Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE SECOND PART. HOW A MAN SHOULD USE HIMSELF TOWARDS HIM,

IN WHOM HE PUTTETH HIS TRUST IN THE TIME

OF TROUBLE. Ver. 2. In the time of my trouble I sought the Lord : · my liand I held up all night, and it was not weary:

my soul refused comfort.

In this part is taught us, both by doctrine and by example, how we should use ourselves in the time of trouble. When we know there is no help nor helper but God alone, it is not enough for a man to know that God can help; but also we must believe constantly, that he hath as prompt a will to help, as a sufficient power able to help: and then being assured that he both can and will help, we must call upon him for help, according to his commandment unto 115 : “ Call upon ine in the days of trouble;* &c. (Psa. l. xv.)

Out of this place we may mark and learn, what an intolerable burden and unspeakable sorrow the terror and fear of sin is, and how grievous a thing the sight and contemplation of God's displeasure and just judgment is against every sinner for his sin and transgression of God's most holy law. The text saith, that the Prophet, when he felt the displeasure of God against sin, cried out with a loud voice unto the Lord; whereby we learn, that the conscience of man admonished by the word of God, of the filthiness and abomination of sin, bringeth all the body into a trembling and fear, lest God should use rather justice, and justly punish sin, than mercy, and mercifully forgive sin.

And thus being made afraid thoroughly of sin, the mind is occupied with sorrowful and heavy cogitations, and the tongue by vehemency of the spirit brought into clamours and cries. As we may see commonly by examples left unto us in the word of God, that where sin is thoroughly felt in the con

[ocr errors]

science, the feeling sinner is not only troubled within in spirit, but also outwardly in all the inembers and parts of his body, as it is to be seen most manifestly in King David.

In what a sea of heaviness was King David in his conscience, when he spake to his own soul :)“Why. art thou so heavy and sorrowful, O my soul, and why

dost thou thus trouble me?" Again :.How long wilt I thou forget me, O Lord? for ever?” (Psalm xlii.)

And in other Psalmos te may see, into what trembling and fear outwardly he was brought by the knowledge and feeling of his sin.

In one place he saith, the fear of his sins did not only overlay his conscience, but also crushed and (in manner) almost broke his bones. (Psalm xxxviii.) And in another place (Psalm vi.) his visage was all defaced with weeping tears, and so abundantly they gushed out of his eyes, that he watered, or rather overflowed his bed with them where he lay. Into what horrible cries and wailings many times he fell for fear of sin, this: Psalm and many other do declare. The like horror and fear also of the sight and feeling of sin we see to have been in St. Paul, when he cried out upon himself, 1.5, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body subject unto death ?” (Rom. vii.) And Mary Magdalen, with the sight and feeling of God's displeasure against her sin, made tears and weepings enough to wash the fountain of mercy's feet, Jesus Christ. But blessed is that conscience feared by the law, whose fear by the sweet proinises of the Gospel is turned into mirth; and blessed be those tears and weepings that end in consolation ; and happy is that troubled body, whose end is immortality in the resurrection of the just. (Psalm cxxvi. Matt. v. 1 Cor. xv.) Further, as we see here King David, a sinner, for fear of God's judgment, brake out into loud cries for help and preVOL. V,

тт

servation : the same anguish and trouble of mind and of body, for fear of God's punishment for sin towards man, was likewise in Christ without sing. which said, “ My soul is heavy unto death." (Matt. xxvi.) And in such an agony was his body, that he burst ont, and sweat both water and bload.

So that of this second part, first we learn, that such as be truly and unfeignedly brought to a know, ledge, feelitig, and repentance of their sins, have it with great heaviness of mind, terror of conscience, and trouble also of the body many times, but no sickness nor troubles may be compared to the trouble of the consciende, for fear of due and condign punishment for the sin perpetrated and committed against God's laws. i The second doctrine that we be taught out of this second part is, to declare what difference there is between the penitent Christian in adversity, and the desperate person that looketh for no help, or else the presunptuous person that contemneth help.

The penitent afflicted calleth unto the Lord, and although he find his burden never so intolerable, doth weep and lament never so sore, yet he despaireth not, but in adversity he hath hope, and is not confound, ed, as in prosperity he hath faith, and yet presumeth not. The desperate man feeleth all troubles and no consolation, is wholly overcome with mistrust, full of incredulity, and clean void of hope ; as Saul, Judas, and others. The contemner of admonition hath hope in prosperity, with all presumption; as Cain and Pharaoh; and in adversity, desperation, - with all mistrust and diffidence. The Christian afflicted, calleth in faith and hope upon the Lord, and .is heard : the wicked afflicted, calleth not upon the Lord, but is clean rejected and comfortless by God's most jast judgment. The Christian afflicted, seeth all bis sins less than the loast mercies of God; the wicked

fflicted, 'seeth the least of his sins greater than the greatest mercies of God. The one in trouble, by faith glorifieth the Lord, and by mercy findeth salvation : the other in trouble, by mistrust dishonoureth the Lord, and by justice findeth damnation. The one by troubles through faith in Christ is made like unto the Son of God, and cannot be separated from him in eternal life: the other, by troubles through desperation of Christ, is made like unto Satan, and cannot be' separated from him in eternal death. The one, in eternal life, findeth everlasting joys: the other, in everlasting death, findeth endless pains. Almighty God therefore grant us grace, in all qur troubles and afflictions, penitently and faithfully to call upon him, and to find him merci- ful unto us his wretched creatures. Amen.

The third thing to be noted in this second part is, that God's nature and man's differ much one from the other : for man (for the most part) is no inore serviceable unto God, nor longer friendly unto man, than God's condition upon the earth is fortunate and quiet with the world; for if storms arise for God's cause, and troubles happen where quietness esst had place, the men of the world alter their love, service, and reverence, and will neither make nor meddle with God nor his cause ; no, although ten thousand idols be brought in for one God, as Englishmen have seen in former times, as long as Christ had a king in this realm to hold of his part, and that great livings, gains, friendship, and love of the world rose for God's sake, they dissembled towards his word, and so long as fair words could please God, he lacked none: but now even such as God did most for, do know neither God nor his word, but had rather hear ten times spoken of the falsest tradition that ever man brought into the church, than one of Christ's most holy Gospel ; sQ

.

that now'men's natures, for 'adversities sake, be clean turned from God.

How long the love of man continueth towards men, daily experience sheweth. Within one month, if a man fall into trouble for the most just cause, he that was his friend svill not only alter his love : from him, but also all the notes and tokens of the same. Whereas in prosperity he was assured both of friendly words and friendly works, in adversity he shall find neither words nor works, except words and

works of displeasure. In prosperity fairl looks and - amiable countenances were as common as the cartway: in adversity there shall neither look nor countenance be shewed, except it be frowning and bending of brows; yea, and moreover, adversity taketh from the dissembling friend all knowledge that ever he : had of his friend afflicted, that if the poor afflicted (although he be even under the nose of his feigned friend) with courtesy and all obeisance cannot be known.

O God! blessed be thy name, that withdrawest i neither thy knowledge, love, nor yet thy help from : the poor afficted, but hearest them, and grantest - thein their godly and honest request ; as here this Prophet most godly and comfortably writeth of thee; for be saith, “ The Lord shall hearken unto me, when I seek him in the time of trouble." And also i the Lord abhorreth not to be present with the afflicted, be his troubles never so great : “ For I am (saith the Lord) with him in trouble ; I will deliver him, and set him in honour," &c. (Psalm sci.)

Of this doctrine we learn two things : the one, that God hateth not the troubled man for his troubles, but for his sins. Men do clean contrary for the inost part ; for they hate the man for trouble cand not for sin : for let the wickedest man alive (haye prosperity, and all wicked men will love him

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »