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whilst they were with you, will prove an excellent allay to your
sorrows for tbem when they are no longer yours. It is not fo much the siogle affliction, as the guilt charged upon us in times of affliction, that makes our load to heavy.
O what a terrible ļhing is it to look upon our dead friends, whild confcience is acculing and upbraiding us for our duties geglected, and such or such fins committed ? O you little think how dreadful a spectacle this will make the dead body of thg friend to bee !
Confeience, if not goite ftupid or dead, will speak at fuch a time. Otherefore, as ever you would provide for a comfortable parting at death, of meet again at judgment; be exact, punctual, add circumspect, in all your relative duties.
Rule 3. If you would not be overwhelmed by trouble for the lefs of dear relations, then turn to God under your trouble, and pour out your forfews, by prayer, into his bosom.
This will ease and allay your troubles. Blessed be God for the ordinance of prayer ; how much are all the saints beholden to it, at all times, but especially io heart-Sinking and distressful times? It is some relief, when in difrels, we can pour out our trouble into the bosom of a wife, or faithful friend ; how much more when we leave our complaiot before the gracious, wife, and faithful God? I told you before of that holy man, who haviog loft bis dear and only fou, got to bis closet, there poured out his soul freely to the Lord, and when he came dowa to bis friends, that were waiting below to comfort him, and feariog how he would bear that Itroke, he came from his duty with a chearful countenance, telling them he would be contenc to bury a son, if it were poflible, every day, provided he might enjoy such comfort as his foul had found in that private hour.
Go thy way, Christian, to thy God, get thee to the kneesia the cloudy and dark day; retire from all creatures, that thou wayelt have thy full liberty with thy God, aod there pour out thy heart before him, in free, full, aad broken-hearted confeffions of fio : Judge thyself worthy of hell, as well as of this trouble ; juftify. God in all his finartest Itrokes; beg him, ia this diftrefs, to put under shee everlasting arms; jo treat one smile, one gracious look, to enlighten thy darkness, and chear thy drooping spirit. Say, with the prophet, Jer. xvii. 17. " Be thou not a terror to me; thou art my hope in the day of " evil.” And try what relief fuch a courie will afford thce. Surely, if thy heart be fiocere in this course, thou snalt be able to fag with that holy mad, Plaim xciv. 29. " in the multitude
“ of my thoughts which I had withio me, thy comforts have a ve " delighted my soul.”
Rule 4. If you would bear the loss of your dear relations with moderation, eye God in the whole process of the affliction more, pou nou and secondary causes and circumstances of the matter less - Fire Ine
“I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou dida • it," Psal. xxxix. 9. Consider the hand of the Lord in the whole matter : And that,
First, As a sovereigo hand, which hath right to dispose of 480* thee, aod all thy comforts, without thy leave or consent, Job xxxiii. 13.
Secondly, As a father's hand correcting thee in love and 1 kuu faithfulness. Prov. iii. 11. " Whom the Lord loveth he cor- porrow " recteth, as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” O if I once you could but see affliction as a rod in a father's hand, pro- Ha ceeding from his love, and intended for your eternal good; how quiet would you then be ?
And surely if it draws your heart bearer to God, and morti !! fies it more to this vain world, it is a rod io the hand of special love : If it end in your love to God, doubt not but it comes from God's love to you.
Thirdly, As a jult and righteous hand. Haft not thou pro ca cured this to thyself by thy own folly? Yea, the Lord is just lov in all that is come upon thee; whatever he hath done, yet he hath done thee no wrong.
Fourthly, Lastly, As a moderate and merciful hand that hath pupilhed thee less than thine iniquities deserve : He that hath 10 cast thee into affliction, might justly have cast thee into bell. 10 1 is of the Lord's mercy that thou art not consumed. Why doth !! the living man complaio ?
Rule 5. If you would bear your affiliation with moderation, et compare it with the afflictions of other men, and that will great. ly quiet your Spirits.
You have no cause to say God hath dealt bitterly with you, and that there is no sorrow like your forrow: Look round about you, and impartially consider the condition that others are id; and they nothing inferior to you io apy respect. You had one dead child, Aaron had two at a stroke, Job all at one stroke; and both these by an immediate stroke from the hand of God. Some godly parents have lived to see their children die in their so by the hand of justice; others have seen them live to the dishonour de of God, and breaking of their own spirits, and would have esteemed it a mercy if they had died from the womb, and
dle know here them lie thing to those d cut them comedy
"what a boilie weltering file continual a
given up the ghost when they came out of the belly, as Job speaks,
lo what misery have some parents seen their children die ! God holding them as so many terrible spectacles of misery before their eyes ; so that they have begged the Lord, with importunity, to let loose his hands, and cut them off; death being, in their esteem, nothing to those continual agonies in which they have seen them lie weltering from day to day. O you little koow what a bitter cup others have had given them to drink? Surely, if you compare, you must say, the Lord hath dealt gently and graciously' with me.
Rule 6. Carefully foun, and avoid whatsoever may renew your furrow, ar provoke you to impatience.
locrease not your forrow by the light of, or discourses about fad objects; and labour to avoid them, as occasions presented by the enemy of your souls, to draw forth the corruptions af your heart.
I told you before, why Jacob would not have the child of which Rachel died, called after the name his wife had given, Benoni, che son of my forrow; left it should prove a daily occasion of renewing his trouble for the loss of his dear wife ; but' he called his name Benjamia.
Your impatience is like tioder, or gun powder, so long as you can prevent the sparks from falling on it, there is no great danger ; but you that carry such dangerous prepared matter in your own hearts, cannot be too careful to prevent them. Do by murmuring, as you do by blafphemous thoughts ; think quite another way, and give no occalion.
Rule 7. In the day of your mourning for the death of your friends, seriously consider your own death as approaching, and that you, and your dead friend are distinguisbed by a small inter. val and point of time. 2 Sam. xi. 13. I fall go to him. Surely the thoughts of your own death, as approaching also, will greatly allay your forrows for the dead that are gone before you.
We are apt to fancy a long life in the world, and then the loss of those comforts which we promised ourselves so much of the sweetness and comforts of our lives from, seems an intolerable thing.
But would you realize your own deaths more, you would Dot be so deeply concerned for their deaths as you are. Could you but look into your own graves more seriously, you would be able to look into your friend's grave more composedly.
And thus I have finished what I designed from this scripture: The Father of mercies, and God of all comforts, whose fole prerogative it is to comfort them that are cast down, write all his truths upon your hearts, that they may abide there, and reduce your disordered affcctions to that frame which belt faits the will of God, and the profeffion you make of Tabjection and resignation thereunto.
P R E PARA TIONS
The best WORK in the worst Tim e s.
Wherein the Necessity, Excellency, and Means of our readi.
Dess for Sufferings are evinced and prescribed; our Call to Suffering cleared, and the great unreadiness of many Profel. fors bewailed.
THE EPISTLE TO THE READER. TT was the observation of the learned Gerson (when the world
was got so old, by many years, as now it is) that mundus Jenescens patitur phantafas : The aged world, like aged per. foas, dotes, and grows whimsical, in its old age; the troch of which obfervation is confirmed by no one thiog more, than the fond and groundless dreams, and phantasms of tranquillity, and contiouing prosperity, wherewith the multitude please them. felves, even whilit the sins of the times are so great, and the figns of the times fo fad and lowring as they are.
It is not the design of this Manual to scare, and affright any man, with imaginary dangers, inuch less to low jealousies, and foment the discontents of the times; it being a just matter of lamentation, that all the tokens of God's anger produce with many of us no better fruit but bold censures, and loud cla• mours, innead of humiliation for our own fios, and due pre.
paration to take up our own cross, and follow Christ in a fufferiog path, which is the only mark and aim of this tract.
We read the histories of the primitive sufferers, but bot with a fpirit prepared to follow them. Some cenfure ibem as too prodigal of their blood, and others commend their courage, aod constancy; but where are they that fiocerely resolve, and prepare to be followers of them, who through faith and pa. tience inherit the promises ? Heb. vi. 12. or take them for an “ example of suffering, affliction, and of patience," Jam. v. 10.
It is as moch our interest, as it is oor duty, to be seasonably awakeped nut of our pleasant, but most perbicious drowzioefs. Troubles will be so much the more siaking, and intolerable, by how much they steal upon us by way of surprizal. For look, as expectation deflowers any temporal comfort, by sucking out much of the sweetness thereof before-haod, and so we find the less in it when we come to the actual enjoyment: So the expectation of evils abates much of the dread aud terror, by accustoming our thoughts before-hand to them, and makiog preparation for them: So that we find them not so grievous, ao mazing, and io tolerable, when they are come indeed.
This was exemplified to us very lively by holy Mr. Bradford the martyr, when the keeper's wife came running into his chamber, faying, “O, Mr Bradford, I bring you heavy ridings, • for to-morrow you must be buroed, your chain is now buying.
and presently you must go to Newgate.' He put off his hat, and looking up to heaven, said, O Lord, I thank thee for it ; I have looked for this a long time : It comes pot suddenly to ine, the Lord make me worthy of it. See in this example the fine
gular advantage of a prepared and ready foul. . ; Reader, The cup of sufferiogs is a very bitter cup, and it is
but needful that we provide fomewhat to sweeted it, that we may be able to receive it with thanksgiving; and what those sweeteding ingredieots are, and how to prepare them, you will have some direction and help in the following discourse; which hath once already been presented to the public view; and that it may at this time also (wherein pothing can be more seasonable) become farther useful, and affistiog, to the people of God is their present duties, is the hearty desire of