by James Janeway
Or, The Best Friend in the Worst of Times. Delivered in several Sermons,
Henceforth I call you no more Servants, — but Friends. John 15:15
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
When I consider what a noble thing the Soul of Man is, the High end for which he was Made, and the great Account he is shortly to make to Him that made him, I cannot but wonder, That he who was made little lower than the Angels, should make himself little better than the Beasts.
The great and dreadful God hath taken much pains to reduce the Inhabitants of London, and indeed all the Nation to the Obedience of his Son. He hath been pleading with poor England of late in such a manner, as is scarce to be paralleled in fore-going Ages; he hath left the print of his Fingers behind him, and written divine displeasure in Black Letters.
The Righteous Judge began his Circuit in London, and in that one City, above one Hundred Thousand received the Sentence of Death from his Just Tribunal.
That was not quite Removed before another Amazing Judgment was sent to succeed it. The Voice of the Lord was not heard, the Language of the Plague was not understood; wherefore the dreadful Jehovah spake Louder, and Louder, as he did once from Mount Sinai, in Fire, Flame, and Smoak; he rode upon the Wings of the Wind, he rode in a Chariot of Flaming Fire, whilst the Bells did Ring their own Knells, as they were Tumbling; and it's to be feared, were more melted at the Anger of the Mighty God, than Thousands of Hard hearted Men and Women were. The Leads of the Churches were Dissolved into showers more easily far than stupid Professors, that were wont to sit under them. That was a Black Cloud indeed which no Wind could blow over, till it fell in such Scalding Drops.
These things Considered, I hope it will not be unwelcome, nor unseasonable, if I put you upon looking out for such a Friend as will provide sufficiently for his under all these Straits, and prove the Best in the Worst of Times. He knows Job upon the Dunghill, as well as David upon the Throne; he will be most Kind when others are most Unkind; he will Visit you, when others will scarce Look upon you. In his House you shall be as welcome as ever. There are many Mansions, if it were not so, he would have told you. In this City there is Room enough, and you shall have Entertainment, &c. be more Welcome than if you had stayed away: His Doors will be open to them who have no Houses to hide their Heads in. Come to him ye Harborless ones, he Invites you Earnestly and Heartily, &c. He will give you Shelter, you that have no Friends, or but sorry ones. Come to him now in your Straits, and he will never cast your Poverty, or his Kindness in your Teeth; except your Carriage be Proud, and unbecoming your State. God hath lately read us a Lecture of the Vanity of all Creature Enjoyments, And will you after this refuse Acquaintance with Him, who will be better to you than a thousand of the best friends that ever man had upon Earth?
I have in the following Book given you Directions how you may come to be Acquainted with Him.
As God appointed Cities of Refuge, so he gave express Command, that the way to them should be made Plain, Fit, and Broad: And therefore the Messengers work every Year was to Remove all Stumbling-Blocks, and Offences. They suffered not any Hill or Dale to be in the way, and at the partition of ways, they set up in writing, Refuge, Refuge, That the Pursued might have notice what way to take upon every turn, Deut. 19.2, 3.
The like I have endeavored in this ensuing Discourse, to make the Way to this Blessed Friend Plain and Familiar. Pray for a Blessing upon it, which cost the Author some Pains, Prayers, Tears, and Groans; That what was here written might be the Transcript of his own Experience, and might be some way subservient to the Glory of God in the Conversion and Comfort of Souls. If you find any good in the use of this Book, give God the Praise, and labor to keep a constant warm sense of the Excellency of such a Friend upon your Spirits, and commend this Friend to all your Relations and Acquaintance; that none of them after great Losses, may lose God, Heaven, and themselves too. O that will be a Dreadful Loss indeed! I again beseech you; forget not to Pray for one of the most unworthy instruments that ever Infinite Goodness made use of in so glorious a Work:
July 20. 1669.