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fled, he fell down upon the earth much discouraged. Why? The Lord had promised he would never leave him nor forsake him, his enemies should not be able to stand before him; but he had lost the promise that God had given to him, and therefore was discouraged; but the Lord comes to him, and saith, “ What dost here?” and brings him to the view of the promise again ; and then a new spirit and new life came into him. God's promise is your encouragement; keep that always in your eye.
3. Take heed of all those things that will debase your spirits. These are three things especially: idleness, worldliness, false
courage. As for idleness, saith Seneca,* it is the burying of a living man. As for worldliness, saith Aquinas, it doth effeminate and set a man below himself. And false courage is a true enemy to true courage. If courage be laid upon
the of the second cause, when there is an ebb of the second cause there is an ebb of your courage.
There were two sorts of spies that went into the land of Canaan. As for the first, we do not read of any
hard they met withal, and yet they were much discouraged, and discouraged the people, saying, The men of the country are giants, the cities are walled up to heaven, and the inhabitants ride in chariots of iron. The other spies met with ill use, and had not Rahab hid them they had been every man cut off; and yet they returned with good courage, and so encouraged the people, saying, “ The men shall be meat unto us," &c. What is the reason of this? One would think, rather, that the first sort should be encouraged and the last discouraged, but it was not so; the reason is this, the first spies, that were discouraged, looked only upon the men and walls and iron chariots; went out in the
but as for the other spies, they looked upon God, upon his promise, and upon his providence in delivering of them; and thereupon returned and said, “ The men of the land are meat unto us,” &c. Would you not be discouraged but encouraged, take heed how you raise or how you lay your courage upon second causes; take heed of all those things that may debase your spirits, idleness, worldliness, and courage laid upon second
* Otium est vivi hominis sepultura.–Seneca.
4. Again, be sure of this, that you keep your conscience clear. A bad conscience is very timorous; the righteous are as bold as a lion, but the unrighteous, that have any conscience left, are as fearful as a doe; be sure, therefore, that you keep your conscience clear.
5. And then, again, keep and improve all the experiences of God's delivering mercy. Beloved, how many delivering mercies hath God wrought for us the last year; truly it may be said it hath been the annus mirabilis, year of wonders ; and all the year long God hath been known to England by this name, a wonder-working God. When any temptations arise to discourage, answer, Surely if the Lord had meant to destroy us, he would never have done all this. Experienced men are most courageous. Only make use of your experience as a stirrup to get up your spirits to the promise.
6. Again, Actuate, refresh and strengthen your love. True love is very valiant. Says the apostle, “ Love suffers all things, it does all things." As one observes concerning a sheep, though it be so feeble and fearful a creature, that a little dog will make a whole flock run before it, yet, notwithstanding, you shall see, that if a great mastiff comes to take away a lamb from the ewe, the ewe will stamp and run at him. Why? Love puts it on. Do you, therefore, love your country? I know you do. Do you love the people of God? I
presume you do. Do you love the cities of God? I believe you do. Often actuate, refresh, and strengthen your love ; this will give courage.
7. In the last place, Whenever any discouraging temptations arise, before ever you parley with those difficulties and temptations, step in to God by prayer. Beloved, if you first parley with difficulties before you go to prayer, you will never have done ; a thousand objections will be created in your minds: whereas if you first go to prayer before you parley with them : in prayer you shall have the sight of a great God, and the sight of a great God will make your spirits great. In prayer your heart shall be composed, for prayer is a soulcomposing duty. In prayer you shall meet with the Captain of your salvation, and he will lead up your hearts that are ready to run away. In prayer you shall bring your souls to this frame, quietly to resign up yourselves, and cause, and success unto God; and a man is never more courageous than
in that frame, as Joab's courage and resignation went together. Are you presented with any difficulty and discouraging temptation? then say with yourselves, It is true, indeed, to attain to such an event, certainly it will be hard; notwithstanding, I know that my cause is good, my work is good, the people good; and, therefore, though the difficulties and temptations be never so great, I will give myself to prayer, and praying courage is good courage. Wherefore, my beloved, in the name of the Lord, pray, in these evil times; pray, pray, pray.
And when you have done praying, then wait: “ Wait on the Lord, and be of good courage; and again, I say, wait on the Lord.” And what I say unto one I desire to speak unto my own soul, and so unto you all in these sad and evil times, “ Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God, and the Lord do with us what seemeth him good.”
THE DISEASES THAT MAKE A STOPPAGE TO ENGLAND'S MERCIES DISCOVERED, AND ATTENDED WITH
DelivERED IN A SERMON AT ST. MARGARET's on Fish STREET HILL,
" Thy destruction is of thyself, but thy salvation is of me."
PREACHED IN 1642.
TO THE READER.-It is God's wont to warn before he smite a people, thereby walking himself after bis own rule, Deut. xx. 10, 13, who would bave no city to be destroyed until peace hath first been offered to it. The sword of the Lord is ever drawn, his bow bent, his arrows prepared, his instruments of death made ready, his cup mingled ; yet he doth not use to pour down his plagues, until he hath rained a shower of mercy before them : be doth not surprise men at
God never discharges his murthering pieces, until he hath first discharged his warning ones : pax domini, Luke X., “ Peace to this house," was sounded at every door where the apostles came. All ages and nations will bear witness to this truth; the old world, Sodom, Pharaoh, &c. : but no nation or age can better subscribe to God's goodness and fair dealing in this, than we, who have been warned sometimes by prodigious signs, as by the appearance of that wonderful comet, A. D. 1618, as importing some strange changes which we have seen and heard since; and as if its last influence might seem to end in this island when it blazed over England, it was seen no more; and Herlicius Stargarder sis, a noted astrologer, held, that its influence was like to continue between twenty and thirty years. Sometimes by his ministers, by bis administration of justice, and dealing with other nations : how long bath the sword walked circuit in Germany and in Ireland ? Sometimes by lesser and lighter judgments : how long hath the plague continued in this city without intermission ? Sometimes by taking many godly out of the world, and the removing many others out of the kingdom, who were wont to stand in the gap; sometimes by a general withdrawing himself, pulling down his hangings, not assisting his ordinances, &c. And unless we will wilfully shut our eyes, how hath the goodness, patience, bounty, merciful and powerful dealings of God towards us, and for us of late, been as an hand put forth to lead us home unto him, to cause us to meet him, and take warning, that we might prevent these wasting calamities that are gathered together in a black clovd, as though they meant to empty themselves in a shower of blood upon our heads ? But we are so far from taking warning, that we study to hasten our own ruin : almost every one instead of bringing his bucket of water to quench the fire that is already flaming about our ears, brings
their bellows in their hands to blow up these coals of dissension in all places, so that now not only is there a kingdom divided, but the head and the members divided, and the members among themselves, cities and towns divided, yea families divided, parents against children, brother against brother, and familiar friends become bitter enemies one to another; the most sure symptom and presage of a fearful desolation to fall upon all, unless some speedy remedy be applied to this desperate disease, and the great God himself become our physician and heal our distempers. I shall desire to commend these two Sermons (the third and fourth of this volu.ce) to thy serious consideration : in the one thou shalt see there is a stoppage made of God's mercies, who was coming to heal us but we would not be healed; the causes are discovered and the remedies prescribed, that could we so go to work to open these stoppings, and bring God again into the way of his mercies; could we see our sins removed and God returned, I might then truly say that there would be yet hope for England : the other Sermon is a preparative to bear that cross that so many have already on their backs, viz. of being turned out of all our earthly comforts ; a sad calamity indeed, but now too usual ; and when so many of our neighbour's houses are on fire, why should we think to escape scot free that are as deep in sin as they? Being, therefore, forewarned, let us be forearmed, and get into God and his favour, as that one necessary thing for us all to look after, as the only means to keep us from sinking under the waves that flow in upon all, especially on God's people; experience shewing, that if we will live in the power of godliness, and not walk in the same excess of riot with the world, we shall make ourselves a prey, and had need to have our helmets on to catch the blows that fall upon us, and resolve to sit loose from the world, that we may suffer the spoiling of our goods with joy, and be able to say with that noble Spartan, who being told, 1. of the death of his children, answered: I knew well they were all begot mortal. 2. That his goods were confiscate : I knew what was but for mine use was not mine. 3. That his honour was gone: I knew no glory could be everlasting on this miserable earth. 4. That his sentence was to die : That is nothing ; nature hath given the like sentence both of my condemners and
Now should we get a stock of faith, and learn how to use it, to live by it when our lands, our stocks, our trades, our friends, our wit, our shifts (as the ordinary means of our livelihood) shall fail us. That we may live not only above our fears and troubles and doubts, but above the world, above ourselves, in God and in Christ, in whom we may see supply to all our wants, satisfaction to all our desires, and have recompense for all our losses, and every thing that may make for our good and welfare : light in our darkness, life in our death, strength in our weakness, riches in our poverty; and comfort ourselves, that we serve a Master that will one day right all our wrongs, reckoning the injuries that be done to his as done to himself; so that we should not think much to part with our country, our children, our possessions, our life, if the world will take them from us, for Christ and his gospel's sake. All these, and much better than these shall be restored to us one day; and we may say thus to ourselves : Yet I am not miserable so long as my Redeemer is happy; he lives, and I shall live with him. Men may take from me my goods, but they cannot rob me of my grace; they may banish me from my country, but not from heaven; take from me my life, but not my happiness : no, my faith, my heaven, my soul, my happiness is in his keeping, that will safely preserve them for me, and me for them. But I fear I have held thee too long in the porch, I shall now open thee the door and let thee in, praying God to make those lessons as profitable to thee, as the Au