« VorigeDoorgaan »
it was the habitual temper of his heart. Some people are much humbled by fits and starts, but Paul felt this daily: many things that we are not concerned about, Paul looked upon them as such that made his heart ach, because he thought he could not live near enough to God. He not only watched to do good, but he watched how he did that good; and nature was so mixed with it, that he said, I cannot do as I would do, I would have served God like an angel, but I find myself to be poor
sinner after all, and if we are like-minded with Paul, we shall mourn over our corruptions, we shall mourn over our hidden sins that none know but God and ourselves. It is a very dangerous thing to trust gospel-gossips, who being strangers to themselves, hear with wonder and contempt, and often betray; however, a juclicious friend, into whose bosom we can pour out our: souls, and tell our corruptions as well as our comforts, is a very great privilege. When our corruptions do not drive us from Christ, but drive us to him, it is the greatest blessing to commune with Christ on this side heaven : and, my brethren, if your hearts are right with God, you will see such things as nobody else could think of. A good woman who was charmed with Dr. Manton, said, O, sir, you have made an excellent sermon to-day, I wish I had your heart; do you say so, said he, good woman, you had better not wish for it, for if you had it, you would wish for your own again. The best of men see themselves in the worst light.
How many thousand things are there that make you mourn here below! who can tell the tears that godly parents shed for ungodly children! O you young folks, you don't know what plague your children may be to you! O they are pretty
things while young, like rattle-snakes and alligators, which I have seen when little, but put them in your bosom, and you will find they are dangerous. How many are there in the world that would wish, if it were lawful, that God had written them childless : there is many a poor crcature that makes his father's heart ach. I once asked a godly widow, madam, how is your son ; she turned aside with tears, and said, sir, he is no son to me now.
What in the world can come up to that! here, says one, I have bred up my children, I cannotcharge myself with educating them wrong, though few parents can say that, for many parents lead them into the paths of death, and are murderers of their own children, and by their manner of education help to damn them for ever; but if you can say, I have done all I could, and yet, O my God, my children are worse than any
other peoples; this is a dreadful state indeed; and the more you mourn, the more they laugh at you ; O these are my godly parents. They increase their trouble, like Dr. Horneck's son, who said, There is not a post in my father's house but stinks of piety. I once saw a man that was awakened at the Orphan-house, fall down, and throw himself on one of their beds, crying out, O sir, what will become of my poor grey-headed father, who knows nothing of this birth! It is a difficulty with some to know how to behave towards unconverted relations ; if you don't go to them, they will say you are precise ; if you do, and are faithful, they will soon show you they have enough of your company: this sends a godly person home mourning; and then there comes a thought, shall I speak to them any more, or let them go to the devil. This is not like parting from your friends
by death, but burying them alive: when dead, we know we must submit; but to part from friends, those we loved, and thought to have lived with till we came to heaven, is mournful indeed.
Moreover, the poor state of the church makes many a minister and close-walker with God to weep over the desolations of the sanctuary, and to mourn for those that will not mourn for themselves: thus our Lord wept over Jerusalem, () Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children, as u hen gathereth her chickens, but it is over with thee now; the decree is gone forth, and Jerusalem shall suffer.
Brethren, the time will fail, and therefore I leave it to you to supply more cases; for if I was to preach till to-morrow morning, I doubt not but a thousand here would say, there are many things you have not mentioned yet. You know the state of your own hearts, and the many particular trials in your own case; and you may also know, though your trial seems over, it is only changed: but let it be observed, the day of your mourning shall be ended; mind, it is but days, though sometimes made very sad ones indeed, by the neglect and ingratitude of those who have made the people of God serve them with rigour, as though all the world was made for them, as well as their incapacity to help themselves, by poverty, pain, sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. This has been, and is the lot of many a child of God ; blessed be sovereign mercy 'tis but a few days. An end shall arrive, and that end shall be liappy, when death, the believer's friend, shall come with angel's face, and dismiss them from all their sin and sorrow. When I was last at Bristol, I could not help remembering good Mr. Middleton, who
used you know to have the gout very much, and in that closet were kept his crutches: now, thought I, he needs them no more, the days of his mourning are ended, and so shall ours by and by too, when we shall no longer want our spiritual crutches or armour, but shall say to the helmet of hope, the shield of faith, I have no more need of thee ; and the all-prevailing weapon of prayer be changed into songs of endless praise ; when God himself shall be our everlasting light, a sun that shall ne
down more, but shall beam forth his infinite and eternal love in a beatific state for ever. The prospect
of this made one of the fathers cry out, 0 glory! how great! how great! what art thou ? friend asking him what he saw ? he answered, I see the glory of the only begotten Son of God. And if a sight of Christ on earth is so great, as could make good Mr. Wardrobe, an excellent Scotch minister, say, after he was given over, starting up in the arms of an excellent friend who told it me, in a rapture of joy, crowns ! crowns! crowns of glory shall adorn this head of mine ere long! and stretching up, added, palms! palms! palms ere long shall hill these hands of mine! and so sweetly fell asleep in Jesus.: what a pleasing, awful trial is that for an affectionate friend! So our dear sister, who is to be buried to-morrow night at Tottenham-court, talked with her friends for an hour or two, and took leave of her husband and children, and said, Non come, ye heavenly chariots! We shall thank God theni for all our losses, crosses, and disappointments ; and I believe those things which we mourn for most, and puts us most to the trial, will give us most comfort when we come to die : God shall be our everlasting light, as well as the days of our mourning shall be ended.
Take care, don't be secure, pray don't think the day of your mourning to be ended yet: you may put off mourning for your friends, but may have fresh cause of mourning for your souls ; whilst you remember that holy mourning is consistent with holy walking, following the Lord in all his ways. You have often heard me speak of one of our ministers, who was not one of your fine velvet mouths, that said once in the pulpit, As sure as you see the sun shine on my breast, (which at that time it did) so sure does the Spirit of God dwell in the souls of true believers. How often has he told you, I am for having you have godly sorrow; I wish your hearts were full of it, because it will end in everlasting joy. Comfort, my brethren, one another with these things, the day of your mourning shall soon be ended for ever.
But what am I to say? I apprehend I shall grow forgetful to-night: I have spoken so mach to saints, I am afraid I shall have but little time to speak to sinners : I mean, I have taken so much time up in speaking to you that know God, that I have but little to speak to you that know him not. How different your state, poor hearts ! poor hearts !
you; my blood, whilst I am speaking, is ready to curdle in my veins. The seraphic Mr. Hervey, when he did me that honour to so-journ under my roof, said, My dear friend, it is an awful thing when we see an unconverted man die, and his eyes closed, to think, that that
soul will never see one gleam of comfort or life more ; to have a sight of God, of Christ, and the heavenly angels and saints; but to see what the rich man saw, a God they