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A funeral handkerchief in two parts : I. Part. Containing arguments to comfort us at death of friends, II. Part. Containing several uses which we ought to make of such losses : to which is added, Three sermons preached at Coventry, in December last, 1670 / by Thomas Allestree ...
Allestree, Thomas, 1637 or 8-1715.
Wing A1197; ESTC R14326
and tost upon the Waves of a troublesome World Is not this World like a round Ball stuck full of Pins so that upon what part soever the Godly are cast they meet with trouble and misery According to that of our Saviour John 16.33 In the World ye shall have tribulation So that to have his life prolonged what was it but a prolongation of his misery and an adjournment of his happiness Tiberius Caesar said to one that requested death rather than long imprisonment Sueton. Nondum tecum redii in gratiam he told him He had not such a favour for him The like favour God here denies for the present to Epaphroditus and can this be truly call'd a Mercy Answ It cannot be denied but death is better than life to the Godly and rather to be chosen for it frees from sin sickness Satans temptations c. Yea it brings them to the happy vision and fruition of God to the society of blessed Saints and Angels and puts them into possession of everlasting happiness Calvin in Phil. 2.27 Longum esset enumerare omnia quae faciunt ut mors fidelibus potior sit vitÃ¢ optabilior Yet for all this as that learned Author saith Vita per se aestimata est praeclarum Dei beneficium praesertum qui Christo vivunt iis vitam lucro esse dicimus Life considered in it self is a choice mercy of God and advantagious to the Godly And to glorifie God in this bodily life is Non parva dignatio no little savour which God vouchsafeth to us so Calvin And Musculus Muscul in Phil. 2.27 saith Mors ipsa quatenus est peccati stipendium horribilis naturae in seipsÃ¢ considerata capax est misericordiae tÃ m corÃ m Deo quÃ m corÃ m hominibus Death as it is the wages of sin and terrible to nature is capable of mercy both before God and Man Besides as the same Author observes there were several circumstances which would have rendered his death in a sort miserable and no doubt did then trouble his mind Desolatio videlicet perturbatio Ecclesiae as the too much dejection of his people at the sad news of his death and the desolation that might follow upon it and withal the consideration that he could be no longer serviceable to them and to the Apostle in his bonds which he much desired Besides we may farther add that the continuance of a good mans life is a great blessing in this respect that the longer he lives the more good he doth and so his reward will be the greater 2 Cor. 9.6 He that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully There are degrees of glory as may be gathered from 1 Cor. 15.41 42. 1 Cor. 3.8 Secundum non propter opera The most gracious here shall be most glorious hereafter Those that do most for God here shall receive most from God hereafter So that had Epaphroditus died he had had his reward the sooner but living he makes it the greater For those of the longest standing and greatest proficiency in the School of Grace here shall take the greatest degrees of Glory hereafter I end this with the words of that truly pious and learned * Doctor Hammond in Phil. 1.22 Divine Life in it self and for the advantages of serving God and encreasing our Crown is a desirable thing Use and Application Vse 1 1. This may serve to confute or reprove the Manichees or any others that hold this present life in it self is evil Heming in Phil. 1.17 Manichei hanc praesentem vitam ut malum per se damnarunt Heming Surely God would never have made prolongation of life a motive to obedience as you find Deut. 6.2 30.16 c. so Prov. 3.16 4.10 22. 9.10 11. and elsewhere nor would the Apostle here have reckoned Epaphroditus's recovery amongst the mercies of God if this present life had been evil This is such a mercy we ought to bless God for Psal 66.8 9. O bless our God ye people and make the voice of his praise to be heard who holdeth our soul in life Muscul in Psal 103.3 4. NÃ¨ umbrÃ¢ quidem corporis nedum vivo ac sano corpore dignus est c. He is not worthy of the shadow and shape of a body much less of a living and healthful body that doth not look upon life and health as mercies Vse 2 2. This consideration should make us patient under afflictions that befal us So long as we have life and health we have no cause to complain as though God dealt hardly with us We read Gen. 19. that Lot had most of his Goods which he had not time to remove and his Sons in Law consumed in a fearful fire from Heaven and his Wife turned into a Pillar of Salt before his eyes a sad spectacle yet he counted it a mercy amidst manifold miseries that God had spared his life Vers 19. Behold now thy Servant hath found grace in thy sight and thou hast magnified thy mercy which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life It is a mercy thou hast thy health but if this be gone after loss of Goods and Children as in Job's case yet it is a mercy thy life is spared that thou art on this side the Grave and a sad eternity Lam. 3.22 23. It is of the Lords mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not they are new every morning great is thy faithfulness Therefore as he adds vers 39. Wherefore doth a living man complain A living man hath cause to be thankful but none to murmur life and health being the choicest of outward mercies 3. and last Vse 3. And lastly Let us not if life and health be such choice mercies provoke God to deprive us of them Sin as I told you before is the procuring cause of sickness yea and of death too Rom. 5.12 so Rom. 6.23 Death both Temporal and Eternal is as due to sin as wages to him that earns them Temporal Death 't is true sooner or later will seize on us all yet many by sinning impair their health and shorten their dayes as these places shew Job 15.32 Psal 94.23 Prov. 10.27 Eccles 7.17 But more particularly I shall name several sins some of which in their own nature tend to impairing of health and shortening a mans dayes and others of them God hath threatned with destruction I pray you observe them and learn to avoid them as you love prolongation of health and life 1. Disobedience to Superiours See Exod. 20.12 This fiffh Commandement of honouring thy Father and Mother is said to be the first Commandement with promise Ephes 6.2 It is the first Commandement that hath this special promise annexed to it viz. Prolongation of dayes By Father and Mother we understand Political Ecclesiastical and Natural Parents Take heed then of an irreverent and disobedient carriage towards the King and those that are in authority under him You read Numb 16.
knowing Nihil est omnis Medicorum ars opera cura diligentia nisi Deus virtute suÃ¢ det sanandi efficaciam that the Prescriptions and diligence of best Physicians are of no worth and efficacy without God David thus praying unto God was healed by him Psal 30.2 3. O Lord my God I cryed unto thee and thou hast healed me So Psal 116.3 4 6 8. compared So Hezekiah by prayer unto God had his deadly sickness removed and life prolonged Isa 38.2 Hezekiah having received a message of death turned his face towards the Wall and prayed to the Lord. But why towards the Wall either because by this means he withdrew himself from company his eyes from such objects as might distract and disturb his devotions or as others say Because there was but one single Wall between the Bed of the Kings of Judea and the Altar of God See Caussin's Holy Court p. 1 Juxta parietum Templi Salomon extruxit palatium and they used to pray with their faces towards the Temple 1 King 8.35 48. Dan. 6.10 Psal 5.6 Hezekiah thus turning himself toward the Wall over against the Temple and praying fervently to God was healed as you may see vers 5. Prayer is that which God directs his People unto in sickness and such like straits Psal 50.15 Call upon me in time of trouble and I will deliver thee Job 33.26 He shall pray unto God and he will be favourable unto him So Jam. 5.13 Is any man afflicted let him pray Quest But if God send sickness and for good ends unto his Children is it not a sin in them to pray God to remove it and to heal their bodily Distempers Answ No All flesh naturally desires health and preservation of life And Grace in God's Children doth not abolish but rectifie Nature Deus hoc carni naturaliter dedit ut sanitatem Musculus in Ps 6.2 ubi plura i. e. conservationem sui cupidÃ¨ petat Piis hanc naturam fides non adimit sed dirigit So then God allows us to pray to him for health so we do it with submission to the good Will of God as Christ prayed three times to his Father in his agony Mat. 26.39 O my Father if it be possible let this Cup pass from me nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt and with a resolution to serve him better if he spare us Pray then that God would be pleased to have mercy upon you in your sickness and to ease you of your pains and restore you to health and bless the means you use in order thereunto if it be his blessed will And as you ought to pray your selves so you should get others Ministers and good People to pray for you see James 5.14 15 16. God hears the prayers of his People and oft-times for their sakes lengtheneth the life and outward prosperity of the wicked God spared Zoar at the request of Lot Gen. 19.20 21 22. Those that sayled with St. Paul in the Ship had their lives spared for his sake see Acts 27.24 for saith the Angel of God to Paul Lo God hath given thee all them that sayl with thee Orig. ãâã ãâã ãâã ãâã ãâã will give thee as a favour no less then two hundred threescore and fifteen Souls vers 37. were saved in extremity of danger for Paul's sake and at his request Get then others especially the Godly who are God's Favourites to pray for thee No doubt but Paul was a constant Sollicitor at the Throne of Grace in the behalf of Epaphroditus who lay sick nigh unto death and God had mercy on him 2. Relie confidently upon God Though we make use of the Physitians Directions yet we must not trust in them but in God for means and second causes work by his continual influences and receive their ends from his eternal order As the Psalmist saith Psal 127.1 Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it So except the Lord cooperate means and second causes which receive their being and efficacy from God are vain and ineffectual Faith was required in all those under the Gospel whom Christ cured Mat. 9.2 Luk. 8 48. As we must not neglect means so neither must we trust in them nor relie upon them which if we do it is the ready way to render them useless see Jer. 17.5 6 7 8. He that puts his trust in the Lord saith the wise Man Prov. 28.25 shall be made fat q. d. shall be lusty and well Relie then upon God's mercy for deliverance He that highly esteems of God is high in Gods esteem 3. Be merciful your selves to others in misery if you would find mercy from God when you are in misery Psal 41.1 2 3. Blessed is the man that considereth the poor the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive The Lord will strengthen him on the bed of languishing thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness Prov. 11.25 See likewise Isa 58.6 7 8. After he had spoken of works of charity he adds Then shall thy light break forth as the morning and thine health shall spring forth speedily So Mat. 5.7 Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy Epaphroditus went a long and perillous voyage to minister to the Apostles wants Phil. 2.25 30. and when he was sick nigh unto death God had mercy on him 4. Lastly Be deeply humbled for your sins This humiliation consists in confessing your sins with grief of heart and putting away the sins you have lamented and if we do thus we shall find mercy in sickness David in sickness confessed and lamented his sins with a sorrowful heart as you may read Psal 32.4 5. 38.3 4 5 18. so Psal 41.4 Heal my Soul saith David under sickness for I have sinned against thee What a plea is this Heal my Soul for I have sinned against thee Doth God delight in mens sins Is he thereby allured to do them good One would think as Musculus Muscul in Psal 41.4 saith Magis faceret ad impedimentum quÃ m ad causam impetrandae sanitatis this should be rather an hindrance then furtherance to his cure But the truth is God who loves not sin yet loves to see sinners confess and bewail their sins and if we do so and withall forsake them we shall find mercy in sickness as David did for Prov. 28.13 He that covereth his sin shall not prosper but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy If sickness be epidemical Exod. 23.25 Deut. 7.12 15. a general humiliation is a means to remove it Levit. 26.40 41 42. so 2 Chron. 3.14 God sends sickness for sin if sin be removed he 'l remove his stroak but he will not take off the Playster so careful he is till the Wound be throughly cured and corruption purged out Sins are as so many Scotches in the way that hinder the Charriot Wheels of a Deliverance from moving