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grievous ; and we must not only be Stoicks, but even Itocks and stones, if we have not a just sense and resentment of this difference. Our blessed Saviour had so; and as he was afflicted more than any man, and suffered more than any of the fons of men, so was he likewise very sensible of his sufferings, and had a natural dread and horror of them; insomuch that he himself tells us, that his soul was exceeding forrowful, even to death, upon the apprehension of what he was to undergo ; which made him pray so earnestly, and to repeat that petition so often ; Father, if it be posible, let this cup pals from me. Nay, the very anguish of his mind, caused by the dread and horror of his sufferings, was so great as to force his blood through the pores of his body, lo that he sweat as it were thick drops of blood falling upon the ground.
And this is not to be wondered at, because our blesfed Saviour, as he had the greatest endowments of human nature in their greatest perfection, so he had a perfect sense of the evils, and pains and sufferings of it. And all philosophy that will not acknowledge loss, and pain, and suffering, to be evils, and troublesome and terrible, is either obstinate sullenness, or grofs hypocrify.
2. Nor doth this prohibition of our Saviour exclude natural affection. This is a plant which God himself hath planted in human nature, and that for very exccl. lent ends and purposes: and having made us men, and endowed us with such passions, he does not expect that we should put off our nature, and transform ourselves into another sort of creatures than what we were when we came out of his own hands. To be without natural affection, and to have no afflitive sense of the loss of nearest relations, is condemned in scripture, as a mark of the greatest degeneracy and depravation of human nature. And therefore we cannot imagine that our Saviour did intend to forbid such a moderate and well-regulated degree of trouble upon these occasions, as is the proper and genuine issue of those natural afa fections, which God himself hath implanted in us. I
3.When our Saviour forbids us to be troubled, he doth not forbid us to have a just sense of God's judgments, or of his hand, in procuring or permitting the evils N 3
which befal us ; much less of our own sins, which are the meritorious cause of them ; nay, on the contrary, he expects that we should acknowledge his providence, and the justness of it, in his feverest dealings with us; that we should be humbled under his mighty hand, and turn: to him that (mites 16s, and bear the indignation of the Lard patiently, because we have finned against him. Whatever is a sign of God's displeasure against us, is a just and reasonable cause of trouble to us.
But when our Saviour here forbids us to be troubled, he plainly intends to prolribit these three things.
1. Immoderate grief and sorrow for any present affliction or loss, without any restraint upon ourselves, so as to let the grief loose, and to give full scope to it, to let the reins fall out of our hands, so that the considerations of reason and religion have no manner of power and command over us; to forrow, as Rachel did for her children, refusing to be comforted. This is unreasonable, and usually of pernicious consequence : for no man knows, when he once abandons himself to melancholy, and gives way to grief, and lets it pierce his heart, and enter into his soul, how it may over-whelm his fpirit, and sink it past recovery. And to this pitch the trouble of some men for worldly lofles and disappointments, because it was not restrained and governed at first, hath brought them; and it often happens, as St. Paul hath observed, the trouble of the world worketh death.
I think hardly any man did ever die of grief for his fins, and killed himself by laying them to heart. It is well if our forrow for fin proceed to that degree, as to work real repentance and amendment. And the reason wliy our sorrow for fin is commonly moderate and with, in bounds, is because the forrow and trouble of repent. ance is always reasonable, and reason keeps our grief within bounds : but the farrow of the world, that is, of covetous and worldly-minded men, who have unreason, ably fet their affections upon this world, hath nothing to set bounds and give limits to it. And therefore by the juft judgment of God, it sometimes proceeds so far as to work death. Many mens hearts have been brok, en for the loss of an eftate, or some great cross and dil,
ap. appointment in their worldly affairs and designs. Thus Nabal, upon the very apprehension of the danger that he and his estate were in, and had so narrowly escaped, was ftruck with grief to the degree of stupidity, so that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone; and in a few days he died of that grief.
2. We are not to be troubled for present afflictions and sufferings to the degree of impatience and discontent, so as to fret and murmur in our hearts against God, and to charge him foolishly, as if he dealt hardly with us, and had not a due regard for us, and an equal consideration of our case. For we are all finners, and always deserve to suffer : and therefore whatever temporal evils befal the best men in this world, they are always less than their iniquities have deserved : and yet men are very prone to censure and find fault with God, for the evils and calamities which they draw down upon themselves, $o Solomon observes, Prov. xix 3. The foolifioness of man perverteth his way; and his heart fretteth againf the Lord. We suffer for our own fins and follies, and then are angry with God because we suffer. God is an, gry with us for our sins, and when he is angry with us, and lifts up his band against us, it becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand; for who can sand before him when once he is angry? But we have no cause to fret against him, for the evils which we bring upon our. selves : besides that fretting is not the way to relieve and ease us, but to vex and gall us the more.
3. As to the fear and apprehension of future evils, though we ought to have a juít sense of them, yet we ought not to be dejected and troubled for them to the degree of despondency, so as to conclude ourselves miserable and forsaken, utterly fost and undone, and that our case is part all help and remedy: we should not be so dejected, as if we were destitute of all comfort, and utterly without hope. Hope lies at the bottom of the worst condition ; for while we are not without God, we can never be without hape; so long as the government i of the world is in so good hands, our case can never be . desperate; and therefore we ought to rebuke the defpon, dency of our spirits, as David did, Pfal. xliii, 5. Why art thou so cafl down, o iny soul? and why art thou dis,
quieted within me? hope in God. And we should support ourselves in the greatest dangers and fears, as he did, Psal. iii. 1. 2. 3. Lord, how art they increased that trouble me ? how many are they that rise up against me? Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him inGod. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. .
And this cause of trouble, upon the fear and apprehension of future evils, was the case of the disciples, who were mightily dejected and disturbed, upon the apprehension of the destitute condition they should be in upon our Saviour's departure from thein ; that they should be exposed to a malicious world, without all manner of protection from those innumerable evils and dangers which threatened them. And this I shall have most particular respect to in my following discourse, as being more particularly intended by our Saviour, and being one of ihe most common causes of trouble in this world. I proceed thereføre in the
Second place to consider, what force there is in the remedy here prescribed by our Saviour, to mitigate and allay our troubles, both in respect of our present evils and sufferings, and the danger and apprehension of future evils, and to support and comfort our minds under them. Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In which words our Saviour prescribes a double remedy against trouble.
First, Faith in God, the great Creator and wise Governor of the world. Ye believe in God, or, Believe ye in God; to which he adds, in the · Second place, Faith likewife in himself, the Son of . God, and the Saviour of men. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. Not as if faith in God were not a fuffi. cient ground of consolation and support of our minds, but to acquaint us, that a farm faith in him who is the Son of God, and Saviour of the world, would very much tend to confirm and strengthen our trust and confidence · in God; as will clearly appear, when I come to shew what peculiar considerations of comfort and support the Christian religion offers to us, beyond what ihe common light and reason of mankind, from the considerati
on of the divine nature and perfections, does suggest to us. And to explain the full strength and force of these two considerations, I shall do these two things..
First, I shall endeavour to Thew, what conliderations, of comfort and support the belief of a God, and the natural notions and acknowledgments of mankind concerning him, do afford to good men, for the allaying and mitigating of their fears and troubles. And,
Secondly, What farther considerations faith in Christ, and the firm belief of the Christian religion, do afford to this purpose. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Firs,' To few, what considerations of comfort and support the belief of a God, and the natural notions and acknowledgments of mankind concerning him, do afford to good men, for the allaying and mitigating of their fears and troubles; which I shall briefly deduce thus.
The firm belief and persuasion of a God does neces. sarily infer the belief of his infinite power, and wisdom, and holiness, and goodness ; for these are necessary and essential perfe&tions of the divine nature, without which we cannot conceive such a being as God is. Now from these essential perfections of the divine nature, these two principles do naturally result.
1. That bis providence governs the world, and ad. ministers the affairs of it, particularly of mankind, with great goodness and wisdom.
II. That his providence is more peculiarly concerned for good men, and that he hath a very tender and peculiar care of them, and regard to them.
Now these two principles, concerning which I have difcoursed at large upon another occalion *, afford' os this fourfold ground of comfort, under all the evils that' we labour under, and are afraid of.
I. If God govern the world, then we and all our interests and concernments are certainly in the best and safest hands; and where, if we know how to wish well and wisely for ourselves, we should desire to have them ; and therefore why should our heart be troubled at any thing that doth or can befal us? +
II. Another * See Vol. VI. sermon 138. + See this matter also handled at large in the fame fermon,