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no thraldom but in sin and God's displeasure ; and no true liberty but in his love.

3. He knoweth whether honour or dishonour be best for thee: If the esteem of men may facilitate their reception of the saving truth of God which is preached to them, God will procure it, if he have work to do by it; if not, how little is it to be regarded! What doth it add to me to be highly esteemed or applauded by men, who are hasting to the dust, where their thoughts of me and all the world are at an end ? When I see the skulls of the dead, who perhaps once knew me, how little doth it now concern me what thoughts of me were once within that skull? And as for the immortal soul, if it be in the world of light, it judgeth by his light as God judgeth: if in hell, I have no more cause to be troubled at their malice than at the devil's; and I have little cause to rejoice that such damned souls did once applaud me.

O miserable men, that have no better than the hypocrites' reward, to be seen and honoured of men! God's approbation is the felicitating honour! He will own all in me that is his own, and all that he owneth is everlastingly honoured. “ The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous ;' (Psal. i. 6 ;) for it is his way; the way which he prescribed them, and in which he did conduct them. Good and evil are now so mixed in me, that it is hard for me fully to discern them: but the all-seeing God doth discern them, and will separate them.

4. Thy heavenly Father knoweth whether it be best for thee to abound or want : and with what measure of worldly things it is fittest for thee to

be intrusted. Abundance hath abundant snares, and cares, and troubling employments which divert our thoughts from things of real and perpetual worth : provision is desirable according to its usefulness to our work and end : It is far better to need little and have little, than to have much, and need all; for it cannot be got, or kept, or used, without some troublesome and hurtful effects of its vanity and vexation. Let the foolish desire to be tired and burdened with provision, and lose the prize by turning their helps into a snare, and miss the end by overloving the way: my Father knoweth what I want, and he is always able to supply me with a word : it doth not impoverish him to maintain all the world, His store is not diminished by communication. “ The Lord is my Shepherd, what then can I need?” (Psal. xxii. 1.) How often have I found that he careth for me, and that it is better to be at his keeping and provision, than to have been my own carver, and to have cared for myself! Blessed be my bounteous Father who hath brought me so near to the end of my race, with very little care for provision in my way, and with less want: necessaries I never wanted, and superfluities are not required. Blessed be that wise and gracious Lord that hath not given me up to greedy desires, nor insnared and burdened me with needless plenty. How safe, how easy and comfortable a life is it, to live in the family of such a Father, and with a thankful carelessness to trust his will, and take that portion as best which he provideth for us! and into what misery do foolish prodigals run, who had rather have their portion in their own hand than in their father's !

5. Thy heavenly Father knoweth with what kind and measure of trials and temptations it is fit that thou shouldest be exercised: it is his work to permit them : it is thy work to beg his grace to overcome them, and watchfully and constantly to make resistance, and in trial to approve thy faithfulness to God: “Blessed are they that endure temptations ; for when they are tried they shall receive the crown of life.” (James i.) If he will try thee by bodily pain and sickness, he can make it turn to the health of thy soul : perhaps thy bodily diseases have prevented some mortal soul-diseases which thou didst not fear. If he will try thee by men's malice, injury or persecutions, he knoweth how to turn it to thy good; and in season to bring thee out of trouble: he will teach thee by other men's wickedness to know what grace hath cured or prevented in thyself; and to know the need of trusting in God alone, and appealing to his desirable judgment: he that biddeth thee, when thou art reviled and persecuted and loaded with false reports for righteousness sake, to rejoice and be exceedingly glad because of the great reward in heaven: can easily give, thee what he doth command, and make thy suffer. ings a help to this exceeding joy.

If he will try thee by Satan's molesting temp. tations, and suffer him to buffet thee, or break thy peace by melancholy disquietments and vex. atious thoughts, from which he hath hitherto kept thee free, he doth but tell thee from how much greater evil he hath delivered thee, and make thy fears of hell a means to prevent it, and call thee to thy Saviour to seek for safety and peace in him.

If it please him to permit the malicious tempter to urge thy thoughts to blasphemy, or other dreadful sin (as it ordinarily falleth out with the melancholy), it telleth thee from what malice grace preserveth thee, and what Satan would do were he let loose : it calleth thee to remember that thy Saviour himself was tempted by Satan to as great sin as ever thou wast, even to worship the devil himself; and that he suffered him to carry about his body from place to place, which he never did by thee : it tells thee therefore that it is not sin to be tempted to sin, but to consent, and that Satan's sin is not laid to our charge: and though our corruption is such, as that we seldom are tempted, but some culpable blot is left behind in us, for we cannot say as Christ, that Satan hath nothing in us ; yet no sin is less dangerous to man's damnation, than the melancholy thoughts which such horrid vexatious temptations cause ; both because the person being distempered by a disease, is not voluntary in what he doth ; and also because he is so far from loving and desiring such kind of sins, that it is the very burden of his life; they make him weary of himself

, and he daily groaneth to be delivered from them. It is certain that affection and desire is the damning malignity of sin ; that there is no more sin than there is will; and that no sin shall damn men which they had rather leave than keep; and therefore forgiveness is joined to repentance : drunkards, fornicators, worldlings and ambitious men, love their sin : but a poor melancholy soul that is tempted to ill thoughts, or to despair, or terror, or to excessive griefs, is far from loving such a state. The case of such is sad at present: but O how much sad. der is the case of those that are lovers of pleasure more than of God, and who revel and delight in sin.

6. God knoweth how long it is best for us to live. Leave then the determination of the time to him ; all men come into the world on the condition of going out again : die we must, and is it not fitter that God choose the time than we? Were it left to our wills how long we should live on earth, alas, how long should many of us be kept out of heaven, by our own desires ! And too many would stay here till misery made them impatient of living. But our lives are his gift, and in his hand who knoweth the use of them, and knoweth how to proportion them to that use which is the just measure of them. He chose the time and place of my birth, and he chooseth best: why should I not also will. ingly leave to his choice the time, and place, and manner of my departure. I am known of him ; and my concerns are not despised by him : He knoweth me as his own, and as his own he bath used me, and as his own he will receive me. “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be for ever.” (Psal.

And if he bring me to death through long and painful sickness, he knoweth why it is ; that all may end in my salvation. “He knoweth the way that is with me, and when he

xxxvii. 18.)

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