« PreviousContinue »
But I will not hold you longer here, I have only a few things to desire for, and from you, and I have done.
"The thiogs 1 de fire, are, Firfi, That you will not be too halty to get off the yoke which God hath pat upon your neck. Remember when your child was in the womb, neither of you desired it should be delivered thence till God's appointed time was fully come; and now that you travail again with sorrow for its death: O desire not to be delivered from your forrows one moment before God's time for your deliverance be fully come also. Let patience have its perfect work ;. that comfort which comes in God's way and feason, will stick by you, and do you good indeed.
Secondly, I desire, that though you and your afflictions had a fad meeting, yet you and they may have a comfortable parting. If they effect that upon your hearts which God fent them. for, 1 doubt not but you will give them a fair teftimony when they go off.
If they obtaio God's blelling upon them in their operation, surely they will have your blessing too at their valediction. And what you entertained with fear, you will dismits with praise. How sweet is it to hear the afflicted foul fay, when God is looling his hands, “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted.”
Thirdly, 1 heartily with that these fearching afflictions may make the more satisfying discoveries ; that you may pow fee more of the evil of fio, the vanity of the creature, abd the fulnefs of Christ, than ever you yet law. Afflictions are searchers, and put the foul upon searching and trying its ways, Lam. ii. 14.
Whep our fio find us out by affiction, happy are we, if, by the light of affliction, we find out lin. Blessed is the man whom God chasteneth, and teacheth out of his law, Pfal.
There are unseen caules, many times, of our trou. bles; you have an advantage now to sift out the seeds, and principle from which they spring.
Fourthly, I wish that all the love and delight you bestowed on your little one, may now be placed, to your greater advantage, upon Jesus Christ, and that the stream of your affection to him may be so much the stronger, as there are now fewer channels for it to be divided into. If God will not have any part of your happiness to lie in children, then let it wholly lie in himself. If the jealovry of the Lord hath removed that which drew away too much of your heart from him, and hath spoken by this rod, faying, Stand afide, child, thou art is my way, and fillest more room in thy parents hearts than belongs to thes
Othcn deliver up all to him, and say, Lord, take the whole heart entirely, and undividedly, to thyself. Henceforth let there be no partiog, shariog, or dividing of the affections betwixt God and the creature, let all the streams ieet; and ceatre in thee, only.
Fifthly, That you may be strengthened with all might in the inner man ; to all patience, that the peace of God may keep your hearts and minds. Labour to bring your hearts to a meek submission to the rod of your Father. We had fathers of the felh, who corrected us, and we gave them reverence; Thall we not much more be in subjection to the Father of fpirits, and live? Is it comely for children to contest, and lirive with their father? Or is it the way to be freed from the yoke, by struggling under it? O that your hearts might be in a like frame with his that said, Lord, thou shalt beat, and I will bear. It was a good observation that one made, Anima sedendo et quiescendo fit fapiens : The soul grows wise by fisting still and quiet under the rod. And the apostle calls those excellent fruits which the saints gather from their fanctified afflictions, peace" able fruits of righteousness," Heb. xii. 11.
Lastly, My heart's desire, aod prayer to God for you, is, that you may die daily to all visible enjoyments, and by these frequent converses with death in your family, you may be prepared for your own change and dissolution, when it thall come.
O friends ! how many graves have you and I feen opened for our dear relations? How oft hath death come up into your wiodows, and summoned the delight of your eyes ! It is but a little while, and we shall go to them; we and they are distinguished but by short intervals.
Transivere patres, fimul hinc tranfibimus omnes. Our dear parents are gone, our lovely and desirable children are gone, our bofom relations, that were as our owo fouls, are gone ; and do got all these warning-knocks at our doors acquaint us, that we must prepare to follow shortly after them?
O that by these things our own death might be both more easy, and familiar to us ; the ofroer it vifits us, the better we should be acquainted with it; aod the more of our beloved relations it removes before us, the less of either snare or intanglement remains for us when our turn comes.
My dear friends, my felh, and my blood, I beseech you, for religion's fake, for your own fake, and for my fake, whose com
fort is, in great part, bound up in your prosperity, and wel
. fare, that you read frequently, ponder seriously, and apply believingly these scripture consolations and directions, which, in some hafte, I have gathered for your use; and the God of all consolation be with you.
Luke vii 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compasion
on her, and said to her, Weep not.
To be above the stroke of passion, is a condition equal to
forrow, is a difpofition beneath beasts: but duly to regulate our sorrows, and bound our paffions under the rod, is the wisdom, duty, and excellency of a Christian He that is without natural affections, is deservedly ranked amongst the worft of heathens; and he that is able rightly to manage them, deserves to be numbered with the best of Christians. Though, when we are fanctified 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 the reach of troubles, we cannot be without the danger, nor ought not to be without the fear of fin ; and it is as hard for us to escape fin, being in adversity, as becalming in prosperity. VOL. VII.
How apt are we to tranfgress the bounds, both of reason and religron, under a sharp aftliction, appcas, as in mofl mens experience, so in this woman's example, to whose excessive forrow Christ puts a stop in the text : « He saw her, and had "s compassion on her, and said to her, Weep not.”
The lamentations and wailings of this distressed mother, moved the tender compaffions of the Lord in beholding them, and stirred. up more pity in his heart for her, than couid be in her heart for her deat, and only son.
In the words we are to confider, both the condition of the woman, and the counsel of Christ, with respect unto it.
First, The condition of this woman, which appears to be very dolorous and diftreffed ; her groans and tears moved and welted the very heart of Christ to hear and behold them: si When he saw her, he had compassion on her.”
How fad an hour it was with-ber when Christ met her, appears by what is so distindly remarked by the cvangelist, in ver. i z. where it is faid, “Novi, 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 Leart piercing circumstances of this affliction are noted.
First, It was the death of a fon *. To bury a child, any child, muft 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 : Cut to lay a fon in the grave, a son who continues the name, and supports the family; this was ever accounted a very great affidion.
Secondly, This fon was not carried irom the craddle to the coilin, nor ftripped out of its swathing, to be wrapped in its 'winding-cloth. Had he died in his infancy, before he had engaged affection, or raised expectation, the affliction had not been fo pungent, and cutting as now it was ; death finote the
son in the flower, and prime of his time. He was a man, (faith the evangelift) ver. 12. a young man, (as Christ calls him) ver. 14. he was now arrived + at that age which made him ca
φιλίας και έγισος δεσμος ει τεκνων γοναι. i. e, To be parents to children, is the firme tye of affection, Graec, Com.
+ He died in his youth, and was therefore the more to be lamented, because he was cut off in the flower of his age, uoto which 'he was conducted from a child, by the great care and labour of his parents. Dion. Cat. on the place.
pable 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 highcft, even in the flower of his age, he is cut off.
Thus Bafil bewailed the death of his lon: ** I once had - son, who was a young man, my only fucceffor, the folace of
my age, the glory of his kind, the prop of my family, ar,
rived 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 hath been thine own condition, as it hath been his that writes it, I need say no more to convince thee that it was a sorrowful state indeed, Christ met this tender mother in.
Thirdly, And which is yet more, he was not only a fön, buţ an only son : so you find, in ver. 12." He was the only son " of his mother ti" one in whom all her hopes and coinforts, of that kind, were bound up. For, Omnis in Ascanio fiat chari cura parentis, Virgil. All her affections were contracted into this one object. If we have never fo many children, we know not which of them to spare; if they stand, like olive-plants, about our tables, it would grieve us to see the least twig amongst them broken down. But surely the death of one out of many, is much more tolerable than all in one H.
Hence it is noted in scripture as the greatest of earthly forrows, Jer. vi. 26. “ daughter of my people, gird thee with “ fackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes. Make thee mourn. " ing as for an only son, most bitter lamentation.”. Yea, so deep and penetrating is this grief, that the Holy Ghost borrows it to express the deepest spiritual troubles by, it, Zech.
* Filius mihi erat, adolefcens, plus vitae fuccefot, folatiam senectae, gloria generis, Ans aequalium, fulcrum domus, ' aetatem gratiofifimam agebat ; hic raptus periit, qui paulo ante jucundami vocem edebat, et jucundisimum spectaculum parentis oculis erat.
+ She would have borne his death more patiently, had he not been an only fon; or if the had bad but another left behind him to mitigate her forrow. Ambrose.
As there is nothing dearer than an only fon, fo that grief upon the account of his death, must be the greatest of all. Gurih, in the place,