« PreviousContinue »
4. And for the glory of the Pame, tarn from us all those Eolls, which we mot righteoufly have de. fer bed.]
If we consider our natural frailty it is evident, we can bear but little; if we look upon our linful Obliquities we must confess,we have deserved to suffer muchs if we have regard to our present Circumstances, we find that we have work enough to struggle with those Evils,' that are upon us already : So that the natural Confequence of this will be, that we shall heartily importune our merciful Father to avert as well these as all other Calamities from us. Afflictions are frequently compared to a flood of waters, Pfalm xviii.16. and lxxiii. 10. But we call to mind, that Almighty God doth order the courses of these waters, he tarns them which way he pleaseth, and appoints whither, how long, and to what height they shall flow, whereupon we pray with Holy David, let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up, Plálm lxix.16. We delire the fupreme Disposer of all Events to turn their Course some other way, to stop that Current that is so fiercely broke in upon us now, and to grant that no new eruptions may overwhelm us: It may be we feel fome Evils, but we must confess we have most fatig dcler bed
greater, so that we may fear there are still worse behind,only we apply our felves to him to divert them all ; and there are two Motives included in this Petitlon. First, because it will tend to the Glory of God's Pame, to deliver such frail, miserable Creatures from such a Deo Juge of Distress, and all the world will see the glorie of our Heavenly Father's Goodness therein, we,and all about us, shall glorifie his Name, who pities the frailty of our Nature, pafseth by the multitude of our Sins,
and laments the misery of our Condition, and of his own free Mercy is pleased to give us case, and to set us free; we cannot expect he should deliver us for any
desert in our selves, but for his own Honour we hope he may. Secondly, and that his Glory may not be in the lealt impaired by any pretences that we deserved such deliverance, we are taught to confess, that we mott righteoullg habe deser bed all these Evils which we pray against: for we are Sinners in a high Degree, and if we should suffer in as high a measure, we had but our due deserts : we must confess if he punish, we cannot murmure nor accuse his Justice, therefore if he spare, certainly we shall proclaim his Mercy to poor Prostrate and confeffing Sinners, the Deliverance we have not deserved, the Punishments we have, both those prefent and those to come ; and if we sincerely acknowledg this, nothing can more tend to his Glory in delivering us, nor more effcctually move him to grant us our Requests.
5. and grant that in all our Troubles, we mag pat our whole tratt and confidence tn the Per
Let the Troubles be never so great, which God Jays upon us, there are two things, which will effectually bring us out of them : His Pity and our Patience, the former we have begged before, the later we now defire : For if we cannot obtain to have the Load immediately taken off, the next thing that is desirable is, that we may have more strength to bear it: When St. Peter was to be tryed : Our Lord Jesus did not pray, that he might escape the Assault wholly; Only, Tbat bis Faith might not fail , Luke xxii. 32. From whence we
have learned here to the fame fensa i to pray, that in all our troubles, we may pat pur whole trat &c. For no Grace is more necessary, yet none more af saulted in affliction then Fgitb; it is the Chriftian's Thield, but all the fiery Darts of the Devil are fhót against its we are in great danger to lofe it, and yet utterly undone , if it be loft, fo that we have all pollible reason to pray, that we may never doubt of God's Mercy, especia ally in time of trouble: When our Heavenly Father seems angry, and our prayers are not heard, when our Enemies prevailjand our afflictions Encrease, our hope is wavering, our Faith is discouraged, and we begin to let go our trust and confidence in God's Mercy, and then grief and horrour, amazement and despair break in upon us, then Sathan triumphs, and esteems himself victorious, as well knowing that an afflicted Person, who dare not truit and confide in the Divine Mercy,is the miserableft Creature in the world, for he hath lost all that
should support him, and his bur(e)'Envis póver den becomes intollerable (e): But fois ausug for pup- so long as we can chearfully hope piaxóy.Greg. Nazie and trust in God, we may remain anz.Orat.pro Pau- unshaken as a Rock,while all the fuper:
rious furges dath against us, We
may be troubled on every side, yet not distreßed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast duwn, but not destroyed. 2 Cor.iv. 8,9. We can bear our troubles patiently, and enjoy our felves, and our God in the midit of them, and discover a happy Event unto them all,so long as our heart standeth fast, and believeth in the Lord : And if we well consider, we have no reason to doubt his Mercy, or to distrust Goodness : He is so true to his promises,and fo apt to do good, so pleased with this generous adhering to him,and so kind to all that cast themselves upon him,
that he never yet did fail any, that trusted in him, but he delivered them at the last.One thing more we must here note, that we pray, we may put our whole trut and confidence tn his apercy in the time of our Distress ; for some there are, who do place but one half of their Confidence in God, and do rely as much, if not more, on some created Beings : Some truft in Men, who often will deceive them, and sometimes cannot help them ; others trust in themselves, in their Policy or their Strength, their Eloquence or their Learning: Many trust in evil and unlawful means, when losses or crosses do befall them, in Witches and Fortune-tellers, in Charms and Amulets : And most men are apt to lean too much upon lawful means , and with Asah to make their Physicians their God; but we pray, that we may put our whole Cruct in the Divine speros, and never use any means to deliver us from our pressures, but what we may hope God will bless unto us, and when we use such means, that we may rely not on them, but on the first cause, who Acts by them for our relief: Again,we do not as the Romanists, make one Prayer to God in our troubles, and three to come inferior Saint : We have no S.Sebastian for the Plagne, no S.Fælicitas for labouring Women, no S. Nicholas for Mariners, to be sharers in our hopes together with the Majesty of Heaven, We do not fly to their aid (f) much less protest
(f)od eorum our whole bope is in them, as the
orationes, Roman Church most impiously liumque confugere, doth (8): But we wish no other Concil. Trident. hope or confidence in our troubles,
Sell.25, 6. 1.
(g) Ex quo noftro but only that we may trust firmly Spes oft tota , in his Mercy, for he can surely lo"te, Martyr, amma hear us, he can speedily help us,and will be more engaged to deliver us,
Orat, ad S. Sebaft. when we do not rob him of his
So opom, anxia
honour, which he cannot endure should be imparted to a Creature, nor will he luffer any Rival in our Faith and Hope; he only can help us,and therefore justly, may he expect, that we should put our whole traft and confidence in bis apercg.
6. Ande bermoze Cerbe thee in boliness and pureness of Living to thy Honour and Glozy, though our only Pediatoz and Advocate Telus Chattt our Lozo. Amen.
There is nothing more comfortable in an afflicted ftate then to trust in the Divine Mercy, but if this Faith be not well grounded, nothing doth more dangerously deceive us at the last ; wherefore we do here add to the former Petition this Requelt, that we may live holily,as well as trust firmly, or else our Faith is presumption, and our confidence nothing else, but a groundless expeCtation ; for they only have just Cause to trust and confide in the Divine Mercy,who do endeavour to observe his Laws, and do his Will, and they only shall have their hopes' accomplished; but they who dishonour God's name, and disobey his Commands, who take part with his Enemies, and do not cease to Sin, no not in the time of their troubles, these do as foolishly,as unjustly pretend to rely on his Mercy, for they have no right to his promises, nor reason to expect any deliverance from him, whom they have abused : Let us therefore pray,that our Holiness may be as firm as our Faith in the time of our Afliction: And there is need ea nough for us to desire, that our Piety may not fail in the Evil day, for that is affaulted as well as our Faith, as we may see in the Case of Job, who was continually tempted to let go his integrity, as well as his Faith, but he cryes out in the midst of his Miseries, till I dye I will not remove my integrity from me, my Righteousness will!