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infinitely various motions and springs upon which my health and vigour depend ? It is not I myself. I am conscious of. no share, nor immediate concern therein : no; it is some invisible Almighty, ever-present power, in whom I live and move : it is God, the fountain of life. If he hideth his face, I am troubled ; if he suspendeth his influence, I languish; and if he taketh away my breath, I die. Of him, and through him, and to him are all things : to him therefore be all glory, and homage, and praise.

II. Having thus clearly settled it in my mind, that nothing comes by chance; and that neither my late sickness, nor recovery, are principally to be ascribed to any, what are commonly called accidents, nor yet to any will or power of man; but to the allwise permission, or power of God; I am next to settle it as a point equally clear That an allwise and good. God would never have sent this affliction upon me, but for some gracious and kind design ; intending my good.

He never afflicts willingly : nor brings us into heaviness, but when it is needful for us. And when the blessed father of our spirits lays any corrections on us, it is not for his own pleasure, but only for our profit, that we may be made partakers of his holiness. Both reverence then to the Almighty Sovereign, and a regard to my own happiness, oblige me with great hunility and attention to enquire-What the wise and kind design of divine Providence might be in this visitation? Was it,

! 1. For the trial of my virtues ?. To prove my faith in God; my hope in Jesus Christ, my patience and christian fortitude; my mortificat tion to the present world ; and my victory over death?: Was it to give me an opportunity: of exercising and shewing forth these worthy dispo

sitions, and this right temper of soul, by which God is glorified, and our christiani profession is honoured and adorned ?-If this was the design of heaven : how was it answered by me? How, my soul, didst thou behave: meek and resigned under the divine stroke; or else fretful and impatient ? Easy and composed ; or tumultuous and disturbed ? Didst thou cling fast to the present world, as one going to lose his portion, his happiness, his all; and look forward to the future world with horror and reluctance, as one who had no interest, no acquaintance, nor treasure there?-Or, did this visitation find thee in some good measure dead to the things of this mortal state? So indifferent to the pleasures and possessions of the body, and of this animal life; and so fully persuaded of that substantial and everlasting happiness, which God that cannot lie has promised, and which Christ has purchased for all good men beyond the grave, that thou wert content, and even willing, if Providence so required, now to drop the body, and to quit the present world, that being absent from these, thou mightest be present with the Lord ?

As to this matter, regard indeed is to be had to the natural constitution and temperament of the body; and to the kind of disease, by which we are visited. Some are even by nature bold and intrepid; whilst others are timorous, doubting, and gloomy. Some kind of distempers also throw a stupor and numbness; others a languor and lowness upon the spirits; and others again hurry them into tumult and confusion. Now when the organs of the body are thus unhinged and disturbed, the soul cannot exert the virtue and force, the pious and good affections, of which it is really possessed. To this also may be added, that the powers of darkness are sometimes, on such occasions, permitted to assault us in an extraordinary manner. Thus they did our Lord himself, when death advanced towards him; they had liberty to spread such horror and darkness over his inind, as made it erceeding sorrowful even unto death ; yea, as threw him into an agony, causing him to sweat as it were great drops of blood : and as forced him to groan in spirit, as one forsaken of God.-Great allowance therefore is to be made for the dejections and fears which even good persons sometimes manifest at the apprehended approach of death. However, as the christian principles and doctrine when thoroughly received, and wrought into the heart, will generally relieve this weakness of nature; and the power of faith will suppress the tormento ing and slavish fears of death; it may generally be imputed to us as our fault and neglect, for which we ought to be sorry and humbled before God, when our fears get head and prevail over

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"O God who knowest my weakness : who sawest the unworthy diffidence and reluctance of my heart : how fast it clung to this world; how little inclination or desire it shewed to go up to thy' Sacred Presence, where is fulness of joy ; and to those mansions of bliss, which Jesus iny Saviour has prepared for his servants, and where he now dwells ; and to the glorious company of angels, and the spirits of the just surrounding thy throne :- Who sawest how strong were my fears ; how languid my hopes; how feeble my faith; how faint my courage; and how shamefully prevalent my attachment to this body, and to this world of sense :-Oh! pity and pardon this weak, this unbecoming behaviour of thy servant, and lay it not to' my charge.-- For any calmness and fortitude with which I was enabled to view

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approaching death ; and for any patience and resignation with which I behaved in these scenes of affliction through which I have now passed; I glorify and praise the eternal father of lights, from whom alone every good and perfect gift comes: and I magnify and bless my most gracious High Priest and Intercessor in heaven; who is touched with a tender sense of all our infirmities, and has sent down his angel, yea, bis Holy Spirit the comforter, to strengthen and bear

Or, 2. This sickness was, perhaps, sent to awaken me from some dangerous and sinful security into which I was fallen.-To rouse me to a due concern about the state of my soul.–To make me turn my eyes inward; and seriously enquire upon what terms I stand with regard to God, to Christ, and the future eternal world : To stop my foolish career in pursuit of earthly things, by shewing me in this clear light, their extreme vanity and emptiness :--To give me a more affecting sense of that invisible and everlasting world, upon the brink of which I stand, and into which I must quickly pass; and to call upon me to make more serious preparation for it.--Too deeply was my soul sunk into a worldly and careless state, when the late stroke came upon me : and ah! how sad had my case been, had it taken me hence in that state! • Everlasting thanks to the Divine Patience, that it tries me a little longer. I yet tremble to think of the great danger which hung over me. Lord, I adore, I magnify thy grace, that thou hast snatched me from the gates of death, from the gates, perhaps, of eternal death, which had else now been shut upon me.--I will ever henceforward walk with greater caution.-Will never more so foolishly let down my watch; nor suffer my


self to sink into a sensual and earthly life; nor put off the thoughts of death and eternity. At such an hour as I think not, I see, my Lord may come.

It shall therefore be my future daily to stand always wakeful and prepared.I charge thee, O my soul, to take heed and beware, that thou be never overcharged with surfeiting or drunkenness, or with the cares of this life ; lest that day come upon thee unawares : keep always a due governınent and possession of thyself; and a due indifference to the present world; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.But finally,

3. Such sicknesses are sometimes sent as a chastisement for some sin : to admonish and correct us for some particular inisconduct with which we stand chargeable before heaven. Of this kind David seems to have apprehended his distemper to have been, under which he composed his xxxviii, xxxix, and xli psalms, where he thus humbles himself, and prays :---Thine arrows stick fast in ine, thy hand presseth me sore.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger ; neither is there any rest in my bones, bceause of my sin.--When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth. --Lord be merciful unto me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee. So Elihu in the book of Job), xxxiii. 19. represents an offending man corrected for his error. He is chastened with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pains. So that his life abhorreth meat, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumeil away that it cannot be seen ; and his bones which were not seen, stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. But if there be


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