Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...

About this Item

Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ...
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
London :: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst ...,

To the extent possible under law, the Text Creation Partnership has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above, according to the terms of the CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication ( This waiver does not extend to any page images or other supplementary files associated with this work, which may be protected by copyright or other license restrictions. Please go to for more information.

Subject terms
Christian life -- Congregational authors.
Sermons, English -- 17th century.
Cite this Item
"Four usefull discourses viz. ... / by Jer. Burroughs ..." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 21, 2024.


Page 76

A Sermon.

1 Sam. 3. the latter part of the 18th. Verse.
And he said, it is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

THese Words are the Expression of a Gracious, Humble, Submissive Heart, to Gods Dispose. The Words of Ely the Priest, who when the Hand of God was revealed against his Family, he here falls down before Him, and saith, It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

It is the Lord: Whatever the means be, that such and such sad things should fall upon my Family, yet, It is the Lord.

Let Him do what seemeth Him good. The things seem hard to me, but they may seem otherwise to God; what∣ever things seem to me, however dark they look, yet to God, things may seem after another manner; and therefore let things be done rather as they seem to God, than as they seem to me.

We have in the Words before you, these Four Do∣ctrinal Points.

[ I] The first is, That a Gracious Heart looks much to

Page 77

God in every Affliction that doth befal it: It is the Lord.

Secondly, The sight of God in an Affliction, is, [ II] That that causes a gracious Heart humbly to fall down, and to submit: It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

Thirdly, That things seem oftentimes far other∣wise [ III] to us, than they do to God; God looks upon things otherwise than we do: Then let Him do what seemeth Him good. Not what seemeth good to me, nor what seems good to others, but unto God.

Then fourthly, That this is a very Commendable [ IV] and Acceptable work, upon the first Manifestation of any Displeasure of God, presently to yield and submit without any more adoe: Not after a great deal of rig∣gling and stir, then to yield; but to yield presently▪ upon the first Manifestation against his Family, he pre∣sently falls down, and saith, It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good. These are the four Conclu∣sions in the Text, and I shall desire to go through them all, and speak to mine own Heart and yours in them: It is the Second that is the chief and main, there we shall pitch most.

But briefly of the First:

That a gracious Heart in all Afflictions, looks up [ I] to God: It is the Lord. Not this Cause, and the other Cause, or this Accident, or the other thing, that takes up his Thoughts so much, but God in it. The truth is, a Heart that is truly Gracious, loves to Converse with God in every thing. If it be a Mercy, presently the Heart gets through the Creatures, by which God bestows a Mercy, and looks up to the God of that Mercy: And so if it be Afflictions, the Heart that is Gracious, having

Page 78

some of the Divine Nature in it, presently works it's self up to God, in the 6th. of Micah, ver. 9. there's a fa∣mous Scripture for this: Saith the Prophet there, The Lords Voice crieth unto the City, and the Man of Wisdom shall see thy Name; hear ye the Rod, and who hath appointed it. The Man of Wisdom shall see thy Name: The Name of God is written upon his Rod, and where there is a Man of Wisdom, he sees the Name of God that is there written. It's a special part of the Wisdom of a Chri∣stian, to be able to see Gods Name, and to read Gods Name written upon his Rod: The Men of the World have not the skill to read the Name of God written up∣on his Rod; but it's a priviledge of the Saints, that they see Gods Name written there. It is a special part of the Worship that is due to God, the Acknowledgment of God in all his Administrations. That's Worship, when we acknowledge God in all his Providences towards us, In all thy wayes acknowledge Him; and in all His Wayes he must be acknowledged: As we must acknowledge God in all our wayes, so we must acknowledge God in all His Wayes, and thereby we come to Worship Him.

[ 2] Secondly, It's a means to compose the Heart, to strike the Heart with awful Fears and Reverence of God, when we look at Him in our Afflictions, and beyond the Creature. It is a Way to make us search and exa∣mine our Hearts, what there is between God and us; when once we take notice it's God that doth it, this presently puts the Heart upon a Scrutiny; What is there between God and my Soul? What is there between God and my Family?

And then it is a special means to put the Soul on to seek God for Help, for Assistance, for Blessing, for a Sanctified Use of what ever Affliction is upon it. There's

Page 79

a great deal of good in seeing the Lord in an Affliction, in seeing that we have to deal with Him; but the special good is, that that we shall come to in the second Point: The working of the humble submission of the Heart to God. Only for the present, let this Rebuke such who are of Carnal and Atheistical spirits, That whatever be∣fals them, look no higher than the Creatures by which God works. It's an Argument that they have little to do with God, that they know not what it is to Converse with God, that will cry out of their Afflictions: They howl upon their Beds, as the Holy Ghost saith in the 7th. of Hosea, But they seek not to Me, or turn not to Me. And such as have slight and vain hearts in the time of their Afflictions, it's a very ill thing that; for Men to think to take Courage to themselves, so as not at all to be sen∣sible of the Hand of God. God expects we should be so, though we should not have dishonoured Hearts, yet we should have precious Hearts. For when one have to deal with God in any thing, we had need be serious, the Presence of God should work our Hearts to Seri∣ousness: And therefore slightness and vanity of Spi∣rit in the day of Affliction, it is very unbeseeming. Thou doest not sanctifie the Name of God in that Admi∣nistration of His towards thee, who hast•••• vain and slight Spirit in the Day of thine Affliction? And surely that's an Argument that thou never sawest God in His Mercy, when thou doest not see him in thine Afflictions: but that thou didst enjoy Gods Mercy but in a Brutish way, when thou doest behave thy self under thine Afflicti∣ons in a Brutish way. But this shall suffice for the first.

The second, and that's the main: That the sight [ II] of the Hand of the Lord, is that that hath a great deal of Power in it, to work the Heart that is Gracious, to

Page 80

an humble submission to Him. It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

That that's here spoken of Ely, we may find mention∣ed by divers of the Servants of God in Scripture: I'll give you but only two Scriptures for it, and those are concerning David. In this Book of Sam. 15. 25. If I shall flnd favour in the Eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, (that is) the Ark and the City, and his Habitation; but if he should say, I have no delight in thee, behold, here am I, let him do to me, as seemeth good unto him. So you see how David, he looks up to God here: If I find favour in the Eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again; and if he say, I have no delight in thee, behold, here I am, let Him do what seemeth good unto him. And in the 39th. Psal. ver. 9. I was dumb, I opened not my Mouth, because thou diddest it. It was the sight of the Lord in it, that made him Dumb, and not open his Mouth: And you know what He did in the case of Shimei, when He Curst him, The Lord hath bid him, saith he. Now this Point is very large, I shall briefly propound unto you, the several Considerations from the Hand of God in an Affliction, for to quiet the Heart, and to help the Heart to sanctifie his Name.

As first ••••us, It is the Lord: It is he that is infinitely above me, above us all, and therefore He must be sub∣mitted to. It is the Great and Blessed God, that is in∣finitely above Angels, and above all Creatures that hath done it; and therefore He must be submitted to. It may may be you could not tell how to bear a Box on the Ear from an Inferiour, or an Equal, or from one a little above you: But if so be a King should be near and strike you, you could bear that; you would not be so ready to rise against him, as against an Inferiour mans

Page 81

striking of you. Why, 'Tis the Lord, that is Infinitely above us; that is the Infinite, Glorious, and Blessed God. He must be submitted to.

Yea, secondly, It is the Lord, that hath the absolute Right to us, and all that we have; more than we have to our selves, or any thing that we enjoy. It is the Lord, that hath the absolute Authority over us, to do with us what He will; you have not so much authority over a Worm under your feet, as God hath over you, and over all your Comforts; you have not so much right to kill a Fly, as the Lord hath to take away your Lives: He hath more Right a thousand thousand times over your Lives, Familie, Comforts, and all you have, than you have over the meanest Creature, He hath the absolute Right over you all. If any thing be done amiss in a Family, and the Servants be falling out one with another, and one saith you did thus and thus, and the other saith you did it, and so are wrangling one with another; now if the Master comes, and saith, Why? It was I that did it: He makes account that this should still them all, because it was he that had right to do it. Why, It is the Lord, and therefore it is not for us to stand Fretting against any means: For it is the Great, Sove∣raign Lord, that hath the absolute Power and Dominion over us.

And then, Thirdly, It is the Lord we have sinn'd against, and hath us at infinite Advantages that way: It is the Lord that we are liable unto. While we are here in this World, and carry about with us so much sin, we cannot have any serious Thoughts of God, but we must needs have Thoughts how we have sinn'd against this God, and what advantages this God hath us at, in respect of our sins. Oh! It is the Lord, that we have offended and sinn'd against.

Page 82

Fourthly, Hence it follows, It is the Lord, and there∣fore it is He; that if He hath brought a little Affliction, He may bring abundantly more if He pleases. It is He, whose Power as it is not shortned in a way of Help, so not in a way of Affliction: Hath He afflicted in one kind, He might in a hundred, if he pleased? Hath He afflicted thee in thy Estate, He might have afflicted thee in thy Bo∣dy? Hath He afflicted thee in thy Body, He might have affli∣cted thee in thy Soul? Hath He afflicted thee in thy Soul here, He might have sent thee down to Hell eternally? Is it upon any within thy Dwelling-place, it might have been upon thy self? It is the Lord that hath us under His feet. And if He bring the least evil, He might have brought as much as He pleased: He might have afflicted us abundantly more than He hath done. And this is a mighty humbling Consideration to quiet the Heart, under the Hand of God.

And then, Fifthly, It is the Lord. Why, it is the Lord that hath done all the Good that ever we have en∣joyed: It is He that hath done all Good to us. You have an Affliction, but have you no Mercies? Do you enjoy no Good? Why, from whence was it, was it not from the Lord? Shall I receive Good from the Hand of the Lord, and not Evil, saith Job. Why, even the Sa∣vage Beasts will bear strokes from them that feeds them. The very Bears will suffer the Bearherd that brings them Meat, to strike them; they will not suffer a stranger so much, but those that bring them Meat: They receive good from them, and therefore they will submit to them. Now we receive infinite Good from God, daily Good, and that's a very useful Meditation for us to consider of, in times of Affliction: There's this Good, or that par∣ticular Good taken from me, but what do I enjoy, or what

Page 83

have I enjoyed? It's a usual thing in Afflictions; to keep the sight of God from us: As the putting a thing but as big as a Two-pence upon the Eye, it will keep the sight of all the Heavens from us; and so a little Afflictions many times keeps the sight of all the Good that we do enjoy from us. But when we consider it is the Lord, the infinite Fountain of all Good, this is a mighty quiet∣ing Consideration.

Sixthly, It is the Lord: He is Just and Righteous in all his Proceedings, there's nothing but Righteousness in Him in all His Wayes: In very Faithfulness, saith David, hast thou afflicted me. It may be some affliction may come from Men, and we may think they deal Un∣righteously and Unjustly; but it is the Lord, and there is nothing but Righteousness in all His Wayes. If we should think, Why, these afflictions, they fall upon me, and such and such, they escape. You must not reason so, It is the Lord, and therefore it is Righteous. You think it might be better thus and thus, but it is the Lord, that is Just and Righteous in all His Proceedings, and in all His Wayes. Yea,

Seventhly, As Righteous, so infinitely Wise: He is Infinitely Wise, and so knows how to Order things in the best way that may be; He knows what's fittest both for us, and for His own Glory: We are poor weak Crea∣tures, but it's the Lord that sees Infinitely beyond us.

Eightly, It is the Lord, that hath alwayes very Holy ends; in all His Dealings He hath Holy ends, and Aims at Great and Holy things, though perhaps we know them not; and therefore He is to do whatsoever He will. We use to say of a Man, if we see him to be a Wise and Understanding man, yea, a Just man, and to be a man that doth all things alwayes from good Principles, and for good

Page 84

Ends, let him alone, though we do not understand what he is doing, yet let him alone, he knows what he doth: It is the Lord, let Him alone in His work, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

Ninthly, It is the Lord, and He is able to bring good out of the greatest evils, to bring light out of darkness; yea, to bring the greatest good out of the greatest evils. I verily believe, that many of the People of God have found it so, That the greatest Blessings that ever they have had since they were born, have been Ushered in by the greatest Afflictions. Certainly, as the Lord would not suffer sin in the World, were it not for His Infinite Power, to bring about Good from the sins of men; so neither would He suffer Afflictions in the World to His Saints, but that He knows He hath Power enough to bring good to them, even out of their greatest Afflictions. It is the Lord, that hath this Power. One would be loath to trust ones self with one in any Danger, that cannot tell how to bring him out again: You would be loath to see your Child held over the Water by another little Child, or over a Fire; but if a strong Man hath your Child in his Arms, and holds it over the Water, and you know him to be your loving Friend, it troubles you not at all: Why? Because you know he hath strength enough to keep your Child from the Danger. Why, It's the Lord, that though He holds his Children over Fire or Water, and brings them into Fear and Af∣flictions; yet He hath Power enough not only to preserve them, but to bring a great deal of Good out of all, and therefore let Him do what seemeth Him good.

Tenthly, It is the Lord, therefore submit to Him, for His Counsel must stand, and His Work must go on, there's no striving with the Almighty: Are we greater

Page 85

than He? No: Instead of striving, let there be sub∣mitting and yielding.

Eleventhly, Yea, and further, It is the Lord, and there∣fore He is worthy that His Designs should be brought about, though we should be ruined: There is such infi∣nite Excellency in this God (as I say) He is worthy to have his own Designs brought about, and his own Will fulfilled, though it be to our Ruins: Doth God think man so excellent a Creature, as that He shall give thou∣sands of other Creatures for to help him, with the loss of their own Lives? And shall not we think the Lord to be Infinitely worthy, if He have use of our Lives, or Liberties, or Names, or any thing; that He should not have all, to bring about his Designs withal? O, he is worthy, and therefore let Him do what seemeth Him good. If so be he will raise up any building of his in our ruins, we should be willing to be serviceable to God in it; we should be willing to lie down and let all that we have go, that may be any way serviceable to God in his designs; for the Lord is worthy.

These Considerations may be very useful to help you in the day of Affliction, to meditate of God; and so to work your hearts to an humble submission: but especi∣ally if you add this one more.

Twelfthly, When you do not onely see him to be Jeho∣vah, the Lord; but if you can see that you have any interest in him, as that he is the Lord your God; this is of mighty power to quiet the heart: as if he be your God, why then he is in Covenant with you, and if he be in Covenant with you, then he hath engaged all his Wisdom, and all his Power, and all his Mercy, for to be working eternally for your good; and that's more than a meer consideration that it is the Lord; and that he is above us, and just and holy,

Page 86

and that it is in vain not to submit unto Him. But it is the Lord that is in Covenant with me, and in that Covenant he hath engaged all his Power and Wisdom, and Mercy and Goodness for me. Did we but understand what the Covenant of God in Jesus Christ was, that he hath taken his Servants into; O then this thought, It is the Lord in Covenant with me, would be enough to enable us to resign up our selves wholly to his dispose.

Thirteenthly, Yea, 'Tis the Lord that is our Father. You know what Christ saith, Shall I not drink the Cup that my Father giveth me to drink. That was the Argu∣ment of Christ: O that this were in all our thoughts at all times, when any thing, though it be never so grie∣vous, befals us, Shall I not drink the Cup that my Father giveth me to drink? Whatsoever it be, if it comes out of a Fathers hand, why let Him do what seemeth him good. You know when Christ came to the Disciples walking up∣on the waters, and the Disciples were afraid; Be not a∣fraid, 'tis I; saith Christ. They were troubled at it, and thought that one came as an Enemy to do them hurt; but be not afraid, 'tis I; saith Christ. So my Brethren, we should look in all afflictions to see who it is that comes; we apprehend an Enemy coming, but now those that are godly, they may look upon him that comes as God, Be not afraid, saith the Lord, it is I; It's I that am re∣concil'd to you in my Son. Upon this the soul may with abundance of sweetness and comfort, go to God in Prayer, and open it self to God; having an interest in him. You know, If a great Dog should come with full mouth upon one, why indeed, if so be that he that comes to a house be a thief, he hath cause to fear; but if he be a Child, he can call to his Father, the Master of the house, Take off your Dog. So when afflictions come

Page 87

to the wicked, they come with open devouring mouth, and they have cause to be afraid; but those that have in∣terest in God, may go with freedom unto God in pray∣er, and cry to the Lord to take off the dog, the afflicti∣on; to keep it that it should do them no hurt at least. It is the Lord.

Object. I but you will say, That though it be the Lord, yet it's this indeed that rather makes my affliction the greater; to consider it comes from God: The thought that it's God in it strikes terror; because I am conscious of sin against God. It is an affliction that comes for my sin, and therefore I see the displeasure of God in it; and this makes it more grievous. I would rather bear any thing from a creature, than to bear the displeasure of God in a creature; that's that that is the greatest stick of all, and therefore every time I think it is the Lord, it rather adds to mine affliction.

Answ. To that I answer, First, It's true, many men that think that all is well between God and them in the time of their health and prosperity, yet when afflicti∣on comes, God appears to them, and they look upon God as an Enemy; this is dreadful: It's a fearful thing when God is a terror to a man in the day of Calamity. You know what Jeremy saith Jer. 17. 17. Be not thou a terror to me, O Lord, for thou art my hope in the day of evil. If the soul may have God to be the hope of it in the day of evil, there's no evil terrible; but if God be a terror then too, and write bitter things against the soul in the time of affliction, that's dreadful.

But yet suppose thou seest God, even as an Enemy coming against thee; yet the consideration that it is the Lord, should make thee submit at least: For it is time for thee then to submit, if so be that God as an Enemy

Page 88

appears against thee: It's time for thee to make haste to make thy peace with God, yea, and thou hast the more cause to bless God, that he hath not destroyed thee. What, dost thou apprehend God as an Enemy? O then, it's infinite Mercy thou art not destroyed. Certainly, if He be an Enemy to thee now, He was an Enemy before; only we are ready to judge according to present Admi∣nistration. But this is certain, If God be an Enemy now, He was an Enemy all the time thou hadst thy Health, and wast in thy uttermost Prosperity; it's time for thee then to fall down, and make peace. And what infinite cause hast thou to wonder, that thou art not ut∣terly destroyed, and therefore reason to submit unto Him.

But yet it is a weakness in the Saints, and a temptation, often to judge of Gods dealings thus, and to think that every time God appears against them, as if he were in hatred: As the People of Israel, in their Murmuring Discontented Mood, He brought us out of Egypt into this Wilderness, because He hated us; say they. O, this was wicked, and displeased God exceedingly. As we are not to judge of Gods Love by outward Prosperity, so not of His Hatred by outward Afflictions.

Object. 2. But though I dare not think that God comes in a way of Hatred and Enmity, yet there's a great deal of Displeasure for my sin; and it's that that makes it grievous to me.

And mark, Even this that was threatned to Ely, it was threatned for his sin, and yet he falls down and submits, and saith, It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good. Yea, and we find the Servants of God, when they apprehended God appearing against their sin, that Consideration did quiet them so much the more: In

Page 89

Mich. 7. 9. I will bear the Indignation of the Lord, be∣cause I have sinned against Him: (Because.) And that fore-named place concerning David, 2 Sam. 15. 26. where you have such a Wonderful Gracious and Humble Submission unto the Dispose of God; where he saith, If He hath no pleasure in me, let Him do what seemeth Him good. Why David was under almost as sore an Af∣fliction as a man could be under, and it was for his sin too: Yea, it was for a great sin, it was for his sin of Un∣cleanness, and his sin of Murder, that he was sain to flie for his Life, even before his own Son. It was as sore and hard an Affliction, and there was as much of the sting of the guilt of sin in it, as any Affliction of any of the Peo∣ple of God, that ever we read of: And yet how hum∣bly he submits, If he saith I have no delight in him, be∣hold, here I am, let him do what seemeth him good.

However, there is a vain Conceit abroad in the World, as if God chastised not his People for sin at all: Yet certainly, the People of God, that walk close with God, they find there is a Chastisement, and a Fatherly Dis∣pleasure, though not the Revenge of a Judge. And certainly, there can be no Argument taken from the ab∣solute satisfaction of Christ, to prove that there is no Chastisement for sin; for Christ did satisfie as fully for David and Ely, that were under the Law: They had the satisfaction of Christ perfect as well as you. Would it have been (do you think) a good Argument then, That if God Chastised for sin, he did not do justly, because Christ satisfied Gods Justice: Why did not Christ satis∣fie Gods Justice then? It was not a good Argument then, certainly it is not so now: And for the New Testament, You are Chastised of the Lord, that you might not be Con∣demned with the World, 1 Cor. 11. 32. But I'll give

Page 90

you one other Scripture, and that is is the Epistle of James 5. 14, 15. Is any sick among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, &c. The Prayer of Faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Here the Apostle writes to the Saints, and speaks of Godly People, and speaks of them indefinitely: If any of them, if the most Godly in all the Church were sick, why, saith he, let him send for the Elders and let them Pray; and if he hath committed sins, then they shall be forgiven him. So that any of the Saints may be in such a condition, as they may be Affli∣cted, and Afflicted for their sin; If they have sinned, then they shall be forgiven. To make this Supposition, and yet that this shall be a Truth, That it's impossible for any Godly People to be Afflicted for their sin, were a Contradiction: For to say thus, If any Godly Peo∣ple be sick, let them take this Course, let them send for the Elders, and let them pray; and if they have com∣mitted sin, it shall be forgiven them. And yet the other to stand true, That no Godly People can be Afflicted for their sin: Certainly, these two cannot stand toge∣ther,

You will say, If they have committed sin, it shall be forgiven: Was it not forgiven before?

True, they are forgiven in respect of Gods eternal Wrath, or in respect of the Guilt that binds them over to the satisfying of Revenging Justice: They are forgi∣ven that, but they are not so forgiven, but that they need a Fatherly forgiveness still. Christ hath taken away already at first the Revenge of a Judge, but He hath not taken away all Fatherly Displeasure by his satisfying; For that's not at all to satisfie Justice: But God doth

Page 91

reserve this to himself, to deal with them as a Father. Indeed, through Christs satisfying, God will never deal with his People as a Judge to Revenge; but this doth not put them out of his way of dealing with them as a Father, and they have need of Fatherly forgiveness still. And this is that that Christ teaches every one to pray; Forgive us our sins, forgive us our Trespasses. Some other Pleas and Objections may be made, but I shall ra∣ther hasten to the Use of the Point.

Is the sight of God that, that should cause us humbly to submit? O let what hath been said in these several Considerations, serve to rebuke our Impatiency, our Fretting, and sinking Discouragements. Who art thou? And what art thou, that thou shouldest keep a stir un∣der any hand of God? Do not say, It is so great, and if it were any other Affliction, I would bear it; it is not for thee to choose thy Rod: And thou canst not speak more of thy Affliction, than David might have done of his: And therefore whatever thy thoughts may be, be humbled before God, that thou hast had any kind of Murmuring, or Impatience under the Hand of God, any stirrings that way: Who art thou, that thou must not be dealt withal, so as God hath dealt with others of his Saints before, or as he doth deal with any others now? There's a notable Scripture; O that it might have but such an effect as it had on Job! Compare these two in the Book of Job, Job 38. 2. Who is this that darkneth Counsel by words without Knowledge. The Lord saith thus to Job: Who is this whose heart doth fret and is so impatient, who is it? Mark now afterwards, if you read the Scrip∣ture, from this place till you come to Chap. 42. you shall find that God is Manifesting himself there, and Reveal∣ing himself in his Glory and Righteousness to Job: Now

Page 92

in the 3d. verse, Job takes up the very words to himself, that God had before spoken: Saith Job, Who is he that hideth Counsel without Knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not, things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. God he saith, Who is this that uttereth words without knowledge? And then he shews himself; Look upon me, is it not I that have done it? Then Job saw that it was God that did it. I have meddled with things that I understood not, I have troubled my self like a Fool in things that I did not understand: O foolish wretched heart that I have! And then afterwards he saith, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the Ear, but now mine Eye seeth thee; wherefore I abhor my self, and re∣pent in Dust and Ashes. As if he should say, I'll never be Impatient more, I'll never have any risings of heart more against any of thy dealings towards me: For, Lord, now I see that I heard of thee; before I could have said, All things come by the Providence of God: I could have said so, I, but now mine Eyes see thee, I have the sight of that Glorious, Infinite Majesty of thine, that art so infinitely Great, Blessed, and Holy; and therefore now I abhor my self in Dust and Ashes: Let become of me what will, I have learned for ever to san∣ctifie that Holy Name of thine, It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.

And therefore by way of Exhortation: O my Bre∣thren, I beseech you apply these things unto your selves: In some of your Thoughts (it seems) I have been as Dead, hear then somewhat that I am this day to say to you; as you know Dives said, If one come from the Dead, they will hear him. Here what I have to say to you from this Point.

First, O let this sinck into your hearts, as if one

Page 93

should come from the Dead to speak it to you, namely this, That God is so infinitely worthy of Honour from you, that you should be at a point, whether you Honour him either in the enjoyment of Mercy, or suffering of Affli∣ction, it's no great matter: The Honour of God should be so dear to you, and you should so much love him, your hearts should be so much with God, as you should leave it wholly to himself, which way he would be Ho∣noured by you. Surely, though we think we have a Love to God, and we would Honour him, yet our Love to God, and desire to Honour him, is very little; If so be that we do not wholly resign up our selves to him, to do in us and by us as he will: then indeed, is the heart right. And this is Honouring God as a God, when there is a full yielding up of the heart, and when it is in a manner indifferent what way God will take. Then your hearts are come to a right frame.

Secondly, The second thing that I would say to you, is this, That there is so great evil in sin (and O that God would make it take as great an Impression upon you, as if one from the Dead spake it) as the least stopping one in the way of sin, the least abating the power of sin hath so much good in it, as it's enough to countervail the greatest evil in the greatest Afflictions in the World. O this Principle would be of mighty use in the hearts of People, when any Affliction doth befal them or their Family; but doth God by this (at least) stop me in any way of sin? Doth not God by this, some way, or other, help me against some sin? O then, the Affliction is well paid for. I have now a greater good abundant∣ly, than the evil of the Affliction comes to; There was a little bitter, but here's a great deal more sweet.

Thirdly, There is more good in any Exercise of any

Page 94

Grace, than there is evil in the bearing of any Afflicti∣on: If God doth bring an Affliction but for the Exercise of any Grace, or for the stirring up thy heart but to look towards him, there may be more good in that, then there is evil in any Affliction. Perhaps thou art go∣ing up and down muddling in the World, and thy Thoughts were but little upon him before; why if by Afflictions thou comest but to look after God, his is a greater good than the evil of the Affliction comes to. But if God Blesses thee so as thou comest to Exercise Grace in it, Humility, Patience, Self-denial, Faith; O here thine Affliction is abundantly made up: Oh! la∣bour therefore upon the Consideration of this, that It is the Lord, to submit humbly to him; this is acceptable to God. Suppose you have two Children that were sick, it may be one he riggles and keeps a stir, and will take no∣thing that you give him; but now you have another Child lies, and he is sick too, and he saith, Father, Mother, I'll do what you will have me, I'll take what you will give me, do but tell me what you would have done, I'll presently do it; though it be never so grievous and bit∣ter, I'll take it. Now would it not make your hearts relent towards such a Child, that should be so yieldable, will lie this way, or that way, take this thing, or that thing, and all because it comes from a Father: If the Child should say to you, It's true, I am Sick and Ill, but I know you love me, and know what's better for me than I do, and therefore I'll take it: Would not this be very acceptable? O this it is which the Lord accepts, when his Children do behave themselves so under his Af∣cting Hand.

And my Brethren, This further helps against a great many Temptations: When Job did but say this, The

Page 95

Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, let Him do what seemeth Him good. The Devil saw his hopes gone, then his hopes of doing that hurt and mischief that he intend∣ed was gone. O the heart is in a safe condition, that is thus submissive unto God: Others that have Fretting Impatient hearts, are subject to abundance of Tempta∣tions, but the danger of Temptation is over, when thy heart comes to this.

And this will make the Affliction very easie unto thee, when thou bringest thy heart to this: It may be others may think that's very sore and hard with thee, I, but thou findest it very easie, abundance of sweetness comes in with this: Yea, I appeal to the Experience of the Saints, that knows but what this means; Whether ever had you more Comfort in all your Lives, than at that time when you have been most Afflicted, and yet brought your hearts to this Temper and Disposition. O there∣fore learn to work these things upon your hearts. It's an easie matter for Men and Women to speak these things, but to have the effectual working of these things upon the heart, that's not so easie: To sanctifie Gods Name in the Fire. Carnal hearts, they have many poor things to help themselves in their Afflictions: They say this, It is my ill Fortune this befel me; and another saith this, This befals all Men, one or other, it's common: Others say thus, We must, we cannot help it, and we must submit to it. Another thinks thus, Why, I hope, it will be over. These are poor Reasonings to work upon the heart, in the day of Affliction: But now a gra∣cious heart should get up higher above all these; It is the Lord, and there look into the Counsels of God, and seek to know the Mind of God, and to sanctifie the Name of God. O, Grace (my Brethren) hath many

Page 96

Excellencies in it; but among other things, this is not the least, That it hath such a mighty Power to help Men in the day of their Affliction; a mighty Power to sweeten the heart, and to take away the sting and evil of all Af∣flictions, and to carry the Soul on comfortably in the time of all Dangers and Trials. O labour to have this wrought upon your hearts! For by this you will ma∣nifest much Beauty in Grace, much Excellency in Grace; it will be a means to Convince all that are about you. All those that profess Godliness, should labour to be∣have themselves so as to do that that others cannot do in the time of Affliction: They should then shew what Grace can do. As David in another Case, said to the King of Achish, Thou shalt see what thy Servant can do. So now in the time of Affliction, a gracious heart should put it to this; Come let's see what Grace can do. And certainly, this will be the way for removing of Afflicti∣ons sooner, when the heart is brought thus to yield unto the Lord: Wherefore that you may bring your hearts to this in the day of your Affliction, labour in the con∣stant Course of your Life, to Converse much with God. Those that walk with God (according to the Text that you know I am upon) and Converse much with God in the day of their Health, why their hearts will in a kind of Natural-way, work up to God in the time of Affliction; then the Thoughts of God will be as suita∣ble to thee, as Fire is to Fire: Fire ascends up to Fire, because of the suitableness of the Fire that is here, to that that is above. Why so the heart will work up to God in a kind of Natural-way, because God is so suita∣ble to the heart, the heart having so much Converse with God in the day of Prosperity.

And labour throughly to Convince your hearts of this

Page 97

thing, That there is no Good in any Creature, but only in the Reference that it hath to God: There is no Good in Health, in Liberty, in your Names, in your Lives, in your Estates, any further than they have some Refe∣rence to God, the infinite first Good, the chief and high Good. It's an easie matter in a way of Reason, to Con∣vince any one that this is a Truth. But now to have this Principle indeed wrought upon your heart, not only to say so in a way of Arguing, but I account in my Soul of no good in any thing further, than it hath reference to God. As now, I have for the present Health of Bo∣dy: Where doth the good of the Health of my Body lie? It is, That while I have Health, I have Ability to serve God, and be useful in the place where God hath set me. I have an Estate, Wherein lies the good of it? It lies in this, That by this I may be Instrumental for God, more than others. If I Live, Wherein lies the good of Life? Why that I may be useful to the Church, in the way wherein God hath set me. Now when the heart is principled in this, then if God takes away my Health then it seems God hath no further use of my Health for the present, but would rather Honour Himself in ano∣ther way upon me; why now there is no good in my Health. And if God take away my Estate, then he would rather Honour Himself in the exercise of my Humility, and of my Patience. If God takes away my Life, then God will rather have His Honour from my Soul, to joyn with Angels and Saints, in Honouring of Him that way, rather than in Imploying of me any further in this World. Such a Principle as this is, would mightily help the heart in the day of Affliction.

Certainly our Happiness doth not depend upon what we have here in this World: The reason why the heart

Page 98

is so troubled in the time of Affliction, it is because of this, That Men and Women look upon their Happiness to consist in the enjoyment of these things: O no, thou Dishonourest the Name of Christ, and thy holy Profes∣sion, to think that thy Happiness should depend upon such poor things as these are. Surely, Jesus Christ hath not come to shed His Blood, and to purchase Happiness for the Saints; and when all comes too, it should be so poor as to depend upon all the uncertainty that we have in this World: No, no, thy Happiness lies hihger, Thy Life is hid with Christ in God. If a man hath a Jewel worth many Thousands, and his House should be on Fire, why though he loses the Lumber and Stuff in the House, yet if he be sure the Jewel is safe, he is quiet. Now the Saints they may be sure that they are safe for Eternity, and therefore it is not much what other things be. Oh consider of these things, and work them upon your hearts. That's the Second Point.

But a word or two of the other, that is: That that which seems ill to us, may seem good to God. It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good. Cer∣tainly, for the present it did not seem very good to Ely: If that Ely's judgement had been askt of those things, Ely would have said, that they had been very sad. I, but as I remember, Luther once said, when he was Con∣demn'd and Rail'd upon at Noremberg, saith he, There's one thing Concluded at Noremberg, and another thing Concluded in Heaven: In Heaven there's not the same Judgment of my Cause, as at Noremberg. And so it may be said concerning Affliction, There's one thing many times Concluded in my Wretched, Weak, Foolish, and Unbelieveing Heart; and another thing in Heaven: One thing concluded in the world, and in mens rumours;

Page 99

and another thing in Heaven. It's some comfort to a man though he hears rumours abroad in the world, if then he can have his own heart to contradict them. If he had no∣thing else to think but this, Well that that's spoken in the World is one thing, and that that I find in my heart is another; that's comfortable: But this is greater com∣fort, Thou art my portion, saith my Soul; saith the Church in the Book of the Lamentations; as if she should say, Well, the temptation saith that God hath left me, the Devil saith thus; I but thou art my portion, saith my Soul: That was comfortable. If so be that God speaks peace, it's more than if our own Souls speaks peace: Thou shalt choose our inheritance: Thy choice is better then our own. If we had alwayes what's good in our own Eyes, wo were to us, we were undone. You would not think it, but certainly it is as heavy a judg∣ment as can befal one in this world; that God should say, You shall do and you shall have what is good in your own eyes. Suppose that God should say but this morn∣ing concerning every one of you, Well, you shall henc∣forward have whatsoever is good in your own Eyes. why you would think that you might go away and be glad of this; Glad, you had cause of going away with ringing of Hands, and howling and crying, if God should say thus, concerning any of you. O no, it's better that our Lives, Liberties, Estates, Comforts, Happiness, and all be in Gods Hands than our own, to be disposed of so as seemeth good in Gods Eyes, rather than to be disposed of so as seemeth good in our own Eyes. I ve∣rily believe that many of you may be able to look back to the providences of God towards you, and to say, That suppose God had Twenty years ago said to me, I'll give you leave to dispose of your selves as you would:

Page 100

O many may be able to say, They certainly could never have disposed so well of themselves as God hath: And they would be loath to go back again to the Twenty years past, though they should begin and have liberty to dispose of themselves as they please: In Heb. 12. 11. saith the Apostle there, No Affliction for the present seemeth Joyous to us but Grievous, but afterwards, saith the Text, it works thus and thus. I, but things do seem to God as they are present alwayes, but they do not seem so to us till afterwards. After the Affliction is over then they seem good to us, but they seem good to God at the very present. We judge things by the outward appearance, but God judges things according to what they are. Things seem to us according as they either make for or against our outward good, we are led so much by sense: But they seem to God according as they are for or against his Glory and the last good of all. They seem good or ill to us according as they are for or a∣gainst some particular good; if they strike at such a particular we judge by particulars: But now, God he judges things by the proportion they have to the gene∣ral, to all things at once. It's that that makes us to give very wrong Judgment of things when we look but to particulars, and do not compare one with another, and raise a Judgment upon things all things considered. So God doth, God doth not so much look at things how they are in reference to this or the other good; but how things are in reference to all together in the general. We know some things may cross some parti∣cular, but they may be useful to another. Now that thats good in the general doth seem good to God, though it may go cross to some particular.

And then further, We look at things but just as they

Page 101

appear present to us, but now God looks upon things as they shall be a great while hence: God is working that that we shall not understand perhaps in our lives; or working in his Administrations towards us, some thing that he intends shall come to pass a great while hence, so that if they come to pass in our Lives, yet we shall not have the fruit of them for many years. God He looks a great way off.

Wherefore learn by this, Not to be too Sudden, nor so Peremptory, in the judging of Gods Administrations: Why? Why because whatever they may seem to you, they may seem otherwise to God; stay till you know Gods Judgment about them. As you, if you have any Wisdom, when you hear of strange Rumours, if you know that there be any that knows the thing better than you, you will not give a judgment upon it; till you have the judgment of such and such, that you know may under∣stand it better than your self. So in the Wayes of God towards us, Let not us presently give a Judgment upon those things, but let us stay first till we have the Mind of God. O let's learn to resign up our Judgments to Gods, and let Him Judge.

Neither let us trouble our selves about other mens Judgments. As things seem otherwise to God than to us, so they seem otherwise to God than to other men. As we should not trust too much to the judgments of our own hearts, so we should not be so much troubled at other mens Judgments. For whatever they think, still it is otherwise in Gods account. Men, they will say, 'tis for this Cause, and the other Cause, and the like; but it's otherwise concluded in Heaven. And that's the Third Point.

The last should have been this, That 'tis not enough

Page 102

for Christians after a great deal of ado, to submit to God; that is, after the Affliction hath been upon them a great while, and when they see they cannot help them∣selves; then to begin to have thoughts of yielding to God. It's well that they do it at last: O, but it's more com∣mendable a great deal, if we do it at first. At what in∣stant God strikes, presently for the heart to come in and yield. As it is a most excellent thing to yield to Gods Word when God first speaks, upon the least intimation of Gods Will; O this is acceptable unto God. For those that are young ones, the first time they come to hear the Word; or if not the first time they come to hear it, yet the first time God speaks to their hearts; the very first word that speaks, presently for them to yield, it's a most excellent thing. So in the time of Affliction, for the heart to bow and submit presently to God: O this is an Argument of much cleanness that there is in the heart, that the heart is very clean, that there is not much Cor∣ruption there; for then there would be a standing out against God, and it would manifest it self in time of Af∣fliction. As we know where there is Corruption in the Body it will manifest it self, if it come to endure Hard∣ship; so it is with the Soul, &c.

And it argues much Grace, as little Corruption. So there is strength of Grace that can make the Heart bow presently to God. When Grace reigns in the Heart; when Grace can say Come, and the Soul comes; Go, and it goes; when Grace can say, This is the Administration of God towards you; and now you must work thus, and presently the Soul doth it. It should not be enough to us, that we hope that we have that Grace, which possibly may bring us to Heaven at last: but we should labour to have that Grace that may reign in the Heart

Page 103

now, and bring all into a due Order. As in a Family, when the Governors are Wise, you shall have them, if there be but the least Disturbance, speak but a word, and all is quiet: And you shall have other Families, that where the Reins of Government are loose, if there be but a little Disturbance, it grows more and more, and to such a height, that it's tedious for one that hath a quiet Spirit, to be in the Family: and so it is in the Heart, though the best hath some Disturbance. But now where Grace Rules and Governs, it stills all presently, without any great ado: But now in other men, though they have some Grace, yet if the Heart begins to be in a Disturbance, it's a long time before it can be quieted.

My Brethren, I have gone through these Points brief∣ly, and you will say, 'Tis a harder thing to do this, than to speak it. It's true, it is, yet some of the Saints have done it: They have through the Mercy of God, been brought to these things that have been spoken, and it's possible to be done: Some have attained it, and there is strength enough in Christ, for the weakest to attain it: And He delights as much to Communicate His strength in helping of His poor Servants in the times of Affliction, as at any time.

Consider what hath been said in these several Truths, and lay them up against the Day of your Affliction, that you may say, It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.


Do you have questions about this content? Need to report a problem? Please contact us.