Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

affright us; the folly of the multitude shall no more annoy us; the falseness of our seeming, selfish friends shall no more betray us; the pride of self-conceited men shall no more disturb us; the turbulency of men distracted by ambition shall cast us no more into confusions; the kingdom that we shall possess shall not be liable to mutations, nor be tossed with pride and faction as are these below. There is no monthly (or annual) change of governors and laws, as is in lunatic commonwealths; but there will be the same Lord and King, and the same laws and government, and the same subjects and obedience, without any mutinies, rebellions, or discontents, to all eternity. The church of which we shall then be members, shall not be divided into parties and factions, nor the members look strangely at each other, because of difference of opinions, or distance of affections, as now we find it, to our daily grief, in the militant church. We shall then need no tedious debates to reconcile us. Unity will be then quickly and easily procured. There will be no falling out in the presence of our Lord. There will be none of that darkness, uncharitableness, selfishness, or passion left, that now causeth our dissensions. When we have perfect light, and perfect love, the perfect peace will be easily attained, which here we labour for in vain. Now there is no peace in church or state, in cities or countries, in families, or scarce in our own souls. But when the glorious King of Peace hath put all his enemies under his feet, what then is left to make disturbance? Our enemies can injure us no more, for it is then their portion to suffer for all their former injuries to Christ and us : our friends will not injure us, (as here they do,) because their corruption and weakness is put off, and the relics of sin that caused the trouble are left behind. Oh, that is the sight that faith prepareth for, that is the day, the blessed day, that all our days are spent in seeking, and waiting, and praying for ; then shall the glory of holiness appear, and the wisdom of the saints be justified by all, that now is justified by her children. Then it shall be known, whether faith or unbelief, whether a heavenly or earthly mind and life was the wiser and more justifiable course. Then shall all the world " discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.” (Mal. iii. 18.). Then sin (that is now so obstinately defended and justified by such foolish cunning) shall never more find a tongue to plead for it, or a patron to defend it more. Then where is the man that will

[merged small][ocr errors]

stand forth and break a jest at godliness, or make a scorn of the holy diligence of believers ? How pale then will those faces look that here were wont to jeer at piety! What terror will seize upon those hearts that here were wont to make themselves sport at the weaknesses of the upright servants of the Lord! That is the day that shall rectify all judgments, and cure the errors and contemptuous thoughts of an holy life, which no persuasions now can cure; that is the day that shall set all straight that now seems crooked; and shall satisfy us to the full that God was just, even when he prospered his enemies, and afflicted the souls that loved him, and walked in their integrity before him. We shall then see that which shall fully satisfy us of the reason and equity of all our sufferings which here we underwent ;' we shall marvel no more that God lets us weep,

and
groan,

and
pray,

and turns away his face, and seems not to regard us.

We shall then find that all our groans were heard, and all our tears and prayers did succeed, which we suspected had been lost. We shall then find that à duty performed in sincerity, through all our lives, was never lost; no, nor a holy thought, nor a “ cup of cold water,” that, from holy love, we gave to a disciple. We shall then see that our murmurings, and discontents, and jealous, unbelieving thoughts of God, which sickness, or poverty, or crosses did occasion, were all injurious to the Lord, and the fruit of infirmity; and that when we questioned his love on such accounts we knew not what we said. We shall then see that death, and grave, and devils, were all but matter for the glorifying of grace, and for the triumph of our Lord and us.

Up, then, my soul, and shake off thy unbelief and dulness. Look

YP, and long, and meet thy Lord. The more thou art afraid of death, the more desire that blessed day, when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the name of death shall be terrible no more. Though death be thy enemy, there is nothing but friendly in the coming of thy Lord. Though death dissolve thy nature, the resurrection shall restore it, and make thee full reparation, with advantage.

How glad would I have been to have seen Christ but with the wise men in the manger, or to have seen him disputing with the doctors in his childhood in the temple, or to have seen him do his miracles, or heard him preach, much more to have seen him as the three disciples, in his transfiguration, or to have seen him after his resurrection, and when he ascended up to heaven. But

how far is all this below the sight that we shall have of him when he comes in glory; when the brightness of his shining face shall make us think the sun was in darkness, and the glory of his attendants shall make us think what a sordid thing, and childish foolery was all the glory of this world. The face of love shall be then unveiled, and ravish us into the highest love and joy that our natures are capable of. Then doubt, and fear, and grieve, if thou canst! What, then, wilt thou think of all these disquieting, distrustful thoughts that now so wrong thy Lord and thee? If going into the sanctuary, and foreseeing the end, can cure our brutish misapprehensions of God's providences, (Psalm lxxiii. 17,) how perfectly will they be cured when we see the glorious face of Christ, and behold the new Jerusalem in its glory, and when we are numbered with the saints that judge the world. We shall never more be tempted, then, to condemn the generation of the just, nor to think it vain to serve the Lord, nor to envy the prosperity of the wicked, nor to stagger at the promise through unbelief, nor to think that our sickness, death, and grave, were any signs of unkindness or unmercifulness in God. We shall then be convinced that sight and flesh were unfit to censure the ways of God, or to be our guides.

Hasten, O Lord, this blessed day! Stay not till faith have left the earth, and infidelity, and impiety, and tyranny have conquered the rest of thine inheritance! Stay not till selfish, uncharitable pride hath vanquished love and self-denial, and planted its colonies of heresy, confusion, and cruelty, in thy dominions, and earth and hell be turned into one. Stay not till the eyes of thy servants fail, and their hearts and hopes do faint and languish with looking and waiting for thy salvation. But if yet the day be not at hand, oh, keep up faith, and hope, and love, till the sun of perfect love arise, and time hath prepared us for eternity, and grace for glory.

SOME IMITABLE PASSAGES

OF THE

Life of Elizabeth, late wife of Mr. Joseph Baker.

Though I spoke so little as was next to nothing, of our dear deceased friend, it was not because I wanted matter, or thought it unmeet; but I use it but seldom, lest I raise expectations of the like, where I cannot conscionably perform it. But he that hath promised to honour those that serve and honour him, (John xii. 26; 1 Sam. ii. 30,) and will come at last “to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe," (2 Thess. i. 10,) I know will take it as a great and acceptable act of service, to proclaim the honour of his grace, and to give his servants their due on earth, whose souls are glorified with Christ in heaven, though serpentine enmity will repine, and the envious accuser.

It is not the history of the life of this precious servant of the Lord which I intend to give you, (for I was not many years acquainted with her,) but only some passages, which, either upon my certain knowledge, or her own diurnal of her course, or the most credible testimony of her most intimate, judicious, godly friends, I may boldly publish as true and innitable in this untoward, distempered generation.

She was born November, 1634, in Southwark, near London, the only child of Mr. John Godeschalk, alias Godscall. Her father dying in her childhood, she was left an orphan to the Chainber of London. Her mother after married Mr. Isaac Barton, with whom she had the benefit of religious education : but between sixteen and seventeen years of age, by the serious reading of the book called “ The Saints' Everlasting Rest,” she was more thoroughly awakened, and brought to set her heart on God, and to seek salvation with her chiefest care. From that time forward she was a more constant, diligent, serious hearer of the ablest ministers in London, rising early, and going far to hear them on the week days; waiting on God for his confirming

66

grace in the use of those ordinances, which empty, inexperienced hypocrites are easily tempted to despise. The sermons, which she constantly wrote, she diligently repeated at home, for the benefit of others; and every week read over some of those that she had heard long before, that the fruit of them might be retained and renewed; it being not novelty that she minded.

In the year 1654, being near one-and-twenty years of age, after seeking God, and waiting for his resolving, satisfying directions, she consented to be joined in marriage to Mr. Joseph Baker, by the approbation of her nearest friends, God having taken away her mother the year before. With him she approved herself, indeed, such a wife as Paul (no papist) describeth as meet for a bishop or pastor of the church;

even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” (1 Tim. iii. 11.) Some instances I shall give for the imitation of others.

I. She was very exemplary in self-denial and humility: and having said thus much, what abundance have I comprehended ! Oh, what a beauty doth self-denial and humility put on souls ! Nay, what a treasure of everlasting consequence doth these two words express! I shall give you a few of the discoveries.

1. It appeared in her accompanying in London with the holiest, how mean soever, avoiding them that were proud, and vain, and carnal. She desired most to be acquainted with those that she perceived were best acquainted with God, neglecting the pomp and vain-glory of the world.

2. When she was called to a married state, though her portion, and other advantages, invited persons of greater estates in the world, she chose rather to marry a minister of known integrity, that might be a near and constant guide, stay, and comfort to her in the matters which she valued more than riches. And she missed not of her expectations for the few years that she lived with him. Even in this age, when the serpent is hiss

every corner at faithful ministers, and they are contemned both by profane and heretical malignants, she preferred a mean life with such a one, for her spiritual safety and solace, before the grandeur of the world.

3. When some inhabitants of the city of Worcester were earnest with me to help them to an able minister, Mr. Baker, then living in Kent, had about a hundred pounds per annum : and when, at my motion, he was readily willing to take a great charge in Worcester, upon a promise from two men to make the

ing in

« EdellinenJatka »