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e right application of them, according to the emer. gencies of life.
First, I do thankfully record the gracious design of the holy and wise God, in that he had secretly prepared my heart, though at that time, I knew not particularly for what. I remember, that for some few weeks before, I had found a more than ordinary large, nefs and readiness of foul; particularly, that I had been studying the excellent mystery, and sucking out the ftrengthning marrow of that famous text, 1. John iv. 8. God is love ; from whence, I had importunately preft upon myself the reasonableness of complying sweetly, chearfully, universally with the will of God; little dreaming then of the plague, which was almost an hundred miles off me. Oh blessed and merciful God, who of old, didît make Abraham, and yet makest his and thy children to follow thee, though they know not well whither,
In the next place, I count it most worthy of my observation, (not unworthy of your confideration) that it pleafed God to seize upon my family, in the beginning of harvest; a harveft, which I had too earnestly expected, too carefully provided for, and promised myself too libcrally from; which folly and vanity of mind, this visitation thus timed, did as clearly convince me of, methought, as if I had seen an hand writing upon the wall. I am alhamed, yet I will not stick to confess before all the world (God grant it may be for the seasonable and effectual warning of any) that my vainer mind was over plea. santly not to say eagerly) drawn out towards secular and worldly (however necessary) employments and con. cernments: and thus I was rebuked.
Upon examination, I find, that verily, I have been guilty concerning my children. I do not remember, that ever any man reproved me for immoderate loving of them, or could for any indulgence that could be by human eyes discerned. But oh, I fee
and feel it as a sword at my heart, that I loved them not so purely, fpiritually, and properly in God, as I ought to have done. Philosophy will easily prove it to be a more tolerable vanity to doat upon a child, than upon a kingdom. But chriftian divinity doth abundantly demonstrate all creature-fondness, unreafonable and intollerable.
The next thing that I will record shall be, the difficult task that I found to maintain a right humble, and .a right chearful frame at the fame time: oh how oft and how long did I labour under this difficulty! that fenfe of fin which was called in to promote tenderness of heart, being over much indulged, was ready at length to destroy that largeness and chearfulness of foul which was so much my duty and interest to maintain: and on the other hand, the sense of divine wifdom, grace, and love in Christ Jefus being called in to keep up the soul from sinking, was ready to bear it up fo high as that it almost forgot that it was in the
Beware, Christians, and watch diligently, that godly sorrow doth not settle into an ungodly defpondency and inconsolable heaviness; the soul not being able to bear up under its own burden, and that a holy chearfulness and serenity do not evaporate into an unholy frothiness and forgetfulness of your infirmities, the foul not being able to manage its own metal and motions.
I know you would willingly understand fomething of the frame of my heart at that day, respective to my departure out of this world ; you will best read my heart in the ensuing discourse, upon 2 Cor. v. 6. which I think was fetched from thence. I shall therefore say no more as to this matter; only acquaint you with one eminent experience relating hereunto: my mind, or fancy, or appetite, I know not well what to call it, was sometimes exciting in me some desires to live yet longer ; I entered the lists with this temptation, and when I had fairly and calmly debated the
N this sermon of the prophet, the Lord reckons up the many fearful plagues wherewith from time to time he had eflayed to
reclaim this perverse people, the ten tribes of Israel, beginning at the sixth verse: But still concludes the relation, with a doleful Epiphonema, yet have ye not returned unto me. It is not my business to enquire into the several plagues, either the clear meaning of them, or the particular time when they took place or ended ; nor into the impenitence and sturbornness of the people; though Hubborn nya
[ 16 ] many
useful things might be observed from hence. But in the conclufion, because none of the judg.. ments had prevailed upon them, God resolves to trouble himself with them no longer, but to destroy them utterly. All that he had done to them in the land, had not prevailed; therefore now he will cast them and carry them out of the land, by the overflowing scourge of an Asyrian captivity: this threatning he denounces in the second and third verses, I will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fish-hooks, &c. And after he had reckoned up the many calamities whereby he had sought to bring them to repentance, but they repented not, and so had demonstrated the equitableness of this final judgment, he re-assumes the same threatning, and perfifts in his former refolution, verse 12. Therefore thus will I do unto thee; and then adds, because I will do thus unto thee, therefore prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
Which words may either be understod ironically, by way of derision of all their vain confidences and refuges; and then the doctrine is, that there is no ftanding before, nor striving against, nor fiying from God when he comes to execute vengeance;
which is an excellent truth, and of great use. Or else the words may be understood seriously by way of exhortation. The doubt feems to arise from the ambiguous ineaning of the word [Meet] the word 173p fignifies both to meet in a hostile manner, to asiault, invade or grapple with, as a man meets his enemy; so it is used concerning David addressing himself to fight with Goliah, I. Sam. xvii. 48. He ran to meet the Philistine; and also to meet in a friendly, amicable manner, by way of com.
up in this
munication, collocution, falutation or converse. So it is used concerning Ifaac going to meet Rebeccah, Gen. xxiv. 65. and concerning God's meeting of Balaam to speak with him, and impart his mind to him, Numb. xxiii. 3. 4. If we take the word in the first sense, then, it is spoken by way of irony or derision, and so the meaning of the words is contained in the proposition that I have laid down. If we take the words in the latter fense, then it is spoken ferioufly by way of exhortation, and so the meaning of them may be wrapt
Doct. That it is the duty of God's people to study a right, behaviour towards him, and to conver
fe with him aright in the way of his judgments, in the time of their afflictions. And in this sense I shall take them, and prosecute them. Besides that general, unalterable godly frame and behaviour which God's people owe to him as a standing duty and indispensable homage, there are some more especial behaviours and tempers which they owe to him in special cases, and are duties pro hic & nunc, as the season requireth. Particularly, there are some special behaviours required at our hands in the time of our affliction: and these ku
1. Towards our felves, as self-examination, self-judging, renewing of repentance, &c.
2. Towards men, meekness, compaffion, instructing, warning, comforting, Sc. 3. Towards God, as we shall see anon.
An amicted condition doth call for some more especial tempers and behaviours towards our felves and others: but there I am not to speak unto from this text. It is the soul's meeting God, behaviour