A PATTERNE for all, especially for Noble and Honourable Persons, To teach them how to die Nobly and Honourably. Delivered in a SERMON Preached at the solemne interment of the corps OF THE Right Honourable ROBERT EARLE of Warwick. Who aged 70 died April 19. And was Honorably buried, May 1. 1658. At Felsted in Essex.
By Edmund Calamy B. D. and Pastor of the Church at Aldermanbury.
Psal. 82. 6, 7.
I said, Ye are Gods, and all of you are children of the most High, but you shall dye like men, and fall like one of the Princes.
Rev. 14. 13.
I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, &c.
Illius est nolle mori, qui nolit ire ad Christum. Aug.
Nobilitas sola est atque unica virtus.
De imperatore Theodosio fertur magis se gaudere quod membrum Ecclesia Dei esset, quam caput imperii. Aug.
Ultima verba morientis Grynnaei.
LONDON, Printed for Edward Brewster, at the Crane in Pauls Church-yard. 1658.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE ROBERT EARLE of WARWICK, Baron of Leeze.
THe noble favours which I recei∣ved from your deceased father, are so many, that I can never sufficiently expresse them, and (I hope) shall never be so ungrate∣ful as to forget them. The chief∣est requital I can now make for them, is to pray for your Lordship, That as you are his heire, and inherit his estate, so you may also inherit his vir∣tues; And that whatsoever was good in him, may live in you.
For as it is a happinesse, when a sonne is de∣scended from religious Ancestors (he being here∣by made partaker of their good counsels, prayers,Page [unnumbered] and pious examples) so also it is an invaluable blessing, when a father hath religious and virtuous*children. It was a sad complaint of Augustus, O that I had lived a Bachelor, or dyed childlesse! And concerning Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, that he had been perfectly happy, had he not begotten such a wicked sonne as Commodus was. And that he did injure his country in nothing, but in be∣ing the father of such an ungodly child,
Some children are blots and blemishes to their Parents, as Manasseh was to Hezekiah. My prayer for your Lordship is, that you may be an honour, glory, and crown of rejoycing to your Family, and by your godly and virtuous life make your Father (though dead) to enjoy a kind of happiness upon earth while you live. And that you may embalme his memory to posterity by the spices, and sweet odours of your godly life, and conversation.
It ought not to be forgotten, but for ever to be remembred, That your Lordship may not unfitly be called the Lords Passeover. For when he took away by death your only sonne and heire, he passed over you, and instead of the FatherPage [unnumbered] took to himselfe the Grand-father. This re∣markable Providence is alone sufficient to teach you to pass the time of your sojourning here in*feare; and to purge out the old leaven of sinne and iniquitie, that you may be a new lump of sincerity and truth; and thereby have an undoubted interest*in Christ your Passeover, who was sacrificed for you.
This ensuing Sermon was preached at your Fathers funeral, and it is now dedicated to your Lordship as yours by birth-right, and by many other obligations. It will much conduce (if put in practice) for the encouraging of you in wayes of holiness, and righteousness. For it teacheth wherein true Nobility doth consist, and that nothing makes a man truely noble, but pie∣tie, and godlinesse. Sinne defiles a person and makes him vile and loathsome, though otherwise never so honourable. David calls a sinner a *vile person, and his sonne Solomon calls him a loathsome person. Antiochus the great because *of his wickednesse, is stiled by Daniel a vile per∣son. Sinne makes us not only like unto dogs,*vipers, and swine, but unto devils: Nay, Sin makes us devils. Christ himselfe calls Judas a devil: and saith, Revelations•. 10. The devil *Page [unnumbered] shall cast some of you into prison, &c. mea∣ning thereby wicked and devilish men. He that is a slave to his lusts is base, and ignoble though a King or Emperour. Nobilitie with∣out virtue is but as a scarlet roabe upon a leaprous body. A true Christian is of a noble extraction. He is the adopted Sonne of God, brother to Jesus Christ, heire of God, and co-heire with Christ. He is partaker of the divine nature, and without all controversie the Noblest man in the world. The Lord give you grace to believe this, that as you are nobly borne in reference to your earthly extraction, so you may be borne from above, and borne of God in reference to your heavenly ori∣ginal.
This Sermon will likewise instruct your Lord∣ship how to dye nobly and honourably. And that is, to dye in the faith. He that dyes in his sinnes, must of necessity be condemned for his sinnes: but he that dyes with a true faith in Jesus Christ, shall cer∣tainly live for ever in heaven with Christ. It will teach you to build your Sepulchre in your earth∣ly Paradises, and in the midst of your pleasures to remember your latter end. This will be a golden bridle to keep you from unlawful, and to mode∣rate the use of lawful pleasures. It sets before you Page [unnumbered] a double patterne for your imitation. The lives of the ancient and religious Patriarcks, and many commendable, and praise-worthy things in your Fathers life. And if your Lordship will endeavour to write after these excellent copies and live as they lived, you will be happy both in life and death, which that you may be, is, and shall be the prayer of
Your humble servant in Christ Jesus. EDMUND CALAMY.
A SERMON Preached at the Funeral OF THE Right Honourable ROBERT EARLE of WARWICK.
Heb. 11. 13.
THese words are a description of the constancy and perseverance of the Old Testament Saints in holinesse, notwithstanding all the difficulties and discouragements they met with. They did not only live in the faith, but they continued in it till death, and dyed in the same faith in which they lived. All these dyed in the faith.
In the words we have two parts. First, The persons mentioned. Secondly, The things mentioned concern∣ing these persons.
1. The persons mentioned, these all. That is, (as some would have it) all the forementioned Saints, Abel,Page 2Noah, Abraham, Sarah, &c. (except Enoch who dyed not, and yet continued in the faith, and in that faith was taken up) These all. But I conceive that the Holy Ghost*principally and directly, intends only such of the fore∣named Saints, who were heirs of the land of promise, and sojourned in Canaan as in a strange Country. These all. That is, all those who lived in the second world after the flood, Abraham, and Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob; the Hus∣band, and the Wife; the Father, the Son, and the Grand∣child. These all.
2. The things mentioned concerning these persons.
1. It is said they dyed. These all dyed〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Though they lived long, and many score of years longer than we now do, yet they dyed at last. Though they were very godly, and religious persons, though very noble, and honourable persons, yet they dyed. These all dyed.
2. It is said, That they dyed in faith,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. They died according to the faith in which they lived, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is here put for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as ver. 9. 11, 17. *They died according to the faith; that is, in the faith, in •ide, seu •ide, seu per fidem. If you would know what this faith was in which they died, you must take notice of what followeth in the text—not having received the pro∣mises, but having seen them afar off, and were perswaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that, &c. God had promised that the Messias should come of their seed, and that in him all the nations of the world*should be blessed. God had promised that he would give them the land of Canaun, and not only an earthly, but an heavenly Canuan. Now all these died, perswaded of the truth of these promises, embracing,*or (as the Greek word signifieth) kissing them. They saw them afar off, and beleeved them. Even as a MarinerPage 3 that hath been long at sea, when he *seeth afar off the desired haven, claps his hands, and skips for joy. So did these holy men. By the prospective glasse of faith, they saw the performance of that which came not to passe till foure hundred years after, and rejoyced in it as if already fulfilled. They died in the faith of the Messias, beleeving not only that he * should come in the flesh, but expect∣ing salvation, and life everlasting by him only. They died perswaded of salvation by Christ, and embracing, saluting, and kissing the Lord Jesus. They died in the faith of the promised land of Canaan, and they died looking, waiting, and resting upon God in Christ for a better country, which is an heavenly, ver. 16. In *a word, they died beleeving they should go to that City which hath foundations, whose builder, and maker is God, ver. 10. This was that blessed, happy, and noble close, and end of daies which these godly and honourable Patriarks made. These all dyed in faith.
From the words thus expounded I shall gather these following inferences.
That though a man liveth never so long, yet he must die at last. These all dyed though they lived long. Abraham lived one hundred seventy five years, Isaac one hundred eightie, Jacob one hundred fourtie seven, and yet died at last. Before the flood, some lived seven Page 4 hundred, others eight hundred, others nine hundred years▪ but it is added as the common Epitaph of them all, Mortuus est, he dyed, Gen. 5. 8, 14, 17, 20, 31. Death is the haven of every man, whether King, or beggar, rich, or poor.*Death is the gulfe which will swallow us all up. Length of time cannot pre∣scribe against death. The longest day will have a night, and the longest life a death. This life is nothing else but prolixitas mortis (as one saith) or tendentia ad mortem. A lingring kind of death, or a pacing, or journeying to death. Some have a longer journy than others, but all must come to their journies end at last. There is a statute in heaven for it, Heb. 9. 27. It is appointed for all men once to dye. And death is called the house appointed for all living, Job 30. 23. And the way of all the earth, 1 King. 2. 2. All flesh is grass, Isa. 40. 6.
* Now then, if they who lived so long died at last, much more must we, who are dwarfes in years in comparison of them, and who are nearer death when first borne, than some of them were when an hundred years old. Let me beseech you frequently, solemnly, and seriously to consider, That though we live never so long and labour by physick, and temperate diet, and wholesome aire to prolong our lives, yet we must die at last. As the King of Persia told Con∣stantine*the Emperour, when he had shewed him all the wealth of Rome; These are indeed (saith he) wonderful things which you shew me, but I plainiy see, that as in Persia, so in Rome also men are subject to death. For dust we all are and to dust we must all returne. We must say to corruption thou art my Father, and to the worme, thou art my Mother and my sister. We have here no abiding City. As we had a day to come into the world, so we shall have a Page 5 day to go out of it. The nature of man is wonderful prone to dreame of an eternal abode, and of a lasting happi∣ness here upon earth. Saint Austin tells us of certain hereticks called Aeternales, because they held the world to be eternal. We have many such Eternalists, who phancy to themselves a kind of eternitie here upon earth, and are ready to say with the rich foole in the Gospel, Soul*take thy ease, eat drink and be merry, thou hast goods laid up for many years, and in the mean time forget what God said to him, Thou foole, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? It is said of wicked men, Psalm 49. 11. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations, &c. They are ashamed to utter any such thing, but their inward thought is that they shall abide for ever. Then it followeth, ver. 13. This their way is their folly, yet their posteritie approve their*sayings. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not, &c. Though he thinks he shall abide, yet neither he, nor his heires shall be continued, but he shall be like the beasts that perish. Therefore we had all need to pray Davids prayer, Lord make me to know mine end, and the measure of my dayes*what it is, that I may know how fraile I am. There are few who know practically and applicatively how fraile they are. Most men say they are mortal, magis usu quam sensu, more out of custome than feeling; for they live as if their lives were riveted upon eternitie, and as if they should never come to a reckoning.
2. That it will come very shortly. It is not long, but *we must all go down to the house of rottennesse. This life is but as an hand-breadth, as a vapor, &c. swifter than a post, and passeth away as the swift ships, and as the Eagle that hasteth to the prey, it is nothing else but a salve vale.
3. Uncertainly, as to the time when, the place where, and the manner how. Your Almanacks will tell you when the next Eclipse of the Sunne and Moone will be. But there is no Almanacks will tell you when the Eclipse of your lives will be. This comes uncertainly; And therefore *uncertainly, to provoke us to be always ready, because we know not in what hour the Son of man will come, Matth. 24. 42, 44.
4. That oftentimes it comes suddenly like a thiefe in the night, 1 Thef. 5. 2. Like an evil*net in which the fishes of the sea, and a secret snare in which the birds of the aire are suddenly caught, Eccles. 9. 12. Luk. 21. 35. Psal. 73. 19.
5. That it comes irresistibly like paine upon a woman with childe, 1 Thes. 5. 3. Death will not tarry till we be ready for it. The young man as Gregory the great relates it) when he saw he must die cried out, Inducias Domine usque ad mane, Lord tarry till to morrow; but God would not heare. Death comes unavoidably, and if it findes us unprovided, it sends us to hell without remedy. Adde to this
6. It comes but once. It is appointed for all men once to die. When once dead, no living againe to provide *better for death. And therefore we had need be careful Page 7ut semel pie moriamur (as Paraeus saith) that we may once die*well; for we cannot live again upon earth to live better.
7. That after death comes judgement, and after judge∣ment everlasting happinesse, or everlasting misery. Death is nothing else but a passage to judgement. A thorough-fare to heaven, or hell.
Did we consider these things, and consider them seri∣ously as we ought to do, it would work very many gra∣cious and most glorious effects in us. Therefore Moses saith *very emphatically: O that men were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end; and prayeth very earnestly. So teach us O Lord to number our dayes, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. The very heathens have been much in the meditation of death. Plato tells us, that true Philosophy is nothing else but a meditation of death. The Egyptians in all their great feasts had a deaths-head served in as one dish, to teach them sobrietie and temperance in eating and drinking. This meditation if sanctified will be
1. A soveraign antidote against all sin. Sume hoc reme∣dium contra omnia peccata. Would you have a preserva∣tive against all sin. Remember thy*latter end and thou shalt never do amisse. As a copy is then safest from blotting when dust is cast upon it, so are we from sinning while we remember that we are but dust. Jerusalems fil∣thiness was in her 〈◊〉, because she remembred not her latter end, Lam. 1. 9.
2. It will marvellously weane us from the love of the world. It is the Apostles argument, 1 John 2. 15, 16, 17. Love not the world, nor the things in the world;—for thePage 8world-passeth away. It passeth away as Jonas his gourd when he had most need of it; And as Absoloms mule which passed from under him, and left him hanging on the tree. To what purpose do we provide multum viatici, when we *have but parum viae; much victuals, when we have but a short journey? The like argument is used, 1 Cor. 7. 29. 30, 31.
3. It will make Jesus Christ and his righteousness very pretious to us. For it is Christ only that can unsting death, and sweeten it, and make it comfort∣able and desirable. And therefore the Apostle accounts all things dung and drosse, that he might gaine Christ and be found in him at that great day, not having his own righte∣ousnesse, *but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousuesse which is of God by faith. And St. John *saith, Blessed are the dead which dye in the Lord, for they rest from their labours, &c. He that dies in Christ, shall cer∣tainly go to Christ.
4. It will exceedingly quicken us to provide effectually, and to speed and hasten our provisions for heaven. There is nothing will more provoke us to labour for that life which never shall have an end, than the serious considerati∣on that this life will shortly have an end. These all died. This is the first inference.
The second Doctrine.
* That the best of men must die as well as the worst of *men. These all died. These godly persons died, as well as others. Abraham the Father of the faithful, and SarahPage 9 the Mother of the faithful. Godly Isaac,〈…〉Jacob. These all died. The husband, and the wife. The fa∣ther, the child, and grandchild, all godly, and yet all these died. The first that ever tasted of death was a godly man, even godly Abel. For the godly have the same principle of mortality within them which others have. They dwell*in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust. And they have the same remainders of sinne in them to make them liable to death which others have. They have idem fun∣damentum mortis, & idem demeritum.
But besides these, there are proper and peculiar reasons why the godly must die not only as well, but rather than others. For,
1. They shall never be freed from sicknesse, sorrow, and laborious employments. They shall never have all teares wiped from their eyes till they die.
2. They shall never be free from the persecutions of wicked and ungodly men, and from the temptations of the devil till they die.
3. They shall never be rid of the body of sin, till they put off the body of the flesh.
4. They shall never be perfected in grace till they die.
5. They shall never see God face to face, never be with Christ in glory till they die. They shall never be cloathed with the house which is from above, till they be uncloathed of their earthly Tabernacle. Therefore blessed be God that they must die. For if they had hope only in this life, they were of all people most miserable.
* O that I could perswade the people of God to look upon death with a paire of Scripture-spectacles. Death in it selfe considered, is the King of terrors, and of all *terrible things most terrible. It is as a fiery serpent with a biting and destroying sting. But to you that are in Page 10 Christ 〈…〉 all comfortable things most comfortable. It is as a 〈◊〉 without a sting. It is (as the brazen Ser∣pent was to the Isralites) not a hurting, but a healing Ser∣pent. It is your birth-day. The birth-day of heavens eternity. It is not an annihilation, or utter extinction of you, *but an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as the Apostle Peter calls it, A going out of Egypt into Canaan. An 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as the Apostle Paul calls it. An hoysing up (as it were) of the sailes for heaven, a letting out the soul as a bird out of the cage of the body, that it may fly to heaven. An 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 as old Simeon calls it, a departure from earth to heaven: a going from your own houses, to your Fathers house: a putting off of the ragges of mortalitie, that you may be cloathed with the robes of immortality. In a word. It is an out-let to all misery, and an in-let to perfect and perpetual happinesse. It is sepultura laborum, vitiorum & lachrymarum. The burying of all troubles, sins, and teares. When a godly man dies, homo non moritur, sed peccatum hominis. The man doth not die, but the mans sins. Nothing dies in him totally and finally but sin. For the soul doth not die at all, but goes to live with God in endlesse happiness. And the body (though turned to dust) shall rise againe unto *the resurrection of life, and be made glorious, like unto the glorious body of Jesus Christ. But the bloody issue of sin is totally and finally dried up by death in every true childe of God. Let all that feare the Lord comfort themselves against the feare of death with these considerations. This is the second inference.
* That rich, great, noble, and honourable persons must die,Page 11 as well as others. These all died. Abraham a Lord and a mighty Prince or a Prince of God, as he is called, Gen. 23. 6. One who had three hundred and eighteen trained servants in his family. Gen. 14. 14. One who was very rich in sil∣ver and gold and in cattel, Gen. 13. 2. even he died. And Isaac his Sonne and heire a person not only gr•••, but very great, even to the envy of those who dwelt near him, as it is Gen. 26. 13, 14. even he died. And so did Jacob the grandchilde, a man of honour, and great renown, one who is called a Prince, and as a Prince had power with*God and with men and prevailed over both. These all died. The Cardinal of Winchester (commonly called the rich Cardinal, who procured the death of the good Duke of Glocester in the raign of King Henry the sixth, and was shortly after struck with an incurable disease,) when he understood by his Physitians that he could not live; murmuring and repining thereat, cried out, Fie? will not death be hired? will money do nothing? must I die that have so great riches? If the whole realme of England would save my life, I am able either by policy to get it, or by riches to buy it. But yet all would not availe, to keep him from dying of the same disease. What man is he that liveth*(saith David) and shall not see death? The Hebrew is, What strong man liveth and shall not see death? shall he de∣liver his soul from the hand of the grave? What's become of Alexander the great? Pompey the great? Charles the great? Are they not all dead? This day we have a sad example before us of the death of a very great, and most Noble person. Wise men die (saith David) as well as fools, and great, as well as small. The mortal sithe (saith one) is Master of the Royal Scepter, and it moweth down the lillies of the Crown as well as the grasse of the field. These all died.
And die they must though never so unwilling. I Page 12 could tell a doleful story of a great man, who when he saw there was no remedy but he must die, cried out in a la∣mentable manner, let me live the life of a toad rather than dye. But yet he died. And of another, who when he saw he must die, caused himselfe to be carried to the place where his baggs of gold and silver were, and taking them up in his armes, and hugging them, was heard to say, must you and I part? but part they did though unwillingly. Rich men, and Noble-men must die whether willing or un∣willing.
And when they die they must carry nothing out of the *world with them. Naked they came out of their mothers wombe, and naked they must returne thither. They brought nothing into this world, and it is certaine they can carry nothing out. And therefore when a rich man dies the ordinary saying is, what hath he left behind him! for he cannot carry any thing with him. There is a famous story of Saladine the great Sultan of Egypt, who when he was dying caused his coffin to be carried thorough the campe where all his *souldiers were, with this saying, Saladinus totus Asiae Dominator ex tanto imperio tantisque opibus, &c. Saladine the great Ruler of all Asia, of all his Empire, and all his wealth carrieth nothing out of the world with him, but his coffin and his winding sheet. Death is the greatest of Levellers. It levels the mountains with the valleyes. The Skeletons and bones of great men have no inscriptions, or titles of honour put upon them. Diogenes told Alex∣ander that he could finde no difference between the bones of his Father Philip, and other mens bones. When the Chesse-men are put into the bagge they are all alike. There is no difference between the dust of an Earle, and of a beggar.
* The only use I shall make of this is, To beseech those who are great in estate and in honours to remember Page 13that they must die as well as others. Though they be as *Gods upon earth, yet they must dye like men. It is no easie matter to perswade rich and noble persons to remember their mortality. Lewis the eleventh King of France in his last sicknesse commanded his servants not to name the word Death unto him; But when he saw there was no remedy, he sent for the Holy water from Rhemes, together with Aarons rod, as they called it, and other holy reliques, thinking therewith to stop deaths mouth, and to stave him *off; but it would not be. O miser (saith one thereup∣on) hoc assidue timés quod semel faciendum est? hoc times quod in tuä manu est ne time¦as? Pietatem assume, superstitio∣nem omitte; mors tua vita erit, & quidem beata & aeterna. O miserable wretch, why doest thou daily fear that which one day must come to passe? why doest thou feare that which is in thy power not to feare? leave off thy super∣stitions, labour after true piety, and then thy death will become life, yea a most blessed and eternal life. If I be not mistaken this was one reason why Ahashueroah would *not suffer any cloathed with sackcloath to enter his Court∣gates; least his excessive mirth and jollity should be damped, and interrupted by the sad thought of death. The wise man tells us, O death how bitter is thy memory to one who hath great possessions! And indeed if the not think∣ing of death, could free you from the stroak of death, it were worth the while not to think of death. But whe∣ther you think of it, or not, death will come, and by not remembring of it your lives prove to be full of abominati∣ons, and death is made a trap-door to let you down into eternal damnation.
* And therefore let me beseech you to imitate Philip King of Macedon, who appointed a boy every morning to come to him and to say to him, Remember thou art a man and must die. And the Emperors of Constantinople, who Page 14 on their Coronation day, had a Mason appointed to present unto them certaine marble stones, using these ensuing words,
Or if you will have a Scripture-example, Let me be∣seech you to imitate that rich and great person, Joseph of*Arimathea who built his Sepulchre in his garden. In the midst of all your pleasures and pastimes remember you must shortly leave them. It was a wise speech of Charles the fifth to the Duke of Venice, who, when he had shewed him the glory of his Princely Palace, and earthly Paradise, instead of admiring it, or him for it, only returned him this grave and serious memento, Haec sunt quae faciunt nos invitos mori. These are the things which make us unwilling to die. To prevent this unwillingnesse, build your Sepulchres in your earthly Paradises, and remember that you must very shortly die, and that after death comes judgement. And that you must all appeare before the tribunal seat of Christ to give a strict and impartial account of whatsoever you*have done in the flesh, whether it be good or evil. Let great men remember, That great, and small must stand before the great God of heaven and earth at the great day of judge∣ment, and that their greatnesse will nothing at all availe them at that day. Greatnesse without goodnesse will be but as a great fagot to burne them the more in hell. They that are great in place, and greater in sin, shall have *great damnation. Where God hath bestowed great bene∣fits, if they be accompanied with great iniquities, God will Page 15 plague them with great punishments. It is said, Rev. 6. *15, 16. The Kings of the earth and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captaines, and the mightie men, &c. hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains: And said to the mountains▪ and rocks Fall on us, aud hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, &c.
Therefore let rich men labour to be righteous as well as rich, and great men to be good as well as great! for riches without righteousnesse is but as a golden jewel in a swines snout, and greatnesse without goodnesse is, but as the great∣nesse of a man sick of the dropsie which is not his happiness, but his disease.
* Remember Abraham▪ who though he was a Lord and a mightie Prince, yet he was also a friend of Gods, and the Father of the faithful: Though he was rich in gold and sil∣ver, yet he was richer in faith and obedience. And though he had three hundred and eightteen trained servants in his house, yet he was exactly carefull to traine them all up in the*wayes and Commandements of God. And remember Jacob, and how God himselfe changed his name, and called him Israel because he wrestled with God, and as a Prince had*power with God and man, and by prayers and teares prevailed over them. When greatnesse and goodnesse meet to∣gether, it is like apples of gold in pictures of silver; It is as an embroidery upon an embroidery. And therefore let great men labour to be good men. The more you have of holi∣ness the fitter you will be for happiness. The more you have of grace, the fitter you will be for glory. This is the third inference.
*That it is not enough for a Christian to live in the faith,Page 16but he must also die in the faith. This text takes notice of the constancy and perseverance of these holy men. They persevered in the faith unto the end maugre all oppositi∣ons and temptations to the contrary. They did live in the faith, and continued living in the faith, and as they lived so they died. These all dyed in faith. Perseverance in grace is maximum donum Dei (saith Austin) the greatest of Gods gifts, or graces, without which no other gift, or grace, will availe unto salvation. Therefore Christ saith, he that*endureth to the end shall be saved. And be thou faithful un∣to the death, and I will give thee the crown of life. No grace will make us worthy to obtaine the crown of glory, but perseverance: he that would go to heaven must not only live well, but die well. Though a man continue never so long in holinesse, yet if he fall away before his death, all his righteousnesse that he hath done shall not be mentioned; in his trespasse that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned in them shall he dye. If Methuselah who lived nine hundred sixty nine years had fallen away from grace the last year of his life he had been undone for ever.
* Wherefore my beloved brethren let me beseech you not only to beleeve, but to persevere in beleeving, not only to be holy but to persevere in holinesse, and as the Apostle *saith, To perfect holinesse in the feare of God. The Greek word is to finish holinesse. The beauty, glory and goodness of every thing is when it is finished. A garment till it be finished is of no use, nor a shop, nor a house till finished. A house halfe built, and halfe unbuilt is good for nothing. The excellency of a Christian is not only to be holy, but to finish holinesse, not only to have a good beginning, but a happy closure, and conclusion of his life.
This is a necessary lesson in this Apostatizing age wherein so many sons of the morning, and children of high illumination are fallen into the darknesse of sin, and errour: Page 17 and many, who in outward appearance were as fixt starres, are now proved falling starres; in so much, that if Mr. Fox were alive againe, he would see cause rather to write a book of Apostates than a book of Martyrs. And there are also some risen up amongst us, who (being many of them Apostatized themselves) begin to preach the Doctrine of the Apostacy of the Saints. Give me leave therefore to perswade you,
- 1. To be rooted and established in the Doctrine of Per∣severance.
- 2. To practise the Doctrine of Perseverance.
* 1. To be rooted and established in the Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. And to beleeve that whosoever is truly united unto Jesus Christ by a lively faith, shall be so preserved by Christ in the use of all Gospel-means, that he shall never totally and finally fall away. Christ Jesus at the day of judgement will have a compleat body mystical, as well as natural. He will not loose any of his real members, for then his body should be incompleat. There was a book written in King James his dayes by Bertius, of the Apostacy of the Saints. This book the forenamed King calls (in a *letter written to the States of Holland) A book with a blas∣phemous title. And a learned Professor of Oxford calls it a book with an execrable title. And surely if it was blasphe∣mous and execrable then, it is as bad now. I will notenter upon the controversie: there are books lately written to ve∣ry good purpose for the justification of the doctrine of per∣severance. To me it is sufficient; that God hath said it; and shallnot he do it? he hath said, whom he justified, them he also glorified. He hath said, The servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. He hath said, my sheep heare my voyce and I know them, and they follow me, and I will give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them o•t of my hand. My Fa∣therPage 18which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Fathers hand. He hath said, I will put my feare in their hearts, that they shall not depart*from me. He hath said, Neverthelesse the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seale, the Lord knoweth who are his, &c. Though Hymeneus and Philetas have not stood sure, yet the foundation of God standeth sure. He hath *said, being confident in this very thing, that he that hath begun a good work in you will performe it untill the day of Christ. And that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. And whosoever is borne of God doth not commit*sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. He hath said, I have prayed for thee that thy faith faile not. And he is now in heaven at the right hand of his Father making intercession for us. And the chief end of his intercession is, that God would uphold and continue us in his favour unto the end: Christ doth not intercede (as some would have it) That God would save us if we persevere. (There is little need of this, and lesse comfort in it) But he intercedes, that we may persevere. And God in the Covenant of grace, doth not only promise to give us heaven if we beleeve, and per∣severe; but also to give us in the use of means to beleeve and persevere.
Now then, if God the Father hath decreed the perse∣verance * of the Saints; if he hath promised that they shall persevere, and that he will enable them by his power unto it. If God the Son hath prayed that the faith of all those who were given to him by the Father should not faile, and if he ever liveth to make in∣tercession for them, that they may ne∣ver utterly fall. If God the holy GhostPage 19 be given to the Saints to abide in them for ever, and if the seed of God abides in them to keep them from total and final Apostacy; then we may safely conclude; that the Doctrine of the perseverance of the Saints is most agree∣able to Scripture, and that it is our duty to be stedfast and unmoveable in it.
Quest. Did not Saint Austin himselfe the great Cham∣pion of free grace, against the Pelagians, hold the doctrine of the Apostacy of the Saints? For though he saith, That an elect justified person shall never finally fall away, yet he seems to say, that there are many truely justified who are not elect, and that justification, and election are not termes convertible. And that many are justified by a faith working by charity, who (not being elected) fall away to∣tally and finally.
Answ. I must not deny but that this opinion is charg∣ed upon St. Austin by some learned men; and a Reverend Divine hath lately in a book printed about this subject asserted it as a thing undubitable and without controver∣sie, and for this end he brings many sayings out of his works which favour this opinion. But this learned bro∣ther may, if he please, read an answer to most of those quo∣tations long ago given by Bishop Abbot in his animadver∣sions*upon Tompsons Diatriba de amissione & intercisione justificationis & gratiae. And he may likewise find many sayings brought out of St. Austin which do most fully and clearly prove, that he held not only that no elect man can finally fall away, but also that none but the elect are justified, and that those who are truely justified can never fall away. As for example. *
God (saith Austin) calleth none with that calling Page 20 which is according to his purpose, but such whom he hath predestinated; and he justifieth none, but those whom he thus calleth; and glorifieth none, but those whom he hath predestinated, called, and justified, &c.
Againe, speaking of the vessels of wrath and of the reprobates he saith, That God brings none of them to sound*and spiritual repentance, by which a man is reconciled to God in Christ, whether he waites longer on them, (then on the elect) or shorter.
In another place he saith, That God doth not forgive the *sins of all men, but only of those whom he hath foreknown and whom he hath predestinated.
* Againe, he saith in another place. That the gift of the holy Ghost, to wit, the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the holy Ghost is given only to those who shall raigne with Christ for ever in heaven. Strangers (saith he) that is such who shall never inherit the Kingdome of heaven, have some of those things which are given to the house of God. But the gift of the holy Ghost is proper to the Saints, of which no stranger doth communicate, that is, no man that shall never inherit the Kingdome of hea∣ven. This is wanting to all the malignant, and sons of hell, although they are baptized with the baptisme of Page 21 Christ as Simon Magus was. Therefore he calls that a peculiar fountaine of waters running down the streets of the Saints, and no where else.
In other places he saith, That Christ justifieth none but those who are members of his body. And no man is made alive by the Spirit of Christ, but he that is a member of his body. And *that no man is indeed and in truth a member of Christs body, who shall not be with him in heaven to all eternity. These places and many more which might be brought and are brought by the forementioned Author, are sufficient to prove that ac∣cording to the mind of St. Austin none but the elect of God are in time effectually called, and really justified and pardoned, and made partakers of the holy Ghost and be∣come real members of Christs body, and therefore the effectually called, and justified, &c. can no more fall away than the elect, which all confesse to be under an impossibi∣lity of Apostacy in St. Austins judgment.
2. Let me perswade you not only to beleeve, but to practise the doctrine of perseverance: For there are Divers learned men that are so much scandalized at the great Apostacy of some eminent professours in our unhap∣py dayes, that they begin to be stagger'd, and to doubt of the truth of the doctrine of Perseverance. But these men forget the saying of the Apostle, They went out from*us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us. For my part, I conceive, that these Reverend and learned men should rather doubt of the truth of their graces whom they see thus foully to A postatize, than of the truth of the Doctrine of Perseverance. But howsoever, let us take Page 22 heed of laying this stumbling block: least by our practical Apostacy men should begin to turne Doctrinal Apostates. Let us labour to dye well, as well as to live well, to con∣tinue and persevere in wel-doing. It is the great com∣mendation of the Saints in the text, That they died in the faith. These all dyed in faith. Remember what Christ *saith, No man having put his hand to the plough, and look∣ing*back is fit for the Kingdome of God. And what the Apostle Paul saith: If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him: but we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, &c. And what the Apostle Peter saith▪ *It had been better for them not to have known the way of righ∣teousnesse, than after they have known it, to turne from the holy*commandment delivered to them, &c. Remember also Lots wife. She did only look back, she did not go back, and yet she was turned into a pillar of salt. As God hath fire and brimstone for a Sodomite, so he hath a pillar of salt for an Apostate.
*But why do you exhort us to persevere when as you tell us, that if we be true Saints we cannot but per∣severe?
* 1. We do not say, it is simply and absolutely impossible for a Saint not to persevere. (For if you consider the Saints as they are in themselves, and the mightinesse and multitude of their spiritual enemies, it is impossible for them not to fall away) But we say it is impossible upon supposition. Considering the unchangeable nature of God, and the unchangeable decree and purpose of God, and the un∣changeable*Covenant, promises and Oath of God, in this respect we say it is impossible.
2. Scripture exhortations are divine motives and meanes to perswade and enable the Saints to persevere, and they are so farre from interfering with, or nullifying of the pro∣mises of faith and perseverance, that they are (many of Page 23 them) built and grounded upon them. Phil. 2. 12, 13. 2 Cor. 7. 1.
*What meanes must I use that I may hold out and con∣tinue unto the end, and not only live in the faith, but also dye in it.
* 1. Dig deep in humiliation. The stony ground fell away for want of depth of earth. Humility is the best preservative of grace. The lower the foundation, the surer the building. Spiritual pride paves a causey to Apostacy. A chesnut put whole into the fire will fly out. It is the broken heart only that will persevere.
2. Labour for sincerity and uprightness of heart. As the firmnesse of a pillar is in the uprightnesse of it (if once it begins to bow, it will quickly break.) So the firmnesse and stability of a Christian is in his sincerity and upright∣nesse. Rottenness of heart betrayeth a man into Apostacy. A rotten apple will quickly appeare so outwardly; So will a rotten Christian. If ever you would persevere, take heed of making use of Religion for the promotion of your carnal interest. He that serves God for an earthly King∣dome, when he bath got what he sought for, will forsake God as Jehu did. He that followeth Christ only for the loaves, will leave Christ when he hath got them.
3. Labour for a tender conscience. This will keep us from the least degree of A postacy. As hot water grow's cold by degrees: first it is luke-warme, before it is starke cold: So a Christian declines into Apostacy by degrees. Lots wife first lingred, and then afterwards lookt back: first we slack our pace in Religion, then we stand still, and at last turne back. But now a tender conscience will keep us from the least abatement of zeale and forwardnesse in Religion.
4. Be not high minded but feare. I speak not of a feare of diffidence and distrustfulnesse, but of a feare of diligencePage 24and watchfulnesse. He that would be secure from feare, let him feare to be secure. Mr. Saunders by his feare of fal∣ling away kept himselfe from Apostacy: whereas Dr. Pendleton by his notorious presumption, and over-bold confidence fell away.
5. Take heed least there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 will end in 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Apostacy is the child of unbelief. Faith will set us upon a rock higher than us, even such a rock against which the gates of hell shall never prevaile.
6. Take heed of the inordinate love of the world and of the base feare of men. The love of mony is reckoned by the Apostle as the root of all evil in general, and more especially of Apostacy, 1 Tim. 6. 10.—Which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith, &c. And the base feare of men was the cause which made thousands Apostatize in Queen Maries bloody dayes. And there∣fore if ever you would persevere, you must labour to love God above your corruptions, relations, and possessions, and to feare sin more than the losse of estate, or life. He that loves God above the world, will never forsake God to gaine the world. He that feares sin more than death, will rather dye than sin.
7. Pray unto God the Father, Son, and holy Ghost, that they would uphold you and enable you not only to live, but to dye in the faith. Pray to the Father that he would keep you by his power through faith unto salvation: that he would uphold you by his mighty hand and keep you from falling, as it is Psalm 37. •4. Psalm 94. 18. That he would put his feare in your hearts that you may never de∣part from him. Pray to the Son, that he would apprehend you and hold you so fast in his armes that none may pluck you out of his hands, and that you may every day enjoy the benefit of his Intercession. Pray unto the holy GhostPage 25 that he would abide in you for ever, and give you the *earnest of your inheritance, and seale you up unto the day of Redemption. So much for the fourth inference.
Doctrine 5. *
That to dye in the true faith, is a noble, gallant, blessed, and happy •anner of dying; These all died in faith. Herein especially consisted the happy condition of these godly Patriarks, that they lived, and dyed in the faith. It is put down by way of commendation, and left upon record as a patterne for us to learne to die by. They died in the faith of the Messias, expecting salvation by him only. They died perswaded of the promises and embracing the Lord Jesus. Looking, waiting and confidently hoping for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
There is a double manner of dying.
- 1. A dying in sin.
- 2. A dying in faith.
1. A dying in sin. Of this we read, John 8. 24. If you beleeve not that I am he, ye shall dye in your sins. This is a said manner of dying. If any should desire me to give him a character of a man in a cursed condition, I would answer, He is one who is dead in sin while he lives, and dies in his sins when he dies. It is a happinesse to be dead to sin, but to die in sin is misery unexpressible. For he that dieth in his sins shall certainly go into everlasting damna∣tion. He that dies in his sins dies out of Christ; and he that dieth out of Christ shall never go to Christ.
2. A dying in faith. This is a noble, gallant and bles∣sed manner of dying; heaven it selfe beares witnesse to this, Rev. 14. 13. I heard a voyce from heaven, saying un∣to me write, Blessed are the dead which dye in the Lord, that is, united unto the Lord Jesus Christ by a true and a lively Page 26 faith. Such as these are happy, if you will either beleeve a voyce from heaven, or the voyce of the Spirit, for it fol∣loweth in the text—so saith the Spirit. And they are blessed from the very instant of their death. So it is in the same place—from henceforth〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 from that very minute: for their souls go immediately to God to enjoy perfect and perpetual rest and happinesse, and their works follow them.
It is a greater happinesse to die in the Lord than to die for the Lord. If a man die for the Lord, and be not in the Lord, he is not blessed in his death. A man may die for the Lords cause, and not for the Lords sake, but out of vain∣glory. This is hinted by the Apostle, Though I give my*body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. If I do it not out of love to God, but out of love to my selfe and mine own praise, it is nothing worth. But he that dyeth in the Lord is certainly blessed.
* The only use I shall make of this, is to beseech the New Testament Saints to follow this Old Testament copy and patterne. You have been often taught how to live well, give me leave to teach you this day how to dye well. It is not long but you must all die. Let it be your care, that when you come to die, you may die in the faith of the Lord Jesus. There is a double faith in which you must labour to die;
In fide quae creditur & quâ creditur.
- 1. In the true doctrine of faith.
- 2. In the saving grace of faith.
* 1. In the true doctrine of faith. For there are damnable doctrines as well as damnable practices. There are doctrines of Devils as well as works of Devils. A man may go to hell for heresie as well as •or iniquity. The Scripture tells us of some opinions which subvert the soul, and overthrowPage 27the faith: which T•rtullian calls doctrines devouring a mans*salvation, and the cankers of Christian Religion. And therefore let it be your care to avoid all soul-subverting doctrines, to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints, and to hold fast the ancient Catholick and Apo∣stolical faith.
Now if you ask me in what Religion I would have you to die; I shall quickly returne an answer without the least haesitation. In the true Christian Protestant reformed*Religion. This is via tuta ad vitam aeternam, A safe way unto eternal life, as a learned Knight hath sufficiently made known to the world: my soul for yours he that dies in this Religion, wants nothing in point of doctrine necessary to salvation. For it is built wholly & only upon the Scriptures; It is purely Apostolical, and teacheth us to deny ungodliness and all worldly lusts, and to live godly, soberly and righteously in this present world. It requires us to beleeve in Christ for justification, and to manifest the truth of our faith by our holinesse towards God, and our righteousnesse, mercy and cha∣rity towards our neighbour. And when we have done all to account our selves but unprofitable servants, and to trust only to the merits of Christ for salvation. It hath been sealed by the blood of many Martyrs; and he that professeth it and liveth according to the directions of it, may die with a tribunal-proofe confidence of everlasting salvation. Let us therefore be stedfast and unmoveable in this faith: and take heed of the Arrian and Socinian heresies which unchristianize a man, and of all doctrines that are contrary to godliness, which drown the soul in perdition and de∣struction. Let us abhorre the heresie, Idolatry and tyranny of the Romish Synagogue, alwaies remembring that sad text, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his*mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out witbout mixture,Page 28into the cup of his indignation, and he shall be tormented with ••re and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.
Let us be sure, that when we come to die, we may be able to say with the Apostle Paul, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.*Though I have lost my liberty, wealth, and honours, yet I have kept the faith; And with that Reverend Bishop, I can deny my selfe, my estate, my reputation, but I cannot deny my faith.
2. In the saving grace of faith. He that dieth with faith in Christ, shall certainly go to live in heaven with Christ. He that dieth embracing Christ, shall go from Christ, to Christ; from Christ by grace, to Christ in glory.
But then you must be sure that this faith be a true justi∣fying-faith. A heart-purifying, sanctifying, and world-o∣vercoming faith. A painted faith will never bring you to a real heaven. A dead faith will never please a living God.*Faith without works will send a man merrily to hell instead of lifting him up to heaven. It is faith unfaigned, the faith of Gods elect, the faith which worketh by lov•, which will make the houre of death desireable and comfortable. And let me adde
That you must not only labour to die with a true faith,*but with a full assurance of faith; not only to die bel•eving, but fully assured that your faith is of a right stamp. This is a heaven upon earth. This will put you into heaven before you come to heaven. This will cause you to die rejoycingly and triumphantly, as Stephen did, when he saw the heavens opened, and Christ standing at the right hand of God ready to receive him; And as old Simeon did with Christ in your spiritual armes, and singing a Nunc dimittis, Now Lord let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes havePage 29seen thy salvation. This then is thy great work O Chri∣stian, industriously to endeavour, that when thou comest to die thou mayest die in the true doctrine, and true grace of faith, and in the full assurance of faith, that so thou mayst *have an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdome of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
* But what must I do that I may be able to make this gallant and noble end?
* He that would die in the faith, must first live in the faith. For if you observe it, it is not said in the text, that all without limitation died in faith. But all these: that is, all those who lived in the faith, died in the same faith in which they lived: These blessed Patriarks had not their faith to get when they came to die, but they had got it in health. They lived a holy life, and died a happy death.
Life and death for the most part are like the voyce and the echo, the body and the shadow. Such as the voyce is, such is the echo. Such as the body is, such is the shadow. Qualis vita, finis ita. If we would die happily, we must live holily. If we would die gloriously, we must live gra∣ciously. If we would go to Christ when we die, we must get into Christ while we live. If we would die with assurance, we must while we live labour to get assurance▪ Woe be to those who have their faith to get when they are dying, that begin to amend their lives when they are putting an end to them. Woe be to those who begin to serve God when they can do him no service. That begin to live when they are ceasing to live. And sad is the condition of those, who have their evidences and comforts to seek when they are going out of the world. And yet
I will not absolutely deny (as some rashly do) but that it is possible for a man to live a thiefe and die a Saint, to live wickedly and to repent at death. We have one, and Page 30 but one example of this. But this is not Gods ordinary way; and if I had ten thousand souls, I would not adven∣ture one of them upon a death-bed repentance. We must not think to dance with the Devil all day, and to sup with Christ at night. To live all our life-time in Dalilah's lap, and to go to Abrahams bosome when we die. The ordina∣ry way to die well, is to live well. In a word, If you would die as Abraham did, you must live as he did: you must imitate Abrahams faith, obedience, and heavenly-mindednesse. If you would die as Jacob did, you must wrastle with God in prayer as he did. If you would partake of their happinesse when you die, you must be followers of their holinesse while you live. This is the fifth in∣ference.
*That it is an unvaluable blessing when husband and wife, Father and child, and childs child live and die in the true faith. These all died in faith. Not only some of them, but all. Abraham the husband, and Sarah his wife. Abraham the Father, and Isaac his Son, and Jacob his Grand-child. All these died in the faith. Behold a true noble blood, a holy kindred, a blessed generation. Worthy is Abra∣ham of all honour who was the roote of such a noble and blessed brood. And worthy are Isaac and Jacob of so good a Father, who stained not their blood by forsaking their faith, but held it as they received it, and lived and died in the true faith handed to them by their Fa∣ther.
Behold here you that are great in place and birth; behold, I say, wherein true Nobility and Gentry doth con∣sist; and what is the fountaine of all true honour. It is to live and die in the true faith. In this faith Abraham died: Page 31 and Isaac his son and heire did not only inherit his fathers estate, but his fathers Religion also. And Jacob the Grand-child follows both his father and grand-father, and dieth in the same faith with them. Behold here Jacob a true Gentleman in blood. His holinesse and Re∣ligion is in the third descent. Let great men learn to adorne their Gentility and Nobility with these ensignes of true honour.
It is a rare blessing when there is a succession of godlinesse in a family; when godlinesse is entailed upon children, and childrens children. When a man can say to God as Moses: O God thou art my God, and my Fathers God, and*my Grand-Fathers God. There are many families in which there is a succession of drunkards, swearers, and adulterers, &c. in which sin and iniquity is entailed, of whom it may be said, my father was an adulterer, a drun∣kard, a scoffer at Religion, so was my grand-father and so am I. This is a sad pedegree. O labour for a holy suc∣cession. Let Parents write a faire copy to their children, let them live and dye in the true faith, and let children learne to follow such a copy. Let husbands be patternes and examples of godlinesse to their wives; and let wives follow their good examples. Let wives imitate Sarah, Parents Abraham, and children Isaac and Jacob. Let us and ours so live, that when we come to die, it may be said of us, not that we died in our sins, but as it is in the text that we died in the faith. These all died in faith.
I have done with the text. But there is another text of which I must of necessity speak something. And that is concerning the sad occasion of our meeting here this day. Give me leave to speak to you in the language of *David concerning Abner: Know you not that there is a Prince, a great man fallen this day in Israel? and in the Page 32 language of the children of Seth concerning Abraham,*A Lord and a mighty Prince is this day to be buried: One who had so much worth and excellency in him, that who∣soever will undertake to speak of him needs not feare (as Nazianzen saith of his sister Gorgonia) least he should spea• too much, but rather least he should speak too little, and *by coming so farre beneath his due deserts, should dispraise him, even whil'st he is praising of him.
For without all controversie he was a person who had not only noble and honourable titles, but was truly noble and honourable. It is an observable speech of Gregory the great, A King may cause a man to be called a Nobleman, but he cannot make a man truly noble. He may command such a man to be called an Earle, or a Lord; But it is the noble minde which makes the man truly noble. Such a Noble-man was the Earle of Warwick. He was not only a Noble-man by Parchment, but he had a noble mind, a large heart, an intrinsecal worth and excellency in him. His Nobility was inameled with humility. He was great in place, but humble in carriage, as all who knew him will testifie.
There was in him a blessed constellation, and consociation of Nobility, humilitie, pietie, and charitie. He was not only a great man, but that which is above all, he was (I hope) a godly and religious man.
I should be loth to give flattering titles to any man whether alive or dead; for in so doing my Maker would soon*take me away as Job saith. It was well spoken by that *learned Minister who preached at the funeral of the Earle of Essex (a kinsman of this Earles) That funeral encomi∣astickes of the dead do often prove confections of poyson to thePage 33living; for many whose lives speak nothing for them, will draw the example into consequence, and be thereby led into hope, that they may presse a hackny Funeral Sermon to carry them to heaven. And St. Austin if I be not much mistaken, doth somewhere bitterly enveigh against those Ministers who were overlavish in the commendation of the dead, telling us, That there are many who are*commended where they are not, and in the mean time torment∣ed with fire unquenchable where they are. Sure I am that a learned Bishop doth quote a sharpe censure (though in ano∣ther case) of a Popish Casuist concerning Noblemens Chaplianes, saying, that few confessors of great men went to heaven, because by their base flattery they became guilty of soul-murder, and for want of telling them of their faults, destroyed both their own, and their Patrons souls. And therefore God forbid that I should say any thing this day for the hurt and disadvantage of the living, whil'st I am speaking in the praise and commendation of the dead. And yet notwithstanding all this I should be loth to offend in the contrary extreme. For I am not so strait∣laced *or superstitious, as when any mans life hath been eminently remarkable and exemplary, lest I should be guilty of Idolatry in adoring him, to commit sacriledge in robbing both the dead of his just praise, and the living of an useful patterne for their imitation. And besides, (as the forementioned author saith) Though common*graves have no inscription, yet Marble Tombes are not with∣out some Epitaph. Heroical examples should not go with a common passe, but with a Trumpet. And therefore I doubt not, but I may safely say without the lest suspicion of flattery or falshood concerning this honourable person,
That I have just ground in charity to beleeve, that this Noble Earle was not only under the awe of Religion, but Page 34 that he had the substance, and power of it in his heart. And therefore his death is the more to be lamented by us, be∣cause that goodnesse and greatnesse do so seldome center in one and the same person. In the God of heaven they both meet. He is optimus, maximus; infinite in goodness, as well as in greatnesse. But in the Gods upon earth they rarely meet: They are many of them pessimi maximi, greater in vices than in riches. It was a bold speech of Buchanan to King James, who sent a messenger to him when he was dying to visite him, and to know how he did; Buchanan desired the messenger to tell the King, *That he was going to a place where few Kings come. Indeed the Scripture saith, Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But yet some are, though not many. Such a one was Job, the greatest, and the best man in the East. Such were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Such was Joseph of Arimathea. And such a one was (I hope) Robert Earle of Warwick: And therefore the losse of him is the greater. For great men are like looking glasses according to which all the country dresse themselves, and if they be good they do a world of good. *When Crispus the chiefe Ruler of the Synagogue beleeved, many of the Corinthians hearing of it beleeved also. When Schechem and Hamor were circumcised they quickly per∣swaded their people to be circumcised.
Let me tell you, That we have lost this day one of the best natur'd Noble-men in England, & one who had not only a good nature, but (as I verily beleeve) gracious prin∣ciples, and religious inclinations, and dispositions.
He was religious,
1. In his own person: For he was very exact in closet duties. I have been often with him at private prayer in his closet in which he was very zealous and devout. And he hath left behinde him reall manifestations of his personalPage 35piety, by many religious collections written with his own hand for the good of his soul.
2. In reference to his deare and neare relations, both by giving them a good example, and good instructions. And my prayer to God is; that though the instructor be de∣ceased, yet the instructions may live, and never die.
3. In his family-government. For he was very con∣stant in his morning and evening publick service of God, and herein a rare patterne to the Gentry of the Country: He would not suffer any sports or pastimes to divert him from his dayly publique devotions. It is a great honour to God, and credit to Religion when there is a forme and outside (though but a forme and outside) of godliness in great families. This is like a candle set upon a hill to illighten all inferlour families. It is reported of Theodosius the Emperour, that by his religious carriage in his family, he made all his Court a nursery of religion. And it is said of the house of George Prince of Anhalt, that for the good *orders therein observed it was a Church, an Academy, and a Court.
4. In his conscientious observation of the Lords day, and in causing the Sermons preached to be repeated in his presence to the whole family. In his frequent attendance when he was at London upon weekly Lectures, and by his example and encouragement, drawing many persons of quality to our congregations. And (which is very re∣markable) in the Moneth in which he died, he went con∣stantly to the Morning-exercise at St. Martins in the fields, thereby (as by a secret instinct) fitting and preparing him∣selfe for his death, which hapned towards the end of it.
5. In his extraordinary care and diligence in preparing himselfe for the receiving of the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ. Herein he was very exact in setting apart Page 36 a sufficient space of time for selfe-examination. And besides this, give me leave (without offence) to relate a passage which in my opinion conduceth much to his honour, and may through Gods blessing become an exam∣ple to his relations, and to the Noble-men and Gentlemen of the Nation. When he first came to the Sacrament at Aldermanbury, he freely presented himselfe to the Minister and Elders to be examined: and although he gave ample satisfaction, yet being at that time indisposed in body by reason of a sudden distemper, he afterwards wrote me a letter in which he signified, that if we were not satisfied, he would rather come againe, than come without giving full satisfaction; here was humility in a high degree; here is a patterne to be admired, and imitated.
6. In his faithfulness to the trust committed to him as in other things, so more especially in disposing of his Church-livings. Herein he was very eminent, and very exempla∣ry, being alwayes exactly careful to preferre able, godly, and painful Ministers to them. And I doubt not, but there are thousands blessing God in heaven for the good they have got by the Ministers put in by this Noble Earle. The truth is, he was a great Patron and Mecaenas to the pious and religious Ministry. We Ministers may say of him as they did of the Centurion, he loved our Nation; we have great cause to weep over his herse, and to bemoane his death: For we have this day lost one of the greatest friends that the godly and painful Ministers had in Eng∣land.
7. I might adde (if need were) as a further, and a most signal testimony of his godlinesse, his singular care, that not only while he was living, but that after his death also his Church-livings might be rightly disposed, but I for∣beare.
8. There are three things yet behind which I must not omit.Page 37〈1 page duplicate〉Page 34〈1 page duplicate〉Page 35〈1 page duplicate〉Page 36〈1 page duplicate〉
Page 37 1. He was bountiful and Prince-like in his hospitality and house-keeping.
2. He was very merciful and charitable to the poor mem∣bers of Jesus Christ. I have often and often been his Almoner to distribute considerable summes of money to necessitous and pious Christians.
3. He was a liberal and most loving Master to his hous∣hold-servants, and hath given competent pensions to all his old servants during life.
9. In a word: He was one who did not make use of religion for his own private gaine and interest; he had no politick designe in professing godlinesse: his whole aime both by sea and land, both in Parliament and in private was, to be serviceable to Church and State, and in this parti∣cular he was a true Nathaneel in whom there was no guile: he was a countenancer of religion in the worst times,: he ap∣peared for God and for his cause and servants, when it was both dangerous and disgraceful in the eyes of the leading men of the Nation; he received Mr. Burroughs (that eminent Minister of Christ) into his family, and protected him for a long while, till at last he was forced to fly out of the land. He was a very special friend unto that man of God of famous memory Dr. Sibbs. To summe up all in a few lines, As it is said of Socrates (as I remember) that he was so good a man that all that knew him loved him; and if any man did not love him, it was because they did not know him. So it may be said of the Earle of Warwick: All who knew him loved him, and if any man did not love him, it was because he did not know him.
As for the manner of his death, it was somewhat sudden: but you must know, that a child of God never dies suddenly, though he die never so suddenly; though he may dye suddenly in regard of time, yet he never dyes suddenly in regard of preparation. A wicked man dies suddenlyPage 38 though he dyes never so lingringly, because he dyes un∣preparedly; but he that dyes with grace in his heart, cannot be said to die suddenly though he die never so suddenly. And yet this sad stroak of death was not altogether unexpect∣ed. For when the funeral of his Grand-child was delayed longer than he desired or expected, he was heard to say, That if they tarried a little longer, they should carry him down also to he buried with him. My hope is, That he dyed as these Noble Patriarkes in the text, he died in the faith in which he lived. He dyed professing the true doctrine of faith, and (I hope) having his heart adorned with the grace of faith.
And let me assure you; that as he lived much desired, so he now dyeth much lamented, especially by men pro∣fessing godlinesse. I have heard a memorable story of an ancient and religious Gentleman Mr. Knightly of North∣amptonshire (well known to some here) who coming to Leeze, and beholding the brave Parkes, and goodly gardens, and other such-like accommodations there to be enjoyed, was heard to say to this our Earle, My Lord, you had need be very good, it is ill going to hell from such a Paradise: it will be a doleful and dismal exchange. Or as others relate it; My Lord, you had need make sure of heaven, or else when you dye you will be a great loser. A rare speech worthy to be laid to heart by all Noble persons. Now I verily per∣swade my selfe, that this our dear and honourable Christi∣an brother is no loser, but a great gainer by his death. He is gone (I hope) from earth to heaven, from an earthly Paradise to a heavenly Pallace, from a house made with hands to a house made without hands eternal in the heavens.
It is true (and it must be confessed least I should be ac∣counted a flatterer) he had his failings, and his many in∣firmities; which I trust Jesus Christ hath covered with the roabe of his righteousnesse. My prayer to God is, That Page 39 all his infirmities may be buried in the grave of oblivion, and that all his virtues and graces may supervive, and live in his son and heire; that as he inherits the estate, so he may also inherit the vertues of his Father. And that religion, piety, and godlinesse may be entailed upon the Noble family of the Riches, from one generation to another till the com∣ing of the Lord Jesus Christ unto judgement; That while they live they may be professors of the true faith, and indued with the heart-purifying grace of faith: And when they come to dye, they may make that gallant, noble, and blessed closure and conclusion of their dayes which these godly Patriarkes in my text did, of whom it is said, These all dyed in faith.