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me out of this pit? Thou deliveredst thy children out of the fiery furnace, canst thou not quench the fury of this fire that devours me? O Lord! keep the door of my lips, that I may utter nothing contrary to the respect due to thy divine Majesty. To thee, O Almighty God! belongeth righteousness, but to me shame and confusion of face. Were the evils wherewith thou chastiseth me ten thousand times more grievous; was it possible this miserable nature could bear them; or even wast thou to cast me headlong, without pity, into the lake of fire and brimstone, which burneth for ever, I should have no cause to complain of thy severity. My afflictions are great, but they are nothing in comparison to my sins and iniquities. My pains are violent, but what are they when compared to the bitter agony of my blessed Saviour? Or what are my cold sweats compared to the drops of blood which fell from his sacred body? My torment is cruel, but it is nothing when weighed with the glory which shall be revealed in all those who worship thee, and continue in thy obedience until the end. Shouldst thou kill me, O Lord, yet will I hope in thee for thou afflictest me, to the end I may not perish with the world; and thou wilt that my flesh be destroyed, that my soul may be saved. Bruise me, O Lord, and tread me under thy feet, provided I may become wheat for thy garner, and new wine for thy kingdom. Tear me in pieces, or burn me in this temporal life, provided thou wilt be favourable to me in the life everlasting. Let this cup pass from me, that I may drink no more of its unspeakable bitterness; nevertheless, O heavenly Father, not as I will, but as thou wilt. Take this thorn from my flesh; or rather give me grace to bear its inexpressible anguish. O God of mercies! thou seest that my spirit indeed is willing, but my flesh is weak. and my afflictions are heavier than the sand of the sea; but thou quickenest the dead, thou makest thy strength perfect in my greatest weakness. Therefore, instead of crying out with Cain in despair, My punishment is greater than I can bear, I will say with thy holy Apostle, I

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can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. O Lord! rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure: Correct me, but with judgment, lest thou bring me to nothing. When thou didst wrestle with Jacob, thou enduedst thy servant with the strength of thy spirit. O God! who art merciful and just, proportion thy chastisements to my great weakness. Let no temptation take me, but such as is common to man; and with the temptation also make a way to escape, that I may be able to bear it. Let neither death, nor life, nor anguish, nor torment, separate me from thy love, or pluck me out of thy hand. O Lord, abandon me not, that I may never depart from thee; but grant me a spirit of fortitude, patience, and constancy; and make me in all things more than conqueror through thy Son Jesus Christ. Gracious God! have compassion on thy servant, or rather thy child. Awake thy zeal, and the sounding of thy bowels which are restrained towards me. To strengthen me in this conflict, send me those good angels which comforted thy dear Son on the night of his bitter agony. Put an end to this night of my affliction; or rather, in the midst of this darkness, grant me to see the sweet and ravishing dawnings of thy grace. Heal my grievous wounds, or pour into them the pleasant and effectual balm of thy comfort. My flesh and my heart fail; but do thou look upon me with an eye of love, and take me to the arms of thine eternal mercy. Show, that in all my afflictions thou art afflicted, and that thou sympathizest in my pain. Take my sweat and my tears, and put them into thy bottles. O good God! thou seest that my strength is consumed, and that my spirit faints. Spare not thy cordial and most precious remedies. Give me the wine of thy most powerful consolations to revive my heart: let the hand of thy grace be as a sovereign application to fortify it, and drive thence the venom. And let thy holy Spirit, the true Dove, rest upon my head, and rejoice my soul. O living God! thou seest that I am ready to expire: O give me of that living

water, of which whosoever drinketh hath eternal life. My friends bear a part in my sufferings, and weep over my miseries, without being able to help me but thy presence is help and salvation. O my God! either deliver me from this sea of affliction in which I am plunged, or guide me through the depths thereof, to that inheritance which thou hast prepared for me from the foundation of the world. Quench these raging fires which burn and consume me; or grant that they may lift me up into heaven and serve for my triumphant chariot. O Lord! I should be without understanding, and exceeding cruel to myself, should I be afraid of death; since it will put an end to my torment, break the last link of this chain of misery, wipe all tears from mine eyes, and drive away all the cares and fears that gnaw my heart. Omy God! when shall my cries, my groans, and my sighs, be changed into songs of praise and triumph! When shall I see myself in the glorious company of the blessed, which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Draw me, I will run after thee, and will serve thee day and night in thy temple. Amen.


The second Consolation against the Fears of Death is, to look upon God as a merciful Father, and to rely upon his infinite goodness.

THERE is no child of an ingenious nature, but earnestly desires to see his Father's face, and especially the face of a good and kind father. A great prince's son, who hath been brought up in a strange, barbarious country, rejoiceth when his father sends for him to be near his person, and to partake of the glory and dignity

of his empire. Far from being troubled, or seeking any pretence to delay his departure, he embraceth, with transports of joy, the messenger of such glad tidings. He thinks of nothing but hastening his journey; and if he could borrow wings, he would fly with an unspeakable swiftness, to his father's palace.

Now we are the children of the living God, whose throne is heaven, and the earth his footstool, Isa. lxvi. 1. For our faith, that embraces Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer, considers God, as our God and Father. For to as many as received this well-beloved of the Father, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name, John i. 12. So that we have just cause to be ravished with an holy admiration, and to cry out with the Apostle St. John, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God, 1 John iii. 1.

We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God who is rich in mercy, Eph. ii. 3, 4, hath predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Eph. i. 5 ; and he graciously gives us infallible assurance of this free adoption: for because we are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba, Father, Gal. iv. 6. This spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together, Rom. viii. 16, 17.

God hath not only adopted us by Jesus Christ to himself, but that we may be truly his children, he hath regenerated us by an incorruptible seed, 1 Pet. i. 23. We

are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, John. i. 13. His infinite goodness moved him at first to create us, and his incomprehensible love hath inclined him to reform our beings, and to re-engrave in our hearts his divine image. Of his own will begat he us, with the word of Truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures, James i. 18. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again into a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, 1 Pet. i. 3, 4.

Now although we are the children of God, and the presumptive heirs of his crown, yetourglory and dignity are not conspicuous during the years of our earthly pilgrimage. Our heavenly Father suffers us to live here in a contemptible and despised estate, that we may be exercised in humility, and sigh the more earnestly after celestial inheritance. As in the obscurity of a very dark night, men tread under foot pearls, diamonds, sceptres, and crowns, as well as dirt, dust and ashes, so during the gross ignorance that reigns in the world, the children of God, the most precious jewels of his crown, are esteemed no better than the filth and scum of the earth. This consideration causeth St. John to say, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. As David sent and brought Absalom out of the land of the Philistines, and gave him leave to dwell in the land of Jerusalem, but for the space of two years would not suffer him to enter his royal palace, or

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