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TO MY

WORTHY AND MUCH HONOURED FRIEND,

DR. THOMAS COXE.

Sir,

Though your great kindness and care of the health of me and mine much oblige me to you, and your personal worth much more, and your worthy children command my great respect and love, yet none of these should have moved me to say a word of all that I have said of your deceased wife, which I had not verily believed to be true, and it was God's grace in her which much more commanded it than all

my

debt to you

and yours.

She was so exemplary, as that I think it my duty, for the good of others, to make this publication of her character, and of this sermon.

But one great defect is here to be notified to the reader, that almost all her secret way of duty, and particular converse, is omitted, which you that were still with her could have described, for I thought meet to say no more than I either knew myself, or was obvious, and known to many.

The words which I heard but yesterday from the mouth of your brother in discourse, were such as I doubt can be said of few, that in so many years, from the hour of her marriage to her death, she was never known to do one disobliging action, or speak one disobliging word, of or to any one of her husband's kindred or relations.

Had it seemed meet to you, or to your worthy and ingenuous son, and your pious daughter (the true image of her mother,) to have been the describer of the soul and life of this exemplary saint, how much more fully could you have done it than I, that was so much less acquainted with her.

She is gone home, and you and I are at the door. The Lord give us so to live by faith on the promise and love of God, and the things unseen, that thence we may daily fetch our ruling motives, and establishing consolations, and not from a transitory, deceitful world; and, following Christ and his saints under the cross, may with them possess the incorruptible crown, and be found at his call among those that love his appearing, and be for ever with the Lord. Amen, Amen.

November 19, 1669.

A TRUE BELIEVER'S

CHOICE AND PLEASURE.

PSALM cxix. 111.

They testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; for they

are the rejoicing of my heart.

A TEXT that speaketh of rejoicing, and that in an heritage, and an heritage for ever, may seem unsuitable to a mournful funeral; but it was chosen by our deceased friend, and not without justifiable reason.

That which was a day of sorrow to us, was a day of rest and joy to her, and it was meet that she should foresee that joy, and, tasting it in the first-fruits, should commend that to us which she had found so sweet, and would bring us to the felicity which she hath now obtained. If the damned sensualist, (Luke xvi.,) would have had one sent from another world, in hope to save his unbelieving brethren, no wonder if a holy person were desirous that others should partake of her pleasure and inheritance, and, like the lepers that found the siege of Samaria raised, would not feast and rejoice alone. She chose this, no doubt, as that which was most lively imprinted on her own heart, with a just desire that it might be imprinted also on the hearts of others, that so we may not only rejoice with her that now rejoiceth in the heavenly possession, but, as Paul saith, “ Every man may prove his own works, and so may have rejoicing in himself alone, and not (only) in another. (Gal. vi. 4.) Let us, therefore, by God's assistance, so improve these words, as may conduce to this desired end.

By God's “ testimonies” here is meant that supernaturally revealed law and promise, which was possessed by the church of the Jews, as God's peculiar people, supposing the law of nature, and the common mercies which God had given to all the rest of fallen mankind. Both the precepts and promises are here included, the types, and their signification of the thing typified.

ور

“I have taken them," signifieth, I have believed them, implying that God revealed them; and I have accepted them, implying that God had offered them; and I have chosen them, implying the preferring them before all competitors; and I have trusted them, as signifying their special use for the guiding, stablishing, quieting, and saving of the soul.

6 For an heritage,” signifieth,

1. As that which I trust to as my security for an heavenly inheritance.

2. And as that which now is my best portion while I am in the way, including the things connoted.

3. And as that which I prefer before all wealth, and worldly heritage. Alexander and Cæsar had larger dominions than David, but neither of them was king of God's peculiar people, that had possession of his oracles, nor had the promises which he had, that Christ should be his son and successor on his throne.

The words “ for ever," relate both to the inheritance as everlasting, and also to David's choice, as immutably hereupon determined.

They are said to be the rejoicing of the heart aptitudinally in themselves, which caused him to choose them, and actually, because he had chosen, believed, loved, and obeyed them.

So that this is the sum of the sense : Worldly men make choice of a worldly inheritance, and hopes, and on this they trust; and in this they seek their chiefest pleasure: but I, though blessed largely with thy bounty, have suffered many afflictions in the world: but thy word hath been my guide, and thy promises still fulfilled to me, and experience hath confirmed my faith and resolution to lay all my hope upon thy word or covenant, both for this life and that to come, and from it I seek and fetch my comfort : it hath been my joy in all my sorrows, and in it to the last will I rejoice. This is the sense of the text, from which we are all taught,

Doct. That God's covenant or testimonies are the true believer's heritage for ever, and as such are trusted and chosen by him, and therefore, among all the allurements and the crosses of this world, are the support and rejoicing of his heart.

In the handling this I shall show you,

1. What it is in God's testimonies which make them fit to be our heritage and our joy.

II. How they are called an heritage for ever.

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