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should be acquainted with it; and the more of our beloved relations it removes before us, the less of either snare or entanglement remains for us, when our own turn comes.
My dear friends, I beseech you, for religion's sake, for your own sake, and for my sake, whose comfort is, in great part, bound up in your prosperity and welfare, that you apply believingly these Scripture-consolations and directions, which, in some haste, I have gathered for your use; and the God of all consolation be
Your most endeared Brother,
JOHN FLA VEL.
TOKEN FOR MOURNERS.
LUKE VII. 13. “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion
on her, and said unto her, Weep not."
To be above the stroke of passion, is a condition equal to angels. To be in a state of sorrow, without the sense of sorrow, is a disposition beneath beasts; but duly to regulate our sorrows, and bound our passions under the rod, is the wisdom, duty, and excellency of a Christian. He who is without natural affection is deser. vedly ranked amongst the worst of heathens; and he who is able rightly to manage them, deserves to be numbered with the best of Christians. Though when we are sanctified we put on the divine nature, yet, till we are glorified, we put not off the infirmities of our human nature.
Whilst we are within reach of troubles, we cannot be without the danger, and ought not to be without the fear of sin; and it is as hard for us to escape sin, being in adversity, as it is to escape becalming in prosperity. How apt we are to transgress the bounds both of reason and religion, under a sharp affliction, appears, as in most men's experience, so in this woman's example, to whose excessive sorrow Christ puts a stop in the text. “ He saw her, and had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not."
The lamentations and wailings of this distressed mother moved the tender compassion of the Lord in beholding them, and stirred up more pity in his heart for her, than could be in her heart for her dear and only son.
In these words, we are to consider both the condition of the woman, and the counsel of Christ with respect to it.
1. Consider the condition of this woman, which appears to be very dolorous and distressed. Her groans and tears moved and melted the very heart of Christ to hear and behold them; " When he saw her he had compassion on her.” How sad an hour it was with her, when To bury
Christ met her, appears by what is so distinctly remarked by the Evangelist in ver. 12, where it is said, “Now when they came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city was with her.”
In this one verse, divers heart-piercing circumstances of this affliction are noted.
It was the death of a son. a child, any child, must needs rend the heart of a tender parent; for what are children, but the parent multiplied ? A child is a part of the parent made up in another skin. But to lay a son in the grave, a son who continues the name and supports the family--this was ever accounted a very great affliction.
This son was not carried from the cradle to, the coffin, nor stript out of his swathing, to be wrapt in his windingcloth. Had he died in his infancy, before he had engaged affection or raised expectation, the affliction had not been so pungent and cutting as now it was. Death smote the son in the flower and prime of his time.
a man,” says the Evangelist;
a young man,” as Christ
calls him. He was now arrived at that age, which made him capable of yielding his mother all that comfort which had been the expectation and hope of many years, and the reward and fruit of many cares and labours; yet then, when the endearments were greatest, and her hopes highest, even in the flower of his age, he is cut off. Thus Basil bewailed the death of his son: “I once had a son, who was a young man, my only successor, the solace of my age, the glory of his kind, the prop of my family, arrived to the endearing age; then was he snatched away from me by death, whose lovely voice but a little before I heard, who lately was a pleasant spectacle to his parent." Reader, if this has been thine own condition, as it has been his who writes, I need say no more to convince thee that it was a sorrowful state indeed, in which Christ met this tender mother.
And, which is yet more, he was not only a son, but an only son; so you find in ver. 12 ; "He was the only son of his mother;" one in whom all her hopes and comforts were bound up. All her affections were contracted into this one object. If we have ever so many children, we know not which of them to spare ; if