« EelmineJätka »
should, read some good book to them,' which is most : suitable to their case :' such as:“ Mr: Perkins's Right Art of Dying Well;"_" The Practice of Piety in the Directions for the Sick;"_" Mr. Edward Lawrence's Treatise of Sickness;" or what else is most suitable to them. And because most are themselves unable for counselling the sick aright, and you may not have a fit book at hand, I shall here subjoin a brief form or two for such to read to the sick that can endure no long discourse. And other books will help you to forms of prayer with them, if you cannot pray without such help.
Direct. viii. ' Judge not of the state of men's souls, by those carriages in their sickness, which proceed from their diseases or bodily distemper.' Many ignorant people judge. of a man by the manner of his dying: if one die in calmness and clearness of understanding, and a few good words, they think that this is to die like a saint. Whereas in consumptions, and oft in dropsies, and other such chronical diseases, this is ordinary with good and bad : and in a fever that is violent, or a frenzy or distraction, the best man that is, may die without the use of reason: some diseases will make one blockish, and heavy, and unapt to speak : and some consist with as much freedom of speech, as in time of health. The state of men's souls must not be judged of by such accidental, unavoidable things as these.
Direct. ix. 'Be neither unnaturally senseless at the death of friends, nor excessively dejected or afflicted.' To make light of the death of relations and friends, be they good or bad, is a sign of a very vicious nature; that is so much selfish, as not much to regard the lives of others : and he that regardeth not the lives of his friends is little to be trusted in his lower concernments. I speak not this of those persons whose temper alloweth them not to weep: for there may be as deep a regard and sorrow in some that have no tears, as in others that abound with them. But I speak of a naughty, selfish nature, that is little affected with any one's concernments but its own.
Yet your grief for the death of friends, must be very different both in degree and kind. 1. For ungodly friends you must grieve for their own sakes, because if they died such, they are lost for ever. 2. For your godly friends, you must
mourn for the sake of yourselves and others, because God hath removed such as were blessings to those about them. 3. For choice magistrates, and ministers, and other instruments of public good, your sorrow must be greater, because of the common loss, and the judgment thereby inflicted on the world. 4. For old, tried Christians, that have overcome the world, and lived so long till age and weakness make them almost unserviceable to the church, and who groan to be unburdened and to be with Christ, your sorrow should be least, and your joy and thanks for their happiness should be greatest. But especially abhor that nature that secretly is glad of the death of parents, (or little sorrowful) because that their estates are fallen to you, or you are enriched, or set at perty by their death. God seldom leaveth this sin unrevenged, by some heavy judgments even in this life.
Direct. x. 'To overcome your inordinate grief for the death of your relations, consider these things following.' į. That excess of sorrow is your sin: and sinning is an ill use to be made of your affliction. 2. That it tendeth to a great deal more: it unfitteth you for many duties which you are bound to, as to rejoice in God, and to be thankful for mercies, and cheerful in his love, and praise, and service: and is it a small sin to unfit yourselves for the greatest duties? If you are so troubled at God's disposal of his own, what doth your will but rise up against the will of God; as if you grudged at the exercise of his dominion and government, that is, that he is God! Who is wisest, and best, and
fittest to dispose of all men's lives? Is it God or you? * Would you not have God to be the Lord of all, and to dis
pose of heaven and earth, and of the lives and crowns of the greatest princes? If you would not, you would not have him to be God. If you would, is it not unreasonable that you or your friends only should be excepted from his disposal ? 4. If your friends are in heaven, how unsuitable is it for you to be overmuch mourning for them, when they are rapt into the highest joys with Christ; and love should teach you to rejoice with them that rejoice, and not to mourn as those that have no hope. 5. You know not what mercy God shewed to your friends, in taking them away from the evil to come, you know not what suffering the land or church is falling into, or at least, might have fallen
upon themselves; nor what sins they might have been tempted to a But you are sure that heaven is better than earth, and that it is far better for them to be with Christ. 6. You always knew that your friends must die; to grieve that they were mortal, is but to grieve that they were but men. 7. If their mortality or death be grievous to you, you should rejoice that they are arrived at the state of immortality, where they must live indeed and die no more. 8. Remember how quickly you must be with them again. The expectation of living long yourselves, is the cause of your excessive grief for the death of friends. If you looked yourselves to die to-morrow, or within a few weeks, you would less grieve that your friends are gone before you. . 9. Remember that the world is not for one generation only; others must have our places when we are gone ; God will be served by successive generations, and not only by one. 10. If you are Christians indeed, it is the highest of all your desires and hopes to be in heaven; and will you so grieve that your friends are gone thither, where you most desire and hope to be.
Object. All this is reason, if my friend were gone to heaven; but he died impenitently, and how should I be comforted for a soul that I have cause to think is damned ?'
Answ. Their misery must be your grief; but not such a grief as shall deprive you of your greater joys, or disable you for your greater duties. 1. God is fitter than you to judge of the measures of his mercy and his judgments, and you must neither pretend to be more merciful than he, nor to reprehend his justice. 2. All the works of God are good; and all that is good is amiable; though the misery of the creature be bad to it, yet the works of justice declare the wisdom and holiness of God; and the more perfect we are, the more they will be amiable to us. For 3. God himself, and Christ, who is the merciful Saviour of the world, approve of the damnation of the finally ungodly. 4. And the saints and angels in heaven do know more of the misery of the souls in hell, than we do ; and yet it abateth not their joys. And the more perfect any is, the more he is like-minded unto God. 5. How glad and thankful should you be to think that God hath delivered yourselves from those eternal
a Isa. Ivii. 1, 2. Phil. i. 21. 23.
flames? The misery of others should excite. your thankful
6. And should not the joys of all the saints and an
your joy, as well as the sufferings of the wicked be your sorrows ? But above all, the thoughts of the blessedness and glory of God himself, should overtop all the concernments of the creature with you. If you will mourn more for the thieves and murderers that are hanged, than you will rejoice in the justice, prosperity, and honour of the king, and the welfare of all his faithful subjects, you behave not yourselves as faithful subjects. 7. Shortly you hope to come to heaven : mourn now for the damned, as you shall do then; or at least, let not the difference be too great, when that, and not this, is your perfect state.
A Form of Exhortation to the Ungodly in their Sickness, (or
those that we fear are such.)
Dear Friend : The God that must dispose of us and all things, doth threaten by this sickness, to call away your soul, and put an end to the time of your pilgrimage ; and therefore
your friends that love and pity you, must not now be silent, if they can speak any thing for your preparation and salvation, because it must be now or never : when a few days are past, they must never have any such opportunity more: if now we prevail not with you, you are likely to be quickly out of hearing, and past our advice and help
And because I know your weakness bids me be but short, and your memory is not to be burdened with too much, and yet your necessity must not be neglected, I shall reduce all that I have to say to you, to these four heads : 1. Of the change which you seem near to, and the world which you are going to. 2. Of the preparation that must be made by all that will be saved, and who they be that the gospel doth justify or condemn. 3. I would fain help you to understand which of these conditions you are in, and what will become of your soul, if it thus goeth hence : and 4. If your case be bad, I would direct you how you may come out of it, and what is yet to be done while there remaineth any time and hope. And I pray you set your heart to what I say.; for I will speak nothing but the certain truth of God, revealed to the world by his Son and Spirit, expressed in the Scripture, and believed by all the church of Christ,
I. God knoweth, the change is great, which you are near. You are leaving this world, where you have spent the days of your preparation for eternity, and leaving this flesh to corrupt and turn to common earth, and must here converse with man no more. You are going now to see that world, which the Gospel told you of, and you have often heard of, but neither you nor we did ever see. Before your friends have laid your body in the grave, your soul must enter into its endless state, and at the resurrection your body be joined with it. Either heaven or hell must be your lot for ever.
If it be heaven, you will there find a world of light, and love, and peace; a world of angels and glorified souls, who are all made perfect in knowledge and holiness, living in the perfect flames of love to their glorious Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator: and with them you will be thus perfected yourself: your soul will see the glory of God, and be rapt up in his love, and filled with his joys, and employed triumphantly in his praises, and this for ever. If hell should be your portion, you will there be thrust away as a hated thing from the face of God, and there you will find a world of devils, and unholy, damned, miserable souls ; among whom you must dwell, in the flames of the wrath of God, and the horrors of your own conscience, remembering with anguish the mercy which you once rejected, and the warnings and time which once you lost: and at the resurrection your soul and body must be re-united, and live there in torment and despair for ever. I know these things are but half believed by the ungodly world, while they profess to believe them: and therefore they must feel that which they refused to believe: but God hath revealed it to us, and we will believe our Maker. You are now going to see the great difference between the end of holiness and of sin; between the godly and the ungodly; and to know by your own experience those joys and torments, which the wicked will not know by faith. And what a preparation doth such a change require !
II. You are next to know what persons they are, and how they differ, who must abide for ever in these different states. As we are the children of Adam, we are all corrupted; our minds are carnal, and set upon this world, and savour nothing but the things of the flesh ; and the further we go