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the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ;" 2 Cor. iv. 16–18. Heaven well believed, will enable us patiently and cheerfully to bear all things. He will account the very reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of the world, who looketh believingly to the recompence of reward ; Heb. xi. 26.
Direct. 9. Learn to die, and then you have learned to suffer. He that can bear death, by the power of faith, can bear almost any thing. And he that is well prepared to die, is prepared for any affliction ; and he that is not, is unprepared for prosperity.
Direct. 10. Remember still that life being so very short, the afflictions of believers are as short.'. We have so little a time to live, that we have but a little while to suffer. And “ if thou faint in the day of adversity," when it is so little awhile to night, “thy strength is small;" Prov. xxiv. 10.
Direct. 11. • Remember that thou bearest but the common burden of the sons of Adam, who are born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward : and that thou art like to all the members of Christ, who must take up their cross, and suffer with him, if they will reign with him : and that thou art but going the common way to heaven, which that heavenly society hath trod before thee.' And canst thou expect to be exempted both from the lot of human lapsed nature, and from the lot of all the saints? If thou wouldst be carried to heaven in the chariot of Elias, and couldst expect to escape the jaws of death, yet must thou endure the persecution, weariness and hunger of Elias before such a change.
Direct. 12. "Think also how unreasonable it is, for one that must have eternal glory, to grudge at a little suffering in the way, and for one that is saved from the torments of hell, to think it much to be duly chastened on earth. For a Lazarus that must be comforted in Abraham's bosom, to murmur that he waiteth awhile in poverty at the rich man's doors ? Shall a wicked worldling venture into endless pains, and put himself out of the hopes of heaven, and all this for a short and foolish pleasure? And will you grudge to suffer so small and short a chastisement in the way to an endless rest and joy?
Direct. 13. Think why it is that Christ hath so largely commanded, and blest a suffering state, and chosen such a life for those that he will save: and why he so often pronounceth a woe to the prosperous world :' It is not for want of love to his disciples ; nor for want of power to secure their
peace. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for their's is the kingdom of heaven;" Matt. v. 3, 4. 10. “Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and
weep. : Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets ;” Luke vi. 24–26. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (that is, trying afflictions), knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience;" James i. 2, 3. “Go to now ye rich men, weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon you;" James v. 1, 2. All these words are not for nothing: and judge how he should think of adversity who believeth them.
Direct. 14. Mark well whether you find not that yourselves and others are usually much better in affliction, than in prosperity :' and whether there be not something in the one to make you better, and in the other to delude men, and make them worse.
O look and tremble at the dangers and doleful miseries of most that are lifted high! how they are blinded, flattered, and captivated in sin, and are the sbame of nature, and the calamity of the world! and mark when they come to die, or lie in sickness, how enlightened, how penitent, how humble, how mortified and reformed they then seem to be, and how much they condemn all sin, and justify a holy life: and observe yourselves whether you be not wiser and better, more penitent, and less worldly in an afflicted state: and will you think that intolerable, which so much bettereth almost all the world ?: Alas! were it not for affliction, there are some Nebuchadnezzars that would never be humbled, and some Pharaohs that would never confess their sins, and some Manassehs that would never be converted. Many in heaven are thankful for affliction, and so should we. “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting : for that is the end
of all men, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter ; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools: for as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool;" Eccles. vii. 2–6.
Do you not perceive that a merry, prosperous state inclineth to folly, levity, rashness, inconsiderateness, stupidity, forgetting the latter' end, &c. ? And that a sadder frame is more awakened, illuminated, fixed, sensible, considerate and fit for great employments? Quarrel not then with your physician, because he dieteth you as tendeth to your cure, and turneth you not over to the diet of desperate patients, or of fools.
Direct. 15. If God afflict you, add not causeless affliction to yourselves.' If he touch your friends, or body, or estate, do not you therefore touch and tear your hearts. If you have not enough, why do you complain of it? If you have enough, why do you make yourselves more? He that hath said, “ Bessed are they that mourn,” did never mean that those are blessed that mourn erroneously, for nothing, or for that which is their benefit, or that peevishly quarrel with God and man, or that wilfully by pride or impatiency torment themselves. He meant not to bless the sorrow of the covetous that grieveth because he is not rich, or because he is wronged, or is a loser in some commodity ; nor to bless the sorrow of the proud, who is troubled because he is not observed, honoured or preferred : nor the sorrow of the sensual, who grieve when their lusts and pleasures are restrained : 'nor the sorrows of the idle, who grieve if they are called to diligent labour; nor the sorrows of the envious, who grieveth to see another prosper; nor the sorrows of the cruel, who grieve when they cannot be as hurtful to'God's servants, and their neighbours or enemies, as they desire. It is neither wicked sorrows, nor wilful selfvexation, which Christ doth bless : but it is the holy improving, and patient enduring the sufferings laid upon us by God or man. . Direct. 16. • Let patience have its perfect work. He that believeth, will not make haste, (James i. 3. Isa. xxviii.
16.) God's time is best; and eternity is long enough for our ease and comfort. It is by patient continuance in well doing, that glory, honour and immortality must be sought; Rom. ii. We shall reap in due season, if we faint not; Gal. vi. 9. “Be patient therefore brethren unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient: stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh;" James v. 7-9. When others by impatience lose themselves, do you " in your patience possess your souls ;” Luke xxi. 19. “ Patience worketh experience, and experience hope, which maketh not ashamed;" Rom.
If we hope for that we see not, then do we with раtience wait for it;” Rom. viii. 25. Through patience and comfort of the Scriptures it is that we have hope; Rom. xv. 4. Therefore we have need of patience, that when we have done the will of God, we may inherit the promise ; Heb. x. 36. 11.
How to live by Faith, in Troubles of Conscience, and Doubts or
Terrors about our Spiritual and Everlasting State. HAVING written a treatise called, “ The Right Method for Spiritual Peace and Comfort,” &c. upon this subject already, I must refer the reader thither, and here only add these few directions.
Direct. 1. ' Distinguish of the several causes of these troubles;' and take heed of those unskilful mountebanks, who have the same cure for every such disease, and speak present comfort to all that they hear complain; and that think every trouble of mind is some notable work of the Spirit of God; when it is often the fruit of the manifold weakness or wilfulness of the troubled complainers.
Direct. 2. When it is some heinous sin committed, or great corruption indulged, which doth cause the trouble, be sure that sound repentance be never omitted in the cure; and that a real reformation prove the truth of that repentance, For Christ never died to justify and save the im
penitent sinner : and a deceitful repentance is the common self-deceit and undoing of the world. And how can that be true repentance, which changeth not the will and life? God will not give you peace and comfort, as long as you indulge your wilful sin.
Note here the difference between, 1. The grossly impenitent: 2. And the mock-repentance of the hypocrite : 3. And the true repentance of sound believers.
1. The grossly impenitent cannot bring his heart to a serious purpose to let go his sin, nor to a consent or willingness that God should cure him, and change his mind : but he had rather have his pride, and covetousness, and sensuality, to be fully pleased, than to be mortified. Like a fool in a fever or dropsy, that had rather have drink, than have the cure of bis thirst.
2. The mock-repentance of the hypocrite hath some purposes under an extraordinary conviction, to leave his sin; and for a time may seem to do it. But when the temptation is as strong again, he is the same, and returneth to his vomit; or else exchangeth his sin for a worse. And if you
ask him whether he had rather have the mortifying of all his lusts, or the pleasing of them, his understanding and conviction may cause him truly to say at the present, that if God would presently mortify his sin, or offer him this in choice, he would rather consent to it, than take the pleasing of them. But mark it, 1. That though he consent that God should do this himself; yet he will not consent to use the means, and do his duty to attain it.
attain it. If a cold wish, or a bare consent would change his soul, and take away all sinful inclinations at once, that he might never more desire the pleasure of sin, nor be put to any conflict to overcome it, nor any great difficulty to deny it, and all this might be done without any labour of his own, I doubt not but the hypocrite would consent to be so mortified. But to watch, and pray, and read, and meditate, and use the means which God appointeth him, both to get mortification, and to use it for the conquering of every temptation; this the hypocrite will not consent to.
2. And what he doth consent to at the present, he consenteth not to when his sinful pleasure is revived by the next temptation.
3. But the true penitent Christian is both willing to be