« 前へ次へ »
CH A P. XXXIV.
How God ought to be addressed to in Time of
and blessed be the Name of the Lord. Yea,blessed be thy Name for this ve
Job i. 21. ry Calamity,with which thy Fatherly Wisdom and Affection hath now thought fit to chastise and try me. I cannot flee from the Scourge of thy Rod, but I will fly to thee for Succour, and beg that thou would'staffist me with thy Patience, and turn all my Sufferings to my Soul's Advantage. I am indeed in Trouble, and cannot but confess the present Disorder which this Misfortune gives me. But this is my own Infirmity; and I know not what to pray for as I ought. For what shall I say? Lord, save me from Rom.viii
John xii. this Hour. No, dearest Father, thou hadst not brought me to this Hour, had it not been for thy Glory and my own Good. And therefore I will rather beg, that my Afliction may continue till thy gracious Purposes are accomplished in me; and when thou seeft me sufficiently humbled, that then, and not before, thou wouldest refresh, and raise, and deliver me out of it.
For my Deliverance, I am duly sensible, can come from no other Hand ; since I my self am weak, and poor,
and blind, and know not what is best, or what to do. Grant me then, blessed Lord, a Rescue in thy own due time; and in the mean while strengthen me with Patience, that by thy powerful Aid I may bear up against the sharpest Tribulations, without Despondency or Distraction. Not my Will, Lord, but thine be done, shall be the constant Language of
my Heart; My sinful Heart, which acknowledges thy Mercy in the midst of Wrath ; and fadly reflects, that thou hast punished me much lefs than my Offences deserve. O that this humble Senfe of my own Guilt may work in me such quiet and contented Submission to thy Will, that I may neither unduly decline, nor unthankfully murmur at the weight or the length of my Sufferings, till thou see fit to compose this Storm, and restore to me the Comforts of thy Favour and indulgent Providence.
For, if the Tempeft ftill rage, this is not the Effect of want of Power in thee to quiet it; but because a perfect Calm is not yet seasonable
for me. Thy mighty Hand can lay it in a moment, Thou canst ábate its Fury, or thou canst protect and support me under its Violence and Extremity. Iknow thou canst; for thou hast taught me by my own Experience ; and the Remembrance of thy former Mercies will not suffer me to doubt the Efficacy of thy Power. But, in proportion as my Grief and Burthen is greater, fo much the sweeter and more refrefhing let thy healing Virtue, and Spiritual Consolations be; and let me feel thy gran
cious Promise, That thou wilt not juffer thy. 1 Cor. X. 130
Servants to be tempted abovethat they are ables but wilt with the Temptation also make a way to escapeos that they may be able to bear it.
Hom the Divine Asistance frould be fought, and
Cbrift.] Am that Lord, my Son, who is the Strong
hold of AMicted Men in the Time of TrouNahum 1
ble; and in whom thou doft well to take nduary in all thy Distresses. But if thy Comforts
make not halt, chou dost thy self frequently obstruct and disappoint thy own Expectations, by deferring thy Prayers, and by flowness to ask Relief. For Men generally try all other Comforts and Remedies first, and reserve Me for their last Refuge, in Times of such Extremiry, that nothing will do them Service ; and then my Honour is concerned, not only to defeat thofe Human Contrivances, in which they vainly trusted ; but to defer my own Succours; and, by making them smart for their impious Neglect, compel them to acknowledge,that I am the Deliverer of them that trust in Me; and that, without me, no Succours are strong, no Counsels wise, no Remedies successful: And if their Sufferings find some present Abatement, this only skins the Wound, but is no perfect Cure,and
the Pain it afswages will return again with doubled [ Anguish and Rage. For I alone, who gave the Strokes
can heal it ; and as there is no Evil which the Lord hath not done, so neither is there
Deliverance which the Lord hath not wrought.
But now thy Applications are come up into my Ears, and thou hast cast thy self upon my Mercy, I will revive thy Drooping Spirits, and thou shalt, after this dark dismal Storm, rejoice again in the Light of my Countenance. For I am ready not only to restore thy former Happiness, but also to recompence thy paft Pains and Patience, by plentiful Additions of more and greater Blessings. And let not any Adversity, tho' never so grievous, prevail upon thy Frailty to distrust my doing so; For, Can there anything be hard for me? Or am I like deceitful Men, who footh their Dependants up with Promises which they never design to perform? Have I at any time broken my Word? Where then is thy Faith? Where thiy Courage? bear bravely up, and discharge thy Duty ; for if thou fail not to qualifie thy self for receiving them, Grace and Confolation shall certainly approach in due tišie ff 02
the Lord tarry, yet wait for him, for he
will surely come and heal thee. The Load which now oppresses thee, is only laid there, to try thy Strength and Virtue ; nor would it weigh thee down so low, if thy own Folly did not make it heavier, by heaping on Anxious Cares for the future upon thy present Sufferings. But this is to conspire a
gainst thy felf, and turn thy own TorMatt. vi. 34.
mentor. Sufficient toeach day is the Evilthereof; without charging it with additionalTroubles, which no way belong to it. These are indeed impertinent and senseless at all times : For how absurd is it to exalt or deject one's self, by Hopes and Fears, and fond Reprefentations of distant Good and Evil, which have not any Being in Nature, and probably may never be at all ? Dismiss these empty, but painful Follies, the mere Creatures of thy own Sick Fancy; for such Delusions are a great Reproach upon Reason, and a greater yet upon Christianity ; when thy mean timorous Soul is mocked by such Airy Phantoms, and so very easily led captive by the Enemy's Suggestions. And such are these disponding or sanguine Thoughts of what will be hereafter. Whether it be or not, he matters not; for his Business is to deceive and undo Men. And true or false Hopes and Terrors contribute equally to this Design : The Love of present Good, and Dread of approaching Evils, are Inftruments of Ruin employed by him, with wonderful Address; and so Ruin be but the Confequence, the Methods and Management of it are altogether indiffe. rent to him
Do not therefore suffer Fear to deje& thee, but still maintain thy Christian Courage, and repose thy Confidence in my Mercy. I am often ready at hand, when thou suppofest me at a distance; and at those times, when all is given for gone, things are so far from desperate, that profperous Events, and most forprizing +
Comforts are breaking in upon thee, like a glorious Sun from an astonishing Eclipse. 'Tis Rashness therefore to conclude Affairs in a lost Condition, because fome Crosses have baulked your Expectations : Nor can either your own Resentment of Misfortunes within, or the Violence of any Calamity without, give you fufficient Grounds, from the terrible Face your present Circumstances wear, to pronounce, That all Hope of Escape and better Days is paft. Nay, which is the most sensible and most deplorable Case of any, if at the same time that I scourge thee with outward Calamities, thou feel the inward Supports of my Grace withdrawn, which should enable to bear the Rod; Yet even so, think not thy self forsaken, or that I have utterly cast thee from my Presence. The Way to Heaven is set with Briars and Thorns, and they who arrive at that Kingdom, travel over cragged Rocks and comfortless Desarts : And more it is for their advantage to have their Virtue awakened, and brightned, and brought to the Test, by the Smart of Adversity ; than that all things should go smoothly on, without any manner of Let or Molestation.
The Heart of Man is deceitful, who can know it? Thy very self art often under very dangerous Mistakes about thy own Condition. Thou art ignorant what thou art, and much more ignorant what is fit for thee. But I, who have a perfect Understanding of both, see plainly, that it is proper and beneficial sometimes to be left to thy self ; that thus, struggling to so little purpose with the Calamities that bear thee down, thou may'st be brought to a just and humble sense of thy Infirmities, that this Sense may check thy Vanity, and shew that all thy Attempts which prove successful, are owing entirely to another Hand; and thou in truth, nothing less than that mighty Man thou art apt to take thy self for. This makes my depriving thee of thy usual Comforts convenient, but still 'tis in my power