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JOHN xiv. 1.
believe also in me.
SERM. I N which words our blessed SAVIOU'R does, upon CCXV. I a particular occasion, prescribe an universal re
medy against trouble. And the particular occasion sermon on of this confolatory discourse, which our SAVIOUR this text. here makes to his disciples, was this; he had often
told them of his sufferings; but the conceit which they had entertained of his temporal reign, would not suffer them to admit any thought of such a thing, as the sufferings or death of the Messias ; and therefore it is said that these things did not sink into them, and that they understood them not; men being generally very now to understand what they do not like, and have no mind to. At last our SAVIOUR tells them plainly, that how backward foever they were to · believe it, the time of his sufferings and death was now approaching, and that he should shortly be “ betray“ ed into the hands of men,” and be “ crucified and “ lain.” At this his disciples were struck with great fear, and exceedingly troubled, but in contemplation of his sufferings, and of their own invaluable loss. To comfort them upon this occasion, our Sa'viour directs his disciples to that course, which was not only proper in their present cafe, but is an uni
versal antidote and remedy against all trouble what-SERM.
CCXV. foever, and will not only serve to mitigate our trouble, and support our spirits under the fear and apprehension of future evils, but under present afictions and sufferings; and to quiet and comfort our minds under the saddest condition, and forest calımitiis that can befal us: “Let not your heart be troubled : “ye believe in Goo, believe also in me.”
He does not only forbid them to be troubled, and countel them against it ; such advice is easily given, but not so easily to be followed :but he prefcribes the proper remedy against trouble, which is, trust and confidence in God the great creator and wife governor of the world, and likewise in himself, the blessed Son of God, and SAVIOUR of mankind. “ Ye be“lieve in God, believe also in me.”,
The words are variously translated; by some in-' dicatively, “ye do believe in God, and ye do be“ lieve in me,” therefore “ be not troubled;” by others imperatively, “ believe in God, and believe "likewise in 'me;" and then you can have no cause of trouble. Or else the first clause may be rendred indicatively, and the latter iir peratively; and so our translation renders the words, “ Ye do believe in God, “ believe also in me;') as “ you believe in God” the creator and governor of the world, fo " believe “ also in me” the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world. But which way soever the words be rendered, the sense comes all to one ; that faith in God, and in our blessed SAVIOUR, are here prescribed as the proper and inost powerful remedies against trouble. “Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe "in God, believe also in me.”
In the handling of these words I shall do these two things. . . . . Vol. XI.
SERM. First, I shall consider what sort of trouble is here CCXV.
forbidden, or with what reasonable limitacions this general prohibition of our Saviour is to be understood, « let not your heart be troubled.”.
Secondly, I shall endeavour to Thew what virtue and force there is in the remedy here prescribed by our Saviour, to mitigate and allay our trouble, and to support and quiet our minds under it.
First, we will consider what sort of trouble is here forbidden, and with what due and reasonable limitations we are to understand this general prohibition of our Saviour to his disciples, “ let not your hearts “ be troubled.” And this we shall best find out by considering the various objects of trouble, together with the several causes or grounds of them. And these may all be sanged under these three heads ; evils past, present, or to come. For the ground of all trouble is some evil, either really and in itself so, or what is apprehended by us under that notion : and the several kinds of trouble, are either the reflection upon evils past, or the sense of an evil that is present, or the fear and apprehension of some future evil which threatens us and hangs over us.
1. For the first, the trouble caused by reflection upon evils past, this must either be the evil of affiction or sin. The former of these, when it is past, is feldom any cause of trouble, the remembrance of past sufferings, and the evils which we get over, being father delightful than grievous; so that it is only the evil of sin, the reflection whereof is troublesom. And this is that which we call guilt, which is an inward vexation, and discontent, and grief of mind, arising from the consciousness that we have done amiss, and a fearful apprehension of some vengeance and punishment that will follow it; and there is no trouble that
is comparable to this, when the conscience of a sinner S ERM.
CCXV. is thoroughly awakened.
Now upon this account our hearts ought to be troubled, and we can hardly exceed in it, provided our trouble do not drive us to despair, but to repentance : but there can be no suspicion that this comes within the compass of our Saviour's prohibition.
II. As for the troubles caused by the sense of the present evils, either of loss or suffering, though this do properly enough fall within the compass of our Saviour's prohibition, 6 let not your heart be “ troubled,” yet it admits of several limitations ; therefore in order to the fixing of it's due and proper bounds, I shall briefly shew, what trouble for present evils and afflictions which are upon us, is not forbid. den, and what is.
1. We are not here forbidden to have a just and due sense of any evil or calamity that is upon us ; because this is natural, and we cannot help it : for there is a real difference of things in themselves; somę things are in their nature good and convenient for us, and agreeable and delightful to our senses ; and other things are in themselves evil, that is, naturally difpleasing and grievous ; and we must not only be stoicks, but even stocks and stones, if we have not a just sense and resentment of this difference, Our blersed Saviour had so; and as he was afflicted more than any man, and suffer'd more than any of the sons of men, so was he likewise very sensible of his suffer. ings, and had a natural dread and horror of them; insomuch that he himself tells us, that “ his soul was “ exceeding sorrowful, even to death,” upon the apprehension of what he was to undergo; which made, him pray so earnestly, and to repeat that petition fo often, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass
SER M. “ from ine.” Nay, the very anguish of his mind, . CCXV.
caused by the dread and horror of his sufferings, was so great as to force his blood through the pores of his body, so that " he sweat as it were thick drops « of blood falling upon the ground.”
And this is not to be wondered at, because our blessed SAVIOUR, as he had the greatest endowments of human nature in their greatest perfection, so he had a perfect sense of the evils, and pains, and sufferings of it. And all philosophy that will not acknowledge loss, and pain, and suffering to be evils and troublesom and terrible, is either obftinate sullenness or grofs hypocrisy.
2. Nor doth this prohibition of our Saviour exclude natural affection. This is a plant which God himself hath planted in human nature, and that for very excellent ends and purposes; and having made us men, and endowed us with such passions, he does not expect that we should put off our nature, and transform ourselves into another sort of creatures than what we were when we came out of his own hands. To “ be without natural affection," and to have no affictive sense of the loss of nearest relations, is condemned in scripture, as a mark of the greatest degeneracy and depravation of human nature. And therefore we cannot imagine that our Saviour did intend to forbid such a moderate and well regulated degree of trouble upon these occasions, as is the proper and genuine issue of those natural affections, which God himself hath implanted in us..
3. When our Saviour forbids us to be troubled, he doth not forbid us to have a just sense of God's judgments, or of his hand, in procuring or permitting the evils which befal us; much less of our own sins, which are the meritorious cause of them : nay,