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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Page  [unnumbered] ABRAHAMS DECEASE. A MEDITATION ON GENESIS 25. 8. DELIVERED AT THE FV∣NERALL OF THAT WORTHY SER∣uant of Christ, Mr. RICHARD STOCK, Late Pastor of All-Hallowes Bread-street: TOGETHER WITH THE TESTIMO∣nie then giuen vnto him.

By THOMAS GATAKER B. of D. and Pastor of Rotherhith.

LONDON, Printed by Iohn Haviland for Fulke Clifton, and are to be sold at his shop on New-fishstreet hill, vnder St. Margarets Church, at the signe of the holy Lambe. 1627.

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TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL SIR HENRY YELVERTON Knight, one of the Iustices of his Maiesties Court of Common Pleas.

RIGHT WORSHIPFVLL;

YOVR speciall interest in that worthy Ser∣uant of Christ, whom this weak work con∣cerneth, by your sin∣gular fauours to him and his deseruedly procured, cānot but giue you interest in the worke it selfe before any. Vnto your Worship therefore I addresse Page  [unnumbered] and direct it, as to one that may iustly lay best claime to it: Not doubting but that, as you did in more than ordinary manner re∣spect his person while he liued, so you do no lesse honour the memory of him now deceased. The worke I wish were worthy either you or him. But, how little time I had for the compo∣sing and peecing vp of these broken Meditati∣ons, cannot be vnknowne to those, & from them may be made knowne to others, that either sent or brought me the first word of his decease, being newly allighted from a wearisome iourney, not aboue two daies before the Funerall was to be performed. Besides that so sudden and vnexpected tidings of the losse of so deare a Friend, causing much griefe and distractiō, could not but produce with∣all as great an indisposition to the minding of that that this office imposed on me did ne∣cessarily require of me; and defeat conse∣quently that secondahelpe of redoubled di∣ligence,

which others are wont to vse (as the sea-man his boares, when the wind slacketh or scanteth) to redeeme the want of time with. That which made me (as conscious of the rawnesse of it) the more backward at Page  [unnumbered] first to yeeld to the importunitie of those, (not a few) who both by letters and by word of mouth were very instant and vr∣gent for the publishing of it. Nor haue I had much loisure since to reuise and digest my confused notes; nor yet desire to adde or alter much, lest (to those that then heard it) it might seeme not the same. One short pas∣sage or two onely I haue inserted, that my memory then failed me in. Else the substance of all here was then deliuered. Which if, espe∣cially in the Testimony then giuē vnto him, whom this office was performed vnto, it seeme slight and slender, to that it ought or might haue beene: Besides the former consi∣derations, which might well sufficiently ex∣cuse, let it be remembred; what a great Ora∣tour sometime said, that cAn exact face is ve∣ry seldome drawn but with much disaduantage: how much more when a bungler but hath it in hand? I may well say of him, as he some∣time of Basile,dThere wanted but his owne tongue to commend him with. A better I wish there had been employed therin than mine owne; or that mine owne (if but for his sake) had (at least then) been better. But the Page  [unnumbered] best is, The Sea needs not the Riuers, that*yet runne into it; nor he either mine, or any other mans praise; that due honour and re∣uerent estimation of him remaining in the mindes of so many, that neither mine, nor a∣ny other mans, commendation of him, either need to adde ought, or can adde much ther∣unto. Howbeit this may bide, when they are gone. Which whatsoeuer it is, presuming that your Worship will accept of, if not for it owne sake, yet for his, who liueth yet with you, and you desire (I know) should doe so also with others, I recommend it to your pa∣tronage, and your selfe with all yours to the protection of him who hath promised to be fSunne and Shield to all those that sincere∣ly rely on him; and rest.

Your Worships to be commanded in the Lord Iesus, THO. GATAKER.

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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.

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ABRAHAMS DECEASE.


GEN. 25. 8.
And Abraham gaue vp the ghost, and died, in good old age, an old man, and full of yeeres; and he was gathered to his people.

BEfore was a long dis∣course* of Abrahams life: here is a report in few words of his death.

Wherein (to come to * them directly without further preface, because much time is already spent) wee may consi∣der these particulars:

1Who died;

2How he died;

3When he died; and

4Whither he went when he died.

Page  [unnumbered]First, who died; Abraham. *

Whence we may obserue, that

No state or condition here freeth men from death.

For who might sooner or better haue expected to haue beene freed from it then Abraham? Abra∣ham (I say) aa Prophet of God;ba Prince of God;ca speciall friend of God;dthe Father of the faith∣full, &c. And yet of this Abraham, a Prince, a Pro∣phet, Gods friend, his fauourite, the father of the faith∣full, is it here said, that he died; and by the Iewes to our Sauiour, eAbraham is dead. So fLazarus Christs friend; and yet, gThis our Friend (saith Christ) slee∣peth; that is (as afterward he there e〈…〉eth himselfe) hhee is dead. The iApostles likew〈…〉Christs friends; and yet they are kall dead: (For it was no true lWord that went among the Disciples concerning Iohn, from the words of our Sauiour either nmistaken or misinterpreted, that that Disci∣ple should not die.) Dauidoa man after Gods ownemheart: and yet phe goeth the way of: all flesh.qYour Fathers (saith the Prophet Zachary) where are they? or doe the Prophets liue for euer? And the Iewes an∣swer him in the negatiue, No;rthe Prophets are dead. In a word; as the Psalmist saith, that swise men die as well as fooles: so tgood men die as well as bad: yea, the good goe oft before the bad.xThe righteous (saith he) are taken away from the euill to come. And of Ieroboams young Sonne it is said; *Page  17yHe shall die, because there is some goodnesse in him.

Now the reason why the godly die as well as the wicked, is,

First, if we regard naturall causes,*

1. Because they are made of the same mould and mettall that others are: aWe haue this treasure (saith the Apostle) inbearthen vessels: they are but cear∣then pts as well as d others.

2. Because they are subiect to the same casualties that others are. For, eAll things come alike to all: The samefchance betideth the good and the bad; the cleane and the vncleane;gthe sacrificer and him that sacrificeth not;hthe swearer, and him thatifeareth to sweare, that maketh conscience of an oath.

Secondly, if we regard spirituall respects.

1. The godly die also that they may rest from their labours: For, kThey rest from their labours that are deceased in Christ.

2. They die that they may receiue their reward; to wit, lthe Crowne of righteousnesse; which they must m not expect, till they haue nfinished their race.

3. They die, that they may be rid of sinne:othey die for sinne, saith the Apostle: yet not to pay for it, as the wicked doe, but to be pfreed from it: For, qHe that is dead, is freed from sinne.

4. They die, that they may be rfreed from death it selfe: sthat mortalitie (saith the same Apostle) may be swallowed vp of life.

Page  [unnumbered] 5. They die, that they may t goe to God: For, uWhile we bide here in the body, wee are absent from*the Lord: and xWe desire therefore to remoue hence, that we may goe home to him.

6. They die, that they may be with Christ:yI desire (saith he) zto loose, or to be loosed, and to bee with Christ.

But against the truth of this point, may some ob∣iection be made.

For first, if no state or condition free men from death, how (may some say) it is said of Enoch, that ahe neuer saw death; and of Elias, that bhe was ta∣ken*vp aliue into heauen?

To this I answer, that csingular and extraordinary priuiledges neither make a rule, nor marre a rule. It followeth not, because some one or two of this or that estate or condition haue by speciall fauour beene some time exempted from this generall sentence, that therefore the estate or condition it selfe exempteth any, or that all of the same estate are exempt and freed therefore therefrom. eEzekias walketh with God as well as fEnoch, and yet g he died, when his lease of hfifteene yeeres expired. Eliseus was ia Pro∣phet of God as well as Elias; and kthe Spirit of E∣lias (it is said) rested vpon Eliseus: and yet l he died, and was buried; as appeareth by the mmiracle, that God wrought by his corps sometime after his de∣cease. These were personall priuiledges: and nper∣sonall prerogatiues passe no further than the persons*Page  19 of those, whom they are conferred on.

But secondly, if euen o the faithfull die also, (for * how should the faithfull looke to escape death, when pthe Father of the faithfull, as wee see here, himselfe dieth?) how (may some say) are the words of our Sauiour made good where he saith; qIf any man keepe my sayings, he shall neuerrsee death; And, sHe that liueth and beleeueth in me, shalltneuer die?

To this I answer, that there is as aa twofold life, so ba twofold death: A twofold life; to wit, ca na∣turall life issuing from the coniunction of the soule to the body; and da spirituall life arising from the con∣iunction of God to the soule. And a twofold death; to wit, ea naturall death arising from the disiuncti∣on of the soule from the body; and fa spirituall death arising from the disiunction of God from the soule. For looke g what the soule is to the body, the same is God to the soule.h As the soule is the life of the body, so is God the life of the soule. And i as the na∣turall death ensueth, when the soule departeth from the body; so the spirituall death followeth, when God with-draweth himselfe from the soule. The faithfull then may dye the naturall death: but they neuer dye the spirituall death.uDeath may seuer their soules from their bodies: but xdeathPage  20 cannot cut off either soule or body with them from Christ. The Faithfull may die; and yet our Saui∣ours words true. For a they die not, euen when they die.bWicked men (saith Chrysostome) are cdead euen while they liue: good and godly men dliue euen when they be dead. The life of the one is nothing but ea passage to death: the death of the other is nothing but fan entrance into life. For it is gno life but death, that seuereth a man from Christ while he liueth: It is hno death but life, that bring∣eth a man home to Christ when he dieth.

And thus much briefly for answer to these two Obiections.

Now for the vse of the Point.

First, it may serue to hearten and encourage vs a∣gainst the feare and dread of death. For doe all, * euen the godly and faithfull die? Why should wee be loath to come to that, that so many Saints of God haue come to before? As Phocion said to one that was to die with him; iArt thou not glad to fare as Phocion doth? So, why should any be loath to doe as Abraham doth? Or why should we be afraid to goe that way, that all the holy men of God haue gone before vs? It is true indeed, there might be some colourable cause of feare, if wee were to goe some kvncouth and vntrod way, such as none euer went before vs; as lAbel did when he died. Or if none but the wicked had gone this way before vs, Page  [unnumbered] we might iustly feare, that it were indeed the high way to hell. But now when the blessed Saints and the best beloued of God haue, either all or the most of them at least, gone this way before vs; yea when he was no wicked but m a iust man, that nwent first of all this way: we may well and boldly follow him and them in it without feare, as being o the high way to Heauen too; nor neede we dread or suspect any pe∣uill in that, that qGod, who loued them so deerely, would neuer haue suffered to befall them, if it should haue beene any way preiudiciall vnto them.

Secondly, doe euen such also die. This should teach vs r not to mourne or bee grieued for the faithfull deceased, as if any euill had befallen them. For if they sdied in the Lord, if they tdeceased in the faith; they are but gone the same way that Gods best*beloued went before them that liued in former times. They are rather udeparted, than deceased;xsent before vs, whither y we must follow, zleaft onely, not lost. Their death is rather a a departing, or b a going out of this world, or ca passage to heauen,Page  22 or da returne to God, then a edeceasing, or fsurcea∣sing, or gintermission, or hintercision, yea, or idi∣minution, either of lfe, or of their good or happy estate. There is no cause therefore to mourne for those that die in Christ; there is cause rather to mourne for those that liue out of Christ. For the one liueth still though he die: the other is dead, though he yet liue, and shall one day die eternally, if he con∣tinue as he now is. k Doest thou mourne (saith Au∣gustine) ouer the body that the soule hath leaft: mourne rather ouer the soule that God hath forsa∣ken; as lSamuel did for Saul; and as m the Apostle saith, he should doe for such as had liued in lewd and loose courses, and not repented yet of them. n Such there is cause therefore indeede to mourne for: But no cause in the world to mourne for those that are in no worse case, than Abraham and Isaak, and all the faithfull are, that liued in former times, * or than others of the same ranke shall be hereafter to the worlds ends.

Thirdly, are oall of all sorts subiect to death, as well good as bad, Prophets as priuate men, &c? This then should admonish vs to make the best vse we can of our religious friends, neighbours, ac∣quaintance, husbands, parents, pastors especially, while they are with vs, (pWalke, yea and qworke too, by the light, while you haue it with you, saith our Page  23 Sauiour) since that r we know not how soone they may be taken away from vs. It is that wherein most men are generally faulty, that as he saith of rarities and strange sights,s when they are neere at hand with vs, we regard not so much to see them, as we would, if they were further off, and wee should come occasionally where they were, or as strangers are wont to be, that come out of other parts, whi∣ther they are after a while to returne againe; be∣cause hauing them at hand, we thinke we may see them when wee will, whereas the strangers, vnlesse hee see them now, while hee is here, thinketh hee shall neuer haue the like opportunity againe: So we t neglect oft to make that good vse that wee might, of the meanes and the ministery that God hath setled among vs, and of our religious friends that he hath setled vs with, in hope that wee may long enioy them, and hauing them at hand with vs, we may make vse of them when wee will. By meanes whereof it commeth many times to passe, that meere strangers, that visit them but by starts, profit more by them, than the most of those doe, that constantly liue and abide with them, and that * when it is too late now, we come to see and consi∣der to our griefe, what opportunitie we haue ouer∣slipped of our owne good. It is with vs in these cses as it is with vs for our bookes. A booke of good vse borrowed, which we know not how soone the owner of it may call for, wee are carefull to make present vse of, whereas it might chance to haue li∣en long by vs, ere we looked on it, if it had beene Page  24our owne. Well it were therefore for vs, if wee could seriously consider, that u our religious friends and Pastors, (as xall other things of this life, yea, and ylife too it selfe) are not so much giuen vs of God, as lent vs to vse, and that z for no longer than he shall see good; and therefore labour to make the best vse we can of them, while we haue them; as we would doe of some toole or vtensile, that be∣ing lent vs, we know not how long wee shall haue the vse of. *

And thus much for the first particular, the Person that died, Abraham.

The second followeth, and that is the manner how he died, noted in that it is said, aHe breathed out, or, He gaue vp the Ghost.

That which some expound of ba willing end, of a willingnesse to depart: as it is said of our Saui∣our, that chee bowed his head downe, when all was finished, and dgaue vp his Spirit. And true it is, that as the Heathen man saith, e it is the part of a wise man, rather willingly to goe out, than to bee thrust out against his will, so it is the f vsuall practise of Gods children willingly to resigne and giue their soules vp to God, when he pleaseth to call for them.

Others vnderstand it g of a quiet end, or an easie end, of dying without difficultie: as it is said of Page  [unnumbered]Iacob, that h when he had done blessing his sonnes, he plucked vp his feet, and so gaue vp the ghost. And it is true also that iold men vsually die with much ease;k like an apple that being come to full maturi∣y, doeth without force or stresse vsed to it, drop downe of it selfe; or like a lampe, that l of it selfe goeth out, when the matter that fed it faileth.

But because I finde the word vsed mgenerally and indefinitely, as well of nyoung as of old, as well of such as die ostrong and violent, as that die vo∣luntary or easie deaths: I take it rather, that there is in this phrase of speech an intimation of mans frail∣tie, and of the frailtie of mans life.pHee puffed out, or, qHee breathed out; that is, rHis breath failed, or, sHis breath went away, and he died.

So that the Point that hence I would obserue then is this, that

The life of Man is but a breath, but a blast:

And so consequently the frailty and the vanitie of mans life. That which may the better appeare vn∣to vs, if we shall consider,

  • 1 What it is compared vnto; and
  • 2 What it may be taken away with.

First (I say) what it is compared vnto. aWhat is man? saith the Heathen man. Why? hee is euen the dreame of a shadow. What hath lesse btruth in it than a dreame? What lesse substance than a sha∣dow?Page  26 What either vanisheth away more sudden∣ly, than the one; or is dispelled sooner than the other? Nor came another of them much short of him, who compared mans state, as the former did his life, not to the dreame of a shadow, but to thecshadow of a smoake. They seemed (it seemeth) to them to haue said little or nothing to speake of, that compared it, either to da dreame, or to ea smoake, or to *a shadow alone, when yet to minish the weight and adde to the vanitie of it, ioyning two of them together, they make it, not a smoake onely, but the shadow of a smoake, that is farre lesse; nor a dreame barely, but the dreame, not of some substance, which yet were a thing of nothing, but of a shadow. And, What is man saith one of the ancient Fathers. Why? he is fSoule and Soile; or Breath and Body:gapuffe of wind the one, and ha pile of dust the other: no soliditie in either, if you consider them apart; and most vnlikely to impart any such thing either to other, if you con∣sider them in themselues. I might adde what they say, that compare men to the ileaues of trees that Page  27 soone shed; to kbubbles on the water, that fall as fast as they rise; to *bladders puffed vp of wind, that may be let out with the pricke of a pinne, and the like.

But because these may peraduenture seeme vn∣to some to haue spoken somewhat lhyperbolically or excessiuely in the point: let vs heare the Spirit of God, that speaketh no otherwise of things than as they are indeede, speake. If we demand then of the mouth of God himselfe, What Man is; he ma∣keth vs answer euen in effect as they did: to wit, that mAdam is as Abel, or Abels Mate: (for to the Names of those two Patriarches there is an allusion in the Originall:) that is, Man (as it is translated) is asnvanitie, or, oa thing of nought: his daies passe away likepa shadow. He is qas a dreame that vani∣sheth when one awaketh: asra wind,sthat goeth away and commeth not againe.tHis breath is in his nostrils; ready euer and anon to puffe out: And uwhen that breath of his is once gone,xhee returneth instantly to his dust; to that dust,y of which he was formed at first. His life isaas a cloud, that is soone disperst with the wind; or bas a vapour, that appea∣reth for a while, and then vanisheth away. In a word: cAll Man is all Abel; and that euen then, when he is at the very best; that is, euery Man,d be he neuer so well vnderlaid, neuer so surely and soundly set∣led, he is nothing but vanitie, that hath no soliditie at Page  28 all in it; or (as he saith elsewhere) but e alye, that hath no truth at all in it; or f as nothing 〈◊〉 yea, gligh∣ter* (if ought may so be) than vanitie it selfe; and (if more than so may be yet) euen hlesse than nothing. Which speeches (I suppose) come not an ace short of those other.

Againe, the frailtie and vanitie of mans life may appeare, if we shall consider what it may be taken away with. And it is strange to think, i how small a matter may put an end to mans life. When a great man sometime threatned a Philosopher with death,kWhat is that more (quoth he) than à Spanish Flie may doe? and he might well haue added, not to me onely, but to thy selfe. Yea, to passe by that of Cleopatra, who when to preuent publike disgrace, she had made her selfe away with the helpe of an Aspe, yet had nothing to be seene on her, saue ltwo small pricks, that could hardly be seene, made with the wormes tooth on the one of her armes; which yet were enough (it seemeth) to make an end of her, and m might as well haue done of any other. To let that passe, I say, not a Spanish, but nan ordi∣nary Flie or a grat, flying casually into his mouth, is said to haue stifled that proud Pope, that made the highest State then in the Christian world stoope euen to the holding of his stirrop. And indeed, o what is there so small, that may not bee a mans bane? The pparing of a toe, the cutting of a corne, the scratch of a naile, the pricke of a pin, haue beene Page  29 sometime, and q may againe be, the meanes of a mans end. A rfish-bone, a sgrape-kernel, some tone haire, a udrop of water,x his owne spittle, let down vnwarily, may choake him. abad or vnwonted aire, an euill smell, a little smoake may soone stifle him. Man is as the grasse, or as a flower (saith the bPro∣phet and the cPsalmist) which if the wind blow but on it, it is by and by gone: and his life is as a candle, or a taper, a weake light, that euery light, not gust, but puffe of winde is ready to blow out. Yea not some malignant blast, or some euill breath onely, but euen the want of breath; nor the aire, if it bee infected, onely, but the very dwant of it to breathe with, will soone make man cease to be, and put a period to his life.eIf thou withdrawest (saith hee) from them their breath, they die, and returne againe to their dust.

And what may this frailtie and vanitie of mans life then teach vs?

Surely; first, not to f make flesh our arme; not to relie vpon so gfeeble, so fraile, so fickle a stay, as the life euen of the greatest, or what euer he be, hCease from man (saith the Prophet) whose breath is in his nostrils: for what excellency is there in him? And, iTrust not in Princes (saith the Psalmist) nor in any Page  30 Sonne of Man: for there iskno certainty of helpe by them. For their life is but lablast, and mwhe their breath goeth they die, and returne to their dust, euen n as others doe; and then all their proiects pe∣rish with them. Men thinke themselues safe com∣monly, if they can get into fauour with some great man, or if they can by any meanes procure but the protection of such an one. But, not to presse that which some yet well obserue, that these proue oft but ovntoward shelters, but vsafe saegards; like the tree to the passenger, that flieth to it for succour in a storme,p that either braineth or aieth him with the fall of a bough, who might haue beene safe enough, had he not shrouded himselfe vnder it: Yea that q many are ruined together with them by their fall, as the vnder-woods by the Oke or the Ce∣dar when it is felled, who neuer got by them while they stood. What surety of helpe or safety canst thou haue from those, who haue no suretie,r no more than thou hast, of themselues? Or what sure∣tie or certainty can they haue of themselues, whose life dependeth vpon so fickle a stay, as is a puffe of wind, or a blast of breath onely? s Make God thy stay, therefore, who is ta rocke of eternitie, or an euerlasting rocke: not man, who is u so fraile,Page  31 so feeble a fabricke, as being supported and held toge∣ther but with x a little breath, may with y as small a matter againe bee throwne downe and dissolued. And z take heed how for the procuring of the fa∣uour of the one, thou either watue the fauour, or in∣curre the dispeasure of the other.

Secondly, the consideration hereof should ad∣monish vs with aIob, to liue in continuall expectati∣on of our end, in continuall preparation for the time of our decease; since that b we know not how soone or how sodainly, we may be smitten; and wee know withall, how small a matter is enough to make an end of vs. It was no euill counsell therefore, that besides cChristian Diuines, euen some dHeathen haue giuen, that a man should doe well to

Make euery day his dying day.

Which yet is not so simply to be vnderstood, that a man should euery day doe the same duties, or be imployed in the same workes, that hee either would or should, if he knew it to be the last day of his life: But that in some other speciall respects he should make each day to be so (to wit, as his dying day) to him.

1. In the dispeeding of his repentance and enot de∣laying it a day longer. Be as carefull to fbreake off thy sins this day and euery day, as if it were to be thy dying day. Make euery day thy dying day, by gdying vnto sinne euery day. It is an Heathen mans counsell; and it is good and wholsome counsell;hLet thy Page  32 sinnes die in thee before thou diest. Let them dye be∣fore thee; for i if they stay till death with thee, if kthou diest before they die, thou art sure to die eter∣nally. And how knowest thou but that thou maist die before they die, if they die not in thee this day; when l thou hast no certainty of thy liues continuance till the next day? And it is the aduice of a Iewish Rabbine, and might well haue come from any Chri∣stian;mRepent thee a day before thou diest. Not meaning thereby, that a man should deferre and put off his repentance, till he lay, as hee thought, now a dying, or not like to liue aboue a day longer: But that n he should this present day repent, and o not put it off till the next day; because before the next day, for ought he knoweth, he may die;p hee knoweth not what or where he shall be to morrow. As Solomon therefore aduiseth him, that hath in∣tangled himselfe by suretiship, so doe thou much more; (for the matter more concerneth thee) qGiue no sleepe to thine eyes, nor flumber to thine eye∣lids, before thou hast r by sincere and serious repen∣tance wound thy selfe and thy soule againe out of those snares of Satan,s which by the practise of sinne thou hast entangled thy selfe in.

2 In the shunning and auoiding of all euill. Be as carefull to shunne sinne eery day, as thou wouldest Page  33 be, if it were to be thy dying day,tDoe not that (saith he) to day, that thou maist repent thee of to morrow. Yea, doe not that, (say I) to day, that it may be too late to repent of tomorrow. There is hardly any man to be found so desperate, if he beleeue at least that he hath a soule to saue, that u would wilfully abandon himselfe to any euill act, if he thought but that he should or might die instantly vpon the deed done. When thou shalt therefore be incited to the doing of ought, that thy conscience enformeth thee to bee euill, doe but thinke thus seriously with thy selfe; Would I doe this, if I were to die to day, or if I were to die as soone as it is done? And yet how knowest thou, but that thou maist die in the doing of it, but that this puffe of thy life may puffe out, ere it be done? Thou maist be taken with aBala∣sar,bAmmo, and cEla, besides d others, amids thy cups, or vpon thine ale-bench: Thou maist with eZimri and Cozbi (and the like hath befallen o∣thers too) be smitten f in thine vncleane bed, yea in the gact of thine vncleannesse: Thou maist with *Core and his complices, be swept away, in thy re∣bellious courses against Minister or Magistrate; or amids thy friuolous suites, and malicious pursuits of Page  34 thy brethren. Thy lie, or thy vaine oath may bee thy hlast word; thy drunken health thy ilast draught; thy fraud, or thine oppression thy last deed. In k the twinckling of an eye, in the turning of an hand, while thou art but llooking after some sinne, as mLots wife looking to Sodome ward, (nShe turned her but, and she was turned) maist thou sodainly be snatched away, with thy pminde defiled, though thy hand yet vnsoiled. And certainly q no meanes would be more effectuall to keepe vs continually within compasse, than the serious consideration of the frailtie and the vncertaintie of our life, how soone and how sodainly it may rflit away from vs.

3. In embracing of all good occasions. Be s as carefull euery day to entertaine any occasion of wel-doing, as thou wouldest be, if it were to bee thy dying day.tLet vs doe good (saith the Apostle) while wee haueutime, and opportunitie so to doe: considering that if we neglect it now, when it is offered, wee know not whether it will euer be offered vs againe. xSay not (saith Solomon) to thy neighbour, Goe and come againe to morrow, if thou hast that by thee wherewith*thou maist helpe him. And, awhatsoeuer thou doest (saith he) doe it, as with all diligence; for there is no Page  35 worke, nor wisdome in the graue that thou goest to: so without delay; because bthou knowest not what euill may come, that may cut off all future opportunitie of wel-doing, either by taking thee from the meanes, or the meanes from thee. And asche that obserueth the wind shall neuer sow; so hee that regardeth the clouds shall neuer reape. But especially d neglect not the meanes of that maine worke, (fTo day, saith he, if you heare his voice, harden not your hearts, but ghearken: And, hNow while the acceptable time is, while it is the day of saluation, we beseech you, receiue not the grace of God offered you in vaine.) of ilaying a good foundation for the obtaining of life eternall; and the klaying hold of all opportunities that may tend thereunto. For this, if it bee not first done, dismall and desperate will thine estate be, if death so∣dainly surprise thee. Whereas if it be once well and substantially done,ldeath shall neuer be able to raze or to rip vp thy worke, come it neuer so soone after, or so suddenly vpon thee. It is with vs in this case, as it is for our wills. A man that hath not his Will made before hand, if hee bee sodainly taken with dead Palsie or lethargie, is m thereby vtterly disabled to doe ought therein, or to settle his estate. Whereas if a man haue before time made and fini∣shed his will, though he haue no time or abilitie, being so taken, now to recognize it, yet n his will standeth firme and good still for all that, and shall as well take effect as if he had seriously now againe considered of it, and signed and sealed it the second Page  36 time. In like manner, those that neglect now the meanes of their saluation, in hope of hauing them, and making vse of them time enough hereafter, if either death, or some o such disease, soduinly smite them, as is wont to depriue of, or disturbe the vse of vnderstanding and reason, they are thereby vt∣terly disabled to do ought therein. Whereas those that are now carefull to make a good vse of them, and neglect not the grace and mercy of God therein now vouchsafed them, hauing preconciled them∣selues to God once, and made their peace with him; though death should take them so suddenly, that they haue not time so much as to thinke on it, yet their qpeace with God shall stand firme and sure; nor shall the want of opportunitie or abilitie to doe ought then, any whit impeach or impaire their euer∣lasting wel-doing.

4. In the manner of doing all that we doe. Bee carefull to doe, whatsoeuer it is that thou doest, r as sincerely, as vprightly, as thou wouldest doe it, if thou wert to doe it, when thou art a dying; or as thou wouldest doe it, if thou thoughtest thou shouldest die as soone as it were done, that present∣ly after the doing of it, thou shouldest depart this world, and goe to giue an account of the doing of it to God. So doe, I say: for s so (for ought thou knowest) thou maist doe. And therefore, not on∣ly, when thou hearest now, so heare, as if this were the last Sermon thou should heare, as with tEutychus it had like to haue beene; so pray, when thou prai∣est, as if that might proue the last prayer thou shouldest make; (for the manner of preferring and Page  37commencing of it, I meane, though not for the matter of the suit commenced) but so ueat and drinke too, as if that might bee thy * last meale; so buy and sell too, as if euery bargaine thou makest, might be the last that euer thou shouldest make: yea, so follow not thy serious affaires onely, but thy lawfull disports and delights too, as one that maist xin an instant as well be taken away, (thy life lying in thy breath, and thy breath being but a blast) as others not a few before thee haue beene, either y in the one, or z in the other.

And thus much also for the second Particular here considerable, the manner how hee died, and the frailtie of mans life in the phrase here im∣plyed.

The third Particular followeth; and that is the time when he dyed.

He dyed, (saith my Text).

1. ain a good old age, or with a good hoary head; for that the bWord properly and primarily sound∣eth; and it is accounted c a further degree than the former.

Good (I say) not (as some) morally; as dwell spent, well employed, replenisht with deeds and em∣ploiments Page  38 spiritually good: (albeit, no doubt, Abra∣hams old age also, as well as his younger time so was:)

But good rather naturally; that is,

Either egreat: for in length and greatnesse in part consisteth the goodnesse of age; and fgoodnesse in that sense goeth sometime for greatnesse:

Or gquiet, happy, and prosperous; as it is said elsewhere, h in peace and prosperitie:

Or ihaile and healthy, as wee say; kfree for the most part from such lannoiances and troublesome infirmities, as that age is wont to be infested with∣all: though not, it may be, so fresh and vigorous as mMoses, or so able and actiue as nCaleb, are neere their ends said to haue beene:

Or o all these; for the word may well include them all.

2. pOld and full; not q of grace and goodnesse, as some: (that is most true indeed also of Abra∣ham, but seemeth not here intended:)

But of daies, or of yeeres; as it is expressed r else∣where: hauing liued euen as long as s himselfe desired, or so long (as we say) as heart could wish.

Whence the Point, that in the Generall wee may obserue, is this, that euen

The longest liuers die at last.aThe daies of mans life are seuenty yeeres; saith the Psalmist. But A∣braham had liued a whole bhundred to that, and yet at length, you see, he dieth. Yea that is the con∣clusionPage  39 still (cone onely excepted) with all those Ancients that liued so long before the floud, (not three or foure times, as they say of dNestor and some e other, but nine or ten times as long as the longest ordinary liuers liue now adaies) fAnd hee died.

Nor is it any maruell, that they so doe.

For first, we are of g a glassie matter, of a very brittle mettall:h ready with euery light dash to cracke asunder, to fle in pieces. And * wee walke a∣mids many casualties; ready euer anon to seize on vs; and any one alone enough to make an end of vs. And ithe pot (as the Prouerbe is) goeth so of to the well, that at length it commeth home broken; or rather, that it neuer commeth home againe. kDeath lieth euery where, in euery corner, in waite for vs; euen l in those things themselues that are h the meanes to maintaine life. Not m a crum of that bread we eat, nor n a drop of that we drinke, but, if it goe but an haires bredth awry, it may be our bane. There is not o a bare step, or a pace only betweene death and vs, as David speaketh; or an phand∣bredth, some few inches, as it is said of those that be Page  40 at sea: but euen scarce a nailes bredth, yea or an haires bredth betweene vs and it, if not qat all times, yet at many times more at least, than wee are vsually aware of. And it is no maruell there∣fore if rdeath meet with vs, or light vpon vs at length: it is maruell rather that it misseth of vs so long.

Besides that, s wee our selues also helpe oft to hasten our owne end, while wee betray our selues to him, who lieth thus in wait for vs, by wilfull distemper, by disorder, by misdiet. As not one apple therefore of an hundred hangeth on the tree to full maturitie, or so long, till it drop downe with ripenesse alone and its owne weight, but either it is pluckt off with the hand, or blowne downe with the wind, or preuented of its maturitie by some one meanes or other: not one glasse, or earthen pot of an hundred, that lasteth so long as it might, but by some mischance or other it commeth to its bane: So t not one man among an hundred (what and I should say a thousand?) that ufulfilleth his naturall course, that liueth so long as in course of na∣ture he well might, but hath his life shortned, and his end bastnedx by sword, by stresse, by sorrow, by sadnesse, by surfet, by sicknesse, by some one such casualty or other.

Page  41 2. a We carry euery one of vs our owne bane* about vs. Euery one (say some Chymicks) hath his owne balsome within him: but b euery one of vs (sure I am) hath within him his own bane; and that that will be sure at length to make an end of him, though no such casualtie, as before wee spake of, should befall him. cWe are of a glassie matter; (saith he) nay, d were it so onely, we were better and safer thn now we are. For e a Venice glasse, as brit∣tle as it is, yet if it be charily kept, if it be carefully set vp, if it stand shut vp vnder locke and key, out of vse, out of harmes way, it may hold out many ages, it might last peraduenture euen as long as the world it selfe is like to last. But fshut you vp man neuer so charily, keepe him neuer so carefully, hee may, nay he will drop away for all that, he hath poi∣son within him, that will at length make an end of him. He was bred and borne with a dangerous, with a desperate disease on him, and such as by no care or art of man he can be cured of or recouered.gOld age (said he sometime) is it selfe a disease; and ha disease that cannot he cured. But ithis life it selfe (saith an ancient Father) is a disease; and such a disease as we must all of vs needes one day dye of.lThou art sure to die (saith he) not because thou art sicke, but because thou liuest. For msicke a man may *Page  40〈1 page duplicate〉Page  41〈1 page duplicate〉Page  42 be, and yet not die of it: (not to adde, that na dis∣ease hath sometime delaid death.) But owhat man liueth, and shallpnot see death? that is, who liueth, and shall not die?q The whole course of our life is nothing else but a passage to death: the seuerall rages of our life so many seuerall degrees of death:s we are dying dailytby degrees. No sooner are we (I say not, uborne, but euen) *bred, but wee are dying and decaying. Euery xminute and moment that seemeth added to our life,ytaketh from it. For our life it is as a taper, that being once lighted, neuer linneth spending, till it be wasted all at last: as the houre-glasse, that being once turned and set a running, neuer staieth, till the sand be all out.

So that considering as well the varietie of casu∣alties, that we are all subiect vnto, as our owne frailty and mortalitie, that we are brod and borezPage  43 with, it is no maruell if the longest liuers of vs die at last, it is maruell rather that any of vs liue so long.

Now this may first teach vs, not to please our * selues with a conceit of long life, Why may not wee liue as long as such and such? To omit, that it is a thing altogether avncertaine. For bwho can tell a man what shall be? Certaine it is, that cfirst or last,ddie we must, liue wee neuer so long. As no∣thing more vncertaine than how long we shall liue: so e nothing more certaine than that oncef wee shall die.gAs sure as death: we say. And hit ne∣uer stayeth long, that commeth at last. Stay death ne∣uer so long, before it come, it will seeme to come ouer-soone when it commeth, to those that desire it not, and at last come it will. And ilast life neuer s〈…〉ng, it will seeme but short, when it is once ouer. kWhen it is gone, (saith the Psalmist) it is but asla watch in the night.

Secondly, it should admonish vs to take heed how we grow too farre in loue, either with this life it selfe, or with the things of this life. Since that, though we enioy them neuer so long, yet wee must leaue them at last. For mwe brought them not withPage  42〈1 page duplicate〉Page  43〈1 page duplicate〉Page  44vs into this world; and it is certaine thatnwe cannot carry them out of the world with vs. If they leaue not vs while we liue here,o which oft also they doe; yet pwe cannot but leaue them when we goe hence. For all the things of this life must needs leaue vs, when our life it selfe leaueth vs, whereupon they depend. Let vs so hold, and vse these things there∣fore, that we qset not our hearts on them; that we suffer not our raffections to be glewed to them. Let them shang loose about vs, that when wee shall come to be stript of them, they may, as our gar∣ments, goe off with ease. Otherwise if they tcleaue and sticke fast to our soules, as cloathes are wont to doe to an vlcerous body, the parting one day, with them, which we can by no meanes auoid, will be u as painfull vnto vs, as if our skin were pulled from our flesh, or x our flesh orne from our bones, or ra∣ther y as if some peece of our soule were reaft a∣way together with them.

Yea for life it selfe, if we loue it, (as awho loueth not life?) let vs loue that life, that is blife indeed, and deserueth well that name. For this life that we Page  45 liue here, is in a manner cno life; it is dlife in name, but in deed and truth edeath. It is no true life that cannot ouercome death; that yeeldeth to, that endeth to, that endeth in death.

Thirdly, the consideration hereof should cause vs to fsurcease and cast off this our immoderate care for the things of this life. As it hath beene said by way of reproofe of some people, that they vsed to gbuild as if they looked to liue for euer: so it may well be said of many among vs, that they hpur∣chase, and ibuild, and kgather goods together, as if they made full account to lliue euer to enioy them. Whereas neither are these things able to lengthen their liues: for mhaue a man neuer so much of them, his life dependeth not thereupon: nor to keepe them from death: for nno price can procure any im∣munitie from it: nor to saue them in death; for ori∣ches auaile not in the day of wrath: nor to auaile them after death; for there will then be no vse of them. And for men therefore p to beat their braines so much with thought and care for these things, and q to take such paines, as so many doe, for the com∣passing of them, is but r to tile and moile about that, that they must leaue to others at length, and to inherites nothing but tfolly and uvanitie themselues, when others, x they know not who, yinherit the fruit of their labours.

Page  46 Lastly, this might teach vs not to feare death.aIt is a fond thing (saith he) to feare that, that cannot be*auoided. A folly it is to trouble & turmoile our selues with feare and care about that, that by no thought or forecast wee can shunne or shift off. But such is death.bDelayed it may be, but auoided it cannot be. And c be it nouer so long put off, yet d it will come at last. As an ancient Father therefore well and wisely aduiseth; eFeare not that, which whether thou wilt or no, will be; feare that rather, which if thou thy selfe wilt not, shall neuer be. That is, feare not this temporall death, the death of thy body, which of it selfe cannot hurt thee, and by no meanes or care of thine can be preuented: but feare that eternall death, the death of thy soule,fthe greatest of all euils that can possibly befall thee, which by mature care and diligence now vsed, may be preuented. But we are (as another well obserueth) herein, the most of vs, g like children, that are hafraid of a visour, but feare not the fire; shreeke and start at the one, but thrust their fingers into the other. * Wee feare the bodily death, but not the spirituall death, the death of the soule, the death in sinne, and dying in sinne, with∣out which the other cānot hurt. The feare of death troubleth and distracteth much our minds: but the feare of future matters, that are truly fearfull indeed, and but for wch death needednot at al to be feared, doth no more trouble or affect the most, than as if Page  47 no such thing were at all, or they were ibabes on∣ly that beleeued them.

And thus much for the Generall, that from this third Branch we obserue:

Some Particulars follow; which I will point at rather than insist on.

More specially therefore we may hence further obserue;

First, that in some cases *

To liue long is a blessing.

It was foretold Abraham, as a fauour, that hee should kdie an old man: and it is here recorded that so he did. And it was foretold Eli, as an hea∣uie iudgement that should betide his posterity, that there should lneuer be any old man in his house. Long life, as in the mLaw it is promised oft as a bles∣sing: and God where he describeth by the Prophet the flourishing estate of his people, saith, nThere shall no more be,ofrom them, or goe thence, an infant of daies; that is, none of them shall die young or in infants estate; nor any old man that hath not fulfilled his daies; that is, p liued so long as in course of nature he well might: but the childe shall die an hun∣dred yeares old; that is, he that is now a childe shall liue till he be so many yeares old: (which place the rather I recite & open at large, in regard of some friuolous qcrotchets that not a few haue fisht out of it, cleane beside as well the meaning as the drift of Gods Spirit:) So the shortning of mans life is Page  48threatned oft as a curse.rHee shall diesbefore his time, as the greene grape is nipt off the Vine, and the O∣liue blossome shake off the tree; saith Eliphaz of the wicked. And, tHee shall not liue out halfe his daies; that is, u halfe the time that he might in the course of nature haue attained to; saith the Psalmist of deceitfull and bloudie men.

And well may it be so deemed.

For first, aOld age is honourable. Yea, as the A∣postle saith of bMariage, It is honourablecamong all men. It is d a resemblance of Gods antiquitie, who is called ethe Ancient of daies.fThe glory of young men is their strength: (saith Solomon) and the beauty of old men is the gray-head. And, gOld age, or the gray-head, is a crowne of glory, that is, ha glorious crowne, where it is found in the way of righteous∣nesse.

Secondly, It is a blessing to liue to see posteritie, especially to liue to see withall Gods blessing vpon it. iBlessed is the man that feareth God (saith the Psalmist) kFor (among other things, though it Page  49 come last, yet not the least) he shall liue to see his childrens children, (that which is recorded also, as a part of lIobs happinesse) and peace upon Israel.

Thirdly, it is a matter of griefe to men * more than ordinary, when friends are taken away from them by mimmature death: when the ordina∣ry course of nature is inuerted, and they nburie, those by whom they ought rather to haue beene buried.

Fourthly, it is a great grace to a godly man, that he may doe God any good seruice. Such account it their greatest honour, as oto suffer in Gods cause, so to be employed in Gods worke. But the longer a man liueth, the more glory may he bring to God, the more seruice may hee doe to the Church and Children of God, be he a publike person, or a priuate; not in re∣gard of occasions and opportunities onely, but in re∣gard also of aptnesse and abilitie thereunto: Since that continuace of yeeres bringth pwisdome and experience; and antiquitie carrying a kinde of Page  50qauthority with it, procureth reuerence and respect: The former whereof fitteth men for the doing of the more good to others, the latter others for the receiuing of the more good from them.

Long life in these respects therefore may well be deemed a blessing.

Secondly, we may hence obserue, that it is

A great mercy of God to haue a good old age.

It is a mercy more than ordinary for men at those yeeres to be kept free in some good measure, though not from such weaknesse as the decay of na∣ture necessarily importeth, yet from such aches, and paines, and grieuances, and diseases, and annoi∣ances, as that age is wont commonly to be annoied and pestered with.

For first, rHealth and the enioyment of it, is at all times a great mercy; (s no outward thing being comfortable or delightfull without it) that which nothing sheweth so well as t the want of it at some times, and the inconueniences that ensue thereupon. And if to enioy it at any time then be no small bene∣fit, euen at such times wherein others are wont vsu∣ally to enioy it: how much more is it a great mer∣ciePage  [unnumbered] to haue it at that age, wherein most men are wont to finde a much more than vsuall want of it? The more infectious the times and places are that we liue and abide in, the greater goodnesse of God it is to vs, if we keepe free from infection: So theore uold age is subiect to diseases and disasters, the grea∣ter mercy it is for old men to be kept free then from either.

Againe, it is not so much the bare decay of na∣ture or abtement of bodily strength, as either ma∣keth old age so xcumbersome & burdensome to men, and depriueth them of all alacrity and cheereful∣nesse of spirit; (you shall see old men, though so weake and feeble, that they can scarce stir from the place where they are set, yet as ycheerefull and fro∣licke, as we say, and as heartie, yea much more light∣some many times, than many farre younger than themselues) or that disableth them to doing good, and to the performance of good offices for the be∣hoofe and benefit of others: (For such albeit their bodily strength be most past, yet their zwits may Page  [unnumbered] be still fresh: and though they cannot afford much helpe of the hand, yet a by sage counsell and graue aduice, they may further affaires more either publike or priuate,b than many younger and stronger are a∣ble••doe with their hands:*a few gray haires, saith on; may be more worth, than many young lockes; and a few gray beards doe more than many greene heads. It is not that decay of nature or bodily strength so much, I say, as such cpaines and diseases as vsu∣ally accompany old age, that are wont to make it to be either so tedious to them themselues, that they grow dweary oft euen of their liues, or that ma∣eth them so unprofitable to others, yea and oft so fburdensome too, that they grow as weary of them, as they are themselues of their liues. Which to be freed therefore from, either for the most part, or in some good measure, in that age, must needs bee counted no small merey.

Thirdly, obserue wee hence, that there is a kinde of

Satietie and fulnesse of life:

not so much, I say, an girkesomnesse, and tedious∣nesse,ePage  [unnumbered] as h a satietie and fulnesse; when a man, though not weary of a thing, yet he hath his ifill, so much as he desireth, of it; to the godly especially; for I finde not the phrase vsed in the word but of them onely; as of Abraham here, of kIsaak, of lIob, of mIehoiada, of nDauid, of whom it is said also, that he died owith a good gray head, full of daies and riches, and honour.

Now this satietie and fulnesse of life commonly befalleth such;

First, when some speciall promises of God haue beene made good to them, or some speciall pbles∣sings of God enioyed by them, correspondent to their owne desires. So Simeon, when he had liued so long (q which it was foretold him he should doe) as to see our Sauiour in the flesh, he hath euen enough of this life, he desireth not now to liue an houre longer. rLord (saith he) now lettest thou thy ser∣uant depart in peace; since that mine eyes haue once seene thy saluation, my Sauiour, and the Sauiour of all mankind. So Iacob, when he saw his sonne Io∣seph againe, whom he had s giuen vp for dead and gone long agoe, not aliue only, but in honour, and not him alone, but his issue too; tLet me now die; (saith he) I haue liued long enough; I desire life now no longer; since I haue seene thy face, and that thou art yet aliue. ForuI made full account neuer to haue seene thy face; and behold God hath made me see thy seed.

Secondly, where their aemployments here are at a full point, at a period; when they haue done their taske that God had assigned them, and there Page  [unnumbered]b seemeth to be now here no further work for them. cDauid (saith he) when he had serued his set time by God assigned him, slept. And the Apostle Paul, as d he was content to stay longer in the flesh for the good of the Philippians, and the furtherance of their faith, then he desired otherwise to doe: so hee saith on the other side, that ehis life was not deare to him, he cared not how soone he laid it downe, if so be that he had fulfilled but the course of his ministery, and that his worke it were once at an end.

The Vse of which seuerall Points in a word, may be,

First of the two former, to admonish old men, and such more specially as through the goodnesse of *God enioy a commodious and comfortable time of it, free from many such griefes as they heare others of their yeares oft complaine of, to acknowledge Gods great mercy and goodnesse to them therein; as f in lengthening out their life, and satisfying them with a greater number of daies then others ordina∣rily attaine vnto, by means whereof they may liue to see those brought vp vnder them, and bestowed by them, that are of their charge, and whom God hath here blessed them with: so g in freeing of them from such annoiances, as are vsually attendants of that age, and which might make their continuance here the more tedious and vncomfortable to them: And h to apply themselues therefore to such holy and religious Employments, so farre forth as their present estate and condition shall permit, whereby they may bring glory to God, and doe some seruice to him, who is so good and gratious to them aboue Page  [unnumbered] many others in that kinde: Remembring withall, that howsoeuer iold age of it selfe be an honour; yet it is nothing lesse, if it be not kfound in the way of righteousnesse, as the wise man speaketh, if it be not religiously imployed: And that, how∣soeuer to the godly long life may be a blessing, yet lthe wicked man, (saith the Prophet) though he liue an hundred yeeres, shall be but an accursed wretch.

Secondly, the vse of the last of these points may be to shew a difference betweene godly and worldly men. The godly haue oft euen a satietie of life:m As willing they are to leaue the world, as men are wont to be to rise from the bord, when they haue eaten their fill, or so much as they desire. But with worldly men for the most part it is farre otherwise: they haue neuer enough, as of n the wealth of this world, so of o this present life: by their good will they would neuer die. It is true indeed, that some∣time, either crosses and calamities, extraordina∣rie disasters, or sore torturing paines and long lin∣gring diseases, out of a kinde of impatiencie, may make them pweary of their liues and qdesirous of Page  [unnumbered]death, which but for those grieuaces and a••oiaces they would else be farre from: Whereas the god∣ly, with Abraham & Dauid, euen then also, r when they haue a good and a comfortable continuance of life, accompanied and attended as well with health of body, as with shonour and wealth, yet haue their fill of it, and are as well willing to leaue it, as the other are some dish of meat that they haue eaten their fill of. Yea t so fondly are worldly men here∣in oft affected, and their hearts so possessed with the loue of this life, that though they know not how to liue, yet they are not willing to die; though their life be so irkesome and painfull unto them, that they seeme to be ulong a dying rather than to liue long, and x the delay of death farre worse with them, than death it selfe could be to them, yet they desire y to endure rather any extremitie of griefe and torture with life, than to haue an end put to their paines and torments by death.

But let vs rather herein striue to be affected as Gods Saints are, especially when it hathpleased GodPage  57 to blesse vs with long life, with many yeeres more, than the greater number of folke are wont to at∣taine to; * labour to finde and feele in our selues this satiety and fulnesse of life; and be willing and content to leaue it, when God shall please to call for it, though no speciall affliction or paine enforce thereunto, not z as a meat loathed, (which the na∣turall man oft doth) but as 〈◊〉 dish, though well li∣ked, that we haue fed our fill of.

And hitherto also of the third Particular, to wit, time when he died.

The fourth and last followeth, and that is whither hee went when hee died; whereof the Text saith here, that

He was gathered to his people; and in another place of him, that

aHe went to his Fathers.

And there is nothing more frequent and com∣mon in Scripture than these and the like phrases v∣sed of persons deceassing, that bthey sleepe with,cthey goe to,dthey are gathered vnto, either their people, that is, their countrimen, or their ancestors, for that is, etheir Fathers. So that,

Men, when they die, they goe to their people, to their 〈◊〉 Fathers.

That which may well be vnderstood two waies; and the Holy Ghost might well therin aime at both, because both goe vnder one generall, and the phrase as it may fit either, so f it may well include both.

Page  [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉Page  [unnumbered]〈1 page duplicate〉

Page  58 First in regard of the body: because git retur∣neth to the earth, the commonhreceptacle of all. As * it is said of Dauid, that ihe was laid vnto, or laid vp, with his Fathers. For howsoeuer of Abraham it k seeme to some, that it cannot be so meant, be∣cause l his corpes was enterred in the Land of Ca∣naan, (m so generally termed) in a strange coun∣trey, where his countrey-men in likelihood none of them lay: yet it followeth not thence, that it may not euen in that sense also be said of him too: since that the graue in generall, n not the artificiall one, but the onaturall, (which p the Hebrewes al∣so well distinguish) is (as Iob fitly termeth it) qthe Congregation house of all liuing, that is, the place wherein they all meet together after decease, be the places of their sepulture neuer so farre asunder; yea whether they haue any sepulture or no, as Iacob sup∣posed that Ioseph had not, whom hee yet saith, hee would die, andrgoe downe to, to the graue. And Page  59 as well might Abraham, for his body also, be said, to be gathered to his people, though hee were buried in some other place then the most of them were, as Jacob might be said to goe to Ioseph, because s he was to be laid in the ground when he died, Ioseph being, as he supposed, tburied in the bowels of some beast: since that, as Solomon saith, uall goe to one common place; all returne againe to their dust.

Secondly, in regard of the Soule.

First a in Generall: because it departeth hence indefinitely into another world, not proper and pecu∣liar, as he said b each one did when hee slept, but ccommon and generall: it goeth hence to the dvn∣seene world, as the Heathens termed it, or to the eworld of Soules, as the Hebrew Doctors call it; to that other world, (including both Heauen and Hell) in generall, that is the Congregation House of Soules, as the Graue is of Corpses: As f the supposed Sa∣muel told Saul, (though he meant not, nor inten∣ded it so to be taken, that Saul should be in the same speciall state or place that Samuel was then in, when he died) gTo morrow shalt thou be with me; that is, in the other world, wherein both thou and I, and all other good and bad are after decease.

Secondly, more specially; the Soules of Gods Saints and seruants may well be said to go to their peo∣ple*Page  60and their Fathers, when they die; h because they goe to that peculiar place, where all their godly Coun∣try-men and Ancestors are; to the iCongregation house (as the Apostle termes it) of the First-borne, and of the Spirits of the Iust. Nor doth it hinder, but that of Abraham it may so also be vnderstood, albeit that both his Country-mē, the most, it may be of them, and his Ancestours also, many of them, might be idolaters, as k himselfe also at first was; since that many yet no doubt of both those rankes, both were pious, while they liued, and went to God, when they died: Besides that, wel also may they all be termed and stiled l his people, or country-men, though little of kinne to him otherwise, that were the people, while they liued, of the same God that he serued: Yea as well might mall the faithfull that went before him, be termed his Fathers, whether he were lineally and carnally descended of them or no, as nall the faithfull that came after him, are termed his sonnes.

But to hasten to an end:

First, this may serue to strengthen vs against the feare of death, or of what shall become of vs when we are dead: Since that, as a we goe not any strange way when we die, such as none haue gone before vs, but a beaten path, that ball, euen good, haue gone; so we goe not to any strange place, where either none are already, or none that we haue any acquaintance withall; but we goe to our Christian friends, to our religious Fore-fathers,c to a place, where we shall Page  61meet againe with all those, that wee dsent from hence before vs, hauing deceased in the faith. It is that indeed that much troubleth men and women many times, when they are enforced to trauell in∣to strange countries, and to change the places of their wonted and ancient abode; to fore-thinke, what an vncouth thing it wil be, to come among a strange people, where they know none, and none know them. It would haue troubled Iacob not a lit∣tle to haue remoued into Aegypt, had he not beene * sure to finde Ioseph there. But the godly need not be troubled with any such thoughts, when they are to remoue hence: For they shall goe to their owne people, their Friends, their Fathers: they shall be sure to e finde country-men, kindred, acquain∣tance enough in heauen, that will be f readie to re∣ceiue them, to welcome them thither, to giue them the best entertainment that can be there. Yea this should make vs the rather desirous to die and to go hence, g that we may goe to, and be with those worthies, whom either hauing knowne here our selues, or hauing read of, or heard report of from others, we haue admired, and desired either to see, or to liue with, while they liued here.

And lastly, if we desire to goe to them when we die, let vs be sure to follow them while we liue.hAdioine thy selfe to them, associate thy selfe with them, while thou liuest here, if thou desirest to be with them, and to partake with them, when thou departest hence.iWalke thou must in the steps of faithfull Abraham, while thou liuest, if thou lookest to haue a place kin Abrahams bosome, when thou Page  62diest, and lsit downe with him, after this life, in the kingdome of heauen. Oh (it may be that some of you will sy of this our blessed Brother now de∣ceased) that my soule were where his is: that I might be sure to die as he did, and to goe whither he is gone, when I die. Heare what the Apostle saith; he poin∣teth thee the way, he telleth thee how it may so be, how thou maist haue thy desire. mThink vpon those (saith he) that haue had the ouersight of you, and that haue declared the word of God vnto you; and follow their faith, considering what the end of their life hath beene. Be not like Balaam,n that wished to come where the godly were, but o had no minde to goe the way that they went. But p follow the rules that he taught thee, q goe the way that he led thee, by life as well as by lesson, while he liued; and then shalt thou be sure to go to him when thou diest, and to enioy there with him and other the faithfull gone before thee, those ioyes and that blisse, that with God and Christ they are there fully possessed of al∣readie.

FINIS.
Page  [unnumbered]

Faults escaped.

PAge 18. line 21. reade walked. p. 32. l. 11. r. stranger. p. 27. l. 2. r. with wind. p. 28. l. 18. r. hardly he discerned.

In the Margine.

PAge 20. l. a peritat. p. 22. l. d〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. p. 23. l. s seu quod. p. 25. l. k sicut cum. p. 26. l. c〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. l. i〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. p. 27. l. a dissip••. p. 28. l. l〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. p. 29. l. a sapr{que} &c. & ibid. famil. arae. p. 30. l. cae∣trorum. p. 32. l. p〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉& ibid.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

Adde p. 49. l. 9. after, haue beene buried.

In regard whereof that * great King sometime, though then none, preferred peace before warre; for that in time of peace vsually Children burie their Parents, whereas in time of warre Parents are wont to bury their Children.