A PREPARATIVE SERMON, TO THE LORDS TABLE, preached by the Reverend Mr. Iohn Forbes, Pastour to the Companie of Marchant Adventurers residing in Delff.

1. Cor. 11.28.

But let a man examine himselfe, and so let him eate of that bread, and drinke of that Cup.

Printed at Delff: 1632.


Iohn 6. Vers. 27.

Labour not for the meat, vvhich peri­sheth, but for that meat vvhich en­dureth, vnto euerlasting life, which the Sonne of man shall giue vnto you, for him hath God the Father sealed.

AMonge our manifold enor­mities, there is not any one, which more grieues the Lord Iesus, and vvhich doth make him more to be offended vvith vs, then vvhen vve abuse, either himselfe, or his blessed ordinances to peruerse ends: therfore of all things vvhere­vnto, vvee are to looke to, in our [Page 4] selues, this is one of the chiefest, least in shevve of seeking after Christ, & in comming to his holy ordinances, vve thereby increase our guiltines, & prouoke the Lord to vvrath, and in­dignation against vs.

VVe knovv vvhat fearefull iudg­ments the Corinthians did bring vpon themselues, for not eating the Lords supper, as they ought. For vvhich abuse of that holy ordinan­ce, the Lord plagued them, vvith sundry diseases, and sicknesses, and diuerse kinds of deaths: so zealous is the Lord, of keeping his holy ordi­nances, from the abuse, & contempt of men. See 1. Cor chap. 11.

VVee are not ignorant also of the seueritie vsed by God, against Nadab, and Abihu, the Sonnes of Aaron, for offring of strang fire before the Lord, in consuming them both vvith fire [Page 5] that came out from the Lord, see Leuit. 10.

The like example haue vvee of the testimonie of Gods anger, against Vzzah (as example to all them, that vse not the holy things of God aright nor respectfully) vvho presuming cō ­trarie to the ordinance of God, to touch the Arke. Though vpō a good zeale, to stay it vvhen he did see it like to fall, vvas strucken to death by the Lord.

Let vs remember vvhat the Lord did to king Vziah, for attempting to enter in to the sanctuary, to offer in­cense before the Lord, vvhich belon­ged only to the Priest to doe, in stri­king him vvith a leaprosie all the daies of his life, 2. Chro. cap. 26.

Annanias and Saphirah are docu­ments to this day of the Lords sore displeasure against all those, vvho [Page 6] pretending faith, loue, and zeale, and liberalitie to Christ, and his Church, dealt hipocriticallie vvith counterfeit shevve, and not trulie vvith God, in any thing, concerning his vvorship, his glory, his ordinances, and his obe­dience. vvho both of them vvere pu­nished by death, for dealing falselie vvith the Lord, in their prophane, & counterfeite shevve, of imitating the charitable liberalitie of the Primitiue Churches, in selling their possessi­ons, and bringing the price there­of to the Apostles feet, for the sup­port of those that did vvant. See Act. 5.

All these do let vs see, that the Lord can not abide, that any man should prophane, any of his holy ordināces, or for any by-pretēce to make shevv, of zeale to his glorie, or desire of his holy things: it is not possible, that [Page 7] hee should suffer vs to goe long vn­punished, if vve doe not serue him in all his ordinances vvith sinceere, & vpright hearts. The truth vvhereof is confirmed by this Historie: For these Ievves comming vnto Christ, did make a great shevve, and desire, to enjoy the blessed fellovvship, and communion of the Sonne of God: & yet Christ is displeased vvith them, because they sought him not vvith vpright hearts: therfore hauing chec­ked, and reproued them, in mani­festing, and opening the poyson of hypocrisie, which was in their hearts, in the preceding verse of this chap­ter: In this verse vvhich vve haue novv read, hee laboureth to cure by vvholesome medecine, the sicknes of their soule, if possible the peruerse disposition of their hearts could be reformed.

[Page 8]The euill that he reproues in them is this, that they sought not after Christ aright: because they did not set before themselues, the right vse of Christ in comming vnto him. They should haue sought after him, first, and principallie, for spirituall things, tending to the vvelfare of their soules, but they sought after him for nothing but the foode of their bodies, and the vvelfare of this their tansitorie life: therefore Christ is offended at them, & so hee is vvith all others, vvho follovving their footsteps, come vnto him, or his or­dinances in the like manner.

Novv to remedie this euill, the Sonne of God, labours to giue them some vvholesome instruction, in which, these points are to be marked. First, VVhat it is that he enioynes them to? vvhich is to labour. Secondly, For [Page 9] vvhat he vvill haue them to labour, & that is for spirituall things, namely, the meate of their soules, and the food of eternall life. Thirdly, vvee haue to consider, the preparation vnto this, by remouing the hindrances hereof, in repressing the loue of the vvorld in mens hearts. Commanding them not to labour for that meate which perisheth. Fourthly, vve haue heere set downe by Christ, an information, & an instruction vvhere to finde this bread of life, since it vvere in vaine to labour for it, if vve knew not vvhere to find it. There­fore hee tells them the Sonne of man shall giue it vnto them. Fifthly, Here is set downe an argument, or reason of confirmation to make this good, and to secure the soule of him, that seeks this bread of life from Christ, that Christ is able, yea not only able, but also vvil­ling, and ready to giue it vnto them, [Page 10] and that is set dovvne in these vvords, for him hath God the Father sealed.

First then let vs speake of the ex­hortation vvhich is to labour for that meat, vvhich endureth to eter­nall life.

By this exhortation vve see mani­festly, that it neuer vvas the purpose, nor mind of God, since the vvorld beganne, that men should feede on any meat, either corporall, or spiri­tuall, vvithout labour, and pains ta­king for it: you knovv, that lavve of the Apostle to the Thes. the second Epist. 3. chap. vers. 10. If there be any that vvill not vvorke, the same man shall not eate: that man therefore shall neuer be vvorthie of heauen, that vvill take no paines for it, for if it be Gods vvill, that vvee should labour, if vve vvould enioy the food [Page 11] of our bodies: it must needs be much more his vvill, that vvee should labour for the food of our soules. It is therefore in vaine for men euer to looke to be made pertakers of the supper of the lambe, and bread of heauen, if they vvill take no paines for it, there is an necessitie layd vpon vs to labour, for the food, both of soule, and bodie: it is no slothfull, nor careles man that God vvill feed: such men therefore as thinke, to goe, to heauen slee­ping, vvithout seeking after hea­uen, and doe hope to haue Christ brought vnto them, vvhile they rest in their beds, and vvill not doe so much, as to rise, and let him in, vvhen he calles, and knocks at their doores, and looke to be fed vvith the food of Angels, and yet vvill not stir hand, nor foote to labour for it. [Page 12] I say such men can neuer expect, to haue it from God. VVe knovv it sufficiently, rhat it is Gods vvill, and ordinance, that touching this tem­porall life, a man should eate his bread in the svveat of his brovves, & vve doe vvillingly vndergoe paine, & labour for it: But here is all our fault, that hovvsoeuer vve be busied, and pained for temporall things, belon­ging to this life: yet vve haue neither heart nor mind to take any paines for spirituall things. And this is one of the greatest sinnes of this miserable age, vvhere in men are so diligent, & laborious, for the things of this life, and yet so careles, & miserablie neg­ligent in things concerning eternall life. VVell this vve say, (& that truly) the greater diligence men vse, & the more paines they take about vvorld­ly businesses: the greater shalbe there [Page 13] conviction, and their iudgment the more terrible, in the daie of Christ his appearing: If they haue not beene much more painfull about spirituall things, vvhich do concerne eternall life. VVe shall heare here after vvhat need vve haue to vveane our selues from the cares of this vvorld, and of earthly things: because it is the maine hinderance, and let, of our care, and solicitude for heauenly things, and therefore it must be first rooted out of the heart, before the heart can be set as it ought vpon spirituall things.

But novv let vs consider vvhat is cōprehended vnder this word Labour, and vvhat are the things, that the Son of God requires of vs, to be done for the attaining to this bread of life. Christ himself here after in the same chapter shevves this, in ansvvering the Ievves question, vvhen they [Page 14] asked him, vvhat shall vve doe, that vve maye worke the vvorkes of God? Iesus ansvvered, and said vnto them, this is the vvorke of God, that you be­leeue in him, vvhom he hath sent, heere in steed of all vvorkes, Christ places but one, and that is the vvorke of beleeuing: a vvorke not of the hand, nor of the body, but a vvorke of the heart. For as a man must haue a mouing hand, & a stirring body, in the busines that belōgs to this world: so for obtaying of spiritual blessings, he must haue a stirring, and a belee­uing heart: his heart must vvorke by faith, if euer he thinke to haue any spirituall blessing from God: for it is by faith alone, that vve draw all good things from God in heauen, and by faith alone it is, that vve render to God any thing, that can be accepta­ble vnto him, for all though in the [Page 15] Scriptures, our actions are attributed to loue: yet they are in this life more properlie attributed to faith: seing that faith vvorks by loue: and so loue being but the instrument of faith, and that by vvhich faith vvorketh: and this is the reason vvhy all the doings, and suffrings of the children of God, are attributed vnto faith, as you may see in the 11. of the Lev. for the vvhole operation of a spiri­tuall man, consists maynly in the vvork of beleeuing, vvithout which, vve shall neuer receiue ought from God, that is able to saue our soules, neither shall vve be able to doe so much, as to send vp one sound de­sire, or petition vnto God. To conclud in a vvord, there is no abil­litie, either to speake, or to doe, ought, acceptablie to God, vvithout faith.

[Page 16]This point is of great moment, & vve are to Labour aboue all things, to attaine vnto this vvorke of be­leeuing, and to this end, vve are care fully, to vse all meanes, by vvhich it pleaseth God to vvorke faith in our hearts, as namely, the hearing of the vvord of God preached, the partici­pation of the Lords supper, instant praier to God, vvith dayly meditati­ons in the blessed vvord of God, day­ly conference, & talking of the holy things of God, That faith by these meanes be both vvrought, and nou­rished, and dayly increased in our hearts, vvithout vvhich it is impos­sible, that euer vve can come to haue any feeling or sence, either of the life, or loue of God in our soules, much lesse to shevve forth any eui­dences of them in our practise, to the eies of men, this is that vvork vvhich [Page 17] must haue place in all our vvorkes, & season them all before God, there­fore are vve commanded, that vvhat­soeuer vve doe, vvhether vve eate, or vvhether vvee drinke, that vve doe all in the name of the Lord Iesus, which is as much as to say, that vve doe all in faith, for nothing can be done in the name of the Lord Iesus, but it must of necessitie be done in faith, this is then that which Christ means, vvhen he vvills vs to labour.

Novv let vs goe forvvard: here it follovveth, that vve should next speake of that, for vvhich vve should labour, but before vve come vnto it. VVe vvill speake first of the prepari­tion, vvhich Christ requires in vs, for the fitting vs to this labour, vvhich stands in the remouing of the lets, & impediments, that hinder vs from la­bouring for that meat vvhich indures [Page 18] vnto euerlasting life. And this is set dovvne in these vvords, labour not for the meat vvhich perishes.

Heere vve see, that vvhen Christ wils vs to labour for heauenly things: he first restraines vs from the labour for earthly things.

The reason is because, that if the loue, and care of earthly things, be not rooted out of our mindes, the loue, and care of heauenly things can take no place in them: this is mani­fest by that speach of Iohn his 1. Epist. 2. cap. 15. vers. Loue not the vvorld, nor the things of the vvorld, if any man loue the vvorld, the loue of the Father is not in him. It is a most cer­taine truth, that man, vvhose heart, & affections is set vpon things belonging to his body, must be a sen­celes man, concerning the vvellfare of his soule. It is expedient therefore, [Page 19] and also necessarie, that the care, and solicitude of earthly things bee mo­derated, and borne dovvne in our minds, if euer vve vvill embrace this [...]abour (commanded by Christ) for spirituall things, for no man can serue [...]vvo Masters, it is impossible to serue God, and the vvorld both, and it is for this cause, that Christ vvills his Disciples, Not to care vvhat they should eate, nor vvhat they should drinke, nor vvhat they should put on, put that first they should seeke the kingdome of God, and his righteousnes, vvith a promise, that all these things shall be cast vnto them. And to moue them vnto this, among ma­nie other reasons, he brings this for one, to vvit, that it is the dis­position, and custome of the hea­ [...]hen, and men vvithout God, to seek after things concerning this life, [Page 20] namely, vvhat they should eate, and vvhat they should drinke, and vvhat they should put on, and therefore cōcludes, that they, that knovv God, and professe God to be their Father, should not set their hearts vpō these Temporall thing: for it is a vvretched, and a miserable thing, to see a Chri­stian mās heart disposed, noe better, then the heart of a prophane heathē, & that his labour, & trauaile, should be employed for no higher end, for no greater, nor better things, then a blind, & ignorant pagan labours for. It must needs argue a mind, not truly enlightned as yet, vvith the sauing knowledge of spiritual things, vvhen as it can mind nothing else but earth­ly things. And this is the cause vvhy so fevv professing Christianitie, doe manifest any strong desires, or care­full sollicitude. For things eternall▪ [Page 21] euen because they lye yet in darke­nesse, and ignorance of them, Not hauing the eyes of their vnderstanding opened, to see the spiritual Ioy, glory, & fellecitie of Gods chosen In Christ: for if they did once see them, it vvere impossible, that they could esteeme so much of earthly, or transitory plea­sures, but that their hearts vvould be rauished tovvards heauen, and all things in this vvorld, vvould be as dung in their eyes, for vvhat man is there, vvho getting a sight of a prin­cely pallace, full of inestimable trea­sures, and pleasures, vnto the vvhich he is invited, vvhen hee himselfe dvvells in a poore, & miserable cotta­ge, in the mids of a barren wildernes, that vvould not gladlie forsake this poore cottage, & enioy this princely pallace, and yet there is much more difference, betvveene heauen, and [Page 22] earth, the things of this life, and the things of the life to come, the foode of our bodies, and the foode of our soules. VVhat vvretched, and miserable fooles are these, vvhich knovving that Heauen is infinitlie aboue this earth, and that to liue vvith God is vnspeakeablie better, then any estate can be in this life, that still their thoughts should be drovvned in the cares of this life, and neuer lifted vp to those vnspeak­able ioyes, vvhich are at the right hand of God, vvhere Christ is. The point then is this, Christ vvill haue vs to knovv, that our hearts must be freed from the cares of this vvorld, before vve can set our selues to seeke things, that are spirituall, and heauenly. Euen as a man, if he vvill transplant a tree, and set it in a better ground, he must first loose [Page 23] it from the earth, vvhere in it grow­eth: and in vvhich it is rooted, for othervvise, he may vvell breake it, or destroy it, but transplant it he cannot: euen so mans heart, that is rooted in the things of this life, and naturally set vpon them: it is in vaine to thinke, that it can be set vpon things, that are aboue, vn­till this stronge hold it hath on earth be first loosed: for no tree is so fast rooted in earth, as mans heart is in earthlie things, and it is a greater difficultie, to plucke the thoughts of mans heart from the care of earthlie things, then to [...]ayse the deepest tree, that euer vvas in the earth, let men there­fore take this vvarning from Iesus Christ, that if they vvill seeke the bread of eternall life, they must first haue their hearts free, [Page 24] from the careful seeking of the bread of this life.

Novv let vs come to speake of that for vvhich vve should labour. The discription vvhereof is set dovvne in these vvorlds [Labour not for the meat that perisheth: but for that meat vvhich endureth vnto eternal life.] In this description, is set dovvn not only that for vvhich vve should labour, but a forcible argument, to moue vs to labour for it: and to dissuade vs frō labouring for the other this argument is taken from the nature of the meat. For vvhich vve should not labour, and from the nature of that meat, for vvhich vve should labour, vvhich shevves then to be in nature contrarie the one to the other, and it stands in this, that the one perisheth, and the other endureth: so that Christs reason is after [Page 25] this manner, labour not for temporal meat, because it perisheth: but la­bour for spirituall meat because it endureth. Let vs novv briefly consi­der these reasons. Touching the first, it cannot be but a sore vexation to a mans heart vvhen God giues him eyes to see it, that of all hee labours for vnder the sunne, during all the dayes of his life, ther is nothing of it, that vvill remaine vvith him, but it vvill perish and decay: but this is one of the greatest vanities, & argues the most miserable corruption of mans heart vnder the sunne, that ei­ther they cannot, or they vvil not, see this, that all things of this vvorld, are perishing vanities, men naturallie are giuen to think, that both themselues, & their substance shall endure long, and continue for euer, euen as the [...]ich glutton, that pulld dovvne his [Page 26] barnes, and built them bigger, said vnto his soule, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid vp for manie yeares▪ he neither dreamed of dying him­selfe, nor of the decaying of his tran­sitorie substance, & yet poore vvretch it vvas told him, that to morrovv he should dye: if vvee could therefore thinke vpon this, that euerie mo­ment, vvee stand in danger, either to be taken from the things of this vvorld, or to haue them taken from vs: it were impossible, that we should take such care for vvhat vve should eate, or vvhat vve should drinke, &c. yea if vvee vvould, but marke that vvhich the Apostle speaks to the Col. concerning the food of our bodies it vvould be an argument to make vs lay aside, the solicitude, and care for them, seing as the Apostle saith they perish, euen in the very vsing of thē, [Page 27] and therfore the same Apostle in the 1. Cor. 7. vvills them that marry to be as if they married not, and them that possessed, as if they possessed not, Because (saith hee) the fashion, or shape of this vvorld passeth a vvay, and all shall once come to an end: & therfore it vvere happy for vs, if vve could know thus much, that vve are but Pilgrims in this vvorld, & therfore must vse all things in it, as Pilgrims vse their lod­gings, that is not setling vpon them, nor resting in them, as though vvee could dvvel heer for euer: for our ha­bitation is prepared for vs in heauen: therefore vvee should passe through this earth, as the Pilgrims doe their iourney, vsing all things in this vvorld, as trauellers doe to make them serue, to further our iourney to heauen, and not as clogs to hinder vs, seing all that is heere vvill perish.

[Page 28]And yet further to consider this point, mark, hovv the Apostle makes it a strong reason, in the 1. Cor. chap. 6. vers. 13. vvhy men should not eate of any meat vvith offence of their brethren: saying, meat is ordained for the belly, and the belly for meat, and God shall destroy them both, if men had hearts to consider this, what reason could they haue, to be carefull for meat which serues to satisfie their bellie, vvhen both meat, and bellie, shall perish. It is an ydle dreame for men to thinke, that these parts of our bodies, vvhich are only giuen for temporall vse, in this life. That I say vvee shall haue any vse of them in heauen, for there vve shall haue no vse of stomacks to disgest, or bovvels to make convayance of our meat, for nourishing these our bodies, seing our bodies in heauen, shalbe [Page 29] immortall, & glorious, like vnto the glorious bodie of the Sonne of God, vvhen therefore vve are feeding our bodies, and satisfying our bellies, it is good for vs to thinke, and remember that vve are feeding that, vvhich shal perish: & that with food which shall likevvise perish, that vve may learne neither to care too much for the bellie, nor for food requisite vnto it.

Novv let vs consider the argument of the contrarie parte, vvherby Christ perswades vs to labour for spirituall meat, in vvhich vve are to obserue tvvo things:

The first is, the nature of this hea­uenly food in it selfe, all though vve neuer do enioy it, vvhich is declared by this [that it endureth.]

The second, is the effect of it in thē that get it, vvhich is that it makes thē also to indure & to liue eternally.

[Page 30]For the first, vvee are to consider, that all the spirituall gifts, that God giues vs in Christ Iesus, are all eter­nall, and such as shall neuer perish: vvhatsoeuer God gaue by creation, it might be defaced, and vtterlie vndone: yea, euen the chiefest gift, that euer vvas giuen in nature to Adam, (vvhich vvas Gods Image) vvas by Sathan extinquished, and defaced, and as the Scripture tells vs, at the comming of Christ to iudge­ment, the elements shall melt vvith fire, and the earth, and all the vvorks thereof shall perish, and the heauens shall vvax ould as a garment, and this vvhole vvorld shall come to an end, but the gifts of sauing grace, giuen vs in Christ, can neuer be ex­tinquished, or defaced, for as it is impossible to destroy the Sonne of God himselfe, or that the sorrovves [Page 29] of death, should haue held him vn­der them, or that the graue should haue povver to retaine him, so is it impossible, that Christ giuen vnto vs, and his flesh vvhich vve eate, and his blood vvhich vve drinke, or the vertue of them in vs, can euer pos­siblie bee defaced in vs, and this is the reason that Christ saith, that his flesh is meat in deed, and his blood is drinke in deed for his flesh is not a perishing meat, nor his blood a decaying drinke, vvhich cannot en­dure, as the nature of all other meat, and drinke is: but his flesh is euer­lasting food, and his blood euer­lasting drinke, and his grace as a vvell, springing continuallie, to euerlasting life, men might thinke, that by the death of our bodies, the vertue of Iesus Christs flesh, and blood, vvere vtterlie perished, [Page 32] but it is not so, they that eate this flesh, and drinke this blood, shall find the vertue of his flesh, & blood, euen vvhen they are rotten in the graue, & by the same povver, vvhere vvith he raysed himselfe from the dead, hee shall likevvise rayse them, from the povver of death, this then is the first thing, vvhich vve are to consider in this food, that it is an en­during meat.

But the next thing is a greater comfort vnto vs, for this is not all the blessednes of this food, and com­fort of this argument, to knovv that the flesh and blood of Christ, are in themselues permanent, and eternall, but that vvhich chiefly refresheth our soules is this, to know that vvho­soeuer pertakes of them, shal pertake of eternall life vvith them, this is a blessed thing in deed, vvhen I knovv, [Page 33] that not only the things vvhereof I am made pertaker are eternall, but that I my selfe, by pertaking of them shall be eternall as vvell as they. VVhat can moue a man to seeke this meat, if this doe it not? vvhen vvee vnderstand that it hath this povver to vvork such a blessed effecte in him that is pertaker of it. It is vndoubted­lie, the miserable ignorance of (this benefit, vvhich comes by the flesh, & blood, of Christ,) that makes men so careles to enioy them, there is no­thing in the vvorld, that a man more desires then to liue for euer, all that euer a man hath he vvill giue for his life, that he may not see death, but as Dauid saith in the 49. Psal. No man can by any means redeeme his brother, nor giue to God a ransome, that he should liue for euer. Indeed it is no temporall thing, that can procure [Page 34] eternal life, no not all the means that can be diuised, eate vvhat a man can eate, & drink vvhat a man can drink, yet he shal dye, but heere is the com­fort of a Christian, that frō Christ, he is fed vvith that meat, that shall make him to liue for euer: in such sorte, that the gates of hel shal not preuaile against him, neither death nor the graue shal haue povver ouer him, but he shall haue a glorious triumph ouer them both, so as he shall sing that ioyfull song, o death, where is thy sting, o graue, vvhere is the victory? And this is no vvōder, seing the causes of this life are eternall, it cannot be but that the life that flovveth frō them must be eter­nall, and they that are fed vvith him must needs liue eternally, for all that we receaue from Christ, is eternal, the peace eternall, the ioy, & life eternall, & this is that vvhervvith Christ com­forts [Page 35] his disciples, Iohn 16.22. saying, Your ioy shall no man take from you: Thus a child of God in the midst of all his troubles, & in the midst of the valley of the shadovv of death, vvill feare no euill, but can still reioyce in God his sauiour. O hovv should this stir vp our hearts, to seeke after this meat, euē as the vvoman of Samaria, in the 4. of Iohn. the 15. vvhen Christ told her of vvater vvhich he had to giue, vvhich vvhosoeuer did drink of should neuer be more a thirst, she said, Lord, giue me of that vvater, that I may not thirst any more, nor come he­ther to draw. Likevvise the Ievves in this same chapter, vvhen Christ told them, that the bread of God giues life to the vvorld, they said vnto Christ, Lord giue vs euer more of this bread: euen so vvhen vve heare, that they that eate the flesh, and drinke [Page 36] the blood of Christ, shall liue eter­nallie. Should vvee not in our hearts desire it, and beg of Christ to make vs pertakers of it, and earnestly long to enioy it: surely it must needs be a most lust thing vvith God to povvre dovvne heauie iudgment vpon this senceles age, and sinfull generation of men, vvho take greater pleasure to seeke after the stinking delights of this flesh, and to vvallovv in their beastly lusts, then to enioy this bles­sed bread, that endures to euerlasting life: for it is impossible for any man to haue perpetuitie of being vvith­out this, vvhen therefore vvee see other men to call their lands by their names, so to perpetuate their names on earth: let vs not follovv their foo­lish footsteps, but if vve desire to liue for euer, let vs labour for this meat, vvhich endures to eternall life, and [Page 37] thus much for the reason, cōtayning also a discription of that, for vvhich vvee should labour.

Seeing then vvee see vvhat great reason, vvee haue to seeke this spiri­tuall food, it is necessarie for vs to knovv vvhere vvee shall find it, and that is the next point vve are to con­sider, set dovvne in these vvords, [vvhich the sonne of man shall giue vnto you.] In these vvords, let vs marke these tvvo things: First vvho it is, of vvhom vvee must haue this meat: That is the Sonne of man: The second is, hovv vve shall haue it, and that is set dovvne in these vvords, he shall giue it vnto vs.

Touching the first, vvee are to mark, that it pleaseth Christ through out the Scriptures, to name himselfe more by this name (the Sonne of man) then by any other, especiallie [Page 38] vvhen he speaks of the vvorks of sa­uing grace: and for the comfort of his elect ones: it must therefore be a matter of great moment, and of singular instruction for vs, that mo­ues Christ to take this name vpon himselfe, and certainly it is so, al­though not perceaued, nor compre­hended, by euerie man. In this same chapter vvhen Christ had told the levves, that vnles they did eate the flesh of the Sonne of man, and drinke his blood, they had no life in them, many of his disciples murmured at it, and said, this is a hard saying, and in deed no maruell, that it seeme hard to a naturall man, for hovv can he thinke, that the flesh, and blood of man, should haue the vertue of eternall life in them, but Christ opens this mistery in the same place, telling them that it vvas the spirit [Page 39] that quickeneth, the flesh prositteth nothing: for it is true, that all though vvithout this flesh and blood, vve can haue no life in vs, yet certainly euen the flesh and blood of Christ, nakedly considered, as flesh and blood, or yet, as the flesh and blood of a man, could neuer giue life to them, that eate and drinke it, but as being the flesh, and blood of God, in the vvhich flesh, all the fullnes of the God-head dvvels bodily, it is no maruell that it giues life to them, that eate and drinke them, for as much as the eternal spirit is neuer separated from this flesh, nor from this blood, & therfore all though their can be no eternall life, but frō this eternal spirit, yet it is the pleasure of God, that no sa­uing vertue of the Diety, nor life frō the God head should euer be cōmu­nicated vnto man, but in, & through [Page 40] the flesh, and blood of Iesus Christ the Lord: Let no man therefore Dis­pise this flesh, & blood, nor the out­vvard means, vvhereby our fellovv­ship, and communion, in this flesh, and blood is sealed vnto vs, since vvithout this flesh, and blood, it is not the purpose of God to saue vs, let vs therefore lay vp this misterie in our hearts, that as the flesh of Christ can neuer quicken, but by the spirit, euen so also the spirit shall neuer quicken but by the flesh.

There is yet more in this to be con­sidered, and that is, that as God vvill dispence no sauing grace, but in the flesh, and blood, of Iesus Christ the man, so he vvill not dispence it, but by Christ as hee is man, for God hath giuen all iudgment to the Sonne, not as hee is God simplie, but as he is the Sonne of man, and by him as hee is [Page 41] man, vvill he iudge the vvorld, as the Apostle saith in the 17. of Act. God hath appointed a day, in which he vvill iudge the vvorld in righteousnes, by the man vvhom he hath ordained. Iesus Christ, as man, shall iudge both hea­uen, and earth. For the Father hath exalted him in his man hood, and hath giuen him a name, aboue all names vnto vvhich all knees must bovve, and euerie mouth confesseth him, to be the Lord, therefore it is not vvithout cause, that Dauid con­sidering this vvondered, as you may see in the 8. psal. saying: VVhat is man, that thou art mindfull of him, and the sonne of man, that thou visitest him, for thou hast made him a littel lovver then the Angels, and hast crow­ned him vvith honour, and glorie, and hath put all things vnder his feet: It is good for vs to consider this, that as [Page 42] Christ himselfe saith, all povver is giuen vnto mee, ouer all flesh, the povver of ruling, and of iudging, of sauing, & damming men, is giuen to Christ as man, for there is nothing, that is not subdued vnto Christ the man, as the Apostle proues in the 1. Cor. 15. from these vvords of the Psalme: that God hath subdued all things vnder his feet, prouing therby that it is manifest, that nothing is vn­subdued to him, but he that did sub­due them, vntill that the last enemie death it selfe be subdued, Christ shall stil possesse the kingdome, but vvhen hee hath subdued all things, then shall he render vp the kingdome to his father, that God may be all in all: but in the meane time till this be done, all povver is giuen to Christ as man, to destroy all aduersarie powers, either diuells or vvicked men, thus [Page 43] hath God honoured, & highly exal­ted the humanitie of his Sonne, by [...]ertue of the fullnes of the God head [...]vvelling in him bodilie, this is the [...]eason that Christ in this place saith, the Sonne of man shall giue vs this bread of eternall life.

The consideration of these things, [...]erue for a singular cōfort to the God­ly: & a fearefull terror to the vvicked.

Touching the vvicked, vvhen they must see, & knovv this, that the man vvhom they haue pearced, and put to [...]eath, vvhom they haue so despised vvhose blood, they haue trod vnder foote, to be exalted to such glorie, and vvhen they shal see him come in the [...]louds, in maiestie, and great povver, accompanied vvith innumerable an­ [...]ells, and hearing (him sitting in the throne of iudgmēt) prononce the sen­tence of eternall death against them.

[Page 44]For the Godly it is a matter of sin­guler ioy, to knovv, that he shall be their iudge, and that in his humaine nature, vvherin in all things hee vvas made like vnto them, sinne only ex­cepted, and vvherein he vvrought their redemption by his ovvn death, & vvhen they shall vnderstand, that the dispensation of all things is put in his hands, and that he hath povver to giue eternall life, yea he himselfe to giue his ovvne flesh, and blood vnto vs, vnto eternall life, certainly if this vvere not, the greatest comfort of Gods elect vvere taken avvaie, no consideration of the Sonne of God, as God simplie, could possibly refresh our soules, if vvee did not consider him in his flesh, being man, for he is no lesse terrible in his Dyetie to a sinner, then the Father: but our in­terest in him ariseth vpon this, that [Page 45] hee is be come our brother in our nature, that being man, hee might bring vs that are men to God. There­fore first of all he did a base himselfe, and tooke vpon him the shape of a seruant, and in that nature hath vvrought our eternall redemption, and did glorifie himselfe in that same flesh, vvith that glorie, that he had vvith the Father, before the vvorld vvas, all to this end, that he might aduance vs to the same dignitie vvith himselfe: for though as God he had povver sufficientlie to saue vs, yet vve had neuer bene pertakers of it, if he had not prepared the vvay by his flesh to communicate it vvith man: and if Christ himselfe in our nature, had not taken possessiō of the glorie, and kingdome of God: it had bene impossible for any other man, euer to haue come to the participation of [Page 46] that glorie or kingdome, and thus much for the first point, that is of him, from vvhom we must haue this bread.

Novv, let vs come to the manner hovv vve shall get it, and that is set dovvne in the svvords (he shall giue it vnto you) A man might thinke by the former vvords of Christ, vvhen he vvills vs to labour for it, that a man himselfe by labour vvere the purchaser of it? but it is not so, let a man doe vvhat he can, he is still vnvvorthie of it, yet not vvithstan­ding Christ vvill haue vs to knovv, that the man that seeks for it shall get it, though neither hee nor his labour be vvorthie of it: Christ re­quires no more of thee but to seeke for it, and he vvill freely giue it, thou canst haue nothing vvherevvith to buy it, and therefore the Lord calls [Page 47] vpon euery one that thirsts to come, and drinke freely, they may haue it vvithout siluer, or vvithout any price: seeing they can haue it for the seeking only. O hovv iustly shall these vvretches be damned, that vvill take no paines to beg, or seeke for it, of all things in the vvorld, this shall be one of the chiefest that shal gnaw the hearts of men most miserablie, vvhen they shall see themselues eter­nallie damned, because they neuer sought after life in Christ, but vvhen they should haue sought for it, they gaue themselues to seeke their plea­sures, & did loue rather to hunt after a vvhore, and their beastly lusts then after Christ the Son of God, & Saui­our of the world, mark Christs speech Iohn 5. You vvill not come vnto me, saith Christ, that I might giue you eter­nall life: he desires no more of them, [Page 48] but that they vvill come to him, and he vvill giue them life. Alas! hovv many is there vvho vvhen Christ doth call vpon them, and couer his table vnto them, and offer his flesh that vvas broken for them, and his blood, that vvas shed for the remis­sion of their sinnes, vvho not vvith­standing vvill not come at all, vnto the blessed Table of the Lord: shall euer Christ thinke these men vvor­thie of eternall life, that vvhen they may haue the food of it for com­ming vnto it, doe not vvithstanding neglect it. If vve did but see our mi­serie, and our vvretched estate in sinne, vnder Gods vvrath, then vve vvould make great account of that vvee dispise, and our hearts vvould smite vs for our contempt of that, vvithout vvhich their is no life to our soules, that is the only bread vvhich [Page 49] brings eternall life to our soules. O vvhat vertue, vvhat comfort, vvhat life, and efficacie vnto life, shall vvee find in that flesh, and in that blood, if vve did truly embrace it, & receiue it from Christ, certainly many thou­sands depriue themselues of all ioy, and true consolation in Christ, only because they vvill not paine them­selues to seeke it. Iames vpbraids men in his time, not only because they asked amisse, but he tells them, they got nothing, because they asked not, and the same Iames shevves vs, that if a man doe aske, he shall receaue, when he saith, If any man lack wisdom let him aske of God, that giues liberally to all, and Christ confirmes the same in the Gospel, vvhen he bids vs, aske, & vve shall haue, seeke, & vve shall find, their damnatiō then must needs be iust that neuer sought after Christ.

[Page 50]Novv the last point, vvhich vve are to knovve, is concerning the ground of all our assurance, that vvee shall get this bread, vvhich endures vnto eternall life from Christ, & that is set dovvne in these vvords, [For him hath God the Father sealed.]

These vvords comprehend a mat­ter of chlefe moment for our consideration, for if this vvere not, all the knovvledge of Christ vvere but small comforte, to a poore sinfull soule, but this it is that giues vs ioy, in the contemplation of Christ cru­cified, that vve knovv, that God the Father hath sealed him.

To consider this place there­fore a right, vvee are to knovv, that it is taken from the custome of men, vvho vvhen they vvill haue any thing to be made sure, and sted-fast, and vvhen they vvill make it to [Page 51] haue authoritie, and strength, they are accustomed to adde their seale to it, to confirme it, by vvhich vvhatsoeuer is promised, is made more stronge: so God by this sorte of speech doth shevv vs, that not only, he hath giuen Christ to be our Sauiour according, as hee de­clares in his VVord, and that hee is that Lambe of God, that takes a­vvay the sinnes of the vvorld, and that hee hath not only reconciled al things, by the blood of his crosse, but also to make all things sure, and firme, that vvee might neuer call this into question, hee hath rati­fied all this, by adding his seale vn­to it.

Out of this, vve are first to learne: That the naked knovvledge, and con­sideration of Christ, and vvhat God hath made him vnto vs, is not sufficient [Page 52] to saluation, except vvee know, that God the Father hath sealed Christ to be all in all vnto vs, that hee hath pro­mised, and vvhich he hath made him to be, vvhereby I may be confirmed, that vvhatsoeuer God saith, Christ is, or vvhatsoeuer God is said to haue made him for mee, is vndoubtedly so, here vve may se, that in our minds vve must ascend higher then Christ himselfe, or the promise of God in him, to seeke the chiefest ground, or stay of our faith, vvhich allthough it can haue no ground vvithout Christ, and vvithout the promise, yet neither the promise, nor Christ (in vvhom the promise is yea, and amen) could be any sure ground of life, & saluation to me vnlesse both came from this, and vvere stamped vvith this seale of the Father in Christ, for all though, that Christs [Page 53] flesh be said to giue life to those, that are pertakers of it: yet the ground, and reason of this stands in this, that the Father hath sealed him in his flesh to be the life of the vvorld, so that vvithout knovvledge of this, our hope and faith vvere vaine.

Let vs therefore come to consider this seale of God. First in generall, vve knovv that a seale vvhen it is applied doth leaue the impression of it selfe, most liuely in the vvax vvhere into it is set, so that all the forme, the shape, and marks, that are in the seale are liuely imprinted in the vvax, thus hath God the Father dealt vvith his Sonne, for there is no promise of mercy, of grace, of holines of life, or glorie, vvhich God hath made in Christ to sinners, but he hath stam­ped the same in Christ the man, so that euerie man that sees the flesh of [Page 54] Christ, vvith true spirituall eies, may se that his flesh, is stampt vvith righ­teousnes, vvith the life of God, and vvith immortall peace, & euerlasting glory. But to come nearer to the con­sideration of this seale, it is true, that many men run to his Diety, to find this seale, and that because it is said in the first of the Hebrewes concer­ning Christ, that hee is the brightnes of the glorie, and the expresse, or in gra­uen image of the Fathers person, for vvhich cause it is said, that he that sees the Sonne, sees also the Father: but not vvithstanding all this, if the Sonne of God had bene sealed by the Father, only in his diuine nature, as he is the second person of the trinitie, & that this seale of God had neuer reached from his God head, to his humanity, his flesh could neuer haue bene the bread of life, therfore we must labour [Page 55] to see this seale of God, ingrauen in Christ the man, else hovv can vvee knovv, that by eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, vve haue eternall life, since vvith out this seale, his flesh, and blood could haue no more force, to giue life, then any other flesh, or blood, of any other man: therfore let vs consider, vvherin this sealing of the Son, as he is man cōsists.

This seale hath fiue speciall things in it, to be considered.

The first is Gods eternall ordinatiō, & appointmēt, wherby he did ordaine Christ the man, and none but Christ the man, to be the food of our soules, to be the mediator betvveene God, & vs, & so to be the only King, Priest & Prophet, of Gods house for euer, by vertue of this appointment of God, Christ comes to bee, that to vs, that hee is, and this eternall decree [Page 56] of God, concerning Christ in his flesh, to bee our redeemer, is made manifest in the Scripture, vvhen it is told vs, that God ordained him before the vvorld vvas, in the 1. of Peter the 1. chap. and againe vvhere it is said, that there is not a name giuen vnder heauen, by vvhich a man can be saued, but the name of Iesus only, and this is ratified in the Scripture, by the testi­monie, both of God himselfe, and Iohn Baptist, and of the Apostle. The Father from heauen did vvitnes so much, vvhen as he said, this is my vvell beloued Sonne, in vvhom I am vvell pleased, there by declaring, that in Iesus Christ the Sonne, (novv made man) his vvrath tovvards vs, vvas taken avvay: and he vvell plea­sed vvith vs, not vvithstanding our manifold sinnes, committed against him, and all those speeches of God, [Page 57] vvhereby God ratifies, that Christ the man, is his Sonne, saying, thou art my Sonne, this day haue I be gotten thee, & vvhere by he confirmes him, to be our euerlasting Priest, for euer, after the order of Melchisedeke, and vvhereby hee vvitnesses him to be made Lord of his church, saying, the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, till I make thine ennemies thy footstoole, all these do make manifest the truth of this point, that it is Christ the man, vvhom God hath decreed to be, both the Author, and matter of our saluation. And this is the first part of this seale of God, this knovvledge, that God hath ordained him only, and none but him, to be the bread of life.

The second part of Gods seale, vvhere by he hath sealed Christ the man, appeares in the vvorks of Gods [Page 58] ovvne power, which the Father gaue him to doe, as in raising the dead, com­manding of the seas, and tempests, the restoring sight to the blind, curing of all diseases, yea, and commanding the very diuels, &c. therefore it is that Christ saith in the 5. of Iohn vers. 6. after this manner, The vvorkes vvhich the Father hath giuen me to finish, the same vvorkes that I doe beare vvitnes, that the Father sent me, & the Father him­selfe, vvhich hath sent mee beares vvitnes of mee, and againe in the 10. of Iohn vers. 25 If I doe not the workes of my Father beleeue me not: But if I doe them, though you beleeue not me, yet beleeue the vvorkes, that you may knovv, that the Father is in me, and I in him, vers. 37.38. These vvorkes vvhich none could doe but God him selfe, being done by Christ the man, are the second part of Gods seale, [Page 59] vvhereby God the Father doth let vs see, that this man Iesus, is hee a­lone of vvhom vvee all must looke for life.

The third parte of this seale con­sists in this, that God the Father hath laid vpon Christ the man, the cha­stisments of our peace, that by his stripes vvee might be healed, for by inflicting vpon him in his flesh, all the punishments, and vvrath of God, vvhich vvee by our iniquities haue deserued, hee thereby sealed his manhood to be the food of life, ma­king him as a Lambe roasted vvith fire for our food▪ And for this cause, it is said of Christ (Hebr. the 5. and the 9,) That he being consecrated, vvas made the Author of eternall saluati­on vnto all them, that obay him: for vvhen God did take vengeance vpon Christ his Sonne for our iniquities, [Page 60] he made him sinne for vs, that vvee might be made the righteousnes of God in him: and by his crosse, killed hatred, and brought in euerlasting peace, therefore in as much as it is hee alone, that hath vndergone the curse of the lavve, and the vvrath of God for vs that are sinners: it is ma­nifest, that God giues none to be the bread of life to our soules, but him alone, and this is the reason, vvhy the Apostle to correct that great schisme, in the church of Corinth: vvhen one said he vvas Pauls, another Apol­los, &c. and to force them all, to ac­knovvledge none but Christ for their Sauiour, he vses this forme of argu­ment, vvas Paul crucified for you? &c. as if he vvould say none but he vvho is crucified for you, are you to depend vpon for life, and saluation: and the same is the reason, vvhy the same [Page 61] Apostle vvritting to the Corinth: the first Epist▪ chapt. 2. saith, that he did determinate to know nothing among them but Iesus Christ, and him cruci­fied, and againe he saith in the 6. of Gal vers 14. God for bid, that I should reioyce, but in the crosse of our Lord Iesus Christ.

The fourth part of this seale stan­deth in this, that God the Father hath raised Christ Iesus his sonne from the dead, and hath taken him out of the povver of the graue, and hath set him at his right hand in heauen, and crovvned him vvith glorie, and ho­nour, making him the head of men, and Angels giuing him all povver in heauen, and in earth, and aboue all, giuing him to be the head of his church, thus setting him in that flesh, vvherein he vvrought our redemp­tion, and suffered the chasticement [Page 62] of our peace, in the full possession of the kingdome, life, and glorie, vvhich hee hath purchased vnto vs, filling him in that his man-hood, vvithall fullnes of grace, and glorie, that out of his fullnes, vvee might dravv grace, so fitting this his flesh thus glorified, to be the effectuall means of communicating life, and glorie vnto vs in our flesh, and for this cause it is, that the Apostle doth proue, that God shall iudge the vvorld by Christ the man, by this argument, to vvit, because God had raised him vp from the dead, Acts. 17.31. and the Apostle: for this cause, makes this the chiefe point of the knovvledge of Iesus Christ, to vvit, that vve haue such a high Priest, that sitteth at the right hand of the throne of the maiestie, in heauen: Hebrevves the 8. and the 1. [Page 63] for allthough hee had beene man, and in mans nature had suffered all punishments due to vs, for our ini­quities, yet not vvithstanding if he had neuer beene raised from the dead, and triumphed ouer the graue, vvee could neuer haue hoped, to haue attained to eternall life by his flesh, for if that flesh of his, had beene ouercome by death, vve could neuer haue ouercome death, in our flesh, therefore it is, that the Apostle builds our hope of life, vpon the resurrection of Christ from the dead: 1. Pet. chapt. 1. vers. 3. saying, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, vvho according to his aboundant mercie, hath be gotten vs againe to the hope of life, by the resurrection of Iesus Christ from the dead: And againe in [Page 64] the same chapter vers. the 21. he saith thus, that God raised him from the dead, and gaue him glorie, that our faith, and hope might be in God, and this is the fourth part of this seale.

The 5. and last part of this seale, vvhich is the ground, and foundation of the rest, is this: That this man in his flesh is not only by Gods eternall decree appointed, and by the Fathers voyce from heauen ratified, to be the only re­deemer, and life of the vvorld, and con­firmed to be this, by his vvorks, his suff­rings, and his glorious exaltation, at the right hand of God, but chiefly, and principally, because in this his manhood, thus abased, and againe exalted, doth dvvell all the fullnes of the God head bodily, Colos. the vers 2.9. for if this vvere not, all the former part of this seale vvere not sufficient to make his flesh the bread of life, for immortall [Page 65] life cannot come to vs, but from that flesh, vvhich hath immortall life in it selfe, and this is the reason that Christ vses that speach, in the 6. of Iohn, vvhen he vvould proue, that he that eats his flesh, and drinks his blood hath euerlasting life, saying, as that liuing Father hath sent me, and I liue by the Father, euen so hee that eats my flesh, euen he shall liue by me, in the 57. vers. this therefore is the greatest parte, of this seale vvhere­vvith God the Father hath sealed Christ the man: to vvit that he hath stamped the flesh of Christ vvith the Diety it selfe, and so consequent­ly vvith life it selfe: it is no vvonder therefore, that this flesh, and this blood do giue life to those, that eate and drinke it, seeing it is the flesh. and blood of God himselfe, therfore it is said in the 20. of Acts. vers. 28. [Page 66] that God hath purchased his church by his owne blood: no man therefore that is not a most vvretched infidell can deny, that this flesh and blood of Christ, is able to giue eternall life to him that doth receaue it, and this point is carefully to be marked of vs, because the Apostle in the 1. Corint. the 11. chapt. shevving the reason why the Corinths in eating the Lords supper, did eate vnvvorthily, yea did eate iudgment vnto themselues, doth plainely shevv vs that it consisted in this, that they did not discerne the Lords body, vers. the 29. for the ban­quet of the Lords supper, is not a bāquet of the flesh of a meere man: but it is of the flesh and blood, of the euerlasting King, and Lord, of heauen and earth, euen of the eter­nall God himselfe, and therefore no maruell, that all those, vvho eating [Page 67] it, & not discerning it so, are counted guiltie of the body and blood of the Lord. VVee see then, vvhat com­fort vvee haue in the consideration of this point, to vvit, that God the Father hath sealed Christ the man, to be the bread of eternall life, to all that eate his flesh, giuing vs full assurance heere by in all the testimo­nies, vvhich he hath giuen of him, and all the vvorks vvhich hee hath vvrought by him, and all that hee hath effected in his humanity, and in that he hath made his humanity, the euerlasting tabernacle of the God­head, that novv vvee need no more doubte, but that hee it is, vvho not only is vvilling, but also able to giue vs that food, that endures to eternall life. therfore let vs come with bould­nes, and chearefullnes, and labour to [Page 68] be pertakers of this flesh and blood of the Sonne of God, vvhich if vve receaue as vve ought, vve may be sure our soules shall neuer perish.


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