by Thomas Brooks
in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats
Delivered in a sermon by Thomas Brooks, at the interment of that renowned Commander, Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, who was treacherously murdered on October 29, 1648.
"But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." Isaiah 26:19
"So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." 2 Peter 3:14
The Epistle Dedicatory
To Thomas Fairfax, General of all the Parliament's Forces in England; such honor and happiness as is promised to all who love and honor the Lord Jesus.
Sir, I purpose not to insinuate myself or my poor endeavors into your favor by fine words and feigned commendations of your virtues. A sincere heart abhors it, and a wise heart accounts it base. When I preached upon this subject of the saints' glorious appearance at the last, He who knows all hearts and thoughts, knows that I had not the least thought to put it to the press. And that partly because the meditations following were not the meditations of a week, no, nor of two days—but of some few hours—I having but short warning to provide, and other things falling in within the compass of that short time, which did divert my thoughts some other ways—but mainly because of that little little worth that is in it. And yet, the intentions of some to put it to the press, in case I would not consent to have it printed—by which means truth and myself might have been co-partners in suffering—and the strong importunity of many precious souls, has borne me down and subdued me to them. They besieged me so strongly that they have taken away this little thing, which they are pleased to call a good prize—but it will be well if they be not mistaken. I shall look upon it as free grace and mercy to them and me, if they, having made a prey of it, find it worth their having. I stood out against them, not because I prized it—but because I thought it not good enough for them. But since it is fallen into their hands, my desire is, that the rich blessing of God may so accompany it, as that it may reach their hearts, and be better to them than the choicest riches of this world.
I shall much rejoice if this poor mite may in any measure help forward your faith and joy in the Lord Jesus: which that it may, I shall humbly supplicate the throne of grace. Sir, this is your greatest honor, that you account the opportunities of service for God and his people your greatest honor upon earth: that you have appeared, in the darkest night and in the greatest storms, for the honor, the safety, the sound peace and liberty of the saints and this kingdom—and that notwithstanding all the discouragements you have met with, through the neutrality, apostasy, and treachery of men, high and low, in this kingdom. Ah! Sir, what a mercy is this, that the true nobility of your Lordship's spirit, scorning such baseness, has delivered you from those checks, wounds, and lashes of conscience which those forenamed wretches lie under, and from that shame and confusion of face which has already begun to seize upon them here—but shall more fully and dreadfully seize on them in the great day of account, when the books shall be opened, and all the treachery and baseness to enslave the saints and this kingdom shall be discovered!
Sir, through the glorious presence of God with you, you have done gloriously in endeavoring the full rescue of the people of God from the hands of cruel and unreasonable men, who have left no stone unturned, that their lusts and will upon the people of God might be satisfied. Sir, as you have pleaded the cause of the people of God, and as you have appeared for them, do so still: for the Lord will side with those who side with his saints, and those who seek their lives seek yours also. But the comfort is, God will make Jerusalem "a cup of poison unto all the people round about:" he will make Jerusalem "a burdensome stone: and all who burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth gather together against it," Zech. 12:2-3.
Sir, for the great things you have already done for this kingdom, the high praises of God are in the mouths of the saints, and the children unborn shall bless you, and bless God for you. And when the name of tyrants, malignants, and apostates shall rot--the memorial of your name shall be forever precious among the "precious sons of Zion." And that you may do yet more and more gloriously, the breathing and desire of my soul to God for you is, that the Lord would take up your spirit into such sweet and full enjoyment of himself and of that glory above, that may enable you divinely to trample upon all those things that may any way hinder you from solacing and delighting your soul in the love, light, and sweetness that is in the bosom of Christ; that the Lord will take you by the hand, whenever you are in the dark, and lead out your spirit in such ways that may be for the honor of his name, for the joy of his people, and for the real happiness and welfare of this kingdom. That in all your times of temptation you may find the power of the lively prayers of the saints—in which and in whose affection you have as great a share as any mortal that breathes—strengthening and raising you above them all. That no weapon nor device nor counsel that is formed against you may prosper; that the eternal God will be your refuge, and that under you may be his everlasting arms; that your soul may be swallowed up in the sweet enjoyment of God, so that every bitter may be made sweet unto you, and that your last days may be your best; that the longer you live, the more glorious for God and his people you may act; that God will "guide you by his counsel here, and after all receive you to glory."
Sir, you know that God does not "despise the day of small things;" and I believe that the fear of the great God is so strong upon your spirit that you will not despise the day of small things. I humbly crave that those who read this sermon, shall overlook the mistakes of the printer, I having no time to wait upon the press to correct what by accident may be found amiss.
Thomas Brooks, London, 1648