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of God's family and household servants or not; if not, why do I not mourn rather that I am none of God's house, than that I have lost mine own house? and if I be, will not God provide for his own family? Men provide for their families, God will much more. Again, thus, either God doth take care of a man or woman in this condition or not; if not, what mean those frequent charges in Scripture upon men to pity, to respect, to care for, to entertain the stranger ? and if God do take care, and that by promise, why should not I believe it, go away, and be very quiet? Again, thus, either there is grace in me or not; if not, why do I not rather mourn for want of grace than want of house; for want of Christ than the want of liberty: if there be grace in me, surely it is not in the power of men to make me miserable. Seneca, though a heathen, speaks divinely to this purpose : A man's country is wherever he is well, but that whereby he is well is not in the place but in the man.* The whole world is a christian's country. And says another author: The blood of Christ knows no nations ;t all are alike to him. Indeed when the child or boy hath gotten a long pole, he thinks to go up to the top of such a mountain and there to touch the heavens; and when he comes there, he sees he is never the nearer; then he thinks to run to the top of the next mountain, and then he will touch them surely, but when he comes there he is as far distant as before: so men think to get such and such a mountainous estate, and when they are at the top of that mountain they shall touch the heavens, or when they are in such and such a place they shall be nearer heaven; but heaven may
be as near one place as another. “ The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." The prophet doth not say that England is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; London is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; Norfolk is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; Yorkshire is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; no, but he saith, “ The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof."
Chrysostom # speaks excellently to this argument, who, being to be banished, in his parting sermon to his people, saith
* Patria est ubicunque bene est illud cunctam per quod bene est in homine non in loco est.-Seneca. † Sanguis Christi non novit rationes.
Chrysostom de exilio illius, tom iv.
thus : What should I fear? Shall I fear death ? -" To me to live is Christ, to die is gain." Shall I fear banishment ? “ The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof." Shall I fear the loss of mine estate ?" I brought nothing into this world, neither can I carry any thing out of it.” Shall I fear poverty ?-I never desired to be rich. Shall I fear the misery and wasting and spoiling of the churches, part whereof I am now to leave ?–The church is greater, saith he, than heaven and earth. Christ never said, the gates of hell should not prevail against the heavens or the earth, as he hath said for the churches. Christ never took upon him the body of the heavens as he hath done of the church's. The church, it is the ship wherein Christ is; and though the waves arise, and storms beat, they shall never be able to sink the ship, yea, though Christ himself doth seem to sleep. Often, often therefore, my beloved, put thyself unto this disjunction : Either I am in the ship with Christ or else I am not; he in me and I in him, or else not: if not, why do I not rather mourn that I am not in Christ than that I am not in my house ? and if I be in him, surely he will be exceeding careful and very
tender. Oh that men and women would but think of these things, surely they would be quiet, patient, if not joyful in that condition. Think of them, therefore, and lay them up by you.
But I shall never be able to bear this affliction. What, to be driven from my house! If I meet with any cross now in my family, I cannot bear it, how shall I be able to be thrust and driven out of all, and that with patience ?
You do not know what you shall be able to do in that condition. Seneca tells us a story of one Marcellus, that being in banishment behaved himself so virtuously, that when a man was to part from him, he that parted from this banished man would rather count himself unhappy and the banished man, than he that was indeed so.* Dabitur in hora, God giveth more grace if need be, saith the apostle.
But when you know that parents bear with their childrens' frowardness in weaning times ; and though they cry, and are more froward than ordinary, yet the parent excuseth it, and says, It is weaning time, it is weaning time. Now if God calls you to lose your houses and liberties, that is your weaning time; and though there be some frowardness more than ordinary, yet your God and Father will bear with it: yet be humbled for it, for it is your weaning time.
* Quantus ille vir fuit qui efficit et aliquis exul sibi videretur quod ab exule recedebat.-Seneca.
Oh, but that time when a man is driven from house and habitation, is a time wherein a man is exposed to great temptations; exposed to poverty, to reproach, many miseries and sad temptations; and I shall never be able to stand out those.
True, that time indeed is exposed to sad temptations. And we read of David, that when he came to the king of Achish, he changed his behaviour, and let fall his spittle upon his beard. Take heed that you do not see some that are good people, before such a condition as this come, when they are thus tried, do change their behaviour, and their spittle falls on their beards. Oh, take heed that you do not change your behaviour in this condition; which, that you may not do, fear, fear always. Fear is the keeper of innocency.* He is to be feared most, that doth fear least; and he is to be feared least, that doth fear most.
Oh, but I am afraid my children, my charge, should miscarry in that condition.
I will tell you what Chrysostom † saith upon his return out of his banishment, wherein he compares the church that he had left unto Sarah in the hands of Pharaoh. Pharaoh, saith he, seeing Sarah to be a beautiful fair woman, desired her, Gen. xii.; she was fain to leave her husband, and her husband her. She was in the hands of Pharaoh; yet Pharaoh perceiving afterward that she was another man's wife, she returned again to her own husband untouched and chaste. So, saith he, though my charge hath been taken from me, and hath been as it were in the hands of Pharaoh; yet God hath preserved you untouched and chaste, you have watched though I have slept. Surely if God calls for our liberties, and scattereth us from our charge, he will keep our charge; if you keep the charge of God's house, he will keep the charge of your houses. Did not David preserve Mephibosheth, when the other sons of Saul were slain ; and why Mephibosheth preserved, a lame and deformed man? but because there was entire love between Jonathan and David, and so for Jonathan's sake he did
his son. And so if * Timor innocentiæ custos est.
+ Chrysostom. tom iv.
there be any entire love between you and Jesus Christ, though your children and charge be Mephibosheths, that even grow awry, the Lord Jesus Christ will take care of them and preserve them. If you can say that there much love in your heart towards Christ, as there was in Jonathan towards David ; I can say, that there shall be as much care in Christ towards your children and posterity and charge, as there was in David towards Jonathan's. Wherefore, my beloved, either you do trust God with your souls for your eternal mansions, or you do not: if you do not, why say you that you do trust God for your eternities, and for your souls ? and if you do trust God with your souls for an eternal mansion, why should you not trust him with your children for a temporal mansion ? Certainly, if God's charge be your charge, your charge shall be his charge; and being so, you have his bond that they shall never want their daily bread. Wherefore think on all these things; think of them for the present, and in the future, if such a condition fall, and the Lord give us understanding in all things.
THANKFULNESS REQUIRED IN EVERY CONDITION.
PREACHED AT ST. MARGARET's, New Fish STREET, MARCH 23, 1643.
" In every thing give thanks : for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”—1 Thess. v. 18.
What is written to the Thessalonians, is written for our instruction. What they are commanded as christians, we are commanded as christians.
In the latter part of this chapter, several exhortations were given to them. Among the rest this is one ; in which ye have,
The exhortation itself: “ In every thing give thanks.”
And, the reason enforcing that exhortation : “ For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
“ In every thing give thanks:" in prosperity and in adversity, whether things go well or whether they go ill; in every thing give thanks. He had said before, verses 16, 17, “ Rejoice evermore, pray continually.” Unto those exhortations he adds no such reason
Because it may seem strange that a man should give thanks in every thing, he adds also, “ For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” So that plainly here lies this observation, or truth, upon the words:
It is the will of God, even our Father, that we should be thankful to him in every thing.
When we are full, it will be granted that then we are to give thanks to God. Deut. viii. 10. But ye are not only to give thanks when ye are full, but when ye are empty; not only when ye are strong, but when ye are weak; not only when ye are delivered from the hands of your enemy, but when you are delivered into the hands of your enemy. Therefore Job says, i. 21., “ The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be his name.” Job was plundered by the enemy, and yet he does bless the Lord ; Job was emptied