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(vi) In hope of gaining thy charity, suffer me to give a short (but true) account of the ensuing Treatise, viz. I being about three years since, forsome reasons, retired from my family and place of abode, and by sickness, and other things, confined: during which time, many of my dear friends and relations in Christ were called home to their father's house ; whereupon I thought it my duty to write some lines to their surviving relations, as I was by them desired to do; and after seeking God for counsel and assistance, I thought on this text spoken to in the following discourse; (for it was not at the least in my thoughts ever to publish this, or any other, knowing my own inability) I wrote in my homely style what thou wilt here find (all except the title page, this, and the postscript) calculating it to the capacities of the plainest christians; to whom I then sent it, and with whom it lodged ; until about six months since it pleased the only wise God to bring me to a trial of my faith and patience; so deep a stroke it was, that I used all means for my support; and it came into 'my mind, that such a thing I had written so long before, to help in such cases, and that several had found benefit by it, I made enquiry. after it, and at last found it; and in reading of it, as the word of God, and begging God's blessing on it, I found much relief and comfort thereby, (all praise and thanks to God) and thereupon had some small inclinations to communicate the same to others; and after many
strugglings and reluctancies in myself, and with prayers and tears I besought the Lord to direct me. At last I considered, I must shortly put off this my earthly tabernacle, and having for many years been lain aside like a broken vessel of no use, and compassed with many bodily infirmities, I was willing to leave behind me a little scrap of my laboưrs to my children and friends, to put them in mind of what I had taught them for above thirty years together, that they might be fortified against all the troubles of this life, and by faith in God and Christ, hold fast and not loose their crown.
But why so mean a thing as this among the learned labours of so many eminent writers on the like subject ?
I answer, that our Lord took special notice of the widow's mites; and he will not despise the day of small things, Zech. iv. 10. But what can you aim at ? may
be said. Answ. Nor applause to be sure, being conscious of my weakness; nor profit or gain, , expecting but acceptance. But this, God and my conscience bear me witness, this is my aim, my most humble and fervent prayer, that some of Christ's poor little flock (my children and others, whose souls are precious to me, and whom I dearly love in the Lord) may receive some advantage; and chiefly, that God may have all the glory, who hath chosen the weak things of this world, &c. and who accepts the will for the deed, &c. Such as
will not make use of it, let them do better, and I will be glad. None
may be afraid to buy or read it, for there is not a word of the state, or churchmatters in it; I daily pray for the prosperity of both, but think it not my duty to meddle with either, but in subjection.
Two requests I have to thee, loving reader:
1. Pray for a blessing upon as much as you find to be the express will of God.
2. Pray for me, that I may more and more find and feel the life and power of those, and all the truths of God in mine own heart, and may express more of the life of faith in my whole conversation, and I will also
for thee, that thou mayest find as much (and much more) benefit in reading this, as I have in composing and perusing it; all praise to the God of all grace. If you find some passages (in your opinion) too often repeated, be not offended, till you find them too powerful on your hearts.
Thus committing this poor Essay to the blessing of him who is the father of mercies, and can teach us to profit, by his word and rod, and thyself to his love and favour in Jesus Christ; in him I remain for thy soul's good.
Thy humble Servant,
“Let not your Hearts be troubled; ye believe in
God, believe also in me."-John xiv. 1, 2, 3. Ver. 1.
HESE words are a part of our blessed
Saviour's last sermon upon earth just before his passion, which begins (as is probable) at the 13th verse of the 13th chapter of this gospel, and ends at the last verse of the 16th chapter ; in which verse our Lord tells his disciples, (how dear soever they were to him, yet) in the world they should have persecu. tion, tribulation; of which he had otten told them before in effect; that they should not expect their heaven here, but his cross they must bear, if they would wear his crown; tribulations of all kinds, outward and inward, you must endure; it is your portion here. you are thereunto appointed. Man is naturally born to trouble, as the sparks naturally fly upwards, and new-born to trouble also, and commonly to new and more troubles, Acts xiv. 22. 2 Tim. iii. 18, " All that wiil live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffür persecution; of hand, or tongue, one way or other. Indeed, such as can be content with a profession of a godliness that may suit with the times: that can please themselves with any kind of godliness, or with a form, any form of godliness, and that can change their forms when they please, such may avoid persecution; but all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, in the power and spirit of Christ Jesus and resolve to live up to the example and rule of Christ Jesus, they shall have persecution, no avoiding of it. No entering into the kingdom of God but by tribulation. But notwithstanding this our Lord lays this positive command on his disciples ; " let not your hearts be troubled."
These poor disciples were like shortly to sustain an heavy loss of their dearest Lord; he was now a going away from them, a greater loss they could not have; and yet, saith Christ, “ let not your hearts be troubled." Which command is repeated and explained in the 27th verse; “ let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.”
What! might they say, must we not be troubled at all? must nothing trouble us ? No, we must not be troubled for loss; for any outward tribulation, for parting with the nearest and dearest relation, we must not be troubled. Yet we are not forbidden to be troubled for Zion. It is a grievous sin, not to be grieved for the afflictions of Joseph; surely, we must be troubled for God's disho