TVVO TREATISES. I. The Purchase of Grace, shewing the Excellency of Christ, and the Graces of His Spirit. II. The Soules Delight in Gods Tabernacles, shewing the Excellency of Time, spent in Duties of GOD'S Solemne Service. Instances in the chiefe, viz.

  • Prayer,
  • Word, and
  • Sacraments.

Motives and directions for right performance. Lastly, The chiefe Vsurpers of time discovered, with apt remedies against each of them. The Contents of the Booke are Methodically exprest in the Margent, which to the diligent Reader may serve instead of a TABLE.

By William Harrison, Mr. of Arts, and Minister of the Gospell at Canwicke neare Lincolne.

LONDON, Printed by the Assigne of T. P. for Philemon Stephens, and Christopher Meredith, at the Golden Lion in Paul's Church-Yard. 1639.

THE PVRCHASE OF GRAC …

THE PVRCHASE OF GRACE. A Treatise, Shevving the excellency of Christ, and the Graces of his Spirit, the true Gold. Rules to discover the Gold of true Grace from counterfeit. The Christians true riches, in the enjoyment of this Gold. With Directions how, and of whom to purchase this wealth.

PROV. 3. 13.

Happy is the man that findeth Wisedome.

VER. 15.

She is more precious then Rubies, and all the things thou canst desire, are not to bee compared with her.

MAT. 25. 9.

Goe to them that sell, and buy for your selves.

By William Harrison, Mr. of Arts, and Minister of the Gospell at Canwicke neare Lincolne.

LONDON, Printed by the Assigne of T. P. for Philemon Stephens, and Christopher Meredith, and are to bee sold at their Shop, at the Golden Lion in Paul's Church-Yard. 1639.

TO The Right VVorshipfull the Master, Wardens, Assistants and Communalty of the Mystery of the Mercers in London, my right worthy friends and Patrons, &c.

Right Worshipfull, &c.

MOst lamentable it is to see mens eager pursuit of earth­ly vanities, and their wo­full neglect, and contempt of true saving grace, which is durable riches. To which two, may be fitly applyed that which was said of Saul and David (the two first Kings of Israel) sc. that the one hath slaine thou­sands, and the other tenne thousands: both which arise chiefely (as I conceive) from mens ignorance, or the want of the know­ledge, of the worth and excellency of piety [Page] and true feare of God, or saving grace. For (as our Saviour said to the woman of Samaria, Ioh. 4. 10.) If thou knewest the gift of God, &c. So if they knew these gifts of God, in the true resplendent nature of them; if men were but acquain­ted with the worth, and excellency of this precious, and golden commodity of true saving grace, they would not labour so immoderately for the meat that perisheth, but for the meate that endureth to ever­lasting life (as our Saviour himselfe speak­eth, Ioh. 6. 29.) yea, they would not be so cumbred (with Martha) about many things, whilest, in the meane time, the one thing needfull is neglected; but rather (with Mary) choose the better part, which should never be taken from them, Luk. 10. 42. To this end, I at first fastened my meditation upon this por­tion of Scripture, and tooke into my seri­ous consideration this clause of holy Writ, yea, and have still fixed my saddest thoughts upon this golden Counsell of our blessed Saviour, wherein the great Coun­sellor of heaven and earth doth give his blessed advise to the sonnes of men, whom hee generally findeth like the Church of [Page] Laodicea, sc. wretched, and miserable and poore, and blinde, and naked; now un­to all such, whom he findeth in this wo­full and wretched condition, He propoun­deth this sweete and heavenly counsell and direction (which is the ground of this en­suing discourse) contained in the words of this Text, Rev. 3. 18. I counsell thee to buy of mee gold tryed in the fire, that thou mayest be rich. Wherein our Saviour directeth us unto the true riches indeed, and commendeth unto us, the worth and excellency of Himselfe, his merits, and graces of his Spirit, that they are all of a right precious nature, and of great worth and value, even gold tryed in the fire, and such as will truely enrich us unto life eternall. In prosecuting of which Text, I have runne this course, and endeavoured to shew the great worth, and transcendent excellency of true saving grace, that it is most fitly resembled to Gold tryed in the fire, yea, indeed to be farre preferred be­fore it, and that in sundry respects; yea, not only the worth and excellency of grace it selfe, but also the admirable worth of such as do enjoy this precious Iewell, that all such are most excellent, and golden persons [Page] indeed, as comming of golden parentage, having a golden portion and inheritance, and also golden attendants, having the holy Angels of God daily to pitch their Tents round about them, for their safe­ty. Farther, by way of application, I have earnestly pressed, and perswaded unto the duty of examination, that wee should all try, what metall our graces are made of; whether they be of a right golden nature, yea, or no. And because herein we are all of us naturally backward, I have therefore endeavoured to enforce the duty by sundry Motives, drawne from the consideration of the difficulty of the duty, the danger of being mistaken, as also, the possibility of performance, and comfort that will hereby redound unto us, when the worke is once throughly performed. And that we may not bee deceived about it, nor gul'd with Sathans devices, in a businesse of such im­portance, I have therefore also endeavou­red to manifest and discover the true markes and characters of this golden metall; together with the comfortable, and happy estate and condition of all such, as doe enjoy this precious commodity. 2. I have endeavoured to prove, that all [Page] such as have true grace, are absolutely, and incomparably the richest persons in the world; and that piety is the best, and su­rest way to make us truly and spiritually rich. So that, if there be any that are ready to say; Who will shew us any good? Let such come, and see the shortest, and yet the surest way to get wealth, yea, durable riches, and righteousnesse. Lastly, if any be so farre wrought upon, as to cry out with those in the Gospell, Lord, evermore give us this bread, this wealth, this precious treasure; I have therefore, in the last place, endeavoured to discover the direct meanes to obtaine it, and that is, Buying. And the rather to encourage us, to the mak­ing of this happie bargaine for our soules; I have here described the excellency of the Chapman, that is readie to sell us this rare commoditie of saving grace. Here you shall also finde a description of all the particu­lars, requisite to the making up of this bar­gaine with Christ. Here you shall finde the price of true grace, and the great varietie of such customers, as are readie (in appear­ance) to bargaine with this spirituall and heavenly Chapman: Here have you the summe and substance of this TREATISE. [Page] Whereunto I have adjoyned another of like argument; shewing the worth and excel­lency of the time that is spent in Gods ser­vice, or in the use of the means to get grace; which seemeth fitly annexed to the former Treatise: for if true saving grace be a jew­ell of such worth; then time spent in the use of the best meanes to get grace, must needs be the best spent time: For how can any (that earnestly thirst after saving grace) spend their time better, then in diligent attendance upon the Word of Gods grace, which is able to build us up farther and farther, and to give us an inheritance a­mong all them that are sanctified, as the Apostle speaketh, Act. 20. 32? Oh how just­ly may a man take up a lamentation, in re­gard of the general defect amongst men, in the wofull mis-spending of their precious time! Men doe even take care, how to passe away that precious time, which is never to be recalled, but of it selfe passeth away as the most swift Ships. Now the desire of my soule, is not onely to bewaile this dangerous sinne of wasting and mis-spending of pre­cious time; but also to doe my best endea­vour, to reform this generall and monstrous abuse this way. To this end, I have endea­voured [Page] to stop the streame, and to turne the water into the right channell, by giving di­rection for the right spending of our preci­ous time; and have earnestly laboured to e­vince thus much, sc. That time spent in Gods service, is absolutely and incompara­bly the best spent time; and therefore have earnestly perswaded, that we should not on­ly begin to serve God betimes, even in our youth, &c. but also that we should be con­stant and abundant in the duties of Gods worship and service, after we have once be­gun. Concerning all which, I have given sundry motives and directions. Loe here the summe and substance of the whole booke, and of both these Treatises; which as they seeme fitly united together; so being (upon occasion) to look abroad in publike, they seem to be most fitly Dedicated to you, the Wor­shipfull Company, or bodie of the Company of the mysterie of Mercers. To you there­fore (Right Worshipfull, the Master, and Head of this beautifull and comely bodie, consisting of great varietie of Worshipfull and worthy members,) doe I offer and pre­sent this my poore and unworthy present: which (notwithstanding) if the manner of handling, was correspondent to the matter [Page] it selfe, I durst then presume to say, t'was right worthy of you; though in respect of the manner of illustration of them, I have just­ly and fitly called unworthy. To you there­fore are these fruits of my poore labours dedicated, by whose encouragement, the Author himselfe hath beene supported, and better enabled to proceede in the worke of his Ministery. Accept therefore, I pray you, of this poore paper, as a publike testi­mony to the world, of my thankefull ac­knowledgement of your noble favours to­wards me, and kinde and speciall respect unto me. By perusall whereof, you may hap­pily be encouraged to proceede in the good worke, which you have begunne, so maine­ly importing, not onely my good in parti­cular, but also the good of sundry others, who will have cause (I hope) to blesse God for you, that he hath beene pleased to make you the worthy instruments of upholding the meanes of grace among them; yea, and to establish for their good, the spirituall Market of their soules, that they may now come and buy freely, bread, milke, and wine, without money, and without price, as the Prophet speaketh, Isa. 55. 1, 2. Yea, the desire of my soule is, that these [Page] first fruits of my labours may taste and re­lish so sweetly in the palate of your soules, that you may hereby see cause, never to re­pent you of the pains which you have take, and the cost which you have this way ex­pended; but may still be perswaded to con­tinue your loving respects towards me, and your zeale to the cause of God, which is here­by greatly advanced and furthered by you, and so discharge the trust committed to you by that late famous, and admirably chari­table and worthy Gentleman, Mr. Richard Fishburne, who committed money to your trust, to be both religiously and charitably employed. Which trust, how faithfully you have discharged, (as it is best knowne to God, and to your owne consciences, which are as so many thousand witnesses) so I my selfe am not ignorant of your noble & wor­thy proceedings; but out of my experience, to my comfort, and your credit, am able both to speake, and to write of your fidelitie and liberalitie, which you are wont to use in these cases: besides also, that I am well acquainted with your dealings with others besides my selfe, on this behalfe. Most glad­ly therefore do I take hold on this opportuni­tie, to manifest unto the world, my thanke­full [Page] acknowledgment of your speciall respect to me, in this case, and of this your noble courtesie. As the benefits therefore which I have received from you are publike, and manifest unto so many: so likewise doe I desire, that my acknowledgement hereof should not onely be reall and heartie, but publike also. For I have not yet forgotten (though so many yeares agoe) how freely and kindely I was chosen by you, to partici­pate in the fruits and pledges of your love, after (with all diligence) you had sufficient tryall, both of my sufficiency, and also of the unblameablenesse of my life and conversa­tion; as touching both which, I trust you have ever since been fully satisfied. In most gratefull manner also I doe acknowledge, with what peace and quietnesse, for sundry yeares together, I freely did partake in [...]he fruits of your love towards me; neither was I ever at any time sithence disturbed, or molested by you; but rather most kindely supported by you, against the molestation of others; yea, and for the present, amidst the dangers and difficulties, wherewith I am not only pressed, but oppressed also, my chiefe hope and expectation of reliefe in this case, (next under God) is wholly from you; nei­ther [Page] doe I well know what to doe, but mine eyes are upon you; and not onely mine, but also the eyes of sundry others, both in Citie, and Countrey, are steadily fixed on you, ex­pecting what the issue and event will be. Goe on therefore nobly still, and with your wisedome and undaunted courage, vindi­cate the cause in hand, and cleere those dif­ficulties and great encumbrances, which are lately fallen upon the Rectorie (which I do enjoy) and consequently, upon my selfe: whereunto let these poore labours of mine encourage you, together with the goodnesse and amiable beautie of the cause it selfe. For if true saving grace, be of such rare worth and value; then surely the cost and paines that is bestowed to uphold the means of grace, must likewise needs be well em­ployed. These Treatises were severall Ser­mons, preached in the Countrey among the people committed to my Charge: and good reason me thinketh it is, that I should give some speciall account of my labours to you, from whose hands, I have received the grea­test part of my maintenance, and that con­stantly, for more then seven yeares toge­ther. Which endeavours of mine, if plaine and homely, are notwithstanding thus far [Page] justly to be excused, namely, that they were preached to a plaine Countrey people, which though of good affection and incli­nation towards pietie, (I hope) are yet but of meane and small capacitie, and under­standing in the things of God. Besides, my care hath ever beene, rather to speake to the hid man of the heart, in a plaine way, then tickle the eare with a neat discourse, per­haps not understood, and therefore without all benefit and profit. Besides, no marvell if these Sermons want ornaments, when the Anthour himselfe was scarce supplyed with necessaries; the greatest part of my meanes, at that time, being wholly taken from me; so that some small pittance onely of outward meanes was left me; though God in his goodnesse hath graciously (by your hands principally) provided for me. This I propound, not onely by way of just excuse, for these my impolished labours, but also to preserve alive, and keepe awake your pitie and compassion towards me, and to stirre up your zealous care and diligence in the cause of God, which seemeth some way endangered: yea, hereby you shall deep­ly engage a number of poore soules to pray for you, when they perceive the constancie [Page] of your love, towards both them, and me, in supporting of me, by way of mainte­nance, that I may still impart the Word of life among them, and goe on still to fulfill the Ministery, which I have received of the Lord IESUS. Thus leaving these things to your grave and loving considera­tion; I commend the booke unto your read­ing, and your Worships to the protection of the Almightie, and both your selves, and it, unto his blessing. I humbly take leave, and rest

Your Worships, ever to be commanded in the Lord, WILLIAM HARRISON.

Imprimatur.

Tho. VVykes.

THE Purchase of Grace.
CHAP. I.

REV. 3. 18.‘I counsell thee to buy of me Gold tryed in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.’

SVch is the gracious disposition of the Almighty,The con­text and co­herence. and so sweete is his cariage towards his dear­est servants, that he doth usu­ally most comfortably reveale, and communicate himselfe unto them in their extremities, he hath his Cordials ready against the sicke fits of his children, he loveth to comfort the abject, to binde up the broken hearted, to speake peace to the afflicted: witnesse the cariage of our Saviour towards Saint Iohn, that beloved Disciple, alwayes be­loved, but most manifested in his afflictions; when doth the Lord reveale himselfe to him, so sweetly and fully, but in his banishment, [Page 2] when he was banished into the Isle Patmos, Revel. 1. 9. then, and there was he ravished in the spirit, upon the Lords days; ver. 10. then commeth the great, and yet sweete voyce of Christ, with a charge to write, and send it to the seven Churches of Asia, ver. 11. unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, unto Sardys, and Philadel­phia, and unto Laodicea, unto these seven, the Evangelist dedicateth this booke of the Reve­lation, chap. 1. 4. Iohn, to the seven Churches of Asia: and unto each of these he directeth (as from Christ) a severall Epistle.

Now the words which I have read, are part of the Epistle written to the Church of Laodi­cea; which continueth from ver. 14. to the end of the Chapter. The Epistle it selfe con­sisteth of three parts.

1. A Proemium, or inscription of the Epistle, ver. 14.

2. A Narration, or subject matter of the Epistle, unto ver. 22.

3. A Peroration, or conclusion, Verse the last.

Againe, in the second part, or Narration, we have three things.

1. A Reprehension, increpation, or ob­jurgation, ver. 15. 16, 17.

2. An Exhortation, or direction, v. 18. 19.

3. A solemne promise, or protestation, ver. 20. 21.

Now the words which I have read, are part of the exhortation, or direction. And in [Page 3] generall, they hold out our Saviours advise, or Counsell to the Church, wherein he fitly pre­scribes, severall remedies for all their infirmi­ties, a salve for every sore: They were wretch­ed, and miserable, and poore, and blind, and naked. Now in this verse wee have a remedy for all these.

1. Here is gold, to enrich them.

2. White Rayment, to cover their na­kednesse.

3. Eye salve, to anoint their eyes, that they might see.

I intend to insist only upon the first of these, which containeth a remedy for their poverty, and wretchednesse. I counsell thee to buy of me gold, tryed in the fire, that thou mayest bee rich.

Which words are the advise and counsell of our blessed Saviour (the great Counsellor, Isa. 9. 6.) to this Church of Lao [...]icea, and in them to us also, and to all true Christians to the end of the world.

Now (mee thinkes) in this I should have every mans attention; for behold, wee have here a Lecture of thrift, a way, nay the onely way to be made truely rich: There bee many that say, who will shew us any good, Psal. 4. 6? Behold, here's for you Summum bonum, the chiefest good, Gold, yea, Gold tried in the fire, gold to enrich you; gold and better then gold, durable riches, that which will make you rich indeed, rich towards God, as our Sa­viour speakes, Luk. 12. 21.

Now for the parts of the Text. Here is [Page 4] direction to get a precious and excellent com­modity,Division & parts of the Text. metaphorically set out unto us, under the name of gold. Wherein we have more particularly described. 1. The worth and ex­cellency of it, gold tryed in the fire; that is, a precious, rare, spirituall commoditie, which is like gold tryed in the fire. 2. The meanes to at­taine it, and that is, buying; it must be bought. 3. The Chapman of whom we must buy it, and that is Christ, buy of me, saith our Saviour. 4. The end of buying, that thou mayest be rich, which argueth still the worth and excel­lency of the commodity. And so you see the parts of the Text, and the words divided.

2.Explication For the explication and sense of the words. The words are metaphoricall; the Chapman, the Commodity, the Bargaine, the Profit, all is spirituall. 1. The Chapman is Christ, even [...] and [...], that sendeth the Epistle to this Church, He is the Chapman. 2. The commodities to be bought here, are the graces of Gods Spirit, or (if you please) Christ him­selfe, and the graces of his Spirit; that accom­pany salvation; which are fitly compared un­to gold tryed in the fire; and that in many re­spects (as wee shall see by and by) The bar­gaine, or buying, is spirituall, and so are the riches here mentioned, spirituall riches, such as will make us rich towards God.

The words thus opened and explained,3. Doct. doe hold out unto us these three Propositions, or points of Instruction, or Doctrine.

1. That Christ Iesus, 1. Doct. and the saving graces [Page 5] of his Spirit, are fitly resembled and com­pared unto gold, yea pure gold, Gold tryed in the fire.

2. That this gold,2. Doct. is the only meanes, to make us spiritually, and truly rich.

3. That all that would have this precious commodity,3. Doct. must buy it of Christ.

First, of the first of these, sc. this,Doctrine 1. That Christ and the sa­ving graces of his Spi­rit, are fitly compared unto Gold, tried in the fire. That Christ Iesus, and his merits, together with the saving graces of his Spirit, are fitly resembled unto gold, yea, gold tryed in the fire. Hereupon it is, that the Tabernacle and the Temple were both so adorned with gold, because they were the Types of our Saviour, and the graces of his Spirit, Exod. 37. 6. 1 King. 7. 48. There was the Table of gold, and the Altar of gold, and the Bowles, and the Tongs, and the Snuffers, all of pure gold, &c. And why all this, but to teach us, that Christ, and the gra­ces of his Spirit, are fitly resembled to gold. Marke the answer of Christ's Spouse, to the daughters of Jerusalem, Cant. 5. when they asked, What is thy beloved more than another be­loved? observe her answer, Ver. 10. My belo­ved is white and ruddy, the chiefest of tenne thou­sand, Ver. 11. His head is as the most fine gold, He is like unto most fine gold, yea, gold tryed in the fire. So the Church cloathed with the me­rits of Christ, and adorned with the graces of his Spirit, is covered (as it were) with cloth of gold, Vpon thy right hand did stand the Queene, in gold of Ophyr, saith the Text, Psal. 45. 9. that is, cloathed with Christ, and the graces of [Page 6] his Spirit, which are pure and precious, like the gold of Ophyr. And so againe, Ver. 13. The Kings Daughter is all glorious within, (that is, the Church is glorious in Gods account) Her cloathing is of wrought gold; this is very direct.

Now the Reasons of the poynt might be many;Reason. I will but instance in some few of many.

1 Gold tryed in the fire, Precious, like gold. is very precious, of great worth and value: so is Christ, even in his lowest estate, when he seemeth most despi­cable, and worthles; yet is he, even then, most precious; disallowed indeed of men, but cho­sen of God, and precious, sayth the Apostle, 1 Pet. 2. 4. and v. 6. Behold, I lay in Sion a chiefe corner stone, elect, and precious; though the Jewish builders rejected this Stone, yet was he exceeding precious in Gods account. And as Christ himselfe is precious, so are the graces of his Spirit; such as wisdome, and knowledge, and faith, and love, &c. these are precious jewels, and therefore fitly resembled unto gold. See what the holy Ghost sayth of Wisedome, Pro. 3. 13, 14. Happie is the man that findeth Wisdome, and the man that getteth understanding: for the merchandise thereof, is better then the merchandise of silver; and the gaine thereof, is better then fine gold: shee is more precious then Rubies, &c. See here the precious nature of spirituall, and heavenly Wisdome. The like may be said of faith, and other graces. Hence that phrase, of precious faith: To all that [Page 7] have obtained like precious faith with us, sayth the Apostle, 2 Pet. 1. 1. If you aske, how pre­cious this grace is: He answereth, That the tryall of our faith is much more precious then of gold that perisheth, 1 Pet. 1. 7.

Secondly,2. Reason. Fit to pay debts, or keepe out of prison. Gold is of especiall use to pay debts, to keepe, or redeeme out of prison: so are the merits and blood of Christ; they re­deeme us from hell, and death: yee are bought with a price, sayth the Apostle, 2 Cor. 6. 19, 20. What price? not silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lambe without spot, 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19. Of him are yee in Christ Jesus, sayth the Apostle, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Who of God is made unto us, wisdome, and righteousnesse, and sanctification, and redemption; O golden Christ! by the helpe of whose merits, we pay the Debts which we owe to our heavenly Fa­ther; yea, by this gold are we redeemed, and set at libertie from the prison of hell, and from the bondage and slavery of sinne and Sa­than.

Thirdly, Gold tryed in the fire, is very pure,3. Reason. Because pure, like gold. and cleane, there is no drosse left in it: so is Christ pure, as well as precious: so are the graces of Gods Spirit, true grace is pure grace, pure faith, or faith unfained; pure love, with­out dissembling, sincere or pure truth, with­out hypocrisie, 1 Tim. 1. 5. Now the end of the Commandement is charitie, or love, out of a pure heart, and a good, or pure conscience, and faith unfained; faith without mixture, that is pure faith, such faith and love are gol­den [Page 8] graces indeed: Let love be without dissimu­lation, sayth the Apostle, Rom. 12. 9. there is pure love indeed: it is an excellent place, 1 Pet. 1. 22. Seeing that yee have purified your soules, in obeying the truth, through the Spirit, unto unfained love of the brethren; see that yee love one another, with a pure heart, fervently: here is pure gold indeed, wrought by the pure Spirit of God, there is the Authour of it: in obeying the truth, there is the instrumentall meanes of it: pure, and unfained loue, out of a pure heart, there is the fruit of it.

Fourthly,4. Reason. Because fit for purchase. Gold tryed in the fire, is fit for pur­chase, it commandeth what the earth can af­foord: so doe Christ, and his merits, and gra­ces, they doe purchase Heaven for us; Heaven is an inheritance, and given freely, in respect of any merits of ours, but merited, and pur­chased for us by Christ; He is our great pur­chaser, He purchaseth Heaven for us, and in our name, and is gone to take possession for us, and to prepare a place for us there. He pur­chased it for us by his merits; hence that phrase, Ephes. 1. 14. Vntill the Redemption of the purchased pessession, sayth the Apostle. And when he had purchased it for us, He went to possesse it, and prepare a place for us, Joh. 16. 3. I goe to prepare a place for you. So that a man interested in Christs merits, and adorned with his graces, is fit to make a purchase of Heaven. So that Christ, and his merits, are in this re­spect also fitly resembled unto gold; they make a golden purchase, or purchase a golden place in Heaven for us.

[Page 9] Fifthly, Gold is of an excellent use, for or­nament and beautie,5. Reason. In respect of beautie and ornament. as well as for purchase and profit: thus the Tabernacle and Temple were adorned with gold, to make them glo­rious, and beautifull; so is the Church, by the merits, and graces of Christ, become a glori­ous Church; Psal. 45. 13. The Kings daugh­ter is all glorious within: How cometh that to passe? Surely by the gold of Christs merits and graces: for it followeth, Her cloathing is of wrought gold; there is her chiefe ornament: so doe the graces of Gods Spirit, they doe e­ven adorne us in Gods account, faith, and love, and meeknesse: O woman great is thy faith! Mat. 15. 28. there is her ornament; I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel, sayth our Saviour, Mat. 8. 10. there is the Centurions ornament: so of Abraham; faith­full Abraham; a man strong in the faith, and gave glory to God, Rom. 4. 20. Golden Abra­ham, there is his ornament: Moses the meekest man upon earth, Numb. 12. 3. Now the man Moses was very meeke, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth; there is his or­nament: an ornament indeed, and that of great price, even in the esteeme and account of God himselfe: observe it, 1 Pet. 3. 3, 4. see the Apostles direction to wives, how to a­dorne themselves, with better ornaments, then gold and silver; Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the haire, and wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparell, that is, costly apparell; these are poore ornaments; [Page 10] what then? that we shall see, v. 4. but the hid­den man of the heart, in that which is not cor­ruptible, even the ornament of a meeke, and quiet spirit, which is in Gods account, a thing of great price; loe, a man or womans chiefe ornament! If we would (in stead of rich and costly apparell) put on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and readily passe by such wrongs and injuries, as are offered unto us, it would be a farre better, and a much cheaper ornament, then gold, and silver, and all the fine cloaths in the world. So that even in this respect also, Christ, and the graces of his Spirit, are fitly resembled unto gold, yea, gold tryed in the fire.

Sixthly,6. Reason. Of sweet smell. Dulcis odor lu [...]e re qualibet. Gold hath a very good smell, a sweet savour: however, it is true in respect of the gaine of it, for that hath a sweet smell, in the most mens account: so hath Christ, his merits and graces have a sweet smelling sa­vour in the Lords account; even the sacrifice of Christ, the offering himselfe up in sacrifice to God for us, smelled sweetly in the nosthrils of God. It is a sweet place to this purpose, Ephes. 5. 2. And walke in love, (there is our dutie) as Christ also hath loved us, (there is our patterne) and hath given himselfe for us, (there is the expression and demonstration of it) an offering, and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smel­ling savour: the sweetest smelling gold is not herein comparable to the sacrifice of Christ. Yea, and not onely his sacrifice, and merits, but also the graces of his Spirit, have also a [Page 11] sweet smelling savour; such as faith, and love, and charitie, &c. See what the Apostle sayth of that sweet grace of charitie, Phil. 4. 18. see what the Apostle testifieth of the charitie of these Philippians; Having received the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God: for that a charitable heart, is an heart worth gold, even in this respect; For with such Sacrifices God is well pleased, sayth the Apostle, speaking of this very grace, Heb. 13. 16.

Seventhly, Gold is the means to make men rich: so doth Christ, and his graces;7. Reason. as wee shall see in the next poynt.

CHAP. II.

Containig the two first Vses of the poynt, sc. Instruction, and Reprehension.

NOw the Vses of this poynt are ma­ny,Vses. 1. Instructi­on. and of speciall weight and worth; it is of use, both for Instru­ction, and Reprehension; and also for Examination, and Exhortation.

1. This Doctrine serveth for Instruction. The knowledge of this truth, leadeth and di­recteth us to the knowledge of other truths.

For first, Is true saving grace fitly resembled 1 unto gold?The worth, and excel­lency of true grace. This sheweth then the worth and excellency of true saving grace; it is a farre more excellent and precious commodity, then [Page 12] men usually account it; else our Saviour would never have called it Gold, yea, gold tryed in the fire. So that an heart full of saving grace, is worth a purse full of precious gold; it is as precious as gold, yea, much more precious then the most fine gold. Thus much the wisest Solomon, (that knew the worth of both) ex­presly telleth us, Pro. 3. 14. where speaking of wisdome, (that is, spirituall and heavenly wisdome,) he sayth, It is more precious then fine gold. The like the Apostle sayth of true saving faith, It is much more precious then gold. Give me leave to shew you the worth of true saving grace, that it is more precious then the most precious gold and silver in the world: and this I will manifest in these sixe particulars.

1. Gold is but of a fading,Grace better then gold. perishing nature 1 and condition, hence is that phrase of the Apo­stle, 1 Pet. 1. 7. That the tryall of your faith, 1. Gold is fa­ding and pe­rishing, but grace is per­manent and lasting. being much more precious, then gold that perisheth: but on the contrary, Grace is that which endureth unto everlasting life. Ioh. 6. 27. Hereupon the wise man calleth it durable riches, Pro. 3. 18. So that in this case, that of the Psalme may be fitly applyed, Psal. 102. 26. They shall perish, (that is, all sublunary things are of a perishing condition,) but thou, O Lord, and thy saving grace, shall endure even for ever. Riches, and gold, and silver are very fickle, and uncertaine, they doe often betake them to their wings, and fly away, as an Eagle towards heaven, sayth the Wise man, Pro. 23. 5. And charge the rich, that they trust not in uncertaine riches, sayth the A­postle, [Page 13] 1 Tim. 6. 17. Riches, and gold, and sil­ver, are very uncertaine, but grace is very per­manent and lasting; it is that good part which shall not be taken from him, or her, that hath it, Luk. 10. 42. Therefore true saving grace is better then gold, even in this respect.

2. Gold and silver, can neither comfort 2 nor deliver him that hath it,2. Grace is able to help in the day of wrath. in the day of Gods wrath: many do make gold their hope, in this case, and trust in the multitude of their riches, but they are all utterly deluded in this case; see Zeph. 1. 17. I will bring distresse upon men, sayth the text; yea but I have abundance of gold and silver, (sayth the rich man) marke now, what followeth even in the very next verse, (as it were on purpose to prevent, and blow away this vaine confidence) vers. 18. Their silver and their gold, shall not be able to de­liver them in the day of the Lords wrath; but the whole Land shall be devoured by the fire of his jea­lousie. No, no, Riches availe not in the day of wrath, but Righteousnesse onely delivereth from death, as the Wise man hath told us long agoe, Pro. 11. 4. True saving grace, will af­foord both comfort in, and also deliverance from the fury of Gods wrath. When the Lord hath a purpose to bring an overflowing scourg upon any Nation, or people; he hath a speciall respect (not to the rich, and wealthy, but) to such as are godly and religious; The Lord hath chosen to himselfe the man that is godly, Psal. 4. 3. He hath set such an one apart for his own use, all such must have a marke set upon their fore- [...] [Page 16] store of gold and silver, and yet be hated and abhorred of God for all that, as Cain and Ju­das: but he that hath true saving grace, such as faith, and love, and the feare of God, &c. hath ever speciall favour and acceptance with God. It is an excellent speech of the Apostle to this purpose, Act. 10. 35. Of a truth I per­ceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in e­very Nation, (not he that is rich, and full of gold and silver, but) he that feareth God, and worketh righteousnesse, is accepted with him. See here, that righteousnesse, and the true feare of God, are farre better then gold and silver in this respect. Indeed, among men, riches prevaile much, gold and silver are in great e­steeme; for men looke onely upon the outward appearance; but the Lord seeth not as man seeth, but beholdeth the heart, if that be well qualified, there is hope of acceptance with God; but o­therwise, all the gold and silver in the world will not doe it. 1 Sam. 16. 6. 7.

5 Lastly,Grace lea­deth to glo­ry. A man may have great store of gold and silver, and yet perish eternally, and loose his soule for ever: but so cannot he doe, that hath true saving grace, as faith, and such like, and persevereth therein unto the end: He that beleeveth shall never perish, but have everlasting life, Ioh. 3. 16. As he that beleeveth not, is con­demned alreadie; so he that truely beleeveth shall never be condemned, but hath alreadie passed from death to life. Oh the precious excel­lency of saving grace, in this regard, it saveth the soule! Heb. 10. last. We are not of them that [Page 17] draw backe to perdition, but of them that beleeve to the saving of the soule. What were a man better, if he had all the gold and silver in the world, if he loose his soule; according to that of our Saviour, Mat. 16. 26. What is a man profited if he should gaine the whole world, and loose his own soule? as the rich Glutton, Luk. 16. and the Churle, Luk. 12. 19, 20. but God sayd unto him, Thou foole, this night shall they fetch away thy soule, and then what art thou the better for all thy gold and silver, &c? But rather, giving all diligence, adde to thy faith, ver­tue; and to thy vertue, knowledge, &c. for so an entrance shall be made unto thee, exceeding a­bundantly, into the everlasting kingdome of Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 1. 5. with v. 11. Grace there­fore is farre better then gold also in this re­spect; it is able to save a soule from death, and cover a multitude of sinnes, Jam. 5. 20.

Secondly,2. Instruct. Gracious & Religious people most excellent. Is true saving grace so fitly re­sembled unto gold? This sheweth the worth and excellency of all true Christians; such as have store of true saving grace, they are the excellent upon earth, Psal. 16. 3. In a word, they are golden persons, they weare cloth of gold for their apparell; their cloathing is of wrought gold, Psal. 45. 13. they are even gol­den persons. Job 23. 10. He knoweth the way that I take, and when he hath tryed me, I shall come forth like gold; golden Job! So that in these cases, most true is that of Salomon, Prov: 12. 26. The righteous is more excellent then his neighbour: I tell you, there is as much diffe­rence, [Page 18] as betweene gold and drosse; Psal. 119. 119. Thou shalt cast away the wicked like drosse: Drosse is scarce good enough for the dung­hill, when the gold is layd up in the chest. So that in this case, it is evident, that every godly poore man, is better then any ungodly rich man whatsoever. See upon what ground and warrant I speake it; Pro. 28. 6. Better is the poore, that walketh in his integritie, then he that is perverse in his wayes, although he be rich: there is as much difference betweene them, as betweene the chaffe and the wheat, Psal. 1. 3. and what is the chaffe to the wheat? sayth the Prophet, Ier. 23. 20. Yea, as betweene gold tryed in the fire, and drosse: golden David, though in the poore barren wildernesse; but drossie Nabal, though in rich and plenteous Carmel: drossie Dives, but golden, because godly, Lazarus. By this we see, who are the noblest and richest persons in the world, even they that are most godly, and religious. Grace ma [...]eth a man more precious then gold; even more precious then the golden wedge of O­phir, Isa. 13. 12. Gods people are precious persons, they are even the Lords jewels, Mal. 3. 17. And they shall be mine, sayth the Lord, in the day that I make up my Jewels. Seest thou a man that feareth God, that hath true saving grace; thou mayest say, oh there goeth a jewell of God, a golden person, there is a soule worth gold, yea, farre more precious. So that the estate of Gods people is farre more glorious (if well considered) then the estate [Page 19] of the wicked, how full of pompe, and bra­very soever they may seeme to be. Give me leave to shew you this briefly, in foure parti­culars.

1. They come of farre more glorious and 1 golden parentage;1. They come of ex­cellent pa­rentage. they have the God of hea­ven and earth for their Father. Matth. 6. 9. they can truely say, as Isa. 63. 16. Doubtlesse th [...]u art our Father, though Abraham know us not, and Israel be ignorant of us, yet thou art our Father. But as for the wicked, it is not so with them they come of base and unworthy paren­tage; their Father is an Amorite, and their mother is an Hittite: yea, worse then so, they are children of wrath; yea,The wicked, children of wrath. children of Sathan: the Devill is their father: see how expresly Christ himselfe doth avouch this to the Jewes, Ioh. 8. 44. Ye are of your father the Devill, and the lusts of your father ye will doe. But, oh the golden parentage of such as are religious, and beleeve in Christ; To them he giveth power to become the Sonnes of God which are borne, not of flesh and blood, nor of the will of man, but of God, Joh. 1. 11, 12, 13. Even Christ himselfe, and all true beleevers, have all but one Father: the father of our Lord Iesus Christ, is also the father of all true beleevers. Marke that sweet speech of our Saviour, immediately before his ascension; But goe, and tell my brethren, behold, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and unto my God, and your God, Ioh. 20. 17. So that Gods people are most noble persons, because they come of most noble parentage.

[Page 20] 2 2. They are borne to a farre better inheri­tance,Are borne to a most excellent inheritance. then any ungodly person whatsoever; they have a golden inheritance; they are the members of Christ, and children of God, and inhe­ritours of the kingdome of heaven; whereas all ungodly persons, they have but worldly and earthly houses, and inheritances; unlesse they repent they can never inherite the kingdome of God, 1 Cor. 6. 9. But oh the blessed inheri­tance, that is reserved for such as are godly and religious; they inherite no lesse then a king­dome, Luk. 12. 32. Feare not little flocke, for it is my Fathers pleasure to give you a kingdome; yea, a kingdome which they have by inheri­tance, as being the co-heires with Christ, Mat. 25. 34. Come ye blessed children of my Fa­ther, inherite the kingdome, which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world. It is a most excellent inheritance, 1 Pet. 1. 3. 4. Bles­sed be God, &c. which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us againe unto a lively hope, &c. to an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefi­led, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, v. 5. Loe, here a most pre­cious inheritance!

3 3. Gods people have a farre better portion then the wicked;A most rare and excel­lent portion. for they have the Lord him­selfe their portion, Lam. 3. 24. The Lord is my portion, sayth my soule, therefore will I hope in him. I have sayd unto the Lord, thou art my portion, sayth David, Psal. 142. 5. Psal. 16. 5▪ The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and [Page 21] my cup: but the wicked, and impenitent, have no interest in this portion; at best, they have their portion in this life, Psal. 17. 14. a portion of wealth, a portion of land, or gold and sil­ver, there is the outside of their portion; but besides this, they have a wofull portion, Psal. 11. 6. Vpon the wicked, God shall raine snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, this shall be the portion of their cup, a woull portion: whereas the godly, have the God of heaven and earth for their portion.

Fourthly and lastly, Gods people have far 4 better attendance then the wicked;Have most excellent attendance. they may have a company of brave men to attend them, at the best; but the godly have the glorious Angels to attend and waite upon them; they are all sent forth for the good of those that shall be heires of salvation, Heb. 1 14. So, Psal. 34. 7. The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that feare him, and delivereth them: They have a charge from God to that purpose, Psal. 91. 11. For he shall give his Angels charge over thee, to keepe thee in all thy wayes: here is gol­den and glorious attendance indeed, when they have the holy Angels, Gods most glori­ous creatures and servants to attend them. Thus ye see, that Gods people are golden peo­ple, and farre more glorious then the wicked.

Thirdly,3. Instruct. To justifie the care & paine to get grace. Is true grace fitly resembled unto gold? This serveth to justifie the paines, and care, and diligence, of all such, as labour ear­nestly to get saving graces, sc. because it is so precious. It is fitly compared unto gold, in [Page 22] respect of the worth of it; yea, it is more pre­cious, then the most fine gold, and therefore justifiable, and commendable is the course of all those that take paines to get true grace; yea, that preferre it before gold; for it is far more precious, as you have heard: they that choose this, have (with Mary) chosen the better part, which shall never be taken from them, Luk. 10. 42. Let no man say therefore, what need so much teaching, and preaching, and such running af­ter Sermons, &c. For it is necessary that the Word of God should be preached, Act. 13. 47. for it is the meanes, both to beget, and in­crease saving grace, which is of a golden qua­litie: and therefore sayth the Apostle in his valediction to the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, Acts 20. 32. And now brethren, I com­mend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up farther, and give you an inheritance among all them that are sancti­fied. It will never leave a man, untill it have brought a man into the new Jerusalem. Goe on therefore, O all ye Saints of God, Take fast hold of Instruction, let her not goe, keepe her, for she is your life, Pro. 4. 13. Cleave to the pos­session and practise of Gods truth, be not asha­med of it; it will make you happie for ever. Blessed is the man, that findeth me (sayth Wise­dome) watching dayly at my gates, and giving attendance at the postes of my doores, Pro. 8. 34, 35. and marke what an excellent reason shee giveth for this; for who so findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtaine favour of the Lord. Be not a­shamed [Page 23] then of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God, through faith, unto salvation, sayth the Apostle, Rom. 1. 16. O therefore let the kingdome of heaven suffer violence, and let the violent take it by force, Diligence to get true grace. Mat. 11. 11. Let men strive to enter into the strait gate; it is the ad­vise of our blessed Saviour, Luk. 13. 24. Yea, let us give all diligence, 2 Pet. 1. 5. Wherein should we give all diligence, if not in this, that is worth gold, yea, farre better then gold? They, and their money perish with thom, that thinke all the gold and silver in the world, worth one dayes fellowship with Jesus Christ, sayd that rare Italian Convert. Happy is the man that seeth so cleerely the worth of true grace, that he doth preferre it infinitely before all the treasures under heaven; yea, that looketh at the whole world, as a lumpe of vanitie, in comparison of saving grace. Such an one was Paul, Phil. 3. 8. yea, doubtlesse, I account all things but drosse, and doe judge them to be dung, that I may winne Christ. Such a rare sparke was Moses, that esteemed the reproach of Christ, greater riches then the treasures of Aegypt, Heb. 11. 26. He looked upon things with a spirituall and a judicious eye; preferring gold before all the drosse in the world.Be not dis­couraged by the opposi­tion of wic­ked men. Let not the Saints of God be discouraged, by the scoffes, and outcryes of the wicked, nor for the oppo­sition of unreasonable men. Who will let slip an opportunitie to get gold, because dogges will barke? In nothing be terrified by your ad­versaries (sayth the Apostle) which is to them, [Page 24] a token of perdition; but to you, of salvation, and that of God, Phil. 1. 28. Goe on still, and the blessing of Heaven goe with you; for, Blessed are all that heare the Word of God, and keepe it, Grace will bring joy & comfort in death. sayth our Saviour, Luk. 11. 28. This is that one thing needfull, which sball ne­ver be taken from you; this will goe along with you to the grave, when the worldling must leave all behinde him, he knoweth not to whom; this, that you have laboured for saving grace, shall affoord you comfort in death, and matter of rejoycing in the day of the Lord Iesus. Observe that excellent speech of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 1. 12. For our rejoycing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicitie, and godly sinceritie, not with fleshly wisdome, but by the grace of God, wee have had our conversation in the world: this will affoord comfort, and helpe in time of need, when all worldly hopes and helpes doe utterly perish, and come to nought: an excellent place to this purpose, in Heb. 4. 16. Let us goe boldly to the throne of grace, &c. that we may obtaine mercy, and finde grace to helpe in time of need. It is not gold, but grace, that is able to helpe in time of neede. O let us nei­ther be strangers to the throne of grace, nor the Word of grace, but daily converse with both; this is the way to be happie both here and hereafter. He that giveth all diligence to get grace, shall not loose his labour; there­fore sayth the Apostle, giving all diligence. adde to your faith. vertue, &c. for so an entrance [Page 25] shall bee made unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdome of Iesus Christ, 2 Pet. 1. 5. 11. It is the advise and counsell of our bles­sed Saviour in this place, I counsell thee to buy of me gold tryed in the fire, that thou mayest be rich: and so other where, Labour not for the meate that perisheth, but for the meate that en­dureth unto everlasting life, Ioh. 6. 27. and, first seeke the kingdome of God, and his righteousnesse, that is, labour, by getting entrance into the estate of grace, to get assurance of interest in the kingdome of glory, Matth. 6. 33. O never thinke it in vaine to serve God, for in due time yee shall reape, if yee faint not. Observe that speech of David, Psalm. 24. 5. Who shall ascend into the Hill of the Lord, and who shall dwell in his holy place? even Hee that hath cleane hands, and a pure heart, &c. Let no man say then, I have laboured in vaine, for God is not unrighteous to forget your godly la­bour in this kinde, Hebr. 6. 10. Let me there­fore encourage and presse you, in the words of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Therefore my be­loved brethren, be stedfast, and unmoveable, al­wayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, for as much as ye know, that your labour is not in vaine in the Lord.

Secondly,Vse 2. For Repre­hension of such as neg­lect, and de­spise the meanes to get grace. Is true saving grace, like gold tryed in the fire? This serveth to reprove all such, as will take no paines to get it, but doe utterly reject and scorne it, as the most idle and unnecessary thing in the world. Carnall men and women, are not of the opinion of [Page 26] our blessed Saviour, they doe not see any such worth, or golden vertue, or excellency in sa­ving grace; there are a thousand things, which they preferre before it, for the naturall man, receiveth or perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnesse unto him (he thinketh it a foolish thing to be so re­ligious, and so diligent to get grace) neither can hee know them, for they are spiritually dis­cerned; saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 2. 14. yea, the wisest and most discreete naturall man, is di­rectly of this opinion. The learned Grecians did account preaching foolishnesse, 1 Cor. 1. 21. although indeed, it be the wisdome of God, and power of God, and that unto salvation. Thus when Moses telleth Pharaoh, that hee must needs let them goe three dayes journey, into the Wildernesse; Yee are idle, ye are idle, saith he, Exod. 5. 8. He thought Idlenesse the occa­sion of their desire: yea, that is the opinion of every naturall man, he thinketh, and saith (at least in his heart) that it is in vaine to serve God, Your words have beene stout against me, saith the Lord, what have we spoken so much a­gainst thee? say they, Mal. 3. 13. Now ob­serve the Lords answer, Ver. 14. You have said, it is in vaine to serve God. So those in Job 21. 14. were even directly of that opinion, Now ô the monstrous folly and madnesse of these men! they preferre drosse, before Gold tryed in the fire. What would you say, if you saw a man have an heape of gold laid before him of the one side, and an heape of Chaffe, [Page 27] or Feathers, &c. on the other, and should see him neglect the gold, and set his mind, only upon the chaffe and feathers? It would make a man cry out, with the Apostle, O foo­lish Galathians! Gal. 3. 1. Here is the very picture of all such, as preferre sinne, and wealth, and the trash of this world, before saving grace and the power of godlinesse, looke upon the prophane worldlings that were bidden to the mariage feast of the Kings Sonne, Luk. 14. 18. They all with one consent, began to make excuse, (they were all just of one minde, they were resolved not one of them to come at the feast,) the first said, I have bought a peece of ground, and I must needs goe and see it, I pray thee have me excused, Ver. 19. and another said,Folly of such as neglect to get grace. I have bought five yoke of Oxen, and I must goe and prove them, I pray thee have me excused, Ver. 20. and the third said, I have maryed a Wife, and therefore I cannot come: there was no looking for him. O the folly of these men, to preferre such vaine and triviall things, before such a rare and heaven­ly banquet, Here is even our very case, there are a thousand things that we preferre before Christ, and grace, and therefore are unwor­thy of either: Matth. 10. 37. Alas! we are all mightily to blame this way, we are care­full and cumbred about many things, when the one thing needfull is wholly neglected: one, is for pleasure; another, for profit; another, for revenge; another, for his lusts: and the golden wedge of true saving grace, in the [Page 28] meane time is wholly neglected. What would you thinke of that man, that is all for the pre­sent, and nothing for the future? all for Sum­mer, nothing for Winter? Here is the case of all such as are wholly for the body, but not at all for the soule: looke into the glasse of the Gospell, and there yee shall see the picture of such a foole set out to the full, by our blessed Saviour, Luk. 12. There was a rich man (and therefore perhaps a wise man in his owne, and the worlds account,) yea, he did not thinke to spend all his time in getting, but at last, when he thought he had enough, he resolved to bee merry with it, and sucke the sweete of it, ver. 19. He said unto his soule, soule, thou hast goods layed up for many yeares, eate, drinke, and be merry: here was 1. Wit, to get wealth. 2. Wit, to enjoy it, and sucke the sweete of it: and yet marke what the Lords opinion was of this man, ver. 20. But God said unto him, Thou foole, this night shall thy soule be re­quired of thee, and then what shall become of the goods which thou hast provided? where was his folly? surely in this, that he had spent all his time to get wealth, in the neglect of his soule, in the neglect and contempt of true and saving grace, and therefore he was a most no­torious foole in the Lords account. Nay, what shall we say of such then, as are so farre from seeking grace, in the use of the meanes; that they doe reject the meanes of grace, when it is offered; and thrust it from them, and doe ut­terly despise and hate it: mark the condition of [Page 29] these men, Pro. 13. 13. He that despiseth the Word, shall be destroyed, yea, Pro. 29. 1. He that having beene often reproved, and yet hardeneth his heart, that man shall be destroyed without remedy; In the meane time, they are farre from salvation, Psalm. 119. 155. Salvation is farre from the wicked: Why so? for they regard not thy Sta­tutes: So that he that regardeth not the Sta­tutes of God, is farre from salvation: a wo­full thing, if it be but duely considered: Oh the wofull estate of all such! They doe judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life. A strange place we have to this purpose, Acts 13. 47. It was necessary, that the Word of God should be first preached unto you; but since yee thrust it from you, and doe judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life; behold, we turne to the Gentiles. So that here we see plainely, that they that have the Word of God preach­ed, and the meanes of grace offered, and yet reject it, and thrust it from them, they doe judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, and at last, the meanes shall be taken from them: yea, the estate of these men is so fearefull, and lamentable; that had I the tongue of men, and Angels, or the penne of an Apostle, I could never set it out to the full: see the inex­pressible wofulnesse of their condition, that despise the Gospell, 1 Pet. 4. 17. The time is come, that judgement must beginne at the house of God: and if it beginne at us, what shall the end be of those that obey not th [...] Gospell of God? No marvell if I cannot tell, yee see the Apostle [Page 30] Peter could not tell, or would not take in hand to expresse it; as if the estate of such, was mi­serable above all that a man can speake or ima­gine. Nay, at the last day, when they looke for the most comfort, they shall finde most hor­ror and bitternesse; In stead of a Saviour, Christ shall come at the last day, with his holy Angels, in flaming fire, to render vengeance on all them that know not God, and obey not the Gos­pell, saith the Apostle, 2 Thes. 1. 8, 9. ô wo­full thing to consider, when (instead of Come ye blessed) they shall heare the wofull and thun­dring voyce of Christ, denouncing this ter­rible Doome against them, Matth. 25. 41. Goe yee cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devill a [...]d his Angels, and no marvell neither, if they be thus punished, and doe bring such swift damnation upon themselves; for it is a fearefull signe, that all such are lost, and reprobates, for whom the blacknesse of dark­nesse is reserved for ever; 2 Cor. 4. 3. Iude Ver. 4. for if our Gospell be hid, it is hid to them that are l [...]st, saith the Apostle,Contempt of the means of grace, a fearefull signe of per­dition, or reprobation. whom the god of this world hath blinded, yea, a fearefull signe of reproba­tion, in this case, as doth appeare by that place of the Apostle, 2 Tim. 3. 8. As Iannes and Iam­bres with-stood Moses; so doe these men resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, and reprobate con­cerning the faith; the expresse words of the Holy Ghost; yea, they are such, of whom the Lord hath sworne in his wrath, that they shall ne­ver (unlesse they repent) enter into his rest, as we may see, Psalm. 95. 9, 10. &c. O the foo­lish, [Page 31] and franticke madnesse, of all those, that neglect and despise such a precious Iewell, as true saving grace: which for the worth of it, is fitly compared to gold, yea, gold tryed in the fire, yea, much more precious then the finest gold in the world.

CHAP. III.

Containing the use of examination.

THirdly,3. Vse. Examinati­on, whether wee have true grace, yea, or no. seeing true grace, is fitly resembled unto gold: this should teach us diligently to try, and ex­amine our selves, whether wee have any true grace in us, yea, or no; for true grace is of a right golden nature. Now that wee may not deceive our selves; let us try what metall our graces are made on, let us deale with our graces, (as knowledge, and faith, and love, and obedience) as men use to deale with their gold; let us try them throughly, whether they prove right currant gold, yea, or no; 2 Cor. 13. 5. Examine your selves, whether yee be in the faith, or no▪ whe­ther your faith be a right saving faith, yea, or no; That the tryall of your faith, being much more precious, then gold that perisheth, 1 Pet. 1. 7, As if he had said, try your faith, whether it be of the right precious metall, of a saving metall, which is indeed much more preci­ous [Page 33] then gold. Yea, not only our faith, but every other worke of grace in us, must bee examined and proved, Gal. 6. 4. But let eve­ry one prove his owne worke (the worke of grace in his owne heart) and then shall he have rejoy­cing in himselfe alone, and not in another. What good will it doe us, to know, that another man's gold is weight, and currant gold, if we bee ignorant of our owne? Let us therefore try our graces, whether they be of the right stampe, pure, currant gold, yea, or no. Now for the perfecting of this use, give me leave to shew you.

1. Some Motives, to perswade us to.

2. Some markes, to direct us in this tryall.

1. The Motives that may perswade us, to this exact tryall and examination of our gra­ces, are principally these foure.

1. The difficulty of the worke.

2. The danger of being mistaken.

3. The possibility of prevaileing.

4. The comfort that will redound to a man, when the worke is once throughly per­formed.

And first for the difficultie of the worke,Motive 1. Toperswade us to exa­mine whe­ther we have true grace, sc. the difficulty. All sorts of men apt to be deceived in judging in this case. wee had need to use all diligence to make sure worke in this case, because it is a worke of great difficulty, for a man to be assured in his soule, that the graces which he hath, and the gold he possesseth, are saving graces, and pure gold, yea, or no: for if we looke into expe­rience, we shall finde some men utterly decei­ved, in judging of the estates and condition [Page 33] of their owne hearts; some judging better of themselves then there is cause; and some againe thinking worse of themselves then they need to doe: so that of both these, that of the Proverbe may be fitly verified: Prov. 13. 7. There is that maketh himselfe rich, (as if he had a whole purse full of gold) and yet hath nothing: and there is againe, that maketh himselfe poore (as if hee had no gold at all) and yet hath great riches, the one fearefull, and timorous, without cause; and the other bold and confident, upon a false ground: according to that of the Wiseman, Prov. 14. 16. A wiseman (that is a godly man, and one that truely feareth God) feareth, and departeth from evill. The wicked deceived. Hee feareth, and hee doubteth; that his estate is not so good, as all this while hee hath taken it to bee; and thereupon hee like a wise man, taketh occasion, more and more to depart from evill: he walk­eth, and maketh straight steps to his feet, Hebrewes 12. 13. But the foole, (that is the prophane person, the beggar, that is utterly destitute of true [...]aving grace, that hath not so much as one peece of true gold in his heart) rageth, and is confident; he rageth, and hee rayleth, and hee swag­gereth, and yet hee is confident, hee shall goe to heaven, as soone as the best of them all; for thus hee reasoneth for him­selfe: I confesse, I speake amisse many times, I speake idlely, and wantonly, and pro­phanely, [Page 34] and sweare sometimes, when I am angry, and now and then, I doe that which is naught; but I thanke God, I have as good an heart towards God, as the best of them all, therein I am confi­dent: so this man is utterly deceived in judging of the state and condition of his heart towards God. So that yee see the worke is exceeding difficult: yea, see an experiment of this, in this Church of Lao­dicea, Revelations 3.Godly de­ceived in thinking he hath no grace, when indeed hee hath. what she thought of her selfe, is evident, Verse 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poore, and blinde, and naked: this is the condition of many a poore soule in the world. On the other side, many an one thinketh farre worse of himselfe, then there is cause: how many a sincere heart doth deepely charge it selfe with hypocrisie, and thinketh himselfe to be a very beggar, or a bankrupt, in respect of any gold of true grace? None so apt to complaine of the want of true grace, as hee that hath the greatest measure, at least, he that hath good store in sincerity. And the reason of this difficulty, is partly the devils cunning, and partly the deceitfulnesse of our owne hearts; these are two notable juglers, and they often concurre, to deceive all sorts of people in this case.

Besides, grace is a very secret thing, [Page 35] it is very rare and precious;Grace a Treasure, hid in the field. he is a man of a thousand that hath it: Saint Peter cal­leth it, The hid man of the heart, 1 Peter 3. 4. And a treasure hid in the field, Matth. 13. 44. Gold while it is in the Oare, is not so easi­ly discerned, untill it bee melted; so is true grace: but corruption is manifest (especially to such as have true saving grace) therefore saith the Apostle, Galathians 5. 19. The workes of the flesh are manifest. But when hee speakes of the fruits of the Spirit, verse 22. hee saith no such thing of their manifestation, but onely describeth what they are. So that an humble Christian, especially in case of temptation, or some spirituall desertion, hath such an eye to his corruptions, is so intent upon them, that he discerneth not the worke of grace in his owne heart, which to the judicious eye of another, is very manifest; hee seeth so great an heape of Chaffe in his soule, that hee thinketh the graine of true grace is wholly absent, because it is hidden; hee seeth such a great heape of Ashes in his heart, that hee thinketh the fire of true grace is utterly extinguished, and gone. See an experiment of both these, in the Pharisee, and the Publican, Luke 18. 11. &c. what a rich man was hee in his owne conceit? But the Publican, how poore was he in his owne opinion? he could see in himselfe nothing but s [...]ne and corrup­tion, and therefore hee cryeth out, ver. 13. [Page 36] ô God, bee mercifull to mee a sinner: as if hee had said, ô Lord, I am a sinner, a ve­ry grievous sinner, nothing but a very lumpe of sinne, a fardle of corruption, and if thou bee not mercifull unto mee, I shall perish for ever. But what is the opinion of our Saviour as touching both these? that yee shall see, verse 14. I tell you; this man (that is the Publican) went downe to his house, justified rather than the other, that is, but not the other. Besides, there is another thing that maketh it so ex­ceeding difficult,Much coun­terfeit grace in the world that is, that there is such a deale of counterfeit grace in the world; as yee know there is much coun­terfeit gold in the world, and that so like true gold, that it cannot be discerned, un­till it come to bee melted: so there is a great deale of counterfeit knowledge, and faith, and obedience, which cannot be well discerned, untill it come to the melting, in the fire of affliction: the Formalist com­meth so neare to the state of grace, that he is tryed onely in time of temptation, as our Saviour intimateth: Matthew 13. 21. For when tribulation, or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by hee is offen­ded; yea; this is the only way to try them, as the Lord himselfe seemeth to intimate, Jer. 9. 7. Behold, I will melt them, Melting, the chiefe meanes to discerne which is the true gold. and try them, for how shall I doe for the daughter of my people? I will try them, by melting of them. If wee see a serving man follow [Page 37] two Gentlemen, it is hard to say, whose man hee is, untill they part: so, while the Gospell and prosperity goe together, it is hard to know, which of these we serve, untill they part, as in time of persecution; then hee that cleaveth to a naked Christ, a naked persecuted Gospell, hee is the man that hath true grace indeed. This maketh it to bee so exceeding difficult, for a man to be sure that he hath true grace, because there is so much counterfeit grace, and Copper-gold in the world. There is a knowledge that puffeth up, which a man may have in abundance, and yet be with­out charity, and saving grace, 1 Cor. 13. 2. Counterfeit faith, as Simon Magus had, Acts 8. and yet an hypocrite. Counter­feit sorrow for sinne, and repentance, such as Cain, and Saul, and Ahab, and Iudas had, and yet was but the sorrow of the world, causing death. And so for love,Some kinde of Inno­cency, with­out true grace. and feare, and joy, and the like. Yea, (which is most strange) it is possible for a man to have a kinde of integrity, and in­nocency, and yet bee destitute of true sa­ving grace, for all that, as Abimelech, and Paul, before his conversion. 1. For Abi­melech, when God told him, that hee was but a dead man, because of Sarah, because shee was another mans wife: what saith he to God in that case? Genesis 20. 5. In the in­tegrity of my heart, and Innocencie of my hands have I done this; yea, the Lord him­selfe [Page 38] granteth, it verse 6. Yea, I know, that thou didst this, in the integrity of thy heart, that is, his heart was upright thus farre, that what hee did, hee did it ignorantly, and through mistake; for hee confessed, that hee knew adultery to bee so hainous a sinne, that hee would not have taken her, if hee had knowne shee had beene Abra­ham's wife: but indeed, Abraham was chiefely to blame, in saying, at best by way of concealement, that She was his Sister.

So, see what Paul saith of himselfe, Acts 23. 1. I have lived in all good Con­science, untill this day. How could that be, considering that hee had beene such a fu­rious persecutor, and one that even brea­thed out threatnings, and slaughter against the servants of God? Yes sure: because, alas! all this hee did it ignorantly, in unbe­liefe, 1 Tim. 1. Hee did not know them to be the Saints of God, but he thought them to bee a Sect, that was every where persecu­ted, and spoken against; and therefore hee thought it was his duty, to doe what hee did in that case, as appeareth, Acts 26. 9. I also my selfe thought that I ought to doe many things contrary to the Name of Iesus of Naza­reth; so that thus far his heart was alwayes upright, that he thought, even in persecu­ting, and kil [...]ing the Saints, that hee did God service, as our Saviour foretold, Iohn 16. 3. And therefore in this regard also it must need be exceeding difficult, for a man [Page 39] to be sure his gold is good metall, & that his grace is true, and it is easie to be mistaken. And this is the first Motive to perswade us to this examination, in regard of the diffi­cultie; which I have at large manifested unto you.

Secondly,2. Motive. The danger of being mistaken. The second Motive that may perswade us, to this diligent search, and examination, is, the danger of being mi­staken in this case. If a man be mistaken in a trifle, in a small piece of silver, a mat­ter of small moment, he careth not for it: but for a man to be mistaken in a great piece of gold, that is dangerous; much more, if a man turne all his wealth into gold, and then be cozened in that, he is utterly undone. Now here is our very case, all our spirituall wealth, and riches, doth consist in the gold of our graces; and therefore if they be counterfeit, a man is utterly undone for ever; for a man that is deceived with counterfeit gold, in­curreth a double danger especially; first, That it will not pay, nor passe currant in purchase, and bargaining, and so he loo­seth his purchase. I remember what is said of the silver, that Abraham weighed to Ephron the Hittite, whereby he purcha­sed the field and cave of Machpelah, Gen. 23. 16. Abraham (before witnesse) weigh­ed him the silver, even foure hundred Shekels of silver, currant money with the Merchants. So our gold of graces, must be good gold, [Page 40] of good weight; else they will not passe currant in bargaining, which is a great losse. But this is not all. For secondly, a man that hath counterfeit gold, is in dan­ger to be called in question about it, how he came by it, and perhaps he had it of seve­rall parties, and they strangers too, and so hee may be accused of counterfeiting the Kings coyne, and loose his eares, yea, per­haps his life, and soule too, in this case. O what a wofull thing will it be, when a man cometh at the last day (as he thinkes) with a purse full of gold, that is, an heart full of grace, and it prove false and counter­feit! he is then undone for ever. See how some will shew their gold at the last day, Mat. 7. 21, 22. Lord, Lord, here is my gold, here is my grace. He will say; Depart from me, I know ye not, I allow not of your grace, your gold is counterfeit; here is a wofull estate.

Thirdly,3. Motive. The possibi­litie of pre­vailing, not­withstanding the difficul­tie. because as the dutie is difficult, and it is a dangerous thing to be mistaken: so (on the other side) notwithstanding the difficultie, yet it is possible, for a man that hath true grace, to be sure that he hath it. Though it be very difficult, to know which gold is good, and will passe for currant, it is not impossible; else God would never require this dutie, of searching of us, under the time of the Gospell, if it were a thing altogether impossible; Let every man prove his owne worke, Gal. 6. 4. And let a man ex­amine [Page 41] himselfe, (sc. whether he have any true saving grace, yea, or no, 1 Cor. 11. 28.) This appeareth also by experience, and the examples of Gods Saints, that have beene rich towards God, they have beene assured upon good grounds, that their gold was good, their graces were such as did ac­company salvation. David, and Iob, and Paul, and others, were assured that they had saving grace, that they were filled with the fruits of Righteousnesse, and that not­withstanding the great store of counterfeit gold, that was in the world in their dayes, yet they were sure, that theirs was currant: and so may we, by the same priviledge of mercy, be as well as they. Besides, the truth of this appeareth farther; because it is pos­sible for a Christian to be assured of sundry other, as great matters as this, such as e­lection, vocation, justification, adoption, and redemption, and heaven it selfe.

First,Reason. It is possible for a man to be assu­red 1 of his election, and vocation,Of the possi­bility of be­ing assured, that wee have true grace, be­cause wee ma [...] be assu­red of our vocation, & election. 1 Thes. 1. 4. Knowing, brethren, beloved, your election of God. They knew they were elected and become vessels of mercy: and how did they come by this assurance? surely not by any speciall revelation onely, but by an ordina­ry meanes, sc. their effectuall vocation, and yeelding sincere and heartie obedience unto the Gospel; for so it followeth, Ver. 5. For our Gospel came not unto you, in word onely, but in power, and in the holy Ghost: they had [Page 42] obeyed from the heart the Gospel that was prea­ched unto them, and by that they might know they were elected. And why may not we be assured of our election, upon the like ground, as well as they? So, Col. 3. 12. Put upon you (as the elect of God, holy and be­loved) bowels of mercy, humblenes of minde, &c. It is possible, for a man to be assured that he is elected, and beloved of GOD. How? surely, if he can finde those markes of election (in himselfe,) which are there manifested and expressed. So, 2 Pet. 1. 10. Give diligence, to make your calling and electi­on sure. Where the Apostle sheweth, that if we give diligence, it is possible for us to be assured of our election. But how? Surely by making our vocation sure, by the holy fruits, and effects of it. So then, if a man may be assured of his election, and that by his effectuall calling and conversion: then much more may a man be assured of his gra­ces, that they are sincere; of his spirituall gold, &c. that it is sound, and good, and not counterfeit. He that may be assured of his election, may, much more, be assured, that he hath true saving grace in him, that his gold is right, and pure, and not coun­terfeit.

Secondly,2. Reason. 2. Of our justification. It is possible for a man to be assured of his justification, and of the free and full pardon, and forgivenes of all his sinnes. Rom. 5. 1. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Yea, but were they [Page 43] assured of it? for they might be justified (in foro Dei) and yet not know it? Yes,Certitudo spei. they were assured of it, to their joy and comfort, Ver. 2. And we rejoyce. in hope of the glory of God. So, Isa. 45. 24. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousnesse and strength. So that a man may be assured of his justification, much more, that his gold is not counterfeit.

Thirdly,3. Reason. Because we may be as­sured of our Adoption. A man may be assured of his a­doption, that God in Christ is his Father, and that, notwithstanding all his infirmi­ties, he is the deare childe of God, and in speciall favour with him: I say, it is possi­ble for a man to be assured of this, and out of doubt, in this case of so great importance. Isa. 63. 16. Doubtlesse, thou art our Father, though Abraham know us not, and Israel be ignorant of us, yet thou art our Father. Ye see how confidently they speake, they were out of doubt of it; and so may we, as well as they, by the testimony of Gods blessed Spi­rit, that neither can, nor will deceive us. Rom. 8. 16. The Spirit (of God) it selfe bea­reth witnesse, with our spirit, that wee are the children of God. And if a man may be assured he is Gods childe; why should it not be possible, for him to be sure, that the gold of his saving graces, is sincere, and will not deceive him.

Fourthly,4. Reason. Because we may be assu­red of our Redempti­on. It is possible for a man to be assured of his redemption, that even his soule is washed in the blood of Christ, and of his [Page 44] interest in the great worke of Christs Re­demption.We may be assured of our Redem­ption. Iob was assured of his Redemp­tion, that Christ was his living Redeemer, Iob 19. 25. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the later day upon the earth. So Paul was assured, that Christ was his Redeemer, and that he gave himselfe for him in particular, Gal. 2. 20. The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Sonne of God, who loved me, and gave himselfe for me, sayth the Apostle. If a man may be assured of his redemption, much more that his graces are sincere &c.

Fifthly,5. Reason. That when wee die wee shall goe to heaven. A man may be assured, that when he dieth, he shall goe to heaven: see what the Apostle sayth, 2. Cor. 5. 1. We know that when this earthly house of our Tabernacle, shall be dissolved, we have an house of God, not made with hands, eternall in the heavens. (i. e.) We know, that when these bodies of ours, which are made of earth, shall turne to dust, the soule shall goe to heaven, to that place which Christ hath prepared for us. So the Apostle S. Iohn, 1 Ioh. 3. 14. We know, that we are translated from death to life, (wee are as sure when we die, we shall goe to heaven) But how? What? by revelation? No sure, but because we love the brethren. He that is assured that he loveth the brethren, may be sure when he dieth, he shall goe to heaven; much more, that he hath true grace.

Sixthly,6. Reason. A man may be sure, that the goodnesse and mercy of God, shall follow [Page 45] him,That Gods goodnesse and mercy shall follow us all our dayes. all the dayes of his life; and conse­quently, of his continuance in the state of grace; much more, that his graces are sound and sincere; Psal. 23. 6. Surely, Goodnesse and Mercy shall follow me all the dayes of my life. He that can be assured of this, may be much more sure, that the gold of his graces are not counterfeit.

And so I come to the fourth,4. Motive. The comfort that will re­dound to the soule, when the worke is once throughly performed. and the last Motive, that may perswade us to this tryall, sc. the comfort that will hereby redound unto our soules, when the worke is once throughly performed: Gal. 6. 4. Let every one prove his owne worke, sayth the Apostle, and then shall he have rejoycing in himselfe, (sc. that his graces are sincere) and not in another. A man that hath had his gold cal­led in question, and yet proveth sound, and currant, oh it filleth him full of joy and re­joycing. Let this perswade us to try our graces, that wee may partake of that joy and comfort, which will hereby redound unto us; which is (as the Apostle speakes, 1 Pet. 1. 8.) A joy unspeakable, and full of glory. A peace that passeth all understanding, Phil. 4. 7. Let the expectation of this sweet fruit of joy, which will accompany our endeavours this way, make us fall to this worke, of searching our selves with all di­ligence. O what a comfort to Hezechiah (in that extremitie) that he was assured, and durst appeale to God, that his heart was upright! Isay 38. 3. Remember, Lord, I be­seech [Page 46] thee, how I have walked before thee, in truth, and with a perfect heart. So this also supported Iob, Iob 23. 10. He knoweth the way that I take; and when he hath tryed me, I shall come out like gold: there was his com­fort, that his graces were of a right golden metall, though his friends conceived other­wise of him, and charged him deeply with hypocrisie; yet he knew, that God knew his graces were sound, and upright: oh let us, in time, make the like search, and tryall of our graces, that he did, that we may have the like comfort, and ground of rejoycing, that he had. So, this was the Apostles com­fort at all times, whatsoever befell him, yet he knew that he was truely gracious, 2 Cor. 1. 12. Our rejoycing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicitie, and godly since­ritie; not with fleshly wisdome, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world: A man that is assured, that he hath an heart full of true saving grace, will have more true comfort in it, and more solid joy, then if he had a great chest full of gold. An heart full of grace, will affoord farre more joy, and comfort, then a purse full of gold. And this is the last Motive, that may perswade us to this tryall, and diligent exa­mination, whether our grace be sincere, and such as will not deceive us.

Now for the second generall poynt,The Nature and Markes of true grace. that I propounded for the perfecting of this poynt, sc. the Markes and Signes of true [Page 47] grace; they are indeede many; but I will keepe close to the Metaphor, which wee have in hand, and give you some few, for your satisfaction in this case.

First,1. Marke. True grace will make a mans face to shine in eve­ry condition. true and pure gold, gold tryed in the fire, will shew the lustre and bright­nesse, both in the fire, and water: so true grace, will teach a man how to cary himselfe in every estate and condition. Here was the tryall of Pauls grace, gol­den Paul (after his conversion) in all estates, Philippians 4. 11. I have learnd in what estate soever I am, therewith to be content; both to bee full, and to be hungry; to abound, and to suffer need. Though it bee a more blessed thing to give, rather then to re­ceive; yet hee that hath true grace, is skilfull in both, his face will shine in every condition.

He that hath true grace, will manifest it by his gracious cariage in every conditi­on, both in prosperity, and adversity; if he be rich, hee is bountifull, and liberall, he is Rich in good workes, and layeth up for him­selfe a good foundation, 1 Tim. 6. 17. If he be poore, he sheweth his golden nature in another kinde, in humble submitting to the will of God, It is the Lord, let him doe what seemeth him good, said golden Ely, 1 Sam. 3. 18. In his patience, and thank­fulnesse, he kisseth the rod, and thankes his father, even for his love in correcting. He is like a well cut Dye, every way square, [Page 48] which way soever ye cast it, cast it easily, it will be square; cast it violently, it remai­neth square still: so will a gracious heart, shew its puritie, in all estates, and con­ditions. Looke upon Job, in his twofold condition, and yee shall finde him pure gold, in both; looke upon his demeanour, in the water of prosperity, when hee even swome in Rivers of prosperity; oh how bountifull was hee, how full of good workes? Job 30. Chap. 31. By the Lords owne testimony, A man that feared God, and eschewed evill: none like him in all the earth, Iob 1. 1. 7. What a gracious testimony from God himselfe? Then looke upon him in the fire of adversitie; rich Iob, bountifull and liberall; poore Job, patient, and thankefull, Iob 1. 21. The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken, blessed be the Name of the Lord. True it is, he shewed some drosse in the melting; but looke upon him when he came out of the fire, oh then he was pure gold in­deed! this he was assured of while he was melting, Iob 23. 10. He knoweth the way that I take, and when he hath tryed me, I shall come out like gold: golden Iob indeed, when hee came out of the furnace of affliction. But now the wicked, as they are but drosse, Psal. 119. 119. so they shew their drossie nature in every estate: if they be rich and wealthy, then they are proud, and confi­dent, and given to oppression, ready to de­ny God, and trust in their wealth: and if [Page 49] they be poore, then they steale, and take the Name of the Lord in vaine, Pro. 30. 8, 9. They are drosse still in every condition; the more God melteth them, the worse they are: Why should they be smitten any more, for they do fall away more and more? Isa. 1. 5. See an expe­riment of this, in that close-hearted hypo­crite Ahaz (for all his faire shewes) he did shew himselfe but drosse, both in prosperi­ty, and adversitie: the more he prospered, the more he sinned: if he be victorious, he ascribeth the victory to himselfe, and his friends, and the gods of Damascus must be sacrificed unto, and a patterne of a new Altar must be fetched from thence, 2 Kings 16. 10. Well, if God take him in hand, and begin to melt him in the fire of affliction, he findeth him drosse still; so that hee was forced at last to cast him away, and set a marke upon him, for notorious drosse alto­gether, that none should ever take him for gold any more, 2 Chr. 28. 22. And in the time of his distresse, he sinned yet more, against the Lord. This is that King Ahaz: brand him up, score him up, set a marke upon him for ever, for most notorious d [...]osse indeed; because, the more hee was afflicted, the worse hee was; the more hee was melted, the more plainely hee appeared still to bee no­thing but a plaine lumpe of drosse. I pray let us try our selves by this marke, if wee can cary our selves aright in every estate, it is a signe we are pure gold; if not▪ we [Page 50] have cause to suspect our selves, to bee but drosse. Looke upon the golden Martyrs, in all ages; see what pure gold they pro­ved themselves, especially, in the fire of af­fliction: consider these golden Christians, Hebr. 10. 34. They suffered with joy, the spoyling of their goods, knowing that they had in heaven, a better, and a more enduring sub­stance, wee glory in tribulation. Here was bright shining gold indeed, gold tryed in the fire, as it is in our Text.

Secondly,2. Marke. True grace gotten by Gods Ordi­nances. Right currant gold, is that which commeth from the right place, from the Kings Minting house, and hath his Majesties stampe upon it; when they brought the Tribute money to Christ, Mat. 22. 20. he enquireth immediately, Whose Image, or superscription hath it? and they tell him, Caesar's: So look upon the gold of those graces which thou hast, and seriously consi­der, whence thou hadst them, and how thou camest by them: Did they come from the Minte of Gods Ordinance? Were they begotten at first, and are they still nouri­shed in thee, by these meanes? Didst thou get them, by prayer, and attending at the postes of Wisedomes gates? then it is a good s [...]gne, thy gold is good, thy graces are sincere; because they are begotten, and increased by the Word of Gods grace, Acts 20. 32. Thus Paul sendeth them still to the Minte, to get more grace, and to try their graces. And now, brethren, I commend [Page 51] you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up farther, &c. And so for the Throne of grace, Hebr. 4. verse 16. Let us goe boldly to the Throne of grace, whereby wee may finde mercy, and grace, to helpe in time of need; I pray let us try our graces by this touch­stone. How did we come by our graces? By what meanes were they begotten in thee? And how are they nourished, if not by these meanes? And it may be, thou canst give no account how thou camest by them: I begin straight to suspect them; for you know it is suspicious, for a man to have goods, and know not how he got them. Consider thy faith then, Art thou sure it is precious? Of the right stampe? More pre­cious then gold? Then sure it came from the Minte, it was given thee from above, Philip. 1. 29. To you it is given, not onely to believe, but also suffer, &c. If it be right faith, it was begotten by the Word of faith; Romans 10. 8. For faith commeth by hea­ring, and hearing by the Word of God. But he that boasts of his faith, and telleth me that he hath beleeved ever since he could remem­ber; as if the gold of faith, grew there by nature; I would no more beleeve, he had true faith, then I should thinke he said true, that should boast, that he had a purse full of gold, which came out of his purse bot­tome, and grew there by nature. I pray let us examine our selves by this mark, true [Page 52] gold commeth from the Minte: and so doth true grace, from the Minte of Gods Ordi­nances: if it grew in thine heart by na­ture, or is begotten, and nourished in thy heart by any other meanes, thou hast great reason to suspect, that such gold is but counterfeit, &c.

Thirdly,3. Marke. True grace is full weight, and will make a man univer­sall in his obedience. Gold tryed in the fire, if it come from the right Minte, is currant money with the Merchants, As Abraham's silver was, which hee weighed to Hephron the Hittite, Genesis 23. 16. Now gold is not currant with the Merchant, (though it seeme pure for the matter) if it want weight, and therefore Abraham weighed his silver, before the people of Ephron: so true grace is good weight, give it but the allowance of the imperfection, in respect of degrees, and it is full weight, in respect of parts; both in regard of the subject, wherein it is, and the object of it; weigh it in the ballance of the Sanctuary, and it will be found weight; for hee that hath true grace in every part, grace in the head, or understanding facultie of the soule, and grace in the heart, in the will, and the af­fections, he is sanctified throughout, 1 Thes. 5. 23. in his whole spirit, soule, and body; so that true grace is universall. Now an hypocrite, whose grace is but counterfeit, whose gold is Copper, sheweth it selfe de­fective in one kinde or other. If he have a little knowledge swimming in the braine, [Page 53] and therefore is able to speake well, as if he had grace; yet this worketh no reforma­tion in the outward man, there it wanteth weight; he is prophane still, he liveth in the secret practise of some knowne ungod­linesse, he hath some Rimmon, with Naa­man; some Delilah, with Sampson: but the golden Christian, is universally gracious, head, and heart, and life: as a child new borne, hath all the members of a man, though they be but weake, and it is long before he can use them. Or if the hypo­crite have so much seeming goodnesse, to gild over his outward behaviour, that he seemeth to be a right golden Christian in­deed; yet if it be not true grace, it refor­meth not the heart; whereas true grace pu­rifieth the heart, Acts 15. 9. If God be­gin to wash a man, he beginneth with the heart, Ier. 4. 14. Wash thy heart from wick­ednesse, ô Ierusalem: true grace washes, not only the hands, but also the heart. Here was Simon Magus his defects, if ye look upon his outward profession, he is turned Christian, he keepeth company with the Christian Apostles, he was also baptized, as a badge of Christian profession, &c. But where was the fault? Surely within: his heart was unsound, and rotten, notwith­standing his gilded out side, Acts 8. 21. Thine heart is not right in the sight of God; And pray God, if it be possible, the thoughts of thine heart, may be forgiven. He was [Page 54] but like a faire Aple, that was, notwithstan­ding, rotten at core.

2. True grace is universall, and full weight in respect of the object of it, that is, it will cause a man to yeeld obedience to all Gods Commandements. He that hath true grace indeed, will desire, and endea­vour in all things to live honestly, Heb. 13. 18. But counterfeit grace is not currant, in this regard; also, herein it wanteth weight, as it did before; an hypocrite is not univer­sall in his obedience, he is no good Catho­like in this respect, hee doth but picke and choose; some duties he liketh, but other he careth not for; some sinnes he avoydeth, but other he maketh no conscience of. Com­pare David and Iehu together, and they seeme, at first, to be both golden Kings, zea­lous men, and couragious Magistrates; but then againe, weigh their gold severally, in the ballance of the Sanctuary, and then yee shall finde, that Iehu's wanted weight. First, looke upon Davids aime in his obe­dience, and ye shall finde it universall, Psal. 119. 6. Then shall I not be confounded, when I have respect to all thy Commandements: here is downe weight.

But now weigh Iehu's gold, in the same ballance, and yee shall easily perceive that it was found too light; like Balthasar, Daniel 5. observe it, 2 Kings 10. When the Spirit of GOD had set out Jehu's zeale to the full, and given him his allow­ance [Page 55] and all, yet he cryeth out still, that it was too light, verse 31. But Iehu tooke no heed to walke in the Law of the Lord with all his heart; for he departed not from the sinnes of Ieroboam; and therefore GOD giveth him his temporall reward, sc. the thing that he chiefely aimed at, sc. the kingdome for himselfe, and his children for a time, and so sendeth him packing.

Let us try our gold by this marke, let us weigh it in the Ballance of the Sanctuary. Doth our grace shew it selfe in every part? Are we like the Church, Psal. 45. 11. All glorious, both within, and without? All gracious, in heart, and life? Here is a good signe our gold will passe currant, with the Merchant, because it is full weight, in this regard. Then againe, are we universall in our obedience? Doe wee endeavour to walke in all the Ordinances, and Com­mandements of God blamelesse? as was said of Zachary and Elizabeth, Luk. 1. 6. Doe wee desire in all things to live ho­nestly? Here is precious gold indeed, even gold tryed in the fire.

Fourthly,4. Marke. True grace will abide the fiery try­all, will make a man hold out in time of per­secution. True gold will abide the fie­ry tryall. Here is the true tryall of gold, when it cometh to be melted: Jer. 9. 7. I will melt them, and try them, for what should I doe for the daughter of my people? So that is true grace, that holdeth out in the fire of affliction; hence that phrase of the Apostle, in 2 Pet. 4. 12. Beloved, thinke it not strange, [Page 56] concerning the fiery tryall, as if some strange thing happened, but rejoyce rather, &c. be­cause here is the true tryall of your graces, that they are of a right golden nature in­deed. This was Iobs comfort, Job 23. 10. He knoweth the way that I take, and when he hath tryed me, I shall come out like gold. O golden Job, that was able to abide the fie­ry tryall! So looke upon the Apostles in the fiery tryall, when they were mocked, and threatned, and imprisoned, yea, and grie­vously scourged too, yet see how chearefull, and constant they were, for all that? Acts 5. 40, 41. They departed from the presence of the Councell, rejoycing, that they were accoun­ted worthy to suffer shame, for his Name. Here was right gold, tryed in the fire; see how bright they shine, when they newly come out of the furnace. Of such a golden temper was Paul: How couragious, and undaunted in tribulation? Troubles for Gods cause, did not trouble this good man; for when the Holy Ghost testified of him, that bonds, and afflictions abode for him, Acts 20. 23. But this doth not trouble me, neither is my life deare unto me, that I may finish my course with joy, and fulfill the mini­sterie, which I have received of the Lord Je­sus. Yea, when Agabus the Prophet fore­told his afflictions, so that his friends be­gan (even with teares) to disswade him from going up to Jerusalem, Acts 21. 11, 12, 13. Marke his couragious answere, a [Page 57] golden resolution: What doe yee weeping, and breaking my heart? I am readie, not one­ly to be bound, but to die at Jerusalem, for the Name of the Lord Iesus. True gold will a­bide the fire; he that hath true grace, will be constant and faithfull even unto death, and will cleave unto Gods service in time of danger, as well as in time of safetie. See an experiment of this, in Daniel, and the three noble Jewes. First, for Daniel, he did not content himselfe, to serve God onely in time of safetie, but also in time of the grea­test perill and danger, (Dan. 6. 10.) for when he knew that the writing was sig­ned, he went into his house, &c. and pray­ed, and gave thankes before his God, as he did aforetime; though he adventured his very life in this case, to be cast into the Ly­ons den. So that ye see, that Daniels graces were pure gold indeed; he was the same in time of danger, that he was before time, in time of safetie. So for the three noble Iewes, Daniel 3. When they were threatned with the fiery furnace, if they would not wor­ship the Kings golden Image; marke their couragious answere, that same golden reso­lution of theirs, Ver. 17. Our God, whom wee serve, is able to deliver us, &c. But if hee will not, be it knowne unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden Image which thou hast set up: and so were cast into the hot fiery furnace. Here were three precious pieces of gold, that [Page 58] were readie to abide the fiery tryall.

But as for the wicked, it is not so with them: they may have a faire golden shew, untill they come to the melting; but no hypocrite can abide this fiery tryall: herein the true Christian out-strippeth the temporarie; as our Saviour sheweth evidently, Luk. 8. with Mat. 13. 21. Yet hath he no roote in himselfe, but endureth for a season: Why so? He answereth, For when tribulation, or per­secution ariseth, because of the Word, by and by he is offended. He is not able to abide the scorching heate of persecution, in, and for the good cause of God. So that this fire of persecution, is fit to try every mans worke, whether it be gold, and silver, or hay, and straw, or stubble. Pertinent is that of the Apostle, to this purpose, in 1 Cor. 3. 12, 13. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, &c. or wood, hay, or stubble; e­very mans worke shall be made manifest. How? Because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every mans worke, of what sort it is. That is true grace indeed, that abideth the fiery tryall.

But a question may here,Quest. not unfitly, be moved, sc. Whether an hypocrite may not hold out, even unto death, and abide the tryall of the fire?

Yes. He may stifly hold out,Answ. and persist in some course that he hath begunne, and ra­ther give his body to be burned, then for­sake it. This the Apostle seemeth to inti­mate, [Page 59] 1 Cor. 13. 3. Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charitie, it profiteth me nothing. But yet, first, it is not in, or properly for the good Word of God, that he thus suffereth; but as a busie body, out of some odde humour, or proud factious dis­position. Now it is properly the cause,Causa, non poena facit Martyr [...]. S. August. and not the punishment, that maketh a martyr; and therefore sayth our Saviour, Mat. 13. 21. When tribulation, or persecution ariseth because of the Word, he is offended. A Chri­stians suffering, is, and must be well groun­ded upon the Word, else he suffereth not as a Christian, but as a busie body, 1 Pet. 4. 15, 16. Secondly, If his cause, in which he snf­fereth be good, yet he suffereth without cha­ritie, not out of love, either to God, or his truth; but out of selfe-love, and so is worth nothing. So that he that will hold out in a good cause, even unto death, and that in obedience to God, and out of love to his truth, the graces of such a man are pure gold indeed.

CHAP. IV.

Containing the use of Consolation.

THirdly: This Doctrine serveth for comfort,3. Vse. Of consola­tion, to such as have true grace. and consolation, to such as are truely godly, and re­ligious: whatsoever thy con­dition be, for outward things, yet it is splen­did and glorious within, thou art truely rich, rich towards God: an heart full of saving grace, is more worth then a purse full of gold. Put case that (in respect of any temporall wealth) thou canst truely say with the Apostle, Acts 3. 6. Silver, and gold have I none: yet, if thou hast plentie of true saving grace, thou art a rich man in Gods account, full of spirituall wealth, thou art rich towards God, Luk. 12. 22. which is the best riches in the world; God esteemeth thee more highly for thy inward wealth, sc. that thou art truely golden, and religi­ous, then men can despise thee for thy out­ward povertie: and know this also for thy comfort, that though the foolish, blind world, doe despise thee for thy povertie; yet God thinketh never a whit the worse of thee in that regard; for he regardeth not the rich, more then the poore, Iob 34. 19. [Page 61] Yea, he thinketh better, of every godly poore man, then he doth of any ungodly rich man whatsoever, Pro. 28. 6. Better is the poore, that walketh in his integritie, then he that is perverse in his wayes, though he be rich. A godly poore man is able to say with the Apostle, in some measure, 2 Cor. 5. 1. Wee know, that when the earthly house, of this Ta­bernacle, shall be dissolved; we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternall in the heavens. But the wicked (though never so rich, yet if he be impenitent,) shall be turned into hell, and all that forget God. Yea, every godly poore man, that is rich in grace, and endued with the true feare of God, findeth better acceptance with God, then any un­godly rich man whatsoever, Acts 10. 35. Of a truth I perceive, that God is no respecter of persons, but in every Nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousnesse, is accepted with him, sayth the Apostle. Oh how this should comfort us, against the reproaches, and aspersions of the world, sc. that in the meane time, God himselfe doth kindly ac­cept of us, and hath us in singular love for his Sonnes sake; yea, will manifest this love one day, before men, and Angels, in bestow­ing no lesse then a Kingdome upon us, Luk. 12. 32. Feare not little flocke, for it is my Fathers pleasure, to give you a Kingdome: yea, the great and glorious Kingdome of Heaven, is provided, as well for godly poore men, as for the richest persons in the [Page 62] world, Jam. 2. 5. Hearken my beloved bre­thren (sayth the Apostle) hath not God chosen the poore of the world, rich in faith, and heires of the kingdome, which he hath promised to them that love him? Oh how this may comfort us, in regard of outward poverty? It will keepe no man out of heaven, that hath an heart full of the golden graces of Gods Spirit, no more then outward wealth, of it selfe, can keepe a man out of hell. Luk. 16. The rich man (there) notwithstanding all his wealth, was deeply plunged into hell, and Lazarus, even poore Lazarus, was caried, by the Angels, into A­brahams bosome. Onely be sure, that the gold which thou hast, is true and right gold, and not counterfeit. And therefore againe, and a­gaine, I exhort every one, that desireth to have interest in the comfort now propoun­ded, that he be sure, he be not deluded, nor gulled in this case, with feigned gold, and counterfeit metall, in stead of true saving grace indeed. Now, because it is, on the one side, so easie a thing to be deceived, & with­all, so exceeding hard and difficult for a man to be well assured, that his graces are sincere, (besides what you have already heard in the former use) I will give you two or three o­ther signes, by which you may understand, that the golden graces of Gods Spirit in you, are sound, and not counterfeit.

First,1. Signe. He that hath true grace, will use it to Gods glory, & the good of others. He that hath true grace, right gold indeed, will be carefull to use it to Gods glo­ry, and the good of others; he is no niggard [Page 63] of it, nor layeth it up in a Napkin, but is ve­ry free, and liberall, in communicating what he hath, for the benefit of others: he is not content to be religious himselfe alone, but doth earnestly desire, & carefully endeavour, that others may have true grace, and become religious, as well as himselfe; and his very speeches, and whole cariage, will manifest no lesse. Psal. 37. 30, 31. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisedome, his tongue will be talking of judgement, the Law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps slide. Such a man, followeth that golden rule of the Apostle, Col. 4. 6. Let your speech be alwayes gracious, seasoned with salt, such as may minister grace to the hearers; when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren, saith our Saviour, Luk. 22. 32. Loe the concomitant, and inseparable conse­quent, of true conversion. See this dispositi­on in divers. That man, that hath true grace himselfe, earnestly desires and endeavoureth that others may be truely good, as well as himselfe. See it in one, that had very little time to live after his conversion, and that is, the Thiefe on the Crosse, Luk. 23. 40. He vin­dicateth our Saviours innocency, confesseth his own, and his fellowes just punishment, earnestly laboureth the conversion of his companion, that as they had lived wicked­ly, so his earnest desire was, that they might both die penitently; Fearest thou not God, (sayth he, rebuking his fellow) seeing thou art in the same condemnation? (i. e.) Oh, feare [Page 64] God, repent, and turne truely to him, &c. So that, as he prayed for himselfe unto our Saviour; so he sought earnestly the con­ver [...]ion, and spirituall good of his partner. I might likewise instance in David, Psal. 51. 13. Then shall I teach thy wayes unto the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. No good man is content to goe to Heaven alone, but earnestly desireth company. The woman of Samaria, telleth her neighbours of our Saviour, when shee was throughly wrought upon, and converted her selfe. I might give you sundry instances to this pur­pose; but I will content my selfe with one onely, and that is the Apostle Paul; see what a speciall care, and respect he had for the good of others; observe that speech of his, Rom. 10. 1. Brethren, my hearts desire, and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. This made him so abundant in la­bours, especially in travelling to preach the Gospell; because hee earnestly desired, and endeavoured the conversion of others. Yea, such was his earnest desire this way, that he seemed to preferre the salvation, of his Country-men the Iewes, before his own eternall happinesse, and salvation. An ad­mirable place to this purpose, is that which we have, Rom. 9. 3. For I could wish my selfe separate and accursed from Christ; for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh, yea, he sought earnestly the conversion, and salvation both of Jewes, and Gentiles, even [Page 65] every man, if he could possible, Colos. 1. 28. Teaching, and admonishing in all wisedome, that I might present every man perfect in Christ Iesus. Yea, consider the speech of his to Agrippa, Acts 26. 27, 28, 29. Almost thou perswadest mee to become a Christian, saith the King. See what an admirable answer hee returneth (speaking out of the abundance of gracious love, and the hea­venly affection that was in his heart) I would to God, that not onely thou, but all that heare me this day, were both almost, and altogether such, as I am, except these bonds. O golden Paul! Oh gracious soule, that is desirous, that other, even all others were truely religious, as well as him­selfe! I pray let us all try our selves by this note. Where is our care, and earnest desire for the good of others, especially our families, and those that are committed to our charge? Yea, what cause have they to consider this, that are so farre from ende­vouring the conversion of others, that they doe labour to quench those beginnings of true grace, which they see in any; Yea, and are enemies to Gods people, only for their piety; and hate them, because they follow the thing that is good? Well, (to say no more in this case) the truth is, this ar­gueth, that these men are not onely emp­ty, and voyde of all true grace, but even full of the spirit of Sathan, and Anti­christ: it is even unto such a fearefull to­ken [Page 66] of perdition, as the Apostle speaketh, Phil. 1. 28.

Secondly,2. Signe. Hee that hath true grace, is still desirous of more. hee that hath true grace in­deed, is not content with that measure of grace, which he hath for the present, but earnestly coveteth after more: for though he be no niggard of it, yet he is withall a good husband with it, and laboureth daily to encrease it; yea, hee is the more liberall in this case, and is the more ready and wil­ling to impart what graces hee hath, for the good of others, because hee know­eth, that it is one speciall way and meanes, to augment, and increase his store. For as a great deale layd up in a napkin, will quickly come to just nothing: so a little well improved, will quickly bee increa­sed, as our Saviour saith fitly, in this very case, Matth. 25. 31. For unto him that hath, shall bee given, and hee shall have abundance, None so desirous to grow and increase in grace, as they that have good store of grace already: he that hath thirtie, is very desi­rous of sixtie; and hee that hath attained to sixtie, is not well contented, untill he have an hundred fold. Oh that we would try our selves by this note. Wouldest thou be sure, that the grace which thou hast is not counterfeit, but sound and good? Where is then thy desire to grow and in­crease in it? Doest thou daily labour to grow in grace? 2 Peter 3. 18. Doest thou covet earnestly the best things? Art thou [Page 67] still desirous of more? &c. Certainely this is a very comfortable signe that thy graces are sincere.

See an experiment of this in Paul. Af­ter he had once gotten some of this hea­venly gold of true grace, hee was never satisfied with the measure which he had, but was still desirous of more, alwayes ayming at perfection; observe it, Phil. 3. 13. This one thing I doe, forgetting those things which are behinde, and reaching forth to those things that are before, verse 14. I presse towards the marke, or the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let such try themselves by this Signe. that thinke that they have holinesse, and Religi­on enough, and that it is not good to bee too forward; none of these are afraid of having too much gold, which is farre more dangerous; for a man cannot have too much true saving grace, though hee may have more wealth, then he can well tell how to use. He therefore that thinketh that he hath grace enough already, and is afraid of having too much, it is a shrewd signe that he hath no true grace at all. Let us therefore strive to manifest the truth of our graces,3. Signe. Hee that hath true grace, [...] the Word [...]f grace; [...] begotten & e [...]creased. by our earnest des [...]re, and care­full endeavour to get more.

Thirdly and lastly, for conclusion of this point. He that hath true grace, hath respect to the Word of Gods grace, by which it is begotten and encreased, 1 Pet. [Page 68] 2. 1. As new borne babes desire the sincere milke of the Word, that yee may grow there­by; How doe wee stand affected to Gods Ordinances? What account doe we make of prayer, publike, and private? What reckoning of the Sacraments, those seales of righteousnesse? In what esteeme have we the Word faithfully read and preached, which is called, The Word of Gods grace, Acts 20. 32. And now brethren, I com­mend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up farther, &c. He that is carelesse and disregardfull of this, can have little assurance of the worke of true grace, being wrought in his heart. They are scarce new borne, that love not the meanes, and instruments of their new birth, or regeneration. Looke upon all those golden persons recorded in Scrip­ture, and you shall finde what a singular affection they have ever borne to the Word, read, and preached. Iob esteemed it more then his necessary foode, Iob 23. 12. Ieremiah saith, It was to him the very joy, and re­joycing of his heart, Ier. 15. 16. and Da­vid's affection in this case was admirable, and extraordinary, Oh how I love thy law! It is my meditation continually, Psalme 119. 97. It was dearer to him, then thousands of gold and silver, sweeter then honey, and the honey combe, &c. So that, hee that despi­seth God's holy Ordinances, and the meanes which God hath appointed for the beget­ting, [Page 69] and increasing of true grace in the hearts of his people; out of doubt he hath not the spirit of David in him; hee is ra­ther empty, and destitute of the golden graces of Gods Spirit, then filled with the fruits of righteousnesse. Let us therefore try our selves impartially, and faithfully, by these signes that wee have heard; that we may be assured the gold of grace which we have, or seeme to have, is true gold, and not counterfeit, and such as will de­ceive us. You that finde your selves stored with this precious commodity, blesse God for it, and bee thankefull; for true saving grace is, like Gold tryed in the fire, pure, and precious.

And thus much shall serve for the first point.

CHAP. V.

Containing t [...]e second generall point.

ANd so I come to the second point,Doctrine 1. All that have true grace, are most truly and spiritually rich. which is to be observed in these words, sc. this. That the gold of true saving grace, is the onely way, and meanes to make us truly, and spiritually rich, Buy of me gold, that thou mayest be rich, saith our Saviour. Loe, here the chiefe way, and meanes to be­come truly and spiritually rich, this is du­rable riches, and righteousnesse, saith the Wise man; Proverbs 3. 15. Yea, true grace is the meanes to make a man rich towards God, it is the speech of our Saviour, Luke 12. 21. So is he that gathereth riches for him­selfe, and is not rich towards God: where we see, that it is possible for a man to be plen­tifully furnished with worldly riches, and yet bee a poore man in the Lords ac­count.

2. That true saving grace is a Iewell of such excellent and precious worth, that it is able to make a man rich towards God, truly, and spiritually rich indeed. And there is also great reason for it. For,

[Page 71] 1. Because true saving grace,1. Reason. Because it doth entitle a man to Christ, & all h [...]s riches. doth en­title a man to the Lord Iesus Christ, with all his inestimable wealth and riches, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22. where speaking to such, as were religious, and had true grace, he saith, All is yours, whether it bee Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, &c. All is yours, and yee are Christ's, and Christ is God's; Yea, the very unsearchable riches of Christ, doe belong to such as have true saving grace, Ephes. 3. 8. Oh the unsearchable riches of Christ! ô the infinite fulnesse of grace, that is in Christ! In him dwelleth the fulnesse of the God-head bodily: yea, there is all ful­nesse in Christ for ever, in him it dwelleth, Colos. 1. 19. Now all this belongeth direct­ly to such as feare God, and are truly reli­gious, Of his fulnesse wee have all received, and grace for grace; Iohn 1. 14. Yea, the Lord Iesus Christ became poore, on pur­pose to make us truly rich, 2 Cor. 8. 9. Yee know the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for your sakes hee be­came poore, that wee, through his poverty might become rich, saith the Apostle. He that hath speciall interest in Christ, with all his riches, must needs be most truly and spiri­tually rich: but he that hath true saving grace, hath this speciall interest in the un­searchable riches of Christ; and therefore such an one must needs be most truly, and spiritually rich.

2. He that hath true saving grace,2. Reason. hath [Page 72] the God of heaven for his portion.Hee that hath true grace, hath the God of heaven for his portion. Now how can he be poore that hath such a porti­on? This is the very case of every man, that hath true saving grace, sc. that hee hath the God of heaven for his portion, Lament. 3. 24. The Lord is my portion, saith my soule, therefore will I hope in him. So, Psalme 16. 5. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: where we see, that such as have true grace, have the Lord himselfe for their portion; yea, they may be assured that he is so, Psal. 142. 5. I cryed unto the Lord, and said, thou art my refuge, and my portion, in the land of the li­ving? He that is assured in his soule, that he hath the God of heaven and earth for his portion, is most truely and spiritually rich, even towards God: But he that hath true saving grace, may be assured that hee hath the God of heaven, and earth for this por­tion; and such a man is most truly and spi­ritually rich.

Thirdly,3. Reason. Hath a true right and title to hea­ven. this precious gold of true sa­ving grace, doth entitle a man to heaven, for his inheritance. Hee that hath true grace, may be sure (when he dyeth) he shall goe to heaven, 2 Cor. 5. 1. We know, that when this earthly house of this tabernacle, shall bee dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternall in the heavens. Hence is that speech of the Apostle, 1 Pet. 1. 3, 4. Blessed be God, and the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, &c. which hath begotten us [Page 73] againe to an inheritance, immortall, and unde­filed, that fadeth not away, &c. To the same purpose is that speech of our Saviour, Matth. 25. 34. Come yee blessed children, of my Father, inherit the kingdome prepared for you, from the beginning of the world. This is the very case of every man that truly fea­reth God, and hath true saving grace, they are the members of Christ, the children of God, and inheritors of the kingdome of heaven; observe it, Psalm. 24. 3, 4. Who shall ascend into the Hill of the Lord? and who shall dwell in his holy place? who shall bee a member of the Church militant on earth, and also a member of the Church Triumphant in heaven? He that hath cleane hands, and a pure heart, &c. See here the de­scription of that man that hath interest in heaven for his inheritance. So also, Revel. 22. 14. Blessed are they that doe his Com­mandements, for they shall enter in through the gates, into the City, sc. of the New Jerusa­lem, &c. Yea, how poore or despicable so­ever their condition and outward estate may be here on earth, Jam. 2. 5. Hath not God chosen the poore of the world, rich in faith, and heires of the kingdome, which God hath promised to them that love him?

Fourthly and lastly,4. Reason. Hee that hath a com­fortable right and ti­tle to the things of this life. He that hath true saving grace, and speciall interest in Christ, hath a comfortable right and title to the things of this life, which God conferres upon him, yea, unto all the good things of [Page 74] God, whether spirituall, or temporall, all is theirs; Gods ordinances are theirs, Gods Ministers are theirs, all the good creatures and blessings of God are theirs, yea, even those that seeme to have nothing (if they have true saving grace) have in­terst in, and possession of all things. Ob­serve that speech of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22, 23. All is yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or life, or death, &c. all are yours, and yee are Christs, and Christ is Gods. Here we see, that Christians, and such as have true grace, are no beggars, but the richest persons under heaven. They that have true grace, and title to Christ, have a comfortable right and title to all the good things of God, spirituall, and temporall, all is theirs, yea, (which is most strange) all is the true christians, even in possessi­on, 2 Cor. 6. 10. As having nothing, and yet possessing all things: Loe, here the wealth and riches of all true Christians, even when they seeme to have nothing, they have all things in possession: so that get Christ, and get all, Rom. 8. 32. God that spared not his owne Sonne, but delivered him to the death for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? And therefore all such as have true grace, are the richest persons in the world, though enjoying little, yet in a contentation and competency abounding in all things:Theophyl. in loc. Gal. 4. 15. The houses of all good men being open to the Apostles.

[Page 75] First,Vse. Instruction Hence see how much the world is deceived, in judging of the estate of Gods people. This serveth to teach us how much the world is deceived, in judging, and cen­suring of the estate, and condition of Gods people. Oh! the world thinketh Gods peo­ple to be the poorest, and basest, yea, and most despicable people in the world; whereas here you see, that they are best furnished with that most precious commodity, which is able to make them truely and spiritually rich, even rich towards God. Doe but consider of what rich parentage they come, they have the God of heaven and earth for their Father, the Lord for their portion, and their helper, and heaven it selfe for their inheritance; yea, and all the Ordinances, and Ministers, and all the good things of God, are theirs, and therefore they are ab­solutely the most wealthy, and the richest persons in the world: they are indeed the poore of the world, yet rich in faith, and inhe­ritors of the kingdome of heaven; yea, howsoever the world judgeth of them, they are the most precious and honourable per­sons in the world, in Gods account: they are such, of whom the world was not worthy, Heb. 11. 37, 38. See the high esteeme that God hath of all such as are religious, Isa. 43. 5. Since thou art precious in my sight, and ho­nourable, and I have loved thee, sayth God. They are the most precious and honourable persons in the world, in Gods account. See then how the mis-judging world is decei­ved in this case, in accounting Gods people [Page 76] to be the scumme and off-scouring of the world, whereas indeed they are the most glorious and most honourable persons in the world; The righteous is more excellent then his neighbour, Pro. 12. 26. sc. that is not righteous, yea, and a farre richer, and a bet­ter man in Gods account; as, Pro. 28. 6. Better is the poore, that walketh in his integri­tie, then he that is perverse in his wayes, al­though he be rich. A godly poore man is farre better, yea, (which is strange) farre richer in Gods account, then any ungodly rich man whatsoever; for hee is rich in Christ, rich in faith, full of the golden gra­ces of Gods Spirit; and therefore the world is utterly deceived, that doe judge the con­trary, and thinke, and esteeme most basely of him.

Secondly,Vse 2. Comfort Gods peo­ple, in re­spect of the disgrace that is cast upon them. This serveth to comfort Gods people, in respect of the disgrace, and pres­sure of worldly povertie. The poore is hated even of his neighbour, Pro. 14. 20. Povertie, is of it selfe sufficient, to bring Gods people into contempt, and hatred; yet let Gods people, and such as are religious, comfort themselves in this case, upon these ensuing particulars.

First,1. Ground. Truely rich in Gods e­steeme. That howsoever the world speak­eth, or esteemeth of thee, yet thou art true­ly rich in Gods account, full of spirituall wealth, and riches, even rich towards God; as our Saviour himselfe speaketh, Luk. 12. 21. Rich in faith, Iam. 2. 5. though perhaps [Page 77] poore, in respect of gold and silver; rich in hope, yea, full of spirituall wealth and ri­ches in possession; all Gods ordinances, the Word, and Sacraments are thine, Gods faithfull Ministers are thine, yea, the graces of Gods Spirit are thine; all the promises recorded in Scripture, are thine inheritance; Who through faith and patience inherit the pro­mises, sayth the Text, Heb. 6. 10. So that hence it followeth, that Gods promises are the Christians inheritance. Looke into the rich wardrobe of Gods promises, and then consider how rich you are therein; and cer­tainly, it will exceedingly comfort you, in regard of worldly povertie.

Secondly,2. Ground. God regar­deth no ma [...] simply for his outward wealth and riches. Consider, that as [...]od regar­deth no man that more, simply for his wealth and riches; so he thinketh never the worse of any for his povertie, if he be otherwise truely godly, and religious. Observe it, Iob 34. 19. He regardeth not the rich more then the poore, sayth the Text, sc. for his riches, riches availe not in that case, nor can pro­cure any the least acceptance with GOD; onely the true feare of God, and faith in Christ, is that which doth procure accep­tance with God, Acts 10. 35. Of a truth (sayth the Apostle) I perceive, that God is no respect [...]r of persons, but in every Nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousnesse, is accepted with him; sc. how poore soever they may be, for outward things. Oh! how this may comfort us, in respect of the [Page 78] disgrace, and contempt that is cast upon us, by the world; sc. that God himselfe doth highly esteeme, and kindly accept of us. The Lord maketh choice in speciall manner, of such as are godly, and religious; Psal. 4. The Lord hath chosen, or set apart for him­selfe, the man that is godly: yea, how poore soever he be, if he be also poore in spirit, the Lord will never reject him, but freely make choice of him to be his sonne and servant; Iam. 2. 5. Hath not God chosen the poore of the world, rich in faith? Onely let our care be to be rich in faith, and then let us never doubt of finding acceptance with God, not­withstanding our outward povertie. Here is the second ground of comfort for all god­ly poore ones, sc. that they finde farre bet­ter acceptance, and favour with God, then any ungodly person whatsoever. It is not povertie▪ but sinne onely, that can separate betweene God and us: Your iniquities (not your povertie) have separated between you and your God: onely beware of sinne, and then assure thy selfe, that povertie can never separate betweene thee and God.

Thirdly,3. Ground. God is rea­dy to heare the prayers of godly poore men, as soone as those that are r [...]ch. Consider that God is as readie to heare the prayers of a godly poore man, as any rich man whatsoever: not riches, but grace onely is prevalent on this behalfe, Ioh. 9. 31. We know (sayth the blind man) that God heareth not sinners, sc. how rich so­ever they be, but if any man be a worshipper of God, and a doer of his will, him he heareth, [Page 79] how poore soever he be for outward things. See a direct proofe for this, Psal. 10. 14. The poore committeth himselfe to thee, for thou art the helper of the friendlesse: yea, this should encourage others, when they consider this, Psal. 34. 6. This poore man cryed, and the Lord heard him, sayth the Text. Not pover­tie, but sinne and iniquitie is that alone, that stoppeth up the eare of God, against our prayers. The Lord, of his speciall goodnes, prepareth for the poore, Psal. 68. 10. yea, The Lord heareth the poore, sayth the Text, Psal. 69. 33. The Lord will fulfill the desire of such as feare him, (though they be poore) he will heare their cry, and will helpe them. Here is another speciall priviledge, where­in Gods poore ones have as much interest, as any the richest persons in the world: yea, the promises of being heard, Mat. 7. 7. Isa. 65. 24. doe belong to Gods poore peo­ple, as much as to the richest or wealthiest persons under heaven. Here is the third ground.

Fourthly and lastly,4. Ground. A godly poore [...] may goe to heaven, as soone as the rich. Consider, that a godly poore man, may goe to heaven, at his death, as soone as the richest person in the world. It is grace onely, and not riches, that will bring a man to heaven at the last: and therefore be of good comfort, O thou godly poore man, for thou mayest goe to heaven, as soone as the richest miser in the world; yea, and sooner too, and with far lesse difficultie. How hardly shall they that [Page 80] have riches enter into the kingdome of heaven? sayth our blessed Saviour. It is marvellous hard, and difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdome of heaven; for rich men are apt to trust in riches, and depart from the living God, 1. Tim. 6. 17. or else they are apt to be proud of their wealth, and riches, and so deny God. This made holy Agur, e­ven afraid of riches; Pro. 30. 8, 9. Give me not povertie, nor riches, &c. Why not riches? What hurt could there be of being rich? Yes, sayes he, not riches, least I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Like un­to proud wealthy Pharoah, Exod. 5. 5. Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice, to let Israel goe? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel goe; loe here the fruit of unsancti­fied wealth and riches, yea, rich men are most apt to forget God, Deut. 8. But now a godly poore man, is free from temptati­ons of this kinde; a godly poore man is in no such danger, runneth no such hazzard, either to be proud, or deny God, or forget God, or the like, &c. But on the contrary, his povertie being sanctified, is a speciall meanes to subdue, and beate downe these lusts, and to mortifie these unruly corrup­tions: povertie in his outward estate, through the good hand of God, is a meanes to make him poore in spirit, and so to dis­pose, and fit him for heaven; for blessed are the poore in spirit, for theirs is the kingdome of heaven, sayth our Saviour, Mat. 5. 3. yea, [Page 81] God (for the most part) doth usually passe [...]y the rich and wealthy, and maketh choice [...]f the poore and needy, for the heires of [...]eaven; 1 Cor. 1. 26. for Brethren, yee see our calling, how that not many wise men after he flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are [...]alled: Who then doth the Lord most or­ [...]inarily and usually call? Surely the poore, [...]nd needy: Hath not God chosen the poore [...]f the world, (saith the Apostle, Iames 1. 5.) [...]ich in faith, and heires of the kingdome, which God hath promised to them that love him? [...]ere we see, that povertie doth not indis­ [...]ose, nor unqualifie a man for heaven, but [...]t him rather; such a man, when he dy­ [...]th, goeth hungry to God, or fasting, that [...]he joyes of heaven may relish the better with him; or he goeth naked to GOD, [...]hat the garment of glory, and happinesse, [...]ay be more welcome to him. Yea, see an experiment of this, in that Parable of the [...]ich man and Lazarus, Luk. 16. It was [...]ot Lazarus his povertie, nor his sores, [...]or his despicable condition, that could [...]eepe him out of heaven: see what the Text sayth of him, Ver. 22. And it came to [...]asse, that the beggar died, and was caried by [...]he Angels, into Abrahams bosome. Neither [...]ould the rich mans wealth, eyther helpe [...]im to heaven, or keepe him out of [...]orments of hell; The rich man also dyed, [...]nd was buried; and being in hell in torments, [...]e lift up his eyes, &c. Oh the vanitie of [Page 82] wealth, and riches, that can neither helpe a man to heaven, nor keepe him out of the torments of hell! And let no man be any way discouraged, or out of heart, in regard of his povertie, because it is no barre, nor impediment to keepe him out of the king­dome of heaven: onely let a man be sure, that he is poore in spirit, as well as poore in estate, and labour to be as rich in faith, and as abundant in grace, as he is poore, and destitute of outward wealth, and ri­ches, and then let him never doubt, but that the kingdome of heaven is as wide o­pen for him, as for any the most wealthy person in the world. Yea, consider farther for thy comfort, that the Sonne of God himselfe, the Lord Iesus Christ, became poore, to this very end and purpose, that hee might enrich thee with his povertie, 2 Cor. 8. 9. For yee know the grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, who though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poore, that yee through his povertie, might become rich. Let no man therefore thinke, or feare that God will reject, or cast him off, for his outward povertie, if hee be otherwise well stored with spirituall wealth and riches.

CHAP. VI.

Containing the third Vse of the second poynt.

THirdly,Vse 3. Exhortation to the first sort. Seeing godly persons onely, are truely and spiritual­ly rich, This serveth to exhort us, unto sundry duties: and the exhortation is directed unto two sorts of people. First, Such as have some measure of this spirituall wealth, and riches. Se­condly, Such as for the present are utterly destitute of this precious gold, here set out in the Text.

First, This doctrine serveth to exhort such as have true grace, (and are truely re­ligious,) unto a two-fold dutie.

First, Vnto thankfulnesse to God for 1 such a favour.Such as have true grace, must labour to be thankfull for it. Hath God given his Sonne to enrich thee, and furnished thee with the graces of his Spirit, to make thee truely and spiritually rich and wealthy? Oh! then (in any case) blesse God for it, and strive to walke worthy of such a precious favour. I tell thee, God hath not dealt so with every person: how many thousand hath God left poore, and blind, and naked▪ and yet hath set his love upon thee, and [Page 84] made thee truely and spiritually rich, who wert by nature the childe of wrath, and as poore and miserable as any other? And in­deede the favours of God on this kinde, should not be so much as mentioned, with­out speciall praise and thankesgiving unto God. See the Apostolicall practise of Gods people in this kinde; Blessed be God, and the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spirituall blessings in hea­venly things in Christ saith the Apostle Paul, Ephes. 1. 3. See the like practise in Peter, to this purpose, 1 Pet. 1. 3. Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, which ac­cording to his abundant mercie, hath begotten us againe, to a lively hope, by the resurrecti­on of Iesus Christ from the dead, to an inheri­tance, immortall, &c. Thus David, Psalm. 103. 1, 2, 4. Blesse the Lord, O my soule, and all that is within me, blesse his holy Name. Blesse the Lord, O my soule, forget not all his benefits: and Ver. 4. Who did redeeme thy life from destruction, and crowned thee with mer­cy, and loving kindnesses. Blessed be God, that daily more and more, even lodeth us with his benefits, especially of this kinde, Psal. 68. 19. If wee did but seriously con­sider our former povertie, and misery, and how freely, and undeservedly, the Lord hath bestowed this spirituall wealth and ri­ches upon us, it cannot choose but presse us to thankfulnesse. This made Paul thankfull, 1 Tim. 1. 13, 14. I thanke Christ Jesus our [Page 85] Lord, that he hath judged me faithfull, and hath put me into the Ministery, who was be­fore a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious, &c. (i. e.) I was a poore, wretched, and gracelesse persecutor of Gods blessed Saints; but the Lord (according to the riches of his grace and mercy) hath made me a rich, and glorious Apostle, and Minister of Iesus Christ. So in the like forme, and manner, he maketh mention, of Gods singular good­nesse to the Romans, Chap. 6. 17. But God be thanked, that yee were the servants of sinne, but yee have obeyed from the heart, the forme of Doctrine which was delivered, &c. Blessed be God, that whereas once yee were poore base slaves, and servants of sinne, and Sa­than, God hath enriched you with the glo­rious libertie of the Sonnes of God. It is the Lord, that Raiseth up the poore out of the dust, and setteth him with the Princes of his people. It is the Lord, that maketh poore, and maketh rich: oh then blesse God for his sin­gular goodnesse towards thee, in that he hath so enriched thee, with the golden me­rits of his dearest Sonne, and the excellent graces of his holy and blessed Spirit.

Secondly,2. Dutie. To grow in grace. Seeing true saving grace is the chiefe and onely meanes to make us truely and spiritually rich; this serveth al­so to exhort all such, as have any measure of true saving grace, to labour to grow in grace, and endeavour to increase in this spirituall wealth and riches. O let us imi­tate [Page 86] the rich misers of the world, that are never satisfied, with what they have, but still hunger and thirst after more: here is a most lawfull, and commendable kinde of avarice; Covet after the best things, 1 Cor. 12. 31. Covet after Christ, and earnestly thirst after a more neare communion with him, and the graces of his thrise blessed Spirit. But grow in grace, sayth the Apo­stle, 2 Pet. 3. 18. So Paul to the Thessalo­nians, 1 Thes. 4. 1. Wee beseech you, brethren, and exhort you, by the Lord Iesus Christ, that as you have received of us, how yee ought to walke, and to please God; so you would abound still more and more. The like exhortation, he directeth to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 15. last, Alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, for as much as yee know, how that your labour is not in vaine in the Lord. Never thinke that you shall loose your labour in this kinde. Vp, therefore, and be doing, labour to grow in grace, and the Lord will be with us, and will blesse our endeavours. Now for the perfecting of this point, give me leave, briefly to shew unto you, first, The Motives that may perswade us, and secondly, The chiefe meanes to helpe and to direct us to grow in grace.

First,1. Motive. To perswade us to labour to grow in grace. Because God commands it; se­condly, because the Lord commends it; thirdly, the Lord is much honoured by it; fourthly, the Lord will most surely reward it.

[Page 87] First, Let us labour to grow rich in 1 grace,1. Because God com­mandeth it. and not content our selves with some small measure of pietie, because the Lord (as you have heard) doth expresly require it, 2 Pet. 3. 18. But grow in grace, &c. Now the very bare command of God, should be unto us an argument of sufficient strength, to perswade us to obedience. See how the Lord propoundeth his very [...]are command to Iosuah, as an argument of sufficient strength, to perswade him to be of courage, and to abandon all carnall feares, Ios. 1. 9. Have not I commanded thee? be strong, and of a good courage, &c. So here: Have not I commanded thee? Oh there­fore grow in grace, and labour to increase in godlinesse. This is the Lords expresse command, an evangelicall precept, and therefore let us, in any case, make consci­ence of it, because the LORD requi­reth it.

Secondly,2. Motive. Because the Lord expe­cteth it. Because the Lord himselfe ex­pecteth it, he looketh for it at our hands. It is not enough to get some grace, but he expecteth our growth, and increase in it. When God hath once planted a Vineyard, he looketh that it should bring forth grapes, as, Isa. 5. 2. yea, he daily, and yearely ex­pecteth it, Luk. 13. 7. yea, the Lord Jesus goeth into his garden, of purpose, that he may see how the trees flourish, and prosper, Cant. 6. 10. I went downe into the garden of Nutts, to see the fruits of the valley, to see if [Page 88] the Vine budded, and the Pomgranates flouri­shed. The Lord expecteth and looketh for fruitfulnesse at the hands of his people. Yea, further, the Lord expecteth, and look­eth for fruits, in some measure, answerable to the meanes he hath used, and the paines which he hath taken to make them fruit­full; Heb. 6. 7. The earth that drinketh in the raine, that cometh often upon it, and brin­geth forth fruit, meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. Oh let us therefore, let us labour to be rich in grace, and full of good workes, that wee may not frustrate the LORDS expecta­tion.

Thirdly,3. Motive. Because the Lord com­mends it. As the Lord commandeth, and expects it; so the Lord doth highly com­mend, and prize it, when it is so. See how the Lord commendeth the diligence of those servants, that had encreased their Ta­lents, by the holy employment of them, Luk. 19. 17. Well done, good and faithfull ser­vant, thou hast beene faithfull in a few things▪ I will make thee ruler over many things, &c. Oh what an encouragement in this? sc. that though when we have done all that we can, we doe but our dutie, neither can we doe that perfectly, yet the Lord in mer­cie, is readie to encourage and commend us, if we doe our best endeavour. Here is the commendation of a right tree of Righte­ousnesse, that they are such as flourish, and increase still more and more, Psal. 92. 12, [Page 89] 13. The righteous shall flourish like a Palme tree, and grow like a Cedar in Lebanon. Such as be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flou­rish in the Courts of the house of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in their age, and they shall be fat and flourishing. Here was the commendation of the Church of Thyatyra, Revel. 2. 19. I know thy workes, and thy love, and thy faith, and patience, and thy workes, that they are more at last, then at first. Thou doest still grow in grace, and art every day better and better. The Lord taketh notice of our growth in grace, and doth most high­ly commend, and prize it.

Fourthly, As the Lord commends it,4. Motive. Because the Lord is much ho­noured by it. so he is much honoured by it. It is the glo­ry of the Master of the Vineyard, that the Vine flourisheth, and is fruitfull. It is the glory of the husbandman, that the earth bringeth forth fruit in abundance. It is the glory of the chiefe Shepheard, when the sheepe bring forth thousands, and ten thou­sands. Hereupon is that speech of our Savi­our, Ioh. 15. 8. Herein is my Father glori­fied, that yee bring forth much fruit. The more fruitfull wee are in grace and pietie, the more glory redoundeth to God; Mat. 5. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good workes, and glorifie your Father, which is in heaven. Hence is that prayer of the Apostle, Phil. 1. 9. 11. And this, I pray, that your love may abound, still more, and more, in knowledge, and in all judge­ment. [Page 90] Why so? see that, Ver. 11. And that yee may be filled, with the fruits of righteous­nesse, which are by Iesus Christ, to the prayse, and glory of God. Oh this, above all other considerations, should perswade us, to la­bour to grow rich in grace, because it ten­deth so expresly, to Gods glory, which is the chiefe end of God himselfe, in all his actions, and that which we should ayme at especially, in all our proceedings, 1 Cor. 10. 31. Whether yee eate, or drinke, or what­soever yee doe, doe all to the glory of God, sayth the Apostle; and therefore wee should (in all equitie) ply that worke most, that ten­deth most to his glory.

Fifthly,5. Motive. Because the Lord will most freely and fully re­ward it. The Lord will most surely re­ward it. Let no man ever thinke, that it is in vaine to serve God, but if wee be faith­full in doing God service, let us never doubt of his fidelitie, and bountie in paying our wages. Alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, for as much as yee know how that your labour is not in vaine in the Lord, sayth the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. last. He that is faith­full in Gods service unto death, may be sure of the Crowne of life, Revel. 2. 10. God is absolutely the best Master, and pietie the best Mistresse, that a man can possibly serve: Godlinesse is profitable unto all things (sayth the Apostle) having the promise of the life that now is, and of that to come, 1 Tim. 4. 8. Let us but see the reward of pietie in some few particulars.

[Page 91] First,1. Benefits of growing in grace. 1. It will as­sure us of our electi­on. An earnest endeavour to grow in grace, and thrive in godlinesse, will assure a man of his election. It is the advise of the Apostle, 2 Pet. 1. 10. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: no better meanes to doe it, then by an earnest desire, and carefull endeavour, to grow in grace; our growth in grace, is not onely an argu­ment of the truth of our grace, but also a good pledge, and token of our election: faith and holinesse is a fruit of our eternall election. Hence it is, that true saving faith is called, The faith of Gods elect, Titus 1. 1. This should make us earnestly to cry out with the Disciples, Luk. 17. 5. Lord increase our faith, because it is such a pledge of our election; for, As many as were ordained to eternall life, beleeved, Acts 13. 48. Holines is the very end of our election; Wee are chosen in Christ Iesus, before the world, that wee might be holy, and without blame before him in love, Ephes. 1. 4. Hence is that sweet, and excellent parenthesis of the Apostle, Col. 3. 12. Put upon you therefore (as the elect of God, holy, and beloved) bowels of mer­cie, &c. So that the more faith, the more pietie, the more bowels of mercie, &c. the more evident pledges, and tokens of our election. Oh how this should perswade us to grow in grace, that wee may thereby make our calling, and election sure unto our selves; an admirable, and most desirea­ble benefit.

[Page 92] Secondly,2. Benefit. The better able to doe good to o­thers. The richer we are in grace, the better able shall we be to doe good to others, and also to discharge the duties, be­longing to the places wherein God hath set us. Wisedome is good with an inheritance, sayth Salomon; so, no doubt it is without an inheritance; but yet he that hath wise­dome with an inheritance, is the best able to expresse, and make use of his wisedome; so, 1 Tim. 6. 17. Charge those that be rich in this world, &c. that they be rich in good workes, as if they had the best opportunitie; so, much more, they that are spiritually rich, that are full of the golden graces of Gods Spirit, they have an opportunitie to be rich in good workes, and are, or may be, the better fitted, and enabled, to doe good to others. This made our Saviour him­selfe, so rich in good workes, so plentifull in workes of pietie, and charitie: He went about continually doing good, teaching, and preaching the Gospell of the kingdome, and hea­ling every sicknesse, and every disease amongst the people, Mat. 9. 35. And why so? Sure­ly, because he was full of grace, Ioh. 1. 14. This made Barnabas, such an admirable in­strument of Gods glorie, in doing so much good at Antioch; see how the Text reports it, Acts 11. 23. Who when he was come, and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and exhor­ted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord: Why so? what made him so zealous and ready to do good? [Page 93] That you may see, Ver. 24. For he was a good man, and full of the holy Ghost, and of faith; and much people joyned themselves unto the Lord. He that is truely and really good himselfe, is the fittest, and best able to doe good to others. See here another benefit, that may perswade us to grow in grace.

Thirdly,3 Benefit. Assurance of interest in the king­dome of glorie. An earnest desire, and carefull endeavour to grow in grace, will give us, not onely entrance into the kingdome of grace, but also assurance of interest in the kingdome of glorie. See a direct place for this purpose, 2 Pet. 1. 5. 11. Wherefore gi­ving all diligence, adde to your faith, vertue; and to your vertue, knowledge, &c. adde one grace to another, grow in the number of graces, and grow in their measure too; If these things be in you, and abound, sayth the A­postle, Ver. 9. see the benefit of this, Ver. 11. For so an entrance, shall be made unto you a­bundantly, into the everlasting kingdome of our Lord Jesus Christ: here is an entrance into the kingdome of grace, which also assureth us, of our interest in the kingdome of glo­rie; Rom. 6. 22. Having your fruit unto ho­linesse, and the end everlasting life. True ho­linesse, and growth in grace,4. Benefit. Non prop­ter, sed se­cundum opera. The more grace here, the more glorie in heaven. is the plaine, and direct way to true happines, and ever­lasting life.

Fourthly and lastly, The more grace, and holines, we attaine unto here, the more glory and happinesse is reserved in heaven for us: for though God doe not reward us [Page 94] for our workes, yet he will certainly re­ward us according to our workes; so that the more diligence in Gods service, the more glory hereafter. This seemeth most clearely intimated, in that Parable of the Talents, Mat. 25. he that gained most, had best reward: Vnto him that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance, Ver. 29. He that is most abundant in the worke of the Lord, shall be sure to have abundance of wages. Let this also perswade us to grow in grace, that our reward in heaven, may be the greater. They that doe much in Gods service, and suffer much in the good cause of God, shall have the greater reward in hea­ven; Rejoyce, and be exceeding glad, sayth our Saviour to his Disciples, for great is your re­ward in heaven, Mat. 5. 12. They that take great paines in Gods service, shall have an eternall, and an exceeding weight of glo­ry, for their reward, 2 Cor. 4. 7. This en­couraged Moses, Heb. 11. 26. He esteemed the rebuke of Christ, greater riches, then the treasures of Aegypt; for he had respect to the recompence of reward, sayth the Text.

Now the meanes,Meanes of growth in grace. that we must use, that we may grow in grace, are especially these two; first, The right use of Gods Ordi­nances; and, secondly, Holy meditati­ons.

First,1. Meanes The right, and conscionable use of Gods ordinances; The Word, and Sa­craments, and Prayer. Loe, here the best [Page 95] way, and meanes to grow rich in grace, and full of spirituall wealth.

First,1. The word preached the maanes to grow in grace. The Ministery of the Word read, and faithfully preached, it is the Word of e­ternall life, Ioh. 6. 68. the meanes to quic­ken a dead soule at first, and the chiefe meanes to preserve the same spirituall life, and to helpe us to grow, and increase in grace. Two singular, and most pertinent testimonies wee have for this purpose. The one, 1 Pet. 2. 1. As new borne Babes, desire the sincere milke of the Word, that you may grow thereby. The ministery of the Word, is not onely the meanes of our regenerati­on at first, (1 Pet. 1. 23. Iam. 1. 18.) but, is the meanes also to helpe us grow up unto perfection; Desire the sincere milke of the Word, that yee may grow thereby, sayth the Apostle. The other testimony, to this pur­pose, is that of the Apostle Paul, in his vale­diction to the Church of Ephesus, Acts 20. when he was to depart from them, and fore­saw that they should see his face no more, never enjoy his bodily presence, or heare him preach againe; see what he especially commendeth to their daily use, and con­stant practise, Ver. 32. And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you farther, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified, (i. e.) give daily atten­dance to this, ply this taske, follow this worke close; for the Word of his grace, [Page 96] will build you up still farther, and farther, and will never cease working in you, untill it bring you to heaven, and translate you from grace to glory.

Secondly,2. The Sa­craments. The right, and religious use of the Sacraments, of Baptisme, and of the Lords Supper, (these seales of righteous­nesse) will exceedingly further our pro­gresse in pietie, and growth in grace. How can a man, that is of a good constitution, feed on dainties, and wholesome food, and not grow strong, and well liking by that meanes? so, how can a man, eat the very body of Christ, and drinke his very blood, in the Sacrament, (as every worthy recei­ver doth, spiritually) but he must needs grow strong, in the grace of Christ Iesus; For my flesh is meate indeede, and my blood is drinke indeede, sayth our blessed Saviour? Ioh. 6. 35. And hereupon he inferreth, Ver. 56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him, that is, such an one hath speciall communion with Christ, and interest in all his merits, and the benefit of his obedience, active, and passive, which how can he enjoy, but he must needs grow in grace?

Thirdly,3. Prayer. Prayer is a chiefe Ordinance of God, by no meanes to be neglected, nay, which must be used, as a meanes to bring Gods blessing upon the former: this is the way, and meanes to make the Word, and Sacraments effectuall unto us: so that in the [Page 97] neglect of this meanes, little benefit is to be expected from the diligent use of the former, so that he that would grow in grace, must be a daily petitioner at the Throne of grace, and direct his course to the God of all grace, by prayer, for the increase of the graces of Gods Spirit in him. For, as every good, and perfect gift, cometh from aboue, at the first, Iam. 1. 17. So the increase of those gifts, must needs also proceede from above. He onely that beginneth the good worke of grace in his Elect, at the first, is onely able to perfect that worke which he hath begunne; Phil. 1. 6. And there­fore, as the Apostle was confident, con­cerning them, so let us be fervent, and importunate in our requests to him, for our selves, that as he hath begunne the good worke of grace in us, so he would encrease it in us daily, and bring it unto perfecti­on. Thus the Apostles direct their course unto Christ, by prayer, for the increase of their faith, Luk. 17. 5. The Disciples sayd unto the Lord, Lord increase our faith. Thus Paul for the Philippians, Phil. 1. 9. 11. And this I pray, that your love may a­bound still more and more, in knowledge, and in all judgement; and that yee might be filled with the fruits of righteousnesse. Encrease of grace (as well as grace it selfe) must needs be the gift of God; For of him, and through him, and from him, are all things. sayth the Apostle, Rom. 11. 36.

[Page 98] Secondly,2. Meanes Meditati­ons. The second generall meanes, that we must use to grow in grace, is ho­ly Meditations. This hath furthered the growth of grace in Gods Saints heretofore, they have beene abundant, and constant in pious and holy meditations; Psal. 1. 4. A godly mans delight is in the Law of the Lord, and it is his meditation day and night. So, this was Davids constant practice, Psal. 119. 97. Oh how I love thy Law, it is my me­ditation continually! But what are the spe­ciall things, whereof wee must meditate, if wee desire to further our growth in grace? I answere; they are especially these foure.

First,1. Medita­tion. Of the worth of true grace. Let us seriously consider the worth, and excellency of true saving grace, which appeareth in the Text; it is like gold tryed in the fire, the most pure, and most pre­cious jewell, that is in the whole world: all earthly things, in the want of this, are but drosse, and dung, Phil. 3. 8. But for your more full satisfaction, as touching the worth of true grace, consider, the second Chapter of this Treatise, being the first Vse of the poynt. And surely, if men did but once see the beautie, and truely understand the worth of true grace, they could not choose, but bee exceeding desirous of it. They would covet after it, if they were once perswaded, that it is the best and ra­rest jewell in the world.

Secondly,2. Medita­tion. The neces­sitie of it. The necessitie of true grace, [Page 99] it is absolutely necessary, to the very being of a Christian, and not to his well-being onely. Oh then let us labour for grace, and growth in grace, because it it so necessary, that a man is no Christian, that is without it; and it is also so necessary, that it is im­possible to be saved without it: They must have their fruit unto holinesse, that will have the end everlasting life, Rom. 6. 22. Holi­nesse must needs goe before, if happinesse fol­low after: grace and glorie are insepara­ble, yea, they are the same, as some Divines observe; for grace is glorie inchoate, and glorie is grace consummate. It is so neces­sary, that it is impossible to see God with­out it, Heb. 12. 14. Follow peace with all men, and holinesse, without which it is impossi­ble to see God. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they (and they alone) shall see God, sayth our blessed Saviour; see Psal. 24. 4, 5. Revel. 22. 14, 15. &c.

Thirdly,3. Motive. 3. The e­quitie of it. Consider the equitie of it, it is very fit, and equall, that we that doe professe our selves to be Gods children, shall labour to become like unto our heavenly Father. He is the God of all grace; oh let us therefore labour to grow in grace, that we may be like him, Ephes. 5. 1. Be yee followers of God, as deare children, and walke in love, &c. 2 Pet. 1. 17. As he that hath called you, is holy, so be yee holy, in all manner of conversation; for it is written, be yee holy, for I am holy. Yea, we should labour to be [Page 100] perfect in holinesse, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Perfecting holinesse in the feare of God; that herein espe­cially wee may resemble our heavenly Fa­ther, who is the God of all grace, and holi­nesse. Be yee perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect, sayth our Saviour, Mat. 5. last. So that the more holinesse, the more like to God, and the better evidence, and assurance that we are his children.

Fourthly,4. Motive. To consider the admira­ble growth of grace that hath beene in the Saints of old. Let us meditate, and seriously consider of that great measure of grace that hath beene in Gods Saints of old, and how farre we come short of them. There is A­braham, renowmed for his faith, yea, he was even strong in the faith, Rom. 4. 20. Samuel for integritie, Moses for meeknesse, the meekest man upon the earth, Numb. 12. 3. Ia­cob for wrestling with God in prayer, Hos. 12. 4. Iob for his patience, Iames 5. 11. David for sinceritie, A man after Gods own heart, in all things, save onely in the matter of Vriah; and Paul for courage, and all the graces of Gods Spirit whatsoever, &c. Now, alas! how farre short doe wee come of these Saints of God, in all these? What a small measure of faith have we, in respect of Abraham? How farre short are wee of Jacob, for a gift in prayer, and a spirit of supplication? How farre doe wee come behinde Iob, for his patience? David, for sinceritie? and Paul, for every thing? Oh how this would whet us on to labour for more grace, when wee see how farre the [Page 101] Saints of God have out-stripped us, and gone before us. Oh how this would in­crease our diligent endeavour, to grow in grace, if wee would forget such as are be­hinde us, and looke earnestly at those that have gone before us, it would make us, to presse earnestly, for the price of the marke of the high calling of God in Christ Iesus, Phil. 3. 13, 13. These are the chiefe meanes that wee must use, that we may be rich in the gol­den graces of Gods Spirit. Thus now for the first sort, to whom the Exhortation is directed, sc. such as have true grace, in some measure, alreadie. Let such, first, be thankfull, and blesse God for it, that hath given them the graces of his Spirit, to en­rich them; secondly, let them labour to grow in grace, and thrive more and more in this spirituall wealth and riches.

Secondly,2. Sort. Such as have no grace, must labour for it. For such as have no grace, for the present, let such be exhorted to la­bour for it, let them see the worth of it, is like gold tryed in the fire; that it is the onely meanes to make them truely and spi­ritually rich: onely such as are truely god­ly, are truely rich, rich indeede, rich to­wards God: wicked rich men are wret­ched, that are in the middest of all their wealth, and riches: Oh therefore, you that want true grace, labour for it: Ioh. 6. 27. Labour not for the meate that perisheth, but for durable riches, Pro. 3. 16. which that you may attaine unto, attend with re­verence [Page 102] unto the next poynt, which is, to buy it of Christ, Buy of me, &c.

CHAP. VII.

Containing the third generall point.

I Counsell thee to buy of me, 3. Poynt. gold tryed in the fire, that thou mayest be rich. And so I come to the third, and last lesson,3. Doct. All that would have true grace, must buy it of Christ. that we are to learne from hence, which is, That all those, that would have the precious gold of true saving grace, must buy it of Christ. Buy of me (sayth our Saviour) this gold try­ed in the fire, that thou mayest be rich. In handling this point, I will run this course. First, I will speake some thing by way of confirmation, that wee may beleeve it. Secondly, By way of explication, and ap­plication, that wee may understand, and make a right use of it.

First,1. Confirma­tion. For confirmation, observe a dou­ble proofe for this purpose; first, Testimo­nies; secondly, Reasons and Arguments to enforce the Doctrine.

First,1. Testimo­nies. For Testimonies, observe it in [Page 103] these few particulars; first, Pro. 23. v. 23. Buy the truth, and sell it not, sayth the Wise man. Truth of grace must be bought at a­ny rate, but sold at no rate. True saving grace, is a precious commoditie, to bee bought by all those, that desire to enjoy it. To the like purpose is that we have, Isa. 55. 1. Hoe, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters, buy wine, and milke, without mo­ney, and without price; the water, and wine, and milke of true saving grace, must come by purchase: true it is in regard of it selfe, it is the free gift of God, but in regard of our owne endeavour to get it, it must be bought: and to shew the truth of this, the price it selfe is declared to be without mo­ney, and without price: so Mat. 13. 44. The kingdome of heaven, is like unto a trea­sure hid in the field, which when a man hath found, &c. he goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field: which also doth evi­dently confirme the poynt that we have in hand. To the same purpose is that speech of the five wise Virgins, Mat. 25. 9. But goe yee rather to them that sell, and buy for your selves; where we see, that they that want the oyle of true saving grace, must not bor­row of others, but goe unto such as sell, and buy for themselves; which is very direct for the purpose. Now if any shall aske fur­ther, who is the chiefe-chapman, of whom we must buy this precious commoditie? I answere in the words of the Doctrine; [Page 104] That all that would have the gold of true saving grace, must buy it of Christ, He is the chiefe Chapman in this case. And so I come to the second proofe, which was pro­pounded at first, for the confirmation of this poynt; sc. Reasons grounded upon Scrip­tures.

Reasons. Now the Reasons are especially these five, 1(which are all drawne from the considera­tion of the excellencie of the Chapman,The excel­lency of the Chapman, of whom wee must buy it, who is that is most fit and readie to sell this precious commoditie, to such as want and desire it,) so that as the excellencie and necessitie of it, should perswade us to buy the commoditie: so the excellencie of the Chapman, should perswade us, to buy it of Christ, which is absolutely, the rarest chapman in the world. This I will endeavour to describe, and ma­nifest, in these five particulars.

First,1. Reason. 1. A Chap­man of a most sweet disposition. Christ is a Chapman of a most lo­ving, and sweet disposition, He is (even in this respect,) The chiefest of ten thousand, Cant. 5. 10. Men usually love to buy of such Chapmen, as are of the best disposition; a wise, meeke, and loving disposition in a Chapman, will perswade many, at least to cheapen a commoditie. If we would buy of such an one, let us bargaine with Christ; for he is a Chapman of a most sweet dispo­sition, for wisdome, for meeknesse, for love, &c. Wee may all goe to schoole to him; yea, he himselfe inviteth us to learne, Mat. 11. 29. Learne of mee, for I am meeke, and [Page 105] lowly in heart, and yee shall finde rest to your soules. He is such a Chapman, as is readie to lay downe his life for his customers, Ioh. 13. Let this rare disposition of his perswade us to bargaine with Christ,

Secondly, [...]. Reason. Exceeding faithfull, and one in whom is no guile. If any man want true saving grace, let him buy it of Christ, because he is an exceeding faithfull Chapman, to all that shall deale with him. Some men drive away their customers, by churlish speeches; but Christ doth beseech us to buy his commodi­tie, 2 Cor. 5. 20. Some againe loose their custome, for want of fidelitie, they are apt to cheat, and cozen such as relie upon them, and want skill to discerne the worth of the commoditie; but Christ is faithfull, if he once passe his word, (that the commoditie is good, and such as will serve thy turne,) thou mayest safely relie upon him, for he is faithfull, and will not deceive thee; there was never any guile to bee found in his mouth, he never deceived any. Salomon cryeth out of the want of such chapmen, Pro. 20. 6. But a faithfull man▪ who can finde? it is a rare thing to finde such a man, that will not deceive us: but see here a chapman indeed, in whom there is no guile, nothing but fidelitie, and truth it selfe; God is faithfull, who will not suffer you to be temp­ted above that you are able, 1 Cor. 10. 13. So faithfull is he that hath called you to buy this precious commoditie, and will not de­ceive you, 1 Thes. 5. 24. He is such an Israe­lite [Page 106] indeed, in whom there is no guile, Ioh. 1. 47. Neither is there any guile to be found in his mouth, 1 Pet. 2. 22. Let this also per­swade us to bargaine with Christ.

Thirdly,3. Reason. Rich and wealthy, and there­fore hath great choice Christ is a very rich Chapman, and full of wealth, so that hee hath great choice for his customers; He hath a shop so furnished, that we can desire, or want no­thing, but he is well furnished with it; He is full of grace and truth, Joh. 1. 14. Yea, it hath pleased the Father, that in him all fulnesse should dwell, Col. 1. 19. Yea, in him dwelleth the fulnesse of the Godhead bodily, Col. 2. 9. there is a fulnesse of all kinde of commodi­ties that we can stand in need of; fulnesse of wisedome, and knowledge, fulnesse of faith, and love, &c. in a word, all fulnesse dwelleth in him, doth constantly abide in him for ever; here is a shop stored with precious commodities of all sorts whatsoe­ver: Oh the unsearchable riches of Christ! Ephes. 3. 8. Let this also perswade us, that if we want true saving grace, in whole, or in part, to goe to Christ for it, and buy it of him; If any lacke wisedome, let him aske it of God, Jam. 1. 5. So if any want true saving grace, let him buy it of Christ, that is excel­lently furnished, abundantly to supply our wants, for all the treasures of wisedome, and knowledge, and all other saving graces of Gods Spirit, are layd up in him.

Fourthly,4. Reason. Because he hath no re­spect of per­sons, but re­gards the poore more then the rich. If any want true saving grace, let him buy it of Christ, because he is no re­specter [Page 107] of persons, he regardeth not the rich more then the poore. Worldly chapmen, that have great dealings in the world, they shew most respect unto those, that are great ones, Lords, and Ladies, &c. a poore man is forced many times to stay long, before he can be served, (neither doe I simply con­demne this among men) but it is not so with Christ, Acts 10. 35. Of a truth, I perceive that there is no respect of persons with God, but in every Nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousnesse, is accepted with him. Yea, he regardeth not the rich, more then the poore, Job 34. 19. Wealth and ri­ches are of no validitie in this respect; nay, which is most strange, he regardeth the poore, more then the rich, in some cases; he maketh choice especially of them, Iam. 2. 5. He bargaineth rarely with such, as are great, and wealthy, 1 Cor. 1. 26. Not many noble, not many wise men after the flesh, are called; He passeth by the wise, and prudent, and great persons of the world, and bestow­eth his best commodities, on those, that in the worlds account, are very babes, Mat. 11. You would wonder to heare of such a man, that having his shop full of great per­sons, and spying some poore man stand wai­ting at doore, should neglect all the great persons present, and speake to the poore man, and say, What would'st thou have, ô thou poore creature, I will dispatch and serve thee first of all: yet, thus dealeth [Page 108] Christ, many times, with his poore custo­mers, that have nothing to pay, but onely hunger and thrist after the commoditie. See upon what warrant I speake it; Luk. 1. 53. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent emptie away. Who ever heard of such a Chapman, that before he will bargaine, will be sure he is poore to whom he selleth his commoditie, and pre­ferreth him before those that are wealthy, and rich? Yea, he will scarce so much as once looke at the rest. See a strange place for this purpose, Isa. 66. 2. But to this man will I looke, even to him that is poore, and of a contrite heart, &c. The poore humbled soule, that hath neither money, nor money worth, is, of all others, the most welcome to Christ; yea, such are especially invited to him, Mat. 11. 28. Come unto mee all yee that labour, and are heavie laden, and I will refresh you, saith our blessed Saviour. See what a strange message our Saviour sendeth in answere to Iohn the Baptist, when he sent his Disciples to know whether he was the Christ, that should come into the world, or they should still looke for another, (Mat. 11. 4, 5.) Goe, and tell John, what things yee have heard and seene: The blinde see, the lame walke, &c. lepers are cleansed, the deafe heare, the dead are raised up, and the poore have the Gospell prea­ched unto them. He came himselfe chiefly to preach the glad Tidings of the Gospell to the poore; Isa. 61. 1. The Spirit of the Lord [Page 109] God is upon me, therefore hath the Lord an­noynted me, he hath sent me to preach good ti­dings unto the poore. He loveth especially to part with his commodities unto the poore; and therefore he is a rare Chapman, with whom there is no respect of persons at all, unlesse it be in this, that he regardeth the poore more then the rich: wherein he dif­fereth from all other chapmen in the world, that are of a contrarie practice and opini­on.

Fifthly,5. Reason. Free and kinde, af­foording good wares exceeding cheape. He is a very free, and a most kinde Chapman, to his poore customers, he selleth his commoditie very cheape, if he see that the partie be fit to receive it, and stand in great need of it; he never breaketh with him for price; yea, he is resolved, ra­ther he shall have it without money, and without price. Men usually deale other­wise; if they see that a mans necessitie is great, that it is such a commoditie, which he cannot be without, nor attaine unto otherwhere, they will make him pay for his need; and if he want readie money, he shall pay still the dearer: but so it is not with Christ, the more he seeth that a man standeth in neede of grace, and is sensible of his want that way, the cheaper he selleth his commoditie, to such a person: nay, he will rather give it him freely, then send him away emptie; Isa. 55. 1. Hoe, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters; and he that hath no money, come, &c. without mo­ney, [Page 110] and without price. So, Revel. 22. 17. Whosoever will, let him take of the Well of the water of life freely. You would all thinke him a marvellous kinde man, that should deale thus with a poore Customer; Here is your commoditie, I assure you upon my credit, it will serve your turne, but have you any money to pay for it? No. Have you any pawne, or money worth? No. Will any sufficient man, passe his word for you? No. I have no such credit in the world. What then, will you worke it out? No sure, I have no hands to worke, untill I have this commoditie, I can doe nothing, Ioh. 15. 5. Without mee, yee can doe nothing, sayth our Saviour. All this is very hard, What, will you pay me, if I will take your owne word to this purpose? No surely, I dare not promise that, I am scarce ever likely to pay you, if you doe trust me. Well then, if there be no remedie, take it for God have mercy, even take it freely for nothing: He will eyther trust him, or give it him freely without price, rather then send such a poore soule emptie away. Thus you see another strong reason to perswade us to bargaine with Christ, he selleth cheape, yea, he giveth freely to the poore soule, that is sensible of his want of the commo­ditie. Indeed, if he meet with a rich chap­man, that cometh rather to cheapen, (for fashion sake, then buy for necessitie,) he then setteth such a price upon his wares, [Page 111] that he is sure cannot be reached by such a barterer. See an experiment of this, in the young man that came to our Saviour, and would needs know the price of his com­moditie, Mat. 19. 16. Good Master, what good thing shall I doe, that I may have eternall life? Come Sir, I like your commoditie, What is your price? What? I see, you would be doing; come I will set you a taske, I perceive you are full of money; you will be buying; well, I will set you a price; Keepe the Commandements, Ver. 17. see Ver. 20. I have observed these things from my youth, what lacke I yet? Here was a man full of money, he will pay downe all upon the nayle, before he stirre his foote. Sir, if this be your price, here is your money: or at least, the most of it; what must I pay more? then see what a rate he setteth him, Ver. 21. If thou wilt be perfect, goe, and sell that thou hast, and give to the poore; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and follow me. Here was a great price indeed, he thought it would utterly undoe him, and so he went away (grieved) without his commoditie. But otherwise, his rates are very easie, to such as have an earnest desire to bargaine.

CHAP. VIII.

Containing the first Vse of the poynt.

1. NOw for the use of the poynt:Vse 1. Instruction 1 it serveth, first, for Instructi­on; secondly,To teach us how to bargain with Christ. Reprehension; thirdly, Consolation; fourth­ly, Exhortion and Direction: of these in order.

If all that would have true saving grace,All that would bar­gaine with Christ, must be must buy it of Christ; This should perswade us, to labour to know how wee may bar­gaine with Christ, for this precious com­moditie; and to consider, how a man must be qualified and fitted for this purpose; that we may make this golden purchase, of true saving grace. There is no buying of any precious commoditie, without knowledge of the price, and sundry other particulars, that necessarily conduce to the making up of the bargaine. Attend therefore (I pray you) whilest I shew you the price of this treasure, and informe you, how they must be qualified, that would make this golden purchase of true saving grace. This I will endeavour to manifest in sundry particulars.

[Page 113] First,1 Direction sensible of thei [...] want of true grace, and poore in spirit. If we would bargaine with Christ, we must labour to be sensible of our want of true grace, we must see our necessitie in this kinde, we must be sensible of our spirituall povertie. He will be no good chapman, that feeleth not the want of his commodi­tie, before he goe to buy. A man will never come to the price of a rich treasure, that fin­deth not the want of it. When a man com­meth thus resolved to the market, I must have food, or else perish with hunger; I must have apparell, or starve, for want of covering; such a man will bid like a chap­man, he will sell all that he hath, before he returne emptie away. Blessed are the poore in spirit (sayth our Saviour) for theirs is the kingdome of heaven, Mat. 5. 3. Wee are all poore by nature, but we are not sensible of our povertie: we have a conceit, we are rich, and full of wealth, and are not so poore and miserable, as we are indeede. Here was the folly of this Church of Lao­dicea, Ver. 17. of this Chapter: Thou sayest, I am rich, and encreased with goods, and have neede of nothing; and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poore, and blinde, and naked: she was poore, and mise­rable, but she perceived it not, she was not sensible of it, and this kept her from buying of Christ: therefore sayth our Saviour, I counsell thee to buy of me, gold, to enrich thee; for indeed thou art miserably poore, al­though thou perceive it not▪ thou art blind, [Page 114] as well as poore, and not sensible of thy po­vertie. A man is not fit for Christ, untill he be sensible of the want of him. Thus, Rom. 7. 24. Oh wretched man that I am, who shal [...] deliver me from this bodie of death? Ver. 25 Thankes be to God, through Iesus Christ. Wee must know, out of our experience, what it is to be a sinner, before wee be fit for a Saviour. It is an excellent speech of our Saviour, to this purpose, Mat. 9. 13. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Why? Are we not all sinners? Yes sure, but all are not truely sensible of sinne; all doe not groane under the weight and burthen of it: by sinners, in this place, our Saviour meaneth, humbled, distressed, grieved, perplexed sinners; for such alone he knew were fit to accept of a Saviour; such as are wearie, and heavie loaden, Mat. 11. 28. Such an one was David, Psal. 38. 3. Mine iniquities are gone over mine head, as a weightie burthen, they are too heavie for me. Here was a sinner, sc. an humbled sin­ner, such an one, as was fitted for mercie. I came to seeke, and to save that which was lost, sayth our blessed Saviour, in Luk. 19. 10.

Now all are indeed lost, both in Adam▪ and in themselves; but all are not sensible of the danger of a lost estate: but by lost per­sons, our Saviour meaneth such as are lost in their owne apprehensions: such an one was the poore Publican, Luk. 18. 14. He [Page 115] stood a farre off, as not worthy to come neare the place of Gods speciall presence: he durst not so much as looke up to heaven, against which he had sinned, but smote upon his breast, and cryed out, saying, O God be mer­cifull to me a sinner: As if he had said, O Lord, I am a sinner, a very lumpe of sinne, a fardle, or bundle of corruption, if God be not mercifull unto me, I shall perish for e­ver. Here was just such a sinner as our Sa­viour there speaketh of: one qualified, and fitted for mercie. Iust such another was the Prodigall, what sendeth him to the market of his fathers house, but the sight and sense of his povertie, and extreame necessitie, Luk. 15. 16. How many hired servants in my fathers house, have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger? Hereupon he resol­veth, Ver. 17. I will arise, and goe to the market, I will goe to my father, and say unto him, &c. A poore man that wanteth bread for his familie, and for himselfe, will goe to the market in any case, though the dayes be short, the wayes fowle, and the weather stormie, and tempestuous; for, sayth he, bet­ter be wet to the skinne, then perish for want of bread: yea, and such a man will have bread, if it cost him all that he hath in his purse, and can borrow: so in this case, he is fit to bargaine with Christ, that is sensible of his extreame neede of Christ, and his graces, and is readie to cry out with the Prophet in another case, Isa. 6. 5. Woe [Page 116] is me, I am undone, if I have it not. Blessed are they that are thus poore in spirit, for they are fit chapmen for Christ, and shall never be sent emptie away.

Secondly,2. Direction See the worth of true grace. All that would bargaine with Christ, and make this golden purchase of true saving grace, must labour to see the worth, and excellencie of true saving grace, as well as their owne want of it. He is fit to buy grace, that prizeth it highly, and pre­ferreth it, in his esteeme, before all the world. Oh the worth, and excellencie of true saving grace, one dramme whereof is more precious, then all the whole world besides! Doe but observe how the holy Ghost describeth it, Isa. 55. 1, 2. It is bread, wine, milke, fatnesse for the soule, it is that which will satisfie, and give full content to the soule of man. If a man had the whole world besides, yet he might, nay, he must needs perish without this. On the contra­ry, this will bring a man to heaven, if he were as poore as Lazarus. Now he is a fit Chapman for Christ, that seeth the worth, and excellency of this precious commodi­tie. This our Saviour sheweth, Mat. 13. 44. The kingdome of heaven, that is, Christ, and the graces of his Spirit, are very fitly compared to a treasure hid in the field, which when a man hath found, sc. and seeth and per­ceiveth it to be a treasure, is sensible of the worth of it, then immediately he hideth it, and casteth about with himselfe, how he [Page 117] may buy that field. Such a fit Chapman was Paul, after his eyes were enlightned; see what a price he setteth upon Christ, and the graces of his Spirit; Phil. 3. 7, 8. The things that were gaine unto me, the same I accounted losse for Christ; yea, doubtlesse, I doe thinke all things but losse, for the excellencie of the know­ledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I ac­counted all things losse, and doe judge them to be dung, that I might win Christ. All worldly vanities are losse, and drosse, and dung to the soule, that is rightly fitted for Christ.

Thirdly,3. Direction An earnest desire, or an hunger and thirst after it. An earnest and eager desire to enjoy this preci [...]us commoditie, which is compared unto hunger, and thirst in the Scripture. This cannot but follow upon the two former. This is also so necessary, that there is no bargaine without it. Mat. 5. 6. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousnesse, for they shall be satisfied. The Lord Jesus ever satisfieth the hungry soule with goodnes, saith the Psalmist. See how directly this is required, and how earnestly it is pressed: see it in, Isa. 55. 1. Hoe, eve­ry one that thirsteth, come yee to the water: so, Revel. 22. 17. Let him that is a thirst, come. And that speech of our Saviour, Ioh. 7. 37. If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drinke. You see, that onely the thirstie soules are invited to Christ: a man without this spirituall thirst after grace, is likely to be sent emptie away; it is hunger, and thirst then, that fitteth us for the graces of Christ, [Page 118] Luk. 1. 53. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath sent emptie a­way: such onely are likely to prize it, such onely will be thankfull for it, such onely are likely to make a right use of it, such onely will take paines to procure, and be at great cost to obtaine it; and therefore, they that would bargaine with Christ for true saving grace, must hunger and thirst after it: yea, such an one will be earnest in prayer to God for it, he will pray with fervencie, and therefore is sure to speed in his request; Pro. 2. 2. 3. If thou cryest after knowledge, and lif [...]est up thy voyce after understanding; if thou seekest for her, as for silver; and search­est for her, as for hid treasure: then shalt thou understand the feare of the Lord, and finde the knowledge of God.

Fourthly,4. Direction Diligence in frequenting the place of sale. Diligence and constancie in frequenting the place of sale; this also must needs follow upon the three former dire­ctions. For, he that is, first, sensible of the want of grace; secondly, knoweth the right worth of grace; thirdly, and hungreth and thirsteth after it, cannot but in the fourth place, with all possible diligence, and rea­dinesse, frequent the place of sale.

Buying, presupposeth going to the mar­ket. He that would have true saving grace, must diligently, and constantly frequent Gods house, and Ordinances. He is worthy to goe without his commoditie, that will not frequent the place of sale. A wise man [Page 119] will watch for an opportunitie to procure that commoditie, that will serve his turne; he will come one market day after another, untill he be furnished: and he is a blessed man that doth thus, and that in the judge­ment, and opinion of wisedome her selfe: observe it, Pro. 8. 33. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, and giving attendance at the postes of my doores. Happie is that man that daily frequents Wisedomes markets, and diligently atten­deth in Gods house and Ordinances. Thus was Paul's direction to the Elders of Ephe­sus, he sendeth them still to the market, Acts 20. 32. And now, Brethren, I com­mend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up farther, &c. Here is the meanes both to get, and increase grace. This made Gods Saints love Gods house and Ordinances so exceeding dearely. Let me instance in David, Davids love to Gods house and Ordi­nances. in stead of all the rest: oh his admirable love to Gods house and Ordi [...]ances! Psal. 26. 8. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thine house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth: he was a constant frequenter of this spirituall mar­ket: yea, see how he manifested his won­derfull affection that way, he was even sicke when he was kept from the market. Give me leave to informe you of one singular pas­sage of his, to this purpose, Psal. 27. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that I will require, and seeke after, (but one thing Da­vid? [Page 120] surely then, that is a matter of some speciall importance. It may be another king­dome, or such another crown, as that which was taken from the King of Rabbah? No surely, it was no such matter; but onely this, sc. libertie to enjoy the benefit of Gods house, and Ordinances, he desired onely to keepe the market) sc. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the dayes of my life, and enquire in his Temple. As if he had sayd, Lord, what a doe is here in the world with many, one would be rich, and another would be honourable, this man is for plea­sure, and that for profit: well, let them take all, so that I may enjoy the libertie of Gods house and Ordinances, the meanes of grace, the pledges of Gods favour; let me have but this one thing alone, and let them take all the rest. This is Davids one thing. And no marvell, if he was thus earnest in this case; for Davids one thing, is the one thing needfull, and that in the judgement and o­pinion of our blessed Saviour, Luk. 10. 42. One Thing is needfull, Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her. And surely there is good reason for this; here is the place of Gods speciall presence, this is (as it were) the shop of Christ, here he walketh, and talketh with his customers, and here he selleth his precious commodi­ties; Revel. 2. 1. we there finde him walk­ing in the middest of the golden Candlestickes; still present in the Church assemblies; yea, [Page 121] there he hath promised to be present, in a most speciall manner, Mat. 18. 20. Where­soever two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I, even in the middest a­mongst them: there he standeth looking for customers, and calling in such as are rea­die to passe his shop, and never so much as once thinking to cheapen his commoditie, untill they heare him cry, What doe yee lacke, O yee poore soules? Why will yee not come unto me, that yee might have grace here, and glorie hereafter? See how he proclaimeth open market, and describeth his commodities, Isa. 55. 1. Hoe, every one that thirsts, come yee to the waters, buy wine, and milke without money: I will sell the best ware, very cheape; yea, if thou be a poore needie soule, and hast no money, I will ei­ther trust thee, and take thy word, or give it freely without price: yea, see how he chideth them, for not frequenting his shop, Ioh. 5. 40. But yee will not come unto me, that yee might have life. Why doe you lay out your money, for that which is not bread, and spend your labour, for that which satisfieth not? Isa. 55. 2. Why doe yee goe where you are cheated, and cozened, with drosse, in stead of gold; and will not come at me, where you shall be faithfully, and kindly dealt withall? And therefore againe he inviteth them, Ver. 3. Encline your eare, and come un­to me; heare, and your soule shall live. They that neglect the market, are likely to starve, [Page 122] and perish for want of grace, and glorie: Salvation is farre from the wicked, for they re­gard not thy Statutes, sayth David, Psal. 119. 155. He that despiseth Gods Ordinances, is farre from salvation. This is the fourth thing requisite for the making of this bar­gaine with Christ, sc. Diligence, and con­stancie in frequenting the house of sale.

Fifthly,5. Direction Pay the full price. He that would bargaine with Christ, must pay the price of it, to the worth of the commoditie, though it cost him all that he hath. Now we come to the very price of the Iewell. A naturall man will thinke it too much, but the truth is, it is an excellent peni-worth; for he must part with nothing, but what he hath of his owne, and what he may well spare; He goeth, and sel­leth all that he hath, and buyeth that field, sayth our Saviour, Mat. 13. 44. Let no man thinke it deare, because he must sell all that he hath, before he can buy it of Christ; for, alas! what doth our Saviour meane by, All that he hath? but that which he hath of his owne; not his wealth, nor his wit, nor his life, (save onely in some cases,) but all that he hath, that is, all his sinnes, all his lusts, all his earthly members, his corrupt and vici­ous affections, his actuall transgressions: these he must needs sell, these he may well spare, nay, these will be his utter ruine, if he sell them not. See how the Lord expound­eth it himselfe, Ezech. 18. 31. Cast away from you all your transgressions, and make you [Page 123] a new heart, and a new soule. Why will ye die, O house of Israell? We must not stand dodg­ing with Christ, but part with our sinnes freely, and we shall have a most blessed, and happie exchange.

Sixthly,6 Direction Prepare a fit vessell to put it in. To the making of this bargaine, there is another thing necessary, and that is, That wee must prepare a vessell to put it in. When a man hath bought his commoditie, and payed the price of it, then he looketh for his wallet, or basket, or something to carie it home in: so that all that come to this spirituall market, to bargaine with Christ, for this jewell of true saving grace, they must bring hearts emptie, and ready to receive it. Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, sayth the Text, Psal. 81. 10. Come hither, sayth God, let me see thy heart, open the mouth of thy heart, that it may be fit to receive, and cary away this precious com­moditie. See the practise of Gods people for this, this was David's practise, Psal. 119. 11. I have hid thy Word in my heart, that I might not sinne against thee. So the Baereans, They received the Word with all readinesse of minde, Acts 17. 11. This was Lydia's pra­ctise, God opened the heart of Lydia, that shee attended to those things that were spoken by Paul, Acts 16. 14. This was a piece of Ma­ryes good housewifery, Luk. 2. 51. Shee kept these sayings, and pondered them in her heart. When we come to Gods Ordinan­ces, we must have a speciall care to prepare [Page 124] our hearts to that purpose, that we may be able to say with David, Psal. 108. 1. O God my heart is prepared, or, my heart is readie. My sonne, give me thine heart, sayth Salo­mon, Pro. 23. 26. Yea, see how expresly the Lord required it of old, Deut. 32. 46. Set your hearts unto all the words that I command you this day, (i. e.) here is saving grace of­fered to thee in this Ordinance, let me see thine heart, what hast thou else to put it in? trust not thy memory alone with it, but hide it, with David, in the middest of thy heart.

Seventhly,7. Direction A care to keepe it from loo­sing. There must be a speciall care, to keepe it from loosing, when we have it. If a man goe to market, on purpose to buy some precious jewell, which costeth him all that he hath, he is undone if he loose it by the way; Heb. 4. 1. Take heed of loo­sing the grace of God, let it not run out, as the word importeth; Proove all things, and keepe that which is good, sayth the Apo­stle, 1 Thes. 5. 21. Blessed are they that heare the Word of God, and keepe it. It is not the hearing of Gods Word, but the keeping of it, that is the way to true happinesse. If a man buy never so good a peny-worth, if he loose it by the way, it will never enrich him. Therefore after we have bought the commoditie, there must be a care to keepe it; let us knit up the mouth of our vessell, by prayer, and meditation, that wee loose not our treasure.

[Page 125] Eighthly and lastly,8. Direction A care to make a right use of it, both in regard of our selves, and others. This last direction,2. Branches. divideth it selfe into two branches.

First, He that hath bought true saving 1 grace,Make use of it for our selves, & must labour to make use of it for his owne particular. Commodities are bought to be used; cloathes to be worne; meate to be eaten, &c. so when we goe to the mar­ket of Gods Ordinances, to get grace, we must have a care to practise what we know, Jam. 1. 22. Be yee doers of the Word, and not hearers onely, deceiving your selves. He that contenteth himselfe with bare hearing, lea­veth his markets undone, or, at least hath lost his commoditie. If yee know these things, happie are yee if ye doe them, sayth our Savi­our, Ioh. 13. 17. See the use that David would make of this precious commoditie, Psal. 119. 11. I have hid thy Word in mine heart, that I might not sinne against thee. To make grace an Antidote or preservative a­gainst sinne, is the right use of it indeed. Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for the meat that endureth, sayth our Saviour, Joh. 6. 27. What should we doe with meat but eate it? The best meate in the world, will never nourish, unlesse it be eaten: and therefore sayth the Prophet, Come, buy and eate, and let your soule delight it selfe in fat­nesse. Eating, and digesting, is the end of buying food; and practise, the end of hea­ring. The want of this, was the fault of E­zechiel's [Page 126] hearers: they came to the market, and seemed to buy good provision; but they wanted good stomackes to digest it; They heare thy words, but they will not doe them; their stomackes were cloyed before, they had gotten a surfet of covetousnesse, Ezech. 33. 31.

Secondly,Branch 2. Dispose of it for the good of others. A care to make a right use of it, in regard of others. Men do not buy com­modities for their owne use onely, but also for their families, and neighbours: the ma­ster of a familie, buyeth provision not onely for himselfe, but for his wife, and children, and servants; yea, if he be a kinde man in­deede, he will invite his neighbours, and make them partakers of his good provision. Vnto him that hath (this care to employ it) shall be given, and he shall have abundance, Mat. 25. 29. But he that layeth it up in a napkin, and maketh no use of it, neither for himselfe, nor the good of others, shall have it taken from him at last; and himselfe be pu­nished, for want of making a right use of it, ver. 30. But every good man is of a quite contrary disposition: observe it in, Psal. 37. 30, 31. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdome, and his tongue will be talking of judge­ment. Whence cometh this? The Law of God is in his heart, and none of his steps slide. He that hath the law of grace setled in his owne heart, will not onely take heed to his owne wayes, but will labour also, to be an instrument of benefit, and good to others. [Page 127] See an experiment of this, in two famous examples for this purpose. 1. That of Da­vid, Psal. 51. 13. Then shall I teach thy wayes to the wicked, and sinners shall be converted un­to thee. So see what the Lord sayth of Abra­ham, Gen. 18. 19. I know Abraham, that he will command his children, and servants, to keepe the way of the Lord. He will not onely walke holily before God himselfe, but also will doe his best endeavour, to reforme his familie, and put away iniquitie from his ta­bernacles. See the practise of this, in that Samaritan Convert, Ioh. 4. 20. when our Saviour had dealt effectually with her; see what a care she had to impart this precious commoditie, for the use and benefit of o­thers, she ranne into the Citie, and sayd to the men of that place, Come, see a Man, that hath told me all that ever I did: Is not he the Christ? She useth the best, and the most ef­fectuall argument that shee could possibly thinke of, to bring them to Christ. She re­ports him to be a Man that could tell won­ders; that she might perswade them to come unto Christ, and be wrought upon, as well as her selfe. Here is the right use of grace received, to employ it, not onely for our owne use, but also for the benefit, and pro­fit, and comfort of others.

CHAP. IX.

Containing the second Vse of the poynt, sc. for Reprehension.

SEcondly,Vse 2. This serveth in the se­cond place, for Reprehension of diverse sorts of Chapmen, that come justly to be reproved in this regard.

First, All popish, and prophane persons amongst us,1. Sort. Such as doe despite the place of sale, or come not to the market. that utterly reject Gods Ordi­nances, and despise, and contemne the Word faithfully preached, &c. these are such as come not to the market, they frequent not the place of sale, but eyther totally, or for the most part, absent themselves: Yee will not come unto me, that yee might have life: You might have grace, and spirituall life for your soules, if you would but come, and fetch it, Ioh. 5. 40. But your destruction is upon your selves, your blood will be re­quired at your owne hands, you have even pined and starved your soules, by your grosse neglect of the market, where you might have had provision, and food for your pre­cious soules; which are now, like to perish for want of food, Hoe, every one that thir­steth, come yee to the waters, &c. Isa. 55. 1. [Page 129] This is an evident signe, that they neither know the worth of grace, nor find the want of grace in themselves, but like the Church here, thinke they are rich, and filled with goods, and stand in need of nothing, and know not, that they are wretched, and mi­serable, and poore, and blinde, and naked: woe be to these rich, and full soules, for they are like to be sent empty away, if they doe come; and sure to perish for ever, if they doe not come. Oh that all such would lay to heart those terrifying Texts of our Savi­our, Ioh. 8. 47. He that is of God, heareth Gods Word: yee therefore heare them not; be­cause yee are not of God. It is a fearefull signe of reprobation, obstinately to refuse the hea­ring of Gods Word faithfully preached. Oh that all popish, and prophane persons would consider this: it is a fearefull signe they are none of Gods. The other heart­shaking place to this purpose, is that of our Saviour, Ioh. 16. 26. My sheepe heare my voyce, and follow me, and I give unto them e­ternall life. This is the very eare-marke of a sheepe of Christ, that he heareth Gods Word, and Christs voyce. It must needes therefore be the Character of a Goate, to re­fuse, and reject it: there is no medium be­tweene sheepe, and goates, Mat. 25. 31. and see the condition of the goates, that stand on the left hand of Christ, at the last day; heare thy wofull doome, (if thou be of that number) Ver. 41. Goe yee cursed, into [Page 130] everlasting fire, prepared for the Devill, and his Angels. Oh consider this, yee that forget God, and refuse to heare his voyce, least one day He teare you in pieces, when there is none to deliver you, Psal. 50. 22.

Secondly,2. Sort. Such as mis­pend their ime there. Some come indeede to the market, but it is onely to looke about them, or conferre with their acquaintance, and so spend their time, in walking here, and com­plementing there, and never once cheapen the commoditie, that is there to be sold: these are negligent, and carelesse hearers. I have observed how strangely men spend their time in the Church assemblies; some walking, and whispering; some jeering, and laughing; some sleeping; some reading upon a booke, while the Minister is eyther praying, or preaching: doe such men spend their time well at market? for shame sleepe not at market: surely you may come to have your purse picked,Sleeping at market, dangerous. while you are asleepe: certainly, the devill doth even watch for such an opportunitie; while you sleepe, the devill stealeth away your markets, and sow­eth tares in stead of the pure graine of true grace, which you might have had sowen in your hearts, if you had watchfully and care­fully attended. Take heede, and beware of carelesse hearing: remember the Baereans practise, in this case, for you imitation▪ Acts 17. 11. They received the Word, with all readinesse of minde; they came, not onely to the place of sale, but were very busie in [Page 131] cheapening the commoditie, which they meant to buy: woe be to all carelesse hea­rers, that come to gaze, or talke, or sleepe at Church, and so come to market, not to buy, but to looke about them.

Thirdly, Some come, and seeme to hear­ken,3. Sort. Some aske the price onely, but b [...]d nothing. but receive nothing, all runneth be­sides: these cheapen the commoditie, but bid nothing: these are never likely to bar­gaine with Christ; they onely would know the price of grace, and what it would cost to become religious; but they meane not to practise any thing. These were Ezechiel's Chapmen, Ezech. 33. 31. They came, and heard; they came to the market, and they asked the price, for they seemed to be very serious in hearing; but they would bid no­thing; they would heare all, but doe no­thing, but do rather reject a good bargaine, when it is offered, and thrust it from them. Oh the wofull estate of these persons, that doe cast the Commandements of God be­hinde their backes, and come with a resolu­tion onely to heare and know, but doe no­thing. Be ye doers of the Word, and not hea­rers onely, deceiving your owne selves, Jam. 1. 22. He doth utterly deceive himselfe, that thinketh bare hearing will serve the turne, to bring him to heaven: it is not cheape­ning, but buying, and paying downe, that procureth this commoditie. See the wofull estate of all such, set out in that Text of the Apostle, Acts 13. 48. It was necessary that [Page 132] the Word of God, should be first preached unto you; but seeing that yee thrust it from you, and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life; behold, we turne to the Gentiles: they judge themselves unworthy of such a precious jewell, that carelesly thrust it from them, and bid nothing for it. Here is the third sort.

Fourthly,4. Sort. Some bid fairely, but not the full price. Some goe a little, and not onely cheapen the commoditie, but also bid fairely for it, but will not come to the price; they would have it under the worth, or not at all. These are such as are content to part with some sinnes, and doe many things, but will not be universall in their obedi­ence. Now you know the price is, All that we have, Mat. 13. 44. He that will not part with every lust, and readily abandon every base corruption, is not fit to be a Chapman for Christ; he is but an Higler, or a dodging companion, that will have a thing quite under the worth, and at his owne rate, or else he will none of it; he cannot abide, to fell all that he hath. Such an one was Herod, Mark. 6. 20. He reve­renced his person, and ministery, and heard him gladly, and did many things, but would not forgoe his incest. Such was Iehu, zea­lous in many things, but would not for­goe his Idolatry; he was loth to come off with the whole price. See how the Spirit of God reports it, 2 King. 10. 31. But Iehu tooke no heede to walke in the Law of the Lord, [Page 133] with all his heart; for he departed not from the sinnes of Ieroboam: This he kept as a sweete morsell in his mouth, and would not for­sake it. But a good Chapman is readie to give the whole price, will sell all that he hath, that he may buy that field. This was the Apostles practise, Acts 24. 16. Herein doe I exercise my selfe, to have alwayes a con­science voyde of offence, towards God, and to­wards men. So, Heb. 13. 18. Pray for us, for we trust we have a good conscience, desiring in all things to live honestly. Such a Chapman was holy David, Psal. 119. 6. Then shall I not be confounded, when I have respect unto all thy Commandements: here is the full price. But when a man is content to part with some sinnes, but not with other; seemeth to make conscience of some duties, but is ut­terly carelesse in regard of others; he doth but scotch with God, he is but a dodging companion, he is not a fit Chapman for Christ, unlesse he will sell all that he hath, and buy that field. Here is the fourth sort of bad Chapmen. They bid faire, but when they come to stake downe, they will have something abated of the full price, or else no bargaine: and so these goe away emp­tie.

Fifthly, Some bid faire,5. Sort. Some pro­mise the full price, but doe after revoke it. and are readie to promise the full price, but when they come to pay, they revoke the bargaine, and goe backe with their word, and will not stand to their promise: these are Apostata's, [Page 134] that doe seeme to be wrought upon, but fall off againe at last, and renounce the bargaine: so these Chapmen fall off, for want of con­stancie, these, notwithstanding all their vowes, and promises, returne, like the dog to his vomit, and the sow, that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire, 2 Pet. 2. 22. So these returne to folly, Psal. 85. 9. Oh the wofull estate of these persons, unlesse they repent, and doe their first workes, they are ne­ver likely to bargaine with Christ, but fall off from God, by inconstancie, and fickle­nesse; and so, The later end of these men, was worse then the beginning: And they had better never to have knowne the way of righteousnes, then thus shamefully to depart from the holy Commandement: they were better never to have bidden one peny, then promise the whole price, but immediately revoke it.

Sixthly,6. Sort. Some want hearts to re­ceive it. Some want an heart to receive the Word; their hearts are eyther left a [...] home, or filled with other trash, that there is no roome to receive grace: these leave their commoditie at market, for want of a vessell to put it in: their hearts are gone af­ter their covetousnesse, or rent in pieces with the thoughts, and cares of this life, and so they goe home againe, utterly unfur­nished of this precious commoditie; eyther for want of a vessell, or at least, roome to re­ceive it, forgetting David's practise, I have hid thy Word in my heart; or the Lords owne admonition, Set your hearts to all these words▪ [Page 135] Deut. 32. 46. These are another sort of bad Chapmen, that leave their commodities at market for want of cariage; contrary to the Lords expresse command, to this purpose, Deut. 6. 6. These words which I command thee, shall be in thy heart, &c.

Seventhly,7. Sort. Loose their commoditie. Some are forgetfull, and lose hearers, that seeme to bid faire, and to re­ceive the commoditie, but loose all, before they get home. These loose all their labour, as well as the rest. These forget to tie up the mouth of their hearts, by some holy prayer to God; and so loose by the way, as they re­turne home▪ contrarie to that advise of the holy Ghost, Heb. 4. 1. Let us feare, least at any time, a promise being made unto us, of entring into rest, any of you should seeme to come short, or suffer it to runne out, as the word signi­fieth. A commoditie is bought to no pur­pose, if there be not a care to preserve, and keepe it from loosing, when wee have it. 1 Thes. 5. 21. Prove all things, and keepe that which is good; 1. keep it in memorie, labour, not to forget it: 2. Keepe it in affection, love, and embrace it. 3. Keepe it in practise, with all speed, and diligence set about the performance of it. But contrarie hereunto is the practise of many, who seeme to heare with some good affection, for the present, but immediately their hearts are coole, and they are straight of another temper, and the complaint of these men is onely of their me­morie, they have the worst memories that [Page 136] ever had any, but when the matter commeth to be throughly sifted, the fault is in their affections, and not in their memorie; like a man that having lost his markets by the way, or left them behinde him, complai­neth of his wallet, or basket, that had an hole in it: whereas the truth is, it was his carelesnesse, and not his forgetfulnesse; be­cause when the wallet commeth to be view­ed, and made use of for other things, it hold­eth well enough: so mens memories retaine other vanities strongly enough, onely they forget that which should doe them good in regard of their soules: these unjustly lay the blame upon their memories, whereas the fault indeede is in their hearts, and af­fections. Here is another sort of bad Chap­men, such as loose their commodities.

Eighthly,8. Sort. Some are robbed of their com­moditie, as they returne home. There is yet another sort, that are justly to be reproved, though they seeme not to be in so great fault, as the former; and they are such as are robbed of their commodities, as they returne home. These are such as seeme very honest hearers, and doe many things, yea, seeme to take much delight in approaching to God; but in time of temptation, they fall away, they are quite dryed up, with the scorching heate of perse­cution; they are set upon by the way, and the devill taketh away that seede of grace, that was sowne in their hearts, and so at last, they returne home, not onely emptie of grace, but wounded with sinne. Our Savi­our [Page 137] seemeth to set out such market-folke, Mat. 13. 32. When tribulation or persecu­tion ariseth, because of the Word, then by and by, they are offended, and so come home wounded with Sathans assaults. Me think­eth such as are driven off by the heate of per­secution, are just like unto such Chapmen, as goe to the market on foote, in a hote sum­mers day, and put their markets in their bosomes, but being set upon by the heate of the Sunne, they unbutton their doublets to get ayre, and so loose their commodities; so many set upon good duties, in their owne strength, and so at last are driven off from the service of Christ, by the heate of perse­cution. Here is the eighth sort.

Ninthly,9. Sort. Some are quarrelling Chapmen, that fall out with the partie that felleth it. Another sort are quarrelling Chapmen, that will have the commoditie at their owne price, or else they will fall out with the party that selleth it, and setteth the price too deare (as they thinke:) These are such hearers, as cannot abide to part with their sinnes, and yet hope to goe to heaven, as soone as the best: they make ac­count, they can serve God, and sinne too; God, and Mammon too; God, and the de­vill too; God, and their bellies too; and therefore when a Minister telleth such cor­rupt persons, they must sell all that they have, they are readie to fall out, and fight with him; They blesse themselves in their owne hearts, and say; I shall have peace, though I walke after the stubbornnesse of mine owne [Page 138] heart; I hope to goe to heaven without halfe this adoe: these are quarrelling Chap­men. Such an one was Herod, he putteth Iohn in prison, because Iohn would not bate him an ace, not a peny in the matter of Herodias, Mark. 6. It is not lawfull for thee to have her, sayth Iohn. No, sayth Herod: If I may not have my brother Philips wife, thou shalt not have thy libertie: here was a quarrelling Auditor. There are too many such as these in the world, at this present. If a Man of God, be faithfull to Christ, and tell them, they must part with their lusts, or else have no part in Christ, nor interest in heaven, though he proove it never so substantially, yet they will hate him, and spite him for this, because he setteth too high a rate upon this precious commoditie of true saving grace. Iust such a Chapman was Ahab, see how he quarrelleth with Elijah, and with Michajah: observe it, how he greets that faithfull Prophet Elijah, 1 King. 21. 20. Hast thou found Me, O mine enemie! Why? what was the matter? he knew, he was readie to chide him for taking away Naboth's Vine­yard, he ever looked when he should heare him say, Thou hast sold thy selfe to worke evill in the sight of the Lord, and hast shed the in­nocent blood of honest Naboth. So what was his quarrell to Michajah? 1 King. 22. 8. There is one Prophet more, but I hate him, be­cause he never prophesieth good of me, but evill: He selleth his Sermons too deare, I cannot [Page 139] abide him, if he doe not comply with the rest, send him to prison, and feed him with the bread of affliction, untill Ahab returne. Here is unjust dealing, when men will have a commoditie at their owne rates, or else quarrell with him that selleth it.

Tenthly and lastly,10. [...] There is another sort, that doe utterly cry downe the market. What need so much Preaching, and such running after Sermons? there was never good world, since so much preaching came up, &c. These doe even cry downe the mar­ket, and will neither goe to Gods Ordi­nances themselves, nor suffer others to fre­quent them. These are absolutely the worst of all that I have yet mentioned. They are enemies to Gods people, because they follow the thing that is good: Oh that such would consider the folly, and absurditie of their o­pinion, and practise, and withall, the great danger that they are in, while they so con­tinue. Let them seriously consider of these two places of Scripture; the one is, Phil. 1. 28. And in nothing be terrified by your ad­versaries, which is to them, a token of perditi­on, but to you of salvation, and that of God. All that oppose Gods people, for frequen­ting Gods Ordinances, and the spirituall market of Christ, are sonnes of perdition, (like the great Antichrist their Father) and the very tokens of perdition, are even stam­ped upon them. The other place, for this purpose, is that of the Apostle, Acts 13. 10. [Page 140] See what Paul that Man of God sayth there to that limme of Sathan, Elymas the sorce­rer, that sought to turne away the Deputie from the faith, and endeavoured, eyther to cry downe the market, or at least to keepe away the Deputie. Oh thou full of all subtil­tie, and mischiefe, thou childe of the Devill, doest thou seeke to pervert the straight wayes of the Lord? &c. Wilt you neyther goe to the market thy selfe, nor suffer others? O thou childe of the Devill!

CHAP. X.

Containing the two last Vses of the poynt, sc. for Consolation; and also for Ex­hortation, and Direction.

THirdly,Vse 3. For comfort to such as carnestly desire true saving grace. If all that would have true saving grace, must buy it of Christ; This serveth for the sin­gular comfort, and consolation, of such as verely suppose themselves desti­tute, and utterly voyde of true saving grace; but yet, doe even heartily long for it, and most eagerly hunger, and thirst after it; let all such know, that true saving grace is at the dispose of Christ Jesus, he is the Chap­man [Page 141] that felleth it.It is Christ that felleth it, who is so rare a Chap­man as you have heard. What greater comfort then this, to know that true grace, is at the dispose of thy Saviour? Indeede, if thou didst stand in neede of a thing, which was wholly at Sathans dispose, thy case was ter­rible; but now for thy comfort, consider, that as thou canst not be saved without grace, so this true saving grace is at the dis­pose of Christ Jesus, who is the most excel­lent Chapman that ever was knowne, or heard of. Consider the reasons of the poynt: He is a Chapman of a most sweet dispositi­on; He is very well stored, with all kinde of precious, and heavenly treasures; and He is no respecter of persons; He thinketh never a whit the worse of thee, for thy po­vertie; nay, He esteemeth so much better of thee, because thou art sensible of thy spiri­tuall penurie; and then, how freely doth He part with his commodities? How cheape doth he sell, to such as are truely humbled? He requireth nothing of thee, but what thou mayest well spare; He will give thee beautie, for ashes; robes, for rags; onely sell all thy sinnes, and part with thy lusts, (that otherwise would keepe thee out of heaven) and assure thy selfe then, He will never breake with thee for price, though thou hast neither money, nor mo­ney-worth, yet he will bestow this excel­lent commoditie upon thee, and desireth onely to finde thee emptie, and hungry: doe but hunger and thirst after it, and it is [Page 142] thine owne. And therefore all you that feele any want of true saving grace, goe to Christ for it; and assure your selves, you cannot be so readie to desire it, as he is to bestow it; nor so forward to aske, as he is to give, Mat. 7. 7. Aske, and yee shall have; seeke, and you shall finde; knocke, and it shall be opened. Nay, farther, he is so readie to heare thee, that he will prevent thy request, and petitions. Isa. 65. 24. It shall come to passe, that when they call, I will answere; and while they are yet speaking, I will heare. Doest thou see (Luk. 15.) how readie the old man was to cloath the tatte­red Prodigall? God is so readie to helpe his children: Christ is so readie to cloath and refresh his poore members. Yea, for thy farther comfort, consider the fidelitie of this Chapman; assure thy selfe, he will not de­ceive thee, he cannot deny himselfe; thou mayest safely repose thy confidence in him, for matter, and measure, and time; assure thy selfe, he will deale kindly, and faith­fully with thee; yea, he will never faile thee, nor forsake thee. This for Comfort, and Consolation.

Fourthly and lastly,4. Vse. Exhortation and Directi­on to get grace for our selves, For Exhortation, and Direction. If any lacke wisedome, let him aske it of God, sayth the Apostle, Iam. 1. 5. so say I, If any lacke true saving grace, let him buy it of Christ; goe to Christ for grace at the first, yea, and goe to Christ for a farther increase of true grace; see thy [Page 143] want of grace, labour to know the worth of grace, hunger and thirst after it, fre­quent the Ordinances, &c. and assure thy selfe, the God of all grace shall be with thee. But of this in the first use. But that which I especially desire to presse at this present, is to exhort, and direct, such as desire grace, not onely for themselves, but also even for others; godly neighbours, that would have others religious, as well as themselves; godly masters, and parents, that would put away iniquitie from their tabernacles; and desire to have saving grace wrought in the hearts of their children, and servants. This was godly Iosuah's care, and pious resolution, Iosh. 24. 15. I, and my house, will serve the Lord.

Now for Direction to such as are thus graciously affected, and lovingly disposed towards others, in generall, I say. Let such consider, that they must buy it of Christ, for themselves, and their families. What they should doe for themselves, I have alreadie shewed: and what they should doe for their families,And for o­thers. I will now endeavour to manifest. Thus then,

First, In the generall, you must have a 1 care to bring them to the market.1 Direction generall. Bring them to the mar­ket. When some of your familie want new things, you usually take them to the market, that they may be fitted for the purpose. This is the generall Direction, bring them to the mar­ket, see that thy children, and servants doe [Page 144] constantly frequent the Church assemblies; Isa. 55. 1. Hoe, every one that thirsteth, come yee to the waters. Doest thou thirst after the salvation of thy wife, or children, or ser­vants? O then bring them to the waters, pray earnestly to God for them, but with­all, bring them to the publike Ordinance. It is the safest buying things, (eyther for our selves, or our families) in the publike Market place. Bring thy children, and ser­vants to Gods house, and Ordinances. It is not enough, to be constantly there our selves, unlesse we bring our children, and servants with us. See upon what proofe I speake it, Deut. 31. 11, 12. When all Isra­el shall come to appeare before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose; Thou shalt reade this Law before all Israel. Gather the people together, men, women, and children, and the stranger that is within thy gates, that they may heare, and learne to feare the Lord thy God, &c. So then this is the first thing in the generall; doe not content thy selfe to come alone to Gods Ordinances, but also bring thy children, and servants with thee: for God will not say unto thee, in that case, as he did to Adam, Where art thou? but as unto Cain, Gen. 4. Where is thy Brother? So, where is thy wife? and where are thy children, and servants? What make they abroad about foolish vanities, when they should be present here in the Church assem­blies? When they should be making mar­kets [Page 145] for their soules? Command them to keepe the way of the Lord, as Abraham did, Gen. 18. 19. When thou commest out of thine owne house, with a purpose to goe to Gods house, say unto thy familie, as, Isa. 2. 3. Come, let us goe up to the house of the Lord, and he will teach us of his wayes, and we will walke in his pathes. This is sweet musicke in the eares of God Almightie, when we thus stirre up one another to love, and unto good workes. Thus in the generall.

Secondly,2. Direction In speciall, prepare them before hand. Doe thy best endeavour, to fit, and prepare them before they come to Gods publike Ordinances; labour to plow up the fallow ground of their hearts, Jer. 4. 3. When you have a purpose to take your chil­dren abroad to market, you cause them to make preparation, and to put on faire cloathes, and not to come abroad in na­stie, or filthie apparell. Doe so in this case, helpe them to put on the wedding garment of due preparation; have a care to pray with them, and for them. Thus Paul, Rom. 10. 1. My hearts desire, and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. Doe thy best, to prepare, and fit them: for, ac­cording to the measure of our preparation, will be (for the most part) our profit. Oh therefore take paines with them in private, by godly advise, and counsell, catechise, and instruct them, teach them before they come to the market, how to lay out their money; especially, forget not to pray with [Page 146] them, and for them, that they may speed well, and prosper in making holy markets for their soules.

Thirdly,3. Direction Bring them with thee, left they tri­fle away their t [...]e. bring them along with thee: and neither send them before, nor let them stay behind thee: For, alas! children, and youth, being sent to the market alone, will play by the way, and trifle away their time, untill the market be done. And therefore saith David, Psal. 42. 4. When I went with the multitude, I led them to the House of God. Not as the practise of some is, that say, well, I will goe to Church, wife, make haste, and come away; she stayeth a great while, before she be ready, and the children and servants as long after her, that the market is almost done, ere the whole fa­mily come in. No, thou shouldest rather say, Isa. 2. 3. Come, let us goe up to the house of the Lord, and labour to see, that thy chil­dren and servants may be ready, as soone as thy selfe; that they may say unto thee; as some did to David▪ Come, Sirs, let us goe up to the House of the Lord, Psalm. 122. I was glad when they said unto mee, let us goe up to the house of the Lord: this did him good at heart, to bee so excited and ex­horted.

Fourthly,4▪ Direction See that they ply their busi­nesse, and minde their markets. See that they minde their busi­nesse, and ply their markets, when they are come: let them not stand, and looke about them, or laugh, or talke, as too many doe; sleepe, as some doe: have an eye to your [Page 147] children, and servants, while they are pre­sent in the Church assemblies, that their cariage may bee such, as becommeth those, that are in the speciall presence of God Al­mighty. You know children are apt to trifle away their time, let slip the opportu­nitie of making their markets: Besides, they may soone come to have their purses picked, or be cousened, and cheated of their mony: there is that old Serpent, the De­vill, that watcheth his opportunity to dis­appoint them, and doe them a mischiefe, therefore I say, as, Luk. 8. 18. Take heed how you heare.

Fifthly,5. Direction Examine them when they come home, what markets they have made. To make them the more carefull, and warie, you must constantly examine them, (when they come home,) what mar­lets they have made, and how they have hid out their money: this after reckoning, will make them diligent, and heedfull. So when they come from the Church, the mar­ket of their soules, examine them what they have learned, and what they remem­ber, encouraging them, if they doe well, and shew care, and diligence▪ but bla­ming, and reproving them, if they bee carelesse. This was the practise of our Sa­viour, Mark. 4. 13. Perceive you not, or doe you not understand this Parable? How then shall you under stand all Parables? An [...] chap. 8. 21. How is it that you understand not? And how often doth hee aske them? Vnderstand yee this Parable? &c. And [Page 148] withall, you must whet upon them, in pri­vate, that which hath beene taught in the publike ministery of the Word, Deut. 6. 6, 7. These words which I command thee, shall bee in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them dili­gently to thy children, and shalt talke of them, when thou lyest downe, and when thou risest up: presse it upon them by private instru­ction, teach them how to use their markets, when they come home, how to apply this, and how to make use of that particular, for their owne good. And thus have I briefe­ly shewed how we may helpe our children and servants, to bargaine with Christ, for true saving grace.

Sixthly and lastly,6. Directiō Pra [...]er unto God, for his blessing up­on the bar­gaine. Be sure thou accom­pany all the rest of thy procedings, with humble, earnest, and heartie prayer unto God, for his blessing upon their endea­vours, for Paul planteth, and Apollo wat [...] ­reth, but God giveth the increase, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 3. 6. God opened the heart of Lydia, that she attended to those things that were spoken by Paul, Acts 16. 24. Goe to God by prayer therefore, before thou goe with thy familie to the market of their soules, and beseech him to make good his promise to thee, Deut. 30. 6. sc. to circum­cise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God. It is not amisse, to imitate old father Iacob, when he sent his dearest Benjamin into Aegypt, (because else they must not see the mans face except their [Page 149] brother bee with them) see how the ho­ly Text reporteth it, in Gen. 4 [...]. 11. 13, 14. If it must be so now, thus doe, take the best fruits of the land, in yours hands; and bring the man a present, &c. yea, ver. 13. Take also your brother, and arise, and goe unto the man, and see what followeth, ver. 14. And God Almighty, shew you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other bro­ther, and Benjamin. Here was, first the use of all honest lawfull endeavours, and then prayer unto God for his blessing upon their journey; the old man had more confidence in his prayers, then his presents. So when we have given our children, and servants the best direction that wee are able, let us ever conclude all with prayer to God for his blessing, for He is that Father of lights, from whom commeth every good, and perfect gift, Iam. 1. 17. Yea, of him, and through him, and from him, are all things, to him bee honour, and glory, now, and for ever: it is the conclusion of the Apostle, Rom. 11. 36. Thus through the good hand of God upon me, I have finished this point, wherein I have shewed; That all that would have true saving grace, must buy it of Christ. In handling of which point, I have shew­ed; Why wee must doe it, and how wee must doe it, and also how much they are too blame that doe it not; and lastly, I have shewed some few directions▪ how wee may, not onely make this golden pur­chase [Page 150] our selves, but also direct, and assist such as are committed unto our charge.

Now my humble and heartie request is, to the God of all grace, for his blessing up­on these unworthy labours; And that as the paines, through Gods assistance, have beene mine: so the profit, and comfort of them may redound unto Gods people; and all glory to God.

FINIS.
THE SOVLES DELIGHT I …

THE SOVLES DELIGHT IN GODS TABERNACLES. A Treatise, shewing the excel­lency of Time spent in the duties of God's solemne worship and service. Instances in the chiefe of them, viz.

  • Prayer,
  • Word, and
  • Sacraments.

The necessitie and utilitie of seasonable, con­stant, and abundant exercising those duties, with Motives, and Directions about the right performance of them. Lastly, the chiefe usurpers and mispenders of pre­cious time are discovered; with apt remedies against each of them.

PSA. 84. 1.

How amiable are thy Tabernacles, ô Lord of Hosts!

VERSE 4.

Blessed are they that dwell in thine House, &c.

PSA. 26. 8.

I have loved the habitation of thine House, &c.

By William Harrison, Mr. of Arts, and Minister of the Gospell at Canwicke neare Lincolne.

Printed by the Assigne of T. P. for P. S. and C. M. and are to be sold at their Shop, at the Golden Lion in Paul's Church-Yard. 1639.

The best spent time.
CHAP. I.

Psalme 84. 10.‘For a day in thy Courts is better then a thousand.’

THis Psalme, (besides the Title of it)Division, and parts of the Psalme. consisteth especially of these 3. parts

  • 1. An emphaticall Nar­ration, or Propositi­on; from ver. 1. to ver. 8.
  • 2. The Psalmists ear­nest petition; from ver. 8. to the last.
  • 3. The Peroration, or apt conclusion; in the last verse.

1. In the first part, the Psalmist doth emphatically depainte, or set out these three particulars.

  • [Page 156]1. The beautie of Gods Tabernacle, his House, and Ordinances, v. 1.
  • 2. The Prophets ear­nest and ardent affecti­on to them, ver. 2.
  • 3. A description of the happie estate of such as had liberty to fre­quent them; set out in sundry particulars; to ver. 8.

2. We have the Psalmist's earnest request, in the 8. and 9. verses.

1. Darkely and implicitely propounded.

2. Prosecuted and enforced by sundry arguments; especially in the tenth and eleventh verses.

This verse, whereof the words that I have rea [...] are a portion, doth containe two speciall arguments, whereby David enfor­ceth his earnest desire, to enjoy the liberty of Gods Courts, and Tabernacles.

1. Is drawne from the worth and excel­lency of the time so spent, in the words of our Text.

For a day in thy Courts, is better than a thousand.

2. From the dignity of the persons, that so spend their time. The meanest office there, is better than the highest employment other where: even the place of a doore [Page 157] keeper there, is better than to dwell in the Tents of wickednesse.

So that the words which I have read,The Cohe­rence. do containe in them an argument or speciall reason, why David longed so much after the Courts of God.

And the argument is drawne a Compa­ratis, by comparing time spent in Gods ser­vice, with time spent otherwise: there is a broad difference, a thousand to one. So that if you aske David, why his soule longed so sore for Gods Courts? He answereth; be­cause, A day in Gods Courts is better than a thousand▪

Before we come to receive that instructi­on which the words affoard us, it is neces­sary for mee to unfold the meaning of the words. And herein there is no great diffi­cultie, but only for me to shew you, what is meant by the Courts of God in this place. So then, by the Courts of God David doth not meane the outward fabricke, or frame of Gods Courts, but hee hath speciall re­spect to the duties of Gods worship and service, and the exercises of religion per­formed there by Gods people. So that we may conceive Davids meaning, as if hee had spoken more largely thus; O Lord of Hosts, I am now a banished man, debarred of the liberty of thine House and ordinan­ces, I cannot joyne with thy people, in the duties of thy publike worship, nor serve thee in the beautie of holinesse. O Lord I [Page 158] pray thee restore me againe, for so highly doe I prize all things appertaining to thy publike worship and service, that I thinke them onely happy, that have free liberty to frequent them; and therefore doe envie the very Sparrowes, which have more li­berty in this, then I have: and that so much the rather, because I value that time, which is spent in thy service, before all other time a thousand fold. This is the sense. Let us now consider of the Doctrine, viz. This; That time spent in Gods service,Doctrine 1. That time spent in Gods ser­vice, is the best spent. is absolute­ly, and incomparably the best spent time. Even a day spent in the duties of Gods so­lemne worship and service, is better then a thousand dayes spent otherwise.

Hereupon it is,1. Proofe. By the pra­ctise of Gods peo­ple. that the Saints of God have spent so much time in the duties of Gods worship, and service, and exercises of religion; as in holy meditations, preach­ing, praying, hearing, &c. See it in exam­ples. Let us begin with David. Davids piety. Oh how great a part did he spend in Gods service! see, Psal. 119. 97. O how I love thy Law! it is my meditation continually. Hereupon it is that hee beginneth the day with prayer, Psal. 5. 3. Early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will looke up; yea, not only in the morning, but even at noone, and night too, Psalm. 55. 17. Evening, and morning, and at noone will I pray, and cry a­loud: yea, and this not for a fit, or spurt on­ly, but constantly, even every day, Ps. 145. [Page 159] Every day will I praise thee, and blesse thy name for ever and ever: yea, as if this were too little, he would be at this worke seven times in a day upon occasion, according to that we reade, Psal▪ 119. 164. Seven times a day doe I praise thee, because of thy righte­ous judgements; besides this, as if the day were too little, he would sometimes bor­row some part of the night for this pur­pose, O Lord, I cry in the day time, Psalm. 22. 2. but thou hearest not; and in the night season also I am not silent. He would, upon occasion, spend night and day in these holy courses, yea, and as if all this was not yet enough, he would be at it againe at midnight, Psalm. 119. 62. At midnight will I arise, to give thankes un­to thee, because of thy righteous judgements. And why all this, but only to teach us thus much, that time spent in Gods service is ab­solutely the best spent time, this appeareth (by his practise) to be his opinion. Here­upon it is,Daniel. that Daniel spent so much time in prayer, and thanksgiving; and that not onely in time of safety, but also in time of apparent hazzard, Dan. 6. 10. When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, &c. and kneeled upon his knees, three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did afore time.

Where we see, First, That this was Da­niel's practise; sc. to pray, and give thanks to God three times a day, upon his knees, in his chamber, with his windowes open to­wards [Page 160] Ierusalem: this was his usuall, and constant practise heretofore. And Second­ly, that he did so still, as openly, and as so­lemnly, and as frequently, as he did before, notwithstanding the danger of the Kings Decree. And Thirdly, that he knew that the writing was signed, and sealed to this purpose; all which surely he would never have done, if he had not beene fully perswa­ded of the truth of this Doctrine, which we have now in hand, sc. That Time spent in Gods service, is absolutely the best spent time.

Thirdly,Mary Mag­dale [...]. This appeareth by the practise of Mary Magdalen, or Sister of Martha, whereof we may read, Luk. 10. 39, 40, 41, 42. Where wee see, that notwithstanding her great love to our Saviour, and the de­sire that she had to give Him the best enter­tainement, she could; yet she layeth all o­ther businesses aside, and Si [...]teth her downe at our Saviours feete, to heare his words, saith the Text, ver. 39. In the time Martha was very busie, to prepare entertainement for our Saviour, and thought her sister in great fault, to leave her thus to serve alone, and would not put to her helping hand; yea, she thought her case so good, that she durst herein appeale to our blessed Saviour, Ver. 40. Lord, doest th [...]u not care, that my sister hath left mee to serve alone? bid her that she helpe me, (i. e.) Is it not an unrea­sonable thing, that I should doe all, and she [Page 161] sit here at thy feete, and doe nothing? yea, and if she have no more love▪ but t [...] put me to all this, yet I wonder, that thou ha [...]t no more care, but suffer her so idlely to spend her time, when I have so great need of her helpe; Lord, Bi [...] her therefore that she helpe me: Sub ju [...]ce lis est. Now see our Savi­ours answer, and observe his sentence, ver. 41. 42. Martha, Martha, thou [...]arest and art troubled about many things: But one thing is needfull, Mary hath chosen [...]he good pa [...]t, which shall not bee taken fr [...]m her. Where wee may see, 1. That M [...]y saith nothing, our Saviour himselfe apologizeth for her; 2. That hee blameth Marth [...], for too much care, even in so good a worke, as that was, sc. to give entertainement to our blessed Saviour. 3. That hee doth directly [...]ustifie the godly practice of Mary, in ta­king that opportunity to heare his Word; as if that was the only one thing needefull. Which doth plainely evince, sc. that even [...]n the judgement of our Saviour: Time [...]pent in Gods service, in hearing, &c. is [...]he best spent time, and to be preferred farre [...]efore any other time whatsoever.

In this regard [...] it was▪ [...]at holy Paul [...]pent so much time,Pauls dili­gence. and [...]oke so much [...]aines, in praying, and p [...]ching upon all [...]ccasions. Observe that speech of his to [...]his purpose, Rom. 15. 19. So that [...] Ie­ [...]usalem, and round [...], I [...]ave fully preached the G [...]pe [...]l of Christ: [Page 162] yea, he was content to spend his dearest life in this cause, Acts 20. 24. My life is not deare unto me, that I may finish my course with joy, and fulfill the Ministery, that I have received of the Lord Iesus; to testifie the Gospell of the grace of God: yea, and when he was preaching upon occasion, be­ing to depart on the morrow, He continued his speech untill midnight, saith the Text, Acts 20. 7. Hereupon also was that godly resolution of the Apostles, But we will give our selves continually to prayer, and to the ministery of the Word, Acts 6. 4. (an excel­lent patterne for all faithful Ministers,) And why all this, but only to testifie the truth of this Doctrine, which wee have in hand, namely, that of all other, that is the best spent time, that is spent in Gods service.

Lastly,Lastly, our blessed Sa­viour. To this purpose observe the pra­ctise of our blessed Saviour Christ Iesus: it appeareth by his daily practise, that he was of this opinion. Hereupon it is that he spent so much time in preaching, pray­ing, and such like exercises of religion; nay, his whole life was nothing else but a reall and exact practise of piety: after hee had taken upon him his propheticall office, see with what unwearied industry hee pro­ceeded this way; Iesus went about, teach­ing, and preaching the Gospell of the king­dome, and healing every sicknesse, and every disease among the people, saith the Evange­list, Matth. 9. 35. Hee went about doing [Page 163] good continually this way: see what hee could say of himselfe, I ever taught in the Synagogues, Ioh. 18. 20. And againe, I sate daily with you, teaching in the Temple, Mat. 26. 55. Yea, to this purpose it is, that wee reade, Luk. 6. 12. That he continued all night in prayer to God: and afterwards upon oc­casion, wee read that hee spent three whole dayes together in prayer, and preaching, ac­cording to that we finde, Mar. 8. 2. I have compassion upon the multitude, because they have now beene with me three dayes, &c.

We may observe. 1. That the multitude had now beene with our Saviour 3 dayes together, to heare him preach. 2. They must needs spend some time also in going and comming to this end. 4. That hee had compassion upon them, and would ra­ther worke a miracle in feeding them, then suffer them to fainte by the way, &c. So that by the practise of our Saviour it appea­reth evidently, that time spent in Gods service, is absolutely the best spent time.

CHAP. II.

Containing the Reasons of the point.

NOw the reason of the point is especially three-folde.Reason.

  • 1. In regard of God.
  • 2. In respect of our selves.
  • 3. In regard of others.

In regard of God,In respect of God. Time spent in his ser­vice, 1 must needs be the best spent, [...] Wayes. 1. Be­cause it is spent with Him; 2. To Him, 3. For Him.

Time spent in Gods service is the best spent, [...] spent with God. because it is spent with God. Wee account that time well spent, that is spent with our dearest friends; that time is very pleasant and delightfull to us: now God is our best friend, and therefore time spent with him, must needs bee the best spent. Now that God is with his servants thus bu­sied, observe it, Matth. 18. 20. For where two, or three are gathered together, in my Name, there am I in the midst of them. O happie company, where C [...]rist himselfe is in the [...]! Thus he encourageth his Dis­ciples, when he sendeth them out to preach the Gospell; Matth. 28. 20. Goe, and teach [Page 165] all Nations, &c. teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you, and loe I am with you alwayes, even unto the end of the world. Time spent in the speciall presence of Christ, must needs bee the best spent time: but time spent in Gods service, is spent in the speciall pre­sence of Christ (so that a man may say with David, while he is so employed, Neverthe­lesse, I am continually with thee, Lord, Psal. 7 [...]. 23. and therefore time spent in Gods service, must needs be the best spent.

2. Because time spent in Gods service, is 2 spent to God, that is, to his pleasure,To Gods pleasure. to his contentment, he is marvellously delighted with it; In these things I delight, saith God, Ier. 9. 24. And with such sacrifices God is well pleased: it is an excellent place to this purpose, Heb. 13. 15, 16. By him let us offer the sacrifices of praise to God con­tinually: And to doe good, and to communi­cate, forget not: as if he had said; doe not forget to spend your time in duties of pie­tie to God, and charity to men, for for with such sacrifices God is well pleased, saith the Apostle. It is time spent for Gods plea­sure, &c.

3. Because, Time spent in Gods service 3 is spent for God,For h [...]s glo­ry. that is, for his honour and glory, which is the supreame end of all, 1 Cor. 10. 31. Whether ye eate, or drinke, or whatsoever yee doe (howsoever yee spend your time) doe all to the glory of God: This [Page 166] is the chiefe end of our creation, Isa. 43. 7. For my glory have I created him, saith the Lord, O come let us worship, and fall downe, and kneele before the Lordour Maker, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 95. 6. O let us employ our time so, as may be most for Gods glory: now time spent in holy duties (in well do­ing,) is spent to Gods glory, Herein is my Father gl [...]rified, that ye bring forth much fruit, saith our Saviour, the more fruitfull we are in good duties, the more glory re­dounds to God. This should make us abun­dant in the worke of the Lord. Hence is that speech of our Saviour,1 Cor. 15. [...]ast. Matth. 5. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good workes; (spend much time in Gods service, and become patternes for others) why so? And glorifie your Father which is in heaven; (i. e.) this doth much glorifie your heavenly Father. So, Phil. 1. 11. The Apostle prayeth, that they might bee filled with the fruits of righteousnesse; and marke the reason, which are by Iesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God; so that time spent in Gods service, is spent for his glory. Now lay all these three together, and they will make a strong twine to confirme this truth, like Solomons threefold cord, which is not easily broken,Eccles. That time which is spent with God, or in his presence: 2. and to his pleasure, and delight: and thirdly, for his glory, must needs bee the best spent time; but so is all that time, that [Page 167] is spent sincerely in GODS service; and therefore time spent in Gods service, must needs be the best spent time. Thus in re­gard of God.

Secondly consider, it is the best in re­gard of our selves.

2. Time spent in Gods service, is the best spent time,2. Reason. In respect of our selves. in respect of our selves;

1. It is most for our credit.

2. For our profit.

3. For our pleasure.

4. For our comfort, in life and death.

1. Time spent in Gods service, is most for [...]ur credit. God will ever make good his promise,Most for our credit. 1 Sam. 2. [...]0. Them that ho­nour me I will honour: and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed. See what the Holy Ghost saith, of those Bo [...]reans, (that received the Word with all readinesse of minde, and searched the Scriptures daily) Acts 17. 11. These were more noble, then those in Thessalonica, saith the text, And why so? Wherein did their chiefe Nobility ap­peare? sc. in their outward quality, they had this spirituall excellency, to regulate their hearing by the Word; In that they received the Word with all readinesse of minde, as appeareth in the words follow­ing, and searched the Scriptures daily, whe­ther those things were so. Every religious godly person, that spendeth much time in Gods service, is a noble person, in Gods account. It was one of Solomons titles of [Page 168] honour, to be called, The Preacher, one that spent much time in Gods service, and in teaching others, Eccles. 1. Yea, and see how David glorieth in this, that he was Gods servant, one that spent much time in Gods service, Psal. 116. 16. O Lord, truly I am thy servant: I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid. Lo, a mans greatest honour, sc. to bee Gods servant, to shew, that time spent in [...]ods service, is the most for a mans credit, and therefore the best.

2 2. Time so spent affordeth the most sound solid pleasure;For our pleasure. all other pleasures are but vaine, and mad mirth, in comparison of this; This will satisfie a mans soule, as with marrow and [...], as David speakes. See what pleasure Gods servants have ta­ken in this, I [...]steemed [...]he words of his mouth more th [...]n my necessary fo [...]de, saith Job, Iob 23. 12. O what pleasure and sweetnesse did Iob finde in the Word of Gods mouth! it was sweeter and more pleasant in taste, then his appointed or necessary foode: It did him more good, then his meate and drinke.

So likewise,M [...]ch sweet [...]nesse in Gods ser­vice. see it in David, Oh how I love thy law, it is my meditation continual­ly, Psalm. 119. 97. How sweet are thy words unto my taste? sweeter then honey unto my m [...]uth; Ver. 103. So likewise to Ieremiah, chap. 15. 16. Thy words were found, and I did eate them: and how did they taste? They were unto me the very joy, and rejoycing of my heart, saith the Prophet. Yea, so it [Page 169] was to Paul, Rom. 7. 24. I delight in the Law of God, according to the inner man. But above all, observe that speech of our Saviour, Joh. 4. 34. There you shall finde, that our Saviour at that time was hungry and thir­stie, and the Disciples were gone to the City to buy meate; in the meane time, commeth a woman to draw water, and our Saviour tooke that opportunity to in­struct her, and convert her to God, yea, and was so serious in it, and so much de­lighted with it, that when the Disciples come with meate, they say unto him, M. eate, Ver. 33. See what he answereth, I have meate to eate, which yee know not of, and then explaineth the meaning, Verse 34. My meate is to doe the will of Him that sent mee, and finish his worke. Lo, this was his very meate, it did him more good, Hee found more sweetnesse in it, and so farre preferred it before his meate and drinke, so that (if our mouth be not out of taste) time spent in Gods service hath the most pleasure in it, and therefore, in that regard, is the best spent time.

Thirdly, Time spent in Gods service is 3 the most full of profit, every way,Most profi­table. both for body and soule, Godlinesse is profitable unto all things, saith the Apostle, (1 Tim. 4. 8.) having the promise of the life that now is, and also of that to come. This is the good and the right way, as Samuel calleth it, 1 Sam. 12. 24. It is that one thing needfull, as our Savi­our [Page 170] himselfe calleth it, Luk. 10. 42. This is the only thing, the very boone that David would begge at Gods hands, Psalm. 27. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seeke after. But one thing David? sure­ly it is some rare thing, some extraordinary profitable matter. What is it? That I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the dayes of my life, and behold the beautie of the Lord, and to enquire in his Temple. This is Da­vids one thing, sc. that hee might spend all the greatest part of his life in Gods service; he knew the benefit, and the profit of it. He might well say then, as, Psalm. 23. 6. Surely goodnesse and mercy shall follow me all the dayes of my life. Time spent in Gods service, is the only way to procure safety and profit, both for body and soule, 1. There is safety in this course, even when their see­meth to be most danger,And safe for body. Hee that looseth his life for Christ's sake, shall be sure to finde it, Mat. 16. Yea, see that excellent promise, v. 11. of this Psalme; The Lord will give grace, and glory, and no good thing will he withhold, from them that walke uprightly. Let no man think that Religion is the High-way to danger and beggery; No, no, It is the only safe way, and the most profitable. An excellent place to this purpose, is, that we have, Exo. 34. 24. Where the Lord enjoyneth that all the Males should appeare before him thrise in the yeare at Ierusalem, (as if all the Males in England were to appeare thrise in the yeere [Page 171] before God at London) Now whereas a man would think that this was very dangerous, in regard of invasion from their cruell neighbours, that might take the opportuni­ty to set upon their borders, in the absence of all the Males: Now mark what the Lord promiseth in that case, No man shall desire thy land: such an envious, covetous, ma­licious thought, shall not once enter in­to their heart, as to thinke, Now we have a fit opportunity to invade Israel. So the equity of this promise remaineth still: Time sincerely spent in Gods service, bringeth safety with it; or, if any danger, or out­ward hurt come, in this case, God will dis­pose it for our good. Rather then Daniel shall loose by his time spent in Gods ser­vice,Safety in Gods ser­vice exam­ple of it. the Lord will keepe him in safety in the Lions denne, and send his Angels to shut the Lions mouthes, that they may not hurt him, as wee see, Dan. 6. Marke that speech of the King to him, Verse 20. O Daniel, servant of the living God, Is thy God (whom thou servest continually) able to deliver thee from the Lions? Is there safety in the service of thy God? See how Da­niel answereth, according to the event of it, Ver. 22. My God hath sent his Angell, and shut the Lions mouthes, that they have not hurt me. Lo, what impregnable safety in Gods service. So Daniel 3. What danger were the three noble Iewes in? But see how God made good that promise, (Isa. 43. 2.) [Page 172] When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, &c. when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us, say they, Dan. 3. 17. and the event shewed as much. Ver. 25. saith the King, I see foure men walking in the midst, and they have no hurt, and the forme of the fourth, is like the Sonne of God, God is able to keepe the fire from hurting (if he please) even those that walke in the midst of it. And mark what is said of these men, Verse 27. That they were such, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an haire of their head singed, neither were their coates changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them, Oh admirable fruit of faith! Oh strange effects of piety! who would not confes, that time spent in Gods service, is the best spent time, when he seeth and conside­reth that there is such admirable profit and safety in it? Nay, he that doth consciona­bly spend time in Gods service, may be sure he shall want nothing that is good, Psal 34. 10. So that such a man may boldly say with David, Psalm. 23. 1. The Lord is my Shep­heard, I shall not want. The greatest Mo­narch under heaven (without piety) can­not say so much; yea, Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; (and spendeth much time in his service) for riches and plentious­nesse shall be in his house, if God see it to be good for him, Psal. 112. 1, 2. Thus for the body.

[Page 173] Then for the soule. Hee that spendeth 2 time in Gods service,And Soule. Shall never perish, but have everlasting life, Ioh. 3. 16. Yea, hee that spendeth time in Gods service, doth follow the advise of our Saviour, Ioh. 6. 27. sc. To labour for that meate that perisheth not, but endureth unto everlasting life; and with Mary, chooseth the better part, which shall never be taken from him, Luk. 10. 42. Yea, this is chiefely, and especially beneficiall for the soule. See an excellent promise to this purpose, Isa. 55. 3. Encline your eare, and come unto me, heare, and your soule shall live. And, I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David, Ver. 4. This is the maine thing to be regarded, in point of profit. For, What is a man profited, if he shall gaine the whole world, and loose his owne soule? saith our Saviour, Matth. 16. 26. See an experiment of this, in that rich man, Luk. 12. 19, 20. that had goods laid up for many yeares, but could not secure his soule, no, not for a night, but God said unto him, thou foole, this night shall they fetch away thy soule, and then whose shall these goods bee, which thou hast provided? And this is the case of every man, that spendeth his time to get riches, instead of Gods service, Ver. 21. So is every one that gathereth riches for himselfe, and is not rich towards God; For, What hope hath the Hypocrite, though hee hath gained, when God shall fetch away his soule? Iob 27. 8. When such are ready to call to [Page 174] the mountaines to fall upon them, and the hills to cover them, from the presence of the Lambe, Revel. 6. 16. Then shall the godly lift up their heads with joy, because their redemption draw­eth nigh. So that by this it appeareth evidently, that time spent in Gods service hath the most profit in it every way, both for body, and soule. Oh the difference be­tweene time spent in Gods service, and in the neglect of it! Give mee leave to con­clude this branch of the Reason, with that excellent place, in Isa. 65. 13, 14. Thus saith the Lord, Behold! my servant shall eate, and yee shall bee hungry; behold! my servant shall drinke, but yee shall be thirsty; behold! my servant shall rejoyce, but yee shall bee ashamed; Verse foureteene behold! my servant shall sing for joy of heart, and yee shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howle for vexation of spirit, &c. A sweete cordiall for GODS servants; but terrible to the wicked, that neglect his ser­vice.

4 Fourthly, and lastly, I told you, that time spent in Gods service,Most full of comfort in life and death, &c. hath the most comfort in it; the very time it selfe, so spent, is full of comfort, the very joy and rejoy­cing of a mans heart. But especially this will afford us comfort at our death, and at the day of judgment. 1. For our death bed nothing will afford us so much comfort then, as this, if a man can say with the Apo­stle, 2 Cor. 1. 12. Our rejoycing is this, the [Page 175] Testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisedome, but by the grace of God we have had our con­versation in the world; Time sincerely spent in Gods service, wil assure a man, that when he dyeth, he shall goe to heaven, 2 Cor. 5. 1. Wee know that if this earthly house of this ta­bernacle shall be dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternall in the heavens. Three singular examples I will give you for this. 1. That of Hezekiah, Isa. 38. 3. When the Prophet greeteth him with that heavie tydings, saying, put thy house in order, for thou shalt dye, and not live. What was it that did afford him comfort, in that case? That you shall see, was the consideration of his well spent time. Re­member, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have wal­ked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. Lo, the chiefe ground of comfort in death, is the conscience of a well led life. So that of the Apostle, 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, saith the Apostle, v. 6. Now see▪ what it was that did afford him comfort in that case. Surely, considerati­on of the right and religious spending of his time. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; hence­forth there is laid up for me a crowne of righ­teousnesse. Hee that would have the like comfort in his death, must have a care to [Page 176] spend much time in Gods service in his life time. Oh, let me dye the death of the righte­ous, saith wicked Baalam, and let my last end be like his; he meaneth in regard of sweet­nesse, and comfort, Num. 23. 10. This is the desire of many. Now the way to obtaine this, is to live the life of the Righteous. This appeareth lastly, by the example of our blessed Saviour, when hee had finished his course, how sweetely doth hee conclude? Iohn 17. 4, 5. I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the worke which thou ga­vest me to doe; (i. e.) I have spent my whole life in thy service, it hath beene my meate to doe the will of thee my heavenly Father: Yea, see the sweet fruit of this: And now, ô Father, glorifie thou me with thine own selfe, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. See here the way to have hope, and comfort in death. Hee that would have glory with God in heaven; must glo­rifie God here on earth. Hee that would be assured, that he shall spend his time with God in heaven, in eternall glory; must first spend his time in Gods service here on earth. Grace on earth, is the way to glory in heaven. And thus you see also, that time spent in Gods service, is the best, not onely in regard of God, but also in respect of our selves.

3 Thirdly,In regard of others, hereby wee may doe good to o­thers. and lastly, I told you, that time spent in Gods service, is best spent, in regard of others: it redoundeth not only to Gods [Page 177] glory, and our owne good, but it also ex­tendeth to the good of others, especially, those that are in any kind of distresse. Time spent in Gods service, is the best way, both to prevent danger, and to remove it. Con­sider the danger and misery of GODS Church, both at home and abroad: dan­ger of famine, danger of sword, danger of pestilence: Now what better remedy to prevent these dangers, then time spent in Gods service, in prayer, and fasting, &c? See this in the practise of the Ni [...]ivites, Io­ [...]h 3. The danger was great, for, Yet for­tie dayes, and Niniveh shall be destroyed, saith the Lord, ver. 4. Well, see how they pre­vented this fearefull danger; How did they spend their time? That you may see, Ver 5. 6. They believed God, and p [...]oclaimed [...] and put on sack [...]loth, from the greatest [...] them, to the least of them; Yea, and word [...]me to the King himselfe, who arose from his Throne, and layd his Robe from him, and sate in Ashes; and made proclamation throughout the Citie, that neither man, nor beast should drinke water, nor taste any foo [...]e, but bee covered with sack [...]loth, and cry mightily unto God, &c. Who can tell whether God will turne, and repent, &c. that wee perish not? (i. e.) If any thing will prevent our destruction, this will doe it. Now see the event, Ver. 10. And God saw their workes, &c. He saw how they spent their time, and God repented of the evill that he had said, that he [Page 178] would doe unto them, and he did it not: so that time spent in Gods service, is the best way to prevent danger. Yea, and secondly, It is the best way also to remove it; oh the miseries of Gods people in Germany, and in this land also, some by famine, some by pe­stilence; our wit, is too shallow; our strength too weake, our purse too empty, to relieve them: if any thing we have can doe them good, it must be our prayers, and the right and religious spending of our time. Alas! time spent in sinning, in swearing, in drunkennesse, this provoketh the eyes of Gods glory, and incenseth his wrath against us: but time spent in Gods service, is the way to helpe them, and our selves in this case.Threefold proofe of it. And for the farther help of our unbe­leeving hearts, in this high point, consider,

  • 1. Gods owne direction:
  • 2. The Churches practise;
  • 3. Our owne experience.

1.1. The Te­stimony of God him­selfe. We have the Testimony of God him­selfe. See an excellent place to this purpose, 2 Chron. 7. 13, 14. Where the Lord him­selfe putteth a case of danger, and prescri­beth the remedy. 1. If I shut up heaven, that there bee no raine, (and this you know was our very case lately) or, if I send pestilence among my people, (and this is our case, even for the present, there have beene (and still are) sundry places in this kingdome in­fected with the pestilence) here is the dan­ger. Well; what is the best course that [Page 179] Gods people can take to remove such a judgement? how should we doe to helpe those that are in this wofull estate? That the Lord himselfe sheweth plainely, v. 14. If the people that are called by my Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seeke my face, &c. that is, spend time in my service, then see the admirable fruit of this, then will I heare from heaven, and forgive their sinnes, and heale their land. Time spent in Gods service is the best way to remove a judge­ment from our selves, or others. This is a course of Gods owne prescribing.

2.2. The Te­stimony of the Church, and State. This is the judgement and opinion of the Church, and State wherein we live, and our Religious Governours, and such as are in authority. Hereupon it was, that in the last great Plague, there was a gene­rall Fast proclaimed, and appointed to bee celebrated throughout the whole king­dome, that we might seeke God by prayer and fasting, for the cessation of that sore judgement of the Pestilence. And why this, but only to shew, that even our graci­ous Soveraigne, and such as are in authori­ty in our Church and State, are verily per­swaded, that time spent in Gods service, is very effectuall and availeable to take a­way the Pestilence.

3. It appeareth by experience,3. Experi­ence. what admirable successe we have had in this case, wee have found by experience often the worth of this course, either for preventing, [Page 180] or removing a judgment: as in that yeare, 1625. and sundry other times both before, and since, the Lord hath made good unto us that precious promise, Isa. 65. 24. It shall come to passe, that when ye call, I will answer; and while yee are yet speaking, I will heare: for while we were yet praying, and fasting, the Lord was intreated of us. So that even in this regard also, time spent in Gods ser­vice is absolutely the best spent time. So that a godly religious man, that spendeth much time in Gods service, shall prevaile more, either for preventing, or removing a judgement from the land, then an hun­dred others: he is the only man that must deliver the Ileland, according to that in Iob 22. 30. He shall deliver the Iland of the Innocent or (as is well noted in the Mar­gent.) The Innocent shall deliver the Iland, and it is delivered by the purenesse of thine hands. It is the purity of hearts and hands, and time spent in Gods service, that must helpe in this case: for otherwise, we know that God heareth not sinners, but if any man bee a worshiper of God, and a doer of his will (if any delight to spend time in GODS service) him he heareth, saith the blind man, Ioh. 9. 31.

CHAP. III.

Conta [...]ning the first Vse of the point, viz. for Instruction.

1. IS it so,Vse 1. For Instru­ction. That time spent in Gods service, is absolutely the best spent time? The knowledge of this truth doth lead us on to the knowledge of other precious truths to this purpose, for our instruction;

1. Hence then it followeth,The worst spent time. that time spent in sinning, or in the Devils service, must needs bee the worst spent time; time spent in swearing, lying, stealing, wanton­nesse, drunkennesse, yea in covetous carking and caring, &c. is the worst spent time that can bee: it is quite opposite and contrary to that which is spent in Gods service; and therefore, as that is the best, so on the con­trary, this must needs bee the worst spent time that can bee. It is the worst in every respect, 1. In respect of God, 2. In re­gard of our selves. 3. In respect of others.

1.1. In respe [...]t of God. Time spent in sinfull courses is the worst spent time, in respect of God Him­selfe, 1.1. Without God. Not with God, but without God in the world, and without Christ, according to that of the Apostle, Eph. 2. 12. That at that [Page 182] time, yee were without Christ, being Ali­ens from the common-wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world, where the Apostle speaketh of the time that they had spent in the state of na­ture, according to the Prince of the aire, af­ter the lusts of the flesh, &c. Ver. 2. 3. Now see how wofully and fearefully hee conclu­deth, as touching all that time, that is so spent, namely, That it is time spent with­out Christ, without the Pale of the Church, wirhout promise, without hope, and lastly, without God in the world: no time better spent, then that time which is spent with God, and therefore no worse time, then that which is spent without God. Thus Cain spent his time, after hee had slaine his brother Abel, He went out from the presence of the Lord, saith the Text, Gen. 4. 16. and this is a chiefe branch of the eternall pu­nishment of the wicked in hell. They shall bee punished with everlasting perdition, from the presence of God, saith the Apostle, 2 Thes. 1. 9. Hereupon was that earnest and importunate sute of David, Psa. 51. 11. Cast me not, Lord, out of thy presence, to intimate untous, what a woful thing it is to be with­out God, or to be cast out of his presence.

2.2. To his dishonour. Time spent in the devils service (in vicious courses) is it not spent for God, but against him; not for his glory, but to his dishonour; Thou that boastest of the Law, [Page 183] through breaking the Law, dishonourest thou God? saith the Apostle, Rom. 2. 23. Time spent in the breach of Gods Law, is spent unto Gods dishonour, robbeth God of his honour and glory, that is due unto him; and therefore the worst spent time that can be.

Thirdly,3. Not to his pleasure but to his griefe. Time spent in sinning is not spent to Gods pleasure, but the contrary, it doth even provoke the eyes of his glory, Isa. 3. 6. Their tongue; and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory; yea the Lord is not only offended at it, but even grieved and wearied with time so spent: How can a child spend his time worse, then in grieving and breaking the hearts of his loving Parents? This is the very case of all those that spend time in vi­cious courses. Observe it, Isa. 7. 13. Is it a small thing for you to wearie men, but yee will weary my God also? O wofull thing, to weary and grieve God with our sinfull courses! Fortie yeares long was I grieved with this generation, saith the Lord, Psalm. 95. 11. I am broken with their whorish heart, which is departed from me, Ezec. 6. 9. Yea, his very heart is broken with the griefe of it, as the Prophet speakes, Ier. 23. 9. Yea, the Lord is oppressed with our sinnes, as a cart is pressed with sheaves: it is the Holy Ghosts expression, Amos 2. 13. Yea, the Lord is so farre from being well pleased, or delighted with it, that on the contrary, hee [Page 184] hateth and abhorreth it; yea, he smiteth his hands together, in detestation of it, I have smitten my hands at thy dishonest gaine, saith the Lord, Ezec. [...]2. 1 [...]. the Lord will not spare that man (which so spendeth his time, but his wrath and jealousie shall smoke against him, to blot his name out from under heaven, Deut. 29. 20.

1.2. In regard of our selves. It is the worst spent time that can be, in regard of ourselves, for there is neither profit, nor credit, nor safety, nor pleasure, nor comfort in it; but the contrary to all these, as is easie to manifest in sundry par­ticulars.

1.1. No profit but losse. Time spent in the devils service, is the worst spent; because there is no profit in it, a man is alwayes on the loosing hand; now this is most evident, that all sinfull courses are unfruitfull, and unprofitable courses, Have no fellowship, with the unfruit­full workes of darknesse, Ephesians 5. 8. All sinfull workes, are both workes of darke­nesse, and unfruitfull workes: hence that of the Apostle, Rom. 6. 21. What fruite had ye in those things, whereof yee are now asha­med? Observe the confession and expressi­on of every true penitent, according to that wee reade, Iob 33. 37. God looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which is right, and it profited me not. Every true convert is able to tell you, out of his experience, that all sinfull courses are unprofitable courses in conclusi­on, [Page 185] for they loose Gods favour, they loose their interest in Christ, they loose the com­fort of a good conscience, they loo [...]e their soules, Matth. 16. 26. and in a word, they loose heaven: these are the fruits of time spent in sinning. Iudge then if all such bee not damned loosers in the end, unlesse they repent speedily,2. No plea­sure, nor credit, nor comfort. and turne to God. Againe, there is no true pleasure, but vanity and vexation of spirit. Take the sinne of un­cleannesse, which seemeth to have the most pleasure in it, and you shall finde at last there is no pleasure in it, but the gall of bitternesse, In the end it biteth like a Ser­pent, and [...]urteth like a Cochatrice. See a no­table place for this purpose, Pro. 5. where the Wiseman, disswading from the sinne of uncleannesse, Ver. 8. Remove thy way farre from her, and come not nigh the doore of her house, and then see what excellent argu­ments He useth to this purpose, Verse 9. 10▪ 11. Lest thou give thy honour to others, and thy yeeres to the cruell: there is losse of cre­dit, Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, &c. (there is losse of goods and outward estate. Thus sinne bringeth beggery) And thou mourne at last▪ when thy flesh and thy body is consumed, (there is losse of pleasure and comfort) and say, How have I? Oh how have I mispent my time, in the service of sinne and Sathan!Nor safety. Oh let us strive to see this in time, and labour to prevent it. Last­ly, there is no safety but death and danger [Page 186] in it, for the wages of sinne is death, Rom. 6. 2 [...]. The like I might say in regard of others: but this is enough, to prove that time spent in sinning, is absolutely the worst spent time, for body and soule.

Secondly,2. Instruct. For Humili­ation, that wee have spent so lit­tle time in Gods ser­vice, and so much in the service of sin and Sa­than. For Humiliation, Seeing time spent in Gods service is the best spent time, This serveth to teach us, what cause wee have (even the best of us) to be humbled, that we have spent so little time in the du­ties of Gods service; and have beene so la­vish and prodigall of our precious time, in other things. For. 1. What a great deale of most precious time have we spent, before our conversion, before we spent (in effect) any time at all in Gods service? All the time of our unregeneration, hath beene ut­terly spent in the service of sin and Sathan; wee were vassalls to the Prince that ruleth i [...] the ayre, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, Ephes. 2. 2. Now consider, what a lamentable thing it is, that a man, (that is made for Gods glory, and chiefely for his worship and service) should spend twentie, thirtie, fortie, and some fif­tie yeeres in the service of sinne and Sathan, before hee begin to serve God at all, or so much as once thinke of the maine end for which hee was made, and sent into this world? Alas! by nature wee are so farre from any desire to doe God service, that, on the contrary, we hate him, and oppose, and set our selves against him, and in effect doe [Page 187] nothing dayly, but even fight against God: for indeed, there is a direct and an expresse enmitie betweene God and us, by nature; as appeareth by that speech of the Apostle, Rom. 5. 10. For if, when wee were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Sonne, &c. Wee are children of wrath by nature, and we doe even studie enmity, and rebellion against the Lord; yea, notwith­standing the vow and covenant, that wee have made in our Baptisme, sc. that wee would continue Christ's faithfull servants, and souldiers, unto our lives end; yet alas! notwithstanding we daily dishonour God by our vicious lives, and live in the apparent breach of his blessed and holy Commandements.Not onely before our conversion. In our naturall estate wee doe not so much as once perceive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foo­lishnes unto us, neither can we know them, because they are spiritually discerned, as the Apostle sheweth, 1 Cor. 2. 14. No, no, alas! wee are so farre from spending time in Gods service, that we spend it in work­ing the will of the flesh, and in heathenish lusts. This the Apostle intimateth, 1 Peter 4. 3. For the time past of our lives may suf­fice us, to have wrought the will of the Gen­tiles, when wee walked in lasciviousnesse, lusts, excesse of Wine, revellings, banquet­ings, and abominable Idolatries; Loe! here the Apostle sheweth, how wee spend our time usually before our conversion, not in [Page 188] working the will of God, but the will of the Gentiles; not in the service of God, but in the service of the flesh, and of the devill; for drunkennesse, and idolatry are such. Thus vainely and foolishly doe we spend our time by nature, yea, this is not the e­state of some few odde ones, that are of an extraordinary evill nature; but it is the condition of all, even of the best. The holy Apostle confesseth thus much of himselfe, and of all true beleevers (before their con­version) Titus 3. 3. For we our selves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, serving diverse lusts, and pleasures, living in malice, hatefull, and hating one another, sayth the Apostle. So that if we seriously consider this, we have reason every one, to cry out of himselfe, in this respect, as the Psalmist did in another case; Psal. 73. 22. So foolish am I, O Lord, by nature, and ignorant, I was as a beast be­fore thee! Or else with the Apostle, Rom. 7. 24. O wretched man that I am! what a woe­full wicked wretch have I beene, that have spent so much time in the service of sinne and Sathan, and so little in the service of the Lord, my Maker, and Redeemer!

Secondly,2. Consider. But also, e­ven since our calling. Besides this, we have much more cause to be humbled, and with Job, even to Abhorre our selves in dust and ashes, if we consider how much precious time we have, and daily doe mis-spend, even since our conversion. Alas! how little time doe we yet spend in [...]ods service; The time [Page 189] past of our life might suffice, 1 Pet. 4. 3. It is enough (and too much) that all the time wee have spent before our conversion, is wholly mis-spent; but that we should bring more wrath upon us daily, by mis-spending our time still, is much more grievous. It is now high time to awake out of sleepe, and with all diligence, instantly to serve God, night and day. It is strange, that an heathen per­son should enter into so divine and heaven­ly a consideration,Seneca E­pist. 1. Ni­hil agen­do, aliud agendo, & male agen­do▪ about the mis-spending of precious time. Sometimes, doing no­thing; sometimes, matters of the By; and sometimes, evill. But alas! how little then doe we spend, Benè agendo? Let us but con­sider how much time we spend, in eating, and drinking; and then how much in sleep­ing, walking, talking, sporting, working; but how little time have we then for read­ing, hearing, praying, &c. a lamentable thing if rightly considered.Simile. A loving Fa­ther sendeth his sonne to the Vniversitie, to get learning, and he when he commeth there, spendeth his time in other By-mat­ters, and impertinencies, so much time spent at Taverne, so much in Recreation, so much in walking abroad, and so much in comple­menting with, and entertaining of his ac­quaintance; but little or no time in studie, &c. What sayth the Father, at his returne after many yeares? He cryeth out, surely my sonne hath utterly mis-spent his time, and consumed my estate to no purpose. This is [Page 190] our very case. The Lord sendeth us into this world, to bring glory to his Name, and to get grace for our soules, and to prepare for glory: But alas! how doe we mis-spend our time in following worldly vanities; and for one serious thought of heaven, we have (at least) an hundred earthly cogi­tations. And then againe, lastly, if we doe now and then set our selves to serve God, yet how soone are we tyred, and readie to cry out, Behold what a wearinesse is it! Mal. 1. 13. See therefore what great cause wee have to be humbled in this re­gard.

CHAP. IIII.

Containing the second Vse of the poynt, namely, for Reprehension.

SEcondly,Vse 2. For Repre­hension of diverse sorts. This serves for the re­prehension of diverse sorts of people, that are justly to blame in this regard; besides what is alreadie intimated in the former Vse.

First,1. Sort. 1. Such as can finde time for e­very thing, but onely for Gods service. Such as can finde time for every thing, but matters of Religion; they can finde time for walking, talking, working, and playing; but none for hearing, read­ing, praying; whereas we have heard, [Page 191] that time spent in Gods service, is the best spent time: men can finde many dayes to spend for themselues, none for God. Thus the ambitious spend time to get honour, the malicious for revenge, the covetous to get wealth; in the meane time, no time can be spared, to be spent to get grace. Oh the folly of men, to begin at the wrong end: First seeke the kingdome of God, sayth our Sa­viour, Mat. 6. 33. Now that is put off to the last place (at least) if it be not altoge­ther neglected. See the picture of such fooles, Luk. 12. 19, 20. There was a man spent all his time to get wealth, but could finde no time to serve God, and to get grace; and therefore he hath no time to en­joy his wealth; but in the very night that he beganne to take possession, and enjoy the benefit of all his paines, God greeteth him with this heavie message; Thou foole, this night shall they fetch away thy soule, and then whose shall those goods be, which thou hast pro­vided? So is every one (sayth our Saviour) that getteth riches for himselfe, and is not rich towards God. What greater folly, then to be all for the present, nothing for the future? All for the Summer, nothing for the Win­ter? All for the body, nothing for the soule? And yet alas! there are thousands that are thus besotted, Martha-like, and worse, cumbred about many things, when the one thing needfull, the better part, is wholly neglected. Now for the remedie of this, [Page 192] give me leave to commend unto your con­sideration, that golden place of our Saviour, Mat. 16. 26. What is a man profited, if he gaine the whole world, and loose his own soule? Take heed brethren, a man cannot looke up­ward and downward both at once; or up­ward with one eye, and downe with the o­ther: for we cannot set our affections upon things above, if we set them too much up­on things here below: we cannot serve God and Mammon, Mat. 6. 24. We cannot love God, and the world: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, sayth the Apostle, 1 Joh. 2. 15. We cannot be both earthly, and heavenly minded, as we ought; wee cannot be a friend of the world, and Gods friend too, but Whosoever maketh himselfe the friend of the world, is the enemy of God. It is an excellent place of the Apostle, Jam. 4. 4. later end: Know ye not, that the friendship of the world, is enmitie a­gainst God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God. They are too blame, that spend more time in the worlds service, then in the Lords.

Secondly,2. Sort. Are such as spend more time in idle pleasures, and recrea­tion, then in Gods ser­vice. This serveth to reprove such as spend more time in sinfull pleasures and recreation, then in Gods service: These are lovers of pleasures, more then lovers of God, as the Apostle speakes, 2 Tim. 3. 4. As if men were made onely for themselves, and their owne pleasures, and not for GOD. How farre are these from the disposition of [Page 193] faithfull Moses? Who refused to be called the sonne of Pharoahs daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sinne for a season, Heb. 11. 24, 25.

Now for the meanes to prevent,Remedies against this. or re­forme this grosse abuse, in thus mis-spending of our time; Let us consider these two par­ticulars.

First, That time spent in Gods service,1. Remedie. is absolutely the most full of pleasure; yea, there is no true solid pleasure in the world without it; it is to a spirituall man, the ve­ry joy and rejoycing of his heart.

Secondly,2. Remedie. The more pleasure we have in any thing, in the neglect of Gods worship and service, the more torment and sorrow will follow afterward: The better the wine is, the sharper and more sowre will it be, when it is turned to vinegar. It is most true of all such delights, which Abner sayd to Joab, They will be bitternesse in the later end. See the fruit of the rich mans carnall plea­sures, Luk. 16. 25. In that speech of Father Abraham to the rich man in hell; Sonne, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, or thy pleasures, and likewise Lazarus evill things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. O the everlasting bitter panges of hell, which follow the plea­sures of sinne for a season! Who would dote upon such sweet meat, that is attended with such bitter and sowre sauce? So, mark what [Page 194] is sayd of Babylon, that had glutted her selfe with pleasures, and made her selfe Drunke with the bloud of the Saints, Revel. 18. 7. How much she hath glorified her selfe, and lived deliciously; so much torment and sorrow give her. The more pleasures of sinne here on earth, the more torment in hell. If our carnal mirth-mungers would consider this, it would be a meanes to perswade them to spend more time in Gods service, and lesse in the pleasures of sinne, which are but for a season.

Thirdly,3. Sort. Are such as stay long, before they beginne to spend any time at all that way. This serveth to reprove all such, as stay long before they spend any time at all in Gods service. How ordinary a thing is it for men to mispend their best strength, and flower of their youth, and reserve the decrepit old age for God? Tell many of re­pentance, of Gods service, of the power of godlinesse; oh, say they, it is too soone, I am too young; hereafter is better, when I am old. This is the usuall practise of the world. If time spent in Gods service be the best spent; woe be to those, that stay long before they begin to serve God at all.Simile. Like a man that goeth to London, about some businesse of great importance, and when he commeth there, spendeth all his time in saluting here, and complementing there, and seeing this and that rare sight; and then hath all his [...] to dispatch, when he should goe home. Here is the very case of many, that come into the Citie of this world: they [Page 195] spend the greatest part of their time in other things; and never so much as dreame or thinke of Religion, which is the maine end, for which they were sent into the world. What a woefull account will these make, at the last day?

Now for prevention, or remedie hereof,Antidotes against this▪ let us consider these foure particulars.

First, The expresse command of God:1 To Remember our Creator in the dayes of our youth; Gods com­mand▪ before those dayes come, wherein wee shall say, I have no pleasure in them. A woe­full thing, for a man even then to bethinke himselfe how to live, when he is readie to die, Eccles. 12. 1. Remember thy Creator in the dayes of thy youth.

Secondly, Consider the time which we 2 have here to spend on earth is very uncer­taine;Consider, that the time wee have to spend, is very un­certaine. a man resolveth to serve God when he is old; yea, but what if he dye in the meane time, while he is young, and never live untill he be olde? How many Lambe-skinnes come to the Market, as well as the skinnes of elder sheepe? How many dye young, and drop away, even in the middest (as they thought) of their best strength? No man knoweth the day of his death; and therefore Job (to make sure worke) would beginne and prepare for it every day, Iob▪ 14. 14. All the dayes of my appointed time will I waite, untill my change come. Death ma­ny times commeth suddenly, when it is the least thought on of all: When they shall say, [Page 196] peace, peace; then shall sudden destruction fall upon them, sayth the Apostle, 1 Thes. 5. 3. They spend their dayes in wealth, and in a mo­ment goe downe to hell, Iob 21. 13. Therefore they say unto God, depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes, &c. A woefull estate.

3 Thirdly,The longer we are be­fore we be­ginne, the more diffi­culties wee shall meete withall. The longer it is before we re­turne to God, the more difficult we shall finde it, to turne at last. Qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus erit. Continuance in sinne, breedeth custome in sinne; and how hard is it for men to overcome evill customes? Ier. 13. 21. Can the Aethiopian change his skinne, or the Leopard his spots? then may yee also doe good, that are accustomed to doe evill. So that it is exceeding difficult, if not im­possible. The further a man goeth out of his way, the longer journey he hath to goe at his returne; and then it is possible for him to stay too long.

4 Fourthly,Consider how just it is, for God to reject such as doe turne at last. But admit, that at last he desi­reth to returne to God, and spend time in his service; Yet how just is it with God, to reject him in that case? What a base thing, for a man to spend all the best of his time and strength in the service of sinne and Sathan, and then to beginne to serve God, when he is fit for nothing, but to feede wormes? What would you thinke of that servant, whom you should hyre to serve you for a yeare; and yet he never would doe you dayes worke, untill the last moneth, or [Page 197] weeke, or houre, immediately before hee should receive his wages? Or what would you conceive of that Souldier, that should spend all his youth and strength in the warres against his King, and Soveraigne; and then offereth his old age to his Prince, when he is scarce able to cary his weapon. Here is the very case of all those, that spend all the best of their health and strength in the service of sinne, and offer their poore, despicable old age to God. What is this but to offer the Lame, and Torne, and the Sicke? Mal. 1. O how justly may God re­ject us in that case? Consider that fearefull place, Pro. 1. 28, 29. Then shall they call, but I will not answer: they shall seeke me early, but shall not finde me, because they hated know­ledge, &c. They that despise Gods service in their youth, may justly expect, that God should despise them in their age.

Fourthly,4. Sort. Such as spend some time in Gods service, but not enough. This serveth to reprove such, as spend some time in Gods service, but not enough: seeme to make conscience of some duties, but not of others. If time spent in Gods service be the best spent time, then they are to blame, that deale niggardly with God in this regard; that doe serve God by the halves; with the lippes, but not with the heart; have prayer in the morning, but not in the evening; both these perhaps, but no reading, nor godly conference, nor catechising: some also come to Church sometimes, once a moneth, or in the mor­ning, [Page 198] but not in the evening. Well, consi­der that time spent in Gods service is abso­lutely the best spent time. Therefore they are too blame, that are sparing in this be­halfe. God is abundant in goodnesse to us, and therefore we should be abundant in dutie to him; Alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, as the Apostle speaketh, 1 Cor. 15. 58. Oh, for shame let us not be niggardly with him, that is so bountifull to us; He giveth to all men liberally, sayth the Apostle, Iam. 1. 6. O let us be liberall in our dutie to God, seeing no time is so well spent, as that which is spent in Gods ser­vice. O let us therefore be chearefull and heartie in it.

Now for Remedies in this case, [...] Let us consider these foure particulars.

1 First, The more time we spend, [...] and the more paines we take in Gods service, the more glorie redoundeth to God. Herein is my father glorified, that yee bring forth much fruit, sayth our Saviour, Ioh. 15. 8.

2 Secondly, [...] The more paines we take, and the more time we spend in Gods service, the greater reward is reserved for us; For God is not unrighteous, to forget your patience, and labour of love, Heb. 6. 10. But will both surely and fully reward it in the end. These small paines of ours, which are but for a moment, they cause unto us, or worke for us, a farre more exceeding, and an eternall weight of glorie, as the Apostle speakes, 2 Cor. 4. 17. [Page 199] Abundance of time sincerely spent in Gods service, will procure abundance of glo­rie.

Thirdly, The more time wee spend in 3 Gods service, and the more paines we take still to get grace,The stron­ger our as­surance of salvation. the stronger will be our assurance, that when we die, we shall goe to heaven, Having your fruit unto holinesse, and the end everlasting life, sayth the Apostle, Rom. 6. 22. The more fruitfull wee are in holinesse, the faster we lay hold on eternall life. Hence is that excellent place of the A­postle, 2 Pet. 1. 5. And besides this, giving all diligence, adde to your faith vertue, and to vertue knowledge, &c. and so one grace unto another; as if he should have said, spend much time in Gods service, take much paines to abound in grace; Why so? What is the Apostles Reason? That you shall see, vers. 11. For so an entrance shall be made un­to you, abundantly into the everlasting King­dome of Jesus Christ. Loe here the excellent benefit of paines and diligence in Gods ser­vice. This will fill a man full of joy and peace in beleeving.

Fourthly, and lastly, Hereby wee shall 4 bring credit to our profession,Wee shall bring credit to our pro­fession. and adorne and beautifie our Religion, and doe good to others. Mat. 5. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good workes, sayth our Saviour. A good conversation pre­vaileth, where the Word sometimes pre­vailes not; That if any obey not the Word, [Page 200] they may be wonne by the good conversation of the wives, saith the Apostle, 1 Pet. 3. 1.

Fifthly,5. Sort. Such as spend more time in the Devils ser­vice, then in Gods. This serveth to reprove such, as spend more time in the Devils service, then in Gods; yea, and the number of these is exceeding great, that spend more time in swearing, in rayling, in drunkennesse, in wantonnesse, &c. then in hearing, or pray­ing, and such like exercises of piety and godlinesse. Nay, what shall we thinke of such, as spend that very time in the devils service, that is appointed for Gods service? Such as spend that very time in swearing, and gaming, and drinking, drunke in the Ale-house, which should be spent in the ex­ercises of Religion, in Gods house? when men are so wearie of Gods service, that they are even tyred out with an houre or two, spent therein; and yet can without wearinesse spend twise as much in vicious courses, and not bee weary? Oh fearefull height of impiety, that men should take more delight in the devils service then in Gods! Yea, that are so earnestly bent upon it, that they doe even imagine mischiefe up­on their beds, that when the morning light is, they may practise it, Mich. 2. 1. Yea, some are so sharp set in this case, that it doth even breake their sleepe; according to that in Proverbs 4. 16. They sleepe not, except they doe evill; and their sleepe departeth from them, except they cause some to fall, Oh how foolishly and desperately doe such [Page 201] spend their time, even in cutting, and wounding, and stabbing their soules, and doe daily treasure up to themselves wrath, against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgement of God, Rom. 2. 4, 5.

Now for the perfecting of this branch, give me leave to shew you the remedies of this dangerous mischiefe: and the helpes which we must use to this purpose,Preserva­tives. are prin­cipally these foure.

1. Consider,1. Remedy. Whilest we live thus, we are chil­dren of wrath. that all the while we spend our time thus, wee are children of wrath, and in the state of nature, as the Apostle sheweth, Ephes. 2. 3. All the while wee live thus, we can looke for nothing, but the wrath of God, to come upon us, as it doth upon the children of disobedience, as the Apostle speakes, Ephesians 5. 6. The wrath of God is even revealed from heaven against such, Romans 1. 18. See a notable place for this purpose, in Romans 2. 8, 9. But unto them that are contentious, and doe not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousnesse, (marke the condition of all such) indignation, and wrath, tribulation, and anguish, upon every soule of man that doth evill, upon the Iew first, &c. See here the estate of such as spend time in the devils service, instead of Gods.

Secondly,2. Remedy. God wil not heare their prayers, that doe so. Consider, that all such have cause to feare, that God will deny to helpe and succour them, when they stand in the [Page 202] most need of it, and seeke for it with grea­test earnestnesse. If I regard wickednesse in my heart, God will not heare my prayer, saith David, Psalme 66. 18. Yea, we know that God heareth not sinners, saith the blind man, Iohn 9. 31. and therefore, if God doe not heare wicked mens prayers in their extre­mities, but lets them perish in their sinnes; it is not for want of power, or mercy in God; but onely for want of piety, and repentance in them, according to that ex­cellent place which wee have to this pur­pose, in Isa. 59. 1, 2. Behold, the Lords hand is not shortned, that he cannot save; neither is his eare heavie, that he cannot heare, where is the fault then? that you shall see in the next verse, verse 2. But your iniquities have separated betweene you and your God, and your sinnes have hid his face from you, that he cannot heare; Oh the wofull estate of all such, as cry unto God in their extre­mities, and are nothing at all regarded! Yea, God hath told them already, that hee will not heare them: observe it, Proverbs 1. 28, 29. Then shall they call, &c. that is, in their extremity, but I will not answer; they shall seeke me early, but they shall not finde mee; because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the feare of the Lord. Yea, the Lord hath sent them word before hand, that he will not helpe them, Iob 8. 20. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will hee helpe the evill doers, [Page 203] saith the Text there. O the wofull estate of all such, when sicknesse comm [...]n, or trou­bles come, or death; then they are glad to cry out, Helpe Lord, or else I am damned for ever: Not I, may the Lord say, I will helpe no evill doers, such as you are, and therefore thou art now like to perish, and dye in thy sinnes, Iohn 8. 20. Yea, the Lord is so farre from regarding the prayers of such people, in such cases, that he rather refuseth them; see upon what warrant I speake it, Proverbs 15. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord. The sacrifice, what is that? Surely his pray­ers, as appeareth by the Antithesis in that place: for so it followeth, But the prayer of the upright is his delight, God hateth and abhorreth the prayers of all such as live in their sinnes, and hate to be reformed: Hee that turneh away his eare from hearing the Law, even that mans prayer shall be an abo­mination, saith the Wiseman, Prov. 28. 9. O wofull estate! If men had but eyes to see it, and hearts to consider it aright: the Lord takes no pleasure in the very best ser­vices which they can doe him.

And no marvell,3. Remedy. All such are at utter enmity with God. for in the third place; So long as men live in their sinnes, with­out repentance, and spend time in the De­vils service, instead of Gods, there is a di­rect and an expresse enmity betweene God and them. If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Sonne, [Page 204] saith the Apostle, Romans 5. 10. Yea, es­pecially those that live and goe on in their sinnes, have just cause to be assured of this, and that they shall smart for it according­ly; See a place or two to this purpose, Psalme 37. 20. But the wicked shall pe­rish, why so? surely, because they are Gods enemies. And the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of Lambes, (easily melted) into smoke shall they consume away. Where we see; first, that the wicked are Gods ene­mies. Secondly, that they shall consume away like smoke, and the fat of Lambes. So in that Psalme for the Sabbath, Psalme 92. 9. For lo thine enemies, O Lord, lo thine enemies shall perish; and who are they? that yee shall see in the same verse. All the workers of iniquity shall bee scattered: where we see both the description, and the condition of wicked men. They are Gods enemies, there is their description; dissi­pation, and perishing, there is their condi­tion. But above all to this purpose is that of Psalme 68. 21. God will surely wound the head of his enemies, and the hairie scalpe of such a one, as goeth on still in his trespas­ses, O consider this, ye that forget God, and live in your sinnes, lest God teare you in peeces, and there be none to deliver you, Psal. 50. 22. What estate can be more dangerous then an estate of enmity against God? The adversaries of the Lord shall bee broken in peeces, out of heaven shall be thunder upon [Page 205] them, saith Hannah Samuel's Mother, 1 Samuel 2. 10. Mee thinkes I have said enough, if effectuall, to afright men out of their service of sinne and Sathan, especially if I shall adde but one thing more, which shall be the fourth and the last remedy, that I purpose to propound.

Fourthly,4. Remedy. Consider, that the de­vill is the worst Ma­ster that we can serve. Therefore consider, that the devill is the worst master that any man can serve, and giveth the most wofull and ac­cursed wages. What baser Master then the devill? that great red Dragon, Revelations 12. 12. That roaring Lion, that goeth about continually seeking whom he may devoure, A murtherer from the very beginning: Iohn 8. 44. and the most damnable liar, that ever was, yea, the very father thereof; What baser Master then the Devill? Yea, and see what base wages he giveth, Romans 6. 23. For the wages of sinne is death, spirituall, temporall, and eternall, both the first, and the second death. They that spend time in the devils service, must goe to hell, with the Devill for company, Psalme 9. 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all that forget God. They are utterly deceived, that thinke to live like devils upon earth, and yet for all that, become glorious Saints in heaven, when they dye: that thinke they shall get into the new Ierusalem here­after, without being New Creatures for the present. No, no, God hath revealed the contrary already, as is evident, Revel. [Page 206] 22. 14, 15. Blessed are they that doe his Commandements (that spend time in Gods service) for they shall enter in through the gates, into the City of the new Ierusalem. But without shall be dogges, and Inchanters, and Whoremongers, and such as love, and make lyes. These must stand without, &c. goe to hell with the devill and his Angels, according to the prediction of Christ him­selfe, in Matthew 25. 41. Goe ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devill and his Angels. Consider this, all you that have spent more time in the devils service, then in Gods; yea, all, or the greatest part of thy life in the service of sinne and Sa­than; and little, or no time at all in the service of God Almighty: you that could finde in your hearts to say unto God, De­part from us, for wee desire no acquaintance with thy wayes, He will pay you home one day, in your owne coyne, (unlesse yee re­pent) and send you packing to hell, with a, depart from me, &c. I know ye not, ye wor­kers of iniquity, Matthew 7. 23. Yea, when ye shall begin to claime acquaintance with God, and cry, Lord, Lord, &c. Even then will Hee professe unto you, I never knew you, 6. Sort. Such as will neither spend Time in Gods ser­vice them­selves, nor suffer others Depart from me, ye that worke iniquity.

The sixth, and the last sort, are those, that will neither spend time in Gods service themselves, nor suffer others; such as not only mispend their owne time, but also hin­der [Page 207] and discourage others from the well spending of theirs; such as cry out, what need so much preaching, such running after Sermons, &c. like waggish and unhappy Schollers, that will neither apply their bookes themselves, nor suffer their fellowes, but hinder, and disturbe them by all meanes possible. Here is just the Dogge in the manger. These are Sathans Vicegerents, even his Standard-bearers, and Captaines, chiefe factors for Hell. These are they, that will neither enter into the kingdome of hea­ven themselves, nor suffer others, but shut up the kingdome of God against them,Luk. 11 52. Matth. 23. 13.

Consider now; Is time spent in Gods service absolutely the best spent time?See the wo­full estate of all such. How grosly and grievously are they to blame, that not only despise the duties of Gods ser­vice themselves, but also discourage others; For the perfecting of this point, give mee leave to shew you the wofull and fearefull estate of all such.

1. They are guiltie of the bloud of their 1 soules that perish,Guilty of the bloud of soules. by this meanes. Now what a wofull estate is this, that whereas a man is not able to answer one of a thousand, in respect of his owne sinnes, he should yet bee chargeable with the sinnes of others? when he shall heare those poore soules curse him in hell, and say, O woe be to thee, for thou art the cause of my damnation? I had spent my time in Gods service, had it not [Page 208] beene for thee? O how this will gall thee, and torment thee at that day; such and such might have gone to heaven, but for thy discouragements:Ezec. 33. 6. He verily dyeth in his iniquitie, but his bloud will the Lord re­quire at thy hands, thou hast helped forward a soule to death, and so art guilty of the bloud of soules.

2 2. Consider, the extent of this grievous sinne;A sinne of a large extent reacheth up unto hea­ven. it reacheth up to the very heavens. Every such person, doth even become a fighter against God, and taketh the devils part against Christ, this soule is mine, saith the LORD, and I will save it; nay, saith the Devill, this soule is mine, and I will damne it. Thus they strive and wrestle for the poore soule; Christ, by the meanes of grace to save it, and Sathan by his temptations to damne it: now the pro­phane person, hee taketh Satans part, and helpeth him against Christ; and therefore is a direct fighter against God. Excellent to this purpose, is that speech of Gamaleel, Acts 5. 39. when they were consulting how to suppresse the Apostles preaching of the Gospell, Abstaine from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsell, or this worke bee of men, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, yee cannot overthrow it, lest happily yee become even to fight against God; He that fighteth against Gods ordi­nances, doth even fight against God: yea, he that doth but murmure against these things, [Page 209] his murmurings are against the Lord, Exod. 16. 8. yea, and he that doth set himselfe to persecute Gods people for this, doth even persecute Christ himselfe, as appeareth by that speech of Christ to Paul, as he was go­ing to Damascus, with a Commission to persecute those Primitive Christians, Iesus Christ strikes him downe to the earth, and salutes him in these termes, Acts 9. 4. Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? I am Iesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest. Christ taketh that as done to him, which is done to his members, in this case: yea, he that doth but touch them (in any kinde, to hurt them) toucheth the very Apple of GODS eye. Oh that men would seri­ously consider the extent of their sin, and how farre their rebellions doe reach in this case!

And therefore in the third place, it must 3 needs follow,The wrath of God is ready to fall on them to the utter­most. that the wrath of God is rea­die to seaze upon them to the uttermost; yea, the wrath of God already abideth on them, although they perceive it not. See a fearefull and terrible place of the Apostle, to this purpose, 1 Thes. 2. 14. Ye have suf­fered like things of your owne Country-men, as they of the Iewes, Why? what had the Iewes done? That the Apostle sheweth, verse 15. Who both killed the Lord Iesus, and their owne Prophets, and have persecu­ted us, and they please not God, and are con­trary to all men, verse 16. forbidding us to [Page 210] speake to the Gentiles, that they might be sa­ved, (there is the very case that we have in hand) they doe hinder (as much as in them lyeth) the salvation of others. Now what is the fruit of all this? that yee shall see, in the later end of that verse. To fill up their sinnes alway, for the wrath of God is come upon them to the uttermost; Oh the wofull estate of such, the wrath of God is ready to seize upon them to the uttermost. This is enough even to shake the hearts of all such, as are guilty in this kinde.

4 Fourthly, Because this is a fearefull signe of reprobation,A fearefull signe of re­probation. it is the very brand of a reprobate, and hee that goeth on in this case, without repentance, hath great cause to feare this of himselfe, That God hath forsaken him, and given him up to his owne hearts lusts, and into the hands of Sathan. Two singular places of Scripture I will give you for this, the one 2 Timo­thy 3. 8. As Iannes, and Iambres with­stoode Moses; so doe these men resist the truth, (they will neither embrace it themselves, nor suffer others,) what is the state of these men? (men of corrupt mindes, reprobate concerning the faith. The other place which I will commend to your consideration in this case, is, that of the Apostle, Philippians 1. 28. And in nothing be terrifyed by your ad­versaries, which is to them a token of perdi­tion, but to you of salvation, and that of [Page 211] God. Where wee may plainely see, that as it is a token of salvation, to be per­secuted for righteousnesse sake; so it is a fearefull token of Reprobation, to bee a persecuter in that case.

Fifthly, and lastly, It is a fearefull 5 signe,A signe they be­long to Sa­than. that a man belongeth to the De­vill. This is a speciall worke of the de­vill, to hate, and maligne, and persecute men for their piety. If a man there­fore resolve to goe on in this case, it is a fearefull signe that a man is even a very childe of the Devill. Thus our Savi­our disputeth the case with the Phari­s [...]es, Iohn 8. 1. They bosted that Abra­ham was their father, nay, saith our Savi­our, yee goe about to kill me, a man that hath told yee the truth, that did not Abra­ham, saith hee, verse 40. why then, say they, we have one father, even God, verse 41. No, saith our Saviour, verse 44. Yee are of your father the Devill, and the workes of your father ye will doe, All that persecute Gods people for their piety, are of their father the devill, in that case, see Acts 13. 8, 9, 10, &c.

CHAP. V.

Containing the third Vse of the point, viz. for Exhortation.

THirdly,Vse 3. sc. For Exhor­tation to sundry du­ties, especi­ally three. Is it so, that time spent in Gods service, is the best spent time? This serveth then to ex­hort us to sundry duties.

1. In regard of our selves.

2. In respect of others.

1. This Doctrine serveth to exhort us to a threefold duty. For seeing time spent in Gods service is the best spent time: let us then,

1. Begin betime to serve God.

2. Be constant.

3. Be abundant in it, and spend as much time in it, as we can possibly.

1. This serveth to exhort every one of us,1. Duty. That wee begin be­times, and set our selves ever speedily to serve the Lord, and without all delay. that speedily and without delay we set our selves to the duties of Gods worship and service. How can we spend our time better? All time is even wholly mispent, that is spent in the neglect of this. Oh therefore old men, young men, all men, let us speedily set our selves to the duties of Gods service: Now is the accepted time, [Page 213] now is the day of salvation, 2 Cor. 6. 2. Seeke the Lord whilest he may be found; and call upon him while he is neere, Isaiah 55. 6. Why should we deferre any longer; con­sidering that one day nothing will vexe and grieve us more, then that wee began no sooner? Art thou an old man? Then thou hadst need to begin with all speed, lest thou be prevented by death? Art thou young? Oh then begin speedily, to pre­vent mispending thy precious time in the service of sinne and Sathan; I write unto you, young men, to exhort you to begin to serve God betime, in the flower of your youth. How can you spend the flower of your youth better, than in the service of your Maker? Give me leave therefore, to perswade and presse every one of you, in the words of the wisest Salomon, Eccles. 12. 1. Remember thy Creator in the dayes of thy youth, before the evill day come: It is a young mans greatest honour to bee re­ligious betimes. Oh what an honour to young Salomon, to be vertuously instructed, even from his child-hood, with, Know thou the God of thy fathers, 1 Chron. 28. 9. So an everlasting credit for young Samuel, to be trained up in the duties of Gods ser­vice of a childe, Samuel ministred before the Lord, being a child, saith the Text, 1 Sam. 2. 18. And againe, The child Sa­muel ministred unto the Lord before Ely 1 Sam. 3. 1. Yea, this was so famous and [Page 214] admirable a thing, that all Israel tooke no­tice of it; for they all knew that Samuel was established to be a Prophet of the Lord, saith the Text, 1 Samuel 3. 20. verse. This set such a Crowne of glory upon his head, that it is not forgotten to this day. Hee that setteth himselfe to serve, and honour God in his youth, shall have the honour and credit of it for ever. So for Iosiah, What glorious things are spoken of him to this day, even in this respect? See how the Spirit of God reporteth it, in 2 Chron. 34. 3. In the eight yeare of his reigne, while he was yet young, he began to seeke after the God of David his father; young indeed, for he was but eight yeares old, when he began to reigne, verse 1. So that he could bee but sixteene yeares of age, at the most, when this was reported of him. O what an excellent patterne is here for young men: let them all learne of this young Saint, to bestow the flower of their youth upon God; it will set an everlasting crowne of glory upon their head. To the same pur­pose is that of famous Timothy, of whom it is said, That he knew the Scriptures of a child, which was able to make him wise unto salvation, 2 Timothy 3. 15. Wherewithall shall a young man cleanse his way, and be­come religious? Surely by imitating and following the example of such rare young men, as these are.

Now the better to stirre up young men [Page 215] hereunto, I have two generall Motives to propound unto them (besides the honour of it) viz.

  • 1. The Vtilitie.
    Motives 2.
  • 2. The Necessity.

1. The Vtility. Hearken to this,1. The uti­lity, as ap­peareth in sundry bene­fits, which flow from hence. O yee young men, for it is for your profit; heare it, and doe it for your good. Behold! here I will shew you the good and right way, sc. feare the Lord, and serve him in your youth, First seeke Gods kingdome, and the righteousnesse of it, as our blessed Saviour himselfe adviseth, Matthew 6. 33. Ac­quaint your selves with God, even in your youth, and serve him, for hereby good shall come unto you, as one of Iobs friends spea­keth excellently, Iob 22. 21.

1. For. 1. The Lord will take it excee­ding 1 kindly,Benefit. The Lord taketh it exceeding kindly, if we set our selves to serve him in our youth. we shall please him exceeding­ly; yea, the Lord will be so much affected with it, that he will never forget it. To sacrifice our youth unto Gods service, is (as it were) to sacrifice our Isaac to him: now see how kindly the Lord tooke Abraham's purpose in that case, Genesis 22. 12. By my selfe have I sworne, because thou hast done this thing, that in blessing, I will blesse thee. He that dedicateth his youth unto Gods ser­vice, shall be remembred with a blessing in his age. So when Israel was newly come out of Aegypt, no marvell if they were much affected with his admirable mercies towards them; they could not choose (for [Page 216] the present) but love him entirely, and even set the dearest of their affections upon him. Now see how kindly this was taken, and remembred a long time after; (yea, not­withstanding their manifold infirmities, their murmurings, their infidelity, &c.) yet see how lovingly the Lord maketh mention of it, a long time after, Ieremy 2. 2. Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindnesse of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wildernesse, &c. The kindnesse of their youth, is kindly remembred, With such sa­crifices the Lord is well pleased. This is the first benefit.

Secondly,2. Benefit. It will pre­vent the Lustes of youth, which will else lie hea­vie upon us in our age. If we set our selves to serve God in our youth; it will be an excellent meanes, to prevent the lustes of youth; which if they be not prevented, will be bit­ter and terrible in the time of age. Fly the lustes of youth, sayth the Apostle, 2 Tim. 2. 22. There are certaine lustes, which men are most subject unto in time of youth: yea, these lustes, are noysome and dangerous, and fight directly against the soule; Ab­staine from fleshly lusts, which fight against the soule, sayth another Apostle, 1 Pet. 2. 11. These (many times) lye heavie upon the conscience (of the best,) in time of age. Hearken how holy David cryeth out, Psal. 25. 7. Remember not the sinnes of my youth, sayth that good man: He knew what a wo­full case he should be in, if God should call [Page 217] him to account, for the sinnes of his youth: and yet doubtlesse, he was a godly man, e­ven from his youth: see what he sayth of himselfe, Psal. 71. 5. Thou art my hope, O Lord God, thou art my trust, even from my youth: yea, he was taught of God from his youth, ver. 17. Yea, marke what the Lord himselfe sayth of him, even in his youth, 1 Sam. 13. 14. The Lord hath sought him a man after his owne heart. He was a man af­ter Gods owne heart, yet cryeth out of the sinnes of his youth. So consider Iob, by the Lords owne testimony, an incomparable man; A man that feared God, and eschewed evill: yet see how he cryeth out of the sinnes of his youth, Iob 13. 26. Thou writest bit­ter things against me, and makest me to possesse the sinnes of my youth: and yet he was reli­gious and mercifull, even in his youth: see what he could speake of himselfe; Iob 31. 18. (where speaking of the widow and fa­therlesse;) For from my youth, he (that is the fatherlesse) was brought up with me, as with a Father; and I have guided her (that is the widow) from my mothers wombe. Now marke it, I pray you, are the sinnes of youth thus bitter, to such as David, and Iob, such godly persons? What will they then be, to them that draw iniquitie with cords of va­nitie; and sinne as it were with a cart-rope? They must needs feele and finde (one day) that it is an evill thing, and bitter, to for­sake the Lord, and that his feare is not in [Page 218] them (in their youth) as the Lord himselfe speaketh, Ier. 2. 19. They that have taken great paines, and toyled, and moyled in their youth, are apt to cry out of Stitches and Aches in their age: this is the very case of such as take great paines in the service of sinne, and Sathan, in their youth; they will cry out of the bitternes of it in their age: As Abner sayd to Ioab, they will finde it bitternesse in the later end. Thus wise Salo­mon disswadeth the yong man from whore­dome; Pro. 5. 8. Come not nigh the doore of her house; Why so? 1. Lest thou give thine honour to others, and thy yeares to the cruell; thy credits gone, ver. 9. yea, and thy profit too, Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, and thy labours be in the house of strangers; it will emptie thy house of wealth, &c.

But this is not all.Service of sinne, bit­ternesse in the end. It will be bitternes in the end, ver. 11. Lest thou mourne at last, and say, How have I hated instruction, &c (i.e.) How have I mis-spent my precious time, and neg­lected the service of God, in my youth? Now the way and chiefe meanes to pre­vent this, is to set our selves to serve God, even in our youth; for this will bring sweetnesse and comfort in time of age. Oh what an happinesse, when a man can say with Paul, Act. 23. 1. I have lived in all good conscience unto this day. Or with the young man, Mark. 10. 20. All this have I kept from my youth. See the respect that our Saviour had to him for this; Then Iesus be­holding [Page 219] him, loved him: He even loved him, in some sort, for his externall obedience: how much more will he love them, that truely, and sincerely love and serve him? Ich. 14. 21. 23. He that hath my Commande­ments, and keepeth them, is he that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be beloved of my Father, and I will manifest my selfe to him; yea, my Father will love him, and wee will come and make our abode with him. O happie Companie! what greater comfort? It is heaven upon earth: in stead of the bitter sinnes of youth, we shall have fellowship with the Father, and with his Sonne Iesus Christ, sayth the Apostle, 1 Ioh. 1. 3.

Thirdly,3. Benefit. Quo semel est imbuta, &c. Time spent sincerely in Gods service in our youth, will make us constant­ly religious in our age. I know indeed, that some that have seemed Saints in youth,It will make us constant in Gods ser­vice in our age. have proved devils in their age: As Ioash, &c. but they did but seeme so, they had one­ly a forme of godlinesse, but denyed the power of it, 2 Tim. 3. 5. But such as are truely and sincerely religious in youth, will be con­stant in age; that is the right propertie of a tree of Righteousnesse, Psal. 92. (that Psalme for the Sabbath day) vers. 13. 14. They that be (truely) planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the Courts of the house of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in their old age, they shall be fat and flou­rishing. To the same purpose is that speech of Salomon, Pro. 22. 6. Traine up a childe, [Page 220] (or Catechise) in the way he should goe, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Loe, the benefit of a religious education in youth. He that spendeth time in Gods ser­vice, in his youth, will hardly neglect it in his age. He that is a Tymothy, in his youth, for the most part, proveth a Mnaason, an old Disciple in his age, Act. 21. 26. An heart seasoned with the true feare of God in a mans youth, will make him, that he shall not depart from God when he is old. Salo­mon indeed fell foulely, and dangerously in his age, but returned to God by repentance at last, as is evident by his booke of Eccle­siastes; yea, see what warrant we have to thinke thus; Ier. 32. 40. And I will put my feare in their hearts, that they shall never depart from me. He that once truely feareth God, departeth not from him.

Fourthly,4. Benefit. The more comfort for the present, & the more glory here­after. The more time we spend, and the more paines we take in Gods service in our youth, the more comfort shall we have for the present, and the more glorie here­after: this addeth still more weight, and massinesse to our crowne of glory in hea­ven. The small paines that we take in Gods service, (though in comparison they be but as for a moment) yet worke unto us, an eternall and exceeding weight of glory, as the Apostle speakes, 2 Cor. 4. 17. O how this should perswade us to beginne betimes! The sooner wee beginne to spend time in Gods service, the more time shall we spend [Page 221] in it, and reape the more glory hereafter. This is evident by that Parable of the Ta­lents. The more Talents we have, and the better we employ them, the more glorie in heaven. See what is sayd to him that had five Talents, well improved, Luk. 19. 17. Well done, thou good and faithfull servant, be­cause thou hast beene faithfull in a few things, have thou authoritie over ten Cities. Yea, who must have the odde Talent, but he that had ten before? Ver. 24. And he sayd unto them that stood by, Take the Talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten Talents. They said unto him, (v. 25.) Lord, he hath ten Talents, (i.e.) he hath enough alreadie; now observe the answer, ver. 26. For unto every one that hath, shall be given, &c. He that hath most grace to spend most time in Gods service on earth, shall have the greatest reward, and the most glorie in heaven. Oh therefore beginne betime to get grace, that thou mayest have the more glorie in heaven.

Fifthly,5. Benefit. Hereby wee shall com­fort our pa­rents, and requite their love. The sooner we beginne to spend time in Gods service, the sooner shall we beginne to requite our Parents love, and to affoord them comfort. The childes well-doing, is the Parents comfort. Yea, many Parents, that are not so religious them­selves, rejoyce yet to see their children zea­lous, and forward that way. A wise Sonne maketh a glad Father, sayth Salomon, Prov. 10. 1. A wise Sonne, that is, a religious childe, one that setteth himselfe to serve [Page 222] God in his youth, he rejoyceth the heart of his Father: But a foolish Sonne (that is, an ungodly Impe) is the griefe of his Mother. Vngodly children, like a viperous brood, do eate out the very hearts of their parents, and doe stab their hearts with sorrow, and heavinesse. It is a strange speech of Salomon, 17. 21. He that begetteth a foole (that is, an ungracious child, for that is Salomons foole) doth it to his sorrow; and the Father of a foole hath no joy. I marvaile not more, that old Ely brake his necke with his fall at last, then that his sonnes had not broken his heart long before, with their vicious courses. Oh let us therefore serve God in our youth, that it may be a comfort to our Parents in their age. Here is the fifth Benefit.

But besides the Vtilitie,2. Motive. 2 Necessity. Eccles. 12. 1. let us (in the se­cond place) consider the Necessitie. For besides the expresse charge that wee have from God to this purpose, see the dangerous consequences, and inconveniences that fol­low upon the neglect of it.Sundry mis­chiefs which flow from the neglect of it. So that wee must needs doe it, or we must doe worse. Now the mischiefes that doe especially flow from the neglect of Gods service in our youth, are principally five.

First,1 Mischiefe Wee shall serve worse Masters, If we doe not serve God in our youth, we shall serve worse Masters, sc. the Devill, the world, and the flesh. He that serveth not God, must serve the Devill; it is unavoydable; observe it, Ephes. 2. 2. Wherein, in times past ye walked, according to [Page 223] the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the ayre, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. But how came this to passe? See, Ver. 12. At that time yee were without Christ, &c. with­out God in the world: He that is without Christ, and without God, will not, nor cannot be without his lustes. Vntill we become the servants of God, we are all the vassals of Sathan, and slaves to our own fil­thy lustes. Titus 3. 3. For wee our selves were sometimes foolish, serving diverse lustes, and pleasures, &c. Loe, our woefull Masters, untill we set our selves to serve God; Li­ving in malice, hatefull, and hating one ano­ther, sayth the Apostle there: Yee cannot serve God and Mammon, sayth our blessed Saviour, Mat. 6. 24. As if he had sayd, Yee cannot but serve one of them; He that committeth sinne, is the servant of sinne; a wo­full Master. See what lamentable wages such Masters usually give their servants in the end; The wages of sinne is death, sayth the Apostle, Rom. 6. 23. See then how ne­cessary it is to serve God, and that speedily; for till then, we must of necessitie serve wo­full Masters, for wofull wages. But O the happinesse of such as spend time in Gods service; Ver. 22. But now being made free from sinne, and become the servants of God, yee have your fruit unto holinesse, and the end everlasting life. There is excellent wages.

[Page 224] Secondly,2 Mischiefe The more difficult. The longer we stay, before we set our selves to serve God, the more difficult and hard we shall finde it, if we doe returne to God at last. He that posteth the contrary way,Qui non est hodie, cras minus aptus erit. is still the farther from his journeys end, and will have the lesse minde to returne. Continuance in evill, breedeth a custome in sinne, which is not left, without great difficultie; Ier. 13. 23. Can the Aethiopian change his skinne, or the Leopard his spots? then may yee also doe good, that are accustomed to doe evill. It is excee­ding difficult. When a man hath gotten a custome of swearing, or drinking, or gameing, how hard is it for such to be re­claimed? A twig is easily dealt with, which is immoveable, if it grow till it become a tree. How tractable was Joash in his youth? but in his age intolerable. He that was gui­ded by Jehojada in his youth, killed his sonne Zachariah afterward. Much more, he that is bad in his youth, may be worse in his age.

Thirdly,3. Mischiefe God hath just cause, to reject such in their age. How just is it with God to reject them in their age, which have reje­cted his service in their youth. Men thinke any thing is good enough for God, the rot­ten old age, the blinde, and the lame, and the sicke; but how much they are deceived, the Prophet sheweth, Mal. 1. Offer it now to thy Prince, or thy Governour, (sayth the Lord) would he accept it at thy hands? Sup­pose that a Souldier should spend all his [Page 225] youth, in service against his Soveraigne, and then in his old age should offer his ser­vice to his Prince: How justly might such a base offer be rejected? Why should we spend the flower of our youth in vanitie, and yet thinke that God should accept of us in our age? He that runneth from God, the greatest part of his life, God may hide him­selfe from him at his death:See their Histories. witnesse Spira, and the Kentish Apothecarie; how wofully did God hide himselfe from them in death, that had neglected his service in their life? When the Father seeth the childe readie to play with every toy, or feather, and not to minde his way, he steppeth behinde a bush, and hideth himselfe a good while before the childe can finde him: so dealeth God with his children; Verely, thou art a God that hy­dest thy selfe, O God of Israel the Saviour, Isa. 45. 15.

If Gods children will walke so neare hell mouth, the greatest part of their life,Mr. Harris Abs. Fune­rall. no marvell if at the time of death, the Lord take them by the heeles, and make them be­leeve, he will throw them in. So I conceive the Lord dealt with Spira, and the Apothe­carie. I love them that love me, sayth Wise­dome, and they that seeke me early, shall finde me, Pro. 8. 17. To intimate unto us, that it is possible for a man to come too late. There is a time, when God will not be found; as is intimated, Isa. 55. 6. See an experiment of such as come too late; and [Page 226] were rejected; Pro. 1. 28, 29. Then shall they call, but I will not answer: they shall seeke me early, but shall not finde me: Why so? Be­cause they hated knowledge, and did not choose the feare of the Lerd. See what it is, to put off the service of God to the last. Let Esau admonish every one of us, to beware of comming too late; Heb. 12. 16, 17. Lest there be any fornicator, or prophane person, as Esau, who for one morsell of meate, sold his birth-right: Why so? For yee know, how that afterward (when he would have inherited the blessing) he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with teares. He that (prophanely) prefer­reth a messe of pottage, before a birth-right, is justly rejected, when he would inherit the blessing. He that hateth to be reformed in his youth, is very likely to be rejected in his age: Because I called, and yee refused, sayth Wisedome, Pro. 1. 24. I will therefore laugh at your destruction, and mocke when your feare commeth, ver. 26. He that laugheth Wisedome to scorne, when she reproveth, is justly derided of Wisedome, in his grea­test extreamitie.

Fourthly,Mischiefe As none can be saved, except he repent [...] so none can re­pent, unlesse it be given him from above. If a man were sure to escape this mischiefe, and that he should certainly be accepted of God, at last, (if he doe re­pent) yet a man is not sure that he shall, or can repent: Repentance is the gift of God, as well as remission of sinnes: so that, as none can be pardoned, unlesse he repent; [Page 227] so none can repent, but those to whom it is given: If God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth, sayth the Apostle, 2 Tim. 2. 25. He that is so often called to repentance in his youth, and neglecteth it, God may justly deny to give him repentance in his age, Except yee repent, yee shall perish, sayth our Saviour, Luk. 13. 5. and except God give it, you cannot repent. Oh therefore, whilest God calleth to repentance, and offereth the meanes, embrace it, lest yet be denyed it afterward.

Men may dye three wayes at last with­out repentance, which have rejected it,Men may dye three wayes. 1 Suddenly. 2 Sullenly. 3 Desperate­ly. which have rejected it, in time of their youth: First, They may dye suddainely; 1 Thes. 5. 3. When they shall say, peace, peace, then shall suddaine destructi­on come upon them, &c. Or else, secondly, They may dye desperately, at least in their owne sense and feeling; as Cain and Judas. Or, thirdly, They may dye sullenly, and sottishly, like Naball; Qualis vita, finis ita; 1 Sam. 25. Bruitish in life, and bruitish in death; after God smote him, his heart dyed within him, and he was even like a stone: he had a long time to repent in, but he wanted an heart, his heart was dead within him, and he was like a stone. If a man were sure to repent at last, and that his repentance should surely be accepted, he might the farre more safely deferre and put off his repen­tance, and serving of God, till age, or death: [Page 228] but a man can be sure of neither of these: for as true repentance is never too late; so late repentance is seldome true, sayth St. Augustine. And againe;Qui dat misericor­dium poeni­tentibus, non dat semper poe­nitentium petentibus. He that alwayes giveth mercy to the penitent, doth not alwayes give repentance to them that aske it: To day if yee will heare his voyce, harden not your hearts, sayth the Psalmist, Psal. 95. 7. As if he had sayd, if yee reject, or neglect to heare the voyce of God to day, your hearts may be so hardened,Aug. that yee cannot heare it to morrow.Vt vera poenitentia nunqu [...]m est sera; sic sera poe­nitentia raro vera. Say not to thy neighbour, goe, and come againe to morrow, sayth Salomon, Pro. 3. 28. How much lesse is it meete to be said unto a God, when he commeth unto thee, and wooeth thee to give him thy heart; Pro. 23. 26. My Sonne, give me thy heart; put him not off till to morrow; thou knowest not what a day may bring forth; therefore boast not of to morrow; thy heart may be farther of from God to morrow, then it is to day. Oh therefore what thou resolvest to doe, doe it speedily: the soo­ner, the better:Bis dat qui citò dat. Sen. He giveth twice, that giveth quickly. He that will not serve God in his youth, is in danger not to serve him at all: and looke how thou doest thy worke, so assure thy selfe God will pay thee thy wa­ges: and the Proverbe is often true,Proverbe. An old naught, will never be ought.

Fifthly,5. Mischiefe Bringeth Gods wrath upon chil­dren. It is a dangerous thing to neg­lect the service of God in the time of our youth, and to mis-spend it in the service of [Page 229] sinne and Sathan. Let no man say, it is no matter for youth, no great matter for chil­dren, what they say, or doe: O yes (bre­thren) it is very materiall: he that sinneth in his youth, unlesse he repent, is like to smart in his age. It doth not extenuate our sinnes, but aggravate them (rather) that they are the sinnes of our youth. See how ironically the Wise-man speaketh to the rio­tous young man, in Eccles. 11. 9. Rejoyce, O young man, in thy youth, &c. But remem­ber, that (for these things) God will bring thee to judgement. This was one thing, that aggravated the sinne of Sodome, that young and old were guiltie of it, they were gene­rally beastly and filthy, both young and old, Gen. 19. 4. Did at any whit excuse, or exte­nuate the sinne of Eli's sonnes, that they were young men? No; it did aggravate it rather, 1 Sam. 2. 17. Wherefore the sinne of the young men, was very great before the Lord, sayth the Text. An odious thing for a young man to be old in wickednesse; for a young man to be an old drunkard, or an old adul­terer, &c. (that is, a man of a long standing in viciousnesse,) doth aggravate the sinne very much. Yea, God cannot endure pro­phanenesse, no, not in children: and there­fore let no man say, it is no matter for chil­dren, how prophane they be, or how un­gracious, no matter if they be mockers, and swearers, &c. O yes (beloved) God is a God of such pure eyes, that he hateth pro­phanenesse, [Page 230] even in children. See an expe­riment of this, in those children that moc­ked the old Prophet Elisha, 2 King. 2. 23, 24. As he was going up by the way to Bethel, sayth the Text, there came forth little chil­dren out of the Citie, and mocked him, saying, Goe up, thou bald-head, Goe up, thou bald-head: now see the event of this; The old Prophet turned backe, and looked on them, and cursed them in the Name of the Lord, and there came forth two shee Beares out of the wood, and tare fortie and two children of them. God will not suffer the prophanenesse of children to goe unpunished. O how much better had it beene for these children, that they had been employed in the worship and service of God, that the Prophet might have blessed them in the Name of the Lord! Now the e­state of all that neglect the worship and service of God, is a most cursed estate, whe­ther they be young, or old, For cursed are all they that erre from Gods Commandements, as David speakes, Psal. 119. 21. whether they be young, or olde. Not onely the curse of the Prophet, but the curse of the great God, is readie to seize upon them. O then let us set our selves to serve God in our youth, and we may have the blessing of God upon us, both in our youth and age. Thus you see also the necessitie of it.

CHAP. VI.

Containing the second branch of the Vse of Exhortation.

SEcondly,Vse of Ex­hortation. 2. Branch. sc. To bee constant in Gods ser­vice, when wee have once be­gun. Seeing time spent in Gods service is the best spent time; This serveth to exhort us, that have once begun to serve God, that we should be constant in it. It is to no purpose to begin to serve God, unlesse wee resolve to hold on, and persevere; left we be justly charged, with that of the Apo­stle, Galathians 5. 7. Ye did runne well, who did hinder you, that ye shuold not obey the truth? i. e. How commeth it to passe that yee did not persevere? and for this they were justly called, O foolish Galathi­ans! Gala. 3. 1. Time spent in Gods ser­vice is fitly resembled unto a race, Let us runne with patience the race that is set be­fore us; saith the Apostle, Hebrewes 12. 1. It is a meere folly for any man to begin a race, unlesse he resolve to persevere and bee constant in it; and therefore faith the Apo­stle, 1 Cor. 9. 24. So runne, that ye may ob­taine, that is, begin speedily without delay, and hold on constantly without intermissi­on. This was holy David's pious resolu­tion, [Page 232] Psalme 119. 33. Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes, and I shall keepe it unto the end, There was constancy, and per­severance. Now (for the perfecting of this point) I purpose to runne this course,

1. I will shew you the Motives, that may perswade us to it.

2. The chiefe Meanes, that we must use to attaine it.

1. The Motives,Motives, Which are threefold. that may perswade us hereunto, are especially these three.

  • 1. In regard of the equity of it.
  • 2. The Vtilitite.
  • 3. The Necessity of it.

1 1. Now the equity of the dutie appea­reth in this,The equity▪ God is our Master, and wee his ser­vants many wayes. sc. because the God of heaven is our chiefe Lord, and Master, and we are his servants, in many respects; and there­fore in all equity it is fit that we shuold be constant in his service,

For. 1. We are the Lords professed ser­vants.

2. His vowed, or sworne servants.

3. His made servants.

4. His bought servants.

And lastly, His obliged, or hired ser­vants.

1 1. We are Gods servants by profession: wee doe all professe our selves to bee Gods servants;Wee are Gods ser­vants by profession. yea, we should take it ill from any that should speake or repute us other­wise. We are all ready to say, with David, Psalme 116. 16. Behold, Lord, how that I [Page 233] am thy servant, &c. We, we are Gods Li­vorie; it appeareth by our very profession, that we would be esteemed to be Gods ser­vants; hence we come to Church, we de­pend upon his Ordinances, yea, no doubt, but if we should be questioned, the most of us would be ready to say to God, as the Elders of Israel said to Iehu, 2 Kings 10. When Iehu had slaine his Master, hee sen­deth this message to the Elders of Israel, Verse 2. Seeing your Masters sonnes are with you, and there are with you Chariots, and Horses, a fenced City also, and armour; Looke even out the best, and meetest of your Masters sonnes, and set him on his Fathers Throne, and fight for your Masters house: But they were exceedingly afraid, saith the Text, Verse 4. and said, Behold, two Kings stood not before him, how then should wee stand! But they sent unto Iehu, saying, we are thy servants, and will doe all that thou shalt bid us; Loe they were Iehu's servants by profession. And the most of us, (no doubt) are ready to professe no lesse to God, Behold we are thy servants, and will doe that which thou shalt bid us. O then let us bee constant in Gods service, because we are his servants by profession.

Secondly, Wee are his vowed, or his 2 sworne servants;2 His sworne servants. as appeareth by the pro­mise and solemne vow that wee made to God in our Baptisme, which was, That we would not only become, but also continue, [Page 234] Gods faithfull servants, and souldiers, un­till our lives end. Yea, this vow we have renewed since, so often as we have received the Sacrament of the Lords Supper. How often have we publikely and solemnly dedi­cated our selves wholly to Gods service? saying, Here Lord, wee offer unto thee our selves, soules, and bodyes, &c. How can we then (for shame) flinch from his service, and be inconstant, having so often solemnly protested, and sworne the contrary? This made David constant in Gods service, be­cause he had sworne to be constant in it, Psalme 119. 106. I have sworne, and will performe it, that I will keepe thy righteous judgements. We have vowed, and sworne, as well as David, and therefore must needs be perjured persons, if we be not constant in his service; Offer unto God praise, or thankesgiving, and pay thy vows unto the most High, Psalme 50. 14. Wee are the Lords sworne servants, and therefore it stand­eth with equity that wee should bee con­stant.

3 Thirdly, We are the Lords made ser­vants;We are his made ser­vants. it is the very speciall end of our Creation: we were made on purpose to doe God service. And therefore the consi­deration of our creation, doth strongly binde us to bee constant in Gods service, Psalme 100. 2, 3. Serve the Lord with glad­nesse, come before his presence with singing; and marke the reason of it, verse 3. Know [Page 235] [...]e, that the Lord he is God, it is he that hath [...]ade us, and not we our selves. How can we choose but chearefully and constantly [...]oe service to our Maker? And so againe, Psalme 95. 6. O come let us worship, and [...]all downe, and knele before the Lord our Maker, &c. And no marvell, for it is the very end of our Creation, and comming in­to this world, sc. to doe God service, and thereby to advance his glory. He made all things for his owne sake , yea, even the wick­ed for the day of evill, saith the Wiseman, Proverbs 16. 4. It is for his owne sake, and service, to advance his glory, and glory will he have of us, one way, or other, one time, or other; if we doe not honour him by doing his pleasure here on earth, we shall perforce glorifie his justice, in suffering his pleasure for ever in hell: the Lord will at­taine his owne end, in one kinde or other, For my glory have I created him, saith God, I have formed him, yea, I have made him. Another Motive, to be constant.

Fourthly, We are the Lords bought ser­vants,4 redeemed and purchased at a very great rate,His bought servants, or by way of Redempti­on. to this purpose only, to doe God service. Suppose a man should meete a poore man going to prison for debt,Simile. (whence hee was never like to come out) and should pay the summe, and set him at liberty, upon condition, that hee should bee constant in his service as long as he li­ved: Oh with all my heart, would the [Page 236] poore man say, how much better is it t [...] serve thee, then live in a prison, a dunge [...]on all my dayes? he was strongly engaged to that mans service. Here is our very case [...] we are all prisoners by nature, and Sathan is ready every moment to cary us to the prison of hell, where we should rot, and burne for ever; now the Lord redeemeth us, and setteth us at liberty from the service of sinne and Sathan, and the bondage o [...] corruption; Deliver him from going downe to the pit, saith the Lord, his Ran­some is paid, according to that in Iob 33. 28. Oh then how strongly doth this binde us, to be constant in Gods service, that we should have a care never to depart from him? Ye are not your owne (saith the Apo­stle, 2 Cor. 6. 19. 20.) but ye are bought with a price, and therefore glorifie God, in your bodies and soules, for they are Gods: Ye are redeemed with a great price, not with corrup­tible things, as silver and gold, from your vaine conversation; but with the precious bloud of Christ, as of a Lambe without spot, saith the Apostle, 1 Peter 1. 17, 18. Ex­cellent to this purpose, is that in the song of Zachary, Luk. 1. 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited, and re­deemed his people; But to what end hath he done this? That he sheweth plainely, ver. 74. That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him with­out feare, in holinesse, and righteousnesse, be­ [...]re [Page 237] him, all the dayes of our life, So that the [...]onsideration of our redemption should [...]ake us constant in Gods service, because [...]e were redeemed, and bought to that end [...]nd purpose. Thus Moses expostulateth the [...]se with those revolting Israelites, Deut. [...]. 6. Doe ye thus requite the Lord, O ye [...]oolish people and unwise? Is not he thy fa­ [...]her, that hath bought thee? Hath he not [...]ade thee, and established thee? The sinne of backsliding is fearefully aggravated, from [...] consideration of the Lords singular goodnesse in our creation, and redemption; Now the very end of God, in the great worke of our redemption, is to purge us to himselfe a peculiar people, that we might be [...]ealous of good workes.

Fifthly,We are his hired ser­vants. Wee are the Lords hyred ser­vants,5 and doe daily receive our wages from him; yea, in him it is, that we live, and move, and have our being. After the Lord hath made us, and sent us into the world, alas, we all stand idle, and doe him no service at all, untill the Lord be plea­sed to hire us, and set us a worke, Matth. 20. 7. Why stand yee here all the day idle, (saith the Lord of the Vineyard) goe ye in­to the Vineyard, and worke, &c. Loe, wee are the Lords hired servants, who is a most excellent paymaster, and very bountifull, besides our wages, he is very kinde unto us, in many speciall gifts, and vailes, Isa. 65. 13, 14. Behold, my servants shall eat, and ye [Page 238] shall be hungry; my servants shall drinke and ye shall be thirstie; Yea, he is such a Ma­ster as daily loadeth us with gifts and bene­fits, Psalme 68. 9. Blessed be God, even the God of our salvation, who daily loadeth u [...] with his benefits, and all to this end and purpose, that we might be faithfull and con­stant in his service, that we might observe his statutes, Psal. 105. last. and keepe his lawes, that is even the very right use of all his mercies. When Ioshua had reckoned up Gods singular mer­cies towards the Iewes, in Ioshuah 24. See the use of all, verse 14. Now therefore feare the Lord, and serve him; And now, Israel, what doth the Lord require of thee, but only to love the Lord thy God, and feare, and serve him? Deut. 10. 12. This was god­ly Samuels argument to the revolting and offending Israelites, God forbid, that I should sinne against the Lord, in ceasing to pray for you, but I will shew you the good, and the right way, 2 Samuel 12. 24. &c. as if he had said, I will not only pray for you, but I will also further teach, and in­struct you in the right way; onely feare the Lord, and serve him, for consider what great things he hath done for you; else a man in this case is worse then the very Oxe or Asse, as the Lord himselfe speaketh, Isa. 1. 2, 3. Heare ô heavens, &c. the Oxe knowes his owner, and the Asse his Masters Crib, but Israel hath not knowne, my people have not understood. And thus yee have [Page 239] seene the first Motive, that may perswade us to be constant in Gods service, sc. In regard of the equity of it.

Secondly, The second Motive,2. Motive. From the Vtilitie, as appeareth by sundry benefits. that may perswade us to be constant in Gods service, is drawne from the consideration of the V­tilitie of it. It is commodious, and profi­table, that we should be constant, and per­severe in Gods service. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Psal. 4. mea­ning, profit. And it is the Question of those prophane ones, in Job 21. 15. What is the Almightie, that we should serve him? Or what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? say they. Now to this, I answer, That con­stancy and perseverance in Gods service, is exceeding usefull, and profitable, and that in many respects.

First,1. Benefit. It will assure us, [...] when wee dye, we shall goe to hea­ven. Constancie in Gods service, will assure a man, that when he dyeth, he shall goe to heaven. What an admirable, and de­sireable thing it is, that a man should be a­ble to say with the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5. 1. Wee know, that when the earthly house of our taber­nacle shall be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house, not made with hands, eternall in the heavens. But how came the Apostle by this assurance? Vpon what ground did he thus confidently assure himselfe? That we shall see, Ver. 9. Wherefore we labour, that whether present, or absent, we may be accepted of him. This was the ground of his rejoy­cing, The testimonie of our conscience, that in [Page 240] simplicitie, and godly sinceritie; not with flesh­ly wisedome, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, 2 Cor. 1. 12. Vpon this ground he expecteth a crowne of Righteousnesse, 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. Constan­cie and perseverance, is the very condition required, and expressed in the Lords graci­ous promise; He that endureth to the end, shall be saved, sayth our Saviour, Mat. 24. 13. Be thou faithfull unto the death, and I will give thee the crowne of life, Rev. 2. 10. In due time wee shall reape, if wee faint not, sayth the Apostle, Gal. 6. 9. Yea, this dili­gence and constancie in Gods service, is that which will give a man abundant assu­rance of entrance into the Kingdome of Ie­sus Christ. Excellent to this purpose is that of the Apostle Peter, 2 Pet. 1. 5. 11. Where­fore giving all diligence, adde to your faith ver­tue, and to your vertue knowledge, &c. (i. e.) be abundant, and constant in Gods service: now marke the reason, Ver, 11. For so an entrance shall be ministred unto you, abundant­ly into the everlasting kingdome of Iesus Christ. Oh what a precious thing is this!

Secondly,2. Benefit. This will be our crowne of glorie in our age. This will be a crowne of glo­rie to us, in our old age; sc. if we be con­stant. See the testimony of Salomon for this, Pro. 16. 31, The hoarie head is a crowne of glorie, when it is found in the way of Righteous­nesse: That will not onely be a great ho­nour and credit, for a man in that case, but also the Lord will set a crowne of glorie [Page 241] upon the hoarie head, that is found in the way of Righteousnesse, and is constant in Gods service. Here was Pauls crowne of glorie, that though in his youth he was a persecuter, and injurious, (for they that stoned Stephen, layd downe their cloathes at a young mans feete, whose name was Saul, Act. 7. 58. & Chap. 8. 1. And Saul was consen­ting unto his death, sayth the Text.) But af­ter he was once truely converted, and was entred into Gods service, see how constant he was in it, even untill old age: yea, death it selfe: as appeareth by his owne speech to Philemon, Ver. 8, 9. Though I might be much bold in Christ, to enjoyne thee that which is convenient; yet, for love sake, I rather be­seech thee, being such a one as Paul the aged, and now a prisoner of Iesus Christ. Here was Pauls crowne of glorie, sc. that in his old age, he was a prisoner, and a constant Mar­tyr of Iesus Christ: here was a right tree of righteousnesse, which bringeth forth fruit in their age, yea, in their old age, and even then be fat and flourishing, Psal. 92. 14. This was Mnaasons crowne of glory, that he was justly called an old Disciple; They brought us to the house of one Mnaason, an old Disciple, with whom we should lodge, sayth the Text, Act. 21. 16. Let this also perswade us to constancie and perseverance.

Thirdly,3. Benefit. This will al­so assure us, that we [...] Christs Dis­ciples. Constancie in Gods service, is that which will assure us that wee are the true Disciples and followers of Iesus Christ. [Page 242] Oh what an admirable thing is this! Who would not but labour to be assured that he is of the number of Christs true Disciples, and no hypocrite? Why now, constancie in Gods service will assure a man of this. See an excellent place for this purpose, Joh. 8. 31, 32. If ye continue in my Word (in yeelding of constant obedience unto my Word) then are ye my Disciples indeed, and yee shall know the truth, and the truth shall make yee free, sayth our Saviour. But on the other side, he that wavereth, and is uncon­stant, hath great cause to suspect himselfe, to be no better then an hypocrite. See an excellent place for this purpose, Psal. 106. 3. Blessed are they that doe judgement, and he that doth righteousnesse at all times: they are one­ly happie, that are constant in Religion: but the hypocrite is fickle and inconstant; Job 27. 8. What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soule? He is in a woefull estate at that time. Why so? And who are these, that have cause to suspect themselves to be but hypo­crites? That yee shall see, Ver. 10. Will he delight himselfe in the Almightie? Will he al­wayes call upon God? Will he be constant in Gods service? No sure; in time of temptation they fall away, and so discover their unsoundnesse and hypocrisie; for so argueth the holy Apostle, 1 Ioh. 2. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had beene of us, they would no doubt [Page 243] have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. Will yee also goe away? sayth our Saviour to his Disciples, Joh. 6. 67. He that is a true Disciple of Christ, will be constant in his service, and never depart from him: yea, he will be readie to say, with Peter, (though without boasting of his owne strength) Though all men should forsake thee, will I never forsake thee: yea, though I should dye with thee, yet will I not de­ny thee, Mat. 26. 35. No question Peter spake as he thought, when he said so, though his owne strength failed him, when it came to the poynt. But he that resolveth the like, in the strength of the Lord, and out of the sight and sense of his owne weaknesse, (if he should be left to himselfe) that man may comfortably assure himselfe, that he is a true Disciple of Christ Jesus.

Fourthly,4. Benefit. That God will heare our prayers. Constancie in Gods service, will assure us of the Lords gracious readi­nesse to heare our prayers, the Lord will be constant in hearing the prayers of that man which is constant in doing him service; 1 Ioh. 5. 14. This is the confidence that wee have in him, that if we aske any thing, accor­ding to his will, he heareth us. Oh what an happie thing, for a man to be assured in his soule, that his prayers are heard, and finde acceptance with the Lord? Now if a man be constant in Gods service, he may be assu­red of his interest in those gracious promi­ses, [Page 244] Mat. 7. 7. Aske, and yee shall have; seeke, and yee shall finde; knocke, and it shall be opened unto you. Or that in Isa. 65. 24. It shall come to passe, that when they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will heare. Now nothing will more certainly assure us of this, then constancie in Gods service. See that excellent speech of our Sa­viour, Joh. 15. 7. If yee abide in me, and my Word abide in you; yee shall aske what yee will, and it shall be done unto you. Constancie in Gods service, assureth us, that God heareth our prayers, and will grant our requests, so farre as shall be expedient. Hereupon is that admirable speech of the blind man, Ioh. 9. 31. We know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and a doer of his will, him he heareth. Loe another speci­all benefit!

Fifthly,5. Benefit. All such shall bee taught of God, and directed in his truth. He that is constant in Gods ser­vice, shall be taught of God, and directed in the truth, amongst all the multiplicitie of opinions that are in the world, he shall know the Doctrine of Christ, and be able in some sort to distinguish it from false Do­ctrines▪ and opinions, that are in the world; My sheepe heare my voyce, and follow me, sayth our Saviour, Joh. 10. 27. Yea, they know his voyce, and are able to distinguish it from the voyce of strangers, ver. 4, 5. The Sheepe follow him, (that is, the good Shep­heard) for they know his voyce, and a stran­ger will they not follow, but flee from him, for [Page 245] they know not the voyce of strangers, sayth the Text. Here is the happinesse of a true Sheepe of Christ, one that is constant in Gods ser­vice. So, Psal. 25. 12. 14. What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. Yea, the secret of the Lord is with them that feare him, and he will shew them his Covenant: They that feare and serve God constantly, shall be acquainted with the secrets of Religion. O what an happinesse is it for a man to be assured in his soule, that he is of the true Religion, among all the religions that are in the world. Hence is that speech of our Saviour, Ioh. 7. 16, 17. My Doctrine is not mine, but his that sent mee: yea, but how should a man know that? that our Saviour sheweth, Ver. 17. If any man will doe his will, he shall know of the Doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speake of my selfe: A most sweet and admi­rable benefit: a constant and conscionable care to yeeld obedience to what we know, is the best meanes to perfect, and increase our knowledge. This made David wiser then his enemies; yea, then the Ancient; yea, then his teachers; because he was a constant practitioner of what he knew; Psal. 119. 98, 99. &c. He that would be assured of the truth of his Religion, let him be constant in the duties of Gods worship and service; for this alone will doe it. Hereupon it was, that many poore silly men and women in Queene Mary's dayes, [Page 246] sealed the truth with their blood; when many great Schollers fell away.

Sixthly,6. Benefit. This will af­ford us com­fort in the greatest troubles that can befall us, yea, even in death. and lastly, Constancy in the duties of Gods worship, and service, will affoord a man comfort in time of trouble; yea, in the houre of death: this will make a man able to lift up his head with joy, in that case, as if his redemption drew nigh; Psal. [...]7. 37. Marke the upright man, and behold the just; that is, he that is constantly just and up­right; for the end of that man shall be peace, sayth the Psalmist. See an experiment of this, in diverse examples. 1. The example of Gods Church, in great affliction and per­secution, Psal. 44. see their woefull mise­rie, Ver. 13, 14. &c. Thou makest us a re­proach to our neighbours, a by-word, a shaking of the head amongst the people. My confusion is continually before me, Ver. 15. All this is come upon us, Ver. 17. Well, what was it now that did affoord them comfort, in this their extremitie? Surely their constancie in Religion; Ver. 17, 18. Yet have wee not forgotten thee, nor have dealt falsely in thy Covenant; our heart is not turned backe; nei­ther have our steppes declined from thy way: Yea, though thou hast [...]ore broken us, in the place of Dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death, Ver. 19. So, what was it that affoorded Iob such comfort, in his ex­tremities, but his sinceritie, and constancie? Two excellent places we have for this; the one, in Job 27. 5. God forbid, that I should [Page 247] justifie you, sayth he to his friends. Why not? Were they not honest and religious men? Yes surely, they were gracious men, and full of wisedome; but yet Iob would not justifie them in that particular, where­in they condemned him for an hypocrite: they charged him with inconstancie, and hypocrisie, and that he would never yeeld unto, Till I dye, I will not remove my inte­gritie from me; my righteousnesse I hold fast, and will not let it goe, my heart shall not re­proach me, so long as I live. This was the onely thing, that did affoord him comfort, in his great extremities, and calamities, and unjust censures of his friends; he knew, that he had beene sincere, and constant in Gods service. The other place for this pur­pose, is, Iob 23. when God hid himselfe from him, that he could not see him, Ver. 8, 9. whether he went forward, or backward, on the right hand, or on the left, yet he could not finde God; What was his com­fort? Yet when he hath tryed me, I shall come out like gold; I shall be the better for all this at last, Ver. 10. Well, how came he to be assured of this? That yee shall see, Ver. 11, 12. My foote hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined; neither have I gone backe from the Commandement of his lippes; I have esteemed the words of his lippes, more then my necessary food: Here was his comfort, that he had beene constant in Gods service; it was grounded upon the consideration of [Page 248] his perseverance. The second particular ex­ample, is that of David, Psal. 18. when he was in many waters, readie to be drowned, environed with strong enemies, Ver. 16, 17. Now what was his comfort in these cases? That yee shall see, Ver. 21. For I have kept the wayes of the Lord, and have not wickedly de­parted from my God. Loe here, what will affoord us comfort in our greatest miseries, and extremities, sc. Constancie in cleaving to God; and a vigilant watchfull care, not to depart from him: All his judgements were before me, and I did not put away his Statutes from me, Ver. 22. I have beene constant in his service. So, that of Psal. 119. see what dangerous straites that good man was in; Ver. 107. I am afflicted very much: How much David? My soule is continually in my hand; I doe even daily cary my life in my hand; there is but even a step, betweene me and death: Well, how came that to passe? The wicked have layd a snare for me, sayth he, Ver. 110. Well, what was his comfort in all this, his Staffe to uphold him in all these dangers? Surely his constancie in Gods ser­vice: I have sworne, and will performe it, that I will keepe thy righteous judgements, V. 106. and Ver. 111, 112. Thy Testimonies have I claimed as my heritage for ever; for they are the rejoycing of my heart; and I have inclined my heart to performe thy Statutes alwayes, e­ven unto the end. Loe, this will affoord us comfort in the greatest troubles that can be­fall [Page 249] us. Yea, this will affoord comfort, and confidence, even in death; Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him, sayth Iob, upon this ground, Iob 13. 15. See an example of this in that good King Hezekiah; What was his comfort when the Prophet brought him the message of death, from the Lord, Isa. 38. 3? Surely, his constancie, and sin­ceritie in the duties of Gods worship and service; Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee, in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which hath beene good in thy sight, (i.e.) here is my chiefe comfort in this case. So, this made Paul thinke on death with comfort, and rejoycing; 2 Cor. 1. 12. So, 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. The time of my departure is at hand, and I am now readie to be offered, sc. in sacrifice to God by death. Now see the grounds of the Apostles comfort and confidence in that case; I have fought a good fight, I have fini­shed my course, I have kept the faith, (I have spent time in Gods service constantly,) henceforth there is layd up for me a crowne of Righteousnesse. And thus you see at large the Vtilitie of the dutie, which is the se­cond Motive, that may perswade us to be constant in the duties of Gods worship and service.

Thirdly, The third and last Motive that may perswade us hereunto,3. Motive. The neces [...]i­tie of it. is drawne from the consideration of the necessitie of it; It is not onely equall, and profitable, but ex­ceeding [Page 250] necessary,Constancie in Gods ser­vice is ne­cessarie. that we should be con­stant in the duties of Gods worship and service. This appeareth, not onely in re­gard of the expresse command of God, to that purpose, but also, because it is the speciall condition required on our part, as ever we expect the reward promised, (as wee have heard before) but we shall finde it very ne­cessary in many other respects; whereof I will onely mention but one, or two, which I conceive to be the chiefe.

First, Because,Arguments without constancie and 1 perseverance,Els we loose all the pains we have ta­ken in Gods service here­tofore. wee loose all the labour and paines, that we have alreadie taken in Gods service; we have laboured in vaine, and to no purpose, if we doe not perseve [...]e; if we faint, we are sure we shall never reape, as the Apostle seemeth to intimate, Gal. 6. 9. All our righteousnesse shall not so much as be once mentioned unto us, we shall be ne­ver a whit the better for it, Ezech. 18. 24. The soule of the Lord shall have no pleasure in him: Heb. 10. 38. See an experiment of this, in two famous examples to this purpose, sc. Demas and Alexander. See what a good o­pinion the Apostle had of this Demas, he remembreth his love to the Church of Co­losse, Col. 4. 14. Demas-greeteth you: yea, he was one of Pauls fellow labourers, Phi­lemon, ver. 24. And yet see how the Apostle cryeth out of him afterward, 2 Tim. 4. 10. Demas hath forsaken us, having loved this pre­sent world: Demas hath lost all his labour, [Page 251] and the credit of all his former proceedings. So for Alexander; see how zealous, and forward he seemed to be, in Act. 19. 33. he was very like to have suffered Martyr­dome; and yet see how the Apostle disco­vereth him afterward, for his damnable A­postacie, 2 Tim. 4. 14. Alexander the Cop­per-smith hath done me much evill, the Lord reward him according to his worke: for he hath greatly withstood our words. So he lost the benefit of all the good he had done former­ly. But this is not all;Danger of backsliding. for

Secondly, The sinne of back-sliding and 2 falling backe from Religion,It is a thing most odious and hatefull to God. is a thing that is most odious and hatefull to God; the soule of the Lord abhorreth it; the soule of the Lord will have no pleasure in such, that is, he hateth and abhorreth them: hereup­on it is compared to the vomit of a Dogge, and the Sowes wallowing in the mire, 2 Pet. 2. 22. Yea, if any man draw backe, it is unto his perdition, unlesse he repent, Heb. 10. 39. And how hard a thing it is for such to be brought unto Repentance: Heb. 6. 5. If they fall away, it is impossible to renew them againe unto repentance: How-e­ver, the back-slider in heart, shall be filled with his owne wayes, Pro. 14. 14. And are quite lost in their owne sense, and feeling, which is even a little hell upon earth; as appeareth by the example of Francis Spira, and William Rogers of Cranebrooke in Kent, the Stories of both which are lately published. Yea, see [Page 252] the woefull estate of Lot's wife; Let the judgement of God upon her, make us take heede of looking backe, which is the effect of that speech of our Saviour, Luk. 17. 32. Remember Lots wife, who for looking backe was turned into a pillar of salt, Gen. 19. 46. Whosoever doe thus, unlesse they repent and doe their first workes, are in no case fit for the kingdome of heaven; for he that put­teth his hand to the Plough, and looketh backe, is not fit for the kingdome of God, sayth our Saviour, Luk. 9. 62.

3 Thirdly, Wee had need be vigilant and constant,Necessary to bee con­stant, be­cause the devill seek­eth continu­ally to doe us mischiefe and bring us backe to his king­dome. in regard of the devils continuall diligence, in watching all opportunities to doe us mischiefe, we had need continu­ally to stand upon our guard, and ply our worke; for if we give over, we immedi­ately become a prey to his malicious cruel­tie. Whilst the little bird is in action, and flying from bush to bush, and from place to place, she is in no danger of being shot to death; but when she sitteth still, she be­commeth a prey to the cruell fowler, it is the Holy Ghosts owne similitude, Prov. 26. 2. As the bird by wandring, and the Swallow by flying, so the curse causelesse shall not come. When did David become a prey to the Devill and lust, but when he lay idely at home, 2 Samuel 11. upon his bed. The Devill seeketh continually to doe us hurt, and by doing nothing, we learne to doe evill. Therefore this is the Apostles [Page 253] argument, to perswade to constancy and vigilancy, 1 Peter 5. 8. For your adversa­ry, the Devill, as a roring Lion, goeth about, seeking continually whom he may devoure. And thus yee see also the necessitie of con­stancy, and perseverance in the duties of Gods worship, and service. It is equall, profitable, and necessary.

Now for the Meanes that wee must use,Meanes. that we may be constant, I will give you only one generall, which will divide it selfe into sundry particulars.

1 1. In generall,Generall A right dis­position of the heart, shewing it selfe. get a right disposition of heart to this purpose, without this it is im­possible for any to be constant in Gods ser­vice: therefore saith David, Psalme 119. 112. I have inclined my heart, to performe thy Statutes alwayes. It is only a good, and an honest heart, that is able to make a man hold out in Gods wayes, as our Savi­our sheweth, Luke 8. 15. This made Iehu fall away at last, notwithstanding all the faire shewes he made of zeale for God, and his truth, But Iehu tooke no heede, to walke in the Law of the Lord God of Israel, with all his heart, saith the Text, 2 Kings 10. 31. This made him cleave to Ieroboam's cal­vish Idolatry. So this made Simon Ma­gus fall off, notwithstanding all his fine shewes of Religion, his keeping company with the Apostles, his being baptized, &c. he shewed plainly what he was at last: And how came that? I perceive that thy heart is [Page 254] not right, in the sight of God, saith the Apo­stle to him, Acts 8. 21. If we would perse­vere in Gods service, we must labour to have our hearts set in a right frame.

Now (more particularly) if ye aske me,In sundry specialties. what disposition or frame of heart is it, that we must labour for,2. Speciall. if we would bee con­stant in Gods service?

1. I answer,1 It must bee a faithfull or belee­ving heart. that if we would be con­stant in Gods service, we must labour for a beleeving heart, an heart fraught with the precious grace of true saving faith. This is that, which will make a man constant and victorious over all impediments, 1 Iohn 5, 4, 5. For whosoever beleeveth and is borne of God, overcommeth the world: and this is the victory that overcommeth the world, even your faith. True saving faith is of a lasting nature; he that hath it, can never perish, but have everlasting life, Iohn 3. 16. Yea, this doth alwayes end in salvation, 1 Peter 1. 9. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soules, saith the Apostle, if any man draw backe, and fall off from Gods service, it is either for want of faith, or at least for want of a true saving faith. When the Apostle had shewed the danger of backsliding; see the remedy which the Apostle prescribeth, or intimateth (at least) in that case, If any man draw backe, my soule shall have no pleasure in him. We are not of them that draw back [...] unto perdition, (there is the danger) but [Page 255] of them that beleeve, or follow faith to the saving of the soule, there is the remedy, Hebrewes 10. 38, 39. If any thing make us hold out against Sathan, in that dangerous conflict, it must be the shield of faith, where­by we may quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, Ephesians 6. 16. Above all, take un­to you the shield of faith: if any thing at all can doe you good, this is it.

2. It must be such a faith, A loving heart. as worketh by 2 love, Galath. 5. 6. And therefore in the se­cond place, we must labour for a loving heart, if we would be constant: Let us serve God for love, and that will make us persevere in it. Men will bee constant in the workes they love, the Epicure is con­stant in pleasures, and recreations; the covetous, in toyleing for the world; the Student is constant at his booke; And why so? Because they love these things. Charity will make a man hold out, it hopeth all things, and endureth all things, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. It never faileth, ver. 8. They that serve God for love, resemble the Sunne, that shineth more and more, till the perfect day, or like Mount Sion, that stan­deth fast for ever, and cannot be removed, Psalm. 125. 1. See how constant is Iacob in serving for Rachel, Genesis 29. 20. He ser­ved seven yeares for her, and they seemed but a few dayes, in regard of the love that he had to her, saith the Text; Love set him a worke, and that made him constant in it. [Page 256] Now what a shame for us, if Iacob should love Rachel, better than we love God, If ye love me, keepe my Commandements, saith our Saviour, Iohn 15. 14. As if hee had said, If yee love me, ye will doe it. Labour of love, will be constant. He whose boun­tie, and charity is grounded upon true love to God, will be constant in it. It is an ex­cellent place to this purpose, Hebr. 6. 10. God is not unrighteous, to forget your worke, and labour of love, which y [...] have shewed to­wards his Name. But how did that ap­peare? Surely by the constancy of it, In that ye have ministred unto the Saints, and doe minister, (i. e.) this is a true signe, that your charity, and workes of mercy pro­ceed from love to the Name of GOD, because yee are constant in them; this argueth evidently that they are labours of love.

3 Thirdly,An heart fraught with the true feare of God. if wee would bee constant in Gods service, we must labour to have our hearts fraught with the true feare of God. This is one of the gifts of God, that are without repentance, Romans 11. 29. The feare of the Lord is cleane, and endureth for ever, Psalme 19. 8. Blessed is the man that feareth alwayes, Proverbs 28. 14. Hee that truly feareth God, will feare him alwayes, this will make him constant in Gods ser­vice, Ier. 32. 40. I will put my feare in their hearts, that they shall never depart from me, saith the Lord. The true feare of God will [Page 257] make us constant, and therefore it is a chiefe point of wisdome, to serve God with feare, as is intimated, in Psalme 2. 10, 11. Be wise now therefore, O ye Kings, be instruct­ed, ye Iudges of the earth; Well, wherein should they chiefely shew their wisdome? Verse 11. Serve the Lord with feare, and rejoyce with trembling; Why so? Surely, because then they would bee constant, and keepe in the right way, or else they would soone perish from it, as is intimated in the next verse 12. Kisse the Sonne, lest be be angry, and yee perish from the right way.

Fourthly,A sound and upright, or a good and an honest heart. If we would bee constant in 4 Gods service, we must labour for a sound, and an honest heart. It is onely the good, and the honest heart that holdeth out, and bringeth forth fruit with patience; Luk. 8. 15. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward affections, saith David, Psalme 51. 6. Be­cause the Lord knoweth such an heart will be constant. A little before the Apostle [...]hewing the danger of backsliding, and in­constancy in GODS service, hee prescri­beth this, as it were a remedy, to prevent that danger, Heb. 10. 22. Let us draw nigh [...]o God, with a true heart, &c. Such an heart will make a man constant and firme [...]ndeed: therefore saith David, Psa [...]. 119. [...]0. Let my heart be sound in thy sta [...]utes, [...]hat I be not ashamed. A true ridden horse will hold out to the end of the journey, but [Page 258] a tainted jade will faint at last. This made the Israelites so fickle and inconstant in Gods service; Psalme 78. 34. When he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned, and enquired early afte [...] God. Was not this well? Yea, so farre as man could judge it was excellent, that they should so readily returne to him that smote them; and so indeed it had beene, if it had come form the heart: but alas [...] there they fai­led. Ver. 36. Neverthelesse, they did but flatter him with their mouth, and lyed unto him with their tongue; for their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. This was abominable. So that if wee would bee constant in GODS service, wee must see that our hearts bee sound, and upright, else they will start aside like a broken, or a deceitfull bow, verse 57.

5 Fifthly,An heart yeelding o­bedience in lesser mat­ters. If we would bee constant in the maine duties of Gods worship, and service, we must take heed, that wee take not liberty wilfully to offend in lesser mat­ters. I know speciall respect must bee had to the maine duties of Religion, and the weighty things of the Law, Matth. 23. 23 but yet we must take heede, of taking liber­ty to offend in smaller matters, agains [...] knowledge and conscience: He that brea­keth one of the least of Gods Commande­ments, and teacheth men so, the same sha [...] be called and accounted least in the kingdom [...] [Page 259] of heaven, saith our Saviour, Matthew 5 19. How great a Scholler, or how strict soever he may seeme to be in other things, this will lessen them, in the hearts of Gods people. Yea, and he that at first taketh li­berty, wilfully to offend in trifles, will at last fall away in greater matters. First petty oathes, then greater, &c. It is an excellent place to this purpose, and excel­lently urged by a late Divine in this case, Gal. 1. 7.Dike Deceitf. of heart, page 191. There be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospell of Christ: No, might they say, they retained the Gos­pell, onely they would have brought in a Iewish ri [...]e, or two, Circumcision; which was a thing of nothing: What saith the Apostle to these? Galathians 2. 5. To whom we gave place by subjection, no not for an houre. Not for an houre? Why Paul? what hurt can there be in a circumstance, a Ceremony, or a trifle? Yes, if it bee ur­ged as necessary to salvation, it would soone overturne the truth, and substance of the Gospell; and therefore he giveth this for the reason (why hee would not yeeld, no not for an houre) That the truth of the Gospell might continue with you; as if he had said, ye cannot retaine long the truth of the Gospell, if ye admit this.

Sixthly,Lastly, an heart [...]tored with cou­rage and pa­ [...]ence. and lastly, He that would bee 6 constant in Gods service, must put on pa­tience, and courage, in regard of the op­position, that he is sure to meete withall in [Page 260] that case: In your patience possesse your soules, saith our Saviour, Luk. 21. 19. And, Let us runne with patience the race that is set before us, Heb. 12. 1. Yea, we have need of patience, saith the Apostle, Heb. 10. 36. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, bee strong, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor 16. 13. He that will follow Christ constantly, and not forsake him, must re­solve before hand, to take up his crosse, and arme himselfe with patience, Luk. 9. 23. If any come unto me, let him deny him­selfe, and take up his crosse, and follow me; This made Paul so constant in Gods service, after he had once begun to serve him, sc. be­cause hee was armed with a patient, and couragious resolution, to endure what ever could befall in that case, My life is not deare to me, that I may finish my course, and ful­fill the ministery that I have received, &c. Acts 20. 23. Yea, I am ready, not only to be bound, but also to dye at Ierusalem, for the Name of the Lord Iesus, Acts 21. 13. And thus have I finished the second duty, that wee are to be exhorted unto, inregard of our selves, sc. Constancy in Gods service, and have shewed both the Motives, why, and the meanes, how, to attaine ability to performe it.

CHAP. VII.

Wherein the last duty (in regard of our selves) is propounded, together with the Motives to perswade us thereunto.

THirdly,3. Dutie. To spend as much time in Gods ser­vice as wee can possibly. Seeing time spent in Gods service, is absolutely the best spent time; This serveth to exhort every one of us, not only to begin to serve God. 1. Speedily without delay. 2. And constantly without ceasing, but also plentifully, and abundant­ly; let us spend as much time as we can pos­sibly this way; we cannot spend our time better, then in Gods Courts, his House and Ordinances, the duties of his publike wor­ship, and service. Oh therefore let us deale plentifully, and abundantly this way, Let us give all diligence, not some, but all diligence is little enough this way, 2 Pet. 1. 5. What­soever thy hand findeth to doe, doe it with thy might, saith Salomon, Eccles. 9. 10. Al­wayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, knowing that your labour shall not be in vaine in the Lord, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 58. The more paines we take in Gods service, the more wages shall we be sure to receive. And therefore when we come to the whol­some waters of Gods Sanctuary, let us drinke freely and abundantly; this is our [Page 262] Saviours owne exhortation, when he com­meth into his garden of the Church assem­blies, Cant. 5. 1. Eat, O friends, drinke, yea, drinke abundantly, O beloved. It is an excellent thing, when a man can say truely, that which Iehu only pretended in another case, 2 King. 10. 18. Ahab served Baala little, but Iehu shall serve him much: So, such and such serve God a little, I will serve him much: Surely it must needs be well taken at Gods hands, when we have a care to spend as much time in Gods service, as we can possibly.

Now for the perfecting of this duty, (which is the maine point of all) I will shew you,

  • 1. Some Motives to perswade us to it.
  • 2. Some few Directions, how to doe it.

And first for the Motives.

The Motives that may perswade us,Motives. to spend as much time as we can possibly, in the duties of GODS publike Ordinances, they are principally these foure.

1 1. Because the time present,Time pre­sent, is the only time for this pur­pose. I meane, the time of this present life, is the onely time, that we have to this purpose, either now, or never, must we serve God in these duties and Ordinances: as for Purgatory, it is but a popish dreame, a very fancy: the time of this life is the onely time for this purpose. Hereupon is that speech of our Saviour, Iohn 9. 4. I must worke the workes of God, while it is day, the night commeth, when no [Page 263] man can work: by night, he meaneth death, and the grave; there is no worke to bee done then; this appeareth by the next verse, that this is our Saviours meaning, (i. e.) While I live I must finish the worke that I have in hand, death commeth, when no man can worke: no, then we rest from our labours, Revel. 14. 1 [...]. whilest we have time, let us doe good, saith the Apostle, Gal. 6. 10. There is a set time, appointed for well doing, which is the time of this life, which is by no meanes to bee let slip, or o­mitted? if death once come, it presently putteth an end to our labour: when night commeth, men shut up shop. Excellent therefore to this purpose, Eccles. 9. 10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to doe, doe it with thy might. Ply thy worke hard. Now marke the reason, which he giveth to this purpose; For there is no worke, nor devise, nor knowledge, nor wisedome in the grave whither thou goest; there is no opportuni­tie for doing any worke there, no, that is the evening, a time of reckoning, but not of working; that is a time of receiving wa­ges, not of labour. What saith the Lord of the Vineyard, when the evening was come? Matth. 20. 8. Call the labourers, and give them their hire: not set them a worke, but pay them their wages. If therefore wee looke for any wages at evening, let us ply our worke in the day time. This is the first Motive.

[Page 264] Secondly,2. Motive. This time is short. As the time of this life, is the onely time for this purpose; so it is very short, and very uncertaine; the time of him that liveth longest here, is but short, Iob 14. 1. Man that is borne of a woman, hath but a short time, and is full of misery. Remember, Lord, how short my time is: Our worke is great,Ars longa, vitabrevis and our time short, and therefore wee had need to be diligent: our journey is long, and our time short, and therefore we had need to runne speedily, as well as constantly. Time passeth away with a swift foote, My dayes passe away as the most swift Ships, saith Iob 9. 26. Man is like to vanity, his dayes are as a shadow, that passeth away, Psalme 144. 4. Yea, we bring our yeares to an end, as a tale that is tould, Psalm. 90. 9. And our life is very like unto a vapour, Iames 4. 14. Seeing then our time is so short and withall so uncertaine; wee had need to runne with speed (as well as patience) the race that is set before us. If the time were short, yet if it were certaine, there were lesse danger in slacknesse: but it is not more short, then uncertaine; like the thiefe, that commeth in the night, or a Ma­sters returne home, who hath set no time, but commandeth his servants to watch, Watch ye therefore, for yee know neither the day, nor the houre, saith our Saviour, Mat. 25. 13. But blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he commeth shall finde so do­ing; watching, and working with all di­ligence, Luk. 12. 43.

[Page 265] Thirdly,3. Motive. Wee stay long before we begin. After wee once begin to serve God, we had need to use all diligence, and spend as much time as wee can that way; because wee are long before wee spend any time at all to this purpose. Some stay twen­ty, thirtie, fortie, fiftie yeares, before they doe God any service at all, to any purpose; all such had need to worke hard, when they have once begun. Yea, and such as be­gin betime, they stay long, before they en­ter; our child-hood, and youth are a great part spent, before we enter into Gods Vine­yard, Matth. 20. 1. There were some that began early in the morning, but it was the third houre, our nine of the clocke, be­fore any more came, verse 3. and some stayd untill the eleventh houre, five a clocke at night, an houre before Sun set; and there­fore such had need to worke hard. Gene­rally we spend time, for our selves, for the world, for Sathan, before we spend any time for God; for ye are all the children of wrath by nature, Ephes. 2. 3. serving diverse lusts and pleasures, Tit. 2. 3. So that, for the most part, it is long before we serve God. Marke that speech of the Apostle, to this purpose, Romans 13. 11. And that knowing the time, that it is high time to awake out of sleepe, It is high time to serve God, for the night is farre spent, that is, the time of this life is farre spent; it is high time to fall to worke. Now lay these together, the time of this life is the only time that wee [Page 266] have to serve God, it is very short, and un­certaine at best, and withall it is very farre spent before we begin, therefore wee had need to ply our worke with all diligence. This is the Apostles chiefe Argument to perswade us to spend much time in Gods service, or according to his will, 2 Peter 4. 2. That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God: Why so? see verse 3. For the time past of our life may suffice us, to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, (i. e.) it is enough, and too much, alas, that wee have mispent so much of our precious time already; it is now high time to redeeme time to spend in Gods service. Hee that hath but a small stocke in all, and mispen­deth some part of that too, had need to bee sparing and frugall with that which is left: here is our very case, our time that we have to spend in Gods service, the whole time of our life, is but short, wee have mispent much already, wee had need to spend all the rest (if it were possible) wholly in Gods service.

Fourth Motive,4. Motive. The excel­lency of our Master. to perswade us to spend much time in Gods service, is drawne from the consideration of the excellency of that Master whom wee serve, Behold, Lord, how that I am thy servant, saith David, Psalme 116. 16. Ye call me Lord, and Master (saith our Saviour) and yee say well, for so I am, Iohn 13. 23. Yea, Lord, so thou art, abso­lutely [Page 267] the best and most incomparable Ma­ster in heaven and earth. This I will strive and endeavour to manifest, in sundry parti­culars; which will be so many severall Mo­tives, to perswade us to spend as much time in his service as we can possibly.

First,Almightie Master; able to defend his servants, and to pro­vide for them. Our heavenly Master is a most po­tent,1 or Almightie Master, able to defend us from dangers, able to provide for us; he is God Almightie; as we professe in the first Article of our Creede: So, 2 Cor. 6. last. Thus God himselfe encourageth Abraham to doe him service, Gen. 17. 1. I am God Almightie, or the Strong God, walke before me, and be upright. He is able to bring to passe what he pleaseth, in heaven or earth, Psal. 115. 3. Is any thing too hard for the Lord? sayth God himselfe, Gen. 18. 14. He is able to defend us from all dangers that may befall us, and to supply us with all necessaries; so that we neede feare nothing, if we be carefull to serve God: Gen. 15. 1. Feare not Abraham, I am thy Shield, (therefore no­thing can hurt thee) and I am thy exceeding great reward, (therefore make no question of thy wages) let no man thinke, or say, it is in vaine to serve God; for we serve such a Master, as is both able to defend us, and pay us our wages to the full, that we neede never repent our worke: For he is able to doe for us exceeding abundantly, above all that we can aske, or thinke▪ sayth the Apostle, E­phes. 3. 20. there is his power. This made [Page 268] the three noble Iewes sticke to Gods service, they would by no meanes change their Ma­ster, because they knew his power, and a­bilitie, both to defend, and reward them, Dan. 3. 17. Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us, and he will deliver us out of thine hands, O King. So that if we serve this Ma­ster, we neede feare nothing, in regard of his power.

2 Secondly,He is ever present with them. He is such a Master, as is al­wayes present with his servants to defend them. If a Master be able, yet what are his servants better for him in his absence? [...]ow our heavenly Master is ever present [...] us, to defend us; his eye is continual­ly [...], Psal. 33. 9. Thus God encou­raget [...] [...]uah, Chap. 1. 9. Have not I com­manded thee? Be strong, and of a good courage, be not afraid, &c. for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Now if God be with us, we need not feare who are, or can be against us, Rom. 8. 31. Especially, we never set our selves to serve God in the duties of his publike worship and service, but he is present with us, in a speciall man­ner, Mat. 18. 20. Mat. 28. 20. Loe, I am with you alwayes, unto the end of the world: This is an excellent argument, to perswade us to spend much time in Gods service, how difficult, or dangerous soever it may seeme to be; because wee may be sure of Gods presence with us; Isa. 41. 10. Feare not, I am with thee; be not afraid, I am thy [Page 269] God, I will helpe thee, &c. What if we passe through the fire, or water afflictions, yet we need feare nothing, so long as wee are sure the Lord is with us. Now see what a promise wee have for this; Isa. 43. 1, 2. Feare not, sayth the Lord, I have redeemed thee, thou art mine, (i. e.) thou art my ser­vant, by purchase, or redemption. What then? Ver. 2. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee: nei­ther fire, nor water can hurt us, if God be with us. This made Ioseph prosper so excee­dingly in all his dangers; He was first cast into a pit, then sold into Aegypt, then cast into prison, put in the Stockes, the iron en­tred even into his soule, but in all these extre­mities, the Lord was with him, Gen. 39. 21. Yea, and at last, made him Ruler of all Ae­gypt. This made Hezekiah prosper so ex­ceedingly in all his enterprises: see how the Text reporteth it, in 2 Kings 18. 5. He tru­sted in the Lord God of Israel, and clave unto him, and served him, ver. 6. Then see the e­vent, ver. 7. And the Lord was with him, and prospered him whithersoever he went: and therefore see how he could encourage his Souldiers against the invasion of the King of Assyria, in 2 Chron. 32. 7. Be not afraid of the King of Assyria, be strong and couragi­ous, for (notwithstanding all his multitude) [Page 270] there is more with us, then with him. Now see how he proveth it, ver. 8. both by way of confession, and by direct affirmation; With him (indeede) is an arme of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to helpe us, and to fight our battells. Yea, thus the Lord encouraged Paul, to an unwearied painfulnes in preach­ing the Gospel, Act. 18. 9, 10. Be not a­fraid, but speake, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee. This will make a man couragious, even in the strongest dangers, in the very jawes of death, Psal. 23. 4. Though I walke through the valley of the shadow of death, I will feare no evill, sayth holy David; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staffe they com­fort me. Let us therefore be couragious, and abundant in the duties of Gods service, for the Lord is ever present with us, to de­fend us, and to provide for us. This is Da­vids reason, in the verse immediately follow­ing the words of this Text, ver. 11. of this Psalme; For the Lord is a Sunne, and a Shield, he will give grace and glorie, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walke upright­ly in his service. So, Jer. 1. 19.

3 Thirdly,Very piti­full, and full of com­passion. He is a pitifull and tender-heart­ed Master, full of compassion, marvellous readie to lay to heart the afflictions of his servants; In all their afflictions, he is affli­cted, Isa. 53. 9. Excellent to this purpose is that of St. Iames 5. 11. Yee have heard of the patience of Iob, and ye know the end of the Lord, [Page 271] that the Lord is very pitifull, and of tender mer­cie. As if he had sayd, yee may clearely see in Gods dealings with Iob, that in conclu­sion, he approved himselfe to be very piti­full, and of tender mercie. A strange place to this purpose is that we have, Judges 10. Though he seemeth to reject them, and hold them at staves end for a time, yet upon their repentance, see how sweetly he approveth and manifesteth his compassion towards them, Ver. 16. They put away their strange gods, and served the Lord, and his soule was grieved for the miseries of Israel: though he may shut up his bowells for a time, yet at last his compassions will finde a vent, his very soule is grieved for our miseries: So, Ier. 31. 18, 19, 20. Consider the estate of repenting Ephraim, the Lord seemeth angry with him, and speaketh against him, yea, and it may be smiteth him too: but no soo­ner doth Ephraim truely repent, and smite upon his thigh, and fall out with his sinnes, but then, see how God is affected with him: when he thinketh worst of himselfe, then God thinketh the best of him: see ver. 20. Is Ephraim my deare childe? It may be E­phraim thought himselfe scarce worthy the name of a servant, and yet God even then calleth him his childe, yea, his deare childe. Well, how shall this appeare? Surely by the Lords gracious pity and compassion to­wards him: now he is sorry for his sinnes, God is sorry that he did so much as speake a­gainst [Page 272] him; For since I spake against him, I doe earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowells are troubled for him, I will surely have mercie on him, sayth the lord. Oh who would not serve such a Master, that is thus full of compassion, thus readie to lay to heart, and be affected with his servants mi­series! yea, his very bowells are troubled, his soule is grieved for them. O let vs be plentifull and abundant in the service of such a Master.

4 Fourthly,Readie to pardon the wants and weaknesses of his ser­vants. The Lord is readie to mani­fest this tender mercie, and this gracious disposition of his, in pardoning the wants and weaknesses of his servants, in subduing their corruptions, and in keeping covenant with them. I must lap up many things to­gether, because I have not time to expresse them severally. First, He is sinne-pardo­ning Master: yea, he alone can doe it, no man hath power on earth to forgive sinnes, but God alone; Mat. 9. Blesse the Lord, O my soule, forget not all his benefits, who forgi­veth thine iniquities, and healeth thy diseases, sayth David, Psal. 103. 2, 3. Here is a sin-pardoning Master: yea, he taketh no notice many times of our infirmities, but gracious­ly passeth by the weaknesses of his servants. Numb. 23. 21. He hath not beheld iniquitie in Iacob; he hath not seene perversenesse in Is­rael: or, if he doe see, he freely forgiveth it, and spareth his servants, as a man spareth his own sonne that serveth him, Mal. 3. 17. [Page 273] And then he is a Covenant-keeping Ma­ster; All his promises are yea and Amen, 2 Cor. 1. 20. Daniel giveth him this title, Dan. 9. 4. O God the great, and terrible, that keepest Covenant with them that love thee: he is alwayes as good as his word, and of­ten better: Faithfull is he that hath called you: 1 Thes. 5. 24. namely to his service: he will keepe Covenant with you. Nay, see a place that hath all these together in it, Mich. 7. 18, 19. Who is a God like unto thee? The Lord is a most incomparable Ma­ster, there is none like him in all the world. Why so? Surely for those three things, whereof I have now spoken: first, He is a sinne-pardoning, secondly, a corruption-killing, thirdly, a Covenant-keeping Ma­ster. See all these in this Text, That pardo­nest iniquitie, and passeth by transgression, &c. there is a sinne-pardoning Master: second­ly, He will subdue our iniquities, (and heale our back-slidings, as Hosea 14 4.) there is a corruption-killing Master: Thou wilt per­forme thy truth to Iacob, and mercie to Abra­ham, and therefore he is a Covenant-keep­ing Master. If this be rightly considered, this will make us spend much time in Gods service.

Fifthly, The Lord is a soule-saving Ma­ster; yea, he alone is able to doe this,A soule-sa­ving Master. no 5 Master under heaven is able to doe this. An earthly Master may be kinde to his servants, and give them many good things; but he [Page 274] cannot save, or redeeme their soules, he must let that alone for ever. Even they that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches, these seeme to be very powerfull Masters, yet marke what the holy Ghost sayth of such, Psal. 49. 6, 7, 8. None of them can by any meanes re­deeme his brother, nor give to God a ransome for him; for the Redemption of the soule is precious, and ceaseth for ever. All the men in the world, with all the wealth in the world, are not able to save one soule: And what is a man profited, if he could winne the whole world, if he loose his soule? sayth our Saviour, Mat. 16. 26. But now this our heavenly Master is able to save a soule from death, and cover a multitude of sinnes: Thou hast delivered my soule from death, sayth David, Psal. 116. 8. Yea, he is the author of eternall salvation to them that doe obey him, Heb. 5. 9. Here is a Master worth ser­ving, that is able to save the soules of his servants with an everlasting salvation. Psal. 3. 8. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord, (i. e.) it is his peculiar.

6 Sixthly,Accepteth the will for the deed. He is readie to accept, and take in good part, the poore endeavours of his servants; yea, their desires (if sincere▪ and fervent) doe finde acceptance with him. God doth indeed set his servants hard taskes many times, such as they are never able to performe of themselves: He commandeth us to love him with all our hearts, and keep [Page 275] all his Commandements; but his meaning is (according to the mitigation of the Go­spell) onely that we should earnestly desire, and doe our best endeavour to doe so, and then it is sufficient in Gods account. A lo­ving Father, that would try the willing­nesse of his childe, biddeth him, goe sirrah, runne, and fetch me such a great piece of wood (which, it may be, is as much as five or six men could carry) but if he finde him willing, and readie to doe his best endea­vour, it contenteth the Father: so dealeth God with his servants; He spareth them, as a man spareth his owne sonne that serveth him, Mal. 3. 17. Yea, if there be but first of all a willing minde, it is accepted, according to that we have, and not according to that we have not, sayth the Apostle, 2 Cor. 8. 12. Yea, sincere desires are graciously accepted. See how Nehemiah. propoundeth his case, Neh. 1. 11. O Lord, I beseech thee, let thine eares be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayers of thy servants, that desire to feare thy Name: especially, if these be secon­ded and accompanied with earnest and sin­cere endeavours. Thus Abrahams resoluti­on to offer his Sonne, (Gen. 22. 12.) was accepted, as if he had actually done it: and therefore by faith Abraham when he was try­ed, offered up Isaac, sayth the Holy Ghost, Heb. 11. 17. and yet we see in the Storie, that actually, and really he did it not▪ no, the Lord himselfe withheld him, by a voyce [Page 276] from heaven; and yet in this place yee see it is said, that he did offer Isaac, when he was tryed, that is, he was readie to have done it, it was his purpose, if God himselfe had not granted him a dispensation; and therefore in Gods account it was done: Yea, sayth the Lord himselfe, Gen. 22. 13. Because thou hast done this, though indeede he did it not, yet because he was willing to have done it, it was done in Gods account, and in his gracious acceptance. Oh who would not be constant and abundant in the service of such a Master?

7 Seventhly,Helpeth his servants, in doing their duties to him. This gracious disposition of our Master, doth farther shew it selfe, in that he is readie to helpe and assist his servants, in doing that worke which he requireth of them, he affoordeth them helpe and strength to doe their worke: and therefore though Paul when he looketh upon his own weak­nesse, and inabilitie, is readie to cry out, 2 Cor. 2. 26. Who is sufficient for these things? yet when he considereth the helping hand of God, then he can say; I am able to doe all things, through Christ that strengtheneth me, Phil. 4. 13. And indeed most true is that of our Saviour, Joh. 15. 5. Without me yee can doe nothing; so by his assistance, we can doe all things that he commandeth, so as he is pleased to accept of them; for the Lord him­selfe putteth to his helping hand, Psal. 37. 24. Isa. 41. 10. Feare not Iacob, I am with thee, &c. I will helpe thee: He will helpe us [Page 277] pray, his Spirit shall helpe our infirmities, Rom. 8. 26. and helpe us preach, and heare, and in a word, is readie to worke all our workes for us. As we deale with a young Scholler that beginneth to write, his hand is guided: so doth the Lord deale with us, Isa. 26. 12. Thou hast wrought all our workes for us.

Eighthly, Let us be abundant,A good pay­master, and bountifull, and spend 8 much time in Gods service, for he is a good pay-master: we are not onely sure of our wages, because he is constant, and faithfull in keeping Covenant (as yee heard before) but also he is exceeding bountifull and libe­rall. See one expression of his bounty in this, Psalm. 84. 11. He will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walke uprightly. As he himselfe loveth a bountifull giver, so he is such a one him­selfe, sc. bountifull and liberall; He giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, sayth the Apostle, Iam. 1. 5. He doth even daily load his servants with benefits, Psalm. 68. 19. Blessed be God, even the God of our salvation, who doth dayly loade us with his benefits. Oh who would not be diligent in the service of such a bountifull Master? Yea, he rewardeth all his Servants with no lesse then a King­dome, Luk. 12. 32. Feare not little flocke, for it is your Fathers pleasure, to give you a King­dome. So, Mat. 25. 34. Come yee blessed chil­dren of my Father, inherit the Kingdome pro­vided for you, from the beginning of the world. [Page 278] Yea, such a kingdome, that consisteth of an e­ternall and exceeding weight of glory, 2 Co. 4. 17 Even such as eye hath not seen, neither hath eare heard, nor hath ever entred into the heart of man to conceive the worth of, 2 Co. 2. 9. O how can we thinke all our time sufficient to spend in the service of such a Master, that is thus be­neficiall unto his servants! Consider also his bounty, in giving raine from heaven, Act. 14. 17 with Ier. 5. 24. Let us now feare the Lord &c. I omit to shew further, how slow he is to an­ger, & how ready to forgive, & to be recon­ciled: He doth even beseech us to be reconci­led unto him, as the Apostle speaks, 2 Co. 5. 20

9 Ninthly,Taketh pleasure in their pro­speritie. He is such a Master, that taketh pleasure in the prosperitie of his servants, and is constant in his love towards them: earthly Masters are changeable, and fickle, and doe often envie the prosperitie of their servants: but the Lord hath pleasure in the prosperitie of his seruants, and his love to­wards them is constant and unchangeable. For the first, observe it, Psal. 35. 27. Let them say continually, let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperitie of his ser­vants: He loveth to have them merry at meate, and at worke, and sing for joy of heart, Isa. 65. 14. And withall, he is constant in his love towards them: if he be angry, it is but for a moment, but his love and mercie is everlasting towards them. See a singular place for this purpose, in Isa. 54. 7, 8. For a small moment, have I forsaken thee, but with [Page 279] great mercies will I gather thee: and ver. 8. In a little wrath, I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindnesse will I have mercie on thee, sayth the Lord thy Redee­mer. If he be wroth, if he seeme to forsake, or hide himselfe from his servants, it is but for a moment; but his love and kindnesse is everlasting, his mercy endureth for ever; having loved his owne which were in the world, he loved them unto the end, sayth our Saviour, Ioh. 13. 1. not for a time, but for ever; his love, like himselfe, is constant, and unchangeable, it is an everlasting love, Ier. 31. 3. With an everlasting love have I lo­ved thee; therefore with loving kindnesse have I drawne thee, sayth the Lord. Yea, his love to his servants is so constant, that nothing shall be able to diprive them of it, nothing can finally doe it, and for ever, Rom. 8. 37, 38. For I am perswaded, sayth the Apostle, that neither death, nor life, nor Angells, nor height, nor depth, nor things present, nor things to come, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Yea, sinne it selfe (that is the most dangerous enemy of all, for your iniquities have separated between you and your God, Isa. 59. 1.) cannot doe it, yea, rather then so, your sinnes shall be pardoned, and that for his owne sake, Isa. 43. 25. for I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, & will not remember thy sinnes. Here is a gracious and a constant loving Master.

[Page 280] 10 Tenthly and lastly,Heareth p [...]avers, and revengeth the wrongs, and injuries, that are of­fered to them. This heavenly Ma­ster of ours, is readie dayly to manifest and expresse his love towards his servants, in hearing their prayers, and revenging all such wrongs, as are offered unto them. See the proofe of this priviledge in both the branches of it. First, For his hearing pray­ers, it is one of his titles of honour, to heare prayers, Psal. 65. 2. Especially, the pray­ers of his servants, and such as feare him, Joh. 9. 31. If any man be a worshipper of God, and a doer of his Will, him he heareth. Yea, he will fulfill the desires of them that feare him, he will heare their cry, and save them, Psalm. 145. 18. And if any man delight in Gods service, he shall have his hearts desire, Psal. 37. 4. Delight thy selfe in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart. What greater priviledge? Yea, he is many times found of them, when they doe not seeke Rom. 10. him, Isa. 65. 24. It shall come to passe, that when they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will heare. O how open is his eare unto their complaints, when they are wronged by their adversaries! and how readie is the Lord, even speedily to avenge their wrongs! Heare what the unjust Iudge sayth, sayth our Saviour, Luk. 18. 7. And shall not God avenge his owne Elect, which cry day and night unto him; I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily. True it is, he will not allow his servants to be their own carvers, and avenge themselves. But what need they, [Page 281] when he is ready to doe it for them? Ven­geance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord, Ro. 12. 19. He that toucheth Gods servants, (to hurt them) doth touch the aple of his eye, Zach. 2. 8 Hee taketh all their wrongs: and injuries, as done to himselfe, and he will certainely, and wisely avenge their wrongs 2 Kings 9. 7. Iehu shall smite Ahab and Iezabel, but to what end? Iehu's end was to get the kingdome, but what was the Lords end? that yee shall see in the place forenamed, That I may avenge the bloud of my servants, the Prophets, and the bloud of all the servants of the Lord, at the hands of Iezabell: they must pay deare, that shed the bloud of Gods servants; the Lord him­selfe will bee avenged of them. Another place to this purpose, is that we have, Deut. 32. 41. If I whet my glistering sword, and my hand takes hold on judgement, I will ren­der vengeance to mine enemies, &c. and I will make my arrowes drunke with bloud, and my sword shall devoure flesh, &c. But whose bloud and flesh shall thus goe to wracke. That ye shall see, verse 43. Surely they that have shed the bloud of his ser­vants: for hee will avenge the bloud of his servants, saith the Text. Who would not be abundant in his service, that will not suffer his servants bloud to be unavenged?

CHAP. VIII.

Containing the three first Directions or meanes how to spend much time in Gods service.

FIrst,Meanes. And directi­ons how to spend much time in Gods ser­vice. 1. An heart rightly fit­ted, and pre­pared for this purpose If wee would spend much time in Gods service, we must labour to have our hearts right­ly fitted, and prepared for that purpose. There is a price in the hand of many a foole to get wisdome, but he wanteth an heart to get wisdome, saith Salomon, Pro. 17. 16. How many blessed opportunities have we, of spending time in Gods service, which are let slip, because wee want hearts rightly prepared for that purpose? Here­upon it is, that in the first place, God requi­reth our hearts, Proverbs 23. 26. My son, give me thy heart, and Ier. 14. 4. O Ieru­salem, wash thy heart from wickednesse, A prophane heart can never endure to spend much time in God service, but straight cryeth out, behold, what a wearinesse is it, Mal. 1. 13. Hence it is, that the Lord cry­eth out most of all for want of a right and fit disposition of heart in the duties of his service, Isaiah 29. 13. This people draweth [Page 283] nigh unto me with their mouthes, and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are farre from me. Here was the defects of Ezechiels hearers, Ezech. 33. 31. ver. They come un­to thee as my people commeth, and they also sit before thee as my people, and they heare my words, but they will not doe them, where was the chiefe fault? Surely in the heart, for with their mouthes they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetous­nesse. A covetous and a vicious heart will soone make a man weary of time spent in Gods service: and therefore when any man setteth himselfe to doe God any service, the Lord looketh directly with what heart he doth it. It is an excellent speech of God to Samuel, (when hee was to choose Israel a King) 1 Sam. 16. 7. the Lord said to Sa­muel, Looke not on his countenance, nor on the height of his stature, &c. For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart: For the Lord knoweth full well that if the heart be not right set for God, he will never walke uprightly before God, how great a semblance or shew of piet [...] so­ever a man may make, therefore God in his wisedome looketh on the heart, Deut. 32. 46. Set your hearts unto all these words, saith Moses. It is not setting of the eare to heare only, or the mouth to speake, no, nor the hands to worke, nor feete to walke, that will serve the turne, unlesse the heart, [Page 284] in the meane time be right set for that pur­pose: therefore saith David, Psalme 119. 11. I have hid thy Word in my heart, that I might not sinne against thee. Lo, the chiefe antidote against sinne is to hide, and ponder the Word of God within our hearts.

An excellent direction, to this purpose, is that of the Apostle Saint Iames 4. 8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you (if wee desire that God should draw nigh to us in mercy, we must strive, to draw nigh to him in service, and obedience.) But what is required, that wee may bee fit to draw nigh to God? Wash your hands, or cleanse your hands, yee sinners, and purifie your hearts, ye double minded. It is only a cleane and a true heart, that will make a man fit to draw nigh to God, Heb. 10. 22. Let us draw nigh to God, with a true heart, &c. Hereupon David prayeth so earnestly for such an heart, Psalme 119. 80. O let my heart be upright in thy Statutes, that I be not ashamed. For indeed, God loveth truth of heart, or truth in the inward af­fections, above all other things whatsoe­ver: this is the maine thing that he desi­reth; Psalme 51. 6. He that ever meaneth to be religious indeed, must of necessity begin with the heart, that is the chiefe great wheele of the clocke that moveth all the rest, Psalme 37. 30, 31. The mouth of the righteous will speake wisedome, his tongue [Page 285] will be talking of judgement. How com­meth this to passe? that yee shall see in the words following, The Law of God is in his heart, and none of his steps shall slide. It is the heart that setteth both the tongue, and hands a worke: for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh, saith our blessed Saviour, in Matthew 12. 34. Oh therefore all that would spend much time in Gods service (which, as we have heard, is absolutely, and incomparably the best spent time) labour to have your hearts rightly fit­ted and prepared for that purpose, even such an heart as I have formerly described unto you, namely, a beleeving heart, a lo­ving heart, a sincere and an upright heart, full of truth and sincerity, and an heart al­so fraught with the true feare of God: hee that hath such an heart, is right set for Gods service. It is just such an heart as God would have us to have, sc. an heart fraught and furnished with the true feare of GOD, Deut. 5. 29. They have well said, all that they have spoken, saith the Lord, ver. 28. Oh that there were such an heart in them. Good words, without a good heart, are lit­tle worth. Well, what kinde of heart would God have them to have? That yee shall see in the words following, O that there were such an heart in them, that they would feare me, and keepe my Commande­ments alwayes, that it might be well with them. An heart fraught with the true feare of [Page 286] God, is that which GOD especially de­sireth should be in his children, and which he doth exceedingly delight in, when hee findeth in it them.

2. We must be constant and conscionable2. Direction Sc. Con­stancy in the private duties and exercises of Religion. in the private exercises of Religion: this is the way to bring the heart to a right frame for the publike Ordinances? this is like the tuneing of the instrument: so that he that careth not for spending any time at all in private duties, careth not how little time he spendeth that way, in publike. Oh that wee would lay this to heart, and bee carefull to spend time in private prayer, and reading, and holy meditations. Even Princes are not exempted in this case: See that Direction, in Deut. 17. 18, 19. See the King of Israels duty, when he sitteth on the Throne of his kingdome, Hee shall write him a Copie of Gods Law in a booke, out of that which is before the Priests and Levites, and it shall be with him, and hee shall reade therein, all the dayes of his life, that he may learne to feare the Lord his God, &c. where we see,

1. That it is the duty, even of Kings themselves, to feare GOD, as well as others.

2. That to the end he may feare God, hee must be acquainted with Gods Word; for the feare of God must be learned out of the booke of God.

3. Hee was to get him a copie of Gods [Page 287] Booke, that which wee now call a Bible; Kings must get them Bibles, as well as Priests and Levites;

4. Hee must reade in it all the dayes of his life; and if Kings, then much more all subjects, and private persons, must spend some part of every day in the duties of Gods service in private. Who need thinke himselfe too good for private duties, when Kings themselves are not exempted? Yea, it is the duty of all Gods people to search the Scriptures, Iohn 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them yee thinke yee have eternall life, and they are they that testifie of me, saith our Saviour, Yea, wee should all study to be well acquainted with the Scrip­tures, by private reading, that we may be the more delighted with the publike heare­ing; Colossians 3. 16. Let the Word of CHRIST dwell in you richly in all wisedome, teaching, and admonishing one ano­ther, in Psalmes, and Hymnes, and spiritiuall songs, &c. Lo, how Gods people should spend their time in private. O how this would fit us for exercises of Religion in publike! What made those Noble Boere­ans, Acts 17. 11. willing to spend so much time in hearing Paul preach in pub­like? Surely this was one cause (amongst the rest) sc. the care which they had to spend their time well, even in private; They searched the Scriptures daily whether those things were so, and so finding how [Page 288] sweetely Pauls Doctrine accorded with that which they found written in Gods Booke, they received the Word, with all readinesse of minde, and tooke delight to spend much time in the duties of Gods publike worship and service, Deut. 6. 6, 7. These words which I command thee shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them dili­gently to thy Children: and loe this would make us love to spend much time in Gods service, publikely, &c.

Thirdly,3. Direction 1. Beginne each day with the private du­ties of Re­ligion. Hee that would have an heart rightly prepared, that he may bee fit and willing to spend much time in the duties of Gods solemne worship and service, must have a care to beginne the day with religi­ous exercises, and holy meditations: godly cogitations let into the heart in the mor­ning, will season the heart of a man excee­dingly, and keepe it in a better frame all the day after▪ ô what an excellent thing, to con­secrate even our first awaking unto God; this is the way to shut out the three capitall adversaries of our salvations, the Devill, the World, and the Flesh, that are ready to dispose us to evill, so soone as we awake in the morning; The way to keepe out this wretched company all the day, isto let God into our hearts (so soone as we awake) by holy meditations. See an experiment of this in David. What made him to make so great account of Gods publike Ordinan­ces? Surely, his care to begin the day well, [Page 289] was a very great helpe unto him. Even hee that saith in our Text, A day in thy Courts, is better than a thousand: could say other where, Early in the morning will I direct my prayers unto thee, and will looke up, Psalme 5. 3. Hee was an excellent husband in a morning. And therefore, as the drunkard riseth early to follow strong drinke, Isaiah 5. So Gods people must rise early in the morning, to doe God service: yea, this was an ordinary thing with Da­vid, Psalme 119. 147. I prevented the dawneing of the morning, and cryed: hee was at his holy exercises before the dawne­ing of the day: So Psalme 130. ver. 6. My soule waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning. He was like a man full of paine, that could not rest, nor sleepe all the night, but watch­eth for the morning light; or a man, that hath some speciall businesse to doe, that breaketh his sleepe, with the thoughts of it, and lyeth, and watcheth for the mor­ning, that he may speedily start up and set about it: so a gracious heart, doth even consecrate his first awakings unto God; and lyeth and watcheth for an opportuni­tie to doe God service. Oh that we would hearken to this direction, sc. to begin the day well, even with holy meditations. Oh what a shame is it, that we should not bee as diligent to save our soules, as the wicked [Page 290] are to loose theirs; and bee at least as zea­lous in Gods service, as they are in the de­vils. Now marke the practise of the wick­ed, Mich. 2. 2. They imagine mischiefe upon theirbe ds, when the morning light com­meth, they practise it. So on the contrary, let us, as soone as we awake, imagine piety upon our beds, that when the morning light commeth, wee may practise the same, to GODS glory, and our eternall salva­tion.

It is the practise of some wise people, that live in infected places, that [...]efore [...] goe abroad in the morning, they take a [...]rau [...]ht of some wholesome liquor, to fill their veines; which is an excellent mean [...]s to prevent the infection of the pestilence, or any such like catching, or infectio [...] dis­ease: so a good draught of prayer, or holy meditation, the reading of a Chapter next our heart, such spirituall receits would be excellent meanes to prevent the world, or devils infecting of our soules: wheras if we venture abroad without all, or any of these (fasting, as it were) we are in great danger to be infected. To this purpose we have the example, and practise of our blessed Savi­our, who by private prayer, and meditati­on, made himselfe the fitter for the discharge of the duties of his publike Ministery, Yea, and arose early in the morning, to that pur­pose: Observe it, Mar. 1. There we shall finde, that our Saviour was earnestly ben [...] [Page 291] upon the discharge of his Propheticall of­fice, and to this end (by his Spirit) stirreth up an earnest desire in the peoples hearts to heare him; and therefore saith the Text, Simon, and they that were were with him, said unto him, All men seeke for thee, verse 36. 37. and then see his resolution to that purpose, verse 38. 39. Let us goe into the next townes, that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth, and so he preach­ed in their Synagogues throughout all Galilee. But what meanes did he use, to fit himselfe for this purpose: that yee may see, ver. 35. And in the morning rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed: wherein he is an excellent patterne for our imitati­on, and by his blessed example doth plaine­ly teach us, that for a man to arise early in the morning, to performe the duties of Gods private worship and service, is an ex­cellent meanes to prepare and fit him for the duties of Gods publike worship, and ser­vice. Hereupon it is also, that He giveth direction for private prayer, even prayer in the Closet, as well as publike, Matth. 6. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy Closet, and shut the doore, and pray unto thy Father in secret; and thy Father, that seeth in secret, will reward thee openly, Which he doth (not only because such prayers, for the most part are done in sincerity, but also) because he well knew, that the more men [Page 292] made conscience of prayer in secret, the fit­ter and the more willing they would bee to spend time in the publike duties of Gods service: besides, the promise of acceptance is made to such as seeke wisedome early, Pro. 8. 17. I love them that love me, and they that seeke mee early, shall finde mee, saith Wisedome there.

CHAP. IX

Containing the fourth Direction, how to spend much time in Gods service.

FOurthly,4 Direction Wee must labour to have our hearts fraught with the love of Gods house and Ordi­nances. if wee would spend much time, in the duties [...] Gods publike worship and ser­vice, wee must labour to [...] our hearts fraught with the love of Gods House, and Ordinances; wee must love publike prayer, and the Word preached, and the Sacraments, &c. Men will never care for spending much time, in things which they love not, they are soone weary of such kind of imployments: but on the other side, men care not how much time they spend, in those things which they love, and wherein they delight. Some [Page 293] spend their time in working, and toyle and moyle to get wealth, they will arise early, and sit up late, and eat the bread of sorrowes, &c. And why so? Surely, because they love profit. Some spend their time in hun­ting, and hawking, and such like recreati­ons, because they love their pleasures. Some spend their time in study, because they love learning. In a word, Trahit sua quem­que voluptas; every man usually spendeth most time, in that which hee loveth best. And therefore he only is fit to spend much time in Gods service, that is greatly in love with the duties of Religion. What a great deale of time did Iacob spend in Laban's service, for the love of Rachel? twise se­ven yeares he served him, night and day with all his power, and they seemed but a few dayes, in regard of the love, which hee had to her, saith the Text, Genesis 29. 20. Twise seven yeares, seeme but a few dayes, if they be considered and looked upon with the eyes of love. Now is it not a great shame for us that are Christians, if it shall appeare, that a man shall love a faire Virgin, better than we love God? Now if we loved Gods Ordinances as wee should, all the time that wee spend in his service, would seeme but a few dayes, even nothing in comparison, if we could once come to serve God, out of love to himselfe and his Ordinances. Now surely, this must needs follow upon the three former directions: [Page 294] for, if we, 1, get an heart right set for God and bee constant in the private duties of religion, and especially, be carefull to sea­son our hearts with religious cogitations early each morning, then we cannot choose, but love the duties of Gods publike wor­ship and service: and where this true love to Gods Ordinances is, there will be a care to spend much time in Gods worship and service, both publike and private. See the description of David's blessed man, Psalm. 1. 1, 2. where he is described, first, Nega­tively, by what he doth not; and secondly, Affirmatively, by that which he doth, v. 2. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in that Law doth hee meditate day and right. See the connection of these two: If ye aske, Why he spendeth so much time in Gods service, even day and night? It is answered, because his delight is in the Law of the Lord, ergo, he spendeth much time in it. Yea, see this in David himselfe. Why did he spend so much time in the duties of Gods worship and service; but in regard of his singular love and affection towards them? as that one speech of his doth plainly and fully intimate, Psal. 119. 97. Oh how I love thy Law, it is my meditation continually. A man will never continually thinke and me­ditate on that which he loveth not. David could never have sayd truely out of his ex­perience, A day in thy Courts, is better then a thousand, if he could not have truely sayd [Page 295] first, My soule longeth, yea, even fainteth for the Courts of the Lord, Psal. 84. 2. No, it was his extraordinarie love to Gods house and Ordinances, that made him value time spent there, at so high a rate. The Booke of Psalmes giveth plentifull and abundant te­stimony to this purpose; Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, the place where thine honour dwelleth, Psal. 26. 8. And againe often in Psal. 119. Oh how I love thy Law! How much, David? Surely, more then thou­sands of gold and silver: Ver. 72. Yea, more then great spoyles, ver. 102. yea, it was swee­ter then honey, and the honey-combe, Psal. 119. 103. No marvell if such a man as he spent much time in the duties of Gods service, that loved Gods house and Ordinances so exceedingly. Yea, such was his love to the duties of Religion, that by his good will, he would spend all his dayes in that holy imployment: yea, and he maketh it his grand request, the very onely Boone, that he would beg at Gods hands, that he might doe so. An excellent place to this purpose, is that which wee have, Psal. 27. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seeke after. But one thing David? Surely, that is some great matter indeed: it may be some great Kingdome, bigger then that of Ierusalem: No; Davids ayme was at ano­ther kinde of matter: see how he doth ex­presse it, That I may dwell in the house of the Lord, all the dayes of my life. This is Davids [Page 296] one thing, that he would beg at Gods hand; yea, the meanest office, or imployment in Gods house, would give him more content, then the highest place in the tents of the un­godly, as is sweetly expressed in this very Verse, Psal. 84. 10. in the words immedi­ately following the words of our Text; I had rather be a doore-keeper in the house of God, then to dwell in the Tents of wickednesse. Yea, this is not Davids case onely, but all that are regenerate indeed, and truely godly and religious, they are all of the same minde, as well as David. The little childe loveth no­thing so well as the mothers brest, that is the onely still-babe, that giveth content for the most part, when all other devices faile, if this doe not quiet the childe, scarce any thing will doe it: so it is with all the new borne babes of Christ; if they once be rege­nerate and borne againe; they love nothing so well, as to sucke the milke of Religion, out of the breasts of Gods Ordinances. It is the comparison that the holy Ghost him­selfe useth, 1 Pet. 2. 2. As new borne Babes, desire the sincere milke of the Word, that ye may grow thereby. See the affection of Gods Saints this way, Ieremiah, and Ezechiel, and Iob, and Paul. First, for Ieremiah, Chap. 15. 16. Thy Words were found, and I did eate them. And how did they taste, Ieremiah? Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoycing of my heart. Loe what sweetnesse the Babes of Christ finde in Gods Ordinances. The like wee [Page 297] finde of Ezech. 3. 3. Sonne of man, cause thy belly to eate, and fill thy bowells with this rowle. Here was Gods charge to the Prophet: now see what sweetnesse he found in it, Then did I eate the rowle, and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetnesse. Then for holy Job, the sweetnesse that he found in Gods Ordinances, was that which affoorded him a great deale of comfort in his greatest af­flictions, Job 23. 12. His way, that is, the Lords way, have I kept, and not declined, nei­ther have I gone back from the Commandement of his lippes; I have esteemed the words of his lippes, more then my necessarie food: that made him so religious, and spend so much time in Gods service, because he was so farre in love with Gods Ordinances. Then consider the example of Paul, Rom. 7. 22. What made him spend so much time in Gods service, in prayer, and preaching to all the world, but because he loved the Word exceedingly? I delight in the Law of God, according to the inner man: so farre as he was regenerate, he tooke great delight in Gods Ordinances. But above all, consider the example of our blessed Saviour; none comparable to him, for his unwearied painfulnesse in Gods ser­vice: He went about, doing good continually, Act. 10. 38. Yea, observe it, Mat. 9. 35. Iesus went about all the Cities, and Villages, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdome, and healing every sicknesse, and every disease amongst the people. [Page 298] And why so? Surely, because his love to Gods Ordinances, and his Fathers will, was extraordinarie. This is the reason, that he himselfe giveth in this very case. It is an excellent Storie that we finde, Ioh. 4. the ef­fect and substance whereof is this; That our Saviour comming to Sychar, to Iacobs Well, and being hungry and thirstie, He sendeth his Disciples into the Citie to buy meate, sayth the Text, ver. 8. In the meane time, com­meth a woman of Samaria to draw water, and our Saviour taketh that opportunitie, in their absence, to convert the heart of this poore Samaritan, wherein the Disciples finde him so busie at their returne, that he had forgotten both his hunger and thirst, in so much, that they were enforced to urge him, saying, Master, eate, ver. 31. Now marke the sweet answer of our blessed Savi­our; I have meate to eate, that yee know not of, ver. 32. And see how he doth farther ex­presse his full meaning, Ver. 34. Iesus sayd un­to them, my meate is to doe the will of him that sent me, and to finish his worke. Oh admirable patterne! Oh heavenly example! such was his delight in doing Gods will, that hee preferreth it before his meate and drinke, in the time of his greatest hunger and thirst.

Now for the perfecting of this point, to quicken our affections, and to set the better edge upon our appetites, let us consider these three particulars.

[Page 299] First,Motives. That we may love Gods Ordinan­ces the better,To perswade us to the love of Gods house and Ordi­nances. and delight to spend more 1 time in the exercises of Religion, let us con­sider whose Ordinances they are; They are the Lords Ordinances, of divine authoritie; they come from above; they are tokens of love sent from our heavenly Father; the Word preached, is Gods Word; the Sacra­ments, are his broad Seales of Righteous­nesse; and prayer is a dutie expresly requi­red by God himselfe: and therefore they are worthy of all due regard and esteeme, for his sake that hath sent them. Now a token sent from a deare friend, O how welcome! a Letter, a Booke, a Ring, &c. these finde speciall regard with us: And shall the Lords Word, that gracious Epistle, sent from the King of heaven to us, shall that be accounted as a strange thing? God forbid. Oh let us love the Word faithfully preach­ed, because it is the Lords Word: It is the Gospel of Iesus Christ. This is the Apostles Argument, Rom. 1. 16. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Yea, it is the very Word of Gods grace, Act. 20. 32. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up farther, and to give you an inheritance amongst them that are sanctified. Yea, the Word preached, is a speciall fruit of his favour, peculiar to those that are Gods people: so that where­soever he sendeth it, he hath a purpose to [Page 300] save some there. See how this is mentioned, as a speciall priviledge to the Iewes, which were then the onely people of God under heaven, Psal. 147. 19, 20. He sheweth his Word unto Iacob, his Statutes and Ordinances unto Israel: He hath not dealt so with any Na­tion. Oh how we should value the Lords goodnesse herein to us, if this were rightly and throughly considered? This was the Iewes chiefe priviledge, that they had the Lords Word in speciall for their directi­on, when all Nations besides were left in darknesse, Deut. 4. 8. For what Nation is there so great, that hath Statutes and Judge­ments so righteous, as all this Law which I have set before you this day? So marke how the Apostle setteth out the Iewes priviledge, above all other Nations, which (he shew­eth) consisted in this, that they had the Lords lively Oracles for their Direction; Rom. 3. 1, 2. What advantage then hath the Jew, and what profit is there of Circumcision? Much every way; chiefely, because unto them were committed the Oracles of God: They were the Lords Oracles, and therefore the more to be esteemed; and their priviledge was so much the greater, that did enjoy them. So againe, setting out the Iewish pri­viledges, see how the Apostle reports the matter, Rom. 9. 4. To whom pertaineth the a­doption, and the glory, and the Covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises? The Lords Covenants, [Page 301] the Lords Law, the service of God, and his promises; this should make us esteeme them. Yea, it is the Lord that sendeth Prophets, and Apostles, and Pastors to teach and in­struct his people in this Word that he hath given us; Ier. 3. 15. I will give you Pastors, according to mine owne heart, that shall feede you with knowledge and understanding. It was the Lord Jesus Christ himselfe, that sent the Apostles to preach the Gospel, Mat. 28. 20. Goe, and teach all Nations, &c. teaching them to observe all things that I command you; and loe, I am with you alwayes, unto the end of the world. Yea, and this sending of Ministers to preach the Word unto us, is a fruit of Gods singular love towards us, it argueth the Lords fatherly pitie and compassion to­wards us; according to that we reade in 2 Chron. 36. 15. And the Lord God of their fa­thers, sent unto them by his Messengers, rising early, and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place. Now lay up all these together. If the Word preached be an Ordinance of Gods appointing; if he send the Ministers to preach it; if their com­ [...] to doe this, be a fruit of his love, yea, [...] compassion towards us; then surely, if this [...] rightly considered, wee cannot choose [...]ut love it; it is the Lords doings, and therefore it is marvellous in our eyes. The like may be said of prayer, and the Sacraments, they are also of Gods ordai­ning.

[Page 302] Secondly,2. Motive. The worth and excel­lencie of Gods Or­dinances. Consider the worth & excellen­cy of these Ordinances in themselves. The Word of God faithfully preached, is an ex­cellent Ordinance of God, and so is prayer, and so are the Sacraments, matters of speci­all and exceeding worth: now yee know, men love and delight in things that are most excellent. This is one reason that Da­vid giveth, why he delights in the societie of Gods Saints, sc. because they were excel­lent persons, Psal. 16. 2. My goodnesse ex­tendeth not unto thee, (sayth he to God) v. 3. but to the Saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Doest thou delight in those things that are excel­lent? O then delight thy selfe in Gods Or­dinances, which are most excellent. The Word of God faithfully preached is a most sweet and excellent Ordinance of GOD. See how highly David, that man of GOD, commends and extolleth it, Psal. 19. 7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soule; the Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; and ver. 10. More to be desired are they then gold, yea, then much fine gold, swee­ter also then honey and the honey-combe. Oh the transcendent excellency of the Word of God faithfully preached! Had I the tongue of men and Angells, I could not expresse it to the full. Take notice of a Testimony or two to this purpose, in the new Testament, 2 Cor. 10. 4. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnall, but mightie, through God, to [Page 303] the pulling downe of strong holds: yea, it is a­ble to make Sathan fall downe from heaven like lightening. This is the Lords great Or­dinance, to batter the strong holds of sinne and Sathan; they are excellent things, for the demolition of Sathans Ammunition: this casteth out the strong man armed, and taketh away his armour, wherein he tru­sted; here is the excellency of the Word preached. So observe another testimony to this purpose, which sheweth the excellency of this Ordinance; Heb. 4. 12. For the Word of God is quicke, and powerfull, and sharper then any two edged sword, piercing, even to the divi­ding asunder of the soule and spirit. This sword of the Spirit is a most excellent Ordinance of God, it is a speciall Shield, to defend us against the fury of all our spirituall enemies. See the Apostles testimony for this, Ephes. 6. 16. Take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. See how our blessed Saviour (with this) put Sathan to flight, Mat. 4. Scriptum est; this was his weapon: and see the conclu­sion, ver. 11. Then the Devill left him. This sword will pierce the very [...]ead of that great Leviathan. Oh how we should love it, if this was rightly considered.

Thirdly and lastly,3. Motive. The singu­lar use and benefit of them. Consider the singu­lar use and benefit of Gods Ordinances, in regard of us. Give me leave to instance in one of Gods Ordinances, sc. the Word preached. Certainly, the utilitie of it is [Page 304] extraordinarie, if it be well considered: ob­serve it, I beseech you, and see in some parti­culars.

First,1. Benefit. Of the Word preached, it is the Word of God. The Word preached, is the Word of life, the meanes to quicken a dead soule; It is the meanes both to beget, and to pre­serve spirituall life in the soule of a Christi­an; Psal. 119. 50. This is my comfort in mine affliction, for thy Word hath quickened me. We are by nature all dead in trespasses and sinnes, Eph. 2. 1. Now the Word faithfully preach­ed, is the meanes to revive and raise us up unto newnesse of life, Ioh. 5. 25. Verely, I say unto you, sayth our Saviour, the houre is comming, and now is, when the dead shall heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, and they that heare it, shall live. See here the meanes to revive and quicken our dead soules. Oh therefore let us love the Word, even as we love our life; Pro. 8. 35. He that findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtaine favour of the Lord: Oh the worth of life! Life is sweet, especially spirituall; yea, naturall life is ve­ry deare unto us; Skinne for skinne, and all that a man hath, will he give for his life, sayth the Text, Job 2. 4. Now the Word of God faithfully preached, is our very life, Pro. 4. 13. Take fast hold of Instruction, let her not goe, keepe her, for shee is thy life, sayth the Wise-man. How can we choose but love the Word, if we consider this?

Secondly,2. Benefit. The Word of Health. Because life it selfe, without health, is but a burthen, rather then any [Page 305] benefit. A sicke man is even weary of his life: so was Iob in his extremitie; My soule is weary of my life, Iob 10. 1. sc. for want of health. Therefore in the second place, the Word of God is health, as well as life, to them that truely embrace it. My Sonne, attend to my words, sayth Salomon, Pro. 4. 20. Why so? See the worth of them, sc. Ver. 22. For they are life unto those that finde them, and health unto all their flesh. Life is a sweet thing, if it be accompanied with health: so, Pro. 3. 8. It shall be health to thy navell, and marrow to thy bones. Health is a most precious Iewell, and therefore the Word, which is the meanes to beget and preserve it, must needs be precious.

Thirdly,3. Benefit. The Word of Com­fort. But what is life and health without comfort? And therefore in the third place, the Word preached is the chiefe meanes of comfort that we doe enjoy. This is our chiefe support and consolation, next under God himselfe; Psal. 119. 92. Vnlesse thy Law had beene my delight, I should have perished in my affliction. The Word preached is the Word of comfort, proceeding from the God of all comfort (1 Cor. 1. 3.) which is able to comfort us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort others with the same comfort, wherewith we our selves are comfor­ted of God. Yea, the holy Word of God is both written and preached to this end and purpose. 1. It is written to this end, Rom. 15. 4. Whatsoever is written aforetime is writ­ten [Page 306] for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Yea, secondly, This is one end of preaching, Isa. 40. 1. Comfort ye, comfort yee my people, sayth your God: speake comfortably to Jerusa­lem. Hence also is that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14. 3. when shewing the excellency of preaching; he giveth this for one of the chiefe reasons of his Encomium; But he that prophesieth, speaketh to men, unto edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that preach­eth aright, preacheth to the comfort of Gods people. Indeed, as for the wicked of the world, here is no comfort for them, they must goe to the world for comfort, for the Word hath none for them; it is the terror of the Lord, to torment them before the time; but to the godly, and such as are religious, it is to them a Word of strong consolation, yea, the very joy, and rejoycing of their heart, sayth Ier. 15. 16. This was Davids com­fort, Psal. 119. 50. This is my comfort in my affliction, for thy Word hath quickened mee. And indeed, what greater comfort, then for a condemned man to heare of a pardon? Men in a desperate condition to heare of a Saviour? Joh. 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for they are they that testifie of me, sayth our Saviour himselfe. What greater comfort? The Scriptures tell us of the gracious readi­nesse of God to be reconciled to poore sin­ners; 2 Cor. 5. 20. We are Embassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, [Page 307] and we pray you, in Christs stead, to be reconci­led to God. The Word assureth us, that upon our repentance, our sinnes are forgiven us, Ezech. 18. 21. which is one of the chiefe grounds of comfort that can be propound­ed. Thus Christ comforted the poore Palsie­man, Mat. 9. 2. Sonne, be of good cheare, thy sinnes are forgiven thee. Men may seeme, but can never be truely chearfull in the want of this favour. Thus also would our Saviour comfort the poore weeping penitent, Luk. 7. 48. Thy sinnes are forgiven thee. He knew she could receive no better ground of com­fort. So when God would have his people comforted, Isa. 40. 1. see what direction he giveth to that purpose; Comfort ye my peo­ple, Comfort ye Jerusalem; How? Tell her; that her iniquities are pardoned, &c. As if he had said, If any thing will affoord her com­fort, that will doe it. Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sinnes are covered, Psal. 32. 1, 2. He that is assured of happinesse, may well be comforted. Yea, the Word preached, is the glad tydings of Salvation; it doth assure us of our interest in Christ, and that He is made of God unto us, Wisedome, and Righteousnesse, Sanctification, and Redemption, 1 Cor. 1. 30. As also that Christ, with all his merits, doe properly be­long unto us, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22, 23. All is yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollos, &c. all is yours, and ye are Christs, and Christ is Gods. Now what greater comfort? So that ye see, [Page 308] that the Word faithfully preached, is the Word of comfort; and therefore wee have reason to love it in that regard.

Fourthly,4. Benefit. The Word of spirituall consolation. Because carnall or worldly comfort is little worth; therefore, in the fourth place, the Word preached is the best meanes of spirituall comfort, gracious, and heavenly consolation. Hereupon it is cal­led the Grace of God, Titus 2. 11. And the Word of [...] Grace, Act. [...]0. 32. And the mi­nistration of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 3. 8. It is the Instrument that the Spirit of God useth to worke grace in the hearts of Gods people. It is the ministery of reconciliation, 2 Cor. 5. 18. Yea, the Word of regeneration, Iam. 1. 18. Of his owne will begate he us, with the Word of Truth, sayth the Apostle. It is the immortall s [...]ede of our new birth, 1 Pet. 1. 23. yea, the chiefe meanes of our Conversion, Psal. 19. 7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soule. Yea, it is the chiefe meanes of our Sanctification, Psal. 119. 9. Wherewithall shall a young man cleanse his way, &c? Ioh 15. 3. Now are yee cleane, through the Word that I have spoken unto you, sayth our Saviour: and Ioh. 17. 17. Sancti­fie them with thy Truth, thy Word is Truth. Loe, the chiefe Instrument of our Sanctifi­cation! Yea, as God himselfe, is the God of all grace; so is his Word, the Word of all grace: for what grace of the Spirit is it, that is not usually begotten in us by the Word, whether knowledge, or faith, or re­pentance, [Page 309] or the feare of God? &c. 1. Out of question, it is the chiefe meanes of know­ledge, and wisedome, and understanding in the things of God. See it in Davids exam­ple, Psal. 119. 98. Thou, through thy Com­mandements, hast made me wiser then mine ene­mies, for they are ever with me. Ver. 99. I have more understanding then all my teachers; for thy Testimonies are my meditation. Ver. 100. I understand more then the Ancient, because I keepe thy precepts. Then for faith, the Word is the meanes to beget and preserve that; for it is the Word of faith, Rom. 10. 8. And the Apostles conclusion is, Ver. 17. So Then faith commeth by hearing, and hearing of the Word of God. And then for the feare of God, another excellent grace of the Spirit, the Word of God is the chiefe meanes to beget that; Deut. 17. 19. Where it is said of the King, that he shall write him a copie of the booke of the Law, and reade in it all the dayes of his life; Why so? That he may learne to feare the Lord his God, and to keepe all the words of this Law: Yea, this is the end of our publike meeting to heare the Word faithfully preached, all both old and young must come to heare it. Deut. 31. 12. Ga­ther the people together, men, and women, and children, and the stranger that is within thy gates: All sorts must constantly frequent the Church assemblies, and depend upon the ministery of the Word: Why so? That they may heare, and that they may learne, and feare [Page 310] the Lord your God, and observe to doe all the words of this Law. The true feare of GOD must be learned out of the Booke of GOD; and hearing the Word preached, is the means to attaine thereunto. The like might easily be shewed of sundry other graces. But this is not all: the Word preached, is not onely the meanes to beget the graces of Gods Spirit in us, but to encrease them al­so. Observe it, 1 Pet. 2. 2. As new borne Babes, desi [...]e yee the sincere milke of the Word, that yee may grow thereby, sayth the Apostle. So that the ministery of the Word, is not onely the seede of our new birth, but also the chiefe means of our encrease and growth in Grace: yea, it will still build us up far­ther, untill we come to perfection, Act. 20. 32. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up farther, and to give you an inheri­tance among all them that are sanctified. Oh precious Word, and well worthy of all high esteeme, that is able to build us up in grace, farther and farther, untill wee come to perfection! How can we choose but love the Word exceedingly, and delight to spend much time in it, if we seriously consider how usefull it is unto us also in this respect.

Fifthly,5. Benefit. The word of eternall life and salvati­on. and lastly, The Word preached, is not onely the chiefe meanes of spirituall life, and comfort, but of our eternall hap­pinesse and salvation. It is not onely the Word of grace, but of glory too, and of [Page 311] salvation, Romans 1. 16. I am not ashamed of the Gospell of Christ, saith the Apostle, Why so? Because (how simple, or despi­cable so ever it may seeme in it selfe, yet) it is the power of God, through faith, unto sal­vation, a foolish thing indeed it is, in the eye of flesh and bloud, and of carnall Rea­son, but yet it pleaseth God, even by the foolishnesse of preaching to save them which doe believe, 1 Cor. 1. 21. Yea, it is the Word of salvation, so that he is farre from salvation, that rejects it, Psalm. 119. 155. Yea, it is the Word of eternall life, and therefore he that thrusteth it from him, doth judge himselfe unworthy of eternall life. See two direct Testimonies for this: the one is the speech of Peter to our Saviour, Iohn 6. 68. Will ye also goe away, saith our Saviour to his Disciples? The Apostle Pe­ter maketh answer, Whither should we goe? (where shall wee thinke to mend our selves?) thou hast the words of eternall life, And therefore, he that rejecteth it, and ca­reth not to spend time in the hearing, and reading, and serious perusall of it, doth even judge himselfe unworthy of everlasting life, Acts 13. 46. saith the Apostle, addres­sing his speech to the Iewes, It was necessary that the Word of God should be first preach­ed unto you, (the preaching of Gods Word is of necessary use in the Church of God) but since that ye thrust it from you, and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting [Page 312] life, &c. behold wee turne to the Gentiles. Oh how readily, and with what great af­fection would we receive the Word, if this was rightly considered.

CHAP. X.

Containing part of the fifth Direction, &c.

FIfthly,5. Direction Redeeme the Time. All that desire to spend much time in Gods service, must follow that golden rule of the Apostle, sc. of redeeming the time, Redeeming the time, because the dayes are evill, saith the Apostle, Ephes. 5. 16. Which rule he repea­teth againe to the Colossians, Colos. 4. 5. Now if you aske me, From what wee must redeeme the time? I answer, from all such lets and impediments that will hinder this way. There are diverse great consumers of precious time, from which he must careful­ly redeeme it, that would spend much time in Gods service. I shall need to say the lesse in this case, in regard of that which I have already said, as also in respect of a Treatise written to this purpose,Whately. Redemp­tion of Time. called The Redemp­tion of time. Yet (because I would not leave the point imperfect) I will briefly in­sist upon some few particulars.

[Page 313] 1. Therefore all men,All mispen­ders of time must be sup­pressed. must very careful­ly and watchfully subdue and suppresse all those great mispenders of time, which like so many gracelesse spend-thrifts, doe wast and consume many precious houres, and much golden time, that was farre better spent in Gods worship and service: which are especially sixe.

1. Sinning.

2. Sleeping.

3. Carking and caring.

4. Sporting, or recreations, with im­moderate feasting.

5. Foolish thinking.

6. And lastly, idle speaking, which is usually a fruit of the former, because, Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speak­eth: whereof some of these must bee mor­tified, and put to death, and others againe restrained and regulated, or bound, as it were, to the good behaviour.

1. The first,Let. 1. 1. Sinnc. and the worst, and chiefe mispender of precious time, is Sinning; when we spend time in doing that which is directly naught, as lying, swearing, drun­kennesse, wantonnesse, and such like works of the flesh, and of the Devill: this is the worst spent time of all, as being directly contrary to that which is spent in Gods service; as I have already shewed in the first use of the point.

Now this thiefe is utterly to be mortifi­ed, and put to death; imprisoning, or bin­ding [Page 314] to the good behaviour, will not serve the turne; for indeed this is a desperate ruffian, or swaggerer, that is not capable of any good behaviour, and therefore must needs be put to death, and wholly suppres­sed. We must endeavour, as much as in us lyeth, that wee spend no time in sinning, but carefully mortifie the deeds of the body by the Spirit; this is the Apostles rule, Colossians 3. 1, 2, 5. If ye then be risen with Christ, seeke those things which are above, be heavenly minded, set your affections up­on things above, Let your conversation be in heaven, Phil. [...]. 30. But what course must wee take to this end? That the Apostle sheweth, verse 5. Mortifie therefore your members, which are upon the earth. Where wee see this truth most clearely manifested, that all that would spend much time in Gods service, and holy performances, must carefully mortifie their members here on earth, and put sinfull lusts to death: For this horrible thiefe, and great mispender of precious time, is like some mischievous person, or desperate ruffian, that flyeth in a mans face, and will either kill, or bee killed; and therefore must needs be killed, that hee doth not kill us, for the wages of sinne is death, Romans 6. 23. So that wee must either kill our corruptions, or they will bring our sonles to death, Rom. 8. 13. For if yee live after the flesh, ye shall dye: but if ye through the Spirit doe mortifie the [Page 315] deeds of the body, ye shall live. Where you see, that our precious soules cannot live; but by the death of our corruptions: the life of the one, is the death of the other: as Ahab lost his owne life, for preserving Benhadads, Thy life shall goe for the life of him, in 1 Kings 20. 42.) so our soules must eternally perish, if we suffer our corrupti­ons to survive.

But how should we so mortifie our lusts,Quest. that we may spend little or no time time in vicious courses, and so consequently more time in Gods service?

An. 1. Let us diligently search,Resp. 1. Remedy. Sinne must be discove­red, and found out. that we may plainly discover and finde out that spe­ciall sinne, wherewith we have beene for­merly most pestered, It is impossible to execute a malefactor, untill he be found out, and apprehended: diligent search is first made, and Hue and cry sent after him to finde him out: so wee must deale with those lusts, wherein formerly wee have spent too much time; Lamentations 3. 40. Let us search, and try our wayes, and turne to the Lord our God. This was Da­vids practise, Psalme 119. 59. I examined, or considered, or thought on mine owne wayes, and turned my feete unto thy Testi­monies: yea, because he knew his heart was deceitfull, and fraudulent, Ier. 17. 9. Hee doth beseech God to assist him in it, and to doe it for him, Psalme 26. 2. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reines, and [Page 316] my heart. Like a man that heareth procla­mation, for the apprehension of such and such a Traytor, hee not only searcheth his owne house himselfe, but he setteth open the doore, and intreateth the officer to en­ter, and make what diligent search he can, that if there be any traytor lurking there, hee may bee found out, and executed: so David, search me, ô Lord, examine my heart, and house, and see if there bee any sinfull lust there, and let them bee all mortified. To the same purpose is that we have, Psal. 139. 23, 24. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Loe, here was sincerity, and this was the best way to finde out our most secret lusts, and hid­den corruptions. O therefore let us not be strangers at home, but examine our owne hearts, as the Psalmi [...] speaketh, Psalme 4. 4. A sweet place for this purpose, is that of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 13. 5. Examine your selves, whither yee bee in the faith, or no; prove your owne selves; know you not your owne selves? (i. e.) what an absurd thing is it, for you to bee skilfull in others affaires, and neglect your owne? to know other men, and not your owne selves? what greater hypocrisie? The Hypocrite is sharpe sighted abroad, but blinde at home; He can see a mote in the eye of ano­ther, but doth not discerne the beame that is [Page 317] in his owne, it is our Saviours character of an hypocrite, Matthew 7. 5. But on the contrary, the advise of the Apostle is excellent, Galathians 6. 4. But let every owne prove his owne worke, (seeke to finde out his owne lusts) then shall hee have re­joycing in himselfe, and not in another.

Secondly,2. Remedy. Smite it with the two edged sword of the Spirit. When we have found out this waster, and apprehended this Traytor, then let us directly smite it with the two edged sword of the Spirit upon the head, which is the Word of God, a speciall part of a Christians armour, and so much the more excellent in this case, because it is a weapon both defensive, and offensive, Ephesians 6. 16. And take the Helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Wo [...]d of God. See what admirable worke our Saviour made with this spirituall weapon, in the single combate, that he had with Sa­than, hand to hand, Matthew 4. Scrip­tum est, [...] verse 4. And againe, [...] verse 6. And see the event of this combate, v. 11. [...] Then the Devill left him, &c. This put him utterly to flight: And no marvell,Heb. 4. 12. [...] for the Word of God is quicke and powerfull, and sharper then any two edged sword, saith the Apostle, Hebr. 4. 12.Super [...]m­nem gladi­nm ancipi­tem. Above any sword with two mouthes, that is, having two ed­ges, as the word signifieth. This will cut and wound, yea, breake the head of any lust whatsoever, if it bee as hard as any [Page 318] stone. See an excellent place for this pur­pose Ier. 23. 29. Is not my Word like as a fire, saith the Lord? and like an hammer, that breaketh the Rocke in peeces? If a man be hardened in any sinfull way, behold here is a fire to melt the heart of any lust what­soever; it will fire it out of the soule: or if it be as hard as a rocke, loe, here is an ham­mer to breake it all in peeces. Oh there­fore when thou hast found out what speci­all lust, or corruption it is, that hindereth thee from spending time in Gods service, smite it with this two edged sword, lay up­on the head of it with this hammer, and terrifie thy conscience with the threats of the Word, and say, How can I, or how dare I live in this sinne, that will poyson my soule? Or how can I doe this great wickednesse, and sinne against God? How dare I live in the sinne of swearing, when I see, and consider how expresly the Lord hath said, that He will not hold him guiltlesse, that taketh his Name in vaine; but will surely cut him off with the flying role of his curse, Zach. 5. 3. consider the place, This is the curse that goeth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth, shall be cut off, as on this side, and according to it; and every one that sweareth, shall be cut off, as on that side, according to it. Would not this make men leave stealing and swearing, if it was rightly considered? So, durst men live in the sinne of lying, if they be­leeved [Page 319] that speech of the Wiseman: Prov. 12. 22. Lying lippes are an abomination unto the Lord? Yea, or that of, Revel. 21. 8. sc. That all lyars shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire, and brimst [...]n [...], which is the second death? In a word, durst men live in drunkennesse, whoredome, co­vetousnesse, prophanesse, &c. if they were perswaded that such should never inherit the kingdome of God, 1. Cor. 6. 10. and that for such things commeth the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience, Ephesians 5. 6? This was Davids chiefe Antidote a­against every sinne, Psalme 119. 11. I have hid thy Word in my heart, that I might not sinne against thee. Smite thy lusts with this weapon, and thou shalt see thy desire upon such enemies.

Thirdly,3. Remedie. Fl [...]e unto Heaven for a [...]de b [...] [...]er­vent praye [...]. When we have found out that, or those speciall corruptions, which have hindered us from spending time in Gods service, if we cannot vanquish and over­come them of our selves, by the power of Gods Word, let us then flye to heaven for helpe, and cry out unto God Almighty for his assistance. What better remedy, (when a man hath met with too potent an enemy) then to flye to the Lord Chiefe Iustice of Heaven and Earth, and earnestly, and fer­vently to crave his aide? This was Saint Pauls refuge in this case, Romans 7. 24. O wretched man that I am, Who shall deli­ver me from this body of dea [...]? But tha [...]ks [Page 320] be to God through Iesus Christ, v. 25. there is the issue. So againe, when the same holy Apostle was cumbred, and pestered with the pricke in the flesh, the messenger of Sathan, 2 Cor. 12. 7. see what course he took: here was his refuge, even the bosome of the Lord was his only shelter and defence, v. 8. For this I besought the Lord thrise, that it might depart from me. Now see the issue; What a gracious answer? v. 9. And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee, &c. Hearty confessions, and strong petitions and cryes to God, are very availeable in this case; the prayer of the righteous is very effectuall in such a condition, if it be fervent, Iam. 5. 16. as the Apostle there speaketh in another case. When a man is in that case, and in so great a strait, that he knoweth not what to doe, it is his best course in that case to looke up to God, by earnest, and fervent prayer, according to the practise of that gracious King Iehosophat, 2 Chron. 20. 12. Wilt thou not judge them? Oh Lord? Wilt thou not judge them? for wee have no might against this great multitude, neither know we what to doe, but our eyes are upon thee. Hee looked at God in this case with many eyes; with an eye of faith and confidence, with an eye of patient expectation, with an eye of diligent observation, and with an eye of prayer; according to that of David, Psalme 5. 3. Early in the morning, will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will [Page 321] looke up: where the former words are a direct explication of the later, (i. e.) I will looke up unto thee, ô Lord, with an eye of prayer. If a man can even fall out with himselfe, and loath himselfe in his owne sight for his iniquities, and for his abominations, as the Prophet speakes, Ezech. 36. 31. and earnestly, and unfai­nedly complaine to God against his corrup­tions; certainely, in Gods good time hee shall be able to prevaile against his corrup­tions: for God is not only a sinne-pardo­ning, but also a corruption-killing God, one that will subdue our iniquities, Micah 7. 18. See what a promise we have for this, Romans 6. 14. Sinne shall not have domini­on over you; for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace, saith the Apostle. And Ier. 3. 22. with Hosea 14. 2. Returne, ye back-sliding children, and I will heale your back-slidings, saith the Lord there, so that here is great hopes (if we take this course) that we shall prevaile against our corrup­tions. Besides, though for the present our corruptions may seeme stronger, and more [...]uis [...]ant then before, yet we shall be sure to [...]revaile at last, and in the meane time these [...]ailings of ours shall be forgiven, and our [...]iquities, and infirmities, whereinto we all through the violence of corruption, [...]all not be imputed unto us, if we doe ear­ [...]estly, and fervently cry out for helpe and [...]rength against them. This seemeth to be [Page 322] directly prefigured in the ancient Law of the Iewes, Deut. 22. 23. That if a man find a betrothed Damosell in the Citie, and lye with her, &c. then, in that case, they shall both be stoned, because shee might have prevented the same by crying out: but verse 25. But if a man finde a betrothed Damosell in the field, and the man force her, and lye with her, then the man only that lay with her shall dye, verse 26. But to the Damosell thou shalt doe nothing, there is in the Damosell no sinne worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour and slayeth him, even so is this matter; Because it is supposed, that the Damosell cryed in this case, but could not be heard in the field, Verse 27. For he found her in the field, and the betro­thed Damosell cryed, and there was none to save her. So in this case, when the De­vill findeth us at some advantage, and doth force us to some sinne, yet if we struggle and cry out against him, though he doe pre­vaile with us for the act, yet in the Lords great mercy, it is not imputed. Let this en­courage us to confesse our sins to God, and cry out against our corruptions, and judg [...] our selves for them. Excellent to this pur­pose is that direction of one:Whate­ley's. Husbandry: pag. 8 A man (saith he) must ever and anon be saying thus with himselfe, Ah vile sinfull wretch, and hate worthy creature that I am, have I not sin [...]ned against God and mine owne soule, i [...] such a passionatenesse, in such wantonnesse [Page 323] in such injustice, and the like? Oh that I could even detest my selfe for this; Who, but a very beast, or a foole, would have beene so often, and so grossely overtaken? It is not possible to imagine, unlesse one doe take experience of his owne practice, how much the renewing of this holy anger against a mans selfe, for his sinnes past, will strengthen him against the same, and abate the power of his corruptions.Ibid. p. 8 [...]. And there­fore, saith hee, put thy selfe often in minde of thy former sins, being out of love and conceit with thy selfe, saying, Ah vile crea­ture! How could I finde in my heart to doe such things? would any man have thought it possible, for any creature, from whom all reason, and piety both were not, [...]anished, to runne out into such words? such deeds? &c. Thus hee, piously, and sweetely. And surely, if we would thus [...]udge and condemne our selves, we should not be judged of the Lord, saith the Apo­ [...]tle, 1 Cor. 11. [...]2. An excellent direction, and a most sure and speedy may to prevaile against our strongest lusts, and most preva­ [...]ent corruptions, if we can thus pray and [...]ry out against them. As the Lo [...]sisteth [...]he p [...]ou [...]: so He givet [...] grace to the humble. The more we see, and discerne our want of grace, the more fit are wee to receive it. Excellent to this purpose is that of another. Gods grace is free, hee looketh not at any [...]hing in us in the bestowing of it: What? [Page 324] Doest thou thinke that thou art uncapable of grace, because thou art unworthy of it? This is a meere fallacy. Doe not cast away thy confidence, because thou seest not in thee, that goodnesse which thou desirest. It is some goodnes in thee to be bad enough in thine owne esteeme: be but vile enough, base enough, bad enough, and then thou art good enough to partake of grace: thine emptinesse will make some way to fulnesse, Thus he sweetely. For this will make a man cry out for Gods gracious aide and assistance, Helpe Lord, for these lusts of mine, like the sonnes of Zerviah, are too hard for me. This is the way to breake the heart of our lusts, and to mortifie our earthly members, that we shall never spend so much time in vicious courses as we have done. Thus David cryed out against co­vetousnesse, Psalme 119. 35. Encline my heart to thy Testimonies, and not to covetous­nesse; He beggeth the Lord Chiefe Iustice his warrant to apprehend it,M. Bern­ard. Isle of man pag. 165. 4. Remedie. as one doth wittily observe in that case. And this is the third Remedy.

Fourthly, and lastly, If we would pre­vaile against sinne, that we may not spend any time at all, at least, much lesse time in the service of it, wee [...]ust daily pos­sesse, and furnish our soulas with holy me­ditations.

1. Consider the odious,1. Medit. loathsome, and filthy nature of sinne, which in the booke [Page 325] of God is not only called filthy, and that excrementally; but it is even filthinesse it selfe, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Having therefore these pro­mises, let us cleanse our selves from the fil­thinesse of the flesh and Spirit. Yea, Iames 1. 21. Let us lay aside all filthinesse, and superfluitie of maliciousnesse, Iam. 1. 21. [...]. and receive with meeknesse the ingrafted Word, which is able to save your soules, the word signifi­eth properly the filth that is under a mans naile. Yea, to shew the filthy nature of it, it is compared to the Sowes wallowing in the mire, and the vomit of a Dogge; it is even the metaphor of the Holy Ghost, 2 Peter 2. 22. How could we finde in our hearts to live in sinne, and spend our time this way, if we consider this?

2. Not onely filthy,2. Medit. but dangerous in many respects. It bringeth body, and soule, and name, and estate, and all to ruine; It is the losse of our very soules, if we con­tinue in it without repentance, Luk. 12. 19. Thou foo [...]e, this night shall they fetch away thy soule; and then see what our Saviour inferreth from heaven, Matthew 16. 26. For what is a man profited, if hee shall gaine the whole world, and loose his owne soule?

Thirdly,3. Medit. Consider how odious to God, his very soule abhorreth it, as the greatest evill in the world. It is the breach of his Law, most contrary to his holy and purest nature. It was the death of the Lord Iesus, [Page 326] for he was delivered up for our sins, Rom. 4. 25. It killed the Prince of life, and pierced the heart, and shed the bloud of Gods onely Sonne; and therefore must needs be mortified, and put to death. Yea, nothing will sooner doe it, then these, and such like meditations. Now if we thus sub­due and mortifie, yea, crucifie this notorious thiefe, that thus robbeth God of his glory, and man of Gods favour, we shall be able to spend much time in Gods service. This is the first mispender of precious time, that must of necessitie be mortified, and put to death.

Secondly,2. Let. Excessive sleeping, or sluggishnes. Another great let or impedi­ment, that must be removed; another great waster of time, that must be speedily sup­pressed, is immoderate, or excessive sleep­ing, and sluggishnesse, This also is a most dangerous mispender of precious time, al­though not so bad as the former. Thus the Prophet Ionah mispent his time, as he was in a Ship sayling to Tarshish, when hee should have gone to Ninev [...]h; He was fast asleepe in a very dangerous storme, when he stood in more need to have been wrestle­ing with God by humble, earnest, and hear­tie prayer, Ionah 1. 6. See how pathetical­ly the Heathen Mariners awake him, and rouse him up, The Ship-master came to him, saith the Text; and said unto him, What meanest thou, ô sleeper? Arise, and call upon thy God, if so bee that God will thinke [Page 327] upon us, that we perish not, (i.e.) Is this a fit time to sleepe, when we are all ready to perish, and be ready even every moment to bee swallowed up of the waves? Oh therefore arise, and bestirre thy selfe, and call upon thy God, and for shame learne to spend the time better then in sleeping, espe­cially, in such, and so great and apparent danger, their being (as it were) but even a step betweene us and death. Thus Salomon awaketh his fluggard, Proverbs, 6. 9, 10. How long wilt thou sleepe, ô sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleepe? Marke now the sluggards drousie, slumbring, senselesse answer, Yet a little sleepe, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleepe; Thus still he keepeth his bed, and there he de­lighteth to spend his time, and there the Wiseman letteth him alone, and bestoweth no more paines to call him up, but even passeth sentence upon, as he lyeth in his bed, So thy poverty commeth as an armed man. This will bring both temporall po­verty, and spirituall misery upon a man; such a man shall surely come to poverty, Proverbs 20. 13. for this stealeth away not only much time, that was better spent in Gods service; but it robbeth us of two speciall seasons, and opportunities of doing GOD service, and getting good to our soules, sc. the morning season, and the Sermon time, or the time for the exercises of religion, which is the very harvest of [Page 328] our soules, Is not he likely to bee a poore man, that will keepe his bed in harvest time, and like to reape shame and penu­rie? Prov. 10. 5. Well, What shall wee doe with this unruly person? Put him to death? O no, What? Not sleepe at all? Rather binde him to the good behaviour, send him to the house of correction: for sleepe, in it selfe, is a refreshing mercy of God, which he conferreth upon those whom he loveth, Psalme 127. 4. For so he giveth his beloved sleepe. What then? Deale thus with this companion; cut shorter this prodigall; allow him lesse liberty. Hee that mispendeth his meanes, it is pity but he should want; let some of his meanes be taken from him, he doth but wast and mis­pend it. And therefore the best way is to observe these two rules, which I will pre­scribe on purpose (in this case) for our Di­rection.

1. Let us habituate,1. Rule or Remedie. To habitu­ate or accu­stome our selves to timely ri­sing. or accustome our selves to early or timely rising. Let us even forcably breake off our sleepe, for reli­gious and godly meditations; and that which at first will seeme even impossible, will by a little use and custome prove, not only be possible, but also most facile & easie, even as the Cocke clappeth his wings early in the morning, thereby to shake off drou­sinesse, and to stirre up himselfe to crow: so let us shake off our sluggish humour by degrees, and even stirre up our selves to [Page 329] holy duties in the morning. Thus David stirreth himselfe, and endeavoureth to shake off his drousie temper, Psalme 103. 1, 2. Blesse the Lord, ô my soule, and all that is within me blesse his holy Name. Blesse the Lord, ô my soule, forget not all his benefits. Yea, this he would doe early, or betimes in the morning, Psalme 5. 3. Early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will looke up. Yea, this was not all, but sometimes he would breake his sleepe, even at midnight, to doe God service, Psalme 119. 62. At midnight will I arise to give thankes unto thee, because of thy righteous judgements; Thus by degrees in time we should prevaile exceedingly against that sluggish humour, that will else keepe us from embracing many blessed opportunities of doing God service.

Thirdly,2. Rule or Remedy. Take heede of immode­rate use of the Crea­tures. Wee must beware of excessive eating and drinking. The immoderate use of the good creatures of God, doth very much dispose to sleepe, but indispose us to any holy and religious imployment. When the belly is full, &c. saith the homely Pro­verbe, a man, in that case, is fitter to serve the Devill in sinning, or the flesh by sleep­ing, then God in any religious duty what­soever. Put a knife to thy threat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Wisely doe thou refraine from the immoderate use of that, which will altogether indispose thee to Gods service, and make thee a very prey [Page 330] to lust, and unto the Devill. Hee that in this case maketh his belly his god, is then ready for sleepe almost at any time, but will scarce bee fit to serve GOD at any time. Consider the place of the Apostle, Romans 13. 13. Not in ryotting, or gluttony, and drunkennesse, and what followeth? Nor in chambering and wantonnesse: where we see, that ryot and excesse in the use of Gods good creatures, disposeth strongly to lust and filthinesse. When I fed them to the full, then they committed adultery against me, and assembled themselves by troopes in the Har­lots houses, saith God, Ieremy 5. 7. It was Sodoms fulnesse, that made them so filthy. But of this hereafter, when I come to speake of feasting, and recreations, which is another great mispender of precious time, and a great impediment to keepe us from spending time in Gods service. And so much therefore as touching this second great mispender of precious time, and that is, excessive sleeping.

CHAP. XI.

Wherein other chiefe Lets are removed, containing the other part of the fifth Direction.

THirdly,3. Let. Immoderate carking and caring for the things of this life. All that would spend much time in GODS service, must very carefully take heede, and beware of another great mis-spender of precious time, and that is, immoderate carking and caring for earthly things: all inordinate and covetous thought taking for outward things, must needs be carefully shunned and avoyed. How many precious houres doe men usually spend in taking thought, saying, What shall we eat? and what shall we drinke? What shall I doe when I am old, and past my worke? Or how shall I doe in a deare yeare, &c? and such like terrible dreames. Thus many an houre is mis-spent, in such worldly di­strustfull cogitations, that were farre bet­ter spent in Gods service: Not, but that an honest moderate care is lawfull and neces­sary; but all distracting distrustfull care is forbidden, as a great usurper of precious time. It is the Apostles direction, Phil. 4. 6. In nothing be carefull, but in every thing let [Page 332] your requests be made knowne to God: [...], where the Apostle prohibiteth on­ly a distrustfull, distracting, or heart-divi­ding carefulnesse, as the word signifieth and sheweth, That time spent in covetous cark­ing and caring, and religious prayer and in­vocation, cannot well stand together; ac­cording to that of our Saviour, Mat. 6. 24. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon; no more then a man can looke upwards and down­wards both at once.The great hurt that this thiefe will doe us. Let us (a little) con­sider of the great hurt that this usurper will doe us in this case. This covetous carking, will eyther keepe us from, or distract us in profiting by the performance of holy du­ties; and therefore is a great enemy in this case, and must needs be mortified. 1. It ma­ny times keepeth us from the performance 1 of holy duties.It keepeth us from the performance of holy du­ties. Where covetous carking reigneth, there is no roome for pietie, god­linesse is quite put downe; there is no lea­sure for private prayer in the Closet and fa­milie, nor many times, there is no time for the publike duties of Religion. See how the world kept men from the great Supper, whereof our Saviour speaketh in the Go­spell; Luk. 14. 16. A certaine man made a great Supper, and bad many, and sent his ser­vant at Supper time, to say to them that were bidden, come, for all things are now readie. How could they finde in their hearts to slight or reject such a loving invitation? See then what followeth, ver. 18. And they [Page 333] all with one consent beganne to make excuse. The first sayd unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs goe and see it, I pray thee have me excused: Ver. 19. And, ano­ther sayd, I have bought five yoke of Oxen, and I must needs goe and prove them, &c. Ver. 20. And another sayd, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Thus yee see what worldly excuses they had. And our Saviour doubtlesse would hereby teach us, that inor­dinate love of the world, keepeth men from the duties of Gods service.

Secondly, Or else if it doe not altogether 2 keep us from them,Or di [...]ract­eth us in them. yet they are great means to distract us in them: so that if we doe set our selves to serve God, yet we cannot doe it with all the heart, as we should. This co­vetous carking will steale away the heart, that we cannot so seriously hearken to the Word preached, we cannot set our hearts to all the good Word of God, as we ought to doe, Deut. 32. 46. These words that I com­mand thee, shall be in thy heart, sayth God, Deut. 6. 6. This cannot be, in this case; for covetous carking will keepe out the Word, and distract us in hearing of it. See an ex­periment of this in Ezechiels hearers, Ezec. 33. 31. By their outward garbe and fashion they seemed to be very religious, they were constant hearers, They come unto thee as the people commeth, and they sit before thee as my people, and they heare my words, but they will not doe them, for with their mouth they shew [Page 334] much love; but their heart goeth after their covetousnesse. It was but an heartlesse piece of service that they performed to God, co­vetousnesse, even in the very instant of hea­ring, had stollen away their hearts. They were just like unto a Chapman,Simile. that while he is busie in cheapning a commoditie, and beating it to a price, a nimble subtle cut­purse, in the meane time, hath stollen his purse; so that when he should come to pay for his commoditie, his money is gone. Let us beware and take heed of this subtle jugler, that will eyther keepe us from, or distract us in the duties of Gods worship and service.

3 Or else thirdly,Or else kee­peth us from pro [...]iting by them. This will keepe us from profiting by, or practising of that which we seeme to heare with great attention: so that we shall become but hearers onely, but not doers of the Word; and so build the houses of our soules upon the sand. This our Saviour sheweth, in his Parable of the So­wer, Mat. 13. 22. Some seede falleth among the Thornes, and the Thornes grow up with it, and choke it; that is, as our Saviour him­selfe there expoundeth it, He also that recei­ved seede among the thornes, is he that heareth the Word, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulnesse of riches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitfull. Thus yee see the great hurt we receive by this unjust usurper of our precious time, which prevaileth so much the more, because he seemeth to be the [Page 335] right Lord, and the true owner of the great­est part of our time. What must we doe in this case? Surely so farre as this care is in­ordinate, it must needs be mortified. It masketh under the name of thrift, and fru­galitie, and good husbandry, &c. But in­deed, where this prevaileth, there the one thing needfull must needs be wanting: As appeareth by that speech of our Saviour, Luk. 10. 42. Martha, Martha, thou carest, and art cumbred about many things, but one thing is needfull; Mary hath chosen the better part, which shall never be taken from her. And therefore this is a speciall corruption that must needs be mortified. This is one of our earthly members that must be put to death, Col. 3. 5. Mortifie therefore your members which are on the earth, fornication, unclean­nesse, &c. and covetousnesse which is Idolatry.

But how shall we suppresse and mortifie this unruely companion?Quest. Meanes and Remedies.

I answer,Ans. Vpon a three fold meditation or consideration. First,Consider, How Consider how need­lesse; 1 secondly, how vaine and fruitlesse; and thirdly, how prejudiciall and hurtfull it is, to spend time in carking.

First,Needlesse these exces­sive cares are. Consider how needlesse, because we 1 have our wise and heavenly Father to take care for us; 1 Pet. 5. 7. Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you, sayth the A­postle. We may learne of little children, to depend upon the care and providence of our heavenly Father; They never take care [Page 336] where to get meate and drinke, nor how to procure new cloathes, but leave the care of these things unto their parents; how much more should we commit the care of these things to God, who hath assured us, that we shall not want any thing that is good, Psal. 34. 10? How chearefully and comfortably may we depend upon the promise of our heavenly Father, that he will never faile us, nor forsake us. Consider Mat. 6. 33. But secke ye first the kingdome of God, and the righ­teousnesse thereof, and these things shall be ad­ded unto you. This is one of our Saviours chiefe arguments, to disswade from inordi­nate care, Mat. 6. 31, 32. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eate? Or what shall we drinke? Or wherewithall shall we be cloathed? Ver. 32. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things, (i.e.) therefore it is a needlesse thing for you to cumber, or trouble your selves with any such unnecessary cogitations.

2 Secondly,How vaine, and fruit­lesse. This inordinate care and thought-taking for outward things, is not onely needlesse and superfluous, but also ex­ceeding vaine and fruitlesse: it cannot availe any thing at all, it can doe no good. Mens ayme and end in this case, is to get wealth, and to be rich: but it is not inordinate care, but the blessing of God that maketh rich, sayth the wisest Salomon, Pro. 10. When we have carked, & cared, and cast beyond the Moon, yet this will not serve the turne, when we [Page 337] have done what we can. This is another of our Saviours excellent arguments, that he produceth in this case, Mat. 6. 27. Which of you by taking thought, can adde one cubite un­to his stature? No: with all our care, we cannot so much as make one haire white or black: and therefore all our care & thought-taking in this case is vaine and fruitlesse; Psal. 127. 1, 2. Except the Lord build the house: except he keepe the Citie, the builders and watchmen do both spend their strength in vaine, they wholly loose their labour: and ver. 2. It is in vaine for you to rise up ear­ly, and sit up late, and to eate the bread of sor­rowes: for so he giveth his beloved sleepe. Thou shalt remember, that it is the Lord thy God that giveth thee power to get wealth, sayth the Lord, Deut. 8. 17, 18. Thou shalt not say, my power, and the might of mine hand hath got­ten me this wealth; but thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth. It is not our care, or pro­vidence, but the blessing of God that bring­eth wealth; and therefore our excessive care is fruitlesse.

Thirdly,Dangerous, and hurt­full. This inordinate thought-taking 3 for outward things, is very dangerous and prejudiciall: for besides the mischiefe al­readie mentioned and specified, wee shall finde it hurtfull in these three respects.

First,1. Mischiefe They l [...] us open to Sa­thans foule temptations. This inordinate desire of having, maketh a man a prey unto Sathan, and lay­eth him open unto Sathans dangerous tem­ptations: [Page 338] it doth cast a man inevitably into the snare of Sathan, 1 Tim. 6. 9. But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtfull lustes, which drowne men in destruction and perdition. This will make a man lye, and steale, and cheat, yea, forsweare, and swagger, &c. The devill hath every covetous man alwaies at advan­tage, as it were, upon the hippe, he is even caried captive by him at his will. This is one wofull mischiefe, that it maketh a man even apparently the devils vassall.

Secondly,2 Mischiefe They will eat out the true love of God, out of our hearts. This inordinate love of the world, in processe of time, will even eat out the true love of God out of our hearts. For even as adulterous love in a woman, doth even eat the love of her husband out of her heart, so that the more she loveth a stranger, the lesse she regardeth her husband: so doth the inordinate love of the world. If we dote upon that painted Strumpet, she will so be­witch us, that in time we shall not care for the Lord at all. This is the Apostles argu­ment, 1 Ioh. 2. 15. Love not the world, nor the things of the world; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. It is not possible for a man to over-love the world, and yet in the meane time, to love God as he ought, no more then it is possi­ble for a man to looke even upward and downward both at once. Set your affections upon things above, and not on the things that are here below, Col. 3. 1. Intimating, that it [Page 339] is at least improbable, if not impossible, to doe both.

Thirdly,3. Mischiefe Depriveth us of Gods love to us. The too-much bent of the affe­ctions to outward things, doth utterly de­prive us of Gods love to us. As the love of the Father is not in him; so the love of the Father is not towards him, in that case. But on the contrary, the Lord even hateth and abhorreth him; which is a most wofull e­state and condition: Psal. 10. 3. Speaking good of the covetous, whom God abhorreth. Where we see evidently, that every cove­tous person is hated and abhorred of GOD. And no marvell, for it is no lesse then Idola­try in Gods account, Col. 3. 5. Yea, and there is a very direct and expresse enmitie be­tween God and every such person, Iam. 4. 4. Know ye not, that the amitie of the world, is en­mitie against God: so that whosoever maketh himselfe a friend of the world, the same is Gods enemie. Now marke the woefull estate of Gods enemies; Psal. 68. 21. God will surely wound the head of his enemies, and the hairie scalpe of such a one as walketh on still in his trespasses. This is another fearefull and into­lerable mischiefe.

Fourthly,4. Mischiefe Keepeth many from entring up­on the pro­ [...] Religion This inordinate thought-tak­ing for outward things, doth often keepe many from entering upon the profession of Religion, and embracing of Christianitie. Many could be content to embrace Christ, if it were not for the world. This hindereth many from becomming the Disciples of [Page 340] Christ, because they cannot finde in their hearts to forsake all for his sake. See an expe­riment of this in that young man in the Go­spel, Mat. 19. 16. He had a moneths minde to become one of our Saviours Disciples: see how sweetly and lovingly he speaketh to our Saviour, Good Master, what good thing shall I doe, that I may have eternall life? If thou wilt enter into life, keepe the Commande­ments: as if he had sayd, come on thy wayes, I will set thee a taske: but when he had told him the upshot of all, Ver. 22. If thou wilt be perfect, Goe, and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poore, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come follow me: Ver. 22. When he heard this saying, he went away sorrowfull, for he was endued with great possessions. Yea, and (it seemeth) he did not so much possesse, as he was possessed of them: he loved the trea­sures of the earth too well, to forsake them for the treasures of heaven. Now mark what our Saviour inferreth hereupon to his Dis­ciples, Ver. 23. Verely, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdome of God. Inordinate love of riches doth keepe men from the profession, much more from the practise of Religion. This is another mischiefe.

Fifthly,5. Mischiefe Maketh men fickle, and inconstant in Religion. Wee would never spend time in inordinate thought-taking how to get wealth, if we did consider another speciall inconvenience that ever commeth with it, and that is, that it maketh men fickle and [Page 341] inconstant in their Religion. This will make a man plainly disert, and utterly for­sake Christ, and his cause, and leave him in the open fields. A covetous person will ne­ver stand to his colours: our Saviour him­selfe foretelleth, that some should forsake him, Ioh. 16. 32. Behold, the houre commeth, &c. when yee shall be scattered every man to his owne, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone; for the Father is with me. Yea, this you shall finde most certaine, that no­thing will make a man sooner doe this, then the inordinate love of this present world. This made Demas forsake his colours, and turne Apostata. The Apostle once kindely salutes the Church in his Name; but after cryeth out against him for Apostacie, 1 Tim. 4. 10. Demas also hath forsaken us, having lo­ved this present world. So that if we would be constant in the service of Christ, we must take heede of the world.

Sixthly and lastly,6. Mischiefe Bringeth the wrath of God upon a mans po­steritie. This will bring the wrath of God upon a mans posteritie. Many a man goeth to the devill himselfe, to make his sonne a rich man; and yet in spite of his heart, God maketh him a beggar, He be­getteth a sonne, and there is nothing in his hand, Eccles. 5. 14. So that he coveteth an evill co­vetousnesse to his house, Heb. 2. 9, 10. He thinketh his children shall fare better, and they speed the worse for his evill gotten goods: as appeareth by the examples of A­chan, and Ahab; whose covetous ill gotten [Page 342] wealth was the ruine of them, and of their posteritie, Josu. 7. 24. 1 King. 21. 29. This will helpe us against this sinne, if this be rightly considered.

Fourthly,4. Let. sc. Carnall fea­sting. Another great Let or impedi­ment in this case, is excessive feasting, or belly-cheare. True it is, that we are allow­ed the liberall, and comfortable use of Gods creatures, not onely for necessitie, but for delight; but yet we must even in this case beware of excesse. The Prophet cryeth out against unreasonable, and unseasonable feast­mungers, Amos 6. 4. That they stretched them­selves upon their couches, & did eat the Lambs out of the flocke, and the Calves out of the stall. Ver. 6. That drinke wine in Bowles, &c. but are not grieved for the afflictions of Ioseph. Isa. 5. 11. ver. 12. Woe to them that rise up early to follow strong drinke, &c. And the Tabret and the Pipe are in their feasts; but they regard not the worke of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands. Where we see, that time spent in in­ordinate and excessive feasting, and time spent in Gods service, cannot well stand to­gether; it is a great Let and impediment in this case. This was one thing that made the rich man, that he could finde no time for Gods service, nor for the good of his soule, Luk. 16. 19. Because, as he was cloathed with purple and fine linnen, so he fared delici­ously every day, sayth the Text. Every day was a day of feasting, and therefore there was no time left for the exercises of Religi­on: [Page 343] they feede the bodie, but starve and pine the soule. Therefore we must have a care to spend lesse time in feasting,Remedies. To consider the great hurt that commeth by it. that we may spend more in the duties of Gods worship and service. And to this end let us consider these five Remedies.

First,1. Mischiefe Abuse of Gods crea­tures. Immoderate feasting, is seldome, or never without the abuse of Gods good crea­tures, and so we fight against God, and strike him with those blessings, which he hath graciously given us for our delight: yea, hereby we commit Idolatrie, in making our belly our God, Phil. 3. 19.

Secondly,2. Mischiefe A breeder of quarrells and unqui­etnesse. Seldome without brabbles and quarrells, many times betweene persons of neare relation one to another. See the fruit of that great feast made by Ahashuerus, that lasted so long; What was the event of it, but a woefull breach betweene him and his wife? Hest. 1. 19.

Thirdly,3. [...] A man in that case is most apt to deny God. This made Agur pray against wealth and riches; Give me not povertie, nor riches, sayth the Text, Pro. 30. 8. And the [...] see the reason that he giveth for it, Ver. 9. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Thus full-fed Pharoah cryed out, Exod. 5. 3. Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voyce, to let Israel goe? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel goe. Excessive fulnes will make a man even to kick against God; Jesurun is waxed fat, and kicked, sayth the Text, Deut 32. 15. Thou are covered with [Page 344] fatnesse; Then he forsooke God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rocke of his Salvation. Loe, the fruit of excessive fulnesse. Yea, this was one of the sinnes of Sodome, Idle­nesse, and fulnesse of bread made them so in­tolerably filthy, that they fell to that un­cleanenesse which was unnaturall, as the Prophet sheweth, Ezeck. 16. 49.

4 Fourthly,4. Mischiefe And also to forget God. This excessive use, or rather abuse of Gods creatures, are great meanes to make us forget God. True it is, that even then we have most cause to remember him with all love and thankfulnesse: but such is the corruption of our nature, that even then above all other times, wee are most apt to forget him; according to the admonition of the Lord himselfe by Moses, Deut. 8. 11, 12. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt blesse the Lord thy God, for the good Land that he hath given thee. There is the right use of fulnesse and plentie. But what followeth? Ver. 12. Beware, that thou for­get not the Lord thy God: and Ver. 13, 14. Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, &c. then they heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, &c. Here is a dangerous mischiefe indeed: Psal. 9. 17. The wicked shall be tur­ned into hell, and all that forget God. O consi­der this yee that forget God, and feast your selves without feare, least he teare you in piec­es, and there be none to deliver you. When I fed them to the full, they then committed adul­terie against me; and assembled themselves by [Page 345] troopes in the harlots houses, Iere. 5. 7.

Fifthly,5. Mischiefe Increase our torments in hell, if we repent not. The more that wee have mis­spent our time in feasting and carnall plea­sures, the more torment we are like to have hereafter. All such immoderate carnall plea­sures end in torments, without repentance. What became of him that was cloathed in purple and fine Linnen, and fared delici­ously every day? Luk. 16. 19. What is the next newes we heare of this Belly-god; this mirth-munger? The rich man dyed, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afarre off, and Lazarus in his bosome, ver. 23. yea, and see there, what Abraham especially objecteth against him, Ver. 25. Sonne, Remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, &c. therefore he is comforted, and thou art tor­mented. See a direct testimony, concerning the woefull estate of such, Phil. 3. 18, 19. For many walke, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the ene­mies of the Crosse of Christ; whose end is de­struction: Well, What are their courses? Whose God is their belly, whose glorie is their shame, who minde earthly things. See here the end of excessive feasting. And thus you see the fourth Impediment, and the Remedies against it.

Fift let or impediment,5. Let. sc. Carnall pleasures, how hurt­full and dangerous. that keepeth men from spending time in Gods service, is the inordinate pursuite, and excessive use of car­nall pleasures and delights, vaine mirth and [Page 346] merriment. This doth follow to be hand­led after the former, as being, for the most part, an inseparable companion of it; Exod. 32. 6. The people sate downe to eat, and to drinke, and they rose up to play. So in Isaiahs time, this was an adjunct of their feasting, Isaiah 5. 12. The Harpe, and the Violl, the Tabret, and Pipe are in their feasts, (therefore they had no time to serve God) therefore it followeth, But they regard not the worke of the Lord, &c. certainely these vaine pleasures, if eagerly followed, will doe us a great deale of hurt, in usurping a great part of precious time, which was bet­ter spent in Gods service. Recreations, if moderately used, are very usefull and re­freshing, but if inordinate, they spoyle all. As it is fitly said of fire and water, that they are very good servants, but evill Masters: fire on the hearth is usefull; but in the thatch of the house fatall and dangerous: so pleasures and recreations are very conveni­ent, if used moderately, but very hurtfull, if they be abused by excesse. Yea, even the most innocent and harmelesse pleasures that can be, are very hurtfull, if followed im­moderately; as the best wine maketh the sharpest and the quickest Vinegar, To bee lovers of pleasures, more then of God, 2. Tim. 3. 4. or to spend that time in plea­sures, which we should spend in Gods ser­vice, will poyson the most innocent and harmelesse pleasures in the world.

[Page 347] Now the Remedies that we must use a­gainstRemedies. this great usurper of precious time, are principally these.

1. Let us be sure that the matters of our 1 pleasures and delights,See that the matter of our plea­sures bee lawfull. be just and lawfull. To take pleasure in sinning against God, It is a sport for a foole to doe wickedly, saith Salomon Prov. 10. 23. To take pleasure in swearing, in excessive drinking, or mak­ing others drunke, or pernicious and unci­vill jestings, this mirth is wholly earthly, sensuall, and devilish; this is like him, of whom Salomon in Prov. 26. 19, 20. that casteth firebrands, arrowes, and death, and saith, Am I not in sport? Here is wofull sport. Bee sure thy delights be lawfull and honest.

Secondly,Remedy. Seasonable. If never so law­full,2 yet if they be followed unseasonably,Seasonable. they are deadly and dangerous. Bowle­ing, shooting, leaping, these are lawfull in themselves; but these may be made unlaw­full, if used unseasonably, that is, in time of divine Service, or Sermon on the Lords day; Here is Wine turned into Vinegar: or in time of any publike calamity, when Gods Church is in misery. This was their fault in Amos his dayes, They dranke wine in bowles, &c. but did not regard the affliction of Ioseph, Amos 6. 6. So Isaiah 22. 12. In that day did the Lord God of Hosts call to weeping and mourning, &c. and behold, joy, and gladnesse, slaying Oxen, and killing [Page 348] Sheepe, eating flesh, and drinking wine. These were things lawfull in themselves, but un­seasonable now, because at this time God called for the contrary. This is the second rule or Remedy.

Thirdly,Remedie. 3. Moderate, and not ex­cessive. Moderate and sober, and not ex­cessive, when wee are even too much bent upon pleasures, and set our hearts upon them continually. Here was the Rich mans fault, that hee fared deliciously every day, Luke 16. 19. when we love pleasures more than God; when wee spend more time in carnall delights, then in the duties of Gods service; nay, can finde no time to give o­ver. Some spend day by day in pleasures, like their resolution, in Isa. 56. 12. Come ye (say they) I will fetch wine, and we will fill our selves with strong drinke, and to mor­row shall be as this day, and much more abun­dant. This was excessive.

Fourthly,4. Rule or Remedy. Meditat. And therefore the fourth and last Remedy consisteth in holy meditation, concerning the vanity, and danger of car­nall delights, if followed immoderately. To withdraw our affections from them, consider,

1 1. The vanity,To consider the vanity of carnall pleasures. and vacuity of these de­lights, and pleasures; especially, if wee seeme to place our happinesse, and felicity, in the enjoyment of them; they cannot satisfie the minde of man, but the more he doteth upon them, the lesse hee findeth in them. See what Salomon pronounceth of [Page 349] them all, when he had sifted them to the bottome, All is vanity, and vexation of spirit. That which he saith of silver, is as true of pleasures, He that loveth them (es­pecially too well) shal not be satisfied with them Eccles. 5. 10. See what the Holy Ghost pronounceth of all worldly things, and consequently of carnall and worldly pleasures, Isa. 55. Wherefore doe ye spend your money, for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? These cannot satisfie, nor bring any true content with them. But as in case of a burning fever, the poore thirsty creature, cryeth out for a cup of cold water, but the cup is scarce gone from his mouth, when he cryeth out for more, as being more en­flamed, and farre more thirstie then before: so it is with these carnall pleasures, they doe bewitch us so, that the more wee enjoy them, the more we dote upon them, Let us stay and moderate our selves this way, with this consideration, He that thinketh to satisfie himselfe with carnall delights, may as well take in hand to fill a sive with water, which would bee an endlesse la­bour.

Secondly,Medit. 2. Fickle and uncertaine. If they could satisfie, (which they cannot doe) yet dote not upon them, because they are so fickle, uncertaine, and momentany. Alas! they are but for a sea­son, they betake them to their wings (like riches) and flye away as an Eagle towards [Page 350] Heaven: they are of a fading nature, and a perishing condition: they endure but for a season; That made wise Mo­ses care little for them, and so lightly to esteeme them, preferring the afflictions of Gods people before them, Heb. 11. 25. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sinne for a season.

Thirdly,Meditat. 3. Hurtfull & dangerous. Consider how hurtefull, and dangerous. Carnall mirth doth ever end in heavinesse, and bitternesse. Woe unto you that laugh now, saith our Saviour, for yee shall wayle and weepe, Luke 6. 25. (i. e.) Hearken to this yee merry blades, that spend all your dayes in mirth, and jollity, you will have one day the heaviest hearts of any people under heaven; in the meane time it stealeth away the heart. Like as continuall whetting spendeth time, and spoyleth the sithe: so excessive sporting spoyleth the minde, indisposeth to good, and maketh a man even a prey to his lusts and to Sathan; yea, and we may assure our selves, that it will be bitternesse in the later end, for it is sure to end in heavinesse, either of godly sorrow, (if we doe repent) or of desperate griese and sorrow in hell, lest thou mourne at last, saith Salomon, Prov. 5. 11. when thy flesh and body are consumed, &c. So Iob 21. 13. They spend their dayes in wealth, or in mirth, saith the margent, And in a moment goe downe to hell, A fearefull end, a wofull conclusion.

[Page 351] Sixth chiefe Let or impediment is vaine 6 speeches;Vaine spee­ches. which the Apostle fitly calleth tatling,6. Let. and speaketh of it, as a fault some­what worse than idlenesse, and a thing most incident unto Women, 1 Tim. 5. 13. And not only idle, but tatlers also, and busie bodies; which is the babling out of vaine, and frothie speeches, the prosecuting of an idle tale, which hath neither head, nor foote. This is a very great consumer of much pre­cious time, and a great impediment.

The Remedies whereof consist,Remedies. partly in

  • Meditation.
  • Practice.

1. Consider that God Almighty is aMeditat. 1. most curious observer,That God doth curi­ously ob­serveour-speeches. and an exact eare­witnesse 1 of all our speeches. We cannot so much as whisper a thing, even secretly, but the Lord taketh notice of it. See an excel­lent speech of David, for this purpose, Psalme 139. 3, 4. Thou art acquainted with all my wayes; for there is not a word in my tongue, but loe, ô Lord, thou knowest it alto­gether. Had we not need to take heed what we speake, as well as what we doe, for the Lord hearkeneth, and lendeth a listning eare to all our speeches, whether they bee right or wrong, Ier. 8. 6. I hearkened, and heard, Metitat. 2. but they spake not aright, no man re­pented himselfe of his owne wickednesse, God will call us to a strict ac­count for them. say­ing,2 What have I done?

That as God heareth, so he will call us to a strict account for our very speeches: for [Page 352] God will not only bring every worke, but also every idle word into judgment; Mat. 12. 36. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speake, they shall give an account thereof at the day of judgement. For by thy words thou shalt bee justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Secondly,2. Remedy. Consisting in practise. Keepe thy mouth and tongue with all dili­gence. Keepe not only thy heart, but also thy mouth and tongue with all dili­gence. This was Davids practise, Psal. 29. 1. I said I will take heed unto my wayes, that I sinne not with my tongue. I will keepe my mouth with a bridle. And especially looke well to the heart, and keepe that cleane and sure, because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh, saith our blessed Saviour, Matth. 12. 34.

Seventhly,7. Let. Is vaine thoughts. and lastly, Vaine thoughts and cogitations, which keepe holy medi­tations out of the heart, and dispose to vani­tie. I hate vaine thoughts, saith David, Psalme 119. 118. There is both the disease, and the remedy. This the Lord cryeth out against, in Ierem. 14. 4. Wash thy heart from wickednesse, O Ierusalem: How long shall thy vaine thoughts lodge within thee? The Remedie against this last impedi­ment,Remedies. 1 is to make conscience of our thoughts,Consisting in meditati­on. 1. God searcheth the heart, & seeth our thoughts. and examine them dayly, and that upon a twofold consideration.

1. Because God is a searcher, and discer­ner of the very thoughts, and intents of the heart: He searcheth the heart, and reines, [Page 353] Psal. 7. 9. Yea, he understandeth the thoughts a farre off, or long before, Psalme 139. 2. The Lord knew what thoughts the Israe­lites would thinke in the land of Canaan, before ever they came there, Deut. 31. 21.

2. Because the Lord will bring not only 2 our workes,God will bring our very thoughts in­to judgment but every secret thing (our ve­ry thoughts) into judgement, Eccles. 12. 14) So that we had need to pray, that even the thoughts of our hearts may be forgiven us, Acts 8. 22. and thus you see now the fifth meanes, or direction, how to spend much time in Gods service, sc. by thus re­deeming the time as you have heard.

CHAP. XII.

Containing the third and last Duty, which we are to performe sc. in regard of o­thers, &c.

THirdly and lastly,3. Dutie. Not only to spend much time in Gods ser­vice our selves, but also to doe our best, to prevaile with others to doe so. Seeing time spent in GODS service is abso­lutely and incomporably the best spent time, This serveth to exhort us, not only to preach, but also to doe our best to perswade, and prevaile with others, and to presse them earnestly to spend much time in Gods service. It is the dispo­sition of a religious heart, that such an one is not content to serve God himselfe, but [Page 354] earnestly desireth, and carefully endeavour­eth, to draw others thereunto. This hath ever beene the disposition and the practise of Gods people, Psalm. 122. 1. I was glad, when they said unto mee, let us goe to the house of the Lord. Where we see, that in those dayes, such as were truely religious, were not content to serve God themselves, but were ready to exhort and perswade o­thers thereunto. 2. That David was mar­veilous glad, and very ready to accept of the motion. This was foretold to bee the disposition of godly persons under the time of the Gospell, Isa. 2. 2, 3. Mich. 4. 1, 2. It shall come to passe in the last dayes, that the mountaine of the Lord shall be establi­shed in the top of the mountaines, &c. and all Nations shall flow unto it. Well, What is, or shall be, the disposition of godly per­sons in those times? And many people shall goe up, and say, come ye, let us goe up to the mountaine of the Lord, to the house of the God of Iacob; and he will teach us of his wayes, and wee will walke in his paths, &c. The like was foretold, Zach. 8. 21. The in­habitants of one Citie, shall goe to another, saying, let us goe speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seeke the Lord of Hosts; I will goe also. Where we see,

1. That godly people are not content toIt hath bin the practise of Gods people to doe so. serve God themselves, but are carefull to ex­hort and perswade others thereunto.

2. That they were ready to doe this spee­dily.

[Page 355] 3. That he that made the motion, was him­selfe ready to goe before them, by his own good example, I will goe also: an excellent patterne for our imitation; that we should exhort others to make all possible speed to serve God. And 2. That such as make such religious motions, must be fearefull to goe before them, by their owne good examples. Now as it was foretold that it should be so in the later dayes; so give me leave to shew by examples, that it was so. Now for ex­amples I might produce many, I will in­stance but only in two: one man, and one woman: that I may perswade both men and women, to imitate and follow such rare, and holy examples. Holy Barnabas, see what the Spirit of God saith of him: Acts 11. 23, 24. (when he came to Anti­och) sc. That when he had seene the grace of God among them, he was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord: for hee was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, &c. Wherein we may see; 1. That he that is truly religious, is not content to serve God himselfe, but rejoyceth greatly in the reli­gious forwardnesse of others, and is ready to exhort, and encourage others to constancy, and perseverance therein. 2. That hee is a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost that is of that holy disposition.

2. The other example is that of the Woman of Samaria, Iohn 4. 28. who ha­ving [Page 356] met with our blessed Saviour, and be­ing by him effectually wrought upon, and truly converted unto God, she runneth in­to the City to tell her neighbours, saying, Come, see a Man that hath told me all that ever I did; Is not he the Christ? where we see, that she was not content to enjoy this speciall favour her selfe, but she earnestly de­sireth, and carefully endeavoureth to be an instrument and meanes to prevaile with others, and to bring them to God. Let no man say, What need I trouble my selfe with others? Is it not enough for me to be re­ligious, and serve God daily, and truly my selfe, unlesse I be forward to exhorte others? For he that hath true grace, cannot but bee ready to doe all good offices to hasten, and to helpe forward the salvation of others. Goodnesse is even a spreader of it selfe. True grace maketh a man to resolve, like those Lepers, whereof we reade 2 Kings 7. 9, 10. When they had filled, and satisfi­ed their hungry stomackes, and caryed sil­ver, and gold, and hidden it for their use, se [...] then what they say with themselves. The [...] they said one to another, We doe not well, th [...] day is a day of good tydings, and we hold ou [...] peace. Now therefore come, and let us te [...] the Kings household. Where wee see, tha [...] though their charity began at home, yet [...] did not end there, but expressed it selfe fo [...] the reliefe and the benefit of others. H [...] that hath once tasted of the sweetnesse [...] [Page 357] Gods gracious favour, cannot but earnestly invite others. See an experiment of this in one that had the least leasure to shew it, that is the thiefe on the Crosse, Luke 23. 40. Fearest thou not God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41. And wee indeed justly, &c. but this man hath done nothing amisse. See how many signes of true grace he hath manifested!

1. He confessed his owne guiltinesse, and the justice of God.

2. Vindicated the innocency of Christ.

3. Was affected with the judgement, and brought to feare God.

4. Earnestly desired to worke upon his fellow servant, Doest thou not feare God, &c. (i.e.) ô feare God, consider what a wofull estate thou art plunged into.

Reasons,Reasons or Motives. or Motives io perswade us here­unto, are foure.

1. In regard of God.

2. In regard of our selves.

3. In regard of others.

4. In regard of the excellency of Gods Ordinances.

1. In regard of God,In regard of God: be­cause here­by we shall shew our zeale to his glory, which is hereby ad­vanced. because the Lord 1 is much honoured, and his Name is highly magnified; and therefore hereby we shall shew our zeale for Gods glory, and our [...]ove unto his Majesty. Gods glory in all things should be respected in the first place; Whether ye eate, or drinke, or whatsoever ye doe, doe all to the glory of God, saith the [Page 358] Apostle, 1 Cor. 10. 31. Now surely the more people, and the greater the company is, that joyne together in the duties of Gods service, the more glory must needs hereby redound to God: for the enlarging of Christs kingdome, is a chiefe meanes of advancing Gods glory. This our Saviour teacheth, in the very mould, and course of the Lords Prayer: it appeareth in the ve­ry order of the petitions. 1. Hallowed be thy Name: to shew, that in all things, in the first place, Gods glory must be respect­ed; 2. Thy kingdome come: there is the chiefe meanes, to shew that the comming of Gods kingdome is one chiefe meanes for the hallowing of his Name; and the enlarging of Christ's kingdome is a chiefe meanes for the advancing of Gods glory, Matth. 6. 10, 11. certainely much glory must needs hereby redound to God, when we are not content only to serve God our selves, but also exhort, and excite, and stirre up others hereunto.

Secondly,2. Motive In regard of our selves, be­cause. 1. This is a good Testimony that we our selves are religious. There is another Motive to perswade us, which is drawne from our selves: Hereby we shall manifest the work of grace wrought in our own hearts. This is a good testimony that we are truely reli­gious indeed, when wee are not content to serve God our selves, but are ready to provoke, and stirre up others hereunto: for goodnesse is a spreader of it selfe, it is ready to disperse and communicate it selfe for the [Page 359] good of others. Yee heard what the Holy Ghost said of Barnabas, Acts, 11. 23. That he exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord, ver. 24. for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost. A good man, and one that is full of the Holy Ghost, is, and will be ready to ex­cite, and stirre up others unto that which is good: When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren, said our Saviour, Luk. 22. 32. He that is truly converted himselfe, will be ready to be a meanes to convert, and turne others to God. See it in David, Psalme 51. 13. Then shall I teach thy wayes to the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Where there is abundance of grace in the heart, it will manifest it selfe in our gra­cious speeches, and holy communication, Psal. 37. 30, 31. The mouth of the righte­ous speaketh wisedome, his tongue will bee talking of judgement, the Law of his God is in his heart, &c. for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh, saith our Sa­viour, Matth. 12. 34. I have hid thy Word in my heart, saith David, Psalme 119. 11. See the fruit of this Psalm. 95. 6. O come let us worship, and fall downe, and kneele be­fore the Lord our maker, &c. True grace maketh a man ready to doe good offices for others, especially, to perswade them to serve God, and be religious.

Thirdly,3. Motive. In regard of others▪ hereby we shall mani­fest our love, & discharge our dutie to others. In regard of others; For here­by we shall best manifest our love and re­spect [Page 360] to others; yea, we doe not know, how much good we may doe them this way; for by this, we may come to save a soule from death, and cover a multitude of sinnes, Iam. 5. 20. Hereby we may come to be acquainted with the wayes of God,This hath beene the practise of Gods peo­ple. our selves and o­thers whom we perswade, may be hereby converted to walke in his pathes; for Psal. 19. 7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, conver­ting the soule, &c. See how confidently Da­vid assureth himselfe of the conversion of o­thers, upon his best endeavour to teach them Gods wayes, Psal. 51. 13. Then shall I teach thy wayes to the wicked, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. How much more, if we come to the house and Ordinances of God, and bring others with us? This argument Gods people have used, to perswade others to goe with them to Gods house. Come, let us goe up to the mountaine of the Lord, for he will teach us of his wayes, and we will walke in his pathes, Isa. 2. 2, 3. This is the way to bring others to the true feare of GOD, as well as our selves, if we can perswade them to accompany us, in the constant and fre­quent use of Gods Ordinances. Observe an excellent place to this purpose, Deut. 31. 11, 12. When all Israel is come to appeare be­fore the Lord, in the place that he shall choose, thou shalt reade this Law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, women, and children, and the stranger that is within thy gates. Why so? What good will [Page 361] they get this? That they may heare, and that they may learne, and feare the Lord your God, to doe all the words of this Law. Where we see, that the house, or place of Gods worship and service must be constantly frequented; and that it is not enough for us to come thither our selves, but we must also bring our whole families, men, women, and chil­dren; yea, the very stranger that doth but occasionally come unto us; we must bring all to Gods Ordinances. And lastly, that hereby we are likely to be instruments of working the feare of God in the hearts of those whom we bring; and so to bring them to obedience. Let no man say, What neede we trouble our selves with others? Is it not enough, for every man to looke to himselfe, and to have a care that he spend time him­selfe in Gods service, though he doe not meddle with others? For though Christian charitie begin at home, yet it doth not end there; but he that is truely carefull to serve God himselfe, will be readie to exhort and admonish others, especially those of his fa­milie, and such as are committed to his charge. And if any thinke much at this, yet let him know that it is no more then his du­tie; Heb. 3. 13. But exhort one another day­ly, while it is called to day. Nay, no man can have any good assurance, that he draweth nigh to God with a true heart himselfe, if he doe not doe his best endeavour, to excite and stirre up others to doe so too. See an ex­cellent [Page 362] passage to this purpose, Heb. 10. 22. 24. &c. Let us draw neare with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evill conscience, and our bo­dies washed with cleane water, &c. But how shall we come to be assured that we doe so? That you shall see, Ver. 24. Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love, and unto good workes, &c. Yea, but what good worke are we principally to bring others unto? Sure­ly, to frequent the Church assemblies, v. 25. Not forsaking the assembling of our selves to­gether, as the manner of some is, So that you see, we have great warrant for this. Yea, we must needs doe it, necessitie is layd upon us, and woe be unto us if we doe it not. It is the voyce of a Cain, Am I my Brothers keep­er? Gen. 4. Art thou not bound to love thy neighbour as thy selfe? But I will tell thee, that thou doest not love, but hate him in thy heart, if thou suffer him to goe on in a­ny sinfull way, and doe not doe thy best en­deavour to convert him. See an evident place for this purpose, in Levit. 19. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart. Yea, it is the second maine dutie of the Law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy selfe? But it may be thou art readie to say,Else we hate o [...]r brother in our heart. Alas! I doe not hate him, but wish him well, and love him as my selfe; I doe not trouble him, nor make nor meddle with him, &c. Nay, but this is not enough, thou mayest hate him in thy heart, notwithstanding all this, if [Page 363] thou goe no farther, and therefore see what followeth; Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sinne upon him; else thou doest but hate him in thy heart. So that if we see our brother neglect the Church as­sembles, or heare him sweare, and blaspheme the Name of God, or live in any other sinne, and doe not plainely rebuke him, thou doest not love thy brother, but hate him in thy heart, and art a murtherer in Gods account. Hereby we testifie the truth of our love to­wards them; especially, thy familie, and those that are committed to thy charge; thou doest not love them truely, but hate them in thy heart, if thou neglect the good of their soules. See the concurrent practise of such as have beene once truely converted themselves, that their families have beene soone wrought on, even immediately after. Act. 16. 34. It is sayd of the converted Iay­ler,The Iayler. Acts 16. that he beleeved in God, with all his house. And the like is sayd of others.Abraham. This was A­brahams care, to instruct and reforme his fa­milie, Gen. 18. 19. I know Abraham, that he will command his children & servants to keepe the way of the Lord, to doe judgement and ju­stice; (i.e.) I know Abraham will not be content to serve God himselfe alone, but he will have a speciall care to see that his hous­hold doe so, as well as he. Yea, this was the resolution, and godly pietie of holy Ioshua, Chap. 24. 14, 15.Ioshua. Having reckoned up the singular varietie of Gods mercies towards [Page 364] them, he endeavoureth hereupon to per­swade all the people of God unto a religi­ous obedience, saying, Ver. 14. Now there­fore, feare the Lord, and serve him in upright­nesse and truth. But then see, ver. 15. if he could not prevaile with all the rest, yet he would be sure to prevaile with his owne fa­milie; he durst undertake for them; As for me, I, and my house will serve the Lord. No man can have assurance that he is truely converted to God himselfe,None but such can be truely assu­red of their owne con­version. if he doe not put away iniquitie from his Tabernacle: See, Iob 22. 23. If thou returne to the Al­mightie, thou shalt be built up; thou shalt put away iniquitie from thy tabernacles. Oh how this would quicken our desire and endea­vour to reforme our familie; if this was layd to heart, and rightly considered; this would make a man resolve with David, not to keepe such servants in his familie, as are prophane, and irreligious; Psal. 101. 4. A froward heart shall depart from me, I will not know a wicked person: Ver. 7. He that work­eth deceit shall not dwell in my house; and he that telleth li [...]s, shall not tarry in my sight. O therefore let us have a care, not onely to serve God our selves, but let us doe our best to perswade others; especially, let us have a care to reforme our families, and put away iniquitie from our Tabernacle;This is the way to bring Gods bles­sing upon our fami­lies. this is the way to bring the blessing of God both up­on our selves, and upon our families. The power of Religion, where it once cometh, [Page 365] doth ever leave a blessing behinde it. As the Arke of God brought a blessing with it to the house of O bed Edom, 2 Sam. 6. 11. Yea, if there be but one person in a familie that truely feareth God, the whole familie and houshold shall fare the better for their sakes. Thus God blessed Labans house for Jacobs sake, as Laban himselfe confessed, and therefore was lothe to part with him, Gen. 30. 27. I pray thee tarry, sayth he, for I have learned by experience, that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake. And so the Lord blessed Putiphar's house for Ioseph's sake: that idolatrous family sped a great deale the better for such a servant; The Lord blessed the Aegyptians house for Ioseph's sake, sayth the Text, Gen. 39. 5. But how much more, would it be a speciall meanes to bring Gods blessing upon our houses, and families, if all the whole familie would delight to spend time in GODS service, and be religious? Doubtlesse, the Lord would make good that gracious promise, Psal. 84. 11. That he will be Sunne and Shield unto them; that he would give grace and glory, and no good thing would h [...] withhold from such a familie, &c. Thus you see strong Motives and Arguments, to per­swade us, not onely to serve God our selves, but also to exhort and perswade our families to doe the like. Here are the three first Mo­tives.

CHAP. XIII.

Wherein the fourth Motive to the third and last Dutie is propounded, and prosecuted.

FOurthly,4. Motive. To perswa [...] us to endea­vour to pre­vaile with others to spend time in Gods ser­vice; sc. The worth and excel­lency of the duties of Gods pub­like worship and service. The last Motive to perswade us, not onely to serve GOD our selves, but also to perswade others thereunto, is drawn from the consideration of the worth and excellency of the exercises of Religion; especially, the duties of his publike and so­lemne worship. How can any of us spend our time better, then in such holy and excel­lent performances? It is even a little hea­ven upon earth to be so employed; there have we the Word faithfully read & preach­ed, both the Old and New Testament; yea, there we have the Ordinance of Catechi­sing, wherein we have milke for babes, as well as meate for strong men. But as touch­ing the worth and excellency of this Ordi­nance, I have already spoken, Chap. 9. But besides the Ministery of the Word, we have, 1. the publike and solemne prayers, and Ly­turgie of our Church, wherin all Gods peo­ple joyne together, as one man, in that so­lemne dutie and service. 2. We have the ho­ly [Page 367] and blessed Sacraments, rightly, and due­ly administred, both Baptisme, and the Sup­per of the Lord, which were both of them clearely instituted by Christ himselfe, and are of profitable and excellent use for Gods people, that have occasion to joyne toge­ther in the celebration and participation of them.

First,1. Publike pra [...]ers lawfull and excellent. For publike prayer in the Congre­gation, see how expresly the Apostle requi­reth it, 1 Tim. 2. 1. I exhort, that first of all, prayer, and supplication, and intercession, and giving of thankes, be made for all men, for Kings, and such as are in authoritie. Let no man despise the publike Lyturgie of our Church, and the prayers that are used there, as if God regarded not such prayers as are read upon a booke; for certainly, the most godly,M. Sam. Hieron. Preface be­fore Helpe to Devoti­on. learned, and wisest men, that I have heard, or read of, have approved of set forme of prayers: yea, one of the wisest and ablest (even of those that have disliked the Cere­monies of our Church) hath yet highly e­steemed of the prayers, which are appointeh to be read in our publike Lyturgie; yea, and doth professe publikely, that in his opinion, no wise man will dislike such kinde of pray­ers, eyther because they are read upon a booke,M. Hilder­sham. on Psal 51. pag. 810. 811. Idem on Psal. 51. page 68. or for their length, or the multitude of them: yea, ye sheweth plainely, that it hath beene the practice and custome of the best Churches, to have bookes of publike prayers, and approveth of, and justifieth the [Page 368] practise of Gods Church in that regard; yea,Hildersham Fast. page 37. see how highly that pious man hath ap­proved of the Booke of prayers, appointed by Authoritie for the keeping of publike Fasts: concerning which this reverend Divine sayth thus, concerning the sayd Booke of prayers, That they are as ample, holy, effectuall, and fit for the present occa­sion, as ever were in any Lyturgie that he had seene. Having therefore cleared this in the first place, give me leave to shew you the worth and excellency of publike prayers in the Congregation, in some respect above any prayers that are made in secret in our Closets, or in private amongst our people in our families. See it in foure particulars.

1 First,Illustration. In regard of the In regard of the excellency of the company that is present there in a speciall manner: which I will manifest unto you in these three particulars.

1 First,Companie that is pre­sent there, The Church and people of GOD are present there, in a most speciall manner, and readie to joyne with us in these publike 2 prayers.The pre­sence of Gods peo­ple. Now it must needs be an excellent thing, and very beneficiall unto us in this regard. This made David delight in the du­ties of Gods publike worship and service; yea, and cary his whole hous-hold (a mul­titude) with him to the House of God, be­cause he was sure to meet with the Saints of God there, in whom, next under God him­selfe, was all his delight; Psal. 42. 4. Psal. 16. 3. My goodnesse, O Lord, extendeth not [Page 369] to thee, but to the Saints which are on the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. This made him so glad when he was exhor­ted by any to goe to the house of God, sc. in regard of the good company that he was sure to finde there. Psal. 122. 1. 4. I was glad when they sayd unto me, let us goe up to the house of the Lord. Why so? That yee shall see, ver. 4. Thither the Tribes goe up, the Tribes of the Lord, &c. to give thankes to the Name of the Lord: and, ver. 8. For my bre­bren and companions sake, I will now say, peace be within thee. Loe, this is one strong Motive that should perswade us, not onely duely to frequent the house of God our selves, but to exhort and stirre up others to joyne with us therein, sc. because of the people of GOD, that are there present in a speciall manner.

Secondly,The Angels are present there. Not onely Gods people are there 2 present, but also the holy Angells of God are present in our Church assemblies. As they are at all times fent forth for the good of them that shall be heires of Salvation, Heb. 1. 14. so especially then, when we are the most se­riously imployed in the duties of Gods pub­like worship and service; they then pitch their tents about us, to defend us, Psal. 34. 7. and keepe us in all our wayes; much more when we walke in the wayes of God, they are then present with us in a most speciall manner. This the Apostle intimateth, in [...]hat direction which he giveth to women, [...] Cor. 11. 10. For this cause ought the woman [Page 370] to have power on her head, Chrysostom & Pareus in locum. Hildersha. on Iohn 4. page 117. (that is, to have her head covered, in token of sujection) because of the Angells, (i.e.) The Angells are in a most speciall manner present in our Church assemblies, and will dislike such dis­orders. Yea, this was also figured to Gods people in Salomons time, and hence it was, that the walls of Salomons Temple were full of Cherubims round about, 1 King. 6. 29. to intimate unto Gods people, that the ho­ly Angells of God were in a speciall manner present in the Church assemblies. This should perswade us to make great account of the publike prayers in the Congregation.

3 Thirdly,Not onely the Saints and Angels, but also the Lord him­selfe is there present. Not onely the Saints and An­gells, but also the Lord himselfe is in a most speciall manner present, at our publike pray­ers in the Congregation: Loe, I am with you alwayes, to the end of the world, sayth our Sa­viour, Mat. 18. 20. Especially, at publike prayers; for of such kinde of assemblies our blessed Saviour speaketh, Mat. 18. 20. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middest of them. Oh how this should perswade us, not onely to spend time in Gods service our selves, but also ex­hort others to doe so too, in regard of the excellent company that we are there sure to meete withall, the holy Saints, and the Angels of God; yea, and the Lord himselfe.

Secondly,2. Illustrat. Such pray­ers are usu­ally most powerfull and preva­lent. Because publike prayers, that are presented to God in the Congregation, are usually most prevalent, and powerfull, [Page 371] and likely to prevaile with God, eyther for the obtaining of some speciall blessing that we want, or preventing, or removing some heavie judgement, eyther felt, or feared; for the Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more then all the dwellings of Iacob, Psal. 87. 2. Such prayers do usually finde speciall accep­tance with him. See what a promise our Sa­viour hath made to such prayers, Mat. 18. 19. Againe, I say unto you, if two of you (much more, if two hundred) shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they shall aske, it shall be done for them, of my Father which is in heaven. For there the Lord commandeth his blessing, and life for evermore, sayth the Text, Psal. 133. 3. Yea, the Lord himselfe directeth to these publike and solemne prayers, as those that of all others are the most effectu­all to prevaile with God; as appeareth in Joell 2. when he foretelleth a judgement fu­ture; see what the Lord prescribeth, as the meanes to prevent it, V. 15. Blow the Trum­pet in Zion, sanctifie a Fast, call a solemne as­sembly; V. 16. Gather the people, sanctifie the Congregation, assemble the Elders, yea, gather the children, yea, the bride and bridegroome, the Priests and Ministers of the Lord, all must bestirre themselves, with fasting, and weep­ing, and praying; and then see the event pro­mised, V. 18. Then will the Lord be jealous for his Land, and pitie his people, Ver. 19. The like promise we have, 2 Chron. 7. 13, 14. If the people that are called by my Name, shall hum­ble [Page 372] themselves, and pray, and seeke my face, &c. So that in the opinion of God himselfe, such prayers are excellent, because most effectuall and prevalent with God in time of danger. Yea, this was the opinion of our blessed Sa­viour, and therefore it was that he frequen­ted the Jewish Synagogues, the places ap­poynted for publike prayer, though he was the most excellently furnished with the spi­rit of prayer, of any that ever were; yea, and those Synagogues had great corrupti­ons in them: which sheweth how highly he esteemed of publike prayers, which were solemnely made to God in the Congregati­on. This also appeareth by experience. See what wonderfull successe the Ninivites had, in proclaiming publike fasting and prayer; Ionah 8. 10. When God saw their workes (how publikely & solemnly they went to worke) he repented of the evill that he intended to doe unto them, and he did it not. So see the successe that Iohosophat had by this meanes, even at a dead lift, 2 Chron. 20. 3. 13. Concerning which the Storie setteth out three things in that case, as the most remarkable. 1. The danger they were in, their enemies being many in number, were readie even suddenly to set upon them, ver. 1, 2. 2. The course that they tooke, to prevent the danger, v. 3. He proclaimed a fast, and set himselfe to seeke the Lord: yea, see how solemnly they went to worke; Ver. 4. Judah gathered themselves together to aske helpe of the Lord, even out of [Page 373] all the Cities of Iudah they came to seeke the Lord: and ver. 13. And all Iudah stood be­fore the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, there was none left out. Then thirdly, See the strange and admirable suc­cesse that followed hereupon, ver. 22, 23, 24. &c. They had the victorie, without so much as striking of a stroke, the enemies de­stroyed one another, and the Iewes had no­thing to doe, but onely to divide the spoyle, and returne due prayse and thankesgiving to God, for so miraculous a deliverance. See here the power of joynt prayers, like a great flood, they beate downe all before them. And indeede, in all reason the prayers that are made by the publike vote of Gods peo­ple, must needs be the most effectuall; for if the effectuall fervent prayer of one righteous man availe much, Iam. 5. 17. much more of many: Mat. 7. 7. Aske, and you shall have; seeke, and yee shall finde; and knocke, and it shall be opened. If a whole Towne or Parish doe all joyne together, to aske a boone at some great mans hand, they are most likely to pre­vaile, rather then one man alone. 2. If many eyes do joyne in seeking a thing that is lost, there is the more probabilitie to finde it; and if many joyne together, with joynt for­ces, to knocke at heaven gates; are they not the more likely to beate them open? O then the blockish folly of such as regard not these publike prayers, that are made to God in the Church assemblies, but doe often absent [Page 374] themselves, upon every light and triviall occasion! Yea, and see the folly of those that preferre their owne private prayers, before the publike prayers of the whole Church of God in the Congregation: but above all, the folly of those is most palpable, that doe be­stow that time in private reading upon a booke, which they should imploy in joyn­ing with Gods people in publike and so­lemne prayers: if this be not to offer unto God the sacrifice of fooles, I must needs confesse, I doe not know what is.

Thirdly,3. Illustrat. Such pray­ers redound most to Gods glorie. The third thing wherein the worth of such kinde of prayers appeareth, is in regard of the glory that hereby re­doundeth to God. I know the Lord recei­veth glory by the performance of holy du­ties in secret, and in our families, as well as in the Congregation: but as 1 Cor. 15. There are degrees of glory, there is one glory of the Sun another of the Moone, & another of the starres: so in this case; 1. Secret duties in our Closets, that may be compared to the glory of the Starres. 2. Private duties in our families, that may be compared to the Moone-light. 3. Publike duties in the Congregation, that may be compared to the glorious light of the Sunne: So that the most glory doth here­by redound to God. Hence it is, that David had such a speciall respect to the duties of Gods publike worship and service; as Psal. 111. 1. I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the [Page 375] Congregation. So, Psal. 116. 18. I will pay my vowes now in the presence of all his people. Why so? Surely, because he knew that much glo­ry did hereby redound to God. Psal. 29. 1, 2. Give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto the Lord the glory due unto his Name: But how? It followeth; Worship the Lord in the beautie of Holines. By this meanes we give unto God the glory due unto his name. Fourthly,4. Illustrat. Most sweet and com­fortable. In regard of the sweetnes & com­fort that hereby redoūdeth to Gods people: this is afeast of fat things; yea, hereby we taste that the Lord is gracious, 1 Pet. 2. 3. And it is unto Gods people the very joy & rejoycing of the heart; they are like unto them that keepe holy day, as David expresseth it, Ps. 42. 4. v.

CHAP. XIV.

Containing a Description of the excellency of the Sacraments, of Baptisme, and of the Lords Supper.

SEcondly, As the excellency of the publike prayers should perswade us, not onely to frequent the publike exercises of Religion our selves, but also move us, to exhort and per­swade others:The excel­lency of the Sacraments. so the excellency of the Sa­craments, which are rightly and duely ad­ministred in our Church assemblies, should also perswade us hereunto. O the excellency of these seales of Righteousnesse, as the Apo­stle calleth them, Rom. 4. 11. See it in both [Page 376] the Sacraments of the new Testament. And First,1. Baptisme, the excel­lency of it. For Baptisme, Consider the excellen­cy of this Sacrament in it selfe, & the useful­nesse & benefit of it, in regard of our selves. It was the Lord Jesus himselfe that institu­ted & appointed this Sacrament. It was he that said unto his Disciples, Mat. 28. 19. Goe, 1 and teach all Nations, It was in­stituted by Christ him­selfe. and baptise them in the Name of the Father, and of the Sonne, &c. and therefore in no case to be slighted or disre­garded. Let no man therfore despise this Sa­crament, or scornfully turne their backs up­on it, when it is administred in the Congre­gation, (as many doe, who eyther depart thence, or else employ that time in private reading, as if this Ordinance did nothing at all concerne them) for it was Christ himselfe that instituted it, & therefore any contempt or indignity offered herein, must needs reach 2 unto Christ himselfe,The admi­nistration of it, is 2 Beneficiall to us. as the abuse of the Kings broad seale extendeth to his Majesty.

Secondly, There is none of us but may receive much good by this Sacrament of Baptisme (whensoever it is administred) if the fault be not in our selves;1. Benefit. for hereby we shall not onely testifie our due respect to Gods Ordinance, and consequently to his owne Majestie:1. Hereby we are put in minde of our owne Baptisme, and the be­nefits which we then re­ceived. but besides, hereby we shall be put in minde of our owne Baptisme, and our participation in this blessed Sacrament, and of those admirable benefits, which we then received, as, sc. the remission of our sins, our spirituall new-birth and regnera­tion, [Page 377] being borne of water and of the Ho­ly Ghost, Ioh. 3. 5. Yea, hereby we become the members of Christ, the children of God, and inheritours of the kingdome of hea­ven, as we have it in our Catechisme. And how can we be put in minde of these bene­fits, without being in some measure stirred up unto praise and thankfulnes for the same, when we have such a lively commemorati­on of our being ingrafted into the body of Christ, and of our originall sins being wash­ed away in the bloud of Christ? Now if any wonder, or thinke it strange, how any such benefits should hereby be conveyed un­to us; let him consider, that Gods ordai­ning of any thing, doth make it effectu­all to the end for which it is appoin­ted, although in it selfe it seeme never so improbable, or wholly impossible: See 2 Kings 5. Naaman the Syrian com­ming to the Prophet to be cured of his le­prosie, he sendeth him to wash seven times in Iordan, and he should be cleansed, this seemed a very incredible thing in the eyes of this great man, goe wash in Iordan; here a likely course to cure a man of his leprosie: if washing in a river would have served the turne, I need never to have come hither, for, saith he, Are no Abanah, and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus better then all the wa­ters of Israel? &c. and so he began to goe his way in a rage, saith the Text, verse 12. yea, and if some of his servants had not [Page 378] better considered of the matter, hee had gone backe againe as uncleane as he came; for, say they, My father, if the Prophet had bidden thee doe some great matter, wouldest thou not have done it? How much more, when he saith unto thee: Wash, and be cleane? What hurt can it doe thee, if thou wash in Iordan? Besides, it may happily prevaile beyond all expectation. And see the sequell, ver. 14. He went downe, and dipped him­selfe seven times in Iordan, according to the saying of the Man of God, and his flesh came againe, like unto the flesh of a little childe, and hee was cleane. So let no man say, What likely-hood, or probability is there, that the washing or besprinkling the face of an Infant with baptisme, should bee the instrument of regeneration? Or that a bit of bread, and a small sup of wine, should be of such admirable efficacy, as to make us partakers of Christ, with all his merits? For certainely, the Ordinances of GOD make a thing admirably effectuall, above and beyond all imagination. What an ad­mirable passage to this purpose is that which we have, Numbers 21. 9. Where being stung with fiery Serpents in the Wildernesse, God commandeth them, as a remedy, that they should make a Serpent of brasse, and set it upon a Pole. Now in the eye of carnall reason, this was an unlikely thing to doe any good at all; and yet the Text sheweth how admirably effectuall it [Page 379] was; so that he that could looke towards the brasen Serpent, was healed immediatly: and so whosoever can look at Christ, with an eye of faith in his Ordinances, shal surely be healed. So that here is the first benefit that we may receive, and the ground of it.

Secondly,2. Benefit. This may put us in mind of the vow wee made then to God. So often as we see this Ordi­nance of Baptisme administred, so often we may be put in minde of our duty, and the solemne vow and promise that we made to God in that Sacrament, sc. that wee would forsake the Devill, and all his works, &c. and that we would believe in God, and keepe his Commandements, and so approve our selves to be Christs faithful servants and Souldiers unto our lives end. And is it not of singular use, to bee put in minde of our duty? And how can we choose but remem­ber it, when we see and heare the like, nay the same vow and promise made to God, in the behalfe of another? This is another speciall benefit.

Thirdly,3. Benefit. Hereby wit­nesses in Baptisme may bee put in minde, of that which they under­tooke in the behalfe of others. Hereby we may be put in mind of that which we undertake, as solemne Witnesses in the behalfe of our God-chil­dren, or our children in God; that so we may put them in minde of what we promised for them, and see that they be vertuously brought up, and to this end call upon them to heare Sermons, &c. all which, all pro­mise, but few performe. This will minde us of this duty.

Fourthly,4. Benefit. and lastly, Hereby we have a [Page 380] fit opportunity of performing a good of­fice,An oppor­tunity of performing a good of­fice, in the behalfe of the Infant baptized. in respect of the present infant bapti­zed, sc. to pray unto God for it, that it may be made a lively member of Christ, a true child of God, and hereafter an inheritour of the kingdome of heaven. In which respect, it would be a good point of wisedome in Parents, if they would provide (as much as may be) that their children may be baptized on the Sunday, or holy day, for solemne as­sembly of Gods people; that by this meanes their children may have the benefit of the joynt prayers of the whole Congregation.

2 Secondly,Lords Sup­per. The excel­lency of it. The excellency of the other Sacrament of the Lords Supper, and the be­nefits which we receive thereby, is another strong motive to perswade us, not only to delight in the exercises of Gods publike worship and service our selves, but also to exhort and stirre up others hereunto. For this blessed Sacrament doth fitly succeed and follow after the former: for first we live, and then we are nourished. So that as the Sacrament of Baptisme, is a Sacrament of initation, or implantation into Christ: So the other, is a Sacrament of our continu­ance, and growth in Christ. By the first, the life of grace is begun; and by the second, continued, or preserved in us. This also is an Ordinance of Christ's owne instituting: for the Apostle telleth us expresly,An Ordi­nance of Christ. that he received it of the Lord Iesus, who, the same night that he was betrayed tooke bread, &c. [Page 813] So that this blessed Sacrament is no lesse ex­cellent then the former,Beneficall to us. let us (as in the for­mer) consider what benefits wee may re­ceive, so often as this Sacrament is celebra­ted among us, and received of us.

1. Hereby the Lord Iesus Christ, Benefits. with all his precious and soule-saving merits,Hereby we doe receive Christ, with his merits. are 1 graciously offered unto all, and bestowed ef­fectually upon the soules of all worthy re­ceivers: a matter that is fitter to be admi­red, and faithfully believed, then curiously disputed: for the manner of it, this is e­nough, for our satisfaction, to believe (accor­ding to the doctrine of our Church) that by the Bread and Wine in the Sacrament, is meant the very Body and Bloud of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken, and re­ceived of the faithfull in the Lords Supper. And for the proofe of this, we have the ex­presse words of our Saviour, Take, eate, this is my Body. So that herein Christ Iesus, with all the merits of his Body and Bloud are offered unto us, and bestowed really and effectually on all worthy receivers.

2. By receiving of this Sacrament, we joyntly professe our common interest in Christ, and our communion with him, and one with another: and hereupon this Sa­crament is fitly called the communion, 1 Cor. 10. 16.

3. Hereby the promises of God, and the merits of Christ are sealed up unto us: So that hereby we come to have both Gods [Page 382] Hand Seale, to assure us of the pardon of our sins, and of eternall happinesse: in which respect the Sacraments are called the Seales of righteousnesse, Rom. 4. 11.

Fourthly, Hereby our corruptions are 4 mortified,Our corrup­tions are mortified, and the gra­ces of Gods spirit increa­sed. and the graces of Gods Spirit greately augmented and confirmed in us. These Ordinances, through the speciall blessing of God, doe nourish and feede our soules unto life eternall. So that most true we shall finde that speech of our Saviour, Ioh. 6. 55. For my Flesh is meate indeed, and my Bloud is drinke indeed. Yea, ver. 51. I am the living Bread which came downe from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, hee shall live for ever, and the bread which I will give, is my Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Only remember, that all this must bee understood of spirituall eating, as our Saviour Himselfe, in the same place, giveth us expresly to understand: for when his grosse hearers made that carnall question, saying, How can this Man give us his flesh to eate? verse 52. Our Saviour doth earnestly confirme it still, ver. 53. Ex­cept ye eate the Flesh of the Sonne of Man, and drinke his Bloud, you have no life in you, &c. Yea, when many of the Disciples were offended, and murmured at it, see how he giveth them satisfaction, ver. 63. It is the Spirit that quickneth, the flesh profiteth no­thing; the words which I speake unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life; to shew, [Page 383] that all this must be spiritually understood; for the foode is spirituall, and so of necessi­tie the eating and drinking must needs be. So that this is enough to perswade us to va­lue, and highly to esteeme this Ordinance, because therein Christ Iesus is verily, and indeed taken and received, to the eternall benefit and comfort of all worthy recei­vers: an argument sufficient, not only to perswade us to take all opportunities of re­ceiving this Sacrament our selves, but also to perswade others hereunto, in regard of the great benefits that are here offered and exhibited, to the soules of all worthy re­ceivers.

Fifthly,5. Benefit. The com­memoratton of the death of Christ, most lively represented unto us. Hereby we have the commemo­ration of Christs death most lively and ef­fectually represented unto us. So that we may in this case use the benefit of our eyes, to see the Bread broken, and the Wine pow­red out, to signifie the death of Christ, and the shedding of his Bloud; so that our hands do as it were handle the Word of life, Christ, as 1 Iohn 1. 1. The Word foundeth in our eare; but in the Sacrament, the same is most lively represented unto our eyes, sc. the death of Christ: So that as often as wee eate that bread, and drinke that cup, we shew the Lords death, till he come, faith the Apo­stle, 1 Cor. 11. 26. Yea, and this is a spe­ciall end, for which this Sacrament was or­dained at the first, Doe this, in remembrance of me, saith our Saviour, Matth. 26. Yea, [Page 384] the Sacraments are most lively representati­ons of the sufferings of Christ, as if therein Christ was really againe crucified before our eyes, according to that speech of the Apostle to the Galathians, chap. 3. 1. O foolish Galatians, Who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Iesus Christ was evidently set forth, even crucified amongst you! How was he crucified among them, but only in the Word and Sacraments? So that where the Word is faithfully preached, and the Sacraments duly celebrated, there is Iesus Christ so evidently set forth, as if he was even crucified among that people. Oh how this also should perswade us, not only to serve God our selves, but also to doe our best, to perswade others to spend time in Gods service; especially, if we remember the Doctrine, which is the ground of this whole discourse, namely this, that time spent in the duties of Gods service, is absolute­ly and incomparably the best spent time: then certainely we would easily be perswa­ded, not only to spend much time in Gods service our selves, but also earnestly to doe our best endeavour▪ to cause others to doe the like, especially [...] [...]amilies, and those which are more especially committed unto our charge; that so we may not only save our selves, but also them that belong unto us, 1 Tim. 4. 16.

FINIS.

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