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ΧΧ, 16.]

have broken out from some of them, " O that God had given me a heart senseless, like the flints in the rocks of stone !” which as it can taste no pleasure, so it feeleth no woe; these and the like speeches are surely tokens of the curse which Zophar, in the book of Job, poureth upon the head of the impious man, “He shall suck the gall of asps, [Job and the viper's tongue shall slay him." If this seem light, because it is secret, shall we think they go unpunisht, because no apparent plague is presently seen upon them? The judgments of God do not always follow crimes, as thunder doth lightning; but sometimes the space of many ages coming between. When the sun hath shined fair the space of six days upon the tabernacle, we know not what clouds the seventh may bring. And when their punishment doth come, let them make their account in the greatness of their sufferings, to pay the interest of that respite which hath been given them. Or if they chance to escape clearly in this world, which they seldom do, in the day when the heavens shall shrivel as a scroll, and the mountains move as frighted men out of their places, what cave shall receive them? What mountain or rock shall they get by entreaty to fall upon them? What covert to hide them from that wrath which they shall be neither able to abide nor to avoid ? No man's misery therefore being greater than theirs whose impiety is most fortunate ; much more cause there is for them to bewail their own infelicity, than for others to be troubled with their prosperous and happy estate, as if the hand of the Almighty did not, or would not, touch them. For these Causes, and the like unto these, therefore, " Be not troubled."

4. Now, though the cause of our Heaviness be just, yet may not our affections herein be yielded unto with too much indulgency and favour. The grief of compassion, whereby we are touched with the feeling of other men's woes, is of all other least dangerous: yet this is a let unto sundry duties; by this we are apt to spare sometimes where we ought to strike. The grief which our sufferings do bring, what temptations have not risen from it? What great advantage Satan hath taken even by the godly grief of hearty contrition for sins committed against God, the near approaching of so many afflicted souls, whom the conscience of sin hath brought unto the very brink of extreme despair, doth but too abundantly

the one

so the

shew. These things, wheresoever they fall, cannot but trouble and molest the mind. Whether we be therefore moved vainly with that which seemeth hurtful, and is not; or have just cause of grief, being pressed indeed with those things which are grievous, our Saviour's lesson is touching

“ Be not troubled,” nor over-troubled for the other. For, though to have no feeling of that which nearly concerneth us were stupidity, nevertheless, seeing that as the Author of our salvation was himself consecrated by affliction,

way which we are to follow him by is not strewed with rushes, but set with thorns; be it never so hard to learn, we must learn to suffer with patience, even that which seemeth almost impossible to be suffered; that in the hour when God shall call us unto our trial, and turn this honey of peace and pleasure, wherewith we swell, into that gall and bitterness which flesh doth shrink to taste of, nothing may cause us in the troubles of our souls to storm, and grudge, and repine at God, but every heart be enabled with divinely-inspired courage to inculcate unto itself, “Be not troubled;" and in those last and greatest conflicts to remember it, that nothing may be so sharp and bitter to be suffered, but that still we ourselves may give ourselves this encouragement, Even learn also patience, O my soul.

5. Naming Patience, I name that virtue which only hath power to stay our souls from being over-excessively troubled. A virtue, wherein if ever any, surely that soul had good experience, which extremity of pains having chased out of the tabernacle of this flesh, Angels, I nothing

doubt, have carried into the bosom of her father Abraham. (Psalm The death of the Saints of God is precious in his sight.

And shall it seem unto us superfluous at such times as these are, to hear in what manner they have ended their lives? The Lord himself hath not disdained so exactly to register in the Book of Life, after what sort his servants have closed up their days on earth, that he descendeth even to the very meanest actions; what meat they have longed for in their sickness, what they have spoken unto their children, kinsfolks and friends, where they have willed their dead carcases to be laid, how they have framed their wills and testaments; yea, the very turning of their faces to this side or that, the setting of their eyes, the degrees whereby their natural heat hath departed from

cxvi. 16.]

them, their cries, their groans, their pantings, breathings, and last gaspings, he hath most solemnly commended unto the memory of all generations. The care of the living both to live and die well must needs be somewhat increased, when they know that their departure shall not be folded

up in silence, but the ears of many be made acquainted with it. Again, when they hear how mercifully God hath dealt with others in the hour of their last need, besides the praise which they give to God, and the joy which they have, or should have, by reason of their fellowship and communion of Saints, is not their hope also much confirmed against the day of their own dissolution ? Finally, the sound of these things doth not so pass the ears of them that are most loose and dissolute of life, but it causeth them sometime or other, to wish in their hearts, " Oh, that we might (Num. die the death of the righteous, and that our end might be 10.] like his!" Howbeit, because to spend herein many words, would be to strike even as many wounds into their minds, whom I rather wish to comfort; therefore concerning this virtuous gentlewoman only this little I speak, and that of knowledge, She lived a dove, and died a lamb. And if amongst so many virtues, hearty devotion towards God, towards poverty tender compassion, motherly affection towards servants, towards friends even serviceable kindness, mild behaviour and harmless meaning towards all; if, where so many virtues were eminent, any be worthy of special mention, I wish her dearest friends of that sex, to be her nearest followers in two things: Silence, saving only where duty did exact speech; and Patience, even then when extremity of pains did enforce grief. “Blessed are they which (Rev. die in the Lord.” And concerning the dead which are blessed, let not the hearts of any living be overcharged, with grief over-troubled.

6. Touching the latter affection of Fear, which respecteth evils to come, as the other which we have spoken of doth present evils; first, in the nature thereof it is plain, that we are not of every future evil afraid. Perceive we not how they, whose tenderness shrinketh at the least rase of a needle's point, do kiss the sword that pierceth their souls quite through? If every evil did cause Fear, sin, because it is sin, would be feared; whereas properly sin is not feared as sin, but only as having some kind of harm annexed. To

xiv. 13.] xv. 56.)

teach men to avoid sin, it had been sufficient for the Apostle to say, “Fly it :" but to make them afraid of committing sin,

because the naming of sin sufficed not, therefore he addeth [1 Cor. further, that it is as a " serpent which stingeth the soul.”

Again, be it that some nocive or hurtful thing be towards us, must Fear of necessity follow hereupon ? Not, except that hurtful things do threaten us either with destruction or vexation, and that, such as we have neither a conceit of ability to resist, nor of utter impossibility to avoid. That which we know ourselves able to withstand, we fear not; and that which we know we are unable to defer or diminish, or any way avoid, we cease to fear; we give ourselves over to bear and sustain it. The evil therefore which is feared, must be in our persuasion unable to be resisted when it cometh, yet not utterly impossible for a time in whole or in part to be shunned. Neither do we much fear such evils, except they be imminent and near at hand; nor if they be near, except we have an opinion that they be so. When we have once conceived an opinion, or apprehended an imagination of such evils prest, and ready to invade us; because they are hurtful unto our nature, we feel in ourselves a kind of abhorring; because they are though near, yet not present, our nature seeketh forthwith how to shift and provide for itself; because they are evils which cannot be resisted, therefore she doth not provide to withstand, but to shun and avoid. Hence it is, that in extreme fear, the mother of life contracting herself, avoiding as much as may be the reach of evil, and drawing the heat together with the spirits of the body to her, leaveth the outward parts

cold, pale, weak, feeble, unapt to perform the functions of [Dan. life; as we see in the fear of Belshazzar King of Babel.

By this it appeareth, that Fear is nothing else but a perturbation of the mind, through an opinion of some imminent evil, threat’ning the destruction or great annoyance of our nature, which to shun, it doth contract and deject itself.

7. Now because, not in this place only, but otherwhere often, we hear it repeated, “Fear not," it is by some made a long question, Whether a man may fear destruction or vexation, without sinning? First, the reproof wherewith Christ checketh his Disciples more than once, “O men of little faith, wherefore are ye afraid ?" Secondly, the punishment threat'ned in Rev. xxi. to wit, the lake, and fire, and

v. 6.)

V. 7.

brimstone, not only to murderers, unclean persons, sorcerers, idolaters, liars, but also to the fearful and faint-hearted: this seemeth to argue, that Fearfulness eannot but be sin. On the contrary side we see, that he which never felt motion unto sin, had of this affection more than a slight feeling. How clear is the evidence of the Spirit, that " in the days Heb. of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications, with strong cries and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was also heard in that which he feared ?" Whereupon it followeth, that Fear in itself is a thing not sinful. For, is not Fear a thing natural, and for men's preservation necessary, implanted in us by the provident and most gracious Giver of all good things, to the end that we might not run headlong upon those mischiefs wherewith we are not able to encounter, but use the remedy of shunning those evils which we have not ability to withstand? Let that people therefore which receive a benefit by the length of their Prince's days, that father or mother that rejoiceth to see the offspring of their flesh grow like green and pleasant plants, let those children that would have their parents, those men that would gladly have their friends and brethren's days prolonged on earth (as there is no naturalhearted man but gladly would), let them bless the Father of lights, as in other things, so even in this, that he hath given man a Fearful heart, and settled naturally that affection in him, which is a preservation against so many ways of death. Fear, then, in itself being mere Nature, cannot in itself be sin, which sin is not nature, but thereof an accessary deprivation.

8. But in the Matter of Fear we may sin, and do, two ways. If any man's danger be great, theirs is greatest that have put the Fear of danger farthest from them. Is there any estate more fearful than that Babylonian strumpet's that sitteth upon the tops of the seven hills, glorying and vaunting, “ I Rev. am a Queen,” &c.? How much better and happier they, whose estate hath been always as his, who speaketh after this sort of himself, “ Lord, from my youth have I borne thy (Mark yoke?” They which sit at continual ease, and are settled in the lees of their security, look upon them, view their countenance, their speech, their gesture, their deeds; “ Put (Psal.

ix. 20.] them in Fear, O God, (saith the Prophet), that so they may know themselves to be but men;" worms of earth, dust and

xviii. 7.

x. 20.]

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