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my child or friend is pafled into eternicy, and I know not hout it is with his foul : were I ture my relation were with Christ, Í should be quiet ; but my fears of the contrary are overwhelming; O it is terrible to thiok of the damnation of one to dear to me.

Anfwer 1. Admit what the objection fupposes, that you have real grounds to fear the eternal condition of your dear relation ; yet it is utterly unbeseeming you, even in such a cafe as this, to dispute with, or repine agaiolt the Lord

i do confess it is a sore and heavy rial, and that there is no cause more fad, and sinking to the spirit of a gracious person : their death is but a trifle to this; but get if you be fuch as fear the Lord, methioks his io difputable sovereigoty over them, and his distinguishing love and mercy to you, should at least filence you

in this matter. First, His indisputable sovereignty over them, Rom. ix. 20. " Who art thon, Oman, who disputest with God?” He speaks in the matters of eternal election, aod reprobation. What if the Lord will not be gracious to those that are so dear to us? Is there any wrong done to them or us thereby! Aaron's two foos were cut off in the act of fin, by the Lord's immediare hand, and yet he held his peace, Lev. X. 3. God told Abraham plainly, that the covenant (hould not be established with Ishmael, for whom he so earnestly prayed, 0 let Jomael live before thee! aod he knew that there was no falvation out of the covenant, and yet he fits down fileut under the word of the Lord.

Secondly, But if this do not quiet you, yet wethinks his distinguishiag love and mercy to you should do it. Owhat do you owe to God, that root aod branch hath not been calt togea ther into the fire! that the Lord ha a given you good hope, through grace that it shall be well with you for ever.

Let this stop your mouth, and quiet your fpirit, though you would have grounds for this fear.

Answer 2. But pray examine the grounds of your fear, whe ther it may not proceed from the strength of your affections to the eternal welfare of your friend, or from the subtilty of Satan, designing hereby to overwhelm and swallow you op in supposed, as well as from just grounds and causes? In two cases it is very probable your fear may proceed only from your own affection, or Satan's temptation.

First, If your relation died young, before it did any thing to destroy your hopes. Or,

Secondly, if grown, and in some good degree hopeful; only

he did not in life, or at death, manifest, and give evidence of grace, with that clearnels as you defired.

As to the cate of infants in general, it is none of our contero to judge their condition ; and as for those that Iprang from Covenanted parents, it becomes us ro exercise charitý towards them, the icripture speaks very fatodrábly of themi:

And as for the more adult, who have escaped the pollutions of the world, and made conscience of fin and duty, albeit they never manifested what you could defire they had; yet in them, as in young Abijah, ** may be found some good things towards «« the Lord,” which you bever took police of. Reverence of your authority, balhtolacts, and thame-facedoels, reservednels of difpofition, and many other things, may hide those small and weak begionings of grace that are in children, from the obfervations of the parents God might see thar iö them that you trier faw; be delpiferti nor the day of small things.

However it Be, it is now out of your reach ; your CODCCER : ment rather is to improve the affliction to your own good, than judge and determine their condition, which beloogs bot to you but to God,

Ples 9: O but I have foded in this relation, and God bath punished my fia is dissolving it. O, faith one, my heart was fet too much upon it, I even idolized it, that was my sin : and, faith another, I wanted due affections, and did not love my relation, at least not fo fpiritually as I ought; that was my lin, Now God is visiting me for all the neglects and defects that hath been in me towards iny relation.

Answeř 1. There is no man fo thoroughly fančtified, as not to fail, and come thort in many things pertaining to bis relative doties : and to speak, as the thing is, the corruptions of the holiest persons are as much discovered in this, as any other thing wharfoever; and it is a very common thing for conscience, not only to charge these failures upon us, but to aggravate them to the utmost when God hath made the separation. So that this is no more than what is usual, and very commod, with perfoos ia

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your case.

Answer 2. Admit that which the objection supposes, that God had afflicted you for your sin, aod removed that comfort from you, which you idolized, and too much doted on ; yec there is no reason you should be fo cast down under your affiction : For all this may be, and probably is the fruit of his love to, and care of your soul, Rev. iii. 19. He tells the afflicted, for their comfort, “Whom I love, I rebeke and challen.” How

VOL. YII.

much better is it to have an idolized enjoyment taken from you, in mercy, than if God should say concerning you, as he did of Ephraim, Hofea iv. 17. “He is joined to idols, let him alone."

O it is better for you that your Father now reckons with you for your follies with the rod in his hand, than to say as he doth to fome, let them go on, I will not hinder them in, or rebuke them for their fioful courses; but will reckon with them for all together in hell at last.

Answer 3. And as to what you now charge upon yourfelf, that the neglect of duty did spriog from the want of love to your relation ; your forrow at parting may evidence that your relation was rooted deep in your affection; but if your love was pot fo fpiritual and pure, to love and enjoy them in God; that was undoubtedly your fin, and is the fin of most Christians, for which both you, and all others, ought to be humbled.

Plea 10. God hath blessed me with an estate, and outward comforts in the world, which I reckoned to have left to my po. sterity; and now I have none to leave it with, oor have I any comfort to think of it; the purpoles of my heart are brokea off, and the comfort of all my other enjoyments blafted by this Itroke in an hour. How are the pains and cares of many years perished.

Answer 1. How many are there io the world, yea, of our own acquaintance, whom God hath either denied, or deprived both of the comforts of children and estates too? If he have left

you those outward comforts, you ought to acknowledge his goodness therein, and not to flight thele because he hath de prived you of the other.

Answer 2. Though your children are gone, yet God hath many children left in the world, whose bowels you may refreh with what he hath bestowed upon you ; and your charity to them will doubtless turn to a more considerable account, thao if you had left a large estate to your own pofterity.

Surely we are not sent into this world to heap up great estates for our children : and if you have been too eager in this design, you may now read God's just rebuke of your folly. Bless God you have yet an opportunity to serve him eminently by your charity, and God deny you other executors, let your own hands be your executors, to distribute to the necessity of the faints, that the blessings of them that are ready to perish may come upon you.

Plea 11. O but the remembrance of its witty words, and pretty actions, is wounding.

Answer 1. Let it rather lift up your hearts to God in praise,

that gave you so desirable a child, than fill your heart with discontent at his hand in removing it. How many parents are there in the world, whose children God hath deprived of reason and understanding, so that they only differ from the beasts in external shape and figure?. And how many shew betimes fo' perverse a temper, that little comfort can be expected from them.

Answer 2. These are but small circumstances, and trivial things in themselves; but by these little things Satan manages a great design against your soul, to deject or exasperate it : And furely this is not your business at this time; you have greater things than the words and actions of children to mind; to fearch out God's ends in the affliction, to mortify the corruption it is sent to rebuke, to quiet your hearts in the will of God; this is your work.

Plea 12. Lastly, It is objected, O but God hides his face from me in my affliction ; it is dark withio, as well as without, and this makes my cale more deplorable, greatly afflicted, and fadly deserted.

Answer 1. Though you want at present sensible comfort, yet you have reason to be thankful for gracious supports. Though the light of God's countenance shine not upon you, yet you find the everlasting arms are underneath you ; the care of God worketh for you, when the confolations of God are withdrawn

from you.

Answer 2. To have God hide his face in the time of trouble, is oo new or unusual thing; God's dearest saints, yea, his owa : Son, hath experienced it, who in the deeps of inward and out. ward trouble, when wave called unto wave, felt oot those sweet, sensible influences of comfort from God, which had always filled his soul formerly. If Christ cry io extremity, “ My God,

my God, why halt thou forsakeo me!” Then sure we need not wooder, as if some strange thing had happened to us.

Answer 3. May not your submissive carriage under the rod provoke God to hide his face from you. Pray consider it well,'. nothing is more probable than for this to be the cause of God's withdrawment from you. Could you, in meekoels and quiet. ness, receive that cup your Father hath given you to drink : accept the punishment of your iniquities; say, Good is the word of the Lord, It is the Lord, let him do what he will : You would soon find the case altered with you ; but the comforting {pirit finds no delight, or relt, in a turbulent and tumultuous breast.

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And thus I have fatisfied the most considerable pleas urged, iq justification of our exccfles

4. I come gow to the aft thing proposed namely the means of curing and prevensing these linful excesses of forrow for the death of our dear relations.

And although much hath been said already to dignade from this evil, and I have enlarged already much beyond my first intention; yet I Ihall calt in some farther help and aftstance towards the bealing of this diltemper, by prescribing the following rults:

Rule i. If you wauld not mourn exceffively for the loss of creature-comforts, then beware that you set net your delight and love excessively. ur inordinately, upon them, whilft you do enjoy Them.

Strong affctions make strong afflictions; the higher the tide, the lower the ebb. According to the measure of our delight in the enjoyment, is our grief in the lots of these things. The apostle knits these two graces, temperance and patience, together, in the precept, 2 Pet. i. 16. and it is very obfervable hov intcmperance and impatience are inseparably linked in experiCnce, yea, the experience of the belt med You read, Gen. Xxxvii. 3. “Now Ifr del loved Joseph more than all bis children, " because he was the son of his old age; and made him a coat “ of many colours.”

This was the darling ; Jacob's heart was so exceedingly set upon him.' his very life was bound up in the life of the lad. Now when the supposed death of his child was brought to him, how did be carry it ? See ver. 34, 35. And Jacob reßt his “ clothes, and pot fackcloth upon his loins ; and mourged for “ his son many days; And all his loos, and all his daughters, “ rofe up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And " he said, for I will go down into the grave to my fog mourn. "ing. Thus his father wept for him.”

Hero, as in a glass, are the effects of excelli ve love to a child represented: Here you may see what work immoderate love will make, even in a, fanctified heart.

Otherefore let your moderation be known to all men, in your delights and sorrows about earthly things; for ordinarily the proportion of the one is answerable to the other.

Rele 2. If you would not be querwhelmed with grief for the. lofs of your relations, be exact and careful in discharging your duties to them while you have them,

The testimony of your conscience, that you have laboured jo all things to discharget he duties you owed to your relations,

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