Three Sermons:

  • I. The Wrath of GOD against Sinners.
  • II. GOD'S Eternitie, and Mans Humanitie.
  • III. The Plantation of the Righteous.

By T. H.

ROM. 1.18.

The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven, against all ungodlinesse and unrighteousnesse of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousnesse.

LONDON, Printed by M.P. for Iohn Stafford, dwelling in Black-Horse-Alley neere Fleetstreet, 1638.

THE VVRATH of God ag …

THE VVRATH of God against SINNERS.

ROM. 1.18.

The wrath of God is revea­led from heaven, against all ungodlinesse and unrighteous­nesse of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousnesse.

IN the fore going verses, the holy Apostle, by way of Preface; pre­pareth way for [...] truth that hee would [Page 2]deliver, and the doctrine he purposed to dispence of, and that all cavils might be remo­ved; and that the Word of God might take deeper root and better acceptance, he [...] uses these three particulars; 1 and first hee cleares the au­thority of his challenge, hee came not before hee was sent of God, and therefore being called, it concerned him, and was his duty to do good.

1 He discovers the tender­nesse of his love, and his marvellous readinesse to do them good, in the 12, 13, and 14 verses. It was a de [...] the Apostle ought the R [...] ­ [...]ans, therefore hee oug [...] to pay it; and now way b [...] ­ing made, he comes to [...] [Page 3] [...]aine point, that is, That a [...]an is not justified by doing, [...]ut by beleeving, and this [...]e confirmeth; first by the 1 [...]estimony of Scripture, that [...] man is justified by faith, and [...]ot by workes, ye shall live [...]y faith.

Secondly, by force of Ar­gument,2 and that after this [...]anner; If all men by the [...]orkes of the Law, cannot [...]unne the wrath of God, [...]en a man cannot be saved [...]y the workes of the Law. This hee propounds in the words of the Text, and pro­ [...]ecutes it in the Chapter fol­lowing, and affirmes that nei­ [...]er of them can be saved by [...]e works of the Law.

First, In the Text observe 1 [...]ese two particulars: first, [Page 4]the dealing of wicked m [...] with the truth of God, th [...] hold the truth of God in u [...] ­righteousnesse.

Secondly, Gods deali [...] with them, they dealt roug [...] ­ly with the truth, they la [...] violent hands on it, and G [...] he deales as rigorously wi [...] them.

And the reason w [...] they hold downe the trut [...] is, because of some lust [...] their soules that is belo [...] of them.

Secondly, The Apo [...] shewes against whom G [...] wrath commeth.

Thirdly, The universal [...] in these words All. G [...] doth not deale partially, [...] all that misprison the tr [...] in unrighteousnesse s [...] [Page 5] have the wrath of God de­ [...]ounced against them.

Fourthly, The place from whence it shall come, (from [...]eaven.)

First, we are here to know what is meant by truth: For [...]e better understanding of [...]e Text: Truth carries two [...]ings with it.

First, The rule of righte­ousnesse, which is that ho­ [...]age and obedience we owe [...]nto God; and this rule of [...]ghteousnesse is the most [...]xcellent rule that is.

Secondly, Truth carrieth [...] it selfe, the efficacy and [...]ower of truth, and therefore [...]e Apostle Paul sharply [...]proves Peter, Gal. 2.14. [...]rse; that though he ob­ [...]ved the Gospel in the [Page] [Page 4] [Page 5] [...] [Page 4]maine, yet he did not walke with a straight foot.

Secondly, What is meant by holding the truth of God in unrighteousnesse.

To hold the truth of God in unrighteousnesse, is by a kind of violence, and strong hand to hinder the operation and passage of it, that the Word cannot performe that worke which otherwise it would in the hearts of them to whom it is sent.

Thirdly, What is mean [...] by the word unrighteous­nesse.

In some places it signifies [...] sinne that is committed a­gainst the second Table one­ly; but here in this place [...] implies all sinful distempers and corruptions of heart, an [...] [Page 7] this word (in) unrighteous­nesse, It carries the cause and authority, as when a man sayes, stop such a man in my name.

1 Doct. The truth of God is operative.

2 Doct. That wicked men are enemies to the Word of God.

3 Doct. That the corrup­tions of mens hearts, is the cause of the hinderance of the word. But I will draw them all into one.

Doct. That carnall and corrupt hearts hinder the power of the truth from working upon them, or pre­vailing with them, as much as in them lies.

It is true, that truth is pow­erfull, and will prevaile; [...] [Page 8]when he sends his truth to worke upon any corrupt [...] heart, he doth not stand to aske our wils, whether we will receive or not, but hee will make it effec [...]uall; hee will shake off all oppositions, and he will drive all before him; but let the Lord do what he will, yet the carnall heart will resist and stand out, and as much as in him lies, la­bour to keep out the Word; Rom. 2.14, 15. Though Hea­thens be strangers from the life of God, and from the Covenant of Grace; yet this little remainder of the Law of God in their hearts, which remaines will be a working in them; so that murder and uncleannesse, they will pu­nish with death.

The truth is discovered [...]ree wayes.

First, when a man is about [...] commit any sinne, as to [...]eale, &c. his conscience wil [...]mite him; and so in other [...]innes.

Secondly, the power and efficacy of God may be ob­served in the Creation, yet [...]he darknesse of mens eyes, [...]r the foggishnesse of their understandings, do interpose themselves.

Thirdly, by truth, is meant the preaching of the Word, when the truth is never so [...]pparant, and prooffes never [...]o pregnant, and arguments never so invincible, yet their hearts will not yeeld, nor [...]onsent, when the light of [...]he Gospel is plainly dispen­sed [Page 10]and promulgated, the [...] must needs be a marveilo [...] light, and yet men will no [...] yeeld to it, (as Paul and Bar­nabas) the word they taught, the Jewes put it away, whe [...] it gripes the heart, and be­gins to worke effectually▪ then they vomit it up againe [...] Act. 7.57. Yee stiff-necked in heart, yee doe alwayes resist the Holy Ghost, as your Fa­thers did, so doe yee. Gen. 19.9. so the Sodomites did to Lot▪ when the old and the young were gathered about th [...] house, and would have the [...] out; and when Lot said, I pray you, my brethren, doe not so wickedly. Stand back, say they, we will doe worse with the [...] then with them: As they did to Lot, so you doe to Gods [Page 11]Ministers, when Gods Mes­sengers come and intreat you; O brethren, do not so wickedly profane the Sab­bath, and curse instead of praying; be not so malicious against the wayes of God, take heed of persecuting the servants of God, Stand backe, say they, we will doe worse; and thus they take up armes against the blessed truth of God, when it comes to pull them off from their cursed practises, &c.

For the discovery of the point, give me leave to expresse three particulars.

First, What is that worke which the truth would dis­cover.

Secondly, How wicked men hinder it.

Thirdly, The reason why they doe so.

Quest. 1. What is the power of the truth, or what would it doe that wicked men oppose it.

Answ. It appeares in foure particulars; First, it is a word of Information: that is the first worke to discover all things to us in their pro­per colours, Prov. 6.23. the Text tels us the Comman­dement is a Lam [...], and the Law is Light, and the re­proofes of instruction are the way of life; as a Lamp in he night, so the way may be discovered; so it is with the power of the Word of Truth, and he that hath a [Page 15]minde carefully to attend, may be able to judge, and see right from wrong: a man cannot miscarry so long as he is directed by the light of truth: as the Sunne shewes all the Moates in the house, and the blemishes, so this is like the Sunne to discover and shew every moate and blemish, and to discover eve­ry privie and corrupt corner, Ephes. 5.14. All things that are reproved, are made ma­nifest by the light: for what­soever doth make manifest, is light: Thou canst not en­quire to doe any thing, but that will advise thee.

Secondly, As it is of In­formation, so it is of quick­ [...]ing, a word of power, that not onely telleth the way, [Page] [Page 12] [...] [Page 15] [...] [Page 14]but enableth us to walke in it; it puts vertue and ability to walke on chearefully.

It is not onely as the Sun to shew us the way, but as a streame to carry us in that way God would have u [...] walke, Luke 24.22. there is not a light in the shining Sun (Christ) but is a war­ning to make nimble ou [...] benumbed joynts, 1 Tim 6.3. He cals it the wholesom [...] word of Truth, whereo [...] Saint Paul speakes, Tim [...] ­thy was nourished up with Psalme 119, I will nev [...] forget thy Commandement [...] because that thereby then h [...] quickned me.

Thirdly, In the third pla [...] it is a coard, though thou [...] dull, it will plucke thee o [...] [Page 15]So in the fourth place, it is a word of conviction, with power to overthrow all the gaine-sayings of a man; it meetes with every cavill, it stoppes all the base trickes and devises of our sinfull mindes. Luke 21.10. when the Disciples should bee brought before Magistrates, saith Christ, take no care what you shall speake, in the 15 verse, For I will give you a mouth and wisedome, which all your Adversaries shall not be able to gainesay, nor resist: And in Acts 7. the Adversaries of Steven were not able to gainesay the wisedome of Steven; the Word will convince thy minde, though a cavilling and distempered mind, 1 Cor. [Page 16]5.25. Better speak one word in a knowne language, then a thousand in unknowne. And therefore said Saint Paul, I was made manifest to your consciences, Iob 36.10. He opens their care to discipline, and commandeth that they returne from iniqui­tie; though stubborne, hee makes them give way to truth.

Fourthly, In the fourth worke of truth there is a so­veraigne supreame authori­ty the word hath, it bea [...]es downe all, and carries all, and makes all to yeeld obedi­ence when the Lord pleases to accompany it; therefore there is such a power that i [...] is not carnall, but mighty through God to cast downe [...] [Page 17]strong holds, because hee takes place onely; so this is the fourth worke, it carries on a man, and commands the soule, 2 Cor. 10.4. The wea­pons of our warfare are not carnall, feeble and weake, but mighty through God, to the pulling downe of strong holds. His Commandements are mighty, and what will yee doe when you set up strong mountaines of pride, and bulwarkes of resolutions: when yee are resolved, yee will have your sinnes, as drunkennesse, covetousnesse, &c. though yee perish for it. So that the truth of God carries the heart and eye, and foot. A mighty operation, The Apostle 2 Cor. 13.8. said, Wee can doe nothing a­gainst [Page 18]the truth: so that when God will make good his truth, wee can doe no­thing against Gods truth; Company comes, provoca­tions comes, friends, wife, though life comes, his reso­lution stands firme, hee sides with the truth, thus you see that truth will worke.

Secondly, for the second particular.

And that is, how a carnall man doth hinder this worke [...] of the Word that it may no [...] prevaile; the soule would have the sinnes, and the word would have the soule, now a corrupt heart opposes the truth in foure particu­lars.

First, A carnall heart is [Page 19]marvellous unwilling to li­sten to the truth of God; so as to be informed and instru­cted in those things that would be too tedious: first, it is not willing to know what it should doe, lest it should doe what it would not; therefore it keepes a loofe off: he is a stranger to the truth of God; nay, if it be brought home to their doores, and God set open his mercies, the truth is, they will not so much as take no­tice of his mercies: To exa­mine every thing, what need a man thus tediously trouble himselfe? thus they hinder the first worke of the truth: it is a Schoolemaster, but they stop their eares; Car­ [...]all hearts when they see it [Page 20]comming towards them, comming to tie them to o­bedience, if he heares the Word comming, hee slides away, he is loth to heare the cause, and loth to be perswa­ded, he will not be at home on that day, Esay 30.10. The people say to the Seers; see not, and to the Prophets, pro­phesie not right things, speake to us smoothe things, prophesie deceits. Get yee out of the way, turne aside out of the path, cause the holy One of Israel to cease from before us. They say to the Seers, see not, & to the Prophets, prophesy not right things: Doe not speake that they cannot heare, but speak faire and smooth things. Iob 21.14. Therefore they say un­to God, Depart from us, for we [Page 22]desire not the knowledge of thy wayes; The covetous op­pressors cannot endure to heare of the gringding of the faces of the poore. Actes 28.27. They stop their eares, and winke with their eyes, least they should see with their eyes, and heare with their eares, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heale them. I beseech you observe it as carnall men that are loth to know the truth: but if they search, they seeke after the Word [...]s a Coward doth after his enemy, with a hope he shall not finde him, and a feare lest he should finde him; So a carnall man is loth to finde, and feares to know; and if [...]e doe know and search, hee [Page] [Page 20] [...] [Page 22] [...] [Page 22]will search no more the [...] shall serve his turne: hee will not suffer truth to have the whole sway: as a prisoner in chaines, so carnall hearts keepe truth in Chaines: and no more then he doth know he would know. Luke 4.42. And when it was day, he [...] went into a desart place, a [...] the people sought him, an [...] came unto him, and staye [...] him, that he should not depa [...] from them. Hee made [...] though hee would goe fur­ther, but they stayed him b [...] a morrall kinde of perswa [...] on; so carnall men doe th [...] truth of God, they stop a [...] stay truth, Rom. 12.1, 2 v [...] ses, Fashion not your selv [...] after the world; and in t [...] Law, Ye shall not take t [...] [Page 23]name of an idoll in your mouth: The meaning is, ye should not give honour to them; but truth goes further; Shall I once name an Idoll [...]n my mouth, much lesse set up an Idoll in Gods service? Is not this much more? but stay you there, saith the car­nall heart, as it is with an old man that lyeth upon his [...]icke-bed, when his eyes [...]re failing him, hee cannot [...]oke on the Sunne, when it [...]hines in his face; and there­ [...]ore he desires them to draw [...]he curtaine, for sayes he the [...]unne shines too full in my [...]ace; give me a little light: [...]old you there, a weake [...]ght, and a weake light: so when the Word comes to [...]ne that would not part with [Page 24]sinne, if it come to shine fu [...] in his face, and to pull dow [...] his proud heart, and to de­prive him of libertie; O [...] saith he, Draw the Curtain for the Sunne shines too f [...] in my face; but so much [...] serves the turne, Christ a [...] libertie, Christ and t [...] world; oh hold you the [...] saith he. Deut. 12.31. Ye sh [...] not worship God as H [...] thens doe, but as Christian Oh draw the Curtaine, & [...] and if thy neighbour off thee more for a commode then it is worth, thou sho [...] dest not take it; Oh d [...] the Curtaine [...], the Su [...] shines too full in my fa [...] saith he; You must not [...] off your Ware with ly [...] Oh draw the Curtaine, [...] [Page 25]and so of drunkennesse, &c. [...]riefely I conceive you doe [...] some measure know how [...]at they hinder the worke [...]f the light of the truth; saith [...]remy, I hearkned & heard, [...] any laid their hands on [...]eir thigh, and said, What [...]ve I done? Oh brethren, [...]e truth of God comes to [...]ur doores, and hearkens [...]hether any of you lay your [...]nd on your thigh, and say, What have I done?

Secondly, whereby they under and hold down truth. [...] carnall heart labours to [...]pose this, & the powerfull [...]ication of this, and that it [...]th thus: A carnall heart [...]ses up an evill report on [...]e good truth of God, that [...]night appear ugly to them [Page 26]that should lay hold of i [...] The Spies when they we [...] into Canaan, they did not f [...] much consider the plenty [...] the land, to perswade th [...] people to come, but raise [...] up lies, there is strong hold [...] and Iron Chariots, an [...] mighty men, to dampe the [...] hearts: so it is with a carn [...] heart; the Saints reprove, a [...] Ministers preach, every o [...] comes to reprove him, a [...] yet he is not perswaded, & [...] Iohn 6.6. There was ma [...] that followed Christ [...] loaves, but when Chr [...] pitched upon matter of [...] actnesse, say they, it is a [...] saying. Carnall hearts w [...] Christ is commended, [...] pleasantnesse, nothing [...] beauty, full of comfort, [...] [Page 27]happy are they that can get him: Grace here, and glory [...]ereafter, Oh say they, it is a [...]ard saying, they present him onely crucified, contem­ned, and mocked; thus they [...]bour onely to hinder it: Take notice and see the grounds why they profit so little, it is because the worke of the Word is hindered by the businesse of our hearts; we deale ill with the blessed truth of God: it is with the Truth, as with a Trade; some [...]re borne to great estates, [...]nd they are able to follow [...], yet their estate it may bee decayes; what is the reason? they have been wonderfully hindered by many oppressi­ons, and cruell dealings at some Vsurers hand; just so [Page 28]it is with the truth of God you have had good meane [...] Oh you have oppressed th [...] Word of God, and would not open; if any would ope [...] he would come in, but y [...] have quenched the motion of Gods Spirit.

Object. Is it in our power to make the Word effect [...] all?

Answ. No, but it is [...] your power to doe what y [...] are able to doe; your leg [...] may as well carry you to t [...] Word, as to an Alcho use your eares may heare t [...] Word as well as songs; y [...] may reade good Bookes, [...] well as Play Bookes. D [...] you what you are able to d [...] and cry to God, and see wh [...] he will doe; though you a [...] [Page 29]not able to save your selves, yet your corruptions are able to hinder the Word; and this is the reason why the Word prevailes not with you, the Lord may give what he will, and deny what he will, but destruction is from thy selfe, thou hast free will to sinne: learne from hence to see the reason and cause where the fault lies. Luke 7.29. The Publicanes justified God, being baptised with the baptisme of Iohn: But the Pharisees and Lawyers rejected the Counsell of God against themselves: the way of life was chalked out before them: but the Scribes and Pharisees reje­cted the good counsell of God; thou seest many are called, Oh blame thy selfe. [Page 30]Where am I? all this while the Word would enlighten, but I have contemned it; the Word would quicken, but I have neglected it; I was al­most converted, but o [...] wretch that I was, company came, and I choked it, and would not walke in the way of God: and the Lord hath often come to me, by the Spirit, and I have quenched the good motions of the same. Brethren it is true; Oh blame your selves: goe home, and say, why may not my heart be made cleane, the Lord wrought on such a one, and why not on me?

Thirdly, A carnall heart doth oppose the good Word of God, by resisting the work of conviction, if a man be so [Page 31]that he cannot but say, that he is in a good way; he can­not gain say the power of the truth, if it be so with him, then he labours with all car­nall cavils, as much as in him lies to defeat the truth of God; Oh that convicting! Oh that powerfull Word, the Word of the Lord com­meth like a sword, the Lord seemes to aime at a sinner, that he saith it is my sinne that is now discovered: Brethren, all the shift they [...]ave is to put by the power of the truth: As a man that is beset by an enemy, la­bours to keepe off the blow, lest he should be slaine; so a carnall man laboureth to stop the evidence of the Word, that it might not pre­vaile [Page 32]against his soule, though it seeth the truth: it is not sa­tisfied therewith, Numb. 22. As when Balack fent to Baa­lam, to curse the people, thinking him to be a Witch: therefore whom he blessed, was blessed, and whom hee cursed was cursed; God saith to Balaam, thou shalt not goe with them; yet when they returned this answer to Ba­lack, and that Balack sent more honourable men the [...] they, and tels him hee wi [...] promote him: Marke the poore sinfull covetous wretch, the sinfull man saith stay all night, and I will se [...] what the Lord will say, he [...] would faine have the Lo [...] change his minde; Why d [...] he bid him stay. The Lo [...] [Page 33]saith in the Text going be­fore, Thou shalt not goe with them: I but his affections were lingring after the hous­full of gold, therefore hee would have God change his minde. So there is many a carnall heart followeth the wages of Baalam, as Saint Iude speaketh, hearing the Word; certainly, saith hee, this truth I will follow; but when riches and honours come, then he will search the Word, to see for a Dispensa­tion; this is a carnall stop­ping of the truth of God, he will search all the wayes, and try all the conclusions he can, whereby he may cavill against the truth; this is not the meaning of the Text, however a man may cause [Page 34]labour to a weake Christian but marke thine owne heart if it be so, I shall be vexe [...] therewith: therefore I will have some cavill; I will no [...] embrace this course; there­fore I will invent a way th [...] it may not be lawfull to me [...] When Saint Paul dispute [...] with the Athenians, divers o [...] them encountred with Paul [...] they had Argument for Ar­gument against him, that th [...] Lord Jesus Christ was no [...] the Saviour of the world▪ This is the generall course [...] a carnall heart, if it may d [...] vise a course against it, h [...] is contented; if so be the [...] can be no prevailing again [...] it, it sends farre and nee [...] and gathereth Towne a [...] Countrey to seeke it; as [...] [Page 35]Vsurer that is resolved to continue in it, hee goes to fourty Ministers about it; and if hee bee told of the sinne of it, hee will say hee will thinke of it; hee will search the devils Skull, but he will invent some carnall Argument; hee conferred with such a man, and he told him such reasons, but they blew away as a blast of wind. Marke my Brethren, the Lord sent Moses to con­vince Pharaoh, and when Pharaoh said, I will not let the people goe, God saith, Lay downe thy rod, and it shall bee turned into a Serpent: what doth Pharaoh then? hee doth not sit downe under the mi­racle, but sends for Magici­ans, and they cast downe [Page 36]roddes, and they were tur­ned into Serpents also: but Moses his rod devoured theirs; yet Pharaoh harde­ned his heart. So when the Word comes home, this Word I must yeeld to, this Truth I must entertaine, and when the Word commeth by a mighty power, they send for Magicians, carnall Arguments, though the Ar­guments out of the Word doth eat up all, yet a carnall heart doth goe away satisfi­ed, and it shall be so.

Fourthly, and lastly, if by carnall reason they cannot defeat the truth, they fall to flat resisting, they will have their way; and so Brethren, they lay violent hands upon the truth, 1 Sam. 8.18. The [Page 37]people were set a madding upon a King, they would have a King as all other Na­tions had; they thought that to be a meanes of their pros­perity, that would be a cause of their destruction. Samuel makes a gracious Sermon to them, that they might be dis­swaded: when he had disco­vered all saving Arguments, they doe not reply a word reasoning; nay say they, but we will have a King, they are resolved of it, as a wretched man said, (when one com­plained hee could not doe such a thing for his consci­ence) I am master of my conscience, I can doe what I will for all that. Numb. 24.1, 2. When Balaam saw that the Lord did not give him [Page 38]leave, it did not please him, he went not as at other times, but set his face towards the Wildernesse, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. It was his devise before hee would curse the Lords peo­ple, he made seven Altars, and seven Altars before to aske God, but now hee would put it to adventure, he would curse what ever came of it; and thus it is with a car­nall man, when he sees that all his carnall Arguments fall, he saith, I will not pray in my Family, &c. Know thou that castest away the command of God here, hereafter the Lords com­mand with a curse shall pre­vaile against thee; say here­after I will not goe to Hell, [Page 39]the Lord saith, Matth. 25.46. These shall goe into per­dition, &c.

Reas. 1. The first ground of the point, why carnall men doe so, is namely, they cannot endure to have their sinnes removed, the refore of necessity, the blessed Word must be resisted, every sinner loveth his sinne, therefore ye shall observe when a man speaketh against drunkennes & pride, &c. he saith, he met with me, he speaks against my sinnes, why he spoke against sin, against drunkennesse, Sab­both breaking, &c. Nay, he speakes against my person; sinne is as neere as the soule, will not any man strive for his life? I beseech you ob­serve it; his sinne is his life, [Page 40]therefore when the Word of the Lord would plucke [...] the cup from the drunkard, the Whore from the adulte­rer, he plucks his life; eve­ry thing seekes to preserve his life, and will not sin doe so too, to contend for hi [...] life, so sinne seeks to preserve it's life; If that the Mini­sters prevaile, you and [...] must part, therefore doe all you can to stop it, the reason is, because a mans sinne, is [...] mans soule. Here is the ve­ry ground, as it was in tha [...] remarkeable passage of H [...] ­rod, touching his brother wife, hee reformed many things, but when Iohn said▪ It is not lawfull for thee [...] have her, when he must ei­ther kill or be killed; Here­dias [Page 41]must downe, or Iohn: he loses his Harlot, therefore he would part with all. If the Minister meet with a man, though he never knew him, the Word meets with him, his heart then rises, and ei­ther he must be gone, or the Minister gone. Why Bre­thren, what doe you doe? it is your sinne we oppose, a day will come, when yee shall be content to part with them, oh the time will come when yee shall be content to be rid of your money, the drunkard would faine be rid of his cups, and the adulterer of his Harlot; No, then these will goe downe to hell with you, you cannot abide them that would kill that which would kill you: the [Page 42]faithfull Ministers of God would kill your sinnes, that to a corrupt heart is his life.

Reas. 2. If they cannot have their sins, it is a vexation to them; it is a plague & vexati­on to wicked men, that they cannot have their sinnes in­quiet, and so as they would not be moved, they would not have their conscience [...] troubled; but if a man would have his sinne and cursed practise, hee shall have the curse of the Lord to goe with it. Revel. 11. vers. 10. When the two witnesses were slaine, they made mer­ry in Towne and Countrey. Why? because the two wit­nesses that tormented men, were slaine, the Word of God tormented men, it is a­ble [Page 43]to make them madde: why alas, you naturall men damne your selves, we doe not damne you, but we tell you of your sinnes that will damne you one day.

Thirdly, Note Brethren, that for ever you cannot have these sinnes, but they will cost you sore; for these men cannot endure to bee crossed and overthwarted, they would goe on smooth­ly in their course. Acts 19.25. Paul had there preach­ed against Idolatry, &c. especially against Diana: Demetrius beginning to see his commodity going down; marke what he saith, You know that by this we have our livings, therefore they came with a great out­cry, [Page 44] Great is Diana of, &c. There is some speciall cor­ruption, that is a speciall hin­derance of the truth, a com­pany of carnall men speake of the Word; at whose suite? it is the suite of Drun­kennes, & uncleannesse, &c. So it carries a man against the blessed truth of Christ, a corrupt heart cannot indure to be brought in.

Vse 1. Is of examination, is it so that corrupt hearts doe hinder the worke of the Word of the Lord? hecr [...] thē we have a ground of ex­amination. It is an undoubted evidence of a carnall and an unrighteous heart, and there is not a better argument: art thou such a one that doest oppose the truth of God, [Page 46]according to the former ex­ [...]ession? Know thou hast a false heart, a wretched heart, [...] soule that cannot be saved while thou continuest so; I [...]now in a child of God there [...] sometimes a secret resist­ing, and when ever they ob­serve this base distemper, [...]hey fall out with their hearts, they take up armes against these base corrupti­ons; it is one thing to have [...]hese sinnes remaining, and [...]other to have the soule [...]oysoned with them. When [...] wicked man hath poyson, & lives on poyson, carrying a secret opposition against the word, it is an Argument, [...]hee hath a poysoned base heart.

The best of Gods ser­vants [Page 46]may finde these, th [...] Devill, the flesh and th [...] world having about with them; in this case thou mai [...] be carried whither tho [...] wouldest not: Oh it is [...] heart-breaking to a godly man, he could almost pul o [...] his heart, saying, Oh what [...] wretched heart have I? Th [...] Minister this day met with my soule, but what a hea [...] have I? Here my Brethren let this enter into our minde [...] the case is true, take it home to every soule, goe aside t [...] your owne soules, commun [...] with thy conscience in se­cret, say there's no body he [...] betwixt God and my selfe [...] deale truely, hast thou oppo­sed the good Word of the Lord? Oh you rent in pie­ces [Page 47]the flesh of Christ, with the prophanations, oathes, [...]ursings; yea, the very walls of your houses cry shame on you for it, and yet to this ve­ry day you will not be refor­med. You see what it is. I [...]eseech you, for the Lord Jesus Christs sake, resolve a­gainst it.

The former truth it speci­ally meeteth with three sorts of false hearts.

  • 1 Discreet hypocrites.
  • 2 Wrangling hypocrites.
  • 3 Whyning hypocrites.

This discovereth that all these doe fight against God.

First, the discreet hypo­crite, I know that discretion is a good and blessed worke [Page 48]of God, if it be used as i [...] ought to be upon good ground in a good manner, and to a good end: but th [...] same Idoll, Discretion th [...] creepeth in the world, is th [...] delusion of a mans consci­ence; therefore I call him [...] discreet hypocrite indee [...] that maketh truth his under­ling, that can hunt with th [...] Hound, and runne with th [...] Hare: by Discretion a m [...] that will be sure to be on th [...] safe side, whether on the tr [...] ­side or not; he wonders [...] other men to see them oppo­sed, because they want [...] discretion. There are a com­pany of wise judicious pro­fessors that perish wisely, [...] Demas followed Paul; [...] when he saw he might [...] [Page 49]better advantage, he forsooke [...]aul and followed the pre­sent world. This discreete [...]ypocrite letteth profession [...]e as the time goeth: they [...]ill take occasion of whole­ [...]me communication, and [...]ffer occasion; I say hee [...]n conforme himselfe to all [...]nes: but then againe if hee [...]e among carnall prophane [...]en, this is a man safe that [...]eth out Religion, and pul­ [...]th in Religion, as the time [...] in a word you shall finde [...] to admire at mens per­ [...]ns, and yet keepes under [...] word. This I call a dis­ [...]et hypocrite that goes to [...] wisely: these discreet [...]pocrites have their religi­ [...]as in a screw, at any side [...]y will set Religion, and [Page 50]upon any termes, after any fashion: this is the discre [...] Professor.

Secondly, the wranglin [...] hypocrite he pretends no­thing but favourablenes [...] all love and liking; nay, h [...] makes Religion his aym [...] to scope the end of [...] course, he doth not say a [...] thing against the truth: y [...] he is a secret underminer [...] Truth: to shew you [...] playes: this same hypoc [...] hath one, that we will ma [...] it appeare he is a grosse [...] pocrite.

Hee pleadeth especia [...] against the common tru [...] that he desires first, to k [...] the will of God, [...] how God may be glorif [...] he seekes not ease or q [...] [Page 51]nesse, but he pretends hee [...]ekes the liberty of the Gospel, but he seekes his owne liberty, the liberty of his state: As Saul when God [...]ave him a Commission to [...]ill all the Amalekites; when [...]muel commeth, What saith [...]e? Blessed art thou of the Lord; If a man take Sauls [...]wne word, Saul is an honest [...]an; I but saith Samuel; What [...]anes then the bleating of [...]ese sheepe and oxen in mine [...]es? he saith, the people [...]d it; I but thou art the Go­ [...]mour.

They were good for sacrifice, [...]th he. Alasse, did he love [...]rifice so well? no, it was this owne ends: so many [...] man pretendeth much [...]ctification and exactnesse [Page 52]of a Christian Course, Faith and new obedience, not b [...] cause he loves God, but [...] owne end. But a man should be zealous in sanctification to the utmost, even to [...] hoofe as Moses.

Againe, you shall find hi [...] to pretend marvellous hu­mility. He is content to b [...] subject to God in every ca [...] but marke, he submitteth [...] these courses.

The last plea hee ha [...] Good men doe as I doe; a [...] any reason, propound a argument what mooves hi [...] none at all, hee brings [...] truth in subjection to hi [...] selfe and the falsenesse his heart, is marvellous p [...] and is in the state of unre [...] ­neracie

I reason thus: He that is not content to part with all for the Lord Jesus Christ, is not worthy of Christ, Hee that loves father or mother more then me, is not worthy of me, saith Christ; to this very day, he never had the spirit of grace prevaile in him. Psal. 119. David sayes, I shall never be ashamed nor confounded, when I have re­spect to all thy Commande­ments. Now this wrang­ing hypocrite hath not re­spect to all Gods Comman­dements, therefore shall hee [...]e confounded.

Thirdly, Hee that under [...]retence of whyning and [...]rying for sinne, loveth [...]nne: this man oppresseth himselfe; for under pre­tence [Page 54]of love, hee opposet [...] and resisteth the truth.

2 Vse. The last use is a ground of admirable com­fort; it may rellish in yo [...] hearts and mouthes; it is un­speakeable comfort to every soule, whose heart lyeth le­vell; doest thou submit [...] the powerfull Word of th [...] Lord; to the blessed truth art thou willing to have [...] to know it, to delight in it, and submit unto it, to be a ser­vant to the world? can [...] home this blessed Word, [...] there any soule that can te [...] ­fie it is so with him? If mistake not my selfe, it [...] one of the soundest Argu­ments in all the Booke [...] God; it must be love that answerable to the truth [Page 55]when the soule is willing to heare, to welcome and en­tertaine every truth of God, canst thou say in good ear­nest and uprightnesse before the Lord, is there any more truthes, and more good will of thine, of thy worship? good Lord let me know it, that I may love it, and practice it. Brethren is it so, take then this in you, and answer, it is [...] Lord. Brethren, if there [...]e a sight of God in heaven, [...]nd thou doest truely sub­ [...]it to the word, it is a true [...]gne, that if any under hea­ven hath the worke of grace [...]ought in him, thou hast it. [...]hn 8. If any man love the [...]th and obey the Commande­ [...]ents, the truth will make him [...]. Dost thou then love [Page 56]and obey the truth, it will make thee free, it will make thee a freeman of heaven; hold this truth, Heaven and earth shall passe, but that work of grace cannot passe. This was the joy of the Apostle: Iohn 5.4. I have no greater joy in the world, then that my children walke in the truth: in the light, comfort, and power of it. If the Apostle Iohn could have no greate [...] truth, what great joy will it be to thy selfe? no greate [...] joy have I, saith some ma [...] not that my sonne is ric [...] but that he is upright. Ho [...] mayest thou joy then, [...] ever thou see the face [...] God with comfort, try [...] thou beest upright, if th [...] lovest the truth, the Saint [Page 57]can see no greater joy then this: Oh goe your wayes you blessed Saints, ye walke after the truth, you that have this, can have no more: God himselfe loveth truth in the inward parts; hee is a spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and truth. Dost thou love the truth of Christ? then it will say as well of thee as of Demetrius, Iohn [...].12. Demetrius hath a good report of the truth: So I say, doth the truth report well of thee? Doe not feare what the world, thy friends, ene­mies or adversaries say of thee, that will bring thee comfort, when all false wit­nesses shall lye aside: but all you wicked of the world, you are they that bend your [Page 58]selves against the Saints of God. It is true, the poore Saints of God, as poore as they be, they shall lift up their heads, when you shall hang downe and turne aside; because they have the truth for them, when you shall see the poore dispised Saints of God, poore Goodman such a one, &c. You that have made no care of Gods Commandements, when yee shall see them, ye shall won­der to see them lift up thi­ther; when the Divell shall say, Lord, how comes such a man to such a place? he was a finner; I Lord (saith the poore soule) I know I have many weaknesses: Lord thou knowest that ma­ny a sad spirit I have carried [Page 59]about, yet never a truth was made knowne, but I enter­tained it; never a sinne was made knowne, but I entertai­ned it; never a sinne was made known, but I loathed it; then comes the blessed Truth, I beare witnesse Lord, he loved me, and en­tertained mee, though with many groanes, and teares, and persecutions; hee would have me, saith the truth, hee is a blessed Saint of God. You that are willing to re­ceive every truth, oh get you to heaven, then you will be past the worst, the Devill himselfe confesses, and the damned spirits: He is a ho­ly and sincere hearted man; Why Brethren who would not labour for the truth: I say [Page 60]God, and Christ, [...] good spirit shall [...] such a soule; God [...] of truth, Jesus Ch [...] [...] Word of truth, [...] Ghost is a spirit of [...] they will embrace [...] God and Christ, [...] Spirit all bids you [...] so you shall have [...] pinesse; the Lord [...] [...] you to it, and you [...] it hereafter.


A GODLY AND PROFITABLE SERMON: Of Gods Eternitie and Mans Humanitie. OR, The striving of the Lord with Sinners.

By T. H.

LONDON, Printed by M.P. for Iohn Stafford, dwelling in Black-Horse-Alley neere Fleetstreet. 1639.


GEN. 6.3.

My Spirit shall not al­ [...]ayes strive with man for that [...] also is flesh, yet his dayes [...]all be an hundred and twen­ty yeares.

THe scope of this Chapter discovers it selfe in two parts; first the divers con­ditions of them before the Floud. Secondly, the carri­age [Page 64]of God towards th [...] in the second part of [...] Chapter. First the carri [...] of the people is double; [...] their wicked and sinfull li [...] from the first verse to [...] end of the seventh.

Secondly, the holy d [...] meanor of Noah, in the 8, a [...] 9 verses, But Noah fou [...] grace in the eyes of the Lo [...] Noah was a just man, and p [...] ­fect in his generation, and w [...] ked with God: Noah in th [...] wicked time, in that wick [...] place, and among those wi [...] ked people, was a holy ma [...] saith the Text.

Secondly, we have the [...] ­vers dealing of God wi [...] them.

First, he threatens des [...] ­lation to the wicked; se­condly, [Page 65]he promises to pre­serve Noah; and for the [...]guise of the wicked:

First, consider the hai­ [...]ousnesse of their sinnes, that they broke all the Lawes of God, and lust was their Law: in the first [...]nd second verses, the Text sayes; When men began to multiply on the face of the [...]rth, and daughters was borne unto them, that the sonnes of God saw the danghters of men, that they were faire and [...]ookt for wives of all that they [...]hose.

The sonnes of God, the [...]eaning of that is, they that professed the truth. Second­ [...]y, they saw the daughters of men, they saw Caine, and they that were of God did [Page 66]what they list, and chos [...] crosse way, and so ca [...] strange generations, as [...] ants, they were growne [...] the height of sinne.

Secondly, in the 3, 6, a [...] 7 verses, is the sentence [...] God against them; hee s [...] they come to this, and th [...] sets downe a sentence [...] doombe (as it were) he say [...] My Spirit shall not alway [...] strive with man, in that [...] is but flesh; yet his dayes sh [...] be an hundred and twe [...] yeares: The Lord w [...] strive no longer with the [...] from whence by the w [...] we may note.

Object. That when the [...] is a mingling of diuers ma [...] ­riages, it makes way to [...] struction, prooved in Sol [...] mon, [Page 67]when hee tooke him [...]ange wives: then his [...]owne was taken from [...]; so this old World [...]en they gave themselves [...]strange marriages.

First, In the sentence there [...] two things: first, the [...]rds resolution: second­ [...] the reason of Gods deter­ [...]nation.

First, the resolution, and [...]t is first generally, hee [...]th strove, but will strive no [...]re.

Secondly, particularly he [...]l not strive, and will strive [...] hundred and twenty [...]res; here is the resoluti­ [...] of God, though he strive, [...] hee will not strive al­ [...]yes.

Secondly, the reason of [Page 68]Gods determination; hee is also flesh.

In the Text two things are to be observed.

First, what is meant by spirit; secondly, what it is to strive: first Gods Spirit we may understand to be the holy Ghost, the third per­son in. Trinity: hee is said to strive, not miraculously, but mediately by his meanes, the Word of God, Ministers; he is said to strive with this ge­neration by the Ministery o [...] the Word, and Noah and Enock in that Ministery▪ Gods Spirit strives with wicked men, they spake no [...] in their owne words, but i [...] the 2 Pet. 2. holy men spak [...] Gods Word as they doe; the Lord doth put his hand to [Page 69] [...]he worke: the meaning is, I [...]ave sent Noah and Enock, [...]hey spake not their owne [...]ords onely, but yee have [...]ven against my good [...]pirit: what it is to strive: [...]e Lord will not strive al­ [...]ayes, the meaning is not, [...] judgement, Eccles. 6.10. [...]he Lord he deales with [...]oore sinners after their na­ [...]re, as a reasonable crea­ [...]re, he enters to reasons, [...]nd goes to Law, and makes [...]ite to draw them home to [...]im; for this I take to be the [...]eaning, his Ministers came [...]metimes to exhort, some­ [...]mes to comfort, and some­ [...]mes to reprove, and so wee [...]e to Law with God a­ [...]aine.

From whence observe [...] foure points.

Doct. 1. The Spirit o [...] God doth ever accompany the Word, and the Ministe [...] thereof. Here he ascrib [...] it, My spirit shall not alway [...] strive.

Doct. 2. That the Lo [...] strives with rebellious sin­ners, for their good, who as they strive against t [...] power of the Spirit, a [...] their owne good. No [...] strove to draw them hom [...] and they strove and wou [...] not come.

Doct. 3. When men d [...] abuse the Word long, G [...] will cease to strive in the [...] of the meanes; he will stri [...] no more, as he said here, A [...] [Page 71] [...] Lord said, I will not al­ [...]ayes, &c.

Doct. 4. Though the [...]ord will strive no more, [...]t he strives long, hee gives [...]ng time of repentance, as [...] did to the old world an [...]dred and twenty yeares.

Doct. 5. That Gods Spi­ [...] doth ever accompany the [...]ord, and the Ministery [...]ereof: by the Spirit of [...]od, I meane the eternall [...]pirit, the Holy Ghost, doth [...]speciall manner accompa­ [...] the Word; know that [...]od is every where, and [...]oweth all things; but in a [...]eciall manner hee is with [...]is; with the Word, Come, [...]ecomes, & with the Word, [...]rbid, he forbids; Rom. 1. [...] Gospel is the power of [Page 72]the Lord to the salvation [...] man.

Quest. But how do [...] this appeare to be so?

Answ. I answer, it a [...] peareth in two things, [...] God doth please to set t [...] worke apart, to save and sa [...] ­ctifie our soules, which [...] the learning in the wo [...] cannot doe.

Secondly, the Lord by [...] power of his Spirit, do [...] constantly, and continua [...] accompany this worke, as [...] thinkes good, to be a con [...] tation to the wicked, an [...] consolation to the god [...] 2 Cor. 2. the two last ver [...] ­to the one it is a favour death, to the other it is a [...] vour of life; it either [...] the soule, or saves the so [...] [Page 73]though it ever accompanies [...]e Word, yet this worke [...] the Spirit is a voluntary [...]orke.

Thirdly, It doth alwayes company the Word, but [...]oth not alwayes worke; [...]or some after twenty or [...]irty yeares are converted; [...] that it doth not alwayes [...]orke: Looke as the brazen [...]erpent was lift up in the Wildernesse, that whoever [...]oked on it, that was stung [...]ith the fiery Serpents, [...]ould be healed: there was healing vertue in it, he set it part for that purpose, for [...]at had no vertue of it selfe, [...] because God would [...]orke by it, so that whosoe­ [...]r looked on it might bee [...]aled: so it is with the [Page 74]Word of God, for they a [...] no more able to conve [...] then others, but because Go [...] hath promised to accompa­ny them in dispensation of i [...]

Reas. 1. First, taken from t [...] fruit and effect of his Wo [...] that it is able to doe [...] things; in the beginning [...] is able to doe that whi [...] Men and Angels cannot do [...] Hebr. 4.12. The Word [...] God is quicke and powerf [...] and sharper then any two [...] god sword, piercing even to [...] dividing asunder of the so [...] and spirit, and a discovery [...] the thoughts of the he [...] It is Gods faithfull work [...] the reason why carnall [...] fall out with the Minister [...] the Word, and say you sp [...] against men, I know y [...] [Page 75] [...]eane me. No, no, wee [...]now not your hearts, but God doth, and the Word of God knowes them, Iohn 5. The dead shall heare the voyce [...]f the Sonne of God; the mea­ [...]ing is, they that are dead [...] sinnes, for by nature every [...]an is dead in sinne. It must [...]e more then all men can do, [...] our Saviour said to Laza­us, when men stood wee­ [...]ing by, but Christ said, Lazarus come out. It must be Gods Word that must raise [...] from the death of sinne [...] the life of righteous­ [...]esse.

Vse. First, of instruction [...] take heed of taking up of [...]mes against the Spirit of God, we see the haynous [...]nne of them that despise [Page 76]the Ministery of the Go [...] pell, men may thinke it n [...] ­thing: but alas you kno [...] not what it is, for the Wo [...] of God and the Spirit [...] God goeth together; as [...] blessed Martyr Steven sa [...] in the 7 of the Actes, Y [...] stiffenecked and uncircum [...] sed in heart and eares, y [...] have ever resisted the g [...] Spirit of God; as did your [...] thers, so do you: therefore ta [...] heed, You are neere to [...] sin against the Holy Gho [...] for it is not the Word [...] Man, but the Word of Go [...] it is the Spirit that th [...] shouldest be saved by, th [...] thou hast opposed; you g [...] away with the contempt [...] the Gospel, and make th [...] nothing; thou hast sinn [...] [Page 77] [...]gainst God, and his Spirit [...]at accompanies the Word; Counsel one another, say, do [...]ou know what you do? It [...] Gods Spirit, must not that [...]mfort you, must not that [...]ve you? It is that that you [...]ppose; take heed, for this [...] above Incestuous sinnes. [...]ke 3.20.21. Herod was an [...]cestuous sinner, but above [...]his fins, he added this, that [...]put Iohn in prison; he was a [...]cestuous adulterer, yet put­ [...]g Iohn in prison, was [...]ove all. Matth. 11. It shall [...] easier for Sodome and Go­ [...]rah in the day of judge­ [...]ut, then for you that oppose [...] Word of the Lord. So [...]ch for the first point.

Doct. 2. The Lord strives [...]ith poore sinners for their [Page 78]good; when as they stri [...] against the power of the S [...] rit, and their owne goo [...] God enters into Law with sinner; Sin and Sathan sai [...] the soul is theirs; God ent [...] into Law, and saith it is h [...] and he made it; every m [...] by nature takes paine that [...] might have no good fr [...] God; he goes to Law, to g [...] to hell, as it were. Matth. 2 [...] 37. Oh Ierusalem, thou t [...] killest the Prophets, and sto [...] them that were sent to th [...] There is the thing, mar [...] How often would I have g [...] thered thy children togeth [...] as a Henne her Chickens, [...] yee would not? Here is a cu [...] tention, the Lord wou [...] have revealed his wi [...] & his Spirit, would have [...] [Page 79] [...]ed you home, but you would [...]ot; yee resisted his good Spirit, yee take hold of wic­ [...]ednesse, as the Prophet [...]ere sayes; and Iohn 5.4. You will not come to me, that [...] may be saved, saith our [...]aviour to the Pharisees; [...]any perish, and shal perish; [...]e reason is, yee will not [...]ome to Christ for life. The [...]icked say, Psal. 2. Let us [...]eake their bonds asunder, [...]d cast their cords from us. Gods commands are cords [...]nd bonds to draw them, [...]t you breake over hedge [...]d ditch, and will walke [...] your owne wayes, [...]cts 18. the 5, 6 verses Paul [...]ccompanied Silas and Ti­ [...]theus, disputed with the [...]es, hee professed Iesus [Page 80]was the very Christ; th [...] Text saith, they oppos [...] the words of Paul, though [...] was for their good; this [...] the testimony of him, th [...] whosoever will come [...] Christ, may come: but the came in defiance and b [...]ta [...] array against Christ, and t [...] power of the Gospell. Th [...] you see God strives wi [...] poore sinners for their goo [...] and they strive against [...] power of the Spirit, a [...] their owne good. To op [...] the point,

First, how God strives w [...] poore sinners for their go [...] and goes to Law, and plea [...] and bestowes paines, that [...] might doe them good: [...] reason why hee do [...] so.

Quest. First, how doth God [...]rive with poore sinners, [...]nd pleads for their good?

Answ. This pleading of God discovers it selfe in two [...]eads. First, by manner [...]f perswasion: Secondly, [...] way of constraint.

First, by manner of per­ [...]asion, to perswade them [...]om sinne.

Secondly, by way of con­ [...]aint, to compell them to [...]me in. And first he strives [...] way of perswasion, wher­ [...] he discovers the matter, [...] then he brings an exe­ [...]tion.

In this perswasion God [...]th foure things: namely,

First, Hee makes knowne [...] sinne is, and that by [Page 82]summoning them to th [...] Court, as men that go [...] Law, they summon one a [...] other to be at such a Court so God summons the [...] when they are ignorant [...] that which should doe the [...] good, and know not in wh [...] an estate they are in, then [...] brings them to the Wor [...] and discovers it, as in Es [...] I was found of them, saith [...] Lord, that sought me not: b [...] if a soule grow still carcle [...] the Lord will not leave [...] sinner, but makes him to c [...] ­sider what sinne is, and kn [...] it. Ezek. 16.2. verse. Son of man, cause the children [...] Israel to know their abomi [...] ­tions: Goe home to th [...] dores & tell them home, y [...] know you should heare [...] [Page 83]Word constantly, and pray constantly, and know what you should doe, and this makes wicked covetous men at their deaths, as it were, at their wits end. Wee know a man that goes to Law, layes an Action against the other, and then serves a Subpaena on him; so the Lord layes an Action against the sinner, and serves a Subpaena on him; thou art the man, and thou shalt perish, when hee doth this, then hee pleades the Cause, as a man that wrestles; hee first catches [...]hold, and then comes in to him, that haply hee might throw him: so God catches [...]hold when hee meanes to wrestle with a sinner, that [...]his eyes are ever on his sinne [Page 84]and sayes, I am the man.

Secondly, When a sinner is thus summoned, and sees the Cause goes against him, then hee labours and in­vents how to answer for himselfe; the sinner is grown to a stand, as in the Court so [...] brought, when hee sees the case to goe against him, be­cause he knowes not what to doe; he goes to the Law­yers, though his case be not good, he will spend so much and so much; consider how it is when the conscience is enlightned, and sayes, I am the man; then what course doe they take? they invent all carnall pleasures to pull backe the Word; looke what Pharaoh did when God sent Moses to trouble him, hee [Page 85]sent for the wise Magicians' to know whether it were God or no; so he contem­ [...]ed Moses and the miracle: so it is when God enlightens the mind; what doe carnall men then? they send for the Magicians, pleasures to beat the Word backe.

Quest. I say they, I am a sinner, and every one is a sinner, and did not Christ die to save sinners?

Answ. The truth is, Christ came to save sinners, and not to save them onely, but to sanctifie them. True sayes the sinner, I wil amend, I am not so precise as others; these are the wranglings of carnall reasons; God comes nearer, he sayes you must purifie your selves as he is [Page 86]pure, Iohn 1.3. It is not [...] ­nough to be a me [...]ro civi [...] man, but yee most puris [...] your selves, as he is pure. [...] you will see God to you [...] comfort, though Sathan ta [...] a Lawyers place, and carna [...] reason an Atturnies, an [...] what ever Sathan and carna [...] Reason can doe, they wi [...] doe on every season: at la [...] God sends the Comfort [...] from heaven, to comfo [...] them, Iohn 16.8. And whe [...] he is come, hee will convin [...] the world of righteousnesse of judgement, and of sinne [...] when Gods Spirit comes b [...] the Word, it sets apart a [...] carnall reason, that there [...] no more shifting: you think [...] you may contend again [...] your Brethren, and goe [...] [Page 87]heaven, but this cannot be, for the good spirit sets all [...]arnall reasons apart; it makes him to say, if I for­sake not every sinne, I forsake [...]one; for he that forsakes not every sin he forsake none. Doth any man thinke to bee [...] Christian, and a swearer, a Christian and a drunkard; why a heathen can doe this: well, such will deceive them­selves, that can say, well I [...]ope God is more mercifull [...]hen the Ministers and proud Professors: No, no, know [...]hat if the Spirit come, it sets [...] part all carnall reasons; God layes the Action be [...]ore, the sinner is now cast, [...]e sees there is but one way, [...]ive in sinne, and go to hell: thus when a soule can yeeld [Page 88]to Gods Word, that he m [...] not be cast downe. In t [...] third place marke;

Thirdly, God tels hi [...] that howsoever hee [...] cast, yet he will be mercif [...] abundantly to him; [...] shewes him his estate; y [...] saith he, thou art in the la [...] of the living, thou art yet u [...] ­der the meanes, as a part [...] cast in the Court in a sum [...] of all that hee hath; the [...] ­ther gives him time to pay i [...] there is some comfort yet, [...] may be he may get somthing in that time by the help [...] of his friends. Rom. 2.4. Th [...] Apostle saith, Despisest th [...] the goodnes of God, that shoul [...] lead thee to repentance; as [...] he had said, Consider th [...] goodnesse of the Lord; an [...] [Page 89] [...]y, Lord, I am not yet in [...]ll, and doe I live to an­ [...]her Sermon? thou wert [...]ercifull to Manasses, and [...]others, thou mayest bee [...]ercifull to me (Lord:) why [...]re is great comfort; but [...]hen a soule sees Gods [...]odnesse in health and [...]ealth, and injoyes yet [...]eanes, and helpes, and now [...]owes carelesse; as to mor­ [...]w I will repent, it is too [...]one yet, I will take my [...]leasure now, and repent [...]hen I am old; now Gods [...]oodnesse comes to be wea­ [...]ed, that he saith, I will strive [...] more.

Fourthly, When Gods [...]oodnesse is wearied, then [...]e patience of the Lord [...]eppes in, and pleades for a [Page 90]sinner, and holds the ha [...] of Justice; Luke 9. As [...] Figge-tree that beares [...] fruit, saith Christ, I h [...] come these three yeeres, [...] expected fruit, and have fo [...] none; cut it down. Stay Lo [...] saith the Keeper of the Vi [...] yard, another yeare, it [...] be it will beare then; [...] saith Patience, the sinner ha [...] broken thy Comman [...] ­ments, and despised thy O [...] ­dinances, abused thy Sa [...] bathes; Oh forbeare, sai [...] Patience, one yeare longe [...] one opportunity more. No [...] as Patience doth pleade f [...] Gods continuance of mer [...] to a sinner, so it prevail [...] now when Patience is tyre [...] and wearied with wick [...] men, as I [...]rem. 5. How shall [Page 91] [...]re, as if he would scarce [...]rbeare; then when Pati­ [...]ce is cired, comes Long­ [...]fering; saith Patience, I [...]bore this time and that [...]e; saith Long suffering, [...]ay Lord another yeare, [...]nother moneth: marke the [...]ext, Fourty yeares long was [...] grieved with this people; Consider you old men, four­ [...]e yeares the Lord hath [...]rove with you; and you [...]oung men, God could have [...]ken you away in your sin; [...]h I say, thinke upon Long­ [...]ffering, for else you had [...]erished before now, old [...]ray-headed men; Oh for [...]he Lords sake consider this [...]ercy, fourty yeares a con­ [...]emner of Gods Word, four­ [...]y yeares a despiser of the [Page 92]meanes of Grace; oh consi­der this mercy. Thus th [...] Lord summons the sinner, then casts him; the sinner i [...] his natural estate, knowes no [...] what he is, and when hee i [...] cast downe, God comfort [...] him, and then, if the soul [...] grow carelesse that God [...] goodnesse is wearied, the [...] steppes in Patience, and whe [...] Patience is wearied, the [...] comes in Long-suffering; Now say, Lord thou came [...] home to me such a day, such a atime, I promised t [...] come in, but I have not; O [...] Lord it is thy mercy, I y [...] continue, that I am not con­sumed.

Secondly, by constraint he constraines them by a [...] execution, this is in a sever [...] [Page 93] [...]er, as appeares in three par­ [...]culars, when the Good­ [...]esse, Patience, Long-su [...] [...]ing of God will not serve [...]he turne.

First, he lets his heavie an­ [...]er fall on him, and take him [...]y the throat and sayes, you [...]ill not come, but you shall [...]eele my anger and heavy [...]and for your contempt; as [...] man in suite of Law, if he be cast, and the other deale mercifully with him, gives [...]im a day, and he despises it; [...]hen he arrests him, & casts [...]im in prison; so God deals with a soule that dispises his mercy, then he arrests him, and casts him in prison. Iob [...]5.24, 25. Trouble and an­guish shall make him affraid, they shall prevaile against [Page 94]him, as a King ready to the battell, for he stretches ou [...] his hand against God, and strengtheneth himselfe a­gainst the Almighty, as Pha­raoh said, Ile not let the [...] goe, who is the Lord? So here he flies in his face, as in the 26, he runneth upon him, even upon his necke, upon the thick bosses of his buck­lers: marke, they that would kill one another, strike no [...] where the other can defen [...] themselves, but God ne [...] not doe so, he will runne o [...] the thick bosses of the buck [...] lers, and crush the vanitie [...] his soule; this is the first [...] thus you see he is arrested.

Secondly, and cast in pr [...] son, then the truth and Justi [...] of God, when the Sinner [...] [Page 95] [...]rrested and cast into prison, [...]yes an action against the [...]oore sinner, and sheweth [...]m Gods former dealing; [...] a man cast in prison, first [...] action comes of twenty [...]ound, another of an hun­ [...]red, and so breakes him for [...]ver: so it is with a poore [...]oule, when the truth of God [...]nd Justice of God, layes Action upon Action, it [...]reakes him for ever; in a [...]ord, it shewes him Gods [...]ormer dealing, his mercy, [...]oodnesse, patience, and [...]ong-suffering, and every one [...]f them he sees; you will [...]ske, in whose suite? In Mer­ [...]ies suite, and goodnesse, in Patience, and Long-suffe­ [...]ings suit; they will have [...]heir Actions tryed, because [Page 96]they have been abused, a [...] the more mercy, the mo [...] indignation to those th [...] have abused Mercy and Patience.

Thirdly, After the wra [...] of God hath arrested hi [...] and the Truth and Justi [...] of God laid Action up [...] Action, so that everlasting ruine is ready to cease [...] him, then at last comes M [...] cy and bailes him; here it that the Armes of God a [...] open, for all his mercies [...] for a sinner at last to co [...] in. Ezekiel 16. Turne yee [...] the Lord, for why will ye d [...] Oh house of Israel? Me [...] sayes, come to me, and I w [...] pay all; though there [...] much guiltinesse of cons [...] ence, I will remove it. Ac [...] [Page 97] [...]o. As many as beleeved in [...] shall be freed from that, [...]hat Moses could not free [...]hem; he does not say, all the [...]vise onely, but all that will [...]eleeve, whether Drun­ [...]ards, wicked, all that will [...]eleeve, the gate stands o­ [...]en to them.

Quest. True saith the [...]ule, they that God hath re­ [...]rained before; but my sins [...]e great, shall I have mer­ [...]e?

Answ. The Text sayes, [...]hosoever that beleeves [...]all befreed from all. Heb. [...]. If you sinne willingly, [...]en you have not had Ju­ [...]ice, Goodnesse, Patience, [...]ong-suffering; at last comes [...]ercy which is the last, the [...]hich if ye despise and re­fuse, [Page 98] ye can look for nothing but the heavie displeasure [...] God; Oh consider with t [...] selfe, hath the Lord spar [...] me this time; many che [...] of conscience, a good fat [...] and mother to instruct [...] and yet alive! Lord, wha [...] mercy is this?

Reas. Why God striv [...] thus with a sinner; first, t [...] he might expresse his mer [...] and that the world mi [...] know he is mercifull, and [...] joyce in it.

Secondly, that he mi [...] leave the world without [...] ­cuse, that if they goe do [...] to the bottomelesse [...] thanke themselves.

Vse. 1. Of instruction. [...] seech you to admire [...] goodnesse of God to sinn [...] [Page 99] [...]nd withall our rebellions, when God strives so long [...]or our good, and we strive [...]o long against it; is not hee [...]hen good? evill is the man [...]hat nothing will doe good [...]f. Foule is the Leper [...]hat all the water in the Sea will not wash; and great is [...]he spot that no water will [...]ring out. Labour to bring [...]his home to your selves, see [...]our spots in this particular, [...]hat after you have had so much goodnes of the Lord, and so much Mercy, Pati­ence, and Long-suffering, to draw and prevaile with your [...]ebellious hearts, and all have [...]eene abused, neglected, and contemned by you; Oh let every one say it to their own [...]hearts, say thou, good Lord, [Page 100]they in Hell never had su [...] means as I have, therefore th [...] shal fare better at the last d [...] then I shall; are there su [...] hearts as these in Hell? co [...] pare your selves, for know that the Word som [...] times meets with thee: sa [...] Lord, it was against th [...] Drunkard, he is come home and against that sinner, an [...] he is come, but if I stand o [...] I am worst of all.

Vse 2. If this be so th [...] God strives with a poor sinner for his good, and th [...] sinner strives against th [...] goodnesse and mercy [...] God; then marke what w [...] gather; when they goe t [...] Hell, they have their desires they strive to goe to Hell; as if one would strive for [Page 101]wages; Know it is the de­ [...]ise of your mindes, and de­ [...]es of your hearts, yee [...]rive who should sweare the [...]ost, if you goe to Hell, [...]en thanke your selves. Pro. [...].30, 31. They would have [...]me of my counsell, they despi­ [...]d all my reproofe: there­ [...]e they shall eate of the fruit [...] their owne wayes, and be fil­ [...]d with their owne devises. When a soule is resolved to [...]e in his olde course, as [...]e covetousman, I will be [...]vetous, the contemner of [...]e Word will live loosely, [...]d will not be reproved by [...]inisters; these desire their [...]wne destruction. Oh poore [...]ule, when thou goest to [...]ell, thou shalt have thy de­ [...]re, and elbowe-roome [Page 102]enough there.

Vse 3. Is of reproofe. Do [...] God strive with sinners, [...] their good? what shall w [...] thinke of them that stri [...] with men for their hurt? [...] ther God must bee blam [...] for dealing so, or they co [...] ­demned for being in opp [...] ­sition with God: judge yo [...] I will say nothing; the Lo [...] strives; he uses Mercy, J [...] ­stice, Goodnesse, to dra [...] them to him and they use [...] meanes, threatnings, all [...] withdraw them; either Go [...] is to be blamed for deali [...] so, or they to be conde [...] ned: they are the D [...] vils Captaines, and giv [...] presse money: as if a Wife Childe, or Servant begi [...] to looke to heaven, then th [...] [Page 103]Husband frownes, the Ma­ster chides; Oh lay your hands on your hearts, for the Devill can do no more; Oh know not onely thy sinnes shall condemne thee; but the blood of Wives. Chil­dren and Servants; Oh bre­thren, I beseech you heare, feare, and tremble. Actes 15. [...]8, 9. The Text saith, that Paul came to the Iland, and sound the Deputy of the I­land in the faith. Paul would have brought him to the faith, and Elimas would have drawne him from the faith; marke what Paul said in the 10 verse, thou Childe of the Devill, because Eli­mas would not goe to Hell himselfe alone, he drawes o­thers; and Paul comes with [Page 104]fire and thundring, as i [...] were, Oh childe of the De­vill, oh enemie of all righte­ousnesse; The Adulterer i [...] an enemie to Chastity, th [...] Drunkard to sobernesse, th [...] unjust man is an enemy t [...] Justice, but they that striv [...] to hinder any from God a [...] enemies to all righteous­nesse.

To conclude: You say yo [...] would have prayed, but my Husband would not let mee [...] I would have gone [...] Church, but my Mast [...] would not let me; this wi [...] notserve the turne, it wi [...] be no plea for you to say Masters hinder you. Matth [...] 23. Woe to you Scribes a [...] Pharisees, Hypocrites, th [...] compasse Sea and Land [...] [Page 105]make a Proselite, and when he is so made, you make him two fold more the childe of the Devill then your selves; they are the children of the Devill, that is enough in conscience; but you are twice more the childe of the Devill: consi­der you sinne, and hinder me from God, you shall goe to Hell, but I shall be twice more the child of Hell then you; oh then feare and la­bour every one to mend one another.

Vse 4. Is of exhortation. Doth the Lord so strive and use all meanes to draw us to him; doth God doe so? then doe you so also, where­soever thou goest, doe thou strive to perswade men, and draw them from evill, Hebr. [Page 160]3. The Lord strives with [...] poore sinner for his good [...] now as God and Chri [...] deales, so let us; lay hold o [...] a wicked Father, a profan [...] mother, exhort them, pray for them, Timoth. 2.2. Striv [...] with them, though they strive against thee: tho [...] prayest once, pray againe▪ it may be God will heare. When a man is laid in hi [...] grave, yet his stock remain [...] and goes forward, and sha [...] doe till the day of Doome; what a sweet comfort wi [...] this be to them that do [...] good to others; you tha [...] goe in companies and as­semblies with others, &c. strive to draw them on [...] goodnesse, by exhortations▪ and sometimes by reproofes [...] [Page 107]that if it be possible, you may prevaile with their hearts, to come in and take mercy.

Doctr. 3. That after the long abuse of meanes, the Lord ceases to strive wth men therein, and takes either the meanes from them, or them from the meanes, or his blessing from them both; I will strive, saith God, but not alwayes; when the time is expired, further is not to bee expected. God hath bounds of his bounty, hitherto and no further, as it is with the Sunne, it hath it's times, Spring, and Harvest, and there is a time to leave to Winter, and blastning: there is a time of consuming, the store, as well as bringing [Page 108]of it in; so it is with the Sonne of Righteousnesse; there is a time to quicken the Graces of his, and to ripen them; and there is a time to leave men to hard­nesse of heart, in the darke­nesse of Egypt, that they may be rid of the Word. There is a season of grace, but that endures not al­wayes; God hath his sea­sons to be mercifull; some the Sunne-shine of Gods goodnesse comforts, and makes grow, and some growes away; the Gospel is going, when Ephraim was going to Idolatry, Hosea 4. Ephraim is going away to Idolatry, let him alone, he hath made a match with mischiefe, let him have [Page 109]his belly full of it, now it is Tearme-time, but there is a Vacati­on too.



By T. H.

LONDON, Printed by M.P. for Iohn Stafford, dwelling in Black-Horse-Alley neere Fle [...]tstreet. 1639.


PSAL. 1.3.

But he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in due season, his leafe also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doth shall prosper.

THis third verse discovers a third branch of the difference of a godly, and also a godlesse man; they are [Page 114]contrary in their practises, and in their wayes and do­ings, and so likewise shall they be contrary in their ac­counts at the last day. Three particulars in the verse, doe discover themselves unto us; First, this righteous man, he brings forth fruit; secondly, it is his owne fruit, not another mans; thirdly, it is in his fittest time, and in the best season, it's seasonable fruite; and this wee are to scanne, and a little to treat withall: and the Doctrine that doth present it selfe to our consideration, is this, namely,

Doct. 1. A good man doth not onely what he ought to doe, he doth not onely per­forme this duty, and what [Page 115]God requires of him, but he doth it in the fittest season and opportunity. In a word, the duties of Saints ought to bee seasonable: the point is somewhat strange to some, one that is little knowne, and as little practised among most; a marvellous skill is in it, and but litle skill men have to observe it; marvellous great good in it, and but little labouring to attaine that good; whereas it is a part of prudence to observe times as the Text cals on us, to re­deeme the time: and there­fore we will open the point, and then treat with it; and first we will prove the same; secondly, wee will shew the grounds and reasons; third­ly, apply the same; first, for [Page 116]the proofe of it, Eccles. 3.2. There is a time and a season for every thing; that is Gods will and pleasure. Eccles. 10.6. It is there accounted one of the greatest woes and curses, as it were, and evils that befall men. Woe to thee, O Land, when thy King is a childe, and thy Princes eate in the morning: But on the contrary; Blessed art thou oh Land when thy King is the sonne of Nobles, and thy Prin­ces doe eate for strength, and not for drunkennesse. Thus we see what a great curse it is to any Land to have Prin­ces eat and drinke not in season, and in Prov. 25. the Text there saith, That a word spoke in due season, is like Ap­ples of gold, with pictures of [Page 117]silver. So there is a season both for words and spee­ches, as well as for actions and deeds, and words in their best season, are worth Pearles and Rubies: So that the proofe is plaine, that the Saints of God must have their opportunities for the performance of duties, and a thing much to bee oberved; Frost wee know is seaso­nable in Winter. Harvest is seasonable in Summer time, every thing is best in the season.

Quest. The difficulty that hence ariseth, is, how a man may discerne the season of a service and duty that is to bee performed by us; for here is the maine waight of the point.

Answ. First, in the gene­rall; secondly, in particular: First, when all the circum­stances and occasions do con­curre for a dutie; that is, the season and the time for the dutie, as instance thus: it is the season for a man to walke in the day time, in the light, and not in the the darknesse. It is true, it is time enough, in the night to walke in, but it is not the season; it doth not fit the season so well as in the day time; in the light, Wind and Tide for a Sea­faring man; warme weather is the season for sowing, and for casting the Seed into the ground; so it is in this case, a Christian should observe the season, and take the best time for dutie in this case, [Page 119]when all occasions and cir­cumstances suite; and this is in the generall.

Secondly, in particular, there is a season that a man must look at, both in his par­ticular, & in his generall cal­ [...]ing, both in regard as he is a Christian, and in respect of he place God hath set a man [...]; in the which we ought [...]or to make our season: for [...]e doing of our duties and [...]e rules for our direction [...]erein, are these, namely;

First, We must be sure to [...]each and every time have [...]e allowance, or the [...]are, as I may so say, [...]at concerne that day, and [...]at time; as there are [...]anges, for to morrow [...]ervices; for a first, and a se­cond [Page 120]day, and third day, an [...] that of our Saviour Chri [...] is observable, Matth. 6 [...] Take no thought for to mor [...] ­row, for sufficient to the day [...] the evill thereof: Every day [...] brings evill enough with i [...] there are sinnes enough th [...] day, and faylings, and impe [...] fections enough this day, a [...] therefore no need there [...] to take care for a second a [...] third day; every day bri [...] sinnes enough with it, [...] enough with it, and theref [...] we had not need to take [...] for another day, what sh [...] be to morrow, and not [...] Munday to take care [...] Tuesday, not on Tuesday care for Wednesday, [...] cause each day bringeth [...] nough care and trouble w [...] [Page 121]it; for every time hath as it were, a challenge to it selfe, this day can say, this is mine; another can say, this is mine; there is a time and a season for every service, sufficient to the day is the evill thereof: So likewise sufficient to the day is the duties thereof; there is prayer for this day, and prayer for that day, not [...]or another day, that is un­ [...]ertain whether it will come, but there is service suted, and to be performed for the day present; God requireth to [...]eepe the present day, and to [...]doe duty that is for the pre­sent.

Secondly, Looke when we find our bodies and na­tures best disposed for ser­vices, then we ought to take [Page 122]them up, and then to besto [...] our strength on the best [...] our services; instance, for [...] man to goe to prayer, wh [...] hee is fittest to sleepe, [...] when sleepe comes on hi [...] or when he is in his bed, th [...] is not seasonable; It is th [...] out of it's season and ti [...] that instead of prayer, a [...] goeth to sleeping and wr [...] ­gling with the dutie: a [...] therefore wee must ta [...] the advantage of our natu [...] in this case, as men that use [...] take advantage of Wind a [...] Tide, to sale forwards: [...] must a Christian take adv [...] ­tage of his nature in this ca [...] then when time is most s [...] ­sonable, they must perfo [...] duties: It is that God ca [...] not away with, when w [...] [Page 123] [...]ill serve him onely in a [...]iny day, when he can doe [...]othing else; when every [...]ing else is done, then God must be served last; this is [...]he next way to bring a curse [...] us, and our services that [...]ve doe performe to him. [...] is the charge the Holy Ghost giveth; Honour the [...]ord with the first-fruites of [...]y increase, and to such hee [...]nexeth his promise, so [...]all thy barnes be filled with [...]lenty, saith the Text; and in [...]e Old Law God required [...]he first that opened the [...]ombe, and therefore a man [...]ust take the rise of a lazie [...]ature, and to take heed of his sinne, as that that brings [...] great curse with it, as you [...]ay see, Malac. 1. latter end, [Page 124] Cursed be the deceiver, [...] who shouldsay, He is a d [...] ­ceiver indeed that offers [...] female to God, when h [...] hath a male in his flock [...] when a man hath strong [...] sires for himselfe, male s [...] rowes for his own ends, [...] female for God: this is th [...] second perticular.

Thirdly, Wee should [...] take up duties, so order the [...] that one should bee helpful to another, and not a hind [...] rance; No man can looke [...] many Irons in the fire [...] once, but when the iron [...] hot, then to strike; that [...] the season for it to be [...] wrought on; So a Christi [...] an must take the season [...] forecast duties, not to hind [...] one with another, but every [Page 125]du [...]ie must be so performed, that it may further and not hinder another: as it is with a Wagon, the little Wheeles goe before to make way for the greater that come after them, and the greater follow after, and serve to drive on the former. Thus one is helpfull to the other; so should we doe with duties, so to forecast it, and so to performe it, that one duty may further another, and not hinder; so that this is the season when one dutie ma­keth way for another in the kinde; and hence follow se­verall passages, as grounds of application. First, it is hence cleare that a man should so performe duty to God, that the one may [Page 126]put forwards another to hel [...] another on. The second ru [...] hence is also cleare, that [...] man must so forecast duties that the particular may no [...] crosse the generall, nor th [...] generall the particular; a ma [...] must not spend himselfe, s [...] in his calling in particular, as to make him unfit for perfor­mance of duties, in his ge­nerall calling; he must not take up time in his own busi­nes, as therby to deprive him­selfe of time and strength for duties of Gods worship.

Thirdly, a man may hence learne, that he ought not to spend his strength in one du­ty, as to make him unfit for another, for that is not in sea­son; then we misse of the season; though hee allow [Page 127]time for the dutie, if yet he spend his strength in one as to be unfit for another; this is unseasonable.

Now for duties occasio­nally: and we may observe two rules for the clearing of the point.

First, if they be such occa­sions that may be omitted, as likewise they would hin­der another, a man may passe it by; but if a duty that comes in a mans way, that requireth present supply, and that the duty in a mans com­mon course may be gained a­gaine, and if the other be o­mitted, that can never be re­called againe, or recovered: Now this is a season for an occasionally duty, as thus; a man to pray in his family: [Page 128]now if a necessary occasion come that cannot be done afterwards, a man must o­mit prayer for the while, for that may afterwards be gai­ned, but the other it cannot be recovered againe.

Secondly, if the case be so, that one duty must be lost, a man cannot regaine both of them; what then must wee doe, both cannot be omitted, which then must be taken up and performed? To this seve­rall rules might be added; but take this, looke what du­ty is the most excellent and necessary, take up that duty, and let the other passe; if a duty that is more excellent then another, take up that, and let the other give place to it: as for example, God [Page 129]will have mercy and not sa­crifice, and hee delights in mercy more then sacrifice; if a man have a house on fire, and another hath his duty to performe before hee can helpe the other: why God requires mercy, he will have mercy rather then sa­crifice, and therefore I must leave the duty and help him, because God requireth mer­cy as a duty that is higher in place, and of more worth and excellency; other duties must give place, and such duties must take the place, that is the season for the inferiour to give place to the grea­ter.

Quest. How can a man know the preheminence of any duty? That which con­cernes [Page 130]first Gods glory most, that service is to be perfor­med, before the other that concernes a mans selfe, the good of man gives place to Gods glory; sometimes workes of mercy are most to Gods glory, and all things are to be to Godsglory.

Secondly, in those duties that concerne man, I must take notice of the things themselves, and of my relati­on to them; as I must looke to mine owne occasions be­fore other mens, in the same ranke, in things of equality; as my goods before his, my body before his, but not my body before his soule; onely I say comparing equall things together concerning other men: if they be both [Page 131]equall to me, let the chiefest things take place, as life be­fore goods; Why a man should be so carefull for his season.

Reas. First, because this addes beauty to all occasi­ons, and the workes come off with much content, seasona­bly, sweetly, with much suc­cour; Oh how good is a word spoken in due season! Prov. 25. and 11. when a man sayles with the Tide, and strikes while the yron is hot, and not to delay duties to a crowd, then is the season: So in the worke of grace, when men delay untill the last houre, and the dimme eye, and death bed, when death and conscience, and all begin to crowd on a man. [Page 132]Considering the opportuni­ties God hath bestowed, and he abused all, and now is not like to have them again; these suit not with occasi­ons, and fit not the sea­sons, but will adde more wounds and griefe to the soule of man; whereas if they were in their best sea­son, they would come off with a great deale more ease.

Secondly, because things find best successe when they come in season: the corne that is sown in season, is most like to grow and thrive, by reason of the season that it was sowne in, so that the sea­son makes the worke to goe on the better and the easier; and therefore the wise man [Page 133]calls on men, Eccles. 14. To remember their Creator in the dayes of youth, before old and evill dayes come, for old are but euill daies; then is out of season, it is not the best season then: for a thing out of season, is like Physicke that is brought to a man when he is dead, we say you should have come sooner, and then there might have beene some hope of life and recovery; when a man is in strength, then is the time of praying, reading, and hearing the Word, &c. but God sel­dome gives the grace of re­pentance in the dog-dayes of his yeares. Be wise now in the dayes of your youth, or else you will repent with a sad heart at the last when [Page 134]have lost the season of grace and mercy.

Vse. Is it so that men doe their duties in season, let this then bee a word of try all and examination in this case, to see how we have beene faulty and have failed in this kind, to see and be humbled for what hath beene amisse in us: let each man lay his hand on his mouth, and be­waile and looke backe, and view our former course, to consider the opportunities and seasons we have had for our good, or might have en­joyed at least for our good, and wee have neglected them; that God hath set open his hand, and offered his grace and kindnesse, and be­sought us to be reconciled to [Page 135]him, as it were, and hath gi­ven us a market day, a faire gaile, and yet have come empty from it; looke backe to the chamber where some­times a man hath beene, and some sweet motions, God hath put into his mind, oh pray now for your selves, and the Church, and yet hath cast all these motions behind his backe, and slighted them as things of no moment or wight at all; let us looke to all these former neglects, and slightenings of grace and mercy, offered to us; and as Pharaohs Butler said, so let us: I call to remembrance my faults and sinnes this day; and thus much for the first: the second followes, and that is this, namely, of Instruction;

Vse. It teacheth us thus much, that the life and con­versation of a Christian is a marvellous, tedious, and la­borious life that wil marvei­lously put a man to it, if eve [...] he come to be sincere, and to walke uprightly with the Lord in a holy conversation of life.

Thirdly, a ground of en­couragement; since then tha [...] we know what we should, t [...] labour to do what we know; since we know what God re­quireth, and will pleas [...] him, let us set about that h [...] commands, and will be so ac­ceptable in his sight; seeing wee know what God hat [...] chalked out before us, and what will best delight him, and also be exceeding com­fortable [Page 137]to our selves, let us set about this; let us pray in season, heare the Word in season, performe duties in season, let our words and speeches be in due season spoken, because duties per­formed to God in season, are very pleasing to him, and will bring great comfort to our owne soules and consci­ences; and any thing out of season, is displeasing unto God; a thing out of season, a man cannot away with it; therefore how is it, to medi­tate, pray, heare, reade, con­ferre, and doe all holy duties in season; but the question here groweth, how shall we doe this? for our rules of di­rection herein are these, namely;

Answ. First, see and view the compasse of all busines­ses, foreseeing all occasions, and then allotting to every time, and to each occasion, range it all proportionably to each occasion, a severall time, as will suit it best, ob­serving the former rules that was mentioned: so in the next place, labour we to pre­vent the time and the sea­sons, get beforehand, as it were, with time for the du­ties of Gods worship and ser­vice, in this case, take time in the morning, I will prevent the morning watch, saith Da­vid; he got beforehand with his Nobles, that when they were come, hee might bee fit to goe and con­ferre and take their time to­gether: [Page 139]when all was fast, then he got himselfe to his duty; so we should prevent the time, and when we have so done, to improve it.

Fiftly, then cut off all un­necessary expence of time; Labour to be beforehand in the world, get that wise­dome, that courage, and that care that may shake off all sleevelesse occasion that are not worth the while, both for your care and considera­tion.

Psalm. 1. v. 3. His leafe also shall not wither.


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