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gone too far already. It is not my design to exasperate your troubles, but to heal them; and for that purpose have I sent you these papers, which I hope may be of use both to you, and many others in your condition, since they are the after-fruits of my own troubles; things that I commend not to you from another hand, but which I have in some measure) proved and tasted in my own trials.
But I will not hold you longer here: I have only a few things to desire for and from you, and I have done.
The things I desire are,
First, That you will not be too hasty to get off the yoke which God hath put upon your neck. Remember when your child was in the womb, neither of you
desired it should be delivered thence, till
affliction had a sad meeting, yet you and they may have a comfortable parting. If they effect that upon your hearts for which God has sent them, I doubt not but God will give them a fair testimony when they go off.
If they obtain God's blessing upon them in their operation, surely they will have your blessing too at their valediction. And what you entertained with
fear, you will dismiss with praise. How sweet is it to hear the afflicted soul say, when God is loosing his bands, “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted!”
Thirdly, I heartily wish, that these searching afflictions may make the most satisfying discoveries, that
you may now see more of the evils of sin, the vanity of the creature, and the fulness of Christ, than ever you yet saw.
Afflictions are searchers, and put the soul upon searching and trying its way. When our sins find us out by affliction, happy are we, if by the light of affliction we find out sin. Blessed is the man whom God chasteneth, and teacheth out of his law. There are unseen causes, many times of our troubles; you have an advantage now to sift out the seeds and principles from which they spring.
Fourthly, I wish that all the love and delight you bestowed upon your little one, may now be placed to your greater advantage upon Jesus Christ; and that the stream of your affection to him may be so much the stronger, as there are now fewer channels for it to be divided into. If God will not have any part of
your happiness to lie in children, then let it wholly lie in himself. If the jealousy of the Lord hath removed that which drew away too much of your heart . from him, and hath spoken by his rod, saying, “ Stand aside, child; thou art in my way, and fillest more room in thy parent's heart than belongs to thee"-0 then deliver up all to him, and say, Lord, take the whole heart entirely and undividedly to thyself. Henceforth, let there be no parting, sharing,
or dividing of the affections betwixt God and the creature, let all the streams meet and centre in thee only.
Fifthly, That you may be strengthened with all might in the inner-man to all patience, that the peace of God may keep your hearts and minds, labour to bring your hearts to a meek submission to the rod of your Father. We had fathers of the flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence, shall we not much more be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live. Is it comely for children to contest and strive with their father? or is it the way to be freed from the yoke by struggling under it? O that your hearts may be in a like state with his who said, “ Lord, thou shalt beat, and I will bear!” It was a good observation that one made,
—“ The soul grows wise by sitting still and quiet under the rod.” And the apostle calls those excellent fruits which the saints gather from their 'sanctified afflictions, “ the peaceable fruits of righteousness.”
Lastly, My heart's desire and prayer to God for you, is, that you may die daily to all visible enjoyments, and by these frequent converses with death in your family, you may be prepared for your own change and dissolution when it shall come.
O friends! how many graves have you and I seen opened for our dear relations! How oft hath death come up into your windows, and summoned the delight of your eyes! It is but a little while and we shall
go to them; we and they are distinguished but by short intervals.
Our dear parents are gone; our lovely and desirable children are gone; our bosom relations, who were as our own souls, are gone. And do not all these warning knocks at our doors acquaint us, that we must prepare to follow shortly after them?
O that by these things our own death might be both more familiar and easy to us! The oftener it visits us, the better we should be acquainted with it; and the more of our beloved relations it removes before us, the less of either snares or entanglement remains for us when our turn comes.
My dear friends, my flesh and my blood, I beseech you, for religion's sake, for your own sake, and for my sake, whose comfort is in great part bound up in your prosperity and welfare, that you read frequently, ponder seriously, and apply believingly, these scripture consolations and directions, which, in some haste, I have gathered for your use; and the God of all consolation be with you.
I am, your most endeared Brother,
TOKEN FOR MOURNERS.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and
said unto her, Weep not.-LUKE vii. 13.
To be above the stroke of passions, is a condition equal to angels; to be in a state of sorrow, without the sense of sorrow, is a disposition beneath beasts: but duly to regulate our sorrows, and bound our passions under the rod, is the wisdom, duty, and excellency of a Christian. He who is without natural affections, is deservedly ranked among the worst of heathens ; and he who is able rightly to manage them, deserves to be numbered with the best of Christians. Though when we are sanctified, we put on the divine nature; yet till we are glorified, we put not off the infirmities of our human nature.
Whilst we are within the reach of troubles, we cannot be without the danger, nor ought not to be without the fear of sin: and it is as hard for escape sin, being in adversity, as to be calm in prosperity.