"hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, well ordered in all things and fure; this is all my falvation, and all my "defire, though he make it not to grow." He could fetch all reliefs, all comforts, and falvation out of it, and why cannot we? He defired no more for the support of his heart; this is all my defire; and fure if we understood and believed it as he did, we could defire no more to quiet and comfort our hearts than what this covenant affords us. For,

1. Are we afraid what our enemies will do? We know we are in the midlt of potent, politic, and enraged enemies; we have heard what they have done, and fee what they are preparing to do again. We tremble to think what bloody tragedies are like to be acted over again in the world by their cruel hands: But O what heroic and noble acts of faith should the covenant of God enable thee to exert amidst all these fears? If God be thy God, then thou haft an Almighty God on thy fide, and that is enough to extinguish all these fears, Pfal. cxviii. 6. "The Lord is on my fide, I will not fear what man can do unto me." Your fears come in the name of man, but your help in the name of the Lord: Let them plot, threaten, yea, and fmite too; God is a shield to all that fear him, and if God be for us, who can be against us?

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2. Are we afraid what God will do? fear it not, your God will do nothing against your good; think :ot that he may forget you, it cannot be; fooner may a tender mother forget her fucking child, Ifa. xlix. 15. no, no, "He withdraweth not his "eye from the righteous, Job. xxxvi. 7. His eyes are continually upon all the dangers and wants of your fouls and bodies, there is not a danger or an enemy stirring against you, but his eye is upon it, 2 Chron. xvi. 9.

Are you afraid he will forfake and caft you off? It is true, your fins have deferved he fhould do fo, but he hath fecured you fully against that fear in his covenant, Jer. xxxii. 40. “I will

not turn away from them, to do them good." All your fears of God's forgetting or forfaking you, fpring out of your ignorance of the covenant.

3. Are you afraid what you fhall do? It is usual for the people of God to propofe difficult cafes to themselves, and put ftartling questions to their own hearts; and there may be an excellent use of them to rouze them out of fecurity, put them upon the search and trial of their conditions and estates, and make preparation for the worft; but Satan ufually improves it to a quite contrary end, to deject, affright, and difcourage them. O if fiery trials thould come, if my liberty and life

come once to be touched in earnest, I fear I fhall never have ftrength to go on a step farther in the way of religion: I am afraid I fhall faint in the first encounter, I fhall deny the words of the holy One, make fhipwreck of faith and a good confcience in the first guft of temptation. I can hear, and pray, and profefs; but I doubt I cannot burn, or bleed, or lie in a dungeon for Christ. If I can scarce run with footmen in the land of peace, how do I think to contend with horses in these fwellings of Jordan?

But yet all these are but groundless fears, either forged in thy own mifgiving heart, or fecretly fhuffled by Satan into it; for God hath abundantly fecured thee against fear in this very particular, by that most sweet, supporting, and blessed promise, annexed to the former, in the fame text, Jer. xxxii. 40. “I will

put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from "me." Here is another kind of fear, than that which so startles thee, promised to be put into thy heart, not a fear to shake and undermine thy affurance, as this doth, but to guard and maintain it. And this is the fear that shall be enabled to vanquish and expel all thy other fears.

4. Or are you afraid what the church shall do? And what will become of the ark of God? Do you fee a storm gathering, winds begin to roar, the waves to fwell; and are you afraid what will become of that veffel the church, in which you have fo great an intereft?

It is an argument of the publicnefs and excellency of thy fpirit, to be thus touched with the feeling fenfe of the church's fufferings, and dangers. Most men feek their own things, and not the things that are Chrift's, Phil. ii. 21. But yet, it is your fin fo to fear, as to fink and faint under a spirit of defpondency, and difcouragement, which yet many good men are but too apt to do. I remember an excellent paffage in a letter of * Luther's to Melancthon upon this very account. • In private troubles, * faith he, I am weaker, and thou art ftronger; thou despisest thy own life, but feareft the public caufe: but for the public I am at reft, being affured that the cause is just and true, yea, that it is Chrift's and God's caufe. I am well nigh a fecure fpectator of things, and esteem not any thing thefe * fierce and threatning Papifts can do. I befeech thee by Chrift, 'neglect not fo divine promifs and confolations, where the ⚫ fcripture faith, Caft thy care upon the Lord, wait upon the VOL. IV.

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* Epift. ad Melanct. Anno 1549,

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Lord, be ftrong, and he fhall comfort thy heart:' + And in another epistle! I much dislike thofe anxious cares, which as "thou writeft do almost consume thee. It is not the greatnefs ' of the danger, but the greatnefs of thy unbelief. John Hufs and others were under greater danger than we; and if it be great, he is great that orders it. Why do you afflict yourfelf? if the caufe be bad, let us renounce it; if it be good, why do we make him a liar who bids us be ftill? as if you ⚫ were able to do any good by fuch unprofitable cares. I befeech thee, thou that in other things art valiant, fight against thyfelf, thine own greatest enemy, that puts weapons ⚫ into Satan's hand.'

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You fee how good men may be even overwhelmed with public fears; but certainly if we did well confider the bond of the covenant that is betwixt God and his people, we should be more quiet and compofed. For by reafon thereof it is, 1. That God is in the midst of them, Pial. xlvi. 1, 2, 3, 4. When any great danger threatened the reformed church in its tender beginning, in Luther's time, he would fay, Come let us fing the xlvi. Pfalm; and indeed it is a lovely fong for fuch times; it bears the title of A Song upon Alamoth, or a song for the hidden ones, God is with them to cover them under his wings. 2. And it is plain matter of fact, evident to all the world, that no people under the heavens have been fo long and fo wonderfully preferved as the church hath been; it hath over-lived many bloody maffacres, terrible perfecutions, fubtle and cruel enemies; ftill God hath preferved and delivered it, for his promifes oblige him to do it, amongst which those two are fignal and eminent ones, Jer. xxx. 11. Ifa. xxvii. 3. And it is obvious to all that will confider things, that there are the felf-fame motives in God, and the felf fame grounds and reafons before him, to take care of his church and people, that ever were in him, or did ever lie before him from the beginning of the world. For (1.) The relation is ftill the fame. What though Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, those renowned believers, be in their graves, and those that fucceed be far inferior to them in grace and fpiritual excellency; yet faith the church, doubtless thou art our Father. There is the fame tie and bond betwixt the Father and the youngest weakest child in the family, as the eldest and strongest. (2.) His pity and mercy is ftill the fame, for that endures for ever: his bowels yearn as tenderly over his people in their present, as ever they did in any past afflictions, or ftraits. (3.) The rage

+ Anno 1530.

and malice of his and his peoples enemies is ftill the fame, they will reflect as blasphemously and dishonourably upon God now, fhould he give up his people, as ever they did. Mofes's argu ment is as good now as ever it was, What will the Egyptians fay? and fo is Joshua's too, What wilt thou do unto thy great name? Oh! if these things were more throughly studied and believed, they would appease many fears.

2. Rule. Work upon your hearts the confideration of the many mifchiefs and miferies men draw upon themselves and others, both in this world and that to come, by their own finful fears.

1. The miseries and calamities that finful fear brings upon men in this world are unspeakable: this is it that hath plunged the confciences of fo many poor wretches into fuch deep diftreffes; this it is that hath put them upon the rack, and made them roar like men in hell among the damned. Some have been recovered, and others have perished in these deeps of horror and despair. “* In the year 1550 there was at Ferrara in

Italy one Faninus, who by reading good books was by the "grace of God converted to the knowledge of the truth, where"in he found fuch fweetnefs, that by conftant reading, medi"tation, and prayer, he grew fo expert in the fcriptures, that he "was able to inftruct others; and though he durft not go out "of the bounds of his calling to preach openly, yet by confe"rence and private exhortations he did good to many. This

coming to the knowledge of the pope's clients, they appre "hended and committed him to prifon, where he renounced "the truth, and was thereupon released: but it was not long " before the Lord met with him for it; fo as falling into hor"rible torments of confcience, he was near unto utter det fpair; nor could he be freed from those terrors, before he had fully refolved to venture his life more faithfully in the "fervice of Chrift."

Dreadful was that voice which poor Spira feemed to hear in his own confcience, as foon as ever his finful fears had prevailed upon him to renounce the truth. "Thou wicked wretch, "thoù haft denied me, thou haft renounced the covenant of "thine obedience, thou haft broken thy vow; hence, apoftate, "bear with thee the fentence of thine eterna! damnation." Prefently he falls into a fwoon, quaking and trembling, and still affirmed to his death, "That from that time he never found any cafe or peace in his mind;" but profeffed, "that he was

* Clark's Examp. p. 27.

"captivated under the revenging hand of the Almighty God; "and that he continually heard the fentence of Chrift, the just judge against him; and that he knew he was utterly undone, "and could neither hope for grace, or that Christ should inter"cede for him to the Father."

In our dreadful Marian days, Sir John Cheek, who had been tutor to King Edward VI. was caft into the Tower, and kept clofe prifoner, and there put to this miserable choice, either to forego his life, or that which was more precious, his liberty of confcience; neither could his liberty be procured by his great friends at any lower rate than to recant his religion: This he was very unwilling to accept of, 'till his hard imprisonment, joined with threats of much worfe in cafe of his refufal, at laft wrought fo upon him, whilst he confulted with flesh and blood, as drew from him an abrenunciation of that truth which he had fo long professed, and still believed: Upon this he was reftored to his liberty, but never to his comfort; for the fenfe of his own apoftacy, and the daily fight of the cruel butcheries exercised upon others for their conftant adherence to the truth, made fuch deep impreffions upon his broken fpirit, as brought him to a speedy end of his life, yet not without fome comfortable hopes at laft.

Our own hiftories abound with multitudes of fuch doleful examples.

Some have been in fuch horror of confcience, that they have chofen ftrangling rather than life; they have felt that anguifh of confcience that hath put them upon defperate refolutions, and attempts, against their own lives to rid themfelves of it. This was the cafe of Peter Moon, who being driven by his own fears to deny the truth, prefently fell into fuch horror of conscience, that feeing a fword hanging in his parlour, would have sheathed it in his own bowels. So Francis Spira, before-mentioned, when he was near his end, faw a knife on the table, and running to it, would have mifchiefed himself, had not his friends provented him; thereupon he faid, Oh! that I were above God, for I know that he will have no mercy on me. He lay about eight weeks (faith the hiftorian) in a continual burning, neither defiring, or receiving any thing but by force, and that without digeftion, till he became as an anatomy; vehemently raging for drink, yet fearful to live long; dreadful of hell, yet coveting death; in a continual torment, yet his own tormentor; and thus confuming himself with grief and horror, impatience and despair, like a living man in bell, he reprefented an extraordinary example of God's ju ftice and power, and so ended his miferable life.

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