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REV. MR. JOHN FLAVEL,
Late Minister of the Gospel at Dartmouth, Devon.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
AN ALPHABETICAL TABLE
«F THE PRINCIPAL. MATTERS CONTAINED ;IN; T»& WHOL.fi WQAgSf
The Latin, Greek, and Hebrew Notes and Qnotttioasj-crt cow fi& ■
BEST WORK IN THE WORST TIMES.
Wherein the Necessity, Excellency, and Means of our readiness for Sufferings are evinced and prescribed; our Call to suffering cleared, and the great unreadiness of many professors bewailed.
THE EPISTLE TO THE READER.
IT was the observation of the learned Gerson (when the world was not so old by many years as now it is) that mundussenescens patitur pkantafias : The aged world, like aged persons, dotes and grows whimsical, in its old age j the truth of which observation is confirmed by no one thing more, than the fond and groundless dreams and phanatisms of tranquillity, and continuing prosperity, wherewith the multitude please themselves, even whilst the fins of the times are so great, and the signs of the times so fad and lowring as they are.
It is not the design of this Manual to scare and affright any man with imaginary dangers, much less to sow jealousies, and foment the discontents of the times; it being a just matter of lamentation that all the tokens of God's anger _prqdu.ee "with many of us no hetter; jfruk but bold censures and loud clamours, instead of humiliation for our own finsTand theTTue preparation to take up our own cross, and fbllow Christ in a suffering path, which is the ojil7_mark ants aim of this tract.
We read the histories of the primitive sufferers, but not with a spirit prepared to follow them. Some censure them as too prodigal of
I their blood, and others commend their courage and constancy; but where are they that sincerely resolve and prepare to be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises? Heb.
I vi. 12. or take them for an "example of suffering, affliction, and "of patience," Jam. v. 10.
It is as much our interest as it is our duty to be seasonably awakened out of our pleasant but most pernicious drpwziness. Trdubles wilI be so much the more linking and intolerable, by how much the more
; they fteal upon us by way of surprizal. For look, as expecta_tion_deflowers any temporal comfort, by fucking out much oTthe sweet nejs, thereof Jiefqre-hjnd, and J"o we_&ndjjlie_ksijnjt y/ken. a-excme to the actual enjoyment: So the expectation of evils abates much of the dreaJajnd terror, by accustoming our thoughts heforp.hanri tn tbpmt am^maEngj^jjai^on for^ them: bo that we find thcmjnot so grievous, amazing, and jntekrable when they are come indeed.
This was exemplified to us very lively by holy Mr Bradford the martyr, when the keeper's wife came running into his chamber, laying, « O Mr Bradford, I bring you heavy tidings, for to-morrow you mull « be burned, your chain is now buying, and presently you must go to « Newgate.' He put off his hat, and looking up to heaven, said, O Lord, 1 thank thee for it; I have looked for this a long time; It comes not suddenly to me, the Lord make me worthy of it. See in this example the singular advantage of a prepared and ready soul.
Reader, The cup of sufferings is a very bitter cup, and it is but needful that we provide somewhat to sweeten it, that we may be able to receive it with thanksgiving; and what thole sweetening ingredients are, and how to prepare them, you will have some direction and help in the following discourse; which hath once already been presented to the public view; and that'it may at this time also (wherein nothing can be more seasonable) become farther useful and assisting to the people of God in their present duties, is the hearty desire of
and the Church's
Servant in Christ,
Acts xxi. 13.
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to -weep, and to break my heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Wherein the text is opened, and the dotlrine propounded.
THE Divine providence is not more signally discovered in governing the motions of the clouds, then it is in disposing and ordering the spirits and motions of the ministers of the gosoel, who, in a mystical fense, are fruitful clouds, to dispense the showers of golpcl-blesiings to the world. The motion of the clouds is not spontaneous, but they move as they are moved by the winds; neither can gospel-ministers chuse their own stations, and govern their own motions, but must go when and where the Spirit and providence of God directs and guides them; as will evidently appear in that dangc