The writing of Hezekiah King of Iudah, when hee had beene sicke, and was recovered of his sicknes.
LO heere a double condition and behaviour of King Heze∣kiah; 1. he was ficke, and then he prayed: 2. he is recovered, and now he gives thankes. Our businesse lyes in this latet part; which is made up of these two: 1. an Inscripti∣on, 2. a Description of the Song.
The Description presents unto us the parts of it; 1. an aggravation of Hezekiah's former misery: 2. an amplification of the present mercie.
The Inscription acquaints us, 1. with the au∣thor of the Song, King Hezekiah. 2. with the na∣ture of it, a Poem written. 3. with the argument of it, a Song of thankesgiving for the remove∣all Page 2of sicknes, & restoring of health. And first to the first: the passage is cleer, sick Hezekiah prayes, &c.
Sicke Hezekiah prayes, found Hezekiah sings: as comfort succeeds his crosse, so praises his pray∣ers. Hence this:
After prayers, * praises. Prayers and prayses do not so enterfaire that they can never be separa∣ted, neither is there anie necessitie of premising pertitions to each particular thanksgiving; onely in a generalitie this is regular, when we have re∣moved afflictions by prayer, we should welcome deliverances with songs. So much was 1. establi∣shed by Law, *Levit. 3. & 7. after sacrifices of pa∣cification, followed sacrifices of payments and thanksgiving. 2ly. ratified in the Gospell. Its a generall Canon, Is any afflicted? what if? Let him pray; Is any merry? what then? Let him sing. Tis not unlawfull to pray in mirth, to sing in miserie, ordinarily; but tis simply necessarie in afflictions ro be prayerfull, in the midst of mercies to bee thankefull, and to entertaine severall conditions with different behaviours. Hereof is it that the Apostle. S. Paul doth so often linke prayers and thanksgivings together: as who would say, when the one is put over, you must passe to the other. So much (3ly.) upon particular occasions is 1. prescribed by God, 2. practised by his Saints. Particulars will not bee needefull to men who know the generall course of Scriptures. So much (4ly.) S. Iohn foretels, and in a sort undertakes for sucoceding ages, in his Revelat. What singing there should be after persecutions by Heathenish Page 3Rome, hee foretels in his fift chapt. what there was, Eusebius reports, especially in his last booke. Againe, what songs should follow upon the Churches deliverance from Rome Christian, or other (whether seducers or persecutors) S. Iohn fore-prophesies, * time partly hath alreadie, and more fully will hereafter discover. So much (5ly.) Education and Reason taught Heathens, and must perswade us. For, first, * if wee looke to God, he is (as the Prophet saith) worthy to bee praised; 1. all excellencie is his, therefore all ho∣nour, saith reason in Philosophers. 2. All Reli∣gion is due to him, therefore all thankes, which is a religious act; for to the highest Maiestie is due the loweft subjection, and that is Religion, which subjects the soule. 3. Hee is the first spring and author of good: all excellencie and honour is in∣vested in him, and derived from him, and therfore must returne to him, Rom. 11. ult.
2. If we consider the thing it selfe; * thankes is due after mercies received, and wee cannot with∣hold it without many incongruities: first (as is im∣plied) Religion is violated, which tels us that wee 1. owe to God all possible service; 2. that thanks∣giving is a speciall worship, wherin we transferre all honour from creatures to God, Psalm. 50. ult. 3. that wee are no lesse bound to acknowledge Gods workings in our praises, than his willing∣nesse in our prayers.
2. Charitie is violated, which bids us love an enemy, much more a God; to blesse those that curse, much more those that blesse us; to over∣come Page 4evil with good, much more to answer good∣nesse with goodnesse. * Indeed kindnesse, by the rules of friendship & love in the Heathens judge∣ments, doth challenge eyther recompence, if we deale with our matches, or acknowledgement where the distance is great; & the greater this, the greater that. Now betwixt God & us the distance is infinite, and if twere possible our love & thank∣fulnesse should fill up that distance, and extend it selfe into infinitenesse.
On the other side, not to bee as forward with our praises as prayers, argues base selfe-love and servilitie, and makes it appeare that wee love not God but his gifts; nay, in truth that wee secretly hate him. For wee begrudge no man the praise of his kindnesse, but whom wee eyther envie or hate: now God is above the reach of our low envie; and therefore our lothnesse to acknow∣ledge him, proceeds from our inbred enmity a∣gainst him, when of the twaine wee had rather de∣nie his grace, than yeeld our selves beggars and dependants,
3 Iustice is violated: we owe God thankes, 1. in point of Law and covenant; Tis our profes∣sion, our promise, our cheefage and rent that is due to him: * so that the Orator spake not over, when he intimated that Ingratitude was a kinde of Unjustice. For what more unjust, than to de∣taine, against all desert and covenant, Gods right? 2. In point of moralitie and honestie; in manners wee must reciprocate with men, much more with God: nor can he be an honest man, who is not a∣shamed Page 5to be an unthankfull man.
3 If wee compare the dueties, * no reason but we should be as full of thankes as prayers: 1. I am sure we have as many mercies as crosses, com∣forts (in present and reversion) as wants. 2. All our sorrowes and afflictions are deserved, all our comforts undeserved: if that must not weaken our prayers, surely this must greaten our thankes. 3. Thankfulnesse will become us as much as beg∣ing, nay (as the Prophet adds) as much benefit vs, * as much comfort us: Thankefulnesse holds old mercies, and wins new; yea, greater thankfulnesse is a surer evidence of love and sinceritie than prayer, and no lesse a cause than a signe of joy; if not senior to prayer in the world, yet of more la∣sting, at least of more excellencie in the world to come.
Once, it is at least as needfull for us to give up praises as prayers, for these reasons: First, we are (for certaine) as forgetfull of the consolations as of crosses, nay more, because we are more sensu∣all than intellectuall, and fullest of selfe-love. Se∣condly, we are as likely to miscarrie in prosperity as in adversitie, unlesse the one bee sanctified by thanksgiving, as well as the other by prayer. As Crosses without prayer will embitter us, so Bles∣sings without praises will swell us, and make us giddie, unlesse wee allay our wine with some of this sugar, thankes I meane, which is sweet in it selfe, most comfortable to us, * and more accepta∣ble to God than sweetest Wines or Incense.
Well, we heare what should be; * now by way Page 6of reflection lets doe two things: whereof the first is: fee what wee have done. Prayers and praises should sucoced each other, as day doth night summer winter; what say you? hath it bin so? The truth is, when I cast my thoughts back∣ward unto publick proceedings, I find what doth somewhat comfort mee; I finde, first, that after publicke humiliations in 88. our most happy Queene was most publicke and solemne in her thanksgivings: next, after our deliverance in 1604. Nov. 5. a set time appointed for solemne praises; thirdly, after deliberation had, some thanksgivings added to our publick prayers. But when we looke into private passages, alas wee are all too blame: we goe to God in our distresses, as Turkes use to goe to their Mahomet, or others to their Ladie, by troupes and Caravans; but when we be delivered, we returne like those Lepers in the Gospell, scarce one in ten, in twentie, in a hun∣dred. To speake sooth, most of us have small rea∣son to glorie in our praiers; they be too faint, too few, too much overrun with pride & unbeleefe: but in thankesgiving wee are starke naught, worse than naught. first, we will not see wood for trees, mercies for blessings; when wee cannot tell how to looke besides them, we will not fall upon them in our thoughts: wants we see, and so are still cra∣ving; favours wee will not see, and so are never thankfull. When speech is of crosses, wee have all; crosses in body, crosses in soule, crosses in e∣state, crosses in friends, our life is made of crosses: when of mercies, we can finde none about house, Page 7no money in purse, no corne in barne, no comfort in the house, no friend in the world, wee see no land, nothing but sea.
Secondly, when wee see, wee will not speake: when we fall upon crosses, wee are cloquent be∣yond truth, we adde, we multiply, we arise in our discourse, like him in the Poet, I am twice, thrice miferable, nay ten times, nay twentie times, * nay a thousand times miserable; But when it comes to mercies, we speake of them as malefactors doe of their faults, yeelde no more than what can be ex∣torted from us, or proved against us, as if we were loath to peach God or our selves. Or if (thirdly) wee say any thing, it is rather to set up our selves than God, and the sacrifice is intended to our netts, witts, providence, more than to Gods mer∣cie: in truth we serve our selves in praises as Ig∣norants doe in prayers, they set up flesh and e∣stalish merit; under a colour of prayer; and wee under a flourish and varnish (of God be thanked) vent our pride, and stroke our selves. The worst unthankfulnesse is, when men love not to be be∣holden to God. Or lastly, if some thing bee said; thats all, for little is done: True thankefulnesse stands in a reciprocation of affections & actions. Wee should returne love for love, and service at least for kindnesse; but wee doe not so. It fares with us as once with Israel; the care, which tastes words as the raste doth meats, * was so filled with choler, that they could relish no comfort (Exed. 6.9.) whilest Moses and Aaron spake: and our thoughts bee so sowred with the taste of crosses, Page 8that we can taste no mercies, at least wee cannot taste the sweetnesse of the giver in the gift; and thence it is that our affections lye dead within us, whilst his mercies swarme about us. Hee shewes his power in the greatnesse, his wisedome in the seasonablenesse, his truth in the constancie, his grace in the freenesse, the riches of his mercies in the fulnesse of his blessings; but nor one nor o∣ther affect us. Our hearts are so farre from Da∣vids zeale hereupon, as that (like Nabals) they are cyther as cold or heavie as a stone. Miserable hearts, and miserably dead, when so manic war∣ming and reviving comforts cannot raise them upwards: but in the meane, what hope of quicke actions, when we labour with so dead affections.
• For deeds: true thankefulnesse improves the gift, to the givers honour. A friend gives me a Ring, Ile weare it for his sake; a Booke, Ile use it for his sake; a Iewell, Ile keepe it for his sake, that is, so as may best expresse my love, and report his goodnesse. Were wee truely thankefull to our God, wee would use all his tokens for his sake; cate our meate to him, * weare our clothes to him, spend our strength for him, live to him, sleepe to him, dye for him: but (out upon our unthanke∣fulnesse) we use his blessings as Ich• did Icherams messengers, David Goliab's sword, we turne them against their Master, & fight against heaven with that health, wit, wealth, those friends, meanes, mercies that wee received thence. If this be thankfulnes, to be so much the more proude, idle, secure, wanton, scornefull, impenitent, by how Page 9much the more wee are enriched, advanced and blessed, I cannot tell who may be called unthank∣full. Brethren, understand your selves, there is not this day a Nation under heaven more bound to God than we be; if now, we shal wast that time in spying out flawes in the State, and matter of complaint at home, that should be taken up in re∣counting mercies, tis just with God to lay us even with other distressed Churches, and to make us know what we had by what we want. If any place be yet left for admonition, be wee all advised to call to minde, with Pharaoh's Butler, * this day our fault, even that fault which is our nationall sinne, the sinne of unthankefulnesse: and be it granted (by you and me, and by us all) that never people have had more cause, but taken lesse occasion of blessing God.
2 And now (to speake forward) let us take forth Hezekiah's lesson; * after sighes lets send forth songs, as he did: nay, * he in the midst of sor∣rowes can finde some matter of praise: nay, * the Church when she only liv'd, could yet say It is his mercy that we have so much. If the best people can sing in troubles, should not wee in peace? If they can when distressed, should not we when de∣livered? If they bee so sensible of one blessing, should not we of a hundred, of a thousand? * It may be their undertakings in the day of afflicti∣on were more. No, * in feares and sorrowes wee are as ready to vow and promise thankes as any; and if to promise should we not to pay? * It may be our deserts are greater. No, * nor wee nor they Page 10can challenge any thing but by ve•me of the promise, * and that was theirs as much as ours. It may be their engagements were more than ours No, * whether we looke to the freenesse of the gi∣ver, or greatnesse of the gifts, we owe as much as who doth most.
For the first, the Lord hath cast upon us bles∣sings, not only undeserved but undesired, unex∣pected; he hath beene better to, us than his pro∣mise, than our prayers, than our hopes: hee hath prevented us with some which wee never fore∣thought, yea done more for us than we are aware of; and he hath given us others, which wee never durst once hope for. I thinke the man lives not, that ever durst promise to himselfe so many daies of happinesse, so long a peace, so sudden cure of the land, so flourishing a Church, so happie a time as wee have enjoyed; and what gifts more free than such as prevent all prayers, exceed all hopes, and are not only above but against all deserts.
For the second thing, which greate us a kind∣nesse, to wit greatnesse and multitude of kindnes∣ses, who is able to recount (particulars shall I say, nay) the severall kindes of them: First, we have blessings privato as many as soule & body; house and field, field and towne, to wee and country can hold. Secondly, we have blessings publicke and nationall beyond number; other nations bleed we sleepe; other begge, wee abound; others starve, we surfet; others grope in the darke, our Sunne still shines; others are quite disjoyned and dismembred they are members without Page 11heads beads without bodies, for lorne men, with∣out Law, without Gospell, without Churches, or Teachers, or Livings, or Bookes, or all: wee have all; Magistrates, Ministers, Lawes, Trades, Schooles, Churches, Townes, all, and all of the best; of Kings the best, of Courts the best, of Law the best, of Bookes the best, of Sermons the best, of ayre, of fare, of water, of all the best: and can we not yet see matter of thankfulnesse?
O but these be blessings sarre off, * they touch not thy particular.
No doe? * have wee not all our private interests in the publique weale? But speake in good ear∣nest, hast thou no particular favours no blessings privative, none positive? for shame yeeld both.
Yea but where be they? *
Nay where be they not? thou hast eyes, * aske the blinde whether that be not a blessing; thou hast cares, aske the deafe whether that bee not a blessing thou hast a tongue, what thanks the dumb of that? thou hast hands, feet, wits, limbs, life, bones, sinewes, reins, mercies •now betwixt head & foot to sill a volume, is all this nothing: Nay tel me, wch way canst thou look, but thou sect mer∣cies? what canst thou touch, but thou feelest mer∣cies? where canst thoutread, but thou standest on mercies? But of what art thou compounded of but of blessings every sense, every joint, everie splint, everie naile a blessing: nay, what is thy house made of but blessings: what is it filled with but blessings of blessings of the Barne, bles∣sings, of the Field, blessings of the Wombe, all Page 12blessings: nay, whats the World made of but blessings? * Heavens, Starres, Fire, Ayre, Water, Earth, with all in the one, with all in the other blessings; all things blessings, all persons bles∣sings, all estates blessings, all times blessings, as S. Paul discourseth, 1. Cor. 3. ult. Now when the Lord doth so lade us with benefites, and that dai∣ly, shall not wee be thankefull? Blesse, saith our Saviour, when you are cursed; and shall wee not blesse being thus blessed?
All this while I speake nothing of spirituall blessings; indeed no tongue can reach them: we can close them all within one word, one syllable, God hath given us Christ; but what a gift is that? In him he hath given us a new world: the olde world was forfeyted in a day; * house, ground, fur∣niture, all forfeited in Adam: then came in the promised seed, the blessed seed Christ, and in him all things are made new; new heavens, new earth, new Church, * new tenure, all things renewed, bet∣tered with infinite advantage to us, but cost to Christ: What a thing was that, for the Creator to become a creature, for life to dye, for happiness to weepe, for glory to be buffeted, for immortali∣tie to bee buried! O Lord Christ, who would have done thus for an enemie, for a friend, besides thy selfe? But tis done; hee was made flesh, seene of angels, slain of men, laid in grave, raised to glo∣rie, and we are now redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified in him. Redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified! what words be these: what things? No man, no Angell can conceive the worth of these Page 13things: when wee have said all, all is this, God hath given us Christ, that is, God hath given us himselfe, and all the creatures in heaven & earth. God hath delivered us from the evill of all evils, and hath given us the blessing of all blessings, the marrow of all comforts; the earth is ours, the heavens ours, the word ours, the spirit ours, God ours because Christ is ours. Now then when in Christ our head wee are estated in the whole world, have we not matter of thankfulnesse? yes (we now see it) if we had hearts.
But how shal's get a thankefull heart first, * and expresse it next?
Labour for three saving graces; 1. Humility; * 2. Faith; 3. Love. All these send a man abroad, and make him seeke himselfe in others.
First, Humilitie empties a man of all great opi∣nions of the creature, and fills him with an high admiration of the Creator. The humble man so well understands himselfe, and other creatures, and Gods excellencie, that he sees that too much cannot be ascribed to God, too little to man: and therfore he is very willing that God should carry all the praise and glorie from all creatures; and the more hee can abase flesh and exalt God, the more glad he is. Labour then to be humble men with Iacob and you wil findy our selves leffe than the least favour, then you will see; * matter of thankfulnesse there, where the proude finds mat∣ter of murmuring.
Secondly, Faith is another emptying vertue: it layes up all its treasure in anothers house, and Page 14leaves it in anothers hands for feare of robbing. The faithfull mans treasure is Christ, his life is Christ his crowne and glorie is Christ: if Christ hath, honour, he hath honour enough; therefore he willingly carries all to Christ. Labour then for faith: for if faith once unite you to Christ, that you be one, and unite you to God through Christ, that you can look upon God as your God, then you will seeke his honour as your owne.
Thirdly, love seekes not its owne (eyther pro∣site or credite) it liwes in another, and it works for another: in that measure that wee love God, wee will seeke Gods glory, we will speake good of his name, * and set out his praises. O love him who is love beautie, nay glorie inselfe: and if thou love, thou praisest, as Ausben speakes.
Thus the heart will be tuned and set right, if it be a broken heart, abeleeving heart, a nealous heart, twill endite well, praises wil streame from it as naturally as water from a fountaine, Psal. 45.1. but then (in the next place) the outward man must concurre, the tongue must walke apace like a swist pen; to that end, do but owne thine owne words, first, tabe up the complaints thou madest in thine afflictions, he as eloquent in enlarging thy for∣rowes now past, as thou wast then; speake now what paines, seanes, griefes, somes God hath now delivered thee from, as Hezekiah doth here: in∣prove thy then somewes to present thankeful∣nesse.
Secondly, •••••unt thy vowes and promises then, call 〈…〉 what thought is thou then hadst, Page 15what vowes thou then mad'st; O if God would this once helpe me, these faults should be left, and these dueties done: now pay thy vowes.
- 1 Heare the other creatures, they sing, &c.
- 2 Thy flesh must rejoyce (as David speakes) in the Lord, thy face and countenance must take up and looke cleerely, thy feet must be lift up as Iacobs were, thy hands must be set on worke, thankefulnesse must be acted, not onely talkt of. Here know, first, that hee is most thankefull that lives best, * that leaves most faults and doth most good.
Secondly, that all we doe or forbeare, must bee done out of thankefulnesse for what we alreadie hold, or have good bonds for.
Thirdly, that our thankes must in some mea∣sure answer Gods mercy, and our former misery; the more our sighes were, the more our songs must be; the more prayers were made, the more praises must follow (for those bee double mer∣cies that follow upon prayer). and next for God, the more remarkeable the deliverance was, the more solemn and heartie the thanksgiving must be, for singular mencies we must doe some singu∣larthing, set apart some time, some Present, some gift, doe some thing that may scale up our hum∣blest acknowledgement of Gods goodnesse, else great mercies will work great thoughts, as He∣zekiah found for a time, 2. Chron. 32.25.
Now to particulars, first, to the title, secondly, to the •ed••• of the Song: The title acquaints us with the qualities of the Song, a Wr•••ing, the Page 16matter of it, a Narration, 1. of his sicknesse; 2. of his recoverie: which two parts make up the whole Song following.
For the first, the things enquirable about this Song are chiefly three: first, what kind of writing it is; secondly, by whom it was written: thirdly, for what use.
Which three questions shal receive these three short answers following.
- 1 The writing is Poeticall, and delivered in Verse, for the helpe both of memorie and affe∣ction.
- 2 For the Penman, we cannot say much of certaintie, nor is it much materiall; this is cer∣taine, Hezekiah made cyther the descant or plain∣song. 2. the Worthies of God, Iob, David, Salo∣man, &c. were much delighted with Poetry. 3. the Kings of Iudah (sundry of them) were endued with an extraordinarie spirit, & a divine sentence was often in their mouthes, as wee see in the wri∣tings, and speeches, and praiers of divers of them: wherefore if wee say that Hezekiah pend this with his own hand, we say more than what seems reasonable in it selfe, and probable to others. Howbeit if anie will contend (from the phrase) that the worke was Esaias,* and the motion onely from Hezekiah, we will notgainsay it: it sufficeth, that Hazekiah was the first mover, and that the Lord hath now pleased to adde it to the Canon, * as he did also his Letters, 2. Chran. 30.
For the third question, the good Kings mea∣ning was to consecrate (with this song) himselfe Page 17and his life to God, and to leave this upon record as a pledge and proofe of his thankfulnesse to all posteritie.
In his practise, take notice of our duetie.
Wee must adde to our present thankesgivings some pawne and monument of our thankfulnesse for the future. * We must, for great blessings, stake downe present thankes: that's one duetie, but that's not all; wee must leave some monument therof (as we may) to posteritie, and cast how we may eternize Gods praises, and procure him ho∣nour in surviving ages.
This (first) God commands; Tell it (saith hee, when he speakes of great mercies) to thy childrens children.i.e. convey thankefulnesse to posteritie, and keep on foot Gods praises to the worlds end, if possible. Hereof is it, that the Lord sets a speci∣all Accent upon speciall mercies, and takes order that they may bee reported to succession. Thus when he had set Israell over Iordan, and in pos∣session of his countrey, Set up (saith hee) stones,* some in the water, some on the land, that may witnesse my mercie, your thankfulnesse, for after times; let the very place speake it. And elsewhere, Day unto day (as here place to place) must utter his goodnesse and mans gratitude. Hence those solemnities of the Passe-over for one mercie, * of Pentecost for another, of Tabernacles for a third, of Trumpets for a fourth, of new Moones for a first, &c. God for great mercies would have a commemoration, a day of publicke thanksgiving throughout all generations.Page 18
Secondly, as God commanded, so his people practised this duetie; sometimes they set out time, * as in the feast of Purim; sometimes they set up Altars, as Abraham often; sometimes they leave a marke upon the place, * as Iehosaphat in the valley of Beracah; sometimes they multiply sa∣crifices, as Salomon, &c. sometimes they dedicate songs, as David often; sometimes they present and hang up some monument of victorie, recove∣ric, or the like, * as David Goliah's sword, Gideon his Ephod-like present, what ever it was, Hezekiah his Poeme, whether in parchment, brasse, marble, &c. and all this to this end, that Gods praises mought out-live them, and bee sung by men as then un∣borne, as David speakes. Thus they of old, reason calls for the like from us.
- 1 Tis but civilitie to return blessing for bles∣sing: an Heathen will doe it. Now God blesses us beyond this life, not onely in heaven but upon carth, in our names, estates, posteritie, kindred; and why should not wee future and prorogue our blessings beyond life also?
- 2 Tis but honestie to pay our debts: now doe what we can, we shall die in Gods debt. Sith we be not able to pay all at once, * lets be paying in our heires and executors to the worlds end.
- 3 Tis a course we take with earthly Benefac∣tors, we would perpetuate their fame to eternitie if we could, and doe wee not owe more to God?
- 4 Tis good policie to build Gods name, for then God will build ours, * as hee said to K. David of an house: if wee honour him, hee will honour Page 19us. * indeed Hezekiah eternizeth his owne name in thus magnifying Gods.
Lastly, tis a sure evidence of our sinceritie and true love to Gods name, when wee desire that it may out-live ours, and bee glorified by others as well as by our selves.
Having thus concluded the point, * the applica∣tion shall runne all one way, and this it is; What so good a King practised, so great a God chal∣lengeth, so cleere reason perswadeth, let us now practise. Tell me (my brethren) are not wee in Gods debt as well as Hezekiah? Was not hee as thankefull for the present as we can be? Are not we bound, to pay our debts, to edifie posteritie as much as he? Wel then, if you have as much cause as he, as great need as he, as maine motives as hee, doe as he did, prase God with a lasting song; doe something that may set the world a singing when you are sleeping in the dust. Want ye as yet mo∣tives? Looke to your Father; * his goodnesse lives for ever towards you, let your thankes be immor∣tall to him: looke to your Redeemer; hee is the same for ever to you, be the same to him, in all maner of thankefulnesse: looke to predecessors; they have lest us monuments of their love to God and us, lets reach them with advantage to posteritic: looke to successors; they heyre our sinnes and sorrowes, lets leave them some song's and matter of joy aswell as cause of mourning: looke to our Adversaries; they upbraid us, * as Penninnah did Hannah, with our unfruitfulnesse: they crake that all our Churches, Hospitals, Col∣ledges Page 20are theirs. And albeit enough is said and done already to breake the teeth of their slanders, yet if possible lets (as our S. Peter adviseth) muzle them quite by doing more good. *
You will say (perhaps) the lesson is good and not unseasonable, * but it concerns Hezekiahs, great men, rich men, learned men, that have meanes of expressing themselves publiquely; but alas wee are poore, simple, obscure, &c.
Yea but hear me; * you are in Gods debt too, are you not? You must pay your debts, must you not? Tenants must pay their rent, a cheefage, &c. must they not? Well then, if you owe lesse, pay lesse: if you hold not so much of your land-lord as another doth, yet I pray you pay for your cot∣tage, and for that you hold: you are a tenant to God as well as King Hezekiah, pay your rent.
Ob. But twill not be accepted, tis so poore.
Sol. Come, thats a put-off; á Marke by the yeare from a Cottier, is accepted as well as a hun∣dred pounds from a Farmer. Understand that God weighs circumstances, and tis accepted ac∣cording to that a man hath: Goats haire pleases him as well as Iewels from some hands; two mites as well as two millions. Hee needs not gifts, he respects the giver, and tis possible for him that hath but a subjects purse to have a kings hart, as tis said of Araunah, he was but a subject, but yet gave like a King, 2. Sam. 24.23.
Ob. O but wee have no such encouragements to give as Hezekiah had.
Sol. And why, I pray? 1. God wrought a Page 21wonderful deliverance for him; he hath wrought as great for thee, for mee, for us all, it may be bo∣dily, certainly spirituall.
2 The world was not so bad then as now; a man can publish nothing but tis carpt at, settle no perpetuitie but tis perverted, Schools, Colledges, Hospitals, all abused. Come, come, this is but shif∣ting: 1. the world is still like it selfe; all never were, never will be good: 2. these and such like objections were long since answered by Salomon, Eccl. 11. view them at leisure. In the meane, marke what I say to thee: first, if thou canst not trust po∣steritie, and all honestie must needs die with thee, doe something whilst thou hast time, Gal. 6. O but whats that to posteritie? Yes, Ile shew thee how thou mayest now lay a foundation for po∣steritie, and do that this yeare, this moneth, which may turne to Gods honour a thousand yeares hence. How is that? Thus: Art thou a father of children? 1. write Gods mercies upon their names (so thou be not phantasticall) and let thy children weare therein Gods praises to their graves; at least write them in their memories and hearts, tell thy children, and charge them to deliver it down∣wards to theirs, what God hath beene to thee, what great things he hath done in thy dayes, and so make walking Libraries and living Bookes of thy children: A godly posteritie is a breathing altar. 2. Art thou childlesse? yet set up an altar in thy house, worke thy people to heaven-ward; sow good seed amongst thy servants, and some of them and theirs may blesse God for thee a hun∣dred Page 22dred yeares hence. Art thou a poore man? bee rich in grace, readie to everie good worke, and thy name shall live when thou art dead: no men in Scripture more commended & renowned, than poor men and women; God himselfe writes their lives, and records their good deeds.
O but I am so poore, that I have no meanes of shewing my thankfulnesse. Doe not say so, hee never wanted meanes that did not want an heart, get that, and God will fit thee with oportunities as he hath with abilities. Never tell mee; thou mayst make the world the better for thee a great while hence if thou wilt. How?
- 1 If thou wouldest borrow a little from back and belly, * twentie to one thou moughtest lend God something.
- 2 If that cannot be, say with Peter, Act. 3.6. Sil∣ver and gold I have none, but such as I have I give; Ile pray, Ile worke, Ile advise, Ile plant, sow, doe something that shall doe good hereaster: there is not the least toe but it hath its use and excellency in the bodie. Art thou learned? doe good that way, * as Hezekiah did. Some conceive him well seene in the Mathematicks (belike because of his buildings, water-courses, and the signe given him by God) howsoever, wee have his Epistle and Poemeextant, and they hold out instruction to the worlds end. If God hath given thee suffici∣encie in this kinde, thou mayest speakethy minde to men yet unborne, and convey to them that light which God hath reached to thee. Be not too curious this way; thou seeft that some in this Page 23scribling age set forth their owne wits, some their owne folly: doe thou set forth Gods praise, and ayme at mans good; write something (as thy gift is) that may doe posteritie good. * We are infinit∣ly bound to God for the blessing of Printing, and to our fathers for their labours: and wee of England are much to blame, if we leave not Arts and Tongues more resined and perfected than we found them, and the Scriptures more fully o∣pened; no people living better furnished with meanes, no writings extant better accepted a∣broad, or to better purpose at home. O that in stead of tristers, Scholars would make themselves publique, and not burie their treasure with them like misers, or leave their workes like fatherlesse children to the mercy of strange mid-wives, when themselves are gone.
Art thou rich? let King Hezekiah be thy pat∣terne: he was a good Common-wealths-man, * he built much, he conveyed water to the Citie, hee fortified the land, and did good in warre and peace: 2. He was a good Church-man, he coun∣tenanced the Ministerie, he restored their meanes and livings, hee repaired Gods house, aduanced Gods worship, defaced the contrarie. Thy place (haply) will not suffer thee to hold pace with him in all, yet follow him as thou maist: 1. as a citizen and member of the State, rast the publique good; see what good may be, done in thy Ierusalem, the towne of thine aboad, fre what houses need thy helpe, what grounds, what neighbours: here's a man over-renied, try whether thon-canst not case Page 24him; there's a man wants corne for his land, stock for his stuffe, helpe him; there's a third that hath will and skill to trade, but he wants credite; there's a fourth that could live with a little helpe, else he and his estate sinke, O come quickly be∣fore the man be drowned with all his family; a fist there is that's able to breed some but not all his children, hence hee is disheartned, take away one Lamb and put it to another Ewe.
2 When thou hast done so, cast thine eyes o∣ver Indah with him; looke abroad, and see how present wants threaten posterity with miserie, and as thou canst prevent it: I. see how manie grown ones there be that play, or steale, or beg for want of imployment, and set thy wits on work to finde out some trade, some husbandry, some businesse that may give some imployment. 2. see how ma∣nie little ones there be that mought be usefull if they had breeding; but alas their parents (if li∣ving) have neyther meanes to breed them Scho∣lars, nor money to binde them apprentices: call upon thy selfe and others, saying, There's a wittie childe, lets breed him a Scholar; there's a strong childe, lets traine him up for a Souldier, make him an apprentice, &c. who knowes what service hee may doe the Church or Countrey oneday: O what good mought rich men doe this way if they had hearts! If they feare to erect publique standing Schooles or Colledges, or to give some Fellowships for perpetuitie, let them (if they minde the common good) take some particular children that are most hopefull, and breed them, Page 251. in the Country, 2. in the Universitie till they be sit for publique service. Here's no danger, unlesse they will say, these may prove ill; which is with the sluggard, (-Pro. 26.13.) to lye still left a Lion should be in the street: doe thou go on till thou seest thy seed lost, and then stop there, and try an other ground.
2 Bee, with Hezekiah, a good Churchman; 1. repaire Gods house, & let it never be said, that our Churches lye like Barnes, and that Our Fa∣ther lets downe what Pater noster set up. 2. Pro∣mote Gods worship, and allow some oyle to his Lamps: doe not Pharaoh-like call for Bricke without materials. What? expect Sermons, ma∣ny Sermons; learning, much learning (so that our Preacher must be able to answer any questi∣on) and yet denie him meanes! Meanes? by all meanes we would have him have a competencie. A competencie; how much is that? who shall judge of that? Now the good Lord keepe his Clergie from the vulgars competencie. I speake what I know, and I speake it with a wet face and a bleeding heart, I know Preachers of excellent parts, that spend their strength in the Pulpit, who cannot lay out sistie shillings in sive yeares upon books, but they must fetch it either off the backs, or out of the bellies of their poore children. Call you this a competencie? Well, if wee deserve no kindnesse, yet doe us justice, lets have what your fathers gave us. Hezekiah found things alienated and turned out of course; no doubt wits were working then: Take heed (Sir) of Innovations, of Page 26making your Clergie too rich; the State hath thought fit to lessen their meanes: men can now prescribe against them, we can shew a compositi∣on, and prove our custome, &c. But what answers this good King? Custome mee no custome, wee must not make a custome of robbing God. Were these things once Gods? eyther shew mee Gods release, or else restore them home. Now would I could say of him as a Father said of Ahab,*Heze∣kiah ever lives, never dies: and the Lord put it in∣to the heart of our trebble Hezekiah to advise al∣so about this point.
In the meane, let my speech to rich subjects proceed: Would you leave some proofe of your thankfulnesse behinde you? follow those Wor∣thies who of late have gone before you in this kinde, hyre men to be honest in restoring to God his due: and if you have ought in your owne hands that of right belongs to the sonnes of the Prophets, * heare God speaking to you in King A∣bimelech, Restore to the Prophet his owne, and he shall pray for you: if you doe not, his bloud in his children, the flesh upon his bodie, the an∣guish upon his spirit, the soules that depend upon him for food will cry against you, and will lay your houses levell with the ground. Do not turne off all with a Tush, Tythes were Leviticall, the Gospel speakes nothing of a Tenth, &c. 1. answer what's written; 2. shew us where the old appor∣tion is reversed, and which is that quote pars now that conscience must rest in, and when thats done, then give us a just Commentary upon that, *Prov.Page 2720.25. and tell us who hath authoritie to take that (from a Church shall I say? nay) from God, that hath hene once given him? And when you have reduced and resolved all into a competencie, yet let it be S. Pauls competencie, *Let him that preach∣eth the Gospell live upon the Gospell, as hee that ma∣keth shooes, or heeles hose, lives upon his labour. I speake no more than what everie Scholar, who is acquainted with a course of studie & reading, knowes to be true: all that meanes which usually is thought sufficient to defray all charges, to satis∣fie all payments, to answer all expectations of wife and children for portions, of strangers for hospitalitie, is little enough to buy a constant Preacher bookes, and physicke. Now then, if you will be competent arbitrators, allow him some∣thing more, some bread, some clothes, something to keepe his wife and children from begging or starving.
You are wearie (I dare say) of this discourse, I have now done, I have discharged my conscience in delivering my errand, & have shewed you how you may witness your thankfulness to succeeding times, if you please. There's first, your owne fa∣mily and posteritie to bee moulded; secondly, there be poore Orphans and children to be bred, Schooles to be erected, poore Students in the U∣niversitie to be maintained, poor Preachers to be encouraged, Church livings to be redeemed and augmented: and if this be not sufficient, there be poore Labourers to be imployed, poore debtors to be relieved, yongue Tradesmen to be credited; Page 28and if this doe not like you, there be in the coun∣trey, fields to be trenched, woods to be planted, high-wayes to be amended, correction-houses to be builded, publique store-houses and Granaries to be appointed, youths and souldiers to be tray∣ned; and in the Cities, waters to bee conveyed, fire-engins to bee invented, &c. And in both, Churches to be repaired, prisons to be furnished with some Teachers, and other imployments more than a few: stand not idle now all the day long, because none sets you on worke; House, Towne, Field, Countrey, Citie, Church, Com∣mon weale, Men, Women, Children, Tradesmen, Church-men, blinde, lame, poore, all call upon you to worke: nay, Christ saith, whilest its day worke; the Spirit saith, whilest you have time, doe good; your Father saith, Give to seven and eight, be not weary in well-doing; your labour is not lost, your cost is not lost, God will pay you all againe, honour him he will honour you, blesse him hee will blesse you, giue him immortall praise, and you shall receive an immortall Crowne.
We have heard, first, that King Hezekiah was thankefull; secondly, that hee was thankefull to purpose: Now lets see for what hee is so thanke∣full; 1. that his sicknesse was removed; 2. that his health was restored. Wee will shut up both in one.
Freedome from sicknesse, * enjoyment of health, are two mercies which call for manie thankes. Need we prove this? First for sickenesse, we have the voyce of God and man, that it is amercie to Page 29escape it; 1. God promises freedome from it, * as a blessing upon the obedient; 2. Hee threatens the inflicting of it as a judgement upon the rebelli∣ous, and accordingly proceeds.
Secondly, all men be of the same minde; first, good men wil blesse God for an Eagle-like-body, * a bodie full of strength and life, of action and motion like the Eagles, which is most lasting Ps. 103. Secondly, naturall men ranke this in the forefront of mercies, yea reckon of health as an abridgement of all blessings, and of sickenesse as the summe of all outward miseries. And that not-altogether without reason.
For first, sicknesse must be numbred amidst na∣turall evils: how soever it will stand with univer∣sall nature, and the all wife God can improve it to singular use, yet in it selfe, it must be deemed evill in its nature, being against the private welfare of the patient; evill in its cause, mans sinne; evill in its terme and issue, it tends to death; evill in its effects, it adds to our miserie: whereas some evils wound with sorrow, some threaten us with de∣struction, this doth both.
Secondly, it maimes nature, and hinders good∣nesse; the bodie is deprived of cheerfulnesse and activitie, * the soule disappointed, like the Travel∣ler that rides a tyred horse, it can neither receive that good, nor doe that good that otherwise it could. There's no man knowes, but he that knows ficknesse, what a disadvantage tis to the soule to be ill lodged in a ruinous bodie: Its even stifled within it selfe for want of motion, and move it Page 30cannot for want of organs, but verie lamely: The understanding is clouded, memorie weakned, judgement dazled, phantasie disturbed, affections distempered, in short, the whole frame of Nature so dis-jointed, that like broken bones it can ney∣ther rest nor move. Nor is the stroke only upon naturall actions, but upon morall also; the soule in diseases chronicall becomes so lazie, listlesse, neutrall, that it hath no mind to pray, no stomach to food, no heart to doe any thing for it selfe; and in diseases more acute is so taken up and transpor∣ted with paine & anguish, that it mindes nothing but what cannot be had, sleep and ease, &c. Hence we may put that difference betweene sicke and sound that the Heathen put betweene poore and rich; * the healthfull man may studie when hee will, walke when he will, eate when he will, sleepe when he will, worke, play, fast, feast, ride, runne when hee will: but the sickly man must studie, preach, travell, eate, sleepe when he can; he is not his owne so command: hee hath not himselfe, much lesse other comforts. No marvell if sick∣nesse at one blow deprive us of the comfort of our meats, beds, houses, grounds, friends, wife, children, &c. it deprives a man of himselfe: hee hath wit, but not use of it; memorie, but not the benefite of it: yea it turnes him well-most into an Image; he hath eyes, and scarcely sees; eares, and heares not; mouth, and speakes not; feet, but walkes not: nay yet further, those senses & parts which let in comfort to the sound, occasion the sick mans trouble, the sight of his cupps, glasses, Page 31boxes makes him sicke, the smell of his meates sicke, the taste of his drinkes sicke, the least noyse offends him, the least ayre pierces him, in a word, this turnes his comforts into crosses, his bed tyres him, his chaire troubles him, his friends disquiet him, their absence offends him, and so doth their presence, their •••ence offends, and so doth their talke, their mirth doth, and so doth their sadnesse: poore man, somewhat he would have, but he can∣not tell what; hee is not well, and therefore no∣thing is well about him; he is sicke, and so all the world is made of sickenesse to him, as to the gid∣die all things run round.
Now as sickenesse is a great affliction, so health as great a mercie: it comes from mercy, * and pre∣supposes manie blessings; good temper, good ayre, (at least for us) good food, at least a wonder∣full blessing upon poore meanes. 2. It tends to mercie, health tends to life (the greatest blessing) to a long life, yea immortalitie so farre as that goes. 3. It carries with it a troupe of mercies, 1. it sweetens all other crosses and wants; health ma∣keth thin coats warme, hard fare sweete, a meane lodging good, tis the poore mans sawce at's ta∣ble, his cloke in his journcy, his warming-pan in his bedde, his boots in the myre, and when he is at worst he can leape and say, as the countrey phrase is, Health is worth all. 2. It puts him into posses∣sion of all other blessings: 1. Hee enjoyes him∣selfe, his wits, senses, limbs be his owne, hee hath their use and service. 2. with himselfe he enjoyes all things about him; the light is pleasant, the Page 32ayre sweete, his meate good, drinke good, bedde good, now all that was naught before becomes good. Againe, he relishes all, hee findes content∣ment in all: now he sees a wife to be a wife, chil∣dren to be children, friends to be friends, where∣as before all the world was made of his humour, whether bitter or sowre. Not to•• long, health is the just temper of nature; there all is quiet, cheerefull, * fit for action: a good bodie helps the estate, the family, the soule; all within one, all up∣on him, all about him smile and prosper in time of health: and therefore this motion from sicke∣nesse to health. i. from sadnesse to mirth, from paine to ease, from prison to liberrie, from death to life, must needs be a happie motion, worthie thankes.
If sicknes needs many prayes, * & health deserves many thanks; lets so bestow our selves, that if it be possible, wee may prevent the one, and enjoy the other: for the first, beware (to keepe mee to mine owne profession) of sinne, all sinne; sinne is the mother, sicknesse the daughter: man never saw the one, til he matcht himself with the other. More specially foure sorts of sinnes must bee as much abhord as sickenesse, as death.
- 1 Sins of death: * God hath adjudged whore∣dome, Pro. 5. murder, &c. and such like capital of∣fences to sickenesse, to death.
- 2 Sinnes of rebellion, committed against the cleere light and letter of the Word: * these are threatned with all manner of diseases, Levit. 26. Dent. 28. Page 33
- 3 Sinnes of contemptuous prophanenessc: the Lord hath said that he will be sanctified in all that come nigh him; And when any in their ap∣proches were securely profane, the hand of God was upon their bodies, to death, or sicknesse: so Nadab, &c. so Vzziah so 1. Cor. 11.
- 4 Sinnes that have their roote in the bodie, or at least worke powerfully upon the bodie. * Of this sort wee name onely those three, which the Rabbins touch in one Proverb and three letters: The first is povertie, which at the first may seeme but little to impeach health; but if we look upon it in its cause, idlenesse, unthriftinesse, intempe∣rance most an end; or in its effects, theft, robbery, &c. fretting; or in its companions, ill lodging, ill fare, ill clothing, &c. this may well passe for one cause of weakenesse. The second is pride, a sinne that so swels the soule that it breaks the skin and case, the body: pride breakes the wits, witnesse Nebuchadnezzar; breakes the heart, and wounds it selfe, witnesse Saul, Achitophol, and breakes ones sleepe, ones peace, bodie, estate, all; a sick disease: a proude man is never without some ailement. The third is drunkennesse or intemperance: a man of this distemper, lies as open to diseases as an unwalled Towne to invasions and assaults. * To him is woe, rednesse of face, &c. Pro. 23. Brethren, if you would not be sicke, have nothing to doe with these forerunners: prevent sickenesse in the cause.
For the second, Health, great Salomon hath writ∣ten a Physicks for us, as well as Ethicks, in his Page 34Proverbs: there you may reade of the Countrey mans three Doctors, Quiet, Diet, Mirth. For the first, health is nothing but Natures rest & repose; health gives peace, and peace yeelds health: out∣ward peace is a great blesing, and verie whole∣some, but that comes from peace within; which is double, 1. peace of Iustification, 2. peace of San∣ctification. So long as there's warre in the con∣science, warre in the affections, one power and lust conflicting with another, alas there's no more quiet to us than was of old to Rebecca:* but when Faith heales the conscience, and Grace hushes the affections, & composes all within, then the soule lookes out of the bodie, and sits in the face with a checrefull countenance. If your flesh, with Da∣vids, shall rejoyce, labour for this peace; get faith in Christs bloud, get the vertue of Christs resur∣rection, get wisedome, i. all saving grace, and that makes for health, and is a medicine, Pro. 3.8.
2 For Dyet, Salomon gives rules, 1. for time, Eccl. 10.16, 17.2. for qualitie, Pro. 23. speaking of wine-bibbers, * fleshmongers, Pro. 20. & 3. &c. 3. for quantitie; eate not too much honey, which is true in the letter: * let not out the appetite, left it cut thy throate, Pro. 23.2. but rather be of the re∣straining hand, feed with fear, as Inde speakes, tise with an appetite, * and use the Emperours Physick, cure all exceedings by abstinence.
3 For Mirth, Salomon is much in that argu∣ment: he 1. * commends the thing, a good hart. i. a cheerful heart is health to the bones, a very medi∣cine: 2. he perswades the means, Put sorrow fromPage 35thy heart (saith he) rejoyce with thy wife, be light∣some in thy clothes, cheerefull at thy meales, &c. diligent in thy calling, than the which nothing is more availeable to comfort, after spiritual meanes of prayer, thanksgiving, &c. And he that in Gods meanes puts himselfe into possession of these, shal arrive at so much health as shall be behoovefull.
Secondly, * if this double blessing be worth double thankes, lets prize it accordiagly, & praise God for it, and 1. remember that there is a two∣fold deliverance; one, which keeps us from sick∣nesse; another, that helps us out of sickenesse: a double blessing, one in continuing health with∣out sicknesse, another in restoring health after sickenesse. If we enjoy eyther, let God have the praise, and conclude for thy bodie, * as Amstem for his soule, blesse God that hee hath kept off some, & taken off other sicknesses. For the first, there be som men who never knew what back-ach, tooth-ach, head-ach meant, they scarce know what tis to have a finger ake, * at leaft they have enjoyed some good measure of health which hath its la∣titude; these men I confesse can hardly weigh sickenesse, or prize health: the best course will be to send them to an Hospitall, or to the house of of mourning, there shall they find silence, solitari∣nesse, sadnesse, light shut out, ayre shut out, misery shut in, children weeping, wife sighing; the hus∣band groning, Oh my head, O my backe, O my stomach, sicke, sicke, sick, I cannot tell what to do, where to rest, helpe me up, helpe me downe, O I sinke, I cannot stand, I cannot sit, I cannot lye, I Page 36cannot eate, I cannot sleepe, I cannot live, I can∣not die, O what shall I doe?
Brethren, if you have not felt sickenesse, yet heare it, view it see how it racks and tortures a poore man, and that done, reflect upon thy selfe and say, O Lord how much am I bound to thee for health! I can eate, my brother cannot; I can walke, he cannot; I sleep all night, he never layes his eyes together; O Lord give mee a mercifull heart to men, a thankefull heart to thee for this blessing:
For the second sort; have we beene sicke and now made sound? lay both estates together with Hezekiah, and provoke thy selfe to thankfulnesse. Call to mind what then thine anguish was, how sicke thy stomach was, how sad thy friends were, how tedious the night, how long the day, how terrible the thoughts of death, the apprehension of judgement: thinke now thy thoughts then, acknowledge now thy then purposes and vowes. Didst thou not then thinke, and promise, Oh if God would reprieve mee once more, I would become a new man, more carefull of my wayes, more thankfull for health than ever I have beene: thinke now what the price of health was then, what then thou wouldst have given for one nights sleep, one hours ease, one draught of drink, one vomit, one stoole, one the least of those mer∣cies which now thou enjoyest: thinke how little wealth, house, land, friends, all seemed to thee without health, and now thou hast all restored a∣gaine in this, lift up thine eyes and hands to hea∣ven Page 37with Nebuchadnezzar, and say, Sicknesse put me out of possession of all, but with health all is come back againe; my stomach is come to mee, my sleepe, my flesh, my strength, my joy, my friends, my house, my wealth, all is returned: O what a change is here! earst nothing but pain, now nothing but ease; not long since stript of all, now possessed of all, as if I were another Iob.
Thus, would wee looke eyther downeward or backward, wee should become more thankefull; but in any case take that with you which is said before of thankefulnesse in generall, and apply it to this particular of health. * Thankfulnesse stands not in words and complements: if you will bee truely thankefull for health, thus doe.
1 Come forth of affliction as Iob did, that is, as the gold comes out of the fire, purged from your drosse: let sicknesse draine the soule as well as bodie, and leave your humours, your pride; selfe-love, worldlinesse, hypocrisie, &c. weaker than it found them: and now you be made whole, take your Saviours Item, Sinne no more, * lest a worse thing happen to you; fall not to your olde dyet, lest you fall into your old diseases and re∣lapse. The chiefest use of sicknesse is to be made after it: in sicknesse wee must resolve against sin, our speciall sin; but after sicknesse we must second our resolutions with performances. Now then pay thy vowes, sinne over thy sinnes no more, but lay downe the practise of grosse sinnes, the pur∣pose of all, & shun at least the occasions of them. And then in the second place, offer to God the Page 38ransome of thy life, as the Law runnes, Exod. 31. I meane, leave some seale & pawne of thy thanke∣fulnesse to God, * as Hezekiah did, nay as Heathens, did; they after a shipwracke and danger, would offer something, after a fit of ficknes would con∣secrate something to their gods. If thou wilt not be before hand with Philistims to offer in thy miserie, yet at least returne with the Samaritan, being recovered, and present something, let some Church, some Parish, some one Preacher, some few poore men be witnesses of thy thankfulnesse, and blesse God with and for thee. I shall ever su∣spect that thanksgiving, that spends it selfe in emptie words: the man truely thankefull, will make a shift to pay his Physitian, much more to praise his GOD. with hand as well as tongue. Reall thankefulnesse, is the best preservative of health: let Hezekiah lengthen Gods praises, and God will lengthen his dayes, and give him such a protection as never subject had.
Nor is it sufficient to present the Lord once, and to confine our thankefulnesse to anie one par∣ticular instance; we must, in the third place, con∣secrate our strengths and lives to God, and offer up our selves as living and acceptable sacrifices to him * that is, woe must use all our time, all our wit, all our health, * everie limbe, everie thing that hee hath folded up in our health, to the setting up of God in our hearts und lives; love him more than ever, feare him more, trust him more, pray more, reade more, heare more, do more worship, at least more purely than before in our Christian calling; Page 39and in our particular calling be more upright, constant, cheerefull, fruitfull than before, more humble, more helpfull, more mercifull, more true, just, charitable than before: in one, better Chri∣stians, better Church-men, better Common∣wealths men, better husbands, better Masters, bet∣ter parents, children, servants than before. This, this is true thankfulnesse, when we heale in soule and bodie together, when we grow in spirituall strength as well as in bodily, when wee spend all that sufficiencie upon GOD and the publique, which we have received from God; and this is the thankfulnesse which I now call you and my selfe unto, O be thus thankefull for your private safetie, and for the publique. Our prayers for London, &c. have engaged us unto thankfulnesse for them; for if we were bound to pray for them being visited, wee are bound to praise God for them being delivered: * and would the one might be as solemne as the other.
2 Now if we must be thankful for other, must we not for our selves? O my brethren, lets cast an eye towards our head Citie, & see what deso∣lations are there made; goe into some places, and there's silence: aske, where dwels such a one. and the answer will be, hee is dead: where's his wife? dead: where his children? dead: where his man, his maide? dead: who is in the house? death: and who dwels there? death: and who at next house? death: and who next that? death, death; pale death keepes shop, sits in the win∣dowes, seales up doores and holds possesion, Page 40so that none dare enter. Passe from streetes into some houses, and what see you? some children, but nor father nor mother; aske, childe where's father? gone: where's mother? gone, he knowes not whither nor how. Passe on, and see in others sad silent parents, mourning like Rachel, because their children are not: To make the matter short, doe but thinke what once their feares were, what now their griefes are for their friends, then sicke, now dead; and then come home, and say, In this common calamitie God hides our towne, there's no crying in our streetes, no rolling of bells, no tumbling of carkases, no sealing up of doores, brethren meete together in the Church, neighbours together in the fields, parents dare keep their children by them, husbands and wives live together; we be not a terror or danger one to another, but a comfort, a safeguard: O who can bee sufficiently thankfull for these mercies? why should we whine for a few wants? we lacke money, lacke corne, &c. O thou hast thy life for a prey; thou, thy wife, thy children, thy man-ser∣vant, thy maid-servant, thy kindred, thy neigh∣bours, thy cattle-live, and life is more than ray∣ment, food, money, all things under Christ. blesse God for this, and say, I am poore, but yet I live; my wife is sickly, but yet shee lives; my children weake, lame, but yet they live: whilst there's life, there's mercie; * where there's mercy, there should be thankfulnesse: the dead cannot, the living, the living, saith Hezekiah, must praise God, and that whilst living, as David speakes, Ps. 146:3.