Abrahams decease A meditation on Genesis 25.8. Deliuered at the funerall of that worthy seruant of Christ, Mr. Richard Stock, late pastor of All-Hallowes Bread-street: together with the testimonie then giuen vnto him. By Thomas Gataker B. of D. and pastor of Rotherhith.
Gataker, Thomas, 1574-1654.
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THE TESTIMONIE GIVEN TO THAT worthy Seruant of CHRIST, Master RICHARD STOCK, at his Funerall.

ALL aChristian mens bo∣dies are bMembers of Christs Body,c and Tem∣ples of Gods Spirit; and are therefore in decent and comely manner to be laid vp in their dslee∣ping chambers or their eresting places, as the Prophet Esay termeth them. A decent and comely Sepulture then is due to all Christian corps. But more then so, with some solemnitie may this office well bee performed to those, in whom the Holy Ghost manifested a more speciall residence by f a more plentifull measure of spirituall endowments, and more powerfull opera∣tionsPage  [unnumbered] flowing from the same, while they liued; and whom, hauing obtained g a more eminent place in Christs body, God hath made instruments of more than ordinary good to his portion and people here. hSamuel dyed (saith the Storie) i a Prophet of God,k and Ruler of Gods people, and all Israel assembled to his buriall, and mourned for him.

This being apparant, good ground there is for this solemne Assemblie, which the decease of our right worthy, and deseruedly beloued, and much respected Christian Brother, M. RICHARD STOCK, a graue and reuerend Father in this our Church, a faithfull Minister and seruant of Iesus Christ, and the vigilant Pastor of a neighbouring Congregati∣on, for the performance of this last Christian office to the lremainders of him with vs, hath occasio∣ned at this present.

Concerning whom & his deportments, howsoe∣uer very much might iustly be spoken, and be spo∣ken iustly by my selfe, not frō others reports, but of mine own knowledge, hauing bin m an eye witnesse of them, as hauing beene familiarly and inwardly ac∣quainted with him ever since the fourth yeere of his abode in the Schooles of the Prophets, and shortly af∣ter the time of my first accesse thither; (for there was no more distance betweene our two stand∣ings) yet neither will the streights of time permit it, nor will it be very needfull so to doe; his life, and courses, and constant labour in the worke of the Word, being so well knowne, not in this, or the neighbour places onely, but thorow-out the whole City, wherein he constantly continued the workePage  3 of his Ministery by the space of well neere thirty yeeres. I will endeuour therefore to contract (what I well may) that which I shall speake of him, and hasten to those things that more neerely concerne our selues.

And to beginne with the times of my first notice of him. As in his first beginnings he was of eminent note in the Colledge he liued in, both for his vnwea∣riable industry, and his singular proficiency in those studies of humanitie, that are as nhandmaids to Di∣uinity, and helpe to lay a good ground for any fu∣ture profession; So his care was so o to entertwine pletie and humanitie the one with the other, that p as web and woofe they ranne on euer along toge∣ther through the whole course of his studies. Nor was he carefull onely of this practise himselfe, but (according to that of the Apostle, qObserue one another,rto whe on to godlinesse and well-doing;) hee was no lesse forward to incite others thereunto; and not to incite them onely thereunto, but to as∣sist them therein, and to afford what helps he could (which well also he could doe) unto any that were either desirous, yea, or willing, but to imbrace them. In which kinde I cannot without iust note of in∣gratitude but acknowledge my selfe much indeb∣ted vnto him; and haue cause (with many others, beside my selfe, much my betters) to blesse God that euer we came acquainted there with him. In a word, while he staied in the Colledge (which his desire was to haue done longer then he did, if op∣portunity had serued) s he gaue before hand, ere he came to it, euident signes of one likely to proue Page  [unnumbered]t a skilfull Master-builder in Gods worke, and u a win∣ner of many soules to God.

Nor was he one of those arathe-ripe wits, that promise faire in the blossome, but faile in the fruit; that like Comets, blaze brighter than the fixed starres for a time, but after a while vanish and come to nought, the matter of them being wholly either spent or disperst. But his proceedings in pub∣like were correspondent to his beginnings in priuate. When it pleased Godb to call him out and set him apart to that imploiment that he had ordained him to before, he proued a painfull, a faithfull Minister of Christ, a skilfull, a powerfull dispenser of Gods Word. If any demand proofe hereof: not to insist vpon his constant and incessant imploiments, with generall approbation and applause both of religious and iu∣dicious, continued for so many yeeres (as was be∣fore said) together, not a Sabbath intermitted, wherein (if health serued) he preached not twise, either in his owne charge (where he was frequen∣test) or elsewhere abroad; besides his catechisings of the younger sort at certaine times in the weeke dayes, and other such offices as to the pastor all functi∣on are necessarily annexed, and are priuately to bee performed; wherein also he was no lesse diligent than in the execution of his publike Ministery. Not to insist (I say) upon this; (which yet were suffici∣ent proofe of it:) As the Apostle saith to the Corin∣thians,cYou aredthe seale of my Apostleship, andemyfletters testimoniall. So may I well say of this our reuerend Brother: So many Christian soules pro∣fessing themselues to haue had their first effectuall Page  [unnumbered]calling and conuersion from him, (in which kinde, I suppose, not many in this City may compare with him) besides the multitudes of those that acknow∣ledge themselues to haue been edified, built up, and bettred by him, are the seale of his calling, and of gChrist speaking in him, and not verball or vocall, but reall letters testimoniall of the efficacy of his ministe∣ry, through hGods blessing thereupon.

An i obscure Author saith, that the Apostles were like Fishermen, the succeeding Ministers like Huntsmen:k the Apostles like fishermen that catch many at one draught;l the succeeding. Ministers like Huntsmen, that with much toile and clamour, running up and downe all day, scarce take one Deere or Hare ere night. And such indeed is the hard condition of many of Gods seruants, that not∣withstanding their faithfull and painfull discharge of their duty, they are enforced to complaine with the Prophet, mwho beleeueth our report? and, nI haue laboured in vaine; scarce able to produce or instance in any one, of whom they can with some good ground of assurance presume, that they haue gained him at least to God. But well might this our Brother, through Gods blessing vp∣on his labours, stand out and say, not of one or two, but of troupes, in the words of the same Pro∣phet,oBehold I and the Children, that God hath giuen me; and with the Apostle, pThese haue I begotten to God by the Gospell of Christ Iesus.

Yea more than that; well assured I am, that di∣uers now famous lights in Gods Church, and faith∣full Ministers of his Word, doe professe to haue ligh∣ted Page  [unnumbered] their candles at his lampe, yea some of them to haue receiued their first beginnings not of light on∣ly, but of spirituall life and grace, (without which all light be it neuer so great, is no light, but meere darknes) from his Ministery. It is no small honour for a man to winne, and it were but, any one soule: (qHe hath saued a soule, saith St. Iames; as a matter worthy the glorying in.) For r to win a soule is to win more than the whole world againe is worth. But what an honour is it then to be, not the winner of a soule, but the winner of such as proue winners of soules, and so s by winning of some one immediatly, to be a mediate meanes of winning many others by him? tThey shall shine (saith he) as the Heauens,uthat in∣struct; and theyxthat conuert others, as the stars. And how gloriously then (suppose we) doth this our yblessed Brother zshine now in the Kingdome of God, that was an instructer of those that were in∣structers of others; that was a conuerter of those that were conuerters of others themselues?

Many then (as a the Holy Ghost saith of Iohn the Baptist) did this our Brother winne to the Lord. Many (I say) he wonne; though all he could not: that was more then b the Apostle himselfe was able to doe. But many yet he wonne, and his desire* and endeuour (with c the same Apostle) was to win all; his own especially, of whom he vsed to protest, that it was more comfort to him to winne one of them, than to winne twenty other. But some refractary spi∣rits (as d who almost doth not?) he met withall, that would not be reclaimed; that by their crosse carriage were as ethornes in his eyes, and as goadsPage  7 in his sides, and f a vexation of heart to this faith∣full seruant of Christ: Whom, if any of them bee yet liuing, the Lord vouchsafe mercy, and better mindes to, and glay not this sinne of theirs to their charge. And if there be any of those that liued any long time under so painfull and powerfull a Mini∣stery as his was, that remaine still vnconuerted, vn∣reclaimed, vnreformed, let them feare and beware of that dreadfull censure of the Apostle, hIf our Gospell be yet hid, &c. And let such know, that not i the dust of his feet, but the sweat of his browes, and the teares of his eyes, and his kstrength wasted with them, and his spirits spent vpon them, shall one day rise vp in iudgement against hem to make their doomel the heauier, if by timely repentance it be not preuented.

But because a man may winne others, and yet lose himselfe;m he may saue others, and yet not saue himselfe: (n they may beget life in others, that haue none in themselues.) The Word may worke by a man, and yet not worke on him: He may be o like a treene or a stonegutter (saith Augustine) that con∣ueigheth water into a garden, but receiueth no benefit thereby it selfe; or like p the hand on the high way that pointeth others the way, which yet it neuer wal∣keth it selfe; or like an Harpe (saith the Heathen man) that maketh others melody, or * a Trumpet, that soundeth loud, but heareth nothing it selfe; or like Page  8 to the baptisme water (saith Gregory) that helpes men to Heauen ward, and goeth after downe to the sincke it selfe: He mayq preach to others, and not preach to himselfe; he may conuert others, and yet r prooue ascastaway himselfe. (And yet it is t seldome seene, that much good is done, where a due uconcent is not betweene tongue and hand, betweene lip and life.) This our Brother therefore was none of those x that say and doe not: but y as he taught, he*wrought: His zdoctrine and his practise concurred, and went hand in hand together: His actions were, though asilent, yet reall and effectuall Sermons of that he preached in the Pulpit: The course of his blife was consonant to the tenour of his teaching. And c both ioyning and conspiring in one, were a Page  9 meanes to draw on many, who d by the one alone paraduenture had not easily beene wonne. In a word; for his teaching, I doubt not but that they will giue him the best testimony that heard him oftest; and for his life they that knew him best. For he was not a flash; one of those that shew all in a Ser∣mon, or that spend all vpon some one curious good worke, that they minde to make their Master-piece. But both in his life and teaching he held on such a tenor, that the more men, ewise and iudicious at least, were acquainted with either, f the more they reuerenced and admired him for either.

There are two things (saith one) that make a compleat man.gntegritie and Iudgement: the one whereof 〈◊〉 but hlame and maimed without the 〈◊〉; and in many oft they doe not meet. But an happy coniunction of them both was there in this our Brother. For the proofe whereof I may well referre my selfe to the iudgement, both of those that so frequently desired to make vse of him, for the ouersight of their last wils, and for his assistance by way of direction, in the disposing of their estates: (and we know all, how cautious men are wont to be in that kinde:) As also of those reuerend Bre∣thren, of the Ministerie as well as other, who, ei∣ther Page  10 by letters or otherwise, out of all parts of this *Realme (I speake what I know) did vsually seeke to him, as to one more then ordinarily able to giue them satisfaction, for the resolution of their doubts.

These two then (as he saith) make a compleat man indeed. But there is somewhat more required to make a compleat Minister, to wit, i that he can k speak his mind fitly, (for what vse of la mute Messenger?) and that he mdare doe it freely. (For n of whom is courage and freedome of speech required more then of Gods Messengers?) Nor was this our worthy Brother defect〈…〉e in either.

For, as for the former, how well able he was, not to expresse only, but to v〈…〉sse to, nor to confirme alone, but to commend also, that that he deliuered, with cleere method, sound proopes, 〈…〉je words, fit phrase, pregnant similitudes, plentifull illu∣strations, pithy perswasions, sweet insinuations, power∣full enforcements, allegations of antiquitie, and variety of good literature; that both the learnedst might re∣ceiue satisfaction from him, and the very meanest and dullest also might reape benefit by him: and so as might well o leaue an impression in the hearts and mindes of his hearers; they cannot bee ignorant, Page  11 that for any space of time heard him. In a word, in this kinde he was such an one * as many stroue to imitate, not many of them matched.

Againe, because it is in vaine to be able to speake to good purpose, if a man dare not vse his tongue; if, as he said sometime of the Eretrians, he be p like the Sword-fish, that qhath a sword, but hath no heart; or like some cowardly companion, that carri∣eth a weapon about him for a shew, but dare not draw it, or make vse of it, though iust occasion thereof bee offered: For his freedome of speech therefore in reprouing of sinne, and that euen to the faces of the gr〈…〉est, both in publike and priuate, when occ〈…〉on required it, I doubt not but there are many here that are well able to testifie, and some accidents made it to bee more publikely knowne, then his desire was that it should haue beene.

Much hath beene spoken, and much more then I entended; and more time taken vp then I made account of. And yet much more might be added, then hath beene spoken, if time and strength would permit. Many things I haue touched, and rather pointed at then insisted on. And yet many things (I know) many among you will misse, that might as iustly haue beene spoken of, and that (it may bee) some of you will deeme should not haue beene omitted. One, his Zealous and earnest pursuit of re∣formation of some prophanations of the Sabbath; wherein he preuailed also for alteration of some things in that kinde offensiue, as well r with the maine body of the City, as s with some particular so∣cieties:Page  12 An other his discreet carriage in the catechi∣zing* of the younger sort; the males apart one day, and the females another; the riper and forwarder first in the presence of the ruder and rawer, and the ruder and rawer apart by themselues after the de∣parture of the former, that they might both reape what fruit might bee by hearing them, and yet re∣ceiue no discouragement by being heard of them: A third his pious care and diligence in the religious in∣struction and education of those that were vnder his priuate charge, children and others: Some one thing, some another. And I co〈…〉sse, with Nazi∣anzene in somewhat the like case, 〈…〉at it is herein with me, t as with one in a field or a 〈◊〉, reple∣nisht with faire flowers of all sorts, who w〈…〉 casteth his eye on one, another offereth it selfe to him, and while he is catching at that, another commeth in his way, and while that pleaseth his eye, another withdraweth it to it selfe: And * as the rings or circles that rise on the surface of the water, when a stone is cast into a standing poole, they come so thick one vpon the neck of another, that, as if they stroue for place, they iustle out ei∣ther other: so such variety of passages presenteth it selfe to me, that while I looke after one, I lose and let slip another, and when I would fetch that Page  13 vp againe, another choppeth in, as contending for roome with it: And if I should pursue and insist vpon euery particular, that either others might ex∣pect, or that might iustly challenge a place here time and speech would faile mee before matter to speake of.

To draw toward an end therefore together with his end; the end of his labours, but the begin∣ning of his resi, the end of his worke, but the receipt of his reward: In these and the like imploiments publike and priuate, hee spent his time, he spent his strength,x like a torch or taper, wasting and consu∣ming himself, for the behoofe and benefit of others,y ha〈…〉g his worke with God then, and his reward for it from God now. And for these emploiments principally it was that he desired recouery of health and strength; vnto the performance whereof also (though therein iniurious to himselfe, and con∣trary to his owne desires) he oft strained himselfe, and that in the middest of his infirmitie and weak∣nesse, not to the vncertaine hazard onely, but to the euident impeachment and impairing of either. zWhat is the Signe, said Ezekias, when he was pro∣mised recouery, that I shall goe vp to the house of the Lord? as desiring continuance of life and recouery of health for no one end more then that. And therfore also was this our Brother so desirous of recouery, that he might repaire to Gods house againe, that he might returne to Gods worke againe. To which purpose the very last Lords day before his decease, hauing after many relapses recouered a little strength, he made shift to get out to a neighbour Page  14Congregation, there to ioine with Gods people in pub∣like performance of such solemne seruice of God as that day is vsually spent and emploied in. And ha∣uing held out to the end with them in both parts of the day, he reioiced much therein, that he was able so to doe; the rather because thereby he concei∣ued some good hope, that hee should be strong e∣nough ere long, to returne to his wonted worke and employment againe. But the Lord saw it better (for * his will appeareth by his worke) to put an end to his incessant labours here, and to translate him to the place of his endlesse rest else where. The gaine is his; the losse ours, minwne (among others) not the least. The Lord sanctifie it vnto vs, and to those whom any way it concernet〈…〉; and vouchsafe in mercy to repaire it, by raising vp ma∣ny alike qualified and endowed in his roome. With whom now leaue we him, and returning home to our selues, afford we a reuerent and religi∣ous care to those instructions, that for the fitting and preparing of vs vnto the way that he is gone before vs, shall out of Gods Word be deliuered vn∣to vs.