (although ungrateful, yet wholesome) administered by the Divine Wisdom to prevent, renove, or abate our distempers of soul, (to allay the tumors of pride, to cool the fevers of intemperate desire, to rouse us from the legarthy of floth, to stop the gangrene of bad conscience;) that they are fa. therly corrections, intended to reclaim us fron fin, and excite us to duty; that they serve as instruments or occasions to exercise, to try, to refine our virtue; to beget in us the hope, to qualify us for the reception of better rewards: such discourses indeed are of a better nature, and have a more excellent kind of efficacy; yet no fit help, no good art, no just weapon is to be quite neglected in the combat against our spiritual foes. . A pebble-stone hath been fometimes found more convenient than a sword or a spear to say a giant. Baser remedies (by reason of the patient's constitution, or circumstances) do sometime produce good effect, when others in their own nature more rich and potent want efficacy. And surely frequent reflections upon our mortality, and living under the sense of our lives' frailty, cannot but conduce somewhat to the begtiting in us an indifferency of mind toward all these temporal occurrents ; to extenuate both the goods and the evils we here meet with; consequently therefore to compose and calm our passions about them.
3. But I proceed to another use of that consideration we speak of emergent from the former, but so as to improve SERM. it to higher purposes. For fince it is useful to the dimi- XLVII. nishing our admiration of these worldly things, to the withdrawing our affections from them, to the Nackening our endeavours about them; it will follow that it must conduce also to beget an esteem, a defire, a prosecution of things conducing to our future welfare; both by removing the obstacles of doing so, and by engaging us to consider the importance of those things in comparison with these. By removing obstacles, I say; for while our hearts are poffeffed with regard and passion toward these present things, there can be no room left in them for respect and affection toward things future. It is in our soul as in the rest of nature; there can be no penetration of objects, as it were, in our hearts, nor any vacuity in them: our mind no more than our body can be in several places, or tend several ways, or abide in perfect rest; yet somewhere it will always be; somewhither it will always go; somewhat it will ever be doing. If we have a treasure here, (somne- Matt. vi. 21. what we greatly like and much confide in,) our hearts will be here with it; and if here, they cannot be otherwhere; they will be taken up; they will rest satisfied; they will not care to seek farther. If we affect worldly glory, and John v. 44. delight in the applause of men, we shall not be so careful xii. 43. to please God, and seek his favour. If we admire and re- Mat. vi. 24. pose confidence in riches, it will make us neglectful of God, and distrustful of his providence: if our mind thirsts Rom. viii.5. after, and sucks in greedily sensual pleasures, we shall not relish fpiritual delights, attending the practice of virtue and piety, or arising from good conscience: adhering to, attending upon masters of so different, fo opposite a quality is inconsistent; they cannot abide peaceably together, they cannot both rule in our narrow breasts; we shall love and hold to the one, hate and despise the other. If any i John ii.is. man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him; the love of the world, as the present guest, so occupies and fills the room, that it will not admit, cannot hold the love of God. But when the heart is discharged and emptied of these things; when we begin to despise them as bale and
SERM. vain; to distaste them as insipid and unsavoury; then naXLVII.
turally will succeed a desire after other things promising a more solid content; and desire will breed endeavour; and endeavour (furthered by God's affistance always ready to back it) will yield such a glimpse and taste of those things, as will so comfort and satisfy our minds, that thereby they will be drawn and engaged into a more earnest profecution of them. When, I say, driving on ambitious projects, heaping up wealth, providing for the fesh, (by our reflecting on the shortness and frailty of our life,) become so infipid to us, that we find little appetite to them, or relish in them; our restless minds will begin to hunger and thirst after
righteousness, defiring some satisfaction thence: difcernLuke xv. ing these secular and carnal fruitions to be mere hulks, the
proper food of swine, we shall bethink ourselves of that better nourishment (of rational or spiritual comfort) which our Father's house doth afford to his children and fervants. Being somewbat disentangled from the care of our farms
and our traffics; from yoking our oxen, and being marMat. xxii. s. ried to our present delights; we may be at leiture, and in
disposition to comply with divine invitations to entertainments spiritual. Experiencing that our trade about these petty commodities turns to small account, and that in the
end we shall be nothing richer thereby; reason will induce Matt. xiii. us, with the merchant in the Gospel, to sell all that we
have (to forego our present interests and designs) for the purchasing that rich pearl of God's kingdom, which will yield so exceeding profit; the gain of present comfort to
our conscience, and eternal happiness to our souls. lo Heb. xiii. fine, when we consider seriously, that we have here no
abiding city, but are only Sojourners and pilgrims upon 1 Pet. ii. 11.
earth; that all our care and pain here do regard only ao uncertain and transitory state; and will therefore suddenly
as to all fruit and benefit be loft unto us; this will suggeft Heb. xi. 16. unto us, with the good patriarchs, upeittovos opéryeo Sas Fatsi
cos, to long after a better country; a more assured and lasing state of life; where we may enjoy some certain and durable repose; to tend homeward, in our desires and hopes, toward those eternal manfions of joy and rest prepared for God's
faithful fervants in heaven. Thus will this confideration SERM. help toward the bringing us to inquire after and regard
XLVII, the things concerning our future state; and in the result will engage us to compare them with these present things, as to our concernment in them and the consequence of them to our advantage or damage, whence a right judgment and a congruous practice will naturally follow. There be four ways of comparing the things relating to this present life with those which respect our future state: comparing the goods of this with the goods of that; the evils of this with the evils of that; the goods of this with the evils of that; the evils of this with the goods of that. All these comparisons we may find often made in Scripture; in order to the informing our judgment about the respective value of both forts; the present consideration intervening, as a standard to measure and try them by.
First, then; comparing the prefent goods with those which concern our future state, since the transitoriness and uncertainty of temporal goods detract from their worth, and render them in great degree contemptible; but the durability and certainty of fpiritual goods doth increase their rate, and make them exceedingly valuable; it is evident hence, that spiritual goods are infinitely to be preferred in our opinion, to be more willingly embraced, to be more zealously pursued, than temporal goods; that, in case of competition, when both cannot be enjoyed, we are in reafon obliged readily to part with all these, rather than to forfeit our title unto, or hazard our hope of those. Thus in the Scripture it is often discoursed: The world, faith St. 1 John ii. John, palleth away, and the desire thereof; but he that do-17. eth the will of God, abideth for ever. The world, and all that is defirable therein, is transient; but obedience to God's commandments is of an everlasting consequence; whence he infers, that we should not love the world; that is, not entertain such an affection thereto, as may any way prejudice the love of God, or hinder the obedience fpringing thence, or suitable thereto.
All flesh is grass, saith St. Peter, and all the glory of 1 Pet. i. 24. man as the flower of the grass; the grass withereth, and the