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silver, and two changes of raiment, and that with a lie, I say, with a lie. Well, he hath them, and he hath with them a leprosy that cleaved to him and his seed for ever, 2 Kings v. 22.-ult. With those very hands that Judas took money to betray his Master, with those very hands he fitted a halter to hang himself. The rich and wretched glutton, fared delicately, and went bravely every day; but the next news you hear of him, is of his being in hell, crying out for a drop, who when he was on earth, would not give a crumb. The coal that the eagle carried from the altar to her nest, set all on fire.
Crassus did not long enjoy the fruit of his covetousness; for the Parthians taking him, poured melted gold down his throat.
Dionysius did not long enjoy the fruit of his sacrilege and tyranny; for he was glad to change his sceptre into a ferula, and turn schoolmaster for his maintenance. Ah Chris, tians, Christians! is it not far better to sit quiet and silent under your afflictions, than to use such sinful shifts and means which God will certainly blast and curse? But,
(6.) Lastly, Consider this, that your very attempting to sin and shift yourselves out of troubles and afflictions, will cost you dear*; it will cost you many prayers, many tears, many sighs, many groans, many gripes, many terrors, and many horrors. Peter, by attempting to sin himself out of trouble, sins himself
A man may buy any thing too dear, but Christ, grace his own soul, and the gospel.
into a sea of sorrows, Matth. xxvi. ult. He went forth, and wept bitterly.
Clement observes, that every night when he heard the cock crow, he would fall upon his knees, and weep bitterly; others say, that his face was furrowed with continual tears. Were Abraham, David, Jacob, and Jonah now alive, they would tell you, that they have found this to be a truth in their own experience. Oh Christians! it is far better to be quiet and silent under your sufferings, than to pay so dear for attempting to sin and shift yourselves out of your sufferings. A man will not buy gold too dear, and why then should he buy himself out of troubles at too dear a rate:
But now I shall come to that use that I intend to stand most upon, and that is an use of exhortation. Seeing it is the great duty and concernment of Christians to be mute and silent under the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and the sharpest trials that they meet with in this world ; Oh! that I could prevail with you, Christians, to mind this great duty, and to live up, and to live out this necessary truth : which that I may, give me leave to propound some considerations to engage your souls to be mute and silent under your greatest troubles, and your saddest trials. To that purpose,
1. Consider the greatness, sovereignty, majesty, and dignity of God, and let that move thee to silence, Psal. xlvi. 8. 9. 10. “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth: he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder, he burneth the chariot in the fire: be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the Heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Who can cast his eye upon the greatness of God, the majesty of God, and not sit still before him? Zeph. i. 7. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God. O chat not, murmur not, fret not, but stand mute before him! Shall the child be hushed before his father, the servant before his master, the subject before his prince, and the guilty person before the judge, when he majestically rises off his judgment-seat, and composes his countenance into an aspect of terror and severity, that his sentence may
the offender with the greater dread? And shall not a Christian be quiet before that God, that can bathe his sword in heaven, and burn the chariots on earth ? Nay, shall the sheep be hushed before the wolf, birds before the hawk, and all the beasts of the field before the lion; and shall not we be hushed and quiet before him who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah? Rev. v. 5. God is mighty in power, and mighty in counsel, and mighty in working, and mighty in punishing; and therefore be silent before him. It appears that God is a mighty God, by the epithet that is added into El, which is Gibbor, importing, that he is a God of prevailing might; in Daniel he is called El Elim, the mighty of mighties. Moses magnifying of his might saith, who is like unto thee among the gods ? Now certainly this epithet should be a mighty motive to work souls to that which Habakkuk persuades to, chap. ii. 20. The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him. Upon this very consideration, Moses commands Israel to hold
It is reported of Augustus the emperor, and likewise of Tamerlane, that warlike Scythian, that in their eyes sat such a rare majesty, that many in talking with them, and often beholding of them, have become dumb. Oh my brethren! shall not the brightness and splendor of the majesty of the great God, whose sparkling glory and majesty dazzles the eyes of angels, and makes those princes of glory stand mute before him, move you much to silence, to hold your peace, and lay your hands upon your mouths? Surely yes. But.
2. Consider that all your afflictions, troubles, and trials, shall work for your good*, Rom. vii. 28. « And we know that all things shall work together for good to them that love God.” Why then should you fret, fling, and fume? seeing God designs your good in all. The bee sucks sweet honey out of the bitterest herbs: so God will by afflictions teach his children to suck sweet knowledge, swee bedience, and sweet experience, &c. out of
Afflictions are blessings. Doubtless Manasseh would not exchange the good he got by his iron chains, for all the gold chains that be in the world.
all the bitter afflictions and trials he exercises them with : that scouring and rubbing which frets others, shall make them shine the brighter; and that weight which crushes and keeps others under, shall but make them like the palm-tree, grow better and higher; and that hammer which knocks others all in pieces, shall but knock them the nearer to Christ the corner-stone. Stars shine brightest in the darkest night; torches give the best light, when beaten ; grapes yield moșt wine; when most pressed; spices smell sweetest, when pounded; vines are the better for bleeding ; gold looks the brighter for scouring ; juniper smells sweetest in the fire; camomile, the more you tread it, the more you spread it ; the salamander lives best in the fire ; the, Jews were best, when most afflicted; the Athenians would never mend, till they were in mourning. The Christ's-cross (saith Luther) is no letter in the book, and yet (saith he) it hath taught me more than all the letters in the book. Afflictions are the saints best benefactors to heavenly affections; where afflictions hang heaviest, corruptions hang loosest., And
grace that is hid in nature, as sweet water in rose-leaves, is then most fragrant, when the fire of affliction is put under to distil it, out. Grace shines the brighter for scouring, and is most glorious, when it is most clouded.
Pliny, in his natural history, writeth of certain trees growing in the Red Sea, which being beat upon by the waves, stand like a. rock, immoveable, and that they are bettered