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evidence and confirmation of Christ's divine power and Godhead : yet those that now bury their relations, if they be such as die in Christ, have as good and sufficient reason to moderate their passions, as this mourner had, and do as truly come within the reach and compass of this, Christ's comfortable and supporting counsel, “ Weep not,” as she did: for do but consider what of support or comfort can a particular, and present resurrection from the dead give us, more than that it is, and as it is, a specimen, a handsel, or pledge of the general resurrection ? It is not the returning of the soul to its body, to live an animal life again in this world of sin and sorrow, and shortly after to undergo the agonies and pains of death again, that is in itself any such privilege as may afford much comfort to the person raised, or his relations. It is no privilege to the person raised, for it returns him from rest to trouble, from the harbour back again into the ocean. It is matter of trouble to many dying saints, to hear of the likelihood of their returning again, when they are got so nigh to heaven.

It was once the case of a godly minister of this nation, who was much troubled at his return, and said, “ I am like a sheep driven out of the storm almost to the fold, and then driven back into the storm again : or a weary traveller, that is come near his home, and then must go back to fetch somewhat he had forgotten; or an apprentice, whose time is almost expired, and then must begin a new term.”

But to die, and then return again from the dead, hath less of privilege, than to return only from the

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brink of the grave: for the sick hath not yet felt the agonies and last struggle or pangs of death, but such have felt them once, and must feel them again; they must die twice, before they can be happy once: and besides, during the little time they spend on earth, betwixt the first and second dissolution, there is a perfect forgetfulness and insensibleness of all that which they saw or enjoyed in their state of separation: it being necessary both for them and others, that it should be. For themselves it is necessary, that they may be content to live and endure the time of separation from that blessed and ineffable state, quietly and patiently; and for others, that they may live by faith, and not by sense, and build upon divine, and not human authority and report.

So that here you see, their agonies and pangs are doubled, and yet their life not sweetened by any sense of their happiness, which returns and remains with them; and therefore it can be no such privilege to them.

And for their relations, though it be some comfort to receive them again from the dead, yet the consideration, that they are returned to them in the stormy sea, to partake of new sorrows and troubles, from which they were lately free; and in a short time they must part with them again, and feel the double sorrows of a parting pull, which others feel but once, surely such a particular resurrection considered in itself, is no such ground of comfort as at first we might imagine it to be.

It remains then, that the ground of all solid comfort and relief against the death of our relations, lies

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rejoice

in the general and last resurrection; and what is in a particular one, is but as it were a specimen, and evidence of the general: and there the apostle places our relief. That we shall see and enjoy them again at the Lord's coming, and surely this is more than if, with his mother (in the text) we should presently receive them from the dead, as she did her son. And if we judge not so, it is because our hearts are carnal, and measure things rather by time and sense, than by faith and eternity.

Thus you see the counsel, with its ground, which for the most part is common to other Christian mourners with her; the difference being but inconsiderable, and of little advantage.

Here, then, you find many aggravations of sorrow meeting together: a son, an only son, is carrying to the grave; yet Christ commands the pensive mother not to mourn.

Hence we note, Doctrine. That Christians ought to moderate their sorrows for their dead relations, how many afflicting circumstances and aggravations soever do meet together in their death.

It is as common with men, yea, with good men, to exceed in their sorrows for dead relations; and both of the one and other, we may say as they say of waters, it is hard to confine them within their bounds. It is, therefore, a grave advice which the apostle delivers in this case—" But this I say, brethren, , the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and those that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not.” As if he had

we

weep, as

said, the floating world is near its port, God hath contracted the sails of man's life: it is but a point of time we have to live, and shortly it will not be a point to choose, whether we had wives or not, children or not. All these are time-eaten things, and before the expected fruit of these comforts be ripe, we ourselves

may

be rotten. It is therefore a high point of wisdom to look upon things which shortly will not be, as if already they were not, and to behave ourselves in the loss of these carnal enjoyments, as the natural man behaves himself in the use of spiritual, ordinances : he hears, as if he heard not; and should

if we wept not: their hearts are a little moved sometimes by spiritual things, but they never lay them so to heart, as to be broken-hearted for the sin they hear of, or deeply affected with the glory revealed : we also ought to be sensible of the stroke of God upon our dear relations; but yet still we must weep, as if we wept not; that is, we must keep due bounds and moderation in our sorrows, and not be too deeply concerned for these dying shortlived things.

To this purpose is the apostle's exhortation, “ My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither faint, when thou art rebuked of him." two extremes, despising and fainting, when God is correcting, to say, I do not regard it, let God take all, if he will : if

my
estate must

go,
let it
go;

if

my children die, let them die: this is to despise the Lord's chastening; and God cannot bear it, that we should bear it thus lightly.

There is also another extreme, and that is faint

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ing: if when goods are taken away, the heart be taken away, and when children die, then the spirit of the parents dies also: this is fainting under the rod. Thou lamentest, saith Seneca, thy deceased friend; but I would not have thee grieve beyond what is meet: that thou shouldst not grieve at all, I dare not require thee: tears may be excused, if they do not exceed; let thine eyes, therefore, be neither wholly dry, nor yet let them overflow: weep thou mayest, but wail thou must not.

Happy man, that still keeps the golden bridle of moderation upon his passions and affections, and still keeps the possession of himself, whatsoever he lose the possession of !

Now, the method in which I propose to proceed, shall be,

1. To discover the signs,
II. To dissuade from the sin,
III. To remove the pleas, and,
To
propose

of immoderate sorrow. I. (1.) I shall give you the signs of immoderate sorrow, and show you when it exceeds its bounds, and becomes sinful, even a sorrow to be sorrowed for; and, for clearness' sake, I will first allow what may

be allowed to the Christian mourner, and then you

will the better discern wherein the excess and sinfulness of your sorrow lies.

1. How much soever we censure and condemn immoderate sorrow, yet the afflicted must be allowed and awakened under a tender sense of the Lord's afflicting hand upon them. It is no virtue to bear

IV.

.

the cure,

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