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to thee as they were then, with what motions or difpositions of soul thou shouldest receive them; and reason thyself into the same temper and habitude of thankfulness, as then thou hadst. By this keeping the memory of these Afflictions and these deliverances fresh under all its circumstances, thou wilt with them, and in the same degree as thy remembrance is of them, revive and excite, and preserve and keep alive, and quick and active, the same gratitude, the same humility, the same obedience, the same vigilance that these Afflictions or these deliverances wrought in thee, when they were fresh with thee or upon thee. The vigorous perpetuating of the remembrance of them will be an effectual means to perpetuate the due fruit of them in their life, vigour, and intention,
A GOOD METHOD
UNSTABLE AND TROUBLESOME TIMES.
The first expedient is to expect them before they come: The very state of the world is uncertain and unstable, and for the most part stormy and troublesome; if there be some intervals of tranquillity and sedateness, they are commonly attended with longer periods of unquietness and trouble ; and the greatest impressions are then made by them, when they surprise us, and come unexpected. When the mind is prepared for them by a kind of anticipation, it abates the edge, and keenness and sharpness of them. By this means a man, in a great measure, knows the worst of them before hé feels them, which renders the very incumbence of them not so smart and troublesome to fense, as other. wise they would be. This pre-apprehension and anticipation of troubles and difficulties is the mother of preventicu, where it is possible; and where it is not, yet it is the mother of patience and resolution when they come. Bilney, the Martyr, was wont, before he fuffered, to put his finger in the candle, to habituate himself to a patient undergoing of his future martyrdom; by this means, he in a great measure knew the worit of it, and armed himself with resolution and patience to bear it. Men are apt to feed their fancies with the anticipation of what they hope for and with in this world, and to poffefs it in imagination before they at
To bear with.
tain it in fruition; and this makes men vain : but if they would have the patience sometimes to anticipate what they have just cause to fear, and to put themselves under a pre-apprehension of it, in relation to crofles and troubles, it would make them wife, and teach them a lesson of patience and moderation, before they have occasion to use it ; so that they need not then begin to learn it, when the present and incumbent pressure renders the leffon more difficult. This was the method our blessed Lord took with his Disciples, frequently to tell them before-hand what they must expect in the world !, and in divers other places, telling them, they must expect in this world the worst of temporal evils, that they might thereby be prepared to entertain them with resolution and patience, and might habituate their minds for their reception.
2. The second expedient is, that we use all diligence to gain such a treasure as lies alive the reach of the ftorms of this world; a kingdom that cannot be shaken; namely, cur peace with God in Christ, the pardon of our sins, and a well-grounded hope and assurance of eternal life. These be things that lie out of gun-fhot, and will render the greatest troubles that can befal this lower world, or us in it, not only tolerable, but small and inconsiderable, when in the midst of all the concussions of this world, in the midst of losses of goods or estate, in the midst of storms and confusions, and disasters, and calamities, a man can have such deep and settled confiderations as these : Though I can see nothing but confusions, and little hopes of their amend.
ment, yet I have that which is out of the reach of all • thefe ; that which is infinitely more valuable to me,
than all the best the world can give; that which I
can please and comfort myself in, notwithstanding all • these worldly distractions and fears; namely, the * assurance of my peace with the great God of Heaven
| Matth. x.
and Earth. The worst that I can suffer by these discomposures, and the most I can fear from them, is but death; and that will not only put a period to the things I suffer, or can fear in this life, but will let me into the actual possession of my hopes, even such a state of glory and happiness as can never be ended nor 'fhaken. Such a hope, and such an assurance as this will keep the soul above water, and in a state of peace and tranquillity in all the tempests and shipwrecks that can befall either this inferior world, or any person in it.
3. The third expedient is this, that a man be reolved. ly constant to keep a good conscience, both before the approach of troubles, and under them. It is most certainly true, that the very sting and venom of all crosses and troubles, is fin, and a consciousness of the guilt of it.
This is that which gives troubles and croffes, and calamities their vigour, force, and sharpness; it is the elixir; the very life of them, when a man shall be under extreme outward calamities, lofs of goods, loss of liberty, loss of country, all outward hopes failing, and still greater billows, and waves and storms, and tears in prospect, and within an angry, unquiet, avenging conscience, then indeed troubles have their perfection of malignity. But if a man in the midst of all thefe black and stormy appearances, hath a conscience full of peace, and integrity, and comfortable attestation, this gives a calm in the midst of all these storms; and the reason is apparent, for it is not the tempestuousness or tranquillity of externals, that creates the trouble or the quietness of the man, but it is the mind, and that state of composure or discomposure that the mind is put into occasionally from them: and since there is nothing in the world that conduceth more to the composure and tranquillity of the mind, than the serenity and clearness of the conlcience, keep but that fafe and untainted, the mind will enjoy a calm and tranquillity in the midst of all the storms of the world : and although the waves
beat, beat, and the sea works, and the winds blow, that mind that hath a quiet and clear conscience within, will be as stable and as safe from perturbation, as a rock in the midst of a tempestuous fea, and will be a Goshen to and within itself, when the rest of the world without, and round about a man, is like an Eypt for plagues and darkness. If therefore, either before the access or irruption of troubles, or under their pressure, any thing or person in the world folicit thee to ease or deliver thyself by a breach or wound of thy conscience, know they are about to cheat thee of thy best security under God, against the power and malignity of troubles; they are about to clip off that lock, wherein next under God thy strength lieth. Whatever therefore thou. dost hazard or lose, keep the integrity of thy conscience both before the access of troubles, and under them. It is a jewel that will make thee rich in the midst of poverty; a fun that will give thee light in the midst of darkness; a fortress that will keep thee fafe in the greatest danger, and that is never to be taken, unless thou thyself betray it, and deliver it up
4. The next expedient is this ; namely, an assurance that the Divine wisdom, power and providence, doth dispose, govern, and order all the things in the world, even those that seem most confused, irregular, tumultuous, and contumacious. This, as it is a most certain truth, so it is a most excellent expedient to compose and settle the mind, especially of such a man who truly loves and fears this great God, even under the blackest and most dismal troubles and confusions ; for it must most necessarily give a sound, present, and practical argument of patience and contentation : for even these black difpensations are under the government and management of the most wise and powerful God. Why should I, that am a foolish vain creature, that scarce fee to any distance before me, take upon me to censure these dispensations, to struggle impatiently with them, to dis