PROPOSITIONS CONTAINING AN­SWERS TO CERTAINE demaunds in divers spirituall mat­ters, specially concerning the Consci­ence oppressed with the griefe of sinne.

WITH AN EPISTLE AGAINST hardnes of heart, made by that woor­thie Preacher of the Gospell of Christ, M. R. GREENHAM Pastor of Drayton.

MATTH. 11. 28.
Come vnto mee all ye that labour and are loaded, and I will ease you, &c.

EDINBVRGH PRINTED BY ROBERT Waldegraue Printer to the Kings Majestie. ANNO 1597.

Cum Privilegio Regio.

CERTAINE DEMAVNDS answered by M. GREENHAM a learned man.

1 IT is harder to be­leeue in the abun­dance of worldly meanes, than it is in the wante of them; for they as it were are vailes set betwixt God and vs, they stay our sight in them that it cannot pearce to God.

2 Heathen men were humbled by their dreames, wee are not humbled by the worde: they that will not profite by Gods judgments in other, shal feel them­selues: we haue no claime to Gods mer­cie offered in the Gospell, vntill wee be humbled by his threatning in the Lawe.

3 If wee go on still in sinne, God will go on still in judgment: but if our hearts [Page] relent from sinne, God will release his sentence of punishment.

4 As the Gospell first began by simple Fisher-men to bee preached, but after­ward being received in loue, grewe to the other more learned sorte: so, for not receiving the worde in loue, but hauing our eares tickling to newe doctrine, he­resies and sects beginning now amongst vs but in the simpler sort, and ignorant men of the cuntrie, are like to invade the best learned. And God purposing to pu­nish the coldnes of our age, can aswell now send an hereticall spirite, not onelie into the common people, but into 400. learned Preachers, as he did in times past send a lying spirit into 400. Prophets.

5 If we think wee may speak, wee will speak toe soone: if we may keep silence, wee will hold our peace toe long, when we much loue the persons to whome we speake, wee flack our zeale in rebuking of sinne: if we be zealous against sinne, we flack our loue to the person.

6 As in marriage, though the parties met in the flesh without any sanctified [Page] means, to assure themselues to be joyned of the Lord: yet if God afterwarde giue them grace to liue holilie in their mee­tings, he sheweth not only that their cor­rupt meeting is pardoned, but that nowe their meeting is blessed. So, if entring in­to a calling for want of guifts and affecti­ons, we haue no assurance at the first of a warrantable calling: yet if GOD after­wards furnish vs with able gifts, and san­ctifie vs with pure mindes, hee doth not onely shewe vs that our former sinne is pardoned, but also that he is well pleased with this calling wherevnto he hath bles­sed vs.

7 Sathan vnder the colour of repen­tance, bringeth many into an extreame sadnes, and stricktnes in vsing the crea­tures of God: againe, vnder pretence of Christian libertie, and delivering of men from extreme griefes, hee allureth them to an vnmoderate and an vnsanctified mirth and intemperate vse of the crea­tures of God: so blinding judgment, hee after corrupteth affection.

8 The best art of memorie, is to bee [Page] humbled at Gods threatning, and com­forted at his promises: for sure it is, that exceeding griefes or exceeding joyes, leaue great impressions in vs.

9 The best art of Logick is to reason E converso, out of that saying of PAVL. There is no Temptation hath overtaken you, but it hath overtaken others. And to say thus, There hath no temptation overta­ken others, but the same may overtake vs: This will teach vs to speak charitablie and profitably of other mens infirmities.

10 We may not go to see vngodlines to breed a greater detestation of it in vs: for first, in respect of our selues, for presu­ming o [...] a thing not warranted, it is the just judgment of God, that wee should learne to fall into that sinne whereof be­fore we were ignorant. Secondly, in re­spect of our brethren it is vnlawfull: for if they be strong, we offend them; if they be weake, we mis-lead them. Thirdly, in regard of Gods glorie, it is vnlawfull; for such should be our zeale therevnto, if not having hereticall spirits, by the moti­ons of Gods spirit to speak against it, yet [Page] that we should not once see such a thing.

11 As natural men vse Gods creatures to stirre vp a naturall comfort, so spiritual men should vse them to stir vp some spi­ritual comfort, and to stir vp godly joyes in themselues: for as Sathan seeing men of a sanguine complexion and sanctified, laboureth to mix with their spirituall joy a carnall joy: so seeing some of a malan­cholick complexion sanctified, to haue spirituall sorrowes, hee striveth to bring vpon them carnall sorrowes.

12 If you desire to heare the worde with profit, obserue these things; before you go to the Church humble your selfe in praier to God, that hee may prepare your vnderstanding, affection, and me­morie, to receiue; and that the Preacher may speake to your conscience.

13 After in hearing with some short praier, apply the severall thretnings, pro­mises, and instructions, to your owne e­state: when you are come home from hearing, change all that you remember into a praier, and desire God that you may remember it most, when you shuld [Page] practise it, and vse to teach others, and to conferre of all things remembred: It is a good thing, to remember a thing dili­gently and the reason of it.

14 Let vs not complaine of the want of Discipline, but be thankful for the dis­cipline we haue: it is the Lords wil, even in this want of Discipline to advance his owne glory, in taking that to himselfe, which otherwise we would attribute to Discipline: for besides that, he doth that by his word and praier, which may bee done by Discipline: it may be discipline wold hide many hypocrites which now are discovered, and cover many christian true hearts which now are knowne: for they that are godly nowe are godly of a conscience, being a discipline to them­selues; but many may seeme godly in dis­cipline, which doe it of feare and not of loue.

15 No trouble shoulde hinder vs in our calling, vnlesse it be in cace of meare vngodlines: for if for every troble or for many troubles a man may forsake his cal­ling, he should be out of any calling, for­asmuch [Page] as every calling hath his lettes and troubles.

16 Though all exercises of pure Reli­gion purelie vsed, doe strengthen judg­ment and whet vp affection, yet reading hearing, and conferring, do most streng­then judgment, and in part whet on affe­ction: But praying, singing, and medita­tion do most chiefly whet vp affection, but in part strengthen judgment and vn­derstanding.

17 As a loving husband will not take away his loue from his wife for some par­ticular wants, so long as shee keepeth her loue wholly and truly vnto him: So the Lord will not cast off his loving kindnes to vs for speciall wants, or frailtie in parti­cular commandements, so long as we ge­nerally labour to please him.

18 One being curteouslie saluted, and worthelie commended of a Gentle­woman, who said, she heard a very good report of him; he answered her, the like haue I heard of you; but God make our after fruites of his spirite more effectuall thā the former; or else we shal not answer [Page] the glory of God, and good opinion of his Saintes conceiued of vs.

19 The wicked that dare not boldly professe iniquitie, redeeme times secret­lie to commit it, so though we haue not the strength to professe Religion publict­lie, yet let vs redeeme times secretly to frequent the exercises of Religion.

20 To a Courtier complaining of the occasions of evill, he saide: Though you haue occasions of sinne offered, yet the cause of sinne is still in your selfe.

21 Sometimes in a good action, vsing good meanes with an vpright heart to a lawfull end, yet our prayers be vnfrute­full and our labours want successe: then let vs remember, that in all these there were secret imperfections, and that the Lords deferring is, that wee being better prepared by humilitie to be thankfull, he may grant our requests in richer manner and measure.

22 Where there is an immoderate care of outward things, there common­lie is little care of inwarde good things; for if one haue inward good things, they [Page] so content the persons that haue them, that they labour not much for outwarde things: if they want them & desire them, the carefull seeking of them, bringeth a godlie neglect of outward things.

23 Ministers shoulde most frequent those places, where God hath made their ministerie most frutefull: they shoulde heerein be like the covetous man, that where they haue once found the sweet­nesse of gaining of soules, thither they should be most desirous to resort.

24 Let their advice be a generall prae­scription of Phisick: First, the parties af­flicted, are to labor to haue peace of their consciences, and joy of the holy Ghost, through the assurance of their sinnes par­doned in Christ; then carefull must they be to vse the meanes, which may nourish their inward peace & joy: Thirdly, they must rejoice and recreate themselues in wisdome and well doing with the Saints of God, and holy company; and lastly, they must refresh themselues with Kit­chin phisick, and a thankfull vsing of the creatures of God.

[Page] 25 When one saide to him after long conference and praier; Sir, I haue troub­led you, oh my brother: Not so, said he, I never felt it by well doing, and if I may pleasure you, it is as joyfull to me as ever it was to you to receiue money; for, for this cause I liue.

26 His loue ever grewe to a man, as he knewe the man to growe in godlines, & his loue decayed as the graces of God decayed: first he was greeved, and then his loue was flacked.

27 Vnto one that was tempted with much vnbeliefe, hee gaue this counsell; When the temptation commeth, either fall downe in praier, and say, Lord thou makest mee to possesse the sinnes of my youth, and this temptation is very equi­tie; howbeit, oh Lord, graunt I may by wisdome herein, make this temptation an holy instruction, and suffer me to pos­sesse my soule in patience: oh turne this to thy glory and my salvation: I see and confesse what hath beene in mee a long time, by that which now sheweth itselfe in me, and that thy grace hath altogether [Page] hitherto kept vnder this corruption: yet Lord I beleeue, Lord yet I will beleeue, helpe Lord my vnbeleefe, thy name bee praised, for this seale of thy loue, and pledge of thy spirit; that in this vnbeliefe I am grieved as in my beliefe I am wont to be comforted, and though my former ould and secrete sinnes, deserue that I should not onely be given over to infi­delitie, but also that it should be in mee without griefe & remorse, yet Lord for­giue my sinnes newe and ould, forgiue my vnthankfulnes, Lorde increase my faith, and grant good Father, when thou shalt restore to mee this guift of grace a­gaine, that I may vse it in feare; and shew it by fruites. Or if this doe not prevaile, giue your selfe with all humblenes to reade the worde of God, especially, his promises, and bee still attending vpon the meanes, wayting when the Lord shall inlarge your heart. Or if this do not help, go to some faithfull brother, confesse yourselfe to him, acknowledge your weaknes to him, & be not ashamed to giue God the glory by shaming your [Page] selfe, and opening your corruption to him, that so hee may pray for you, whose praier according to the promise of God, made to his holy ordinance, herein Iames 5. vndoubtedly shall be heard in the ap­pointed time: Thus having prayed by yourselfe, and with another, and vsed the meanes of reading for your recove­rie, though you haue not present reliefe, yet in meeknes of mind and patience of your spirite, go to your calling, knowing that your praiers and the word of God, being as seede, must haue some time be­tweene the sowing of them, and the rea­ping of the increase and fruite of them. Aboue all: reason not with your temp­tations, dispute not with the Devill, as though you could prevaile of yourselfe, and as I would not you shoulde dispute with your temptation, so I woulde not you shoulde despise it and make no ac­count of it; for in both are extremities. If you take it toe much to heart, or mar­uell howe you should overcome such a temptation, it will make you dull or de­sperate: If you account of it toe little, and [Page] maruell howe such things should come into your head, which was not woont to be so, it will make you not to striue, and you shall be swallowed vp before you be aware: If you account of it toe fearfully, Sathan will oppresse you before you be­ginne to fight; If you account of it toe lightlie, the devill needes not to wrestle with you, you wil overcome yourselfe? Fight boldly in Christ, tremble at your owne corruption; but rest and trust in Christ your salvation: If stil you ar temp­ted, and no bodye by you, write your temptation, and offer it to God by pray­er, and promise to him, that you will ask counsell at his word, at the mouth of his Minister, when he shall giue you just oc­casion: If all this help not, comfort your selfe with this pledge of Election, that you are joyed when you feele your be­leefe, and you are grieved, lest you shuld displease God by your vnbeleefe; and knowe, that as there is a vicissitude of the meanes of salvation, which you must vse; so there is also a vicissitude of temptations, whereof this is one, against [Page] which you must striue.

28 Vnto one that was tempted with worldly shame, and thought the distem­perature of his mind proceeded thereof, hee saide on this sorte; first knowe, that Sathan hath no absolute power, but a power by permission to trye vs, against which, we must arme our selues by faith, which will assure vs, that either the Lord will mitigate our temptation if our pow­er and patience be not great; or else, if he enlarge the tryall, hee will increase our strength according to the portion of our temptation; wee must also pray, that the Lord giue not out that measure of leaue to the devill, which we giue out to sinne to work rebellion in vs against his maje­stie; but that hee would rather make Sa­than a Surgeon to shewe vs our sinnes, than Sergeant to confound vs for them. It is the pollicie of the adversarie, to per­swade many, that the weaknes of their bodie, and feeblenes of their braine pro­ceedeth of their temptations, when in­deed it commeth of their vnstaid minds, wandering toe much after the motions [Page] of the devill, in that they not resting on the word, nor depending on Christ, nor contenting themselues to be tryed, nor comforting themselues by meditation, attend toe much, and conferre with the devils illusions and temptations, being more greved for their present sufferings, than for their sinnes past. The roote of this wordly shame, is pride and haughti­nes of minde, which is a privie evill, and hardly will be beaten into the heade of them that are infected with it; but sure it is, that we would neuer be so grieved for the losse of a thing, if wee did not toe much desire it, and toe immoderatlie vse it, whilst wee had it. Iohn 12. 42. Which sinne of haughtines, the Lord seeing in his children, that they are more humb­led, with the losse of worldly credit, than with the sence of their sinnes, and losse of his glory; hee striketh them with the wante of that thing which is most preti­ous vnto them, because they made no conscience of that honour which is most precious vnto him: wherefore this is the best remedie, rather to be greved that we [Page] feele not our sinnes to be pardoned with God, than that we are knowne to be sin­ners amongst men, and that we be readie to shame our selues that God may haue the glory; acknowledging, shame, and confusion, and the whole hell of tempta­tions to be due vnto vs; and glory, praise and compassion, to be the Lords: for this is a speciall mark of the child of God by temptations rightly humbled, when hee is ready to shame himselfe for his sinne, and to glorifie God in his mercie.

29 Vnto one that thought himselfe to haue sinned against the holy Ghost, he said, Sathans temptations followe our affections: for if wee lightly account of sinne, hee bleres our eies still with Gods mercies; if we beginne to make a consci­ence of sin, hee loadeth vs with the judg­ments of God, being as ready now to ag­gravate the sin, more than it is in it selfe, as before he would extenuate it to make it seeme lesse than it was; howbeit, saide he to the man thus afflicted. I wil say vn­to you as Samuel said to the people after they had confessed themselues to haue [Page] sinned against God with a great sinne. True it is said Samuel, not flattering them in their iniquities; Ye haue sinned great­lie: notwithstanding, if ye will feare the Lord, and serue him, and heare his voice, and not disobey the worde of the Lord, ye shall followe the Lord your God; but if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but disobey the Lords mouth, then shall the hand of the Lord be vppon you. 1. Sam. 12. 14. So I will not lessen your sin, but I say you haue sinned with a greate sinne before the Lord, in that you made a mock of the worde which you knewe; yet if you turne to the Lord in feare and serue him, your sinne is remissable, howsoever Sathan charges your conscience, in that you haue done evill against your owne knowledge, and in that you are af­fraide lest that sinne be in you, and wold rejoyce in God, if it were not in you: If you purpose to leaue your former sinns, and in trueth to turne vnto the Lord; I dare assure you, that as yet you are free from that sinne.

30 When a gentlewoman asked him [Page] if hee were not sometimes merrie: Yes saith he, wee are often merry, and some­times we are afraide of our mirth.

31 When we distrust of Gods pro­mises, let vs set before vs the example of his mercie done to others; that wee may be the more assured to obtaine faith; and when we begin to presume, let vs set be­fore vs the examples of Gods judgmēts, that we may pray for humilitie.

32 Being desired to giue his judge­ment of a waightie matter, he answered: Sir, neither am I able to speak, nor you to heare; for that wee haue not praied: in­deed I may talk and you answer, as natu­rall men; but wee are not now prepared to conferre as the children of God.

33 Wee may thus trie our mourning for the sinne of others: First this sorrowe for sinne must be bred for our own sins, and from our selues proceede to the sins of others. Secondly, the measure of our mourning must be agreable and propor­tionable to the sinnes. Lastly, our griefe must to be for the person, that we be mo­ued, rather to pittie and praye for him, [Page] than to hate or despise him.

34 Vnto one that with many words disabled himselfe; hee saide meekly: oh, why doe you seeke so much your owne praise; for by this, ye bewraie the privie corruption of nature, that by toe open a dispraise, desireth toe privie praise.

35 It is not good to vse that for a dy­et, which is prescribed for Phisick; for that will not work in the extraordinarie neede of the body, which is vsed in the ordinarie cause of health.

36 Seeing a godly man having his sonne in his armes, whome hee loued tenderlie; he said to him, Sir, there is the matter of your rejoycing, God make it the matter of your thanks-giving.

37 After one had asked his advise for sitting, or kneeling at the Lords Table; he said, as for such things, let vs doe asmuch as wee can for the peace of the Church; lest wee make the remedie of the evill, worse than the evill it selfe.

38 To one that said he was possessed of a devill; he answered, as hoping that he was the child of God, and rather delu­ded [Page] than afflicted: True it is, that in as­much as lieth in you, you haue given your selfe over to the devill: but it is not in your power, to giue over your selfe to him; neither is it in his jurisdiction to possesse you.

39 Hee rebuked publicklie a publick offence of a private man in this manner. My brethren, such a sinne hath passed from this place, the guiltles neede not to be offended, the person guiltie is to re­pent of it.

40 Because God worketh the sence of sinne by degrees in his children, hee suspected them, who at every sinne na­med, would shew themselues forthwith troubled.

41 Many having escaped out of the gulfe of superstitions, are toe deep plun­ged in prophanesse.

42 Being asked howe a man might reprehend, he answered: First, looke that you haue a ground out of the worde for reproving, then look if it stand with your calling to reproue; afterward consider if some other man may doe it more profi­tably [Page] than you; then look before whome you reproue, lest yee hinder the credit of the partie with his friends, and increase his discredit with his foes: and againe, if by all occasions of calling, person, tyme, and place, the Lord hath put you in this place to rebuke sinne; consider you must put on you the person of the offender, that as you spare not his sinne, because of the zeale of Gods glory, so you presse it not toe farre, because of compassion to a brother: then look that with these, your heart be right in zeal and loue, and so call for Gods assistance, before you speak his grace in speaking, and for his blessing af­ter your speaking, if any thing be left out that might haue beene profitable: please not your selfe in it, but be humbled for it, though some infirmities be in you: yet shall they not do so much hurt, as Gods ordinance shall do good.

43 Because great natural and world­lie sorrowe and joye, will cause a man to break his sleep at midnight: he wold trie himself, whether sorrow for sin, and joy in salvatiō had caused him to do the like.

[Page] 44 He rejoyced to see his friends, but hee was humbled in that hee rested so much in that joye, that he forget to doe the good to their salvation, or to receiue good from them to his salvation, which he thought he should do.

45 One asking what hee thought of Fayries: hee answered, he thought they were spirits; but hee distinguished be­tweene them and other spirites, as com­monly men distinguish betweene good witches and bad witches.

46 His greatest sorrowe was, when either he spake of some good thing that was not on himselfe, and the greatest joy he had was in the contrarie.

47 He vsed this tryal in his affections, as of anger, griefe, joy, or such like in this manner; if by them he was made lesse fit to pray, more vnable to do the good hee should doe, lesse carefull to avoid sinne, then he thought it carnall and filthie, and not of God: but when his anger, loue, grief, and other affections provoked him more to praye, made him fitter to doe good, than he thought his affections sent [Page] to him, to be as the blessing of God.

48 He said, whensoever he suspected and feared any evill to come vppon ano­ther, he ever had a desire to be delivered and deceived of his opinion, and that he would be glad to beare the shame of his priuy jealousie, so as the person suspected might turne to God.

49 He thought all afflictions, to bee puttings of him to God frō slothfulnes.

50 Vnto one afflicted in minde, hee gaue this comfort: First, if you haue knowledge, be thankfull for it, and desire the Lord to giue you faith: if you haue faith, which vndoubtedly you may haue though not rightly discerning your self, you presently perceiue it not: you must waite on the Lord for feeling of it; and though it may be you shall tarrie the Lords leasure long, yet surely hee will giue it you in time: in the meane time, assure your selfe, that the greatest faith is when there is least feeling; because it is easie for every one in glorious feelings, and joyes vnspeakable to beleeue: but when a man feeling no sensible comfort [Page] in the Lord, can notwithstanding be­leeue in the Lord, and by faith waite on him, this mans faith is most great.

51 To one that asked his advise, whe­ther he might avoid the doing of a thing whereunto he was called, because he felt corruption in himselfe: he said, In avoy­ding societie, you shal cover but not cure your infirmities; and though you depart from men, yet you cannot goe out of your selfe.

52 He gaue this advise to one, against the deadnes of the mind that overtaketh the godly: First, search the cause, whe­ther it be for some evil thing done, or for some good thing not done, so leaving some meanes of salvation vnvsed; whe­ther for some sinne seene, but not repen­ted of; or some sinne repented of, but not soundly, or for vnthankfulnes: Second­lie, vse the remedie, please not your selfe in it, but rouse vppe your selfe as from a slumber, which willingly you woulde shake from you: call to minde the speci­all and greatest mercie of God, vse the meanes. Thirdly, in the meanes offer thy [Page] selfe to God, waiting, humbly, and pati­ently for the time of deliverance, neither esteeming toe much or toe little of thy afflictions.

53 He said to one that for want of fee­ling was loath to pray; you must not tar­rie to pray vntill you find feeling, but of­fer your selfe vp into the handes of Iesus Christ; and so humbling your selfe be­fore him, pray on; and continue in a prai­er of faith, though not of feeling.

54 When one asked him concerning Marriage, whether it were good to mar­rie; seing somtimes when concupiscence prickt him, he was moved to it; and some other times when he felt no such thing, he thought he might abstene from it: he answered, Many came hastely into that calling, not vsing the meanes of trying their estate throughly before; as namely, whether they by prayer, fasting, and a­voiding all provocations of Concupi­scence, haue the guift of Chastitie or not Many vse some of the means, but not [...] many vse all the meanes, but a [...] therefore it is good to vse first the mean [...] [Page] not part of them, but all of them; not for a while, but long; and attend vppon the Lords ordinance, if so be that all these things will not prevaile, waite when the Lord shall giue just occasion of vsing that estate to his glorie and for our com­forte.

55 He said, the best way to haue com­fort in any of our friends, was to pray for them: and that he never had more joy in any, than in them for whome hee most praied; and in them most, when he pray­ed the ofter and vehementliar for them whome we loue, whether present or ab­sent: for this is a token of true loue, to pray for them whome we loue.

56 To one that complained of hard­nes of heart, he saide; you must waite for comfort, and know, that you can now no more judge of your selfe, than a man slee­ping can judge of things which hee did waking: or a man wandering in the dark, canne discerne of bright colours; who though environed with freshe colours, and yet for want of light, can haue no vse of his eies, nor pleasure in the objects; so [Page] you haue done great good things whilst God gaue you a waking hearte to put them in practise, and the light of his spi­rit, to discerne his graces in you: though nowe, you haue neither the sight nor sence of them: even as he which sleepeth whilst hee waked, might doe excellent things, and yet now, neither he himselfe knoweth of them, nor another can di­scerne them in him: and this is the thing that deceiveth and disquieteth many; they look for that remisse in them, which they had when Gods spirite wrought in the sweetest and fullest measure in them: and beeause there is some intermission of the worke of newe birth, they think it is a flat amission in them of the spirit of God; but as it is a tokē of a mind toe presump­tuous, and insituated in time of dead se­curitie, to perswade our selues stil of that saftie, in having those graces which some times wee had: so it is a signe of a minde abject, and toe much dispairing; to think that because wee haue not even present feelings of these joyes, glorious and vn­speakable which we haue had; therefore [Page] we never had them heretofore, or that we shal never haue them again hereafter.

57 Vnto one that was willing to change his seate, for the corruption of the place where he dwelt; he said, where­soever he purposed to liue as a Christian, the crosse of Christ would followe him: because on the earth are some good men, and some evill; but when wee come to Heaven, all would be good; and there­fore there should be no trouble.

58 He said, although hee was subject to many and grevous reproches, yet two things did ever comfort him; the one, that his heart was well, and not evill affe­cted to any man: secondlie, that going a­lone, he could humble himselfe and wil­lingly praye to God, that the authors of such reproches might bee forgiven to him.

59 He said to a godly Christian, much invaying against her vnbeleefe; I do not now suspect your estate, when you seem to me rather to haue faith, than when you seeme to your selfe to haue it; for faith being the gift of God, is then most [Page] obtained and increased of God, when you thirsting after the increase of present feelings, are humbled vnder the mightie and mercifull hand of God for it; rather I suspect you, when you say you haue faith, because then you can least feare and suspect your selfe, and by that means lie open to vnbeleefe againe, and surely ex­perience proveth, that then we shew we haue beliefe, when wee mourne for our vnbeliefe, & then our faith may be least, when wee thinke it to be most: besides herein you are to comfort your self, with shewe of increase of faith; because faith groweth by these two means, either by some great feeling by the word, and the spirit, and humble thanks-giuing joyned therevnto, or else by humbling our selues before the mercy seate of God for want of our faith.

60 Admonishing one to prevent hard­nes of heart in his childe, by godly and discreet correction: he said, that because children haue often the sins of their fa­thers: Parents correcting, should in wis­dome first considder, if it were not a [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] sinne which they gaue them, as it were, which nowe they are aboute to cor­rect, and finding it so, that they should bee humbled in themselues; and be­ing humbled, proceede to correction, in praier, in the fear of God, in wisdome, in loue, of their conversion, & with that measure, as correcting their owne sinnes, after a sorte in their owne children: so men begetting their children with rege­neration, giue a naturall propagation of their sinnes, without some speciall bles­sing of God: and none in regeneration begetteth any with such guifts of nature; but vnlesse they become new born, they haue no good thing in them.

61 Hee was woont rather to winne men, with a loving admonition, than to goare them with a sharpe reprehension; that hee might easilie worke vpon them afterward.

62 When one was troubled in minde hee gaue this comfortable note: that al­though it came to passe, that after some travell in newe birth, Gods graces were not so sweet, and our sinnes not so sowre [Page] & grievous vnto vs, as they were to our first entrance into regeneration: but we are nowe weaker in lesse assaults, having afore beene stronger in greater temptati­ons: we were not to dispaire, but to con­sidder, from whence this gratious pro­gresse did come; namely, of God, and not of our selues; who shewed himselfe more favourable in the beginning, both because hee woulde not discourage vs, newlie comming vnto him, and for that we forsaking our selues, with a godly su­specting of our weaknes in the least temptations, did flie vnto Gods help by pray­er; who in wisdome can hide himselfe vn­der a cloude: partly, for that he will look to see some trial of strength at our hands, comming to some age in new birth; part­lie, for that wee nowe lesse forsake or sus­pect our selues, no not in greater temp­tations; and for presumpteouslie wrest­ling with our owne strength, and staying our selues with our owne staffe, wee do not call to God for help, and not calling, do not obtaine, and not obtaining help, wee take the foile in the conflict, that the [Page] Lord may make knowne vnto vs, that notwithstāding our proceeding in Chri­stianitie, we are still but men, and God a­lone is God.

63 He said, he never looked for a bet­ter estate, than that wherein hee was, but often prepared himselfe for a worse.

64 Some labor more for knowledge, lesse for affection; some more for affecti­on, lesse for knowledge; some busie them selues in Church discipline, and are slen­der sighted in their privie corruptions: some delight to espie things in others a­broad, and negligently to try themselues at home: but it is good to match both to­gether.

65 In the most abrupt and disordered speeches of men; he thought God dispo­sed them for his profit: and though pre­sently reason, could prompt no reason, why they should speak so: yet long after hee woulde; for hee was much affected with the fact of Iosias, who woulde not bee mooved with the speach of wicked Pharaoh, but entring battell was slaine; wherevpon hee woulde say, that no man [Page] was so good, but the Lord would some time let him slip into some evill, for his further humbling: and no man of evill, but the Lord did convay goodnes into him at some time, to make his condemna­tion the juster.

66 He said to one troubled in minde, for a secreet and small sinne: I do not so much feare this sinne in you, as the polli­cie of Sathan by it, either in that hee will not stick to shewe you the lesse sinnes, and hide from you the greater; or else by the quick sight of your secreet and small sins, to cast vpon you an open and grosse sinne of vaine glory and privie pride.

67 Having received a token from a godly woman, which for some inconve­nience he was willed to bestowe it vpon some other, rather than to vse it himselfe; Nay, saith he, I will both keep and weare the thing, thogh in another fashion; that so often as I shall see the guift, I may be stirred vp & put in mind to pray for her.

68 Though he was most severe to his friends and kindred, so long as they were not reconciled to God: yet once being [Page] wearied with one, he shut vp the matter with this sentence; It is woonderfull, that divers hearing the same worde of God spoken, one should beleeue, and an other should not beleeue: but I am ra­ther to thank God that I beleeue, than to search out a reson why another doth not beleeue; and as I am to bee thankfull for my selfe, so am I pitifull for the other.

69 Being in a place, where a woman through extreame affection, forgetting all woman hood, fell downe before him, in so much that they woulde haue had him depart; hee rather turning his face from the woman, and his back to her, fell on his knees, and prayed to the Lord for her.

70 As good natures do not help of ne­cessitie to regeneration, so evill natures cannot hinder Gods purpose in calling, if the meanes with his mercie and bles­sing be purely and painefully vsed.

71 When a maid was so sore troubled, that two or three held her in her fit: hee charged her in the name of the Lord Ie­sus Christ, that when the agonie came, [Page] she should not willinglie yeeld to it, but in the Lord resist it: for both experience teacheth, that the over much fearing of temptation before it commeth, and little purpose to resist it when it commeth, mightilie incourageth Sathan: and also the holy Ghost biddeth vs to resist the devill, and he will flie from vs; to drawe neere to God, and he will draw neere to vs: & the maid was never after afflicted.

72 He would say, I feare not the time of the visitation of them, that thereby do growe in the guifts and graces of God? but rather I feare the time of their deli­verance, lest it should be overtaken with vnthankfulnes; and so woefullie they shoulde loose the fruite of that good, which so dearly they had purchased of the Lord.

73 Being asked whether a Christian might vse the helpe of a Papist that had done many cures: hee answered, that the circumstances were to be considered of: First, whether the patient dealt before with good Christians, of knowledge, judgment, experience, & faithfulnes, or [Page] no? Secondly, whether asking the advise of such, he hath followed the same right­fullie. Thirdlye, whether having vsed right counsell by right meanes, hee hath therefore vsed spirituall meanes, prayer, fasting, searching the inward causes of vi­sitation. Fourthly, whether there be not some faithfull and experienced man, whome hee hath vsed in advise. Fiftlie, whether the disease be so dangerous, or the partie so weake, as asking counsell of a Papist may not bee deferred, and some better meanes in time bee enquired for. Sixtly, whether he hath not his heart toe greedilie set on the Phisition, or whether hee doth principally seeke vnto the pro­mises and providence of God. Seventh­lie, whether the Papist bee an open blas­phemer, and whether hee be a Papist of conscience or no? Eightly, whether hee vse not his phisick for a cloak of sorcerie? Ninthly, whether he hath ever healed a­ny good professor? And lastly, whether the patient be of strength, able to suffer him to minister vnto him?

74 Sin in such a canker, that it spredeth [Page] secretly, and there is such a chaine of vn­trueth that yeelds to one, and it draweth on another; grant a little one, and a great one wil followe: wherefore as it is good wisdome, not only to avoide the plague, but to eschue every litle ragge that may seeme to carry the plague; so it is heaven­lie wisdome, not onely to avoide grosse sinnes, but all such shewes of sins, as may drawe on the other: and as wee count it pollicie, not to go as neer the rivers bank as wee can, lest suddenly or at vnawares wee should slip in; so it is spirituall polli­cie, not to go toe neere sinne, lest wee be overtaken of it before wee bee aware of it.

75 It is good to take vp the oppor­tunitie of the morning for the worship of God: for first, who so will see the I­mage of his heart, hee shall by obser­ving his first thoughts in the morning come to some light of it: Againe, of all times it is most fit to doe any thing in, and wee by reason of the alacritie which commeth vpon vs after our rest, are most fitte to doe any thing in it: Be­sides, [Page] if we be seriously minded on good things in the morning, other vile thoghts shall the more feeblie fasten on vs all the day after: and again, delay the morning, with suffering worldly thoghts to seaze on vs; our minde will be so forestalled, and praeoccupated with them, that wee cannot easilie and roundly gather vp our affections afterwards to Gods worship: for this is a sure note, that he which con­secrateth the first fruites of the daye in trueth to the Lord, and shutteth vp the day with sacrificing to him; if he haue a­ny sinne falling on him on the day time, hee is checked, either with his first mor­ning sacrifice, because hee hath not done as he prayed, & promised vnto the Lord; or hee is controulled by the latter and E­uening sacrifice, in that feare and shame of his sinne makes him appalled to come in the presence of God.

76 As wee are carefully to vse the means of our salvation, so must we whol­lie referre the blessing of the meanes to the grace of God: neither as some doe thinke, that wee can obtaine or continue [Page] the graces of God in vs without vsing of the meanes: for that is but a dreame of fantasticall spirits? neither as the manner of some is, so to trust to the means, as neg­lecting to praye for the grace of God in them; which is but a praeposterous zeale of such as are not rightly instructed in the way of their salvation.

77 It is a most certaine thing in Gods Children, that the more their afflictions growe, the more their faith groweth: the more Sathan striveth to draw them from God, the more they draw neere to God; although indeed in feeling, they cannot see so much.

78 It is a profitable note to obserue, when extraordinary gifts of God be for our good, and when for our hurt. If our extraordinary blessinges driue vs more carefully to seek to the ordinary meanes, then it is of Gods mercie: but if they slacken our care in the ordinarie meanes, and puffing vs vp with a spirituall pride, cause vs to rest in them; then they are for our farther condemnation: as if God blesse vs marvelouslie without praier in [Page] any thing, if we are driven more to prai­er by it, this is of God: if it cause vs to leaue prayer, it is perrelous.

79 As the Lord doeth feede poore prisoners, euen with a little foode, who though they desire more food, can haue no more; and doe not refuse more ordi­narie meanes: and the same God suffe­reth many to bee pyned, who having a­boundance, think themselues rather clo­thed with the meanes, than nourished be Gods providence. So the Lord extraor­dinarilie doth nourish the souls of them, who having fewe meanes, doe looke for the ordinary meanes more plentifullie: and suffereth some to rot in ignorance, who beeing at the full measure of the meanes, haue no reverent regard of the necessitie of thē: and hereof it commeth to passe, that some hungrie soules haue beene filled with more grace at one Ser­mon, than the proud, who having heard many sermons, are sent emptie away.

80 Of all sacrifices, most acceptable is that of thanks-giving; and therefore, in many wordes the Saintes of God haue [Page] vowed, and entred into bandes with the Lord to paye this oblation; both to pre­vent the vntowardnes of nature which is so vnwilling of this, as also to shame themselues more, if happely they growe herein negligent; in which repetition of their vowes and promises, which argu­eth their great desire of their hearts (for, looke what one delighteth in, hee often speaketh of it, and in many wordes) they declare, that as even in things agreable to nature, wee will helpe our delight by of­ten speaking and repeating of them; so much more this help is requisit in things aboue nature, and among all the partes of godlines which are aboue nature; and chiefly in thankes-giving; which is more contrarie to nature: for we will pray oft for a thing, but hardlie giue thanks once, & yet experience proveth in civil things, that of all arguments to perswade one to giue vs a guift, none is more eloquent or forcible, than to promise our selues to be thankfull and mindefull of that wee shall receiue.

81 The cause why our meditations & [Page] praiers are no stronger in the night, is be­cause we joyne not with meditation, the examination of our heartes vppon our beddes, which if wee did in some trueth, it would keepe vs from drowsines, and want of reverence in our praiers; aswell as worldly men ar kept waking, by think­ing on worldly matters: heere wee are taught by Davids example, when wee wante the more solemne and glorious meanes in dignitie, to make a supply by often and sinceere vsing of such private meanes as we can.

82 It is very hurtfull, that abuses haue so long time beene declaymed, and the true vses of things so slenderly vrged: for though holy dayes haue justly beene spoken against, yet the reverent vse of the Sabboth hath beene little defended; though superstitious fasts haue beene de­faced, yet true fasting is not imbraced: though the carnall presence of Christ hath beene confuted, yet the reall and true presence of Christ hath not beene established: though popish discipline hath beene misliked, yet who so maintai­neth [Page] true Discipline, is thought to bee a Pope in his owne parish: though popish confession hath rightly beene banished, yet christian confession is neither known nor acknowledged.

83 Though we finde not the spiritu­all joye which we should feele, yet let vs not be toe much cast downe; so that our conscience tell vs, that wee are ready to withdrawe somewhat from our outward pleasures, for want of this inward plea­sure; and that we haue not prevented or smothered out these spirituall joyes, but are grieved that wee haue them not, and waite for the time to feele them: for of al things, we must beware, that we draw not into their stead carnall joyes, and so driue as it were exile the working of Gods spirit in vs by them.

84 As it argueth great height and wil­lingnes to sinne, when men fearing to sin in the day, redeeme, & steale time to sin in the night: so it sheweth a great height and willingnes to godlines, when men beeing not sufficiently contented to doe good in the day, stretch their well doing [Page] even to the night also; wherin they shew themselues to be free from vaine glorie; that none seeing them, yet they do good for loue of God, and not for outwarde things.

85 As by nature we are long and hard to be brought to bee grieved; so being once downe, wee are hard to get vp, and to rise out of our griefe againe: for two extremities attend vppon vs, the one to bee grieved and feared toe little; the o­ther, to be grieved and feared toe much: the one makes vs secure, and the other dead and dull. To meet with these two, it is good in time of joye to thinke what judgments haue befallen vs heretofore, what may befall vs hereafter. In time of humbling, we are to consider what mer­cies we haue received, and what mercies are stored vppe, and tarry for vs againe: and surelie, no one thing makes griefe more to waste vs, than the forgetfulnes of Gods mercies past, and the careful­nesse of them that are to come: though mercies succeede mercies, yet the sea of Gods mercies is never drawne drie, if [Page] we claime hould of them by our former experience.

86 Two things especially may war­rant both the speakers and the hearers of their doctrine, if their calling be good and godly; if the generall course of their doctrine be sound and pure. Iere. 17.

87 If the health of body bee such a thing, as is rather with comfort enjoyed, than in words to be expressed; how great is the peace of Conscience and joye of the holy Ghost, which may bee tasted, but cannot be vttered.

88 Because wee will not obserue one another which is godlie Discipline; o­thers shall obserue vs, even the wicked, which is a neere discipline.

89 There be some which haue peace neither with God nor with themselues, as desperate heretiks: some haue peace with themselues, but not with God, as se­cure sinners: some haue peace both with God and with themselues, as repentant Christians.

90 As in prosperitie nothing is a grea­ter token of Gods favour than to feare [Page] our selues, so in adversitie there is a plea­sant pledge of our conscience, when we wait & attend on the Lord for the time, the manner and the measure of our deli­uerance: There be foure properties of this waiting: The first, to waite in our soules. Many will not outwardly mur­mure, and yet inwardly they boyle and fret: but where is quietnes of heart, there can be no great disquietnes in the toung or in the hand. The second, is to waite on the word; for some will waite, but it is to obtaine something the sooner, not to shew their faith and obedience to the word. The third, is to continue in it; if we had a definitiue determination, how many daies, or moneths, or houres wee shuld waite, the end of our tearme draw­ing neere wold sustaine vs: but it is hard to leaue all moments and conditions to the Lord, and to be in a continuall expe­ctation: but let vs consider howe justlie God may suspend his answer in helping vs; either in that our sinnes are not suffi­ciently bewailed, or our faith not suffici­ently purified, or his grace not sufficient­lie [Page] wrought in vs. The fourth is by vehe­mencie in waiting, to be kept from faul­tring or fainting in hope: to bee vehe­ment in hope for a while is easie, but not to slake the heat of our affections, and not to be remisse and dead in the suite of our desire, though no appearance of delive­rance be seene; this is hard indeed: vehe­mencie argueth faith, and deferring of our desire, doeth not breake our zeale in waiting; it bewraieth want of faith, when without al hope we are greedy, and rave­nous to haue our requests, or else we cast all away.

91 Sathan hath two buffetings, when by example we ar provoked to patience: First, he smelleth of despaire, and telleth vs that true it is; so did such men abide trouble, but they were rare men, of rare faith, of rare feelings, of rare patience; God hath not called vs to that measure of grace; wee are vnworthie, by reason of our sinnes, to hope for the like faith, or the like fruites of faith. This other temp­tation smelleth of pride, when hee will make vs equal in dignity, with the highest [Page] of Gods Saintes, but vnequall in duetie with them; then he perswadeth vs, God is as good to vs, as hee hath beene to o­thers; but he keepeth vs from vsing those meanes whereby they had, and we shuld haue the goodnesse of God convaied vn­to vs: wherefore, as we must not distrust God, that we shall obtaine the like mer­cies with other, if we vse the same means; so wee must not dreame, that wee shall haue the like fruites with them, except wee haue also the like faith with them, though not in quantitie, yet in qua­litie.

92 Many dispaire of helpe, because of their owne vnworthines, as though there were no hope of Gods mercie, vn­lesse we bring in our guift, and pawne in our handes to him; but this were to dis­credite the Lordes mercies, and to bring in credite our merites; and rather to binde the Lord to vs, than vs vnto him: but if our sinnes be great, our redempti­on is greater; though our merits be beg­gerlie, Gods mercie is a riche mercie: If our cace bee not desperate, and wee [Page] past hope of recoverie, our redemption should not bee so plentifull, but when all seemes to go one way; when Heaven and Earth, the Sunne, the Moone, and the Starres goe against vs; then to ran­some vs, and to make a perfect restituti­on, is to drawe something out of no­thing: even as in sicknesse, to haue ei­ther little daunger, or in greate daunger; deliverance by present meanes, is no­thing; but in extreame perrell, when Phisick can doe nothing, and nothing maketh for vs but the Graue, then to bee rescued from the graue, and to re­cover our life from the pitte is Redemp­tion.

93 There is nothing so pretious, as Gods grace; which changeth the face of Heaven and Earth; and nothing so vile as sinne, who openeth hell, and staineth the Earth, and shutteth vp Heaven.

94 There are two working of Gods Spirite in vs: the one inferiour, which bringeth but certaine fruites of the Spi­rite, without any speciall fruite of grace: the other superiour, and more certaine, [Page] when the spirit worketh an infallible san­ctification: the first, may totally be dark­ned and fully quenched: the other hath but particular Eclypse, and in measure may be dimned, as it was in DAVID Psal. 51. But this is not finallie quenched. As God made man so that hee might fall, though afterwards he had mercie vpon him: so he regenerateth vs so, that wee may fall, though afterwards he may raise vs vp againe, and will. And it is fearefull ynough, that there may bee such particu­lar decayes of it in vs, as to feel lesse com­fort in the word, lesse feare of sinne, lesse care of well doing, lesse zeale in praying, lesse fruites in the meanes; so that all our actions are turned to bee bitter, which were sweeter vnto vs than any worldlie increase to the worldlie man, or honie can be to them that loue it: these are evi­dent tokens of the sanctifying spirite, to loue good, because it is good; and to hate sinne, because it is sinne: the more wee growe in guifts, the more to hunger, the more to complaine of our vnworthiness, the more to be humbled in our selues, the [Page] more meeklie to judge of others: when we are most quiet with all things, then to think our selues least quiet, & then most to feare out selues; so to feele the graces of God in vs, and yet our sence and fee­ling of sinne is not lessened, and to feare and quake at the first degrees and moti­ons of sinne; not lest they fully quench, but lest they coole the heate of the spirite in vs.

95 They whose knowledge is in swel­ling wordes, and painted eloquence of humane wisdome, being but a doctrine of the letter, in their death they are as if they knewe nothing of Christ crucified: and whereof comes it, that there is soe much preaching, and so little learning? but because men preach and delight to heare plausible novelties to please the eare, rather than the simple power of the worde to pearce the heart; they take the bone, and refuse the marowe; they are content with the shell, but want the ker­nell; and not onely the Lawe killeth, but even the Gospell also; that is, the letter of the Gospell, being ministred without the [Page] spirite: Aske the wounded conscience, what comfort it is, to hear that Christ di­ed for our sinnes: nay, ask if this gall not as much as the Lawe it selfe, so long as it is rather conceived by reason, than recei­ved by faith.

96 As of all guifts, the guift of Gods spirite is the dearest, so the losse of it is most dangerous: for besides that, wee know how few taste of it, and with what paine they that haue gotten it keepe it; and with what hard brunts they that lose the graces of it recover them againe, wee may conjecture the greatnes of the losse, by our experience in other things: they that haue beene in reputation for their riches, and are become bankrupts, are grieved and ashamed; how much more then should their griefe be, who by the riches of Gods graces haue beene com­fortable to themselues, and honourable amongst others; and now by the decaye of those guifts, haue lost both the sweete peace and joye in themselues, and their credite with God, and in the conscience of the godlie.

[Page] 97 Wee must bee like Children in three things chiefly: First in respect, little babes. Secondly, in regard of innocents. Thirdly, in respect of thē that are grow­ing from child-hood. First, babes are ne­uer quiet, except the pappe bee in their mouth; or else having late beene at it, they are well fedde: so ought wee still to desire to lye at the foode of our soules, and to finde vnquietnes in our soules, if wee be long from it. Secondly, wained children, though they are not without naturall corruption; yet this corruption doeth rather shewe it selfe by imitation, than by action: and if they doe any evill, it is rather violent, than permanent: Thus should wee be: Not making an oc­cupation of sinne, but are occupated of sinne; not forecasting patterns of sin, but bend our minds how we may not sin; we are violently drawne therevnto by ano­ther; rather than voluntarilie commit it our selues. Thirdly, they that grow out of child-hood do things beseming man­hood rather than childishnes: so though babish things both in life & doctrine be­come [Page] vs being babes, yet having passed our child-hood, the Lord looks for more manly ripenes both in knowledg & god­lines of life; thogh our perfect age be not consummated before the resurrection.

98 As litle children, whether in teach­ablenes to good, or reformablenes from sinne, are either woone by afaire worde, or allured by a trifling benefite, or awed by a check, or feared by a frowning look, or stilled by seeing another beaten be­fore them, or else quieted with the rod: So if we be children, either the promises of God must affect vs, or the mercies of God must allure vs, or his threatnings in his word must awe vs, or his angry coun­tenance must feare vs, or his correcting of others must humble vs; or else the cor­rections of God vppon ourselues, must pull vs downe: but as those children are of most liberall and ingenious natures, who are rather allured with faire words, than driven to dutie with the rodde; for they are most gratious, which are most broken with the conscience of their vn­kindnes; more provoked by the promises [Page] of God, than by all the curses, thunde­rings, and threatnings of the Lawe: but they that ar affected with neither dege­nerate yet from the affection of children.

99 As milk moderately yeelded out of the dugge, is naturall milke and good nurishment; but being vnnaturallie pres­sed, it is mixt with corrupt matter, and is vnholesome meat: so a similitude meek­lie handled, giueth forth some doctrine, but being hardly strained, it filleth the re­ceivers, not with naturall milk, but with vnnaturall blood, as many haue abused similitudes, with reverence and fear be it spoken (as a ship mans hose) sucking out poyson in steede of hony.

100 Though it be the good mercy of God, both to mourne at Iohn Baptists dol­full threatnings, and to daunce at Christ Iesus his sweet promising and piping; yet it is better to offer a voluntarie and free sacrifice in respect of Gods mercie, as do the Angels; than a violent and constrai­ned obedience, as do the devils: and this dare I say, that though the fearefull pro­nouncing of the curse, the wrath and the [Page] judegment of God bee fearefull in the Lawe, yet the denouncing of our sepa­ration from Gods kingdom, of the gnaw­ing worme, of the second death, is farre more fearefull in the Gospell; which, by howe much it is the more proper seate, and treasurie of Gods mercies: so when thunderings and lightnings do proceed from thence, they are the more fearefull.

101 To knowe when the vse of the doctrine is general, and when particular; which is set downe in singular examples, (because wee bring our necke out of the yoke, or else tie the mercies of God one­ly to them) three rules ar to be observed: First, if we reade of any thing in particu­lar, wee are to search whether in some other places of the Scriptures, the same thing is not set downe generallie; that is, whether that which is commended, or discommended in some proper per­son, be not commaunded or forbidden to all; if it be, the vse of it is generall, not particular; but if it bee a particular pre­cept joyned to some one, and noe war­rant found in the worde, that it is to bee [Page] done of another; then it is a thing perso­nall, proper to some, not generall, apper­taining to all. The second rule is, that wheresoever there is a generall equitie of a thing, there is a generall practise to bee had; howsoever we see it set downe but in particular. The third is, wheresoever by the scope of the place there appeares a generall drift, either by something go­ing before or comming after, though the present place seemeth to bee particular, yet there is a generall vse of the doctrine to be gathered out of it.

102 Some thinke this is a high point of patience, to exempt themselues from all griefe: others eat vp their hearts with griefe, as the flesh of the body is eaten vp with a corrosiue; and so make themselues dul stones, rather then feeling members: the meane is not to be to quiet, as with­out all griefe; or to bee vnquiet toe much, as being without a GOD. For the firste is marvelous, that Sathan in times past being made knowne, onelie by colours, by a flaming breath, by a hollowe voice, by hornes and clawes, [Page] and such sensible things, was muche more feared, than nowe by the clearer sight of the trueth being described, to be a spirituall and greater adversarie, felt be­fore hee be seene, at hand before wee be aware of him, and bold to set vppon the best, even in their best estate; and yet is lesse feared than before hee was. For the second, it is marvelous hee should be toe much feared, seeing hee hath but a deri­ued power, and therefore a limited pow­er; and therefore a power least to be fea­red. If we feare him toe little, hee makes account of vs without taking any greate paines: if toe much, hee is the prouder and bolder to take some paines about vs.

103 In afflictions we must search the cause, first by ascending to God, then by descending into our selues: first, we must ascend to God, pleading guiltie, craving mercy, and not stand quarelling with the mallice of men, or hatred of the devill a­gainst vs: for as it were no good wisdom for a man condemned to dye, to make a­ny long suite to the Iaylor, or to the Exe­cutioner; (for they be but vnder officers [Page] and can doe nothing) but he must labour to the Iudge, who can either repriue or release him: so it is no good pollicie to stand about Sathan in our temptations, who doth all by constraint and restraint vnder the Lord; but wee must go to the principall, that is God; in whose handes, are both the entrance and the issues of our sufferings. Secondly, we must search our selues, how farre either reason is vn­reformed, or affections vnrenewed; kno­ing that the devil himselfe can never hurt vs, vntill we haue hurt our selues; and in what measure our reason is corrupt, or our affections disordered; and in that measure are wee weak, either to be over­come of men, or of Sathan; and in what measure our reason is sound, and our af­fections sinceere; in that measure wee re­maine invincible.

104 We must pittie them that are in griefe of spirit, though they be vnquiet; it is an easie matter, when one desireth much to be quiet with God, to be vnqui­et with men, who oft hinder our quiet­nes with God. Psal. 42. 5.

[Page] 105 Some afflicted consciences after some deliverances, looke no more to bee delivered: for as God is most liberall, so we must not weary or make taedious his bountifull dealing with vs: but the Lord hath many deliverances in store, which it is as impossible to waste, as it is, that the Lord himselfe should be lessened, he will make an end of his owne worke in vs, for his owne glorie; which as hee hath appointed to bee endles in our de­liverances, so the meanes therevnto are also endlesse; yea when wee seeme as it were in a whirlepit, and to bee carried in a violent gulfe of troubles we knowe not whither, and are constrained oft to diue and plunge downe, the waters of afflicti­on running over our head; yet the Lord will recover vs and set our feet in steadie places: if wee be cast downe, so wee can but scraule vp againe: if we be resisted of Sathan, so wee canne but kicke against him; if wee canne but open our lippes, and accuse his mallice before the Lord, there is sounde hope of comfort to bee founde of him.

[Page] 106 As it is but a small plesure, so long as we are in the Garden, to bee delighted with the smell of hearbs, vnlesse wee ga­ther of every kinde some to carrie with vs; that so wee may haue the benefite of the garden, though wee be farre from it; and as it is but a small comfort, to bee ravished with sweete odours, so long as we are in the Apothecaries shoppe, and afterward to want them: so it is but a flattering joye, nay rather a starting joye, no longer to be affected with the worde and exercises of Religion than wee are in the Church: therefore wee must ga­ther heere and there, somewhat of the things we heare, that may worke on our affections, when wee bee farre from the place where they grewe.

107 As the arme being soundly knit to the body, receiveth pith and strength from the bodie to resist all evill, and to draw all good things vnto it, and being but out of joynte, and the veines which did knit it to the body being loosed, it hath no such force: so our faith beeing the meanes spirituallie to joyne vs vnto [Page] the Lord, receiveth strength so long as it is sounde, both to resist evill and to ac­complish good: but if it decaye, and fall as it were out of joynt; then wee cannot drawe that full strength from the Lord for our defence and strength, which we were woont.

A LETTER AGAINST hardnes of heart.

I Beseech God, the Father of Iesus Christ, to giue me his good spirit; in writing to giue advice, and you in reading to receiue it. Amen. Since the time that I receiued M. S. Letter, wherein he declared his carefull compassion o­uer your estate: I haue beene not a little grie­ued, because partly for want of a convenient messenger, and partly because of my manifolde distractions with the like occurrances, and o­ther waightie affaires, I haue beene hindred [Page] from writing hitherto vnto you. And albeit even still I be in the same cace, yet conscience towards God, & loue and compassion towards you, forceth me to overcome letts, which hard­lie I could otherwayes prevaile against. And albeit I cannot speake as I woulde, yet of that which I shall write, proceeding from the fore­named groundes; I looke for some blessing of God through Iesus Christ: If you will not toe much faint in faith, and yeeld to the Adver­sarie; yea if you will but hope so vvell of your selfe as (in the feare of God I write it) I hope of you. First, whereas it seemeth you are some­times grieved, because you tarryed not still at Cambridge, according to my advice; you must know, that I advised it not as a thing ne­cessarie, but more convenient as I then suppo­sed; but yet as I advised you to obey your Fa­ther, if his pleasure still continued to haue you home, wherevnto you yeelding, I cannot see howe you offended, it being your Fathers plea­sure you should so doe. And who knoweth whe­ther being heere, you might not asmuch haue beene troubled, there being no priviledge for persons and places in such cases. And who knoweth whether it be the Lords pleasure for [Page] the example and instruction, and I hope the consolation of others in the end. And albeit, you wish that heere you were neerer the more and stronger meanes, yet knowe you and be per­swaded, that God can and doeth in such cases, worke by fewer and weaker meanes, according to his good pleasure: besides, it is in our corrup­ted nature to make much of such meanes as we cannot haue, and not so to esteeme those which God doth offer vs as wee should doe. I beseech you therefore in the name of Iesus Christ, hum­bly to praise God for those meanes which hee offereth in mercie vnto you, and to vse them in faith accordingly; and so God will blesse you by them: and then by such conference as you may haue from hence by Letters, wherein if I may stand you in any stead, rather for the good opi­nion you haue of me, than for any great matter I am able to performe: I shall be ready to offer my office of loue vnto you, as God shall enable me, and so farre foorth as I shall be instructed in your particular estate, by some letters sent frō you by convenient messengers: by which I presently perceiue by M. S. Letters, that you are afflicted with the blindnes of your minde, and hardnes of your heart, which cannot bee [Page] mooued, either with the promises of Gods mer­cies, or feare of his Iudgements; nor affected with loue and delight of the things which bee good, or with hatred and loathing of the evil: great cause you haue of griefe I confesse, but no cause of dispaire doe I grant; because I am per­swaded, that your perswasion is somwhat false; partly for want of a sounde iudgement in your estate, & partlie for some defect of faith, some­what through your owne default. First there­fore, know you for a certaintie, that this is noe other temptation, than such as divers of Gods children haue for a time beene humbled with, and afterwards haue had good issue thereout: and if it please God to mooue you to credit me, I my selfe haue knowne others as deepely this way plunged as you can be: Remember there­fore, that God is faithfull, and will not suffer you to bee tempted aboue that which you shall be able to beare. 1. Cor. 10. 13. and yet fur­ther to confirme you heerein, the holy Scrip­tures do record, that this way God heeretofore hath humbled his owne people, in whose person the Prophet Esay lamentablie thus complai­neth, 63. 15. O Lord, looke downe from Heaven, and beholde from the dwelling [Page] place of thy holines, and of thy glorye: where is thy zeale and thy strength? the multitude of thy mercies & of thy com­passions are restrained from mee: And af­terwards, O Lorde, why hast thou made vs erre from thy waies, and hardened our heart from thy fear: And in the next Chap­ter, verse 6. We haue beene all as an vn­cleane thing, and all our righteousnes is as filthy cloutes, and we all do fade like a leafe, and our iniquitie like the winde ta­keth vs away, and there is none that cal­leth vpon thy name, neither that stirreth vp himselfe to take hold of thee; for thou hast hid thy face from vs, and hast consu­med vs because of our iniquities. And in the 59. Chapter, verse 10. Wee grope for the wall like the blind, and wee grope as one without eyes, and we stumble in the noone day as in the twy-light, wee are in solitarie places like dead men, wee roare like Beares, and mourne like Doues. Soe complaines Hezechias in the bitternes of his soule 34. 14. of Esay. Like a Crane, or a swallowe, so did I chatter: I did mourne as a Doue. And Psal. 51. 10. where David [Page] cryeth, Create in mee, O God, a cleane heart, and renue in me a right spirite: re­store to me the joye of my salvation, and stablish me with thy free spirite. Doth hee not declare, that his heart was vncleane, that his spirit was crooked, that the way of his salua­tion was lost, and himselfe subiect to the spirit of bondage: so that wanting the spirit of liber­tie or adoption, hee could not crye Abba Fa­ther, nor haue any power against sinne. Thus you see howe Gods children may be blinded in mind, and hardned in hart for a time: so that they feele in themselues the graces of the holie spirit, to be as it were perished and dead. Fur­ther, to releeue the infirmitie of your iudgment in this part and point, (because I knowe it may much distresse you) you must vnderstand there be two kinds of hardnes of hart: the one which is not perceiued & felt, the other which is per­ceiued & felt: and of the former, that there be two sortes: the first, which is most fearefull, when any do purposely resist the motions of God his spirit, & willingly refuse the means of their salvation: of the which Zacharie speaketh, 7. 11. They refused to harken, and pulled a­way the shoulder, and stopped their ears [Page] that they shuld not heare; yea they made their heart as an Adamant stone, lest they should heare the Lawe, and the wordes which the Lord of Hosts sent in his spirit by the ministery of his former Prophets. The outragious sinne of these men, the Prophet Esay expresseth in these their owne fearefull tearmes. 28. 15. Wee haue made a cove­nant with death, and we are at agrement with hell; though a scourge run over and passe through, yet it shall not come at vs; for we haue made falshood our refuge, & vnder vanitie are we hid. This was a fear­full estate indeede: yet for all that, no man can say, but some of them hauing hardened their hearts, might be, and were afterwards conver­ted: the other kind of hardnes of heart, which is not felt nor perceiued, or if perceiued, yet not felt, (which albeit is lesse fearefull, yet is dan­gerous enough) is in such, who although they wilfully resist not Gods spirit in good meanes, yet securely, carlesly, & willingly they ly in sin; and that without any remorse of it, or any tast of good things. Such was Davids state by the space of a yeare, before Nathan the Prophet came to reprooue him, and rouse him from his [Page] lulled sleepe: both these kindes I am perswaded you are free from; other wayes than in tempta­tion, Sathan may sometimes mooue you there­unto. The other kind of hardnes of hart, which is perceived and felt, is of two sortes: the one in them who are desirous of meanes, whereby to be releeved; although they doe finde small or no grace in themselues for a time: In this kind the Prophet Esay, in the want of some of Gods peo­ple, complaineth. Esay 63. 15. And such was Davids state after Nathan had reprooved him, and Gods spirit began to work with him; yet cryeth he out as ye heard before, of the losse of Gods graces: and when hee saith, that God will accept of no sacrifices, be they neuer so ma­ny or pretious, without a contrite heart & bro­ken spirit: he shewed, that for a time (even af­ter the Prophet had reproued him) he wanted both. This is your cace, and therefore in the state of salvation: for David was in this cace even after he had confessed his sin (as my trust is you doe) and after he had receiued absoluti­on and pardon from God by the ministerie of Nathan, although he never felt any ioy there­of, nor true griefe for the other: yet because in truth of heart he confessed his sinne, as I hope [Page] you do; and was certainly perswaded of the par­donablenes of it by Gods mercy, as you must be if you will haue mercie (although he was farre of from feeling it, or applying it to his woefull conscience) his state was good and very well to be hoped of, and you must know, and be perswa­ded of Gods Saintes; namely, of David and Peter, & such others, that they are ensamples for vs, if wee will stay our selues vpon the word of God in the ministery of his servants, and wait vpon the Lords good time, vntil he come neerer vnto vs by his spirite; neerer I say, for he was come already vnto you (or it may be he never went from you) because to be grieued & humbled with blindnes of minde and hardnes of heart, to beleeue certainly the servāts of God which bring vnto vs glad tydings of salvati­on, and the truth of Gods promises in generall; and to long after comfort, vsing the meanes of the word, and praier; the Sacrament of the sup­per, & the company of Gods children, contra­ry to hope vnder hope; yea without any present feeling: all this is a certaine argument that Gods spirite is with such, and therefore vvith you. This estate though it be very grievous, yet it is never dangerous, much lesse is it fearfull, [Page] vnlesse any be so wilful, that they do perseuere and continue in desperate refusing of all good meanes. Vnlesse they persevere I say, for that through the subtill sleights of the spirituall ad­versarie & his forcible power, whereby God suffereth him sometime for a season to winnow them as wheat: they are so bewitched and in­toxecated, that they are carried with violent force of temptation to waxe weary of it, or to refuse all kinde of comfort by fittes; yea almost to haue no desire at all vnto them, yea some­times even to speak evill of them: but all this is but in temptation, therfore God will be mer­cifull vnto them for Christes sake. Thus Iob cursed the daye of his birth, and wished to bee strangled. Ieremiah almost repented that e­uer he preached in the name of the Lord: both scarsely abslaind from blasphemy. David mo­ued with the spirite of ambition, though duti­fully admonished, yet wilfully went on in num­bring the people. Peter also vaine-gloriouslie presuming of his owne strength, beeing most wisely & effectually praemonished of his weak­nesse, even by our Lord Iesus: yet vvittinglie rusheth as an horse into the battell, and then very cowardly yeeldeth and doublie denieth, [Page] yea strengthneth his sinne with a threefolde corde, and fastneth it with banning and cur­sing; and yet all these obtained mercy bounti­fullie: for why, as Sathan had desired to win­nowe them, so our Saviour Christ prayed for them; that their faith, although it was batte­red, yet it should not be destroyed; although it were sore oppressed, yet it should not bee extin­guished. And heere be you fullie perswaded, that though Luke 22. the wordes seeme to runne as belonging to Peter (I haue prayed for thee, that thy faith should not faile) yet that hee prayed as well for the rest of the A­postles, yea for all the faithfull: for first hee saith not, Simon, Sathan hath desired to win­nowe thee, but you: why then saith hee, I haue prayed for thee? Verely, because he shuld more grievouslie offend than the rest (althogh their offence was very great) therefore his and our most blessed Saviour applied to him the pro­mise, but did not appropriate it to him onelye and restraine it from the rest: and compare with this place, Iohn 17. 20. and you shall see that the heauenly veritie affirmeth, that hee prayed not onely for the Apostles, but for all those that should beleeue through their worde: [Page] Yea further, our Lorde Iesus Christ was yester day, and to day, and shall be for ever. And as the Fore-fathers were baptised into him, and did eat his fleshe and drink his blood; so vvas his prayer effectuall, even to them vnder the Lawe, much more vnto vs vnder grace: and vvhen you can finde testimonie of your heart, that when you would do well, yet evil is present with you, and that you do the evill you woulde not: then doe not you it, but sinne in you, when it leadeth you captiue. Rom. 7. Much more then, when Sathan worketh with all, buffeting you, assure your selfe that God hath pittie on you, and that the vertue of his power shall bee perfect in your weaknes. 2. Cor. 12. 9. If you beleeue, according to your faith be it vnto you; but you will say, you cannot beleeue, that this vile and crooked hardnes of heart, can bee re­mitted and renewed. And this was the second point, within the former part of my Letter, I gaue you to vnderstand, what was the cause of your excessiue distresse. I besech you in the name of our Lord Iesus Christ, that you will not wil­lingly lye, nor offer iniury to Gods spirit, nor to your selfe, who haue receiued it: tell me what is the reason why you thinke you haue no faith? [Page] verely because you haue no feeling nor noe o­ther fruites thereof as you think: vvell, first then agree with mee herein (as you must if you will not disagree with the trueth) that feeling is but an effect & a fruite of faith: and there­fore there may be faith without feeling, as the cause may bee without the effect, and the tree without any appearance of fruite, yea of sap for a season. And as a man sore wounded or dis­eased, may for a season be depriued almost of al operations of the naturall life to the outwarde shewe, and his owne iudgement and feeling: so may a spirituall man bee sore wounded by Sa­than, and be diseased by present sight and fee­ling of his sinfull corruptions; specially, in that the life of the spirit ts not in him. Thus Peters holie faile (as you haue hearde) or else the prayer of our Saviour prevailed not. Thus when David Psalm. 51. 12. declared that his heart was vncleane, and his spirit crooked and vnstable: and verse 14. that hee had lost the ioye of his salvation, and the spirit of liberty or adoption: yea vers. 13. hee prayeth that God would not take his holy spirit from him: there­fore he was not depriued of the spirit of sancti­fication. Heere seemeth repugnance, but there [Page] is none: he was depriued for a season of the gra­ces of the sanctifying spirit, but not of the holy Ghost, wherewith he was sanctified: which gra­ces as God restored vnto him, so I am perswa­ded that he will vnto you: yea I doubt whether you are deprived of them; but onely that part­lie melancholie, and partly Sathan working therewith, makes you do iniury to your selfe, & to the graces of the spirit in you, which I be­seech you take heede of. But the Messenger cannot stay, I therefore cannot write as I wold, either of this, or of the remedies you shuld vse: which hereafter I will, if God shall enable mee. And I praye you, let mee vnderstand as I re­quested in the beginning, of your estate in par­ticular somewhat more, & that by this bearer if you can: because he is of your acquaintance, and will bring it vnto me faithfullie. Onely I adde nowe vnto that which I haue written of hardnesse of heart at large, that you must dili­gently obserue the word Create, which Da­uid vseth, Psal. 51. declaring howe he had no feeling of his heart. To this ioyne that which the Prophet Esay speaketh in the persone of God. 57. 3. I create the fruite of the lippes to be peace, as well to him that is far off, [Page] as to him that is neere. Therefore, in Faith you may as well pray with the hope to obtaine, as did David: therefore saye vvith him of­ten, and vvith Gods people, Esay 64. 12. O Lord, thou art our Father, wee indeede are clay; but thou art our maker and wee are the work of thine handes, &c. Know you, that God can cause Wolues, Lyons, & Leopards, &c. wallowing with lambs, calues, and kyne. Esay 11. 6. And that vvhich is vnpossible vnto men, is possible vn­to God, euen to cause a cable rope to go through a needels eye: that is, to change the heart of the vnbeleeuing, covetous, and vvretched man; much more yours: yea, knowe you, that all things are possible to him that beleeueth: Crye then, I beleeue, oh Lord help mine vnbe­liefe: and I do promise you in the name of our Lorde Iesus Christ, that you shall haue your desire in goodnesse. Thus abruptlye I must make an end, I commend you vnto God, and the vvorde of his grace vvhich is able for to builde you vppe, and to giue you the right of inheritance amongst them vvhich are san­ctified. And the very God of Peace, san­ctifie you throughout, that your vvhole spirit, [Page] soule, and body, may bee kept blamelesse vn­till the comming of our Lorde Iesus Christ: Faithfull is hee vvhich hath called you, and vvill do it. I pray you pray for me, and I trust as I haue, so I shall pray for you and much more.

Yours in Iesus Christ to vse in any neede R. GREENHAM.

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