The Silent Sufferer.
BOSTON-Lecture, 28 d. VII. m. 1721. The Day before the Interment of my DAUGHTER, with her Infant.
LEV. X. 3.
And Aaron held his peace.
BUT the silent Saint shall now speak aloud unto us: Even i•holding his Peace he shall now speak aloud unto us: A D• Man shall now speak unto us. It shall be done, I will not say, Miraculously,〈◊〉 but I hope, it will be done Remarkably, and very Proftably. The very silence will have in it a Voice to be greatly hearken'd to. And if I declare to you, That my Design is, to strike my Hearers Dumb, it will be a Kindness for theme Indeed an Angel once brought it as a Re|buke to a good Man, for something a|miss Page 2in him, Thou shalt be Dumb and not able to speak. But I am now to propose it as the Glory of a good Man, Thou shalt be Dumb, and hold thy Peace, not willing to speak. When and How and Why to hold ones peace, truly 'tis a Thing the People of GOD should be well-acquain|ted withal.
BEFORE I go any further, I am to tell you, when this Duty of silence is to be Studied. It must be our study To hold our peace, when we have sad things be|falling of us. The season of the Duty is, when we meet with grievous Occur|rences, with heavy Calamities. How and Why the Duty is to be attended, you shall be told, after I have informed you who 'tis that gives us the Pattern of it.
IT was Aaron, an Eminent Minister of GOD, yea, the High-Priest of Israel. Sad Things befell the Family of this Ex|cellent Man. Two of his Children were taken from him; yea, with very awful Circumstances taken from him. GOD Struck them Dead, with Fire from Hea|ven. A Fire from Heaven had lately consumed the Burnt-Offerings of the Bra|zen Page 3Altar. GOD required, That this Fire should always be kept alive with a perfetual Fuel, and be the only Fire em|ployed in all their Offerings. But the Two Sons of Aaron, who Officiated in the Priesthood under him, imagined (as the Jews interpret the matter to us) that this Fire was only for the Burnt-Offerings: For the Altar of Incense they imagined, they might fetch their Fire elsewhere; and they did so. GOD was offended; and by striking them Dead, on the very First Day after the Service of the Altar began, and after the Seven Days for the Consecration were finished and they were to offer Sacrifices for themselves and the People, He gave a Lively Intimation, that Life was not now to be obtained or expected from that Service. No, 'tis our JESUS alone, who is the Truth and the Life.
THE Conduct of Aaron under the sad Things which befell him and his Fami|ly, is now to be observed. The Saint of the Lord has this Reported of him; He hold his peace. A Good Report! The Consideration which produced this Holy silence in him, was in the Message, which Page 4his Brother brought from GOD unto him. The Lord said, I will be Sanctified in them that come nigh unto me; and be|fore all the People will I be glorified. The Glorious GOD would be considered, as the Dispenser of the sad Things which the Man of GOD met withal, and would accordingly be Glorified.
AND now, may a DOCTRINE Worthy of all Acceptation, be by all of us duely Accepted of.
SINCE 'tis the Glorious GOD, who is the Doer of all that in the sad Things which we meet withal is •ne unto us, it becomes us to Glorify Him with an an HOLY SILENCE under them.
I call to mind, that when David as well as Aaron, had sad Things befalling him, he gives this Account of his Con|duct under them, Psal. XXXIX. 9. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. I am very much of the Opini|on, that when that Servant of GOD so Behaved and Expressed himself, he doubtless had in his Eye, the Story of Aaron, which I now have in mine: A Story which he could not but be well|apprised of. So then having the Ad|vantage Page 5of thus calling in David as well •s Aaron to support my DOCTRINE, it may now be said, those Two Bright Stars, David and Aaron, shall now ap|pear in Conjunction; and by your Obser|vation of them, you shall understand how to Steer in the Darkest Hours that sad Things may bring upon you. Under sad Things, the Great Thing with which we are to Glorify GOD, is PATIENCE; PATIENCE. The Thing required of us, is that, Jam. I. 4. Let Patience have its perfect work. I don't Remember that the Hebrew Language, has any Term for Patience, but that of silence. The Description which the Old Testament gives of Patience, is To be Dumb, and not Open ones Mouth. There are some, who so read, Psal. LXV. 1. Silence is praise to thee, O GOD. Our GOD is never more Praised than by our silence. Our silence under sad Things, will be a most nota|ble Praise to our GOD. This, This, is the Grace to be now spoken of! And in speaking of it,
I. WE are to lay down the Maxim, which does command, and may even compel, the Holy silence, that is to be Page 6preserved under sad Things befalling of us. The Maxim is this; The Glorious GOD is He who does all that is done unto us, in the sad Things we meet withal; Whatever Afflictive Thing is done unto us, the Great GOD says, I am now to be Sanctified and Glorified as the doer of it. Of every thing that proves a stroke of Adversity unto us, we must make this Confession, Lord, Thou doest it. It was demanded. Hab. II. 20. The Lord is in his Holy Temple; l•t all the Earth keep silence before Him. The demand shall now be, The Lord is in thy Adversity, O Child of Earthly Man, do thou keep silence before Him. Whatever sad Things we meet withal, we have not the Right Thoughts of the Righteous, if we do not think, It is the Glorious GOD who has done all that is done unto me. Indeed the sense of this, That we have to do with a Glori|ous GOD, in all the sad Things which we meet withal, 'tis to be one Ingredi|ent of the Holy silence wherewith we are to Glorify Him. It is not an Holy silence, but a Stupidity; yea, a Profanity, if our Patience have not the sense of a Glori|ous GOD, for the Principle of it. Come Page 7then, Under our sad Things, this is the First Thing to be Laboured for. Be sensible of this, that in all the sad Things which befall us, there is the Providence of a Glorious GOD at Work; A Glori|ous GOD performing the Thing that is Ap|pointed for us. Tis a Maxim never to be doubted of. Job. V. 6. Certainly Af|fliction comes not f•rth of the Dust, neither doth Trouble spring out of the Ground. No, All our sad Things, as well as our glad Things come from Above. The sad things which we suffer from and on the Earth, are not of a meer Earthly Original. The Disputers of this World, have in all Ages disputed on that Obscure Problem, the Origin of Evil. And in the Enquiries after it, there have been those who have not enquired wisely concerning this matter. The Ancient Pagans had a Notion, which the Manabees afterwards licked up, of a Good GOD, who Created a Good World, and covered it with a Shell of His Pro+tection; But then Another God who broke the Shell, and made all Evil to break in at the perforation. This Noti|on prevailed very particularly with the Magians in Persia. But our Glorious Page 8GOD, speaking of the Persian affairs takes Occasion to make this Challenge; Isai. XLV. 7. I form the Light, and I cre|ate Darkness; I make Peace, and I create Evil; I the Lord do all these things. Man, if sad things involve thee in the Darkness of much Evil, Behold the Lord, who is the doer of all these things. The Univer|sal, the Everlasting, the most Operative Providence of the Glorious GOD, is to be considered, as the Original of all the sad things that we meet withal. There is not an Atom in the World, about which the Providence of GOD is unconcerned; Not an Atom so made in Vain, as to be left from under the Influence of that Omnipresent Providence, that Omnipotent Providence. Whatever comes to pass, we must evermore make that Confession; Psal. CXXXV. 6. Whatever the Lord plea|sed, that has he done in Heaven and in Earth, in the Seas, and in all deep Places. All things are disposed, all things are managed, by this Marvellous Providence; A Providence which does Marvellous things without Number: A Providence which watches over Insects as well as over Angels; Over the Worm as well as over his Page 9Brother Man who treads upon him; O|ver the Stars of Heaven, and over the Stones of the Field. The very Sparrows are under the Divine Providence. Our SAVIOUR, who has now the Government of it, has told us; Matth. X. 29. One of them shall not fall to the ground, without your father. 'Tis the Glory of the Providence, 'tis the Grandeur of it, that no little Thing, no, not the least in the World, is Exempted from it.
WE will Suppose the sad things that befal us, to appear never so much in the shape of meer Accidents; yet, GOD for|bid, that we should come into the Phi|listean Language, It was a chance that bap|pened unto us. To tell of a Fortune; 'tis what becomes not the Mouth of a Christian. These Accidents, like the stor|my Winds, do but Fulfil the Word of GOD. Yea, we will suppose Enemies, Rational and even Designing Agents, to bring our sad things upon us: But still these Ene|mies are no other than Instruments. Ah, Thou Troubler; Thou art no more than the Axe or the Sarce; no more than the Rod or the Staff; without the Hand of our GOD, thou couldest never do any Page 10thing at all unto us. These are but Se|cond Causes. When GOD gives Quietness who can cause Trouble! This then is the Upshot of the Matter. We are to Real|ize the Providence of the Glorious GOD in all the sad things that we meet with|al. Whenever any sad things befal us the very First Thought rising in our Minds must be this: Lord, Thou didst it • There is a Providence of GOD in this thing• The thing had never befallen me, if the Providence of GOD had not ordered it!
II. AND now, for the Effect of the Maxim. What is that Holy Silence, which is to be maintained, when the Glorious GOD shall inflict sad things upon us 〈◊〉 The Apprehension of our having to d• with a Glorious GOD, in the sad thing which we meet withal, must restrain all expressions of Impatience with us. Thus 'tis, that we are to hold our peace. The Thing which we are now asking after is this; what are those expressions o•Impatience, which are to be refrained when there is danger lest our Spirits be|come Impatient under sad Things be falling of us? Now,
First. THERE is an Holy silence with Page 11regard unto Men, to be maintained, when we are Concerned with Men, Injured by Men, in the sad Things which we meet withal. 'Tis indeed in such Cases, that we are apt most of all to fall into ex|pressions of Impatience, and speak Un•|visedly with our Lips: 'Tis when Men do Hurt us, Wrong us, Abuse us; when Men do such Things unto us as would even provoke a Stone to speak. Now in such Cases, what should be our Sen|timents! Tho' it may be a Messenger from Satan that buffets us, yet Remem|ber, there are Messages from GOD unto us in the Buffetings. And the Wards are best beard in Quietness. An Holy silence is needful, that we may listen to His Lessons. Under the sad things which we may suffer from Reproaches, we have been taught thus to think of a Calum|nious Backbiter, 2 Sam. XVI. 11. The Lord hath bidden him. Yea, under sad things which we may suffer even from Robberries themselves, we must not for|get, who gives us to the spoiler! We have been taught so to think; Job 1.21. The Lord hath taken away. Being thus aware of this, that if any Man be Abusive to Page 12us, 'tis GOD who stirs up the Adversary, let us go on to think; I have deserved from GOD, all the sad things which this Man does unto me: And if GOD thus bring me to Repentance, they are good things which are done unto me. Go on to think; My GOD would have me scoured by the Dirt cast upon me, and more shining in the Excellent Things that are most con|trary to the approbrious Things, which are spoken of me: When works of Iniquities prevail against me, 'tis to purge away my Transgressions. Go on to think; My GOD will put me upon the Exercise of a Forgiving Spirit unto them who have of|fended me, that so I may have the sweeter assurance of His having Forgiven all my Offences unto Him. Under the Impressi|on of such Sonthments, Oh! Let an Ho|ly silence, be now kept inviolable with you. Now for an Imitation of the meek and lowly JESUS; of Whom we read, Isai. LIII. 7. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is Dumb, Yo He opened not His mouth: The meek and Lovely JESUS; of Whom we read, Page 131 Pet. II. 23. When be was Reviled, He Reviled not again; when He suffered, He Threatned not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth Righteously. For be•n all expressions of Impatience; all Ebulli|tions of Intemperate Passion; Immode|rate Pas••on; all unseemly vo•iting of ••oler, and casting up of bitter G•ll•. Don't speak falsely, no, nor too Hardly and Harshly neither, of those that have wounded you. Let there come nothing from you that shall be outrageous, no|thing that shall be revengf••, or 〈◊〉 any Intention to Render Evil for Evils My Friend, Set a watch before thy Mouth, Keep the door of thy Lips. Be advised of this; To suffer many sad Things〈◊〉 such as have been insufferably Abus• to us, but be after all able to say, Thro' the help of a dear SAVIOUR, there has not been all this •hile so much at One Im|patient Word Extorted from me! Verily. This were a Greater Favour of GOD, than there would have been in it, if the sad Things had never been met withal.
Secondly. THERE is an Holy silence with regard unto the Glorious GOD, much more to be maintained, when sad Page 14Things are met withal. Being satisfied of this; Lord, Thou art the Doer of all! All Expressions of Impatience, are from this Moment forbidden unto us. Be sure we shall Express too much Impati|ence, if our sad Things cause us to fall into Wishes to have our Death hastened upon us. A Job tired with sad Things, may cry out, O thus GOD would grant me the Thing that I long for! Even that it would please GOD to destroy me; that He would let loose His Hand, and cut me off! A •i|red Elies may Wish, O Lord, Take away my Life! A tired Jonas may Wish, O Lord, I beseech thee, take my Life from me. But they spoke too much. It would have been better for them to have beld their Peace, been Dumb, and not so have opened their Mouths. Let all such Rash Wishes of a Soul out of Breath under the L•ads lying upon it, be Suppressed. There is a Faulty Impati|ence in them. Nor is this all the Cau|tion to be inculcated. The Holy silence must be yet further extended. It must lay a Restraint upon all the Complaints which may express any Impatience under the sad Things we meet withal. There Page 15must not pass from us, the least Whisper of any thing, that shall not breath a sweet Submission to, a sweet Acquiescence, in, the Will of GOD, sending sad Things upon us. Our Holy silence is to be kept in such Things as these.
First. NOTHING must be spoke Amiss concerning the Glorious GOD; Nothing spoke! No, Nothing so much as Thought amiss; under all the sad things which it shall please Him to lay upon us. This Holy silence must reach not only unto our Words, but also unto our very Thoughts. Our Thoughts may be as audible as the loudest cries in the Ears of the Lord of Hosts, who knows our Thoughts a far off. The Words of our very Minds, as well as of our Lips, under all our sad Things must be such, that this Report may be made of us; Job 1.22. In all this be sin|ned not, nor charged GOD foolishly.
First. ALL Impatient expressions of Re|bellion against the S•v•reignty of the Glorious GOD: These must be Restrain|ed with an Holy silence, when a Sovereign GOD shall do sad Things unto us. If sad Things be done unto us, we must by Page 16no means dispute the Dominion of the Glorious GOD over us; by no means dispute his Absolute Authority to do what He will with us, and give none ac|count of His matters; by no means dis|pute His Absolute Prerogative, to do what He will with His own. Let our sad Things but carry us down to the House of the Potter. Under our sad things, let us ly in the Dust before the Glorious GOD, and as Clay before the Potter, not go to strive with our Maker, if He break the Potsherds of the Earth to pieces at His Pleasure. With an Holy silence we must Subscribe to that; Job IX. 12. Behold, He taketh away; who can hinder Him• who will say unto Him, what doest thou?
Secondly. ALL Impatient expressions of Reflection upon the Righteousness of the Glorious GOD; These must be Re|strained with an Holy silence, when a Righteous GOD shall do sad things unto us. When sad things are done unto us, We must not admit the least suspicion of any Injustice in the Dealings of Hea|ven with us. Admit no suspicion, That we are unjustly dealt withal, or meet with hard measure, or are not indeed Page 17Punished less than our Sins deserve. Ad|mit no suspicion, That we should be Unjustly dealt withal, if we were much more severely Punished, and visited with Great Plagues, and of a long conti|nuance, yea, thrown into a Devouring Fire, and Everlasting Burnings. If we Groan under our sad things, yet, Oh! Grumble not! Our sad things would be no more than we are worthy of, if they were a Thousand times worse than they are. An Holy silence must be enjoin'd; with such a Reprimand as that; Lam. III. 39. Wherefore doth a living Man com|plain, a Man for the Punishment of his Sins?
Thirdly. AN Holy silence must Re|strain all Impatient Jealousies, about the Faithfulness and Compossion of a Glorious GOD; when sad things are done unto us. The Infliction of sad things upon us, will make a time of Temptations with us: Temptations to grow Jealous of what the Dispensations of GOD are tending to. 'Tis a Dark time and the Hour and Power of Darkness fall upon us. When the Night arrives, then the Lions •ore. Our sad things bring Temptations with Page 18them; Temptations to say, I shall one day perish by the hand of this Misery; 'twill be an undoing Misery. It will be too h•rd for me! Temptations to say, GOD counts me for His Enemy; I now suffer from Him the strokes of an Enemy; 'tis n•t my Sal|vation, but my Destruction that is now to be looked for! Temptations to forget, that our sad things are all ordered by a SAVIOUR sitting on the Throne of GOD, and aiming at the Cure of all that is Ir|regular in us, and at the Restoring of GOD unto His Throne in our Souls, and at the preparing of us for the Spiritual Blessings of the Heavenly Places. If we are Tempted in and from our sad things to say, what will imply our Forgetting of such things as these, we ought now to silence these Jealousies. Instead of say|ing as we are Tempted now to say, All these things are against me, let us with an Holy silence keep unto that Conclusi|on; Gen. L. 20. GOD has meant it unto Good.
IN a Word; Under sad things befall|ing us, there must be nothing heard from us, but the Language of PIETY; Nothing but what shall speak a Soul en|tirely Page 15Swallowed up in the Will of GOD A Soul approving the equal Wayes of GOD in all that is done unto us; A Soul perswaded that our SAVIOUR has Thoughts of Peace, and not of Evil, in all that is done unto us.
BUT then, Secondly. A Shame of the Sin that has brought our sad things upon us; This belongs to that Holy silence, wherewith GOD is to be Glorified under them. The Confusion which Repentance is attended withal, it has an Holy silence in it. Repentance is thus described; Ezek. XVI. 63. That thou mayst Remem|ber, and be Consounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy Shame. A true Penitent is thus exhibited unto us, Lam. III. 28, 29. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence; because he hath born it up|on him; he putteth his mouth in the Dust. The frame of a true Peniten• is that; Ezra. IX. 6. O my God, I am ashamed. I blush to lift up my Face unto thee. And, I Blush to open my mouth before thee. Un|der our sad things there is a Repentance called for; A Repentance that will not leave us a Word to say for our selves; but cast us into the Confusion of an Holy Page 20silence before the Glorious GOD, against whom we have sinned. The most agreea|ble Voice of Lamentations is that, Let us search and try our Ways, and Return unto the Lord. But in this Return unto the Lord, there must be an Holy silence caused by the Confusion arising from what we find in our searching and our trying of our Ways. We are told, That if we would speak aright, we must say, What have I done? But then having so spoke aright, there must follow an Holy silence, from the shame of what we have done. If ••d things befall us, we are to-hear an Holy GOD saying unto us, Thy Way and thy Doings have procured those things unto thee; this is thy Wickedness. Under sad Things, let us Examine our selves, What have I done to procure these things? What Wickedness, either in point of Commission, or of Omission, have I been guilty of? Oh! Let us Loath and Judge our selves before the Glorious GOD, and with an Holy silence let us take to our selves the shame of our Miscarriages, •y which we have provoked His Majes|•y to inflict such sad Things upon us. •hen sad Things befall us, we may say, Page 21My GOD will Humble me. Under these Humbling things, it will become us to take a Catalogue of Things Required and Forbidden in the Commandments of our GOD. Examine the Trespasses, wherein we have Denied the GOD that is Above. With the deepest Humiliation Confess, Lord, I have nothing to say for my self I can make no Excuses for my Re|bellions. Oh! I abhor my self, and I Re|pent in Dust and Ashes. The Holy silence, which our sad things call us to, is that of a Mouth lying in the Dust. Of the poor Man Convicted of being in ill Terms with Heaven, we read, Match. XXII. 12. He was speechless. This we are now to be, upon the Conviction un|der which we are to ly, with no other Moan but this, I will bear the Indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him.
Thirdly. THERE is a Death to all things here below, in which we are to maintain that Holy silence that our sad things are to be born withal. Of the Dead, we read, They go down into silence. They that are gone down into the Grave where the Dead are lodged, are in the Page 22Place of silence; have it said of them, They are silent in the Grave. 'Tis a De|scription of Death; Psal. XLIV. 17. A Soul dwelling in silence. Now, before we come to the Natural Death, which lies in the Destruction of the Commerce between the Heart and the Brain, there is a Moral Death, to be pursued and obtain|ed; A Death upon our Vitious Appe|tites; a Death wherein we shall have our Lusts Mortified; a Death in which we shall be Dead with CHRIST, and have nothing but a CHRIST left Alive unto us, in regard of any strong Relish in our Souls. To be Dead, is to be Dumb. The Errand of all our sad things that come upon us, to render us Dead unto all Things here. For just as far as we Dy to these things we Live unto GOD; It is the Dethroning of these Things, that Restores GOD unto His Throne in our Souls; and by This we Live; in this is the Life of our Spirit. Our Faithful SA|VIOUR sends Killing things upon us; perhaps they are without a Metaphor so. He Loves us, when He Kills us. 'Tis that He may Kill our violent passi|ons for Creatures, and that He may Page 23Quicken and Compell in us the Disposi|tions of a Soul Returning unto GOD; and that our Soul may be disposed, for the pursuit of that Satisfaction in GOD alone, which we vainly have expected from Creatures heretofore. Under our sad things there is to be endeavoured the Holy silence of those who are Crucified unto the World, and who have the World Crucified unto them. A Man hanging on a Cross; This Man, is Free among the Dead, and has little to say, unto any thing that this World has to offer unto him. Yea, this World, with all the En|joyments of it, must be as a Crucified thing unto us; a Dead Carcase whereof we shall have little to say, expressive of any Value for it. Christians, Under the sad things that befall you, Die, Die, to the Comforts of this World. Let your Sentiments of them grow as cold as may be: And what are the Sentiments of the Dead concerning them. Yea, Die also to the Troubles of this World. I must complain of it, That many who seem to be pretty far gone in a Death to the Comforts of this World, are not got so far as they should be in a Death to the Page 24Troubles of this World. But, my Friends what are the Resentments of a Dead Man upon all the Hard things that may be spoke of him, or may be done to him 〈◊〉 He says nothing upon these things. Even such an Indifferency must be approach'd unto. Oh! Could our dear and kind SAVIOUR see us thus Dead, under all the sad things that He sends upon us! — I say unto you, He would shew won|ders to the Dead.
THUS I have described unto you, the Holy silence, wherewith GOD is to be Glorified under all our sad things, which a Glorious GOD may send upon us.
BUT now at last, you shall have leave to break silence, and a leave to speak shall be allowed unto you. Tis now to be supposed, That you will speak nothing but what it will well become you to speak. And you shall have an Allowance, yea, a Direction to speak. Tho' an Holy Silence becomes you under your sad things, yet there is a sottish silence which is very misbecoming. There is a speaking, which will be very consistent with the Holy silence which under your sad things you are call'd unto. It was the Remark Page 29of the Psalmist; Psal. XXXIX. 2. With silence I remain'd as Dumb; I wholly held my peace; not mentioning of any Good; my grief was then renew'd. There are some Good things to be mentioned under our sad things. We must not now be so Dumb with silence as wholly to hold our Peace, and forbear the mention of those Good things. Our Grief will be Renew'd, Increas'd, Inflam'd, by such a silence. Yea, Because you are concerned with GOD, in all the sad things that you meet withal; For that very Cause, you are now to speak some Things which He will be pleased withal; speak such Things as may answer the Intention of His Dealings with you.
First. CHRISTIAN, since the Glorious GOD is the Doer of what is in any sad things done unto thee, be not so Dumb, do not so hold thy peace, as to have thy Mouth not open in the Voice of Supplicati|on. 'Tis a Thing Enjoined and Expec|ted by our GOD, when sad things are inflicted, Jam. V. 13. Is any among you Afflicted? Let him Pray. O thou Afflic|ted, It will be no Trespass upon the Page 26Rules of the Holy silence imposed on thee, under thy sad things, to speak and Pray, Lord, shew me wherefore thou con|tendest with me. Speak and Pray, Lord, Let the things which for the present are not joyous but grievous, afterwards yield me the peaceable Fruits of Righte•sness. Yea, since we have had that permission from our Gracious GOD, Call upon me in the day of Trouble, and I will Deliver thee; Even Lift up thy Voice for this also. Speak and Beg and Ask humbly for a seasona|ble Deliverance. If no sad things will bring thee to the Use of thy Voice, but thou continue Prayerless under them; — All this come upon thee; and •et thou bast not made thy Prayer unto 〈◊〉 Lord! — Alas this is not an Holy silence; No, 'Tis a Dumb Devil that seems to have his Operation in it.
Secondly. SINCE the Glorious GOD is the Doer, of what is in any sad things done unto thee, be not so Dumb, do not so hold thy peace, as to have thy Mouth not open in the Voice of Sacrifi•ing. In all thy sad things GOD puts thee upon parting with some Enjoyments. Now, for the Voice of a Sacrificer! Now say Page 27with him, Jon. II. 9. I will Sacrifice unto thee, with a Voice. All the sweet things, which thou b•st lost, in and by the sad things that are come upon thee; use •n Holy silence, as to any Remonstrances against the proceedings of GOD in depriving thee of them. Sacrifices use to be carri|ed on silently. Instead there of speak, and say, Lord, I Resign; Lord• I Submit; Lord, I Offe• up unto Thee, whatever thou wilt •••ase to call for; I Forego, whatever thou wi•• have to be denied unto me! Come, Initiate thy self at the Royal 〈…〉 Upon all thy sad things use the Language of a Noble Sacrificer. Hea|ven hears not a more grateful, Melody! If a Priest be struck Dumb, his Priesthood won't be well carried on. The Displea|sure of GOD seems to set a Mark upon h•m.
Lastly, IT will be very consistent with an Holy silence, under thy sad things to speak still at that rate; Psal. XLII. 8. In the Night. His Song was with me. My Brethren, there are Songs which GOD 〈◊〉 Maker gives unto us, for the Night, which your sad things, bring upon us. To intermit those Lovely Songs, will be no Page 28Holy silence. One of the songs I will now utter in your Hearing. Whatever •ad things befall me, I have a Glorious CHRIST left still unto me! A CHRIST who Reconciles me unto GOD, who pleads the Causes of my Soul; who undertakes to heal all that's amiss in me; who orders my whole Condition for me; who will make all things work together for my Good; who will carry me well thro' the Valley of the shadow of Death; who will bring me to all the Spiritual Blessings of the Heavenly Pla|ces; And while I have such a CHRIST concerned for me, Happy, Happy am I; I never can be miserable! Go on, O Suffer|ing Believer, and Soar, and Sing at this rate; Whatever sad things befall me, while I feel a Glorious CHRIST Possessing of me, and Conversing with me, and I can by the precious Thoughts of Him have a CHRIST always Dwelling in me; and I can find in a CHRIST all that was Amia|ble and Valuable in the Creatures that are taken from me; so long I cannot but be Comfortable. In all my Darkness, I have a wondrous Light arising to me. O Be|lieving Sufferer, While thy sad things thus drive thee as a Dove to the Clef•s Page 29of the Rock, thy SAVIOUR says, Let me hear thy Voice! And sweet, sweet will be this Voice of thine unto Him.
THE PIETY of an Holy silence, yet speaking such things as these, is to be particularly Exemplified, on the Sorrow|ful Occasions, when like Aaron the Priest of the Lord, we have our CHILDREN taken from us; the Desire of our Eyes taken away with a stroke. Such Occasi|ons do now exceedingly multiply, in a City, the cry whereof goes up to Heaven. My Brethren, Allow me to tell you, That on such Occasions; tho' we are to hold our peace, yet we are to make men|tion of the Lord, and not keep silence, as to the satisfaction, which we find Him afford unto us.
OUR Affection to our Children makes us desirous to have them Live, that they may taste the Comforts of this Life, and those Good Things, which we would as far as we can help them to. But now, speak such a thing as this. A Glo|rious CHRIST fetches away these Children to a World, where they are feasted with Comforts, which this mean and vain World could never yield unto them. They are Page 30Comforted in the Paradise which they are gone unto.
WE have seen Lovely Qualities in our Children, by which they have been mightily Endeared unto us. But now, speak such a thing as this. There could be no Beauty in our Children but what•〈◊〉 may see to Endear a Glorious CHRIST in|finitely more unto us: 〈◊〉 Altogether Lovely One! Thou didst give all that was Beauti|ful in them; and thou 〈◊〉 so made them a thousand times more Beautiful than they were before.
THE Delight we have taken in Com|munion with our Children, makes us wi•h to have them with us. But now, spe• such a Thing as this. In Communion with a Glorious CHRIST, I can find such things to delight my Soul, as the most plea|sant Children upon Earth could no• enrich me with.
Having spoken such agreeable Things, now, Syr, 'tis time •o hold your peace.
¶. IT becomes me to do so, who have this Day, a DAUGHTER, 〈◊〉 together with her New born Daught•r,〈◊〉 waiting to be Buried out of my Sight, whom o|thers Page 31as well as I, could not but always with much Affection Look upon.
IF I should sp•ak of the Singular Good|ness and Sweetness in her Temper, which rendred her Universally Beloved, or of that E•rly• Piety, which most of all bespoke, I will not say, the Praises for her which belong to the Woman that fear• the Lord, but the Praises of Him who called her out of Darkness into His Mar|vellous Light: I might fall into the In|decency of speaking, what might be more properly published by another.
IT will be no Tresp•ss upon the silence proper for me, to mention a Circum|stance of her Death, which may serve the Cause of that Early Piety, that she was an Instance of.
SHE Entertained the Approaches of her Death, with a most humble Resigna|tion to the Will of her Glorious LORD, and Acquiescence in it: Tho' not with|out the Remainders of that Fear, that, she said, had all her Life held her in Bon|dage.
SHE had not the Raptures of a Joyful Assurance, which some that had been once Related to her, Enjoy'd in their Page 32Dying Hours and Agonies. Tho' she said, That in the Religion of the Closet, she had found the Spirit of GOD making His Gracious Visits to her Soul, with some Com|fortable Assurances of His Love; Yet she said, That she was not now without some Distress upon her Mind; complain|ing, that the Affairs of this World had so Enfeebled her Walk with GOD, as to impair the Light of His Countenance up|on her. But still she kept in the strains and at the Acts, of that Substantial PIE|TY, which lies in Soul a groaning after a Deliverance from Indwelling Sin, and Longing after a Conformity to GOD, and laying hold on a SAVIOUR, to fulfil all the Good Pleasure of His Goodness.
HAVING Renewed the Consent of her Soul, over and over again, unto the Gra|cious proposal made by her SAVIOUR, for her Espousal to Him; and being ask|ed, whether she desired that her SAVI|OUR would make her Holy as well as Righteous, and so fill her Soul with the Love of GOD, that GOD should be for|ever Dwelling and Reigning there, she did with a Raised, and a more than common Ardor, make this Answer to it; Page 33Oh! more than Life it self! That Favour of GOD is better than Life!
AS her End approached, she had her Good Hope thro' Grace growing upon her. And the very last Thing she spoke to me, was with Repetition to assure me, That her SAVIOUR had given her a Com|fortable perswasion of His Receiving her to the Glory of GOD.
BUT she left with me her Desires, That I would go on to inculcate upon the Young People in the Place, that Early Piety, wherein (as All, and even the most Watchful and Fruitful Children of GOD always declare, when they come to dye) her poor Endeavours to Walk with GOD, she said, had Nothing in them to be Repented of, but that they had been so poor, and that she had no more aboun|ded in them.
SHE was Born, June 14. 1694. But when she takes her Flight, she leaves yet Surviving, Two GRAND-FATHERS; the Venerable Dr. INCREASEMATHER, in the Eighty Third, and the Honoura|ble Col. JOHN PHILIPS, in the Nine|tieth, Year of their Age; Longing for their Orders to come away unto that Page 34World whither an Offspring so endeared unto them, is gone before them: And where they shall be present with the Lord.
HAVING Related thus much, and so far discharged my Duty, I shall now hold my Peace, which is the Duty now remaining for me.