THE SOVLES VOCATION OR EFFECTVAL Calling to CHRIST.

By T. H.

2 PETER 1.3.

Through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glorie and vertue.

LONDON, Printed by Iohn Haviland, for Andrew Crooke, and are to be sold at the Black Beare in S. Pauls Church-yard. 1638.

A TABLE OF THE Contents out of JOHN.

Doctrine I.
THe soule humbled and inlightened, must learne the fulnesse of the mercie of God, that there is fulnesse of sufficiencie of mercie with him. p. 37
Use I.
Looke only to Gods mercie, after that thou hast learned the lesson of contrition and humiliation. p. 43
Doctrine II.
That the teaching of the heart effectually is the proper taske and worke of God. p. 49
Reason.
Because the worke is an almightie worke. p. 50
Use I.
It is of admirable comfort to all weake, silly, feeble minded creatures. p. 51
Use II.
If it be the worke of God, then goe to him. p. 52
Use III.
Doth the Father teach? then acknowledge you have it as from God. p. 57
Doctrine III.
  • That the word of the Gospell, and the worke [...] [...]i­rit [Page] goe both together. p. 62
  • The manner how the Word and Spirit goe together. p. 63
Reason I.
Because the Lord would have all use the meanes. p. 65
Reason II.
Because the Lord would not have men be couzened by their owne fancies. p. 65
Reason III.
Because the Lord would have all to bee watchfull and carefull, in not losing their comfort. p. 60
Use I.
Instruction to teach us the worth of the Gospell, above all other things in the world, for it is accomp [...] ­nied with the Spirit, and it brings salvation with it. p. 65
Use II.
For triall, hence a man may know, whether wee have a spirituall heart or no. p. 67
Use III.
Direction, hence we may observe the ground, why many of Gods faithfull people understand not, that they have the Spirit of God. p. 68
Use IIII.
Terrour, wee may see the hopelesse condition of those men that live under the Gospell, &c. p. 69
Use V.
  • Exhortation, you are to submit to the Word of the Lord. p. 70
  • The meanes to submit are three. p. 71
Doctrine IIII.
  • [...] Spi [...] of the Lord gives speciall notice of [Page] Gods acceptance to the soule truly humbled. p. 72
  • The manner how the Spirit doth it, is in three passages. p. 74
Reason I.
Because onely the Spirit of the Lord knowes the Lords minde. p. 88
Reason II.
  • Because the Spirit onely can breake thorow all those [...]sts and clouds of ignorance and blindnesse, that are in the mindes to oppose this worke. p. 90
  • Those hindrances are of two sorts. p. 91
Use I.
  • Is of triall to examine your selves, whether Gods Spirit hath given you speciall notice of Gods accep­tance. p. 94
  • The speciall notice of the Spirit from all other, is to be tried and differenced by foure particulars. p. 95
Use II.
  • It is an use of direction to teach you what meanes you must use to get the notice and evidence of Gods love to your owne soules. p. 101
  • The meanes to get the witnesse of the Spirit are foure. Ibid.
    • 1. You must labour to bee such a one to whom the Spirit doth belong. p. 102
    • 2. You must not hearken to carnall reason of your owne hearts. p. 103
    • 3. You must labour to understand the language of the Spirit. p. 105
    • 4. You must labour to keepe the promise by you for ever. p. 107
  • The Motives to this are two. Ibid.
Use III.
Instruction to teach you, that the humbled sinner of meanest capacitie, doth know more of grace and salvation, and Gods love in Christ, than the most wise and learned in the world, that are not hum­bled. p. 108
Use IIII.
  • It is to shew the certaintie of the assurance of faith. p. 109
  • Now we come next in order to shew, how that the Lord must teach all the affections to come unto the pro­mise, and the first affection is the affection of hope. p. 110
Doctrine V.
The holy Spirit of the Father doth stir the heart of an humbled and inlightened sinner, to hope for the good­nesse of the Lord. Ibid.
Reason I.
  • Why the Lord doth in the next place proceed to stir up hope, is, because it is the fittest facultie of the soule to wait upon mercy. p. 112
  • The manner how God doth stirre up the heart of an humble broken hearted sinner to hope, is in three passages. p. 113
    • 1 The Lord doth sweetly perswade the heart, that a mans sinnes are pardonable. p. 113
    • 2 The Lord doth sweetly perswade the soule, that all his sinnes shall be pardoned. p. 118
    • 3 The Lord letteth in some rellish into the soule of the sweetnesse of his love. ibid.
Use I.
  • Reproofe of two sorts of persons; first of those that de­spaire: [Page] secondly, of those that presume. p. 119
  • The hainousnesse of the sin of desperation, is set forth in two particulars.
    • 1 As io is most injurious to God. p. 120
    • 2 As it is most dangerous to the soule. p. 121
  • The sinne of presumption of carnall Hypocrites is set forth. p. 123
  • The grounds of the unreasonable hopes of carnall Hy­pocrites, are five:
    • 1 The ignorants hope, that the Lord that made him, will not damne him. p. 125
    • 2 Another hopeth that God is his God, because of his prospertie in outward things. ibid.
    • 3 Another hopes he shall be saved, because he hath had an hell of affliction in this life. ibid.
    • 4 Another hopes for salvation, in regard they en­joy the means of salvation. p. 127
    • 5 Another hopes he shall be saved, because there is mercy enough in God to save him. p. 129
Use II.
  • An use of consolation to every poore broken hearted sinner: canst thou but looke to God and hope, I say thy condition is good. p. 133
  • There are foure signes to know the true grounded hope of the Saints, from all false and flashy hopes of Hy­pocrites:
  • The first signe of true hope is, that true hope hath a pe­culiar certainty in it. p. 135
  • The second signe is this, that a true grounded hope is of great power and strength to hold the soule to the truth of the promise. p. 137
  • The third signe is this, that the excellency of this hope [Page] doth overshadow all the hopes in the world, that can be offered, propounded, desired. p. 139
  • The fourth signe is this, a true grounded hope alwayes lendeth supply and succour, when all the rest of a mans abilities doe faile in his owne sense and appre­hension. p. 140
Use III.
  • Of exhortation, to beseech every one to labour for this true and grounded hope. p. 143.
  • The Motives to stirre you up to seeke this hope are these three:
    • 1 Because there is nothing more usefull than this grace of hope. p. 143
    • 2 Because nothing is more needfull to the soule, than this true hope. p. 144
    • 3 Because by this true hope, the hearts of the Saints are kept both in love to God, and in obedience unto him. p. 145
  • The Meanes to attaine this true grounded Hope are these three.
    • 1 You must labour to cast out all carnall sensua­litie. p. 145
    • 2 You must labour to be much acquainted with the precious promises of God. p. 146
    • 3 You must maintaine in the heart a deepe and serious acknowledgement of that supreme au­thoritie of the Lord, to doe what hee will, and how hee will, according unto his owne good pleasure. p. 148
Doctrine VI.
  • The Spirit of the Lord quickneth the desire of an hum­ble and enlightned sinner to long for the riches of [Page] his mercy in Christ. p. 150
  • The reason why desire commeth next in order, and the manner how God the Father doth quicken up the desires of the soule to long for mercy, are. p. 152
Use I.
  • It is an use of strong consolation, to stay the hearts of poore sinners in the midst of their infirmities; canst thou but finde thy smoking desire, thy condition is then good. p. 156.
  • The signes of sound desires are these three:
    • 1 Signe of a sound desire is this, that as the desire is, so the endevour will be p. 157
    • 2 Signe of a sound desire is this, he that truly de­sires mercy and grace, desireth Christ for him­selfe. 158.
    • 3 Signe of a sound desire is this, the soule that truly desires mercy, is ready to receive it with thankfulnesse, and will entertaine the meanes and messenger that may bring home Christ and mercy to his soule. p. 159
Use II.
  • It is of reproofe to all them, that yet have not these true and sincere desires after grace and salvation wrought in them. p. 160
  • There are three sorts and rankes of professours and hypocrites, whose desires are unsound: the
    • Lazy Hypocrite,
    • Stage Hypocrite,
    • Terrified Hypocrite.
    p. 161
  • There are foure sorts of lazy professors, and lazy Hypocrites, that are void of these sound and sin­cere hopes:
    • [Page]1 Sort of lazy Hypocrites are such, who when they enjoy the means of salvation, yet they esteeme not thy blessing, they prize not the meanes. p. 164
    • 2 Sort of lazy Hypocrites are such, who when God hath taken away and deprived them of the or­dinary meanes of grace and salvation, they are well contented to be without the same, they sit downe very well satisfied. p. 166
    • 3 Sort of lazy Hypocrites are such, who when they have the meanes of grace and salvation, are content to use them, and if they want the meanes will seeke out for them, but yet are not carefull to prevent those inconveniences, which hinder them by receiving benefit from the meanes. p. 168
    • 4 Sort of lazy Hypocrites are those, who though they heare the duties commanded, yet they neg­lect all duties commands. p. 169
  • There are two sorts of stage Hypocrites, that are void of these sound and sincere desires. p. 172
  • The first sort of stage Hypocrites, are such as will take up so much of Christ and the Gospell, as may stand with their credit, and with their estate. p. 173
  • The second sort of stage Hypocrites are such, that will use all Gods ordinances, but will part with nothing and will suffer nothing for the Lord Iesus. p. 175
  • The third sort that are void of sound and sincere de­sires, are the terrified Hypocrites. p. 177
  • The signes of a terrified Hypocrite are two.
    • 1 He will be lingering and hankering after some corruption. p. 178
    • [Page]2 The terrified Hypocrite, he will slight and slub­ber over small sinnes, and small corruptions. p. 178
  • How farre this terrified Hypocrite will goe, and what he may doe; vid. p. 179
Use III.
Is of Exhortation, wherein you are intreated in the bowels of the Lord Iesus, to long and desire after the Lord Iesus Christ. p. 191
Means I.
The Means are foure: the first is this, be acquainted thorowly with thy owne necessities and wants, with that nothingnesse and emptinesse in thy selfe. p. 192
Means II.
The second is, consider the necessitie after grace and goodnesse, it is no matter of complement and indiffe­rencie. p. 197
Means III.
The third is, labour to spread forth the excellencie of all the beautie and surpassing glory, that is in the promises of God. p. 198
Means IV.
The fourth is, thou must know that it is not in thy power to bring thy heart to desire grace. p. 199
Doctrine VII.
  • The Spirit of the Lord kindles in an humbled heart, and inlightned sinner, love and joy to entertaine and rejoyce in the riches of his mercy. p. 205
  • The opening of the Doctrine consists in 3. passages.
Passage I.
Is this, that this love and joy is no where else to be found, but in an heart humbled and inlightned. p. 205
Passage II.
Is this, that the love and joy is enkindled by the Spirit of the Father. p. 206.
Passage III.
Is this, that the love and joy being kindled, they may entertaine and rejoyce in the riches of Gods mercy. p. 207
Reason I.
  • Of the point is this, because that love and joy doe fol­low desire. p. 209
  • The Spirit of the Father, doth enkindle the love and joy in these three particulars. p. 217
Particular I.
Is this, God the Father by the Spirit, doth let in some sweetnesse and rellish of his love into the soule, that doth warme the heart. p. 221
Particular II.
Is this, that the freenesse of Gods love, doth enkindle a love in the soule. p. 222
Particular III.
Is this, that as the sweetnesse did warme it, the free­nesse kindles it; so the greatnesse of the sweetnesse of this love doth set the soule in a flame. p. 224
Use I.
It is an use of instruction to enforme you that there is no sufficiencie in a naturall heart, to be carried to the Lord Iesus Christ, or to the worke of grace. p. 226
Use II.
I [...] is an use of consolation to stay and refresh the hearts of those that have received the gracious worke. p. 233
Use III.
  • It is an use of triall to examine your selves whether [Page] your love and joy be sound, true, and sincere, and how it doth differ from the fained, wilde, and hy­pocriticall love in the world. p. 237
  • The soundnesse of true love from counterfeit Hypocri­ticall love, appeareth in these five trialls.
Triall I.
Is this, observe the root and rise of thy love, ibid.
Triall II.
Is this, observe if thou entertainest thy Saviour, as a Saviour; that is, as a King. p. 242
Triall III.
Is this, thou must observe if thou labourest to give con­tentment to Christ. p. 244
Triall IV.
Observe whether thy heart doth rejoyce to see the hap­pinesse of the thing you love, p. 251
Triall V.
Is this, it is the nature of true love, to covet nearer union with the thing beloved. p. 254
Use IV.
  • It is of repose to all those upon whom this worke of love and joy in Christ was never wrought. p. 261
  • Most men have not this love to God, but hatred against him. p. 263
  • The persons that doe not love the Lord Iesus Christ, they are referred to three ranks. p. 266
Sort I.
Are such as are open enemeis to Christ, and who these are, are largely described in p. 267
Sort II.
Are those glozing Neuters that halt betweene two opi­nions. p. 273
Sort III.
  • Are those fawning Hypocrites, that are faire in shew, but false in heart. p. 279
  • Here are further to bee discovered foure sorts of Hy­pocrites.
    • 1 There is a whining Hypocrite: p. 280
    • 2 The wrangling Hypocrite: p. 280
    • 3 The glorious Hypocrite: p. 280
    • 4 The presumptuous Hypocrite. p. 280
  • We are now come to the worke of the will. p. 283
Doctrine VIII.
  • The will of a poore sinner humbled and inlightned, comes to be effectually perswaded by the Spirit of the Fa­ther to rest upon the freenesse of God in Christ, that it may be interested therein. p. 284
  • The opening of this Doctrine consisteth in 4 particulars.
Particular I.
That this worke must be in an heart humbled and en­lightned. p. 285
Particular II.
The will must be effectually perswaded, by the Spirit of the Father. p. 287
Particular III.
  • By the power of this perswasion, it casteth it selfe upon the rich grace & free mercy of God in Christ. p. 295
  • Now this resting of the soule upon the rich grace of God in Christ, discovereth it selfe in a 5. fold Act.
Act I.
It doth imply a going out of the soule to Christ, that the soule runs and reacheth after a Christ. p. 296
Act II.
Of resting is this, it layeth fast hold upon Christ. p. 298
Act III.
Of resting is this, it flings the weight of all his occa­sions and troubles upon Christ. p. 302
Act IV.
  • Of resting and reposing is this, it doth draw vertue, and derive power from the Lord Iesus Christ for suc­cour and supply. p. 305
  • Faith doth draw vertue from Christ by a three-fold Act. p. 307
Act I.
Is this, Faith doth appropriate and apply the promise to it selfe in particular. ibid.
Act II.
Faith doth jog the hand of God, and sets Gods power on worke. p. 309
Act III.
Faith urgeth God with his owne Word, and presseth Gods promise, and challengeth God on his faithful­nesse and truth, not to be wanting unto him for the acceptation of his Person, and the pardon of his sinnes. p. 311
Act V.
Of resting is this, it doth leave the soule with the pro­mise. p. 312
Particular IV.
  • Is the finall cause why it doth rest, that it may be in­terested into all the good that is in the promise, and to have supply of all Spirituall wants from the pro­mise. p. 315
  • The Spirituall wants of the soule which faith doth sup­ply are of 3. sorts. p. 316
Sort I.
Of Spirituall wants are these, that the soule is gone away from God, and is estranged to God; now faith bringeth the soule againe to God. ibid.
Want II.
Is this, the soule being departed from God, hence the soule is deprived of all good, grace, and life; now faith doth not onely bring a sinner to God, but it doth communicate from God to a sinner. p. 320
Want III.
Is this, the heart is fearfull lest it should lose that grace, now faith it is that doth keepe a man grace. p. 322
Question.
How doth the soule come to beleeve?
Answer.
There are three things in the promise where by the will of man is drawne to beleeve. p. 327
Motive I.
Is the All-sufficiencie of the freenesse of Gods love. p. 328
Motive II.
Is this, that this mercy is intended for thee. p. 329
Motive III.
Is this, that God doth earnestly desire thee to come and to take this mercy, p. 330
Use I.
Of information, that saving faith is no part of that holinesse which Adam had, nor no part of that Image to which wee are restored by Sanctification. p. 335
Use II.
  • [...]t is an use of terrour to all that still remaine in un­beleefe. p. 349
  • The fearfulnesse of this sinne of unbeleefe is laid open in foure Particulars. p. 352
Particular I.
Because unbeleefe it doth keepe off the riches of mer­cies from the soule that are in Christ, that it cannot enjoy them. p. 352
Particular II.
Vnbeleefe, it doth make all meanes to be unprofitable. p. 356
Particular III.
Vnbeleefe, all sinne in the strength and power of it in the heart of a sinner. p. 361
Particular IV.
  • Vnbeleefe maketh the soule of a sinner to be in a despe­rate case and condition. p. 366
  • The danger of unbeleefe doth appeare in these three Particulars. p. 369
Particular I.
Consider it seriously, that whatsoever thou dost so long as thou art an unbeleever, it is all unprofitable and to no purpose at all. p. 369
Particular II.
All the good things an unbeleever doth enjoy, will prove uncomfortable. p. 370
Particular III.
Vnbeleefe is the breeder and maintainer of all the rest of the sinnes of an unbeleever. p. 371
Use III.
It is a collection concerning the difficultie of the worke [Page] of faith, that the worke of faith is beyond the reach of all created power. p. 374
Use IV.
  • It is to shew the benefits that come by faith to the soule. p. 390
  • What these benefits are in particular, vid. p. 394. and p. 396
Use V.
  • It is an use of consolation and great comfort to all the servants of God, that through his mercy have re­ceived this grace. p. 416
  • The knowledge of true saving faith from a false faith appeareth in these three trials. p. 423
Triall I.
Is this, observe the root and rise of thy faith, the cause by which thy faith was wrought, and from whence it came. p. 423
Triall II.
Observe whether thy faith doth make choice wholly of Christ, and doth resolve to match with Christ only. p. 428
Triall III.
Observe whether thy faith doth beare it selfe upon the promise in all its extremities, and is satisfied with it. p. 431
Use VI.
  • It is a word of reproofe against all those that never ye [...] were made partakers of the blessed worke of grace. p. 434
  • Most that live in the bosome of the Church, want saving faith. p. 437
  • The reasons of it, vid. p. 440
  • [Page]There bee foure sorts in particular that have no faith. p. 446
Sort I.
The ignorant persons. p. 447
Sort II.
The carnall Gospellers, that doe live scandalously, and trade in their wickednesse. p. 450
Sort III.
The meere civilized or judicious professours, that beare up themselves much upon their owne wisdome and judgement. p. 455
Sort IV.
  • The counterfeit, that have a forged kinde of false faith, they have their alcumie faith. p. 464
  • Of these counterfeit beleevers there are three sorts. p. 465
Sort I.
The first sort of counterfeit beleevers are the temporarie beleevers. p. 465
Sort II.
The second sort of counterfeit beleevers are the sturdy hypocrites. p. 483.
Sort III.
The third sort of counterfeits are the shifting stately hypocrites. p. 500
Use VII.
  • It is an use of exhortation to desire you to labour to get this grace of faith. p. 515
  • The hinderances of faith are of two sorts; some are reall hinderances, that doe hinder the soule from Christ, others doe not hinder the soules interest in Christ. p. 519
  • [Page]The reall hinderances are foure. p. 520
  • The hinderances that doe not hinder the title to a Christ are three in particular. p. 538
Sort I.
  • The first kinde of seeming hinderances are those discou­ragements, which oppresse the soule through car­nall reasoning. p. 538
  • The second sort of hinderances are the resting upon du­ties, endevours, and performances. p. 546
  • The third sort of hinderances is the want of sense and feeling. p. 549
  • The meanes or cures against these hinderances are espe­cially three.
Cure I.
A distressed soule is not to looke too long nor too much continually upon the sight and consideration of his owne sinnes. p. 552
Cure II.
Is this, make conscience either not to attend to, or not to judge thy selfe or thy estate by any carnall reason without a warrant. p. 560
Cure III.
Is this, enter not into contention with Sathan concer­ning those things which belong not unto you. p. 566
Cure IV.
  • Is this, in thy proceedings with thy selfe, and in the judgement of thy selfe, repaire unto the word of the Lord, and passe no sentence, but according to the e­vidence of the word. p. 573
  • There are foure rules of direction, to shew the soule how to repaire to the word.
Rule I.
Is this, thou art to looke into the uprightnesse and since­ritie of thine owne soule. p. 577
Rule II.
Is this, labour to have thy conscience setled in the truth of grace, which the word doth informe to be in thee. p. 580
Rule III.
Is this, that we should strive mightily to have our hearts overpowred to entertaine that wee have that grace which the Word of truth doth manifest to bee in us.
Rule IIII.
  • Is this, maintaine in the last place the truth, which up­on these grounds thou hast received. p. 592
  • The means to get faith are foure. p. 598
Meanes I.
Is this, wee must labour to plucke away all props that the soule leanes upon. p. 598
Means II.
Is this, labour to have your hearts established of the fulnesse of content that is in the promise. p. 601
Means III.
Is this, expect all the good which thou needst and canst desire from that sufficiency of the promise. p. 607
Means IIII.
  • Is this, labour to yeeld to the equall condition of the promise. p. 608
  • The motives to stirre up the heart to seeke after faith, are three.
Motive I.
Is this, because if you once get this grace, you get all [Page] other graces with it. p. 610
Motive II.
Is this, because by faith wee are delivered, and made conquerours over all corruptions. p. 611
Motive III.
Is this, because faith doth bring a blessing to all our blessings and graces. p. 614
Use.
  • The second branch of the use of exhortation, it is to those that have faith, to live by their faith, and to improve it for their best good. p. 618
  • There are three particulars for to learne the heart how to live by faith. 622
Partic. I.
We must provide matter for our faith. ibid.
Partic. II.
In providing matter of faith, three rules are to bee observed.
Rule I.
All the good promises are to bee stored up seasonably. p. 623
Rule II.
All the promises of all kindes, and that abundantly, are to be laid in. p. 625
Rule III.
All the promises are to bee laid up in the heart, that we may have them at hand for our use. p. 628
Particular II.
We must labour to fit faith for the worke. p. 630
Rule I.
To maintaine the evidence of this grace of faith. p. 630
Rule II.
To labour to bring our hearts to a stilnesse or calmnesse, that faith may have its full scope. p. 634
Rule III.
Not to looke first unto the means, but to the promise for succour. p. 637
Particular III.
We must order faith in the worke. p. 640
Rule I.
To renounce all power and abilitie in our selves. ibid.
Rule II.
To bring the promise home to our hearts. p. 642
Rule III.
We must be carried by the promise unto God. p. 644
Passage II.
How we may take and improve the good of the promise. p. 645

Severall Treatises of this AUTHOUR.

  • 1 THE unbeleevers preparing for Christ, out of
    • Revelations 22.17.
    • 1 Corinth. 2.14.
    • Ezekiel 11.19.
    • Luke 19.42.
    • Matthew 20.3, 4, 5, 6.
    • Iohn 6.44.
  • 2 The soules preparation for Christ, or a Trea­tise of Contrition, on Acts 2.37.
  • 3 The Soules humiliation, on Luke 15. verses 15, 16, 17, 18.
  • 4 The Soules vocation, or effectuall calling to Christ, on Iohn 6.45.
  • 5 The Soules union with Christ, 1 Corin. 6.17.
  • 6 The Soules benefit from union with Christ, on 1 Cor. 1.30.
  • 7 The Soules justification, eleven Sermons on 2 Corin. 5.21.
  • 8 Sermons
    • on Iudges 10.23.
    • on Psalme 119.29.
    • on Proverbs 1.28, 29.
    • on 2 Tim. 3.5.

THE SOVLES EFFECTVALL CALLING TO CHRIST.

By T. H.

LONDON, Printed by J. H. for Andrew Crooke, at the signe of the Beare in Pauls Church-yard. 1637.

The Soules effectuall calling to CHRIST.

JOHN 6.45.

Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, commeth unto me.

THE ingrafting of the humble and broken hearted sinner into Christ, as we have heard, consists of two particular passages: The first was being put into the stock; Secondly, the ingrafting into the some. As in ingrafting na­turally so of implanting spiritually of the soule in­to Christ. When the soul is brought unto this, then a sinner comes to be partaker of all the spiritual be­nefits, all shall be communicated to us. Now the point at this present to be handled, is called by the streame of Divines Vocation, and I tearme it the putting in of the soule, when the soule is brought out of the world of sinne, to lye upon, and to close with the Lord Jesus Christ, and this hath two particular passages in it; partly the call on Gods part, partly the answer on ours. The call on Gods part is this, when the Lord by the cal of his Gos­pell doth so cleerly reveale the fulnesse of mercy, and certifies to the soule by the work of his sp [...]rit, [Page 34] that the soule humbled returnes answer to Gods call.

1 In the first observe two passages: First, the meanes whereby God will call the sinner unto him; the sinner is afraid to appeare before God whom he hath offended, and may therefore pro­ceed in justice against him for those sinnes which have beene committed by him. Now besides the Law which discovers a mans sinne unto him, hee now prepares another meanes, the voice of his Gospell; hee lets in many sweet inklings into the soule, of his love and kindnesse to allure him, to call him, and draw him to himselfe.

2 Secondly, the Lord doth not onely appoint the meanes, namely, the ministery of his Gospel, whereby the soule may be brought unto him, and receive communion with him; but by the worke of his Spirit hee doth bring all the riches of his grace into the soule truly humbled, so that the heart cannot but receive the same, and give an­swer thereto, and give an eccho of the subjection of it selfe to be governed thereby: that wee have finished already. There must bee hearing before comming; not of the Law, to terrifie a man; but of the Gospell, to perswade and allure a man to come unto the Lord, and receive mercy and kind­nesse from him. The Gospell is the meanes ordai­ned by God to call home the soule unto him. But this will not doe the deed; there must be some­thing else, or the sinner will be at a stand, and can­not come on cheerfully, and receive the grace of­fered him; therefore besides the meanes, wee [Page 35] have the speciall cause expressed, which is the Lord. For when a man hath heard, that is one thing; but that is not all, for the principall cause is the Lord. God the Father alone can buckle the heart to receive the grace appointed, and the mer­cy offered to the soule: and without the principall cause, all other meanes, I meane the Ministers of the Gospell, although it be a savour of life unto life, yet it may be a savour of death unto death, unlesse the Spirit of the Lord goes with it. For when the Gospell is onely revealed to the understanding, and that onely conceives of the letter thereof, and it soakes not, and sinkes not into the heart: this we call an outward calling, that is the phrase of Divines: when some light flash is imparted and communicated unto the soule, and is not set on sufficiently, that is an outward calling. But when God the Father doth accompany the dispensation of the Gospell with the powerfull operation of the Spirit, and it puts its hand to the key of the Gospell, and unlockes a blinde minde, and a hard heart, there the soule learnes throughly and effe­ctually the way of salvation. The Text saith, there must not onely be hearing, but learning of the Fa­ther, else the soule will not, nor cannot come. Now before I can collect the severall passages out of the words, there is some difficulty and obscuri­ty in the phrase, therefore give me leave, as I am able, to discover the meaning and sense of the words, and then the collection will be cleere.

First, for the explication of the phrase, and I will discourse four questions unto you, which will [Page 36] be usefull for the cleere explication of the Text. 4. Questi­ons.

1 First, what the lesson is that a man must learne before he come.

2 Secondly, why the Father is said to teach, and not the Sonne, nor the holy Ghost.

3 Thirdly, what is the manner how the Father doth teach the soule, when he will call it home to himselfe.

4 Fourthly, what is the frame and disposition of the soule, how doth the heart behave it selfe when it hath in truth learned the lesson. When the Lord will propound unto, and learne the soules of his that belong to him, you must not thinke the truth tedious, because they will give us light into all the truth that shall bee hereafter discussed out of the word.

Quest. 1 He that hath heard and learned of the Father, what is the lesson that he must learne before hee can come? that after he hath learned this lesson he may be able to see the path of salvation as pro­pounded to him, so also neere at hand, that hee might walk therein, and receive comfort thereby.

Answ. For answer hereunto, the lesson that the soule must learne, is this, namely, the fulnesse of the mercy, and grace, and salvation that God the Fa­ther hath provided, and also offered to the poore humbled sinner, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, which in deed is able to doe that for a poore sinner, which all the meanes and things in the world could not doe, and yet notwithstanding he needs. I have heretofore discussed the poore miserable plight which a sinner hath brought him­selfe [Page 37] into by his manifold rebellions. There is no helpe, no hope of himselfe, in what hee hath or doth to releeve and succour himselfe, and there­fore he fals flat at the footstoole of the Almighty, and is content to be at his disposing. Now the les­son that the soule must learne, is the fulnesse, greatnesse, and freenesse of the perfect salvation which is brought unto us through the Lord Jesus Christ. And that we may not learne this lesson by halfes, but fully and perfectly, and that your minds may conceive of the same, give me leave to lay it out fully, because it will be profitable for our en­suing discourse: and this lesson discovers it selfe in three things, as in three lines, as I may so terme it.

1 The first is this, that the soule may learne there is enough sufficiency in the mercy of God, to fill up all the empty chinkes of the soule, and supply all the wants that a sinner hath, and releeve him in all those necessities that either doe or can befall him: this is the condition of every sonne of man since the fall of Adam, that there is not onely a great deale of weaknesse in the soule, but there is a great deale of wants and emptinesse in the soule.

Now this is the fulnesse of the mercy of God, that whatsoever our weaknesses, wants, or neces­sities bee, there is full sufficiency enough in that masse to fill up all, and to give the soule full con­tent in every particular. Hence the phrase of Scripture runnes thus, when God propounds the fulnesse of mercy in Jesus Christ, he calls it a trea­sury, and all the treasures of wisedome and holi­nesse [Page 38] are in Christ; not one treasure, but all trea­sures; not some treasures, but all treasures, Esay 61. When the Gospell was professed, there was a ful­nesse of mercy, and there wee shall see a kinde of meeting and concurrency of all blessings together. So that where the Gospell comes, there is joy for the sorrowfull, peace for the troubled, strength for the weake; be your miseries what they can be, here is releefe seasonable and sutable to all your wants, miseries, and necessities. Nay, this is not onely for the present necessity. Mercy is not only able to releeve your present necessity, but your future also. It is not with mercy as with the wi­dow of Sarepta, who thought when the meale in the barrell, and the oyle in the cruse was spent, she should then surely perish. No, it is not so in the fulnesse and sufficiency of this mercy; it hath not onely enough to doe you good for the present, and to succour you in all present wants; but what miseries soever shall befall thee, or what troubles shall betide thee for future times, the fulnesse of Gods mercy laies in provision against such neces­sities, and times of miseries and vexations. For a poore sinner may be driven to a stand after this manner: It is true, saith the sinner, I have hereto­fore committed many sinnes, God hath sealed up the pardon of them unto me, and those sins which have heretofore pleased me, God hath given me a sight of them in some power and measure against them. But what if more sins, if more temptations, if more corruptions, if more guilt, if more horror seize upon my heart, how then shall I succour my [Page 39] selfe? But now this is the fulnesse and sufficiency of mercy, it doth not onely case a man in regard of present necessity, but layes provision for all future wants and calamities that can befall the soule. Psal. 130.7. The text saith, Let Israel hope in the Lord, there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. The word in the originall is, there is multiplying redemption, or redemption encreasing: if misery, sorrow, and anguish be multiplyed, there is mul­tiplyed redemption also. Then know it, if you know your owne soules; you see it, if you see your owne lives, that it is new sinnes, new corrup­tions prevailing with you. But here is the com­fort of the soule, as sinne increaseth, so mercy in­creaseth; as corruption multiplyes, so redemption multiplyes: therefore he is called the Father of mercy; as who should say, he begets mercy, even a generation of mercies, from day to day; and it is a large generation of new mercies framed and made to incourage poore soules: therefore it is said, with the Lord there is a fountaine of life. Looke as it is with a fountaine, there is not onely water in it for the present, but it feeds severall cocks and conduits; and though it runnes out daily, it enlar­geth it selfe daily: So with the Lord there is a fountaine of life. If there be a fountaine of death in thy soule, in regard of thy sinnes to kill thee; so a fountaine in God to quicken thee. Hence it comes to passe that the Lord speaking of his mer­cy, calls it the exceeding riches of his mercy, Ephes. 2.7. I say, the Lord hath not onely fulnesse of mer­cy, but he is rich in all his fulnesse; nay, he exceeds [Page 39] in all the riches of the fulnesse of his mercy. So that be we never so poore and beggerly, these sins increase, and those miseries increase; why yet though thou bee a bankrupt in grace, yet the Lord is full of goodnesse, full of mercy; yea he exceeds in his fulnesse, to succour thy heart in all necessi­ties: nay, our miseries and wants bee great, yet haply thy feare is greater than all the rest; thy soule is troubled many times more with the feare of what will be, than with the feeling of what is already befalne thee: But now, how ever thy mi­series be great, and thy feare exceeds all misery that can betide; yet mercy will remove and pre­vent those feares, and Christ will doe more for thee, than thou canst feare will fall upon thee: Nay, a man doth not feare what misery can befall upon him, but his heart may imagine more than he doth feare. But here is the fulnesse of mercy, mercy full to the brim, and running over; mercy is able to doe more for thee, than thou canst feare or conceive shall come upon thee. Ephes. 3.20. then saith the Lord, exceeding excesse, abundant­ly above that we can aske or thinke. So then the words runne thus, then winde up the point, Thou seest, thou findest, thou feelest, many sorrowes now assailing thee, thou expectest more trouble to befall thee, and thou dost conceive more than thou dost feare; thy sorrowes out-bid thy heart, thy feares out-bid thy sorrowes, and thy thoughts goe beyond thy feares: and yet here is the com­fort of a poore soule, in all his misery and wretch­ednesse, the mercy of the Lord out-bids all these [Page 40] whatsoever may, can or shall befall thee. Gather then up briefly, and shut up this first passage. Ma­ny are the sorrowes of the righteous, guilt of sinne perplexing the sinner, and filthinesse of sinnes ty­rannizing and domineering over the soule; nay, many feares and cares for future times: for a sin­ner saith, Sometimes my condition is marvellous poore, my estate marvellous miserable; what if small temptations, what if small corruptions, what if such a fall should betide me, what then shall become of my soule? Nay, a mans imagina­tion exceeds all feares. The soule that thinks with it self, Should the Lord deale in justice, and should my sinnes get the victory over me, which I hope will never be, for what shall I then do for succour? yet this is the comfort of a poore soule, let it read this lesson, The Lord is able, and mercy can doe excessive, exceeding abundantly above all, thy sorrowes are abundant, thy feares are very abun­dant, thy imaginations are excessive, exceeding a­bundant, exceeding above all present sorrowes, above all future feare, and above the course of all imaginations. This discourse shall serve for the first passage.

We will now adde the second. The soule is not yet fully satisfied, but replyes, It is true, there is bread enough in my Fathers house; that I yeeld, and that I confesse; there is abundance of mercy in God, a world of mercy that pardoned Manasses, and saved Saul, but what is that to me, if there be bread enough in my Fathers house, and I starve for hunger, and get no benefit by this mercy of God? [Page 40] But how shall a man starve in this mercy? if a way can be conceived, and a meanes can be propoun­ded for another supply to the soule, to fill up the necessity of it, this will be seene in the next parti­cular; I say herein appeares more fulnesse of mercy.

2 It is not onely sufficient to releeve a man in all the miseries that can befall him, but this is ano­ther thing considered: mercy is able to make thee partake in the same mercy: God doth not leave thee to thy selfe, that thou shouldest buy it, and purchase it; and buy it, and procure it: but mercy is able to suffice thy soule, that thou maist be re­freshed thereby. This is the tenor of mercy: God requires of a man that he should beleeve: now mercy doth helpe to performe the duty comman­ded. The Lord, as he requires the condition of thee, so he worketh the condition in thee: hee makes thee beleeve that thou shalt be saved, as there is fulnesse of grace in himselfe to doe thee good, if thou dost receive the same: this is the dif­ference betweene the two Covenants, the Cove­nant of workes, and the Covenant of grace. The first covenant runnes, Adam shall doe and live: now it stood upon the use and abuse of his free will, either to doe the will of God, and be bles­sed; or to breake the law, and be cursed: it was in his power to receive the life: and thus either by breach or not doing the condition required, Adam must performe. But it is not so here: the Lord in deed requires a condition: no man can be saved but he must beleeve: but here is the privi­lege, [Page 41] that the Lord as he makes this condition with the soule, so also he keepeth us in performing the condition, for the Lord he requires that the soule should rest upon him, and he make him also to doe it: he requires the soule to cleave unto him. Ezek. 36.26, 27. There is the tenor of this cove­nant, A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will take away your stony heart, and give you a heart of flesh, and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes: Or if they will walke in my wayes, out of thine owne power, then I will vouchsafe this mercy and favour. Now the Lord requires this condition, and workes it also in his children; he requires this of them, and he workes this in them, for their e­verlasting good; as Heb. 8.9. the Lord saith, This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel; I write my lawes in their hearts, and they shall not need to be taught. Men must know God, and beleeve in the Lord. Now as the Lord requires this, as the condition of the covenant; so the Lord will work this in them, as he requires this of them. Iohn 1.12. the text saith, To them that beleeve, he gave them power to be the sonnes of God. Now if a man will be­leeve, he shall be saved. Now then hee makes a man beleeve that he may be a sonne. This is the second passage whereby the soule of a sinner comes to be cheered: or that there is not onely a­bundance of sufficiency in the Lord Jesus Christ; but that mercy, as it is able to doe him good, so it will make him partaker of the good.

3 The third particular is this, That as mercy hath [Page 42] all good, and will make us partakers of what it hath; so also it will dispose of us, and of that it be­stoweth upon us. Mercy will not onely have a sinner, but it will rule and order that grace it hath bestowed upon the soule. For if mercy purchase a soule at so high a rate, as the blood of the Lord Jesus; it is right that the soule purchased by grace, and supplyed with grace, that mercy should dis­pose it for the honour of God. You are not your owne, saith the Apostle, but bought with a price; therefore you must glorifie the Lord in body and soule. Nay, it is not onely right that mercy should doe it; but reason, and beneficiall to the soule, that mercy should doe thus. Nay, I say, unlesse that mercy should rule a man, he had not beene able to give full content to the soule. If the Lord should leave any poore soule to the destiny of his owne heart, and the malice of Satan, hee would runne to ruine presently: he is not able to supply his owne wants and to dispose of his owne spirit, and employ aright his owne soule. For if Adam in his innocency, had a stocke in his owne hands, fell and perished: then if mercy should put a man into the same estate that Adam was, a man should bring himselfe into the same misery that Adam was brought into: but there is that fulnesse of that mercy, that is in Christ that it wil bestow all good needfull for me; so also, it will dispose of that good in me, so that Satan shall never prevaile, the world shall never overcome, nor my corruptions beare sway in me; but the Lord shall rule me for ever: and this is the fulnesse of Gods mercy. Ga­ther [Page 43] up the point then, that we may see what wee must learne. There is sufficiency in mercy to sup­ply all wants: nay, there is ability in mercy to communicate that it hath, and we stand in need of. Nay, mercy will preserve us; and that it giveth to us, against all oppositions that can befall thee. This is the lesson that the soule must learne, that it may be able in some measure to see the way, and learne the path that leadeth to everlasting happinesse. This is the first lesson that the soule must learne of God the Father.

Vset. For the use of this. Is this the lesson the soule must learne? then looke wisely upon it; and when this comes upon thee, and sorrow assailes thee heavily, doe not looke into the blacke booke of conscience, and thinke there to finde supply; nei­ther looke into the booke of the privileges and performances, and thinke to finde power out of thy owne sufficiency: Looke not on thy sinnes to pore upon them, whereby thou shalt be discoura­ged; neither look into thy owne sufficiency, thin­king thereby to procure any thing to thy selfe. These are but lessons of the lower forme. It is true, thou must see thy sinnes, and sorrow for them; but this is for the lower forme, and thou must get this lesson beforehand: and when thou hast gotten this lesson of contrition and humiliation, looke onely to Gods mercy, and the riches of his grace; and be sure as you take out this lesson, take it not out by halves, for then you wrong mercy, and your selves too, if you thinke that bare workes will serve, and that is all. No, no, mercy will rule [Page 44] you, therefore take all the lesson out, and then the heart will be cheered, and thy soule in some mea­sure enabled to come on to the Lord, and will see some glimpses of consolation from the Spirit.

Quest. 2 We see the lesson, what must be learned: now we must see the reason why the Lord must teach this lesson.

Answ. I answer, It is not appropriated to the Father alone, for the Father teaches not alone; but the Sonne and the holy Ghost teach too. But why then doth the Text give it to the Father? Here I an­swer directly, because the Father was directly of­fended with the sinne of man. 1 Iohn 1.7. If wee sinne, wee have an advocate with the Father, name­ly, the Lord Jesus Christ, to plead for us with the Father. He doth not say, wee take an advocate with an advocate, that doth not plead with him­selfe: the reason is, God the Father was directly offended; though all the persons in the Trinity were offended, yet the Father more directly. Now he that is directly offended, favour and mercy must come from him, to the party that doth of­fend: and that is the reason why Christ especially cast this upon the Father. Take a creditor that hath money, or creditors that are bankrupts; now this is no meanes to helpe and succour these men: but it lyeth upon the creditor that oweth the debt, for he onely it is must come to forgive the debts: for it is here God the Father, being di­rectly offended by the sonne of man, therefore from him in the first place, must proceed the par­don, and mercy to the sonne of man. Hence it [Page 45] comes to passe, that the text saith, the Father must teach this lesson.

Quest. 3 The third question is this, After what manner doth the Lord teach the soule? Christ speakes now of the worke of the Spirit: and that you may not be mistaken, know this, that the worke of the Spirit doth alwayes goe with, and is com­municated by the word; therefore if the question be, After what manner doth God teach the soule to spell out this lecture of mercy and pardon?

Answ. I answer briefl [...], The Lord teacheth the soule by his Spirit. I told you that before, that not only the Father, but the Sonne and holy Ghost also teacheth: the Father from himselfe, the Son from the Father, and the holy Ghost from both: There­fore understand what I say, the Spirit of the Lord doth not onely in the generall, make known Gods mercy; but doth in particular, with strength of evidence, present to the broken hearted sinner the right of the freenesse of Gods grace to the soule; nay, it holds those speciall considerations to the heart, and prefen [...]eth the heart with them: not onely so, but in the second place, the Spirit doth forcibly soke in the re [...]ish of that grace into the heart, and by the over-piercing worke, doth leave some dint of supernaturall and spirituall vertue on the heart. The Spirit doth not onely with truth bring home the evidence to the heart, but it i [...] st [...]ll whispering, and calling, and making knowne the same, and forcibly soketh in the rellish of the free­nesse of Gods grace, and leaveth a dint of superna­turall vertue upon the soule. We will expresse the [Page 46] points, because it is somewhat difficult, and is the scope of that place, 2 Tim. 1.7. The Lord hath not given you the spirit of feare, but of a sound minde. The spirit of feare, is the spirit of bondage, in humilia­tion & contrition. When the Spirit sheweth a man his sinnes, and sheweth him that he is in bondage, and in fetters, lets him get out how he can: this is the spirit of feare and of bondage. In the second place, there is the spirit of power. But what is this spirit of power? You must imagine this spirit of power doth not intimate any particular grace, but as it were the sinewes and strength of the worke of the Spirit, conveying it selfe through the frame of the heart and this I terme to bee the effectuall worke of the Spirit of God. When the soule is humbled, the Lord sweetly communicates into the soule a supernaturall and spirituall vertue. Lastly, as it is in nature, take a knife, if it be rub­bed on a Loadstone, it will draw iron unto it; now it cannot doe that, because it is a knife, but because it is rubbed on a stone, and receives vertue there from: So it is with a heart humbled, it is a fit subject for the grace of God to worke upon: the love of God is like the loadstone, and if the heart he rubbed thereupon, and affected with the sweetnesse thereof, it will bee able to close with that mercy, and come to that mercy, and goe to God, from whence that mercy comes.

Quest. 4 What is the behaviour of the soule, when it hath learned this lesson from the Lord?

Answ. I answer, When these two things meet toge­ther in the soule, then it hath learned this lesson: [Page 47] The first is this, when the soule having heard of that plentifull redemption that is in Christ, as al­so having apprehended the revelation thereof; it commeth to close with the worke of the Spirit, revealing, presenting, and offering grace to the heart: nay, it comes to give entertainment to he riches of that mercy revealed to the soule. There is in the mercy of God, and in the blessed truth of the promises, a great excellency. Now when this is so plentifully brought home to the heart, that it breakes through all oppositions, which may hin­der the worke of the Spirit upon the soule, when it is brought home by the spirit of God; and the heart gives way, and closes with it, so that there is nothing betweene that and the soule; this I take to be the first frame of the soule, that beginnes to learne this lesson, it beginnes to close to the truth, to give way to the sweetnesse that is in it, and bids adieu to all delight and sinnes, and whatsoever may be a hindrance unto it, from receiving of this grace into the soule. This is the first passage.

The second, with which I will conclude is this, that as the soule closeth with that mercy, and wel­commeth it, and the heart is content to take up mercy upon those termes: so in the second place, there is an impression and disposition left upon the soule, that it is framed and disposed; there is a kinde of print which the soule hath with it; so that as the mercy of God is revealed to the soule, and communicated to the soule; so there is a kind of impression, frame, and print, which the heart retaineth, and hath wrought upon it by this grace [Page 48] and free favour of God made knowne: therefore that phrase, Rom. 6.17. is a marvellous patterne to our purpose; the Text saith, they were delivered to this forme of doctrine. Looke as it is with a seale, if the seale be set to the wax, and leave an impres­sion, just so many letters upon the wax as in the seale, then it is wholly sealed: So the Spirit of God through Christ, in the promises, doth reveale al the freenesse and grace of mercy in Christ. Now when the Spirit doth leave an impression on the soule, that man is delivered into the truth. I con­clude all in Acts 26.18. when Saul was sent to preach to the Gentiles, the Text saith, he was but to bring them out of darknesse into light: mark, when the Lord doth come to worke effectually upon the soule, he brings men from under the power of darknesse: whereas the understanding was darke and blinded, when the Spirit comes, it turnes it from the darknesse and power of sinne, unto the power of light and grace.

Lastly, the power of the heart doth these two things: for not onely some of the heart must bee brought to God, but the whole heart: therefore in the precious promises of grace and savation, there is fulnesse of all good, to draw all the facul­ties of the soule unto the Lord; and therefore the faithfulnesse and the truth of God is mainly revea­led in the promises; now that fits the understan­ding, and makes it looke to God for pardon, for power, and mercy.

2 As the promise is a true word, so it is a good word; this answers all the will and affections; there [Page 49] is a possibility in mercy to save a man: hope ex­pects it; but then the soule must looke onely to Christ for mercy, desire, long for it, for that there is a certainty that a man shall have mercy if he can desire it; love doth welcome and delight in it, nay, the soule doth say, The Lord hath said, thou must be saved: nay, thou must looke to Christ for mercy, it is no where else to be had: nay, if thou dost desire it, thou shalt have it; and then the Lord determines the point, it is done, mercy is thine; and then the will addes full consent, and sayes, Amen, Lord, let it be as thou hast said. Gather them up briefly. When the Spirit of God doth so cleerly present mercy to the soule, and doth leave by the over-powring worke thereof a supernatu­rall worke upon the soule, that the spirit closeth therewith, and receives the print and impression thereof: now the lesson is fully learned: this may suffice for the opening of the severall things; now therefore we will addresse our selves to gather the doctrines out of the Text. And first for the gene­rall, in that the Father is said to teach.

Doct. That the teaching of the heart effectually is the proper taske and worke of God. It is not you that can teach your selves, neither can all the meanes and friends under heaven doe it; no, it is the work onely of the Father. All these meanes and mini­sters are usefull, but God is the chiefe master, and all these are but underling ushers to convey the minde of God unto us; but the master is God himselfe: it is the powerfull operation of the Spirit that must doe the soule good; all other [Page 50] meanes are but like the cane that conveyeth the voyce; but the voyce is the Lord. Iohn 14.26. I wil send the Comforter, and he shal teach you all things. And who is that? that is the Spirit of God. We speake to your outward eares, but it is the Spirit of God that must give you mindes to discerne, and spirits to embrace; that is the onely worke of the Spirit. We shall observe Matth. 11. towards the latter end, I thanke thee Father, &c. how comes it to passe that the wise are befooled, and fooles in­structed? I thanke thee Father, saith hee, that thou hast revealed these things to babes and sucklings, and hast hid them from the wise. How comes this about? It is thy good will, Father. It is a wonder to see a silly creature, of weake capacity, and almost a foole, and yet he knoweth more of sanctification and faith, than many great Schollers. Take a rush candle, and a lampe, the lampe is a great deale bigger than the rush candle; yet the rush candle giveth light, and the lampe none, because the rush candle is lighted, & the lampe is not. So it is here, a Christian out of a blinde dotage, and a meere simplician in other things, yet he will talke well of the free mercy of God, and the worke of grace in his heart; when as many great wise men are novi­ces in these things.

Reason. 1 The reason is, because God hath lighted his candle from heaven, because the worke is an Al­mighty worke; it is not an easie matter to goe to heaven: you must not say, What, have I lived thus long, and are we children still? Ah, children you are, and children you will dye, unlesse the [Page 51] Lord from heaven teach you; though all men and Angels teach you, the work will not goe forward. 1 Cor. 4.6. the Text saith, The same God that brought light out of darknesse, shineth in your hearts. Wee know, at the beginning of the world, when dark­nesse was upon the deepe, the Lord said, Let there be light: now that Almighty God that brought light out of darknesse, which none else could doe, why the same God shineth in your hearts, saith the text: unlesse the Lord say, Let there be light, the minde can never be enlightned, the soule can never bee cheered, nor the conscience pacified.

This is a ground of admirable comfort to all weake, silly, feeble minded creatures. I doubt not but your hearts are grieved, when you consider the marvellous ignorance which is in you, and how little you know concerning life and salvati­on, when the Lord hath layd line upon line, precept upon precept, and the heart sometimes covets and desires to entertaine the same, the soule commeth to the congregation, and saith, Good Lord, let [...]he word worke upon my soule, enlighten my minde, awaken my conscience; and when the word comes thus home to the heart, the soule hopes that it sh [...]ll retaine and remember it: but when it is gone, all fals to the ground, and the heart in pri­vate reasons thus with it selfe: What shall I say? when my heart approves of the word, and my soule closed with it, even then so soone as I come out of the Church, I forgat all: what a blind mind and a hard heart have I? can there be any grace or mercy conveyed to such a soule as mine? surely I [Page 52] shall one day perish. An ignorant heart is a naugh­ty heart, a base wicked heart; my sinnes are ma­ny, my conditions fearfull. Would you have any comfort? why then marke what I say, The Lord will teach; and if the Lord be the teacher, tis no matter what the scholler be. Reason thus with your selves, My memory is weake, my capacity is smal, my understanding feeble, but yet the Lord is my teacher; and if the Lord will informe, who can let it, but I shall bee informed? Prov. 1.23. marke what the Text saith, Returne you simple ones, you scorners, and fooles, and follow me, and I will learn you wisedome. This may move you to depend up­on God, in the use of the meanes: the soule may say, I am simple, and I have beene a scorner too, and that is a great misery, and therefore no marvel if God blinde my minde, and harden my heart for I have beene a scorner, and can any good come unto me? can such a soule receive grace and wise­dome? Why? Ah, saith Wisedome, come unto me, and I will poure abundance of wisedome up­on you.

Sec ndly, if it be the worke of God, then goe to him, for it is a comfort to goe to a father: when therefore the meanes are received, and God gives a heart to improve them, then come not to the congregation, but to God: and when the Mini­ster reproves, say, Father, set home that reproofe to my soule and conscience, dost thou reprove, father? and when the Minister exhorts, and in­formes thee daily, the argument from the Scrip­ture plaine; when the Minister is thus exhorting, [Page 53] and you cannot come off cleerly, looke up to hea­ven, exhort Father, teach Father: the Minister he speakes to thee, but Father informe us, but Father seale to us the assurance of thy love in Christ. All you that heare me this day, and come, and bring­est thine with thee, and commest with thy family into the congregation, looke up to thy God, and say, Lord, here is a vaine rude servant, a silly wife, and a weake foolish childe, and I am as base and blinde as any of them, and all the Ministers under heaven, and all the Angels in heaven, cannot teach and informe us, but doe thou teach us, and worke upon our mindes, and frame our hearts, that wee may know the things belonging to our peace. But thou wilt say, Alas we have come, and looked up to God, but we thrive and prosper not for all this, we receive not that helpe and instru­ction from him, which he first promised, and we stand in need of. Why, I say, the fault is thine owne, the Lord is not wanting to his owne word, but thou art wanting to thy owne comfort. But how then shall wee so carry and order our selves, that we may seeke God so, as we may partake of that good we desire and stand in need of?

I answer, These foure meanes are very usefull for this purpose. First, labour to lay thy owne conceitednesse and abilities downe, and all thy carnall imaginations, that shut out the truth of God, and are professedly opposed to the obedience of Christ: if thou leanest on thy owne wisedome, and bearest up thy selfe on thy owne abilities, thou wilt never have direction from God, and thou [Page 54] shalt never be taught by him, if thou thy selfe can teach thy selfe: therefore down with those haugh­ty imaginations, in regard of thy owne parts and abilities, if thou hopest that God shall guide thee, and learne thee in the way of truth. Therefore let every one be a foole, that he may be wise: when thou art a foole in thy selfe, then God will inform thee, when thou canst lay down all thy owne con­ceits, and captivate all thy carnall reasons, then thou art like to be taught of the Lord: But before, these hinder the Lord from informing thee in the way of truth. He that sets up his owne wit above the wisedome of the Lord, he shall never be exal­ted by the Lord of heaven. This I take to bee the reason why some men of deepe reaches, and of great understandings, are marvellously besotted in a christian course, & in the way of life & salvation. The reason is, because they trust to their owne wisedome, and rely upon the arme of flesh, and upon their owne policy, and upon the depth of their owne understandings; and that is the reason why the Lord leaves them to their foolish imagi­nations: and as the Text saith to the Romanes, when they thought themselves wise, they became fooles. Iames 5. at the beginning; If any man want wise­dome, let him aske of the Lord. The word in the O­riginall is, if any man be like a begger, that beg­geth up and downe for bread when he is hungry: for if thou beest empty of thy selfe, and a begger in thine owne apprehension; if thou dost lay down all they conceit of thy owne wisedome, then the Lord will give thee wisedome abundantly.

Reason. 2 Secondly, doe what thou knowest, and then the Lord will informe thee much more, in what thou shouldest doe; improve that little sparke and knowledge thou hast, and then the Lord will increase that knowledge of thine. Gen. 18.19. when God was about to destroy Sodom and Go­morrah, Why, saith he, shall I hide this thing from my servant Abraham? The end God teaches a man, is, to improve his knowledge; and when God hath taught him one lesson perfectly, then the Lord will teach him another presently. When thou hearest the word, doe that duty which God commands, reforme that sinne, and amend that course which God forbids, and he will teach thee abundantly. Iob 7.12. he that doth Gods will, the Lord will in­struct that man. The master of a family will not give a man fire and candle, to sit up and doe no worke by it, it will not quit cost. Wisedome and knowledge is the candle of God; if thou wilt walk by this light, and walke by this candle, the Lord will increase thy knowledge, till thou art become a perfect Christian.

Reason. 3 Thirdly, we must not onely doe what we know, but must be marvellous painfull, and study and in­deavour to the uttermost of our power to get knowledge: doe not make it onely a holy day taske, but labour continually in the use of all meanes for to get knowledge. You come here to the congregation, and attend to the word, you doe well; but very few that will make this your taske and study at home, to furnish his heart with spiri­tuall understanding. It is a shame that a man [Page 56] should alwayes be fed with a spoon, and hold the spoone in his mouth, as children use to doe; that is to goe and come to the congregation, and get little or nothing. Hos. 2.3. When you labour more and more, pray more heartily, study more diligent­ly, bee thinking men, and meditating men, and chewing men, setting themselves upon the truth; till this, I never look that they should come to any saving or judicious knowledge of life and sal­vation.

Reason. 4 Last meanes, take heed of bearing any secret grudge against any word and truth of God, bee it never so crosse to thy corruptions: if you doe, the Lord in stead of directing you, will delude you; and in stead of informing you, will besot you, and give you over to blind minds, and hard hearts. This we know by experience, men of great know­ledge, great parts, and abilities, are taken aside with dotage, and fall into those errours, which a man would wonder how a man of judgement should fall into. The reason is, they will not en­tertaine the truth of the Lord, Rom. 1.28. as who should say, Oh, this strict way, and this teaching, preaching, and the thundring of judgements, wee cannot beare them, we cannot undergoe them, we have no delight to these: take heed lest the Lord say, Blindnesse take him, hardnesse take him, re­probate sense, let him never entertaine the word of God to informe him, let him never know the wisedome of God to his comfort here, and everla­sting happinesse hereafter.

Vse 3 In the third place, doth the Father teach you? [Page 57] acknowledge you have it as from God, labour so to improve this wisedome, that God may get something by it: you are but stewards of it, and therefore you must improve it for his advantage: as the steward that receives money from his ma­ster, &c. so hath the Lord given thee a stocke of wisedome, and hath cleered that eye, and that judgement of thine, use it to his glory. Therefore doe not lift up thy selfe, in regard of thine owne parts, and sufficiency; but if you finde your hearts to swell, and rise within you, (for knowledge is a very airy metall, as the Apostle saith, it puffes up a man) therefore when thou findest thy heart thus bubling with those cursed distempers, reason thus, Why should I be proud of a borrowed suit? my minde was as blinde as any under heaven, there­fore let basenesse bee mine, let wisedome be the Lords, Gal. 5. The apprentice that is taught by his master, must not presently trade for himselfe, but he workes for his master, and gives him the commodity: so let us doe; we are Gods schollers and prentices; we are now come into his schoole. Hath the Lord taught thee any skill in prayer, any wisedome to conceive? doe not worke now for your selves, doe not set up presently, but la­bour to returne all to him, and to make the Lord partaker of the good he hath bestowed upon thee.

Thus much in generall, that the Lord is the au­thor of this teaching: but now we come to parti­culars, to see how the Spirit in speciall manner doth this.

This I tell you, that the whole soule must come [Page 58] to God: For as the whole soule in this gracious call of God, both the minde that discovers that mercy, and hope, and desire, and love, and joy, have bad entertaining thereof; and the wil, which is the great wheele of the soule, that falls on that mercy, and rests thereupon, and gives answer to the call of God therein. Give mee leave to pro­pound two things by way of preface, for the clee­ring of the following truths; they will be as a key to open the doore to all the following discourse.

Thing. 1 First, those faculties of the soule, which espe­cially goe out to God, and carry the soule there­unto, are especially to be considered, in this great worke of going unto God, and beleeving in him. Now there are two things in the worke, some e­vill, and some good: the evill to be refused, the good to be embraced. Now answerably to these 2. things, the Lord hath placed in the soule of a man two sorts of feet; some feet carry the soule from evill, some feet againe carry the soule towards good.

Now the affections of the soule, that doe respect evill, are especially three, if any evill be comming; first, feare is a watchman, and the heart trembles, and shakes, and gives in. Hence comes palenesse in the face, because feare goes downe into the very castle of a man, which is the heart; and then sor­row greeves and mournes, and laments under the weight of that evill, wee feare evill to come, but we sorrow for evill that is come. Thirdly hatred, that carries it selfe with a kinde of indignation, and takes up armes against that evill, feare is pre­venting, [Page 59] sorrow feeling, hatred opposing any evil that comes. Now these three affections that goe from evill, have been wrought upon in contrition, and humiliation, namely, when the Lord the eye of a poore sinner, discovers unto him that hell is gaping for him, and the God of justice preparing vengeance for him, the soule staggers and shrinks in the apprehension of it; then the Lord lets in the fire of indignation into the soule, and makes the soule feele that before he threatned, and then the soule grieves; and because his sinnes have beene so tedious unto him, his heart is brought to a ha­tred and indignation against those evils. So that if any evill, or provocation, or temptation come to a soule broken, if the old loose companions, old corruptions, old swearing, old blaspheming, old dalliances come to call upon the soule, let us have our fill of love untill the morning, let us take up our old delights; when these call the soule, and would plucke the soule home againe unto them, then these foure fence the soule against all those inchantments; in so much that when the drunkard seeth his company comming towards him, hee thinkes, that is my plague, that is the man, and his perswasions and counsels; hee remembers his old corruptions, and his old horrors, and his old bur­thens and heavie loads that lay upon his heart; and the soule hates the drunkard, and will not yeeld to his perswasions, they so fence the way, that the voice of sinne cannot be heard; it may call, and call, but the doore is shut, they stop the currant, that no streame of distempers may prevaile any [Page 60] more: this now is done before: so that now wee come to the second worke. So there are other af­fections that carry the soule unto good, if there be any good propounded, or offered, then there are foure other affections that the will sends out to entertaine that good: hope and desire looke for the good that is absent: hope saith, I marvell it comes not: desire saith, I long after it: when the goodnesse is neere, then love welcomes it, and de­lights in it, and joy rejoyceth, and all these, hope, desire, love, and joy, all bring, carry and convey all the good to the will, which is the great com­mander of the soule: Love and joy tell the will, We have found much goodnesse, and taken great delight, and much content in the goodnesse and mercy of the Lord. The truth is, wee have taken delight in sinne and base courses; but oh the com­fort, but oh the consolation and goodnesse of mercy; you cannot have a better good than mercy. Then saith the will, We will have grace & mercy, wee will rest here. Thus wee see how the head and the foot of the affections doe come on to embrace that good: now the understanding doth stand sentinell all the while, and discovers all the good, and musters up hope and desire, and love and joy, and these foure are the maine wee must meddle with; all the other went from evill, and they have their proper worke before: we doe not hate and sorrow for mercy, wee doe not feare to receive mercy, but wee feare and withdraw our selves from sinne and corruptions, that we may en­tertaine the call of mercy.

Thing. 2 There is the promise of grace and mercy in Christ, a fulnesse of mercy, which doth so power­fully and effectually draw the soule by this good, that it brings all these affections after it. There­fore in this fulnesse of mercy and goodnesse of God, there are these particulars; that like so ma­ny claspes, draw all these faculties to God, to fol­low and close with God for their good.

1 The promise is a true one, and truth is that which marvellously pleaseth the understanding: as a mans palate tastes meat, so the understanding tastes words. There is nothing so pleasing to the understanding, as the truth of God. Now of all truth, there is none like the truth of a promise; therefore the evidence of it doth cleere the judge­ment, and the certainty of it, doth establish the judgement of a poore sinner, Eph. 1.13.

2 The promise of God is a good word, Heb. 6.5. therefore as the truth of the Gospell fils the un­derstanding; so there is a goodnesse in the promise of grace and mercy, which will answer all, and sa­tisfie all the faculties of the soule, as in the good word of the Lord: mercy is a proper object of hope, that it may be sustained; a proper object of desire, that it may be supported; there is a proper object for a mans love and delight, that they may be cheered: nay, there is a full satisfactory suffi­ciency of all good in the Gospell, that so the will of a man may take full repose and rest therein. Therefore the Lord saith, Come unto me, all that are weary and heavy laden: come hope, and desire, and love, and will, and heart; they answer, We come: [Page 62] all the mind saith, Let me know this mercy above all, and desire to know nothing but Christ and him crucified: let mee expect this mercy, saith hope, that belongs to me, and will befall me: de­sire saith, Let me long after it; nay, saith love, let me embrace and welcome it: let me delight in it (saith joy) nay, saith the heart, let me lay hold on the handle of salvation, here we will live, and here we will dye at the footstoole of Gods mercy: thus all goe; minde, hope, desire, love, joy, the will, and all lay hold upon the promise, and say, Let us make the promise a prey, let us prey upon mercy, as the wilde beasts doe upon their provision. Thus the faculties of the soule hunt and pursue this mercy, and lay hold thereupon, and satisfie them­selves herein. Hence wee will raise these two points.

Doct. 1 That the word of the Gospell, and the word of the Spirit goe both together; this is grounded in the Text, they must first heare, then learne, heare the Gospell, and learne by the Spirit.

Doct. 2 That Gods Spirit gives speciall notice of Gods acceptance to an enlightned soule, and that is the first voice of the Spirit to the understanding. Now to the first doctrine.

Doct. 1 The word of the Gospell and the worke of the Spirit alwayes goe together; the point is groun­ded in the Text, after this manner: they must first heare, then learne; heare by the word, and learne by the Spirit. The hearing of the Gospell without the Spirit, is nothing else but a beating of the ayre, and a dead letter. It is true, the Lord [Page 63] can worke above meanes: we know also God can appoint other meanes for to call the soule, but it is not our meaning, we must not looke for revela­tions and dreames, as a company of phantasticall braines doe; but in common course Gods Spirit goes with the Gospell, and that is the ordinary meanes whereby the soule comes to be called. God can make the ayre nourish a man, but he doth not. If a man should expect to be fed by miracle, hee himselfe would be a miracle; Gal. 3.2. for there goes a spirituall power with it, it raiseth the dead in sinne to life; it is a living word, and the word discovers also the secrets of mens thoughts. Now that word which raiseth the dead, and discovers the secrets of mens hearts, it must needs have a marvellous power with it, and accompanying of it.

For the opening of it, observe two things: first, the manner; secondly, the reasons.

Point. 1 After what manner doth the word and Spirit goe together? and you must know, I do not mean that the Spirit is in the word, no otherwise than in all other things, but in a more speciall manner, and that conceive in three things.

First, the Lord hath ordained and set apart the preaching of the word, hee hath sanctified it, and set it apart to call the soule. Looke as it is with the brazen Serpent, God appointed it to heale those that were stung now if 500. men should have made another Serpent, it could not have healed one man, though they had lookt their eyes out of their heads: So it is with the Gospell, there is no [Page 60] [...] [Page 61] [...] [Page 64] other usuall meanes to call the soule: Hence it is casted the word of the Gospell. Now if five hun­dred men make five hundred Gospels besides this, they could never convert, or comfort one soule. Or as it is with a mint, if a mint master coyne money, it will goe currant; but if twenty other coine money, though the stampe were as good, yet it is but counterfeit coine: so it is here. 1 Cor. 1.21. Let a man study all the arts and tongues that can be devised, he never shall, nay hee never can, know one drop of Gods mercy and goodnesse in Christ. Why but how then may a man know it? saith the Text, by the foolishnesse of preaching, that is, wicked men count it foolishnesse.

2 The Lord doth appropriate the saving worke of his Spirit to goe with the ordinance; not that God is tyed to any meanes, but he tyeth himselfe to this meanes. Why doth not aire nourish all, as well as meat? because onely God hath set meat apart for this purpose. Hence this Gospell is cal­led the power of God to salvation, because the power of God ordinarily, and in common course appears therein: the waters of life and salvation run only in the chanell of the Gospell. There are golden mines of grace, but they are onely to be found in the climates of the Gospell. Nay, observe this, when all arguments prevaile not with corruption, to perswade the heart to goe to God, one Text of Scripture will stand a man in stead, above all hu­mane learning and inventions, because the Spirit goes forth in this, and none else.

God doth undoubtedly, as he will, when he will, [Page 65] and how he will, give successe to his ordinance. Isay 55.10, 11. The word of the Lord doth ever accomplish that for which it is sent. For, it is true, many a man is called after the word is delivered a long time. Why is that? it sokes into the soule, as the snow in December sokes into the earth, but the fruit of it is not seene untill May. The word is a savour of life unto life, it is a living savour of death to death, it is a poison, a deadly savour; and though it hardens some, yet the worke goes forward.

Reason. 1 Because the Lord would not have any carelesse of his owne glorie, and our good: as he will humble the soule, that he may doe good to it, so hee will make him use the meanes. If a gentleman should go after a begger with an almes, how proud would he be, and rather thinke himselfe a master than a begger? So, if God should follow us with mercy, we would rather goe from him: but he hath laid mercy in the myne of the Gospell, that wee may dig for comfort in the cisterne of the Gospell, that we may draw all our consolation from thence.

Reason. 2 Because may not be cozened by our owne fan­cies, the Lord to prevent all inconveniences and conceits of Eatonists and Familists, that thinke they have the power of the Spirit in themselves, whereas Gods Spirit goes alwaies with the word. 1 Iohn 4.1. Every Minister preaches with a spirit; some out of the spirit of envie, some out of the spirit of sinceritie: some heares out of the spirit of love, some with the spirit of malice, to carpe at the Minister: try therefore the spirits, and if they hold not with the word, they are naught.

Reason. 3 That we may be watchfull and carefull, lest we lose the comfort that we have: lightly come, light­ly goe, got with little paine, lost with lesse care; therefore the Lord will make us seeke unto the meanes.

Vse. 1 Instruction: to teach us the worth of the Gospel above all other things in the world, for it is ac­companied with the Spirit, and it brings salvati­on with it. What if a man had all the wealth, what if hee had all the policie in the world, and wanted this? hee were but a foole. What if one were able to dive deepe into the secrets of nature, to know the motions of starres, and yet know no­thing belongs to his peace, what availes it? what if a man could speak with the tongues of men and Angels, yet without this, he is a novice in know­ledge. Why doe we value a myne, but because of the gold in it? and the cabinet, but because of the pearle in it? oh this is that pearle wee sell all for, 2 Cor. 2.1, 2.

Vse. 2 For triall: a man may know whether we have a spirituall heart or no: Iudg. 19. he that hath not the Spirit, is a fleshly sensuall man. Wouldest thou know whether thou art carnall or spirituall? this doctrine tells thee. How came the Spirit? If thou hast it, it ever came with the Gospell: ther­fore see now how thy soule stands affected with the Gospell, and so it stands affected to the Spirit. If thou wilt none of the Gospell, thou wilt misse of the Spirit, then Christ will none of thee. Now reason with your owne soules, Why, unlesse I take the Spirit, woe be to mee, I may owne my selfe, [Page 67] Christ will never owne me. Is it so, that I will not suffer the word to prevaile with mee? remember the time will come that you must dye as well as your neighbours, and then you will say, Lord Je­sus forgive my sins, Lord Jesus receive my soule: then Christ will say, Away, be gone, you are none of mine, I know you not. Any man, whether noble or honourable, let him be what he will be, and let his parts be what they will, if he hath not the Spi­rit, hee is none of Christs: his you are to whom you obey; but pride and covetousnesse you obey, and malice and spleene you obey, you are there­fore none of Christs. Pride will say, This heart is mine, Lord, I have domineered over it, and I will torment it: Corruptions will say, Wee have ow­ned this soule, and wee will damne it. You that heretofore have made a tush at the word, this wind shakes no corne, and these words breake no bones: thinke what you have done; little do you think you have opposed the Spirit, Acts 7.5. what, resist the Spirit? Oh thinke of this. Why, what shall I say? by what spirit wilt thou be sanctified? by what spirit wilt thou be saved? Can thy owne spirit save thee? no, the Spirit of God must save thee; and have you resisted that Spirit? me thinks it is enough to sinke any soule under heaven. Hereafter therefore thinke this with thy selfe, were hee but a man that speakes, yet I ought not to despise him: but that is not all, there goeth Gods Spirit with the word, and shall I despise it? the Lord keepe me from this: there is but one step betweene this and that unpardonable sinne [Page 68] against the holy Ghost, onely adding malice to thy rage; thou opposest thy Father, haply the Son mediates for thee; thou despisest the Sonne, hap­ly the holy Ghost pleads for the: but if thou oppo­sest the Spirit, none can succour thee, therefore looke to it.

Vse. 3 Direction. Hence we may observe the ground why many of Gods faithfull people understand not that they have the Spirit of God, nor yet the increase of it; they looke not to the promise by which it is conveyed, but to corruption by which it is hindred; you listen not to the verdict of the Gospell.

Let every one ask this great question, How may I know when the Spirit is in me? That you know it not, the fault is your owne; look into the word. It is with a poore soule, as with little children; the childe in the night being hungry, seekes for the dug, but if he doth not lay hold of it, he gets no good b [...] it; so thou hast been a long time musling about a dry chip, and hast got no comfort. Be sure therefore to lay hold upon the promise, hold it, and thy spirit shall be filled with marrow and fat­nesse. If there be marrow in a bone, thou must breake it before thou canst get any out. So it is with the promises; they are full of sweetnesse, but you must chew them, breake them, and bestow thy heart on them. An Alchimist that distils oyle, doth draw out the spirit of metalls, but it is by di­stillation: so it is with the promises, they are ex­cellent metall, there is a great deale of comfort in them, but if you will have benefit by them, [Page 69] you must distill them by meditation.

Obt. I, but some soules may say, We have done thus often, but yet returne as emptie as before.

Answ. I answer, You should have staid longer upon the promise, it must not bee at your carving and dis­posing: in reason, a man must swallow his pills, and eat his cordials; but wee should doe the con­trarie, we should chew the promises, and that is done by meditating on them: but we swallow the precious promises of Christ that should comfort us, therefore chew them, if you desire comfort, o­ver and over againe; eat these daily, and you shall finde much comfort and consolation therein, and benefit thereby.

Vse. 4 Terrour: we may see the hopelesse condition of those men that live under the Gospell, and their hearts are not wrought upon them. If the Spirit of God, and the Gospell of God, will not worke upon thee: if thou hast the eye of a man about thee, thou maist see thy wofull and lamentable condition. If a bungling servant cannot tell how to hew a peece of wood for a building, it is no marvell; but if it be such a peece, that the master Carpenter cannot make it fit for the building, then it is good for nothing but to be burned: So it is here with the soule, if the Spirit of God can doe thee no good, who can? if we, a companie of bunglers, cannot doe it, no marvell; but if our ma­ster Christ, if he takes a stubborne sturdie heart in hand, and cannot doe it, it is fit to bee damned. Is not that man miserably ignorant, that wisedome it selfe cannot make wise? is not he sicke of sinne, [Page 70] whom the Gospell cannot cure? 1 Cor. 4.3. I de­sire those whose conscience to this day accuse them that yet they are blinde, and those that brave it out, and say, Shall I feare the face of a man? no, no, I scorne it; I beseech you let me deale with you, doe not brave it out so, for it is the greatest mise­rie under the Sunne, for thou dost as good as to say, thou wilt not have the word of God to worke upon thee. Iames 1.21. The word of God is able to save thee, and to sanctifie thee, and art thou yet polluted and defiled? Oh, take heed of it, goe and be moue thy soule to the Lord, and say, Good Lord, such a drunkard thou hast met with, such a proud heart thou hast humbled, and such a stub­borne heart thou hast pluckt upon his knees; and if drunkards be humbled, if the ignorant be instru­cted, then what a cursed heart have I, that was loose and vile, and base and profane before, and so I am now. I tell thee, what can you thinke of your selves? if the Spirit goe with the word, and thou mocke at it, thy condition is lamentable.

Vse 5 Exhortation: Then you are to be intreated, in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ever you heare the word of the Lord, and the Gospell of God, you must come trembling, and submit to that good word, Exod. 23. When ever the word of the Lord is revealed, the Spirit of God, blessed for ever, is there accompanying of it, therefore good reason the creature should submit to the Creator. Wee speake not a word for our selves, we preach the good word of the Lord; and how ever our selves have spoken this, if you oppose it, [Page 71] know it, that it is the Lords word: therefore when you heare the word, doe what you will with us, onely submit to the word of the Lord; doe what you please with us (as Ieremy saith) onely embrace the word of the Lord. It is Gods word, therefore take heed of opposing and gainsaying it, labour to awe your soules, to settle all distempers, wipe out all carping and cavilling at the word, as they presse in upon thee.

Obt. But how shall we bring our soules to doe this?

Answ. By considering these two or three meanes.

1 Labour not onely to have thy soule convicted, that the holy Ghost is there accompanying the word, as it doth, (or else how could it reveale thy sinnes?) but also perswade thy heart that it is so, apprehend the power of the Spirit of God; for as we apprehend the Spirit of the Lord to be in the word, so much the word will worke upon thee; as it was with the Israelites, 1 Sam. 8.19. compared with 1 Sam. 12.18. What is the reason they do so at the one, and not at the other? why, did they feare the one more than the other? because they apprehended God to be in the one, and not in the other.

2 Confesse and know, that not one word of God shall fall to the ground: there thou hast heard, if a man did heare thunder, and knew it would fall upon him, it would awe him. The word of the Lord is as thunder from heaven, it is not the word of man, but of God; then consider, shall not the word faile? then the word that God hath spoken shall fall upon me.

3 Consider, that when judgement hits, it is irre­coverable. If a man knew, that although judge­ment came, it would not hit him, if it did hit him, he might recover, this would comfort him a little; but if thou dost not stoope, it will hit, and that ir­recoverably; therefore labour to tremble at Gods word.

We come now to see how the Lord workes up­on the soule. First, he lets a light into the minde, for what the eye never seeth, the heart never desi­reth, hope never expects, that joy never delights in, that the soule never embraceth; but the soule hangs a farre off, and dares not beleeve that Christ will have mercy upon him; God is a just God, and he a vile sinner, therefore God will never cast the eye of pitie and compassion upon him, therefore the Spirit lets in a light into his heart, and disco­vers unto him, that God will deale graciously with him, and doe good unto him.

Doct. 1 Hence, That the Spirit of the Lord gives speciall notice of Gods acceptance to the soule truly humbled. Mercie is generally propounded to the soule in the Gospell, but there is a speciall bringing home of mercy to the soule by the Spirit, that hee strikes through the bargaine. There is many a chapman passeth by the stall, and seeth the meat, and the commodity lye, that is tendred him, and followes him home to his house, if he purpose to sell: so it is not enough to tender mercy, and offer grace and salvation by the Gospell, for this wee often doe, and you will not once looke at them, but cast them away, and no man buyeth them; but if the Spirit [Page 73] of God takes them in hand, he will strike the bar­gaine through, hee will follow thee home to thy house, to thy closet, to thy heart, hee will wooe thee, be thou never so coy, be thou never so stub­borne, be thou never so wayward, the Lord will bring thee to give entertainment to the Lord Je­sus, and to Gods mercy, in and through him, 1 Iohn 5.20. as if he had said, A man of himselfe hath no minde, no understanding to conceive of the Lord Jesus, and of the freenesse of Gods mercy in Christ, but Christ hath given us this minde, he hath given an eye to the soule of a sinner, so that hee cannot but take notice of the councell holden in the high Court of Parliament, concerning his salvation. It is with a sinner, as it is with a man that sits in darknesse, haply he seeth a light in the street out of a window, but he sits still in darknesse, and is in the dungeon all the while, and thinkes, how good were it, if a man might enjoy that light: So many a poore humble-hearted broken sinner, seeth and hath an inkling of Gods mercies, he heareth the Saints speake of Gods love, and his goodnesse, and compassion; ah, thinkes he, how happy are they, blessed are they, what an excellent condition are they in! but he is in darknesse still, and never had a drop of mercy vouchsafed unto him: at last the Lord sets a light in his house, and puts the candle into his owne hand, and makes him see by particu­lar evidence, thou shalt bee pardoned, and thou shalt be saved: this is particular notice.

For the opening of the point, observe two things:

  • [Page 74]1. The manner how the Spirit doth it.
  • 2. The reasons why the Spirit onely can do it.

For the first, the manner of the Spirits worke, how the Lord doth give this notice, and how the candle comes to bee lighted, and the glimpse of Gods mercy comes in, as by so many cranies into the soule, it is discerned in three passages.

Passage. 1 The Spirit of the Lord meeting with an humble, broken, lowly, selfe-denying sinner, for of him I speake: hee that is a proud stout hearted wretch, God give him notice of his mercy? no, God will give him notice of something else, he shall have notice of judgements & hell fire: let him have that which belongs unto him, Iudgement to whom judge­ment belongeth: but I speake of an humbled sinner, through which he may be enabled, and by which he may be fitted to entertaine the things of God. The naturall man perceiveth not the things of God, neither can he; why? because they are spiri­tually discerned. So that there must be a spiritu­all light in him, before the soule can see spirituall things without, 1 Cor. 2.12. Wee have not recei­ved the spirit of the world, which is the spirit of ignorance and darknesse, that possesseth all the world: the world lyeth in darknesse and in sinne; there is the spirit of the Devill and terrour in the mindes of wicked men; but you have not received the spirit of the world to delude you and blinde you, but you have received the Spirit of the Lord; as who should say, No man doth, no man can know the things of Gods free grace, rich mercy, boundlesse compassion in the Lord. No man can [Page 75] see these colours, unlesse he hath a spirituall eye, Revel. 3.18. No (saith God) ye are blinde, &c. but I counsell thee to buy of me eye-salve, that thou maist see: and now the humbled sinner begins to see, like the man in the Gospell, some light and glimmer­ing about his understanding, that he can look in­to and discerne the spirituall things of God.

Passage. 2 Then the Lord layes before him all the riches of the treasures of his grace, the Spirit brings out of the store house, out of the bosome of God the Father, those tender mercies and compassions, which never yet saw the Sunne, which neither men nor Angels ever dreamed of, and the Spirit doth communicate them to those that God hath let the spirituall light into: Ephes. 3.9. there they are called the unsearchable riches of God, and it is a very significant phrase, and the word implies such riches, as a man can never see a foot-step of them. God now doth as some Trades-men doe, he hath a deale of wares in his store-house, but the buyer and passenger seeth not those, but only them that are set out upon the stall: so it is with the Lord Jesus; hee doth present unto the view of the un­derstanding of the mind enlightned, all those conceivable incomprehensible treasures of his mercy in the Lord Jesus. If a man have no eye, hee cannot see; if hee have an eye, and have no object, nor colours before him, hee cannot see; first therefore the Lord gives an eye to the hum­bled heart; and when hee hath given him an eye, then hee layes colours before him, that hee may see and looke, and fall in love with the treasures [Page 76] of mercy and compassion, 2 Cor. 3. the foure last verses, the Text saith, The vaile of blind­nesse is taken from our minds, and then the faith­full Soule beholds, as in a glasse, all the grace and mercy, and compassion that God layeth before him in Christ; the humbled sinner hath now gotten an eye, and some spirituall eye-sight, that the Lord hath brought within his view, all the riches and treasures of the Lord Jesus Christ: and the Soule saith, oh, that mercy, and grace, and pardon were mine: Oh, that my sinnes were done away. The Lord saith, I will refresh them that are heavy laden: Oh, that I had that refre­shing, saith the Soule; You shall have rest, saith God: Oh, that I had rest too, saith the soule: Now the Soule beginneth to looke after the mer­cie and compassion which is laid before it.

Passage. 3 The Spirit of the Lord doth witnesse or certifie, throughly and effectually to the Soule, that this mercy belongs to him: that is the upshot of the notice God gives to the Soule.

The third stroke of the Spirit, strikes through the bargaine, and makes the understanding close with that grace and mercy, set forth unto it; and without this the Soule of an humble broken hear­ted sinner hath no ground to goe upon. Belee­ving in Scripture is called comming. Now no man can goe without some ground; now this is the ground, without which the Soule hath no bot­tome to beare it up, either to come to Christ, or perswade it selfe of mercy in Christ. What good doth it doe any hungry stomacke, to heare [Page 77] that there is a great deale of cheere, and dainties provided for such and such men; what is it to him, if he have them not? Take a begger that hath a thousand pound told before him; hee may ap­prehend the summe of so much gold, and so much silver; but what is that all to mee, saith he, if in the meane time I die and starve? It falls out in this case with a broken hearted sinner, as with a pro­digall childe; the prodigall he hath spent his meanes, and abused his Father; the prodigall hath now much need, the famine is in the land, and poverty is befalne him, and hee knowes there was meat enough, and cloaths enough in his Fathers house; but alas hee can expect no kind­nesse from his Father, but only his heavy displea­sure: if any man should say, goe to your Father, hee will give you a portion of a hundred pounds againe; doe you thinke the prodigall would be­leeve this? no, no, he would answer thus; haply my Father will imprison mee, or send a Sergeant to arrest mee, or an executioner to take away my life; it is my Father that I have offended, my portion I have spent, and his anger I have incen­sed; and what, will hee receive mee? no, I will never beleeve it. Indeed, had I beene a good hus­band, I might have had his favour, and increased my estate, but I have lost his favour, my owne estate, patrimony and all: but if a man should come and tell him now, that he heard his Father say so, and bring a certificate under his Fathers hand that it was so, this would draw him into some hope, that his Father meant well towards [Page 78] him; so it is with the sinner, when he is appre­hensive of all his rebellions, that hee hath heaped up against Gods mercy, and spirit and grace, by his declining from the truth: If a man should tell such a soule; goe to God, he will give you a pensi­on of a hundred thousand pounds a yeere, that is, hee will give you abundance of mercy and com­passion, the Soule cannot beleeve it, but thinkes; what I mercy? no, no, blessed are they that walke humbly before God, and conforme their lives an­swerable to Gods word, let them take it, but the truth is, it is mercy I have opposed, it is grace that I have rejected, no mercy, no grace for mee; you cannot wooe the soule to be perswaded, for to thinke that there is mercy for him. But if God send a messenger from heaven, or if under the hand of his spirit, that hee doth accept of him, and will doe good to him, and passe by all for­mer sinnes, and shew favour to him; this makes the soule grow into some hope, this is the ground whereupon the soule goeth to the Lord. This the Lord performeth to the soule. That which David prayes for, Psalm. 35.3. the Prophet was not contented that there was salvation in Gods hand, hee knew that God had a world of mercy, and salvation, and pardon lying by him; but Da­vid prayes to God, Say unto my soule, thou art my sal­vation, testifie it, speake it home, Lord, once more plainly, effectually and sensibly, there is salvation with thee. Paul was saved, and Abraham was saved; but what is that to mee? say unto my soule, thy sinnes shall be pardoned, thine iniqui­ties [Page 79] shall be forgiven, thy person accepted.

Quest. But now the question growes on; But how shall a man discover this testification, and this wit­nessing of the spirit, to the heart of a humble bro­ken hearted sinner, that these things are so?

Answ. This third worke of the spirit makes knowne it selfe in three particulars:

Partic. 1 The spirit doth evidence to the soule, broken and humbled, That the soule hath an interest in this mercy, that it was appointed for it, and he hath to meddle with it; in reason, we may observe that a witnesse in a cause doth marvellously cleare it, if he be wise and judicious; and the thing that be­fore was doubtfull, comes now to be apparant: as now in a point of Law, two men contend for land; now if an ancient wise man of some place, is called before the Judge at the Assises, and hee beares witnesse upon his knowledge, that such Lands have beene in the possession of such a gene­ration or family, for the space of many yeares; this is a speciall testification, that this man being of that generation, he hath interest to these lands: So it is with the witnesse of Gods Spirit, there is a controversie betweene Satan and the soule, the soule saith, oh, that grace and compassion might be bestowed on mee; why, (saith Satan) dost thou conceive of any mercy, or grace and Salvati­on? marke thy rebellions against thy Saviour, marke the wretched distempers of thy heart, and the filthy abhominations of thy life: dost thou thinke of mercy? Here is the controversie, whether an humble sinner hath title to, or interest in the [Page 80] mercy of God? Now the Spirit of God com­ming in, that casts the cause and makes it evident, if such a poore heart have interest, and may med­dle and make challenge to mercy and salvation, because it hath beene prepared for them, from the beginning of the world to this very day. Now this gives a light into the businesse, & the evidence is sure, that this man hath title to all the riches and compassion of the Lord Jesus; Acts. 2.39. Every poore creature thinkes, that God thinkes so of him, as hee thinkes of himselfe; and hee thinkes God intends marvellous grievous things against him; and if there be any judgement de­nounced, or any plague revealed, the soule sits and sincks, and thinkes with himselfe thus; I wretch, the Lord spake to mee and intended mee; the Lord threatned mee, and denounced judge­ment against mee; and one day he will bring all these plagues upon mee, all shall be made good upon this wretched heart of mine one day, where­as the Spirit of the Lord judgeth otherwise, and God meanes well towards him, and intends good to all you that have beene broken for your sins, and there is witnesse of it in heaven, and it shall be made good to your owne consciences, Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners, bro­ken, abased, vile, wretched, carnall sinners: doe not thinke hee will keepe any old reckonings in minde; Christ came into the world, only to suc­cour sinfull humbled wretches; hee only came to call sinners, not your proud, haughty justiciaries, that trust in their owne performances, no but [Page 81] miserable, vile, broken, abased sinners; therefore now here is some ground, and light come in, that wee have to doe with mercy. Psalm. 80.3. Cause thy face to shine upon mee. If a man be in a deepe darke dungeon, he cannot tell when it is light; hee may aske, is it light? but else hee cannot tell: But an humbled sinner is like a man standing full upon the Sunne rising, this face of Gods mercy shines full upon him, the Lord lets in the inclination of his kindnesse, and makes knowne the surenesse of his favour in the Lord Jesus Christ; now the soule hath some apprehension that he hath to doe with mercy.

Partic. 2 The Spirit doth ratifie that interest as the soule now hath, as intended towards him, and prepa­red for him; hee makes it good to the heart, and establisheth it, and makes it sure to the soule: This is the nature of a witnesse, if it be sufficient as the Lord provides, That in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall bee established; so it is with the testimony, or testification of Gods Spirit, for the Spirit doth not beare witnesse a­lone, but the Father from heaven, and the Sonne in heaven doth joyne witnesse with the Spirit; and the court is in heaven where this controver­sie must be scanned, and now the Spirit doth by witnesse promise, that all this mercy shall be made good and given, & the humbled heart shall be made possessor thereof; hence it is that the soule comes to be deeply setled herein, for God cannot deny himselfe, nor his promise; this is the maine ground and tenour, whereupon wee hold ever­lasting [Page 82] happinesse: you know in men of great estate, if their lease had beene naught, and their tenour false, this staggers them deeply; therfore every man labours to make his tenour as good as hee can, thinke on it, the maintainer of all this good, that a Saint of God hath, all his hope of life and salvation, hangs upon the maine hold, the free promise of the Lord, the certaine faithfull promise of the Lord, in & through Jesus Christ, by the testimony of the Spirit; you that are sanctified by Christ, know nothing, unlesse you know how to live by a promise in some measure: Now this promise is not only a bare word of God, and a bare intimation of some will and intendment of good, but it is a kind of ingagement, when the Lord doth lay his truth to pawne, here is good surety for a poore humbled soule, it shall un­doubtedly be bestowed upon him; he doth not only intend well unto him, hee doth not only pre­pare mercy for him, but now he ties & binds him­selfe, so that he cannot goe back; you see now, this is the bottome to beare up the truth, when the Lord doth please to ingage himselfe to a bro­ken hearted sinner, that hee shall be made to be­leeve, and made to live by his beleeving: I be­seech you take notice of it, this is the tenour and covenant of God with a broken sinner; hee calls him graciously, and then promises to bestow mer­cy upon him, 2. Cor. 6.18. Come out from a­mong them; what then? what, shall I forsake all my old companions? shall I renounce all commo­dities that I have coveted? all the honour in the [Page 83] world which I have affected? Yes, saith the Lord, come out from them all, abandon them, lose all riches, and be impoverished, lose all honour, and be abased; ah, but what shall wee get by it? why then, I will be your God, that is, I will ingage my selfe, and passe over the title of all my mercy, and goodnesse, and compassion, and all that I have you shall have, all is yours; and what then? You shall bee my people; marke that, hee is obliged to a poore humbled heart; as if he had said, I will be your God, and supply your wants, and work graci­ously for you: as it was with Abraham, the Father of the faithfull, so it must be with the faithfull servants of God, Gen. 12.3. Now what there is promised to Abraham, he promiseth to all his chil­dren, to all the faithfull: it is thus with thee; that is thou must bid adue to thy country and friends, and though thou livest with thy Father, yet thou hatest his base courses, and though thou livest with thy friends, yet thou hatest their wicked practices, and thou hast forsaken thy god pride, and thy god covetousnesse, and thy god drunken­nesse, and the like; thou knowest God will blesse thee, he hath bound himselfe, and cannot goe backe, this is the ground of the speech: 1 Iohn. 2.25. Eternall life is the thing there promised, but how can wee intitle ourselves in this? the text saith, this is the promise he hath promised, that is, he did freely and frankly, and of himselfe, and out of his owne good will, ingage himselfe to give and bestow this promise upon us; here is the root and ground of all his promise. This is the [Page 84] difference betweene the first and second covenant; God did covenant with Adam, that he should live upon the ground, that he should doe: Now because the covenant of eternall life depended upon doing, it was not certaine to him and his posterity, but lost it; but our eternall life depen­deth upon the promise of God, and therefore it is sure, because God cannot faile, cannot change, his promise cannot be altred: if we observe the con­ditions, eternall life is sure unto a broken hearted sinner; hence come all those phrases in this kind, Wee are called children of the promise, what is that? why, the very promise of God makes us children; wee are begotten and made the Sonnes of God: he is called in Esay, The everlasting Father, hee hath begotten us by the word, and the seed of the promise which is sowne in our hearts, by the vertue of the seed and the Spirit of grace, accom­panying that seed, wee have power to receive Christ and the Spirit of Christ, and so to become the Sonnes of God. This is the reason of that phrase in Scripture, We are not children of the flesh, but of the promise; & also of this in Gal. 3. last verse, We are made heires by the promise, it makes us heires; that is, looke whatever ground, or hope, or hold of eternall life, and glory, & blessednesse, you hold it by the vertue of the promise, all is by a promise, grace and goodnesse is communicated to us by a promise, this is our life, and all our hold, there­fore the Gospell is made to be the testament of Jesus Christ; as by ones last will and testament, a man leaves his goods and lands to his posteritie, [Page 85] so the Lord Jesus Christ out of his free good will, leaveth one legacie of mercie, and grace, and par­don, and strength, to all humble broken hearted spirits, Galath. 3.15. though it be but a mans co­venant, saith hee, when it is confirmed, no man doth abrogate it, but if a man seale it, and con­firme it with his bloud, then it is fully established; no man will, no man can disanull it. So Christ leaves a Legacie of mercie to you, and of favour and compassion to all broken hearted sinners by pro­mise: and therefore it is established, nay, it is the last promise, the last Legacie and Testament, there­fore the promise no man can alter, Ioh. 1.14. He doth not leave peace then, as the world doth; they wish it, but cannot give it; they wish it, but can­not bestow it: but Christ leaves a legacie of mer­cie and peace behind him, nay, he hath ratified it by his bloud, and he will make it good to the soule for ever.

Partic. 3 The witnesse makes the soule yeeld unto what the spirit hath witnessed: As the witnesses in o­pen court in a matter of law, they make the case cleare and evident; the Jury they take it, the Judge observes it, you all know how the case goes, the witnesse sufficient, &c. So when the witnesse of Gods Spirit comes, bringing the hand of God the Father, and the hand of the Sonne, touching Gods acceptance, it casts the cause clearely. Now this judgement of the sinner yeelds, and cannot but close, and submit it selfe unto the truth; this is the meaning of that phrase before the text, they shall be taught of God, they shall not only learne, [Page 86] but they shall be taught, they shall have their les­son without booke, they shall be made to learne; and therefore the tenor of the covenant is this: I will write my Law in their inward parts, and they shall all know mee from the highest to the least: observe the 2 Pet. 1.3. it is a place of marvellous difficul­tie, (this I take to be the meaning) there is enough to satisfie any man, according to his divine power, he hath given unto us all things, that is, the Lord by his almighty divine power, hath given unto us all things, either appertaining to this present life here, or eternall life hereafter. But how comes this to passe that God doth this? the Text saith, It is through knowledge of him, that hath called us to glory and vertue; the word in the originall is, through their acknowledgement of him that hath called us. The soule doth not onely barely know, that this is grace and mercy in Christ; the eye of the understanding is not only opened, but hee now comes to acknowledge the same, and subscribeth thereby thereunto: God saith, I will save thy soule, I will be thy God; the soule saith, It is true, Lord, I will deny it no more, I will gain-say it no longer.

In a word then, gather up the point, if it be so, that the Spirit, by the witnesse thereof, doth disco­ver the interest we have in grace, if it doth ratifie the interest wch it doth discover; nay, if it makes the judgement yeeld to what it hath ratified, it certifies effectually and undeniably the truths of grace and mercy thus prepared and ratified to the soule, and the soule saith, I confesse it Lord, and closeth therewith.

Quest. Why, may some say, if this bee so, how then comes it to passe, that many of Gods deare chil­dren, how comes it, that many humble hearted creatures never knew they were called, never had any speciall intimation of Gods favour, they can­not say in truth, they are the Lords.

Answ. I speake of him that hath had the work of pre­paration fully and substantially upon his soule, I speake this, that no scrambling hypocrite, nor sin­full wretch, may come and scramble for comfort, and so goe away and deceive himselfe in this kind, know therefore, for answer thereunto;

There is a double knowledge, the first is this:

A naked simple apprehension of a truth, a meere closure of a mans minde, with a naked plaine truth revealed, so that the judgement saith it is so.

Secondly, there is a reflecting act, when a man lookes over his understanding, and labours to dis­cerne the worke thereof, not only apprehending what was laid before him, but when he doth ap­prehend that he doth apprehend, when he knowes that he doth know it, marke that place, for wee will carry Scripture with us, 1 Ioh. 2.3. Hereby we know, that we know him, saith the Text, if wee keepe his Commandements. A man may know a thing, and yet not know that he doth know: so then it is cleare, every Saint of God hath the first know­ledge, that is, every man that is truly called in truth, doth apprehend, and undoubtedly close with the worke of the Spirit, making knowne un­to him the mercie of Christ; many may worke, [Page 88] and most men doe; the second worke they doe not know that they know; the Scripture saith, that the Devill himselfe rules in the hearts of the chil­dren of disobedience, that is, he casts in a seed of errour and delusion, and corruption into the hearts of wicked men, and by his delusions they entertaine those errours, embrace base courses. Now not one among a thousand can say that the Devill doth thus, this is done by vertue of Satan, and yet he doth not see it; nay, there is a veile of Satan upon the soule, there is a seed of Satan in the soule, and the soule closeth with it, and yet hee apprehends it not; so every faithfull soule is ruled by Gods Spirit, and the seed of Gods Spi­rit is flung into his minde, and closeth therewith, but hee cannot discerne the worke of the Spirit working upon him, the one governed by Satan, the other enlightned by the Spirit, but neither can apprehend, nor know, what they doe know in this kinde.

Reas. 1 Because onely the Spirit of the Lord knowes the Lords minde, it is only privie to Gods coun­sels, and it only understands the secrets of Gods love, and therefore it only can reveale them and communicate them, Matth. 11.27. Now because the holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father and the Sonne, he can, nay he doth make knowne the Counsels of both, and so removes all objections, and cleares all cavils; it is a point of considerati­on to you that are weake ones, satisfaction is by the meanes of Christ, the Sonne layeth downe the price, and doth satisfie, the Spirit doth certifie it [Page 89] unto the soule, that the Son hath satisfied for the neglect of what God ever required at our hands, and for the committing of what ever God hath forbidden; now the soule is fully satisfied: As for example; Take a creditor, to whom the debtor oweth money, haply the debtor is arrested for his not paying the debt; the surety he comes and layes downe the debt: now the debtor is un­acquainted with this, unlesse there be a messenger that brings a certificat under the hand of the credi­tour that he is paid, and the surety hath dischar­ged the debt, and hee is quitted; when he heares this, his heart is fully quieted: So here the Lord Jesus is the Surety, the Father is the Creditour, our soules are the debt; now the Spirit of God he is the Messenger, and he brings under the hand of God, of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, an acquittance to our soules, that what ever sinnes wee have committed, are pardoned through Christ; and this fully contents the soule.

Marke, 1 Cor. 2.10. yea; the deepe things of God; as who should say, how can you tell that Gods minde is towards us, and that hee will pardon? why, these are secrets; aye, but the Spirit of the Lord knowes, and searcheth the deepe things of God, that which eye never saw, that which the Angels in heaven cannot tell you, that wch all the men in the world cannot reveale unto you, with­out God be with them, that your names are writ­ten in the Booke of Life, you shall bee accepted, these are deepe things, but the Spirit reveales them: This is the first Reason, the Spirit onely [Page 90] knowes the minde; therefore, it only can give no­tice thereof unto the soule.

Reas. 2 The Spirit only can break thorow al those mists, and clouds of ignorance and blindnesse, that are in our minds, which oppose this worke; nay, it can beare downe all those distempers and discou­ragements, which make us unfit, and unable to receive the evidence of Gods love and goodnesse, in the Lord Jesus Christ; for these two things are in the heart of a sinner, that marvellously oppose the evidence of Gods favour unto the soule.

Hindr. 1 That every man hath a veile of ignorance over his heart, 2 Cor. 3.15. Now the veile of ignorance no hand can rend it, none can remove it, but only the Spirit of God; The god of the world blindes the eyes of the wicked; why then it must be the Spirit of God, the Spirit of another world, I meane the Spirit of Christ that must open the eyes, and take away the veiles, and clouds, and mists, that the god of the world casts before the eye.

Hindr. 2 Are desperate discouragements, when a poore sinner is plunged in the apprehension of all the evill which he hath committed, and in the aggra­vation of all those sins whereby God hath beene dishonoured; when the soule observes this, hee thinkes and sayes, This proud heart will never be humbled, this unregenerate heart will never be sanctified, the Lord never intends good to my soule, it is impossible that so many corrections, so long continued, should ever be pardoned, here the soule sinkes downe in desperate discourage­ments; now there is none but the Spirit of God [Page 91] that can let a light into the soule, there is none but the hand of the Lord, that can rend, and pluck, and pull a poore fainting, despairing, dying, sin­king heart, under the burthen of his manifold abominations, none but the Almighty hand of an Almighty God can doe this; when it is night, all the candles in the world cannot take away the darknesse; so all the meanes of grace and sal­vation, all the candle-light of the Ministery, they are all good helps; but the darknesse of the night will not be gone, before the Sun of Righteous­nesse arise in our hearts. Hence it comes to passe, that it is a very difficult matter to give comfort to a poore distressed soule, Psal. 40.1. Marke what a co [...]le there is to give comfort, all the world cannot comfort them, and perswade them: I shall one day perish, say they, I shall one day goe downe to hell, let all the Ministers under heaven say what they will; Comfort yee, comfort yee, saith the Lord, as who should say, they will not be comfor­ted, they will not thinke, nor be resolved of it. I mercy? and I comfort? it is a likely matter, it will never be, it never can be, I shall never see that day: will the Lord pardon me? I doe not thinke it, I cannot beleeve it, God is a just God, and a righteous God, and I am a vile wicked wretch, it is mercy that I have despised and trampled un­der my feet, and I mercy? no certainly, there is no such matter; this makes the Lord have such a doe, Comfort yee, comfort yee, the third time, and yet they will receive none. We Ministers of the Gospell observe by experience, that we meet with [Page 92] some soules that are gone to the bottome of hell, sometimes by their distempers, and wee make knowne the promises, propound arguments, lay downe reasons, but nothing takes place, nothing prevailes, all is presently forgotten, and you had as good say nothing, all is forgotten; therefore none but Gods Spirit can doe it, hee must come from heaven, and say, Comfort yee, comfort yee my people: let me therefore speake to you that are Mi­nisters, you doe well to labour to give comfort to a poore fainting soule, but alwayes say, Comfort Lord, say unto this poore soule thou art his salva­tion; Lord speake comfort, and say to such a one, his sinnes shall be pardoned, mercy shall bee be­stowed upon him, his iniquities are forgiven; it is that wee observe in the policie of Satan, Satan hath two Policies:

Policie. 1 First, if he can, hee will keepe a man that hee shall never see his sins; therefore hee labours to doe away all plagues and judgements from the apprehension of the soule; and therefore when the Minister comes home to the conscience, and saith, What, you have heaven? what, proud and profane, and oppose God and his ordinances, and you goe to heaven? No, no such matter; marke what the Devill suggests, take thy pleasure, it is but halfe an houres work when you lie upon your death-bed, if you can but then cry to God for mercy, and for forgivenes, it is enough: this is the first Policie to keepe a man from seeing his sins; and thus the soule is content to carry hel-gates on his backe, and a thousand abominations, and is ne­ver troubled.

Well, haply the Lord enlightens the soule of such a sinner, and sets his sinnes before him, and saith, here are thy sins, and for these thy sins thou shalt be sent packing to hell; now he cannot look off his sins, but the Word reveales them, and the Spirit settles them, thou maist take thy pleasures, and live in thy sins, but the end will be bitter, for all these sins God will visit thee, God will exe­cute judgement upon thee; then the soule trieth his heart, examines his paths, and begins to pore on his corruptions; when Satan sees this, he la­bours to draw him away, and sends drunken com­panions unto him, that they may take his minde off from his sins.

Policie. 2 But if Satan cannot keepe him from seeing his sins, then he shall see nothing but sin: before hee was frolicke, and braved it out, and kickt mercie into the kennell, and he would doe what he list; Ministers tell mee of grace? no, no, I will follow my course; now it is otherwise with him, he can see nothing but iudgements, and plagues, and cor­ruptions, and so sinks downe in discouragements: as therefore there is nothing that can pursue a sin­ner, and make him see his sins, but God; so there is none but the Spirit that can let downe a cord of mercy, and draw a poore sinner out from the bot­tome of hell; so the Spirit knowes the secrets of God, if the Spirit once settles these things upon the soule, and takes away all hinderances that doe oppose the evidence of Gods favour, then the Spi­rit must only certifie Gods love, and mercy, and goodnesse, to the soule of an humble broken hear­ted sinner.

Vset. Triall: will you put your selves upon triall, will you over-see whether you ever had any no­tice of Gods acceptance? observe then the author of it, whence and of whom you had it, this will discover the truth of it; when we mistrust good newes from a farre Country, we use to say, it is good indeed, but is it certaine? whence had you it? had you a letter from beyond sea, or heard you from some Noble man, that heard the letter read? then it is certaine: So there be glad tidings of peace and mercy, there is good newes from hea­ven, God hath pardoned vile sinners: God saves millions of men, good newes, but if your hearts perswade you for certain, doe you thinke so, or doe others tell you so? is it nothing but idle ale-house talke? hath Gods Spirit sealed it? doth God say to thy soule, thou art his servant, he thy King, thou his son, he thy Father? if it be so, thou maist pawne thy life on it, trust to it, the notice is good. If a malefactor were condemned, and a rogue that hath beene burnt in the hand, who goes up and downe with a passe, suppose the one to forge his pardon, the other to counterfeit his passe: A wise man he knowes and understands the falsenesse of the partie, and he shall never get any good by it, hee will stop the rogue with the passe in his hand, and hang the traytor with his pardon about his neck. So it is here, wee are all malefactors and poore rogues, running up and downe the face of the earth, and we are walking and looking after ano­ther Country; now, what must be our passe? the evidence of the Spirit, thou that saist thou doub­test [Page 95] not of Gods mercy, and the pardon of thy sins; under whose seale hast thou this pardon? did it come from a right Office, and from a right Seale? then it is good, else the Lord will stop thee with thy passe in thy hand, and hang thee with thy par­don about thy necke.

Quest. But then you will say, how may wee discerne the notice of the Spirit of the Lord, from ano­ther notice, and how may the Saints of God dis­cerne it.

Triall. 1 Differs in these three particulars: First, in the specialitie of it, it is an evidence that comes home particularly to the soule. Looke as it is in the conveyance of lands and leases, by joynt inheri­tance therein, haply the lease was made before the man had a childe, now if afterwards he have halfe a dozen children, every one in particular hath a ti­tle to it, interest in that land, as though they were mentioned in particular. So the Gospell pro­pounds grace and mercy to all humbled soules, broken hearted sinners are m [...]de joynt heires, and inheritors of everlasting mercy: you that will come out of your sinfull courses, and will touch no uncleane thing, thou hast particular inte­rest in Gods mercy, as if thou wert called by name Robert or Richard, &c. Now mark al the notice and evidence that any hypocrite under heaven hath of the freenesse of Gods mercy, is this, hee hath only some common inkling and heare-say of salva­tion, they are within the hearing of the promises made to others, and they either not rightly ap­prehend, or else mis-applying the sense and mea­ning [Page 96] of the promise to themselves, they cosen their soules, and never have any particular evi­dence of the truth of it to their soules by the worke of the Spirit; there is haply an expectation among the prisoners in Newgate, that there wil be a pardon come cut at the end of the Parliament, and some man passeth by and saith, there is a par­don for Newgate: The prisoners that heare this, it makes them rejoyce; but when the Parliament comes out, there is a pardon only for such persons, for such facts, of such a quality and nature, and so haply he that rejoyced so much in the considera­tion of a pardon, hath nothing to doe with it; now the generall heare-say will doe no good, but the particul [...]r evidence: so it is betweene a cunning Hypocrite and a childe of God, when an Hypo­crite hath beene driven to extreme horrour for his sins, then he lookes out for mercy, his heart is ter­rified, and his soule perplexed, and he heares there is abundance of mercy in Christ, and Christ came to save sinners; the Hypocrite is delighted with this in the generall, this is only overly, and com­mon, he over-heares a promise, and so quiets him­selfe therein; but when it comes to the triall, God came to save sinners, but what sinners? humble broken hearted sinners: But the Hypocrite is not such an one, therefore it belongs not to him.

Differ. 2 The second difference of the Spirit is such, that it can hardly be rased out of the soule, the testi­mony of the Spirit, brought home to the soule, cannot bee taken away, for when the Spirit witnesseth to the soule, it leaves the light upon [Page 97] the minde of an humbled sinner, that will never be plucked off, but hee will turne his eye towards it while the world lasts. This evidence that is brought home, and cast in by the Spirit, it is so un­expected, and so pleasing, and so incomparably strong, and wonderfull, and withall so uncon­ceiveable excellent, that an humbled sinner when once he sees the glimpse and inckling thereof, it will ever be prying and looking that way, nay, in the most desperate discouragements that can befall, and in the greatest desertions that can be­tide the soule; nay, notwithstanding all those sub­tilties of temptations that Satan hurries into the soule, to make a man at a losse, and to make him leave looking after the freenesse of grace in Christ: yet the poore soule will ever be lingring after this Light; looke as it is with a great torch, carry it out of one roome into another by-roome, and though the torch be gone, yet it will leave such a glimmering so that a man may follow the torch: so it is with the soule, truly humbled, it hath recei­ved the testimony of the Spirit, though the torch, the glory of the testimony of this witnesse goeth aside a little in temptation, yet the Lord leaves such a kind of glimmering or inkling of goodnes, that the soule looks after the lampe & light in this kinde, and followeth it for ever, Ionah 2.4. Ionah was there stubborne with the Lord, he was sent to Ninive, he goes to Tarshish: wel, God sends a whirle­wind after him, and tosseth him into the sea, and sent also a great Whale, an unruly ferry-man, to carry him to land: Now being in the belly of the [Page 98] Whale, hee begins to apprehend himselfe, and then is joyfull, and there he made a question of Gods everlasting love; but yet when he was in the belly of hell, and mountaines of water went over him, yet marke how the holy man behaveth him­selfe; I will still looke towards thy holy presence: He had some illuminations of Gods goodnesse in Christ, and howsoever the glory therof was eclip­sed, yet there was some glimmering left behinde.

But now the flashes of the Hypocrite, they are sudden, the lightning of Gods love that is in his minde, but it passes thorow the soule suddenly; and leaves it in the same hazard & ignorance, and at a losse, as formerly; for howsoever an hypocrite may have a glimmering, and a kinde of flash, and take notice of the powers of the world to come, yet it comes like lightning, suddenly come, sud­denly gone, and it draweth the minde for the while, and the understanding for the present; but in conclusion, the soule is where it was before, when this flash is gone, and the lightning is o­ver, it is just at the same losse and danger it was before.

Differ. 3 From this authority of the Spirit, it is of great authority, and of marvellous powerful command, so that the whole frame of the soule comes to be ordered, and the heart comes to be framed suta­ble and agreeable thereon. Looke as it is with a mighty streame, all the lesser streames runne that way; so it is with the blessed streame of this evi­dence of truth: what the Spirit of God lets into the minde of the Saints, it carries all with it, and [Page 99] beares all before it, and makes the whole streame of the soule be answerable thereunto: Take no­tice between the vision Saint Paul had, and which Balaam had, God let in a light into Balaams soule, What, wilt thou curse Iacob? Oh, the glory that I will bestow upon them: This made his teeth water at the goodnesse of the Lord, and he saith, Let mee die the death of the righteous, Numb. 24.2. the Text useth the phrase, The Spirit of God was upon Balaam; the meaning is, he intimated the happie conditi­on of the Saints of the Lord, and in stead of cur­sing, he blessed them: though this cursed Witch Balaam had this common enlightning to know the excellencie of the condition, yet his heart was ne­ver the better, was covetous and malicious still towards Iacob.

But looke Acts 26.19. Saint Paul saith, hee was not disobedient to the vision, as who should say, The blessed truth that was revealed to me, the voyce that spake to me from heaven, my minde was framed thereby, and answerably disposed thereunto, and I submitted and came in at the voyce of the Lord. Hence the phrase in Scripture, They that know thee will trust in thee, as who should say, Grounded knowledge brings in confidence: So Ioh. 4.10. Christ saith, Hadst thou knowne me; it is not every knowledge that will doe the deed, a man may talke of grace, but hadst thou understood better the evidence, thou shoul­dest have asked grace, and received it, this is the reason of Iobs speech; when God takes a man in hand, he will command a man to returne fron ini­quitie: there is a commanding power in the obe­dience [Page 100] of truth: the Lord lets in a commanding power, and turnes the heart from sin, and makes it yeeld to the obedience of God. Whereas the light of the hypocrite is like lightning in the eve­ning, a flash and away, and leaves no heat behinde it: The Sunne doth not only give light, but it leaves a heat behind it; so it is with the Spirit of God, when the sunshine of the heavenly light comes into the heart, it leaves a heat of holy affe­ctions behinde it, framing and disposing the heart of a man to be at the call and command of God. Observe when wee lay forth arguments before men, and convince their consciences, that their course is nought, notwithstanding, whatsoever we can speake they returne to their wicked speeches, and base practices, their lives are as wicked, their tongues as prophane as ever; but when the Spirit of God will take those arguments we propound out of Scripture, and make knowne those trou­bles to the understanding, it communicates unto thee and them that power to the soule, that it comes to be disposed thereunto.

Differ. 4 The testimony of the Spirit goes upon very good ground, it is a wise Spirit, and a Spirit of truth, and therefore goes wisely to worke. Now Hypocrites they beare up their hearts with admi­rable evidence of Gods love, but aske them what reasons they have for it, what arguments to main­taine it, they have nothing at all to say; this is an undoubted argument of a besotted, befooled hy­pocrite. Come to your ancient people, and en­quire of them in the time of their sicknesse, aske [Page 101] them if ever they were perswaded of Gods fa­vour, they say they thanke God, they never doub­ted of it; they reply, they were worse than Re­probates if they should, but they have no ground at all to confirme this; this is an undoubted argu­ment of a soule that never had any sound evi­dence of Gods love, for where the Spirit comes, it goes upon good ground.

Vse 2 Direction and Exhortation; hence wee learne what course wee must take, what path wee must tread in, what meanes we must use to get this no­tice, and gaine this evidence of Gods love to our soules, learne the ground, get the witnesse of Gods Spirit, get but the Spirit to seale it, and all is thine. It was the speech of Sampson, when he propoun­ded a Riddle to the Philistines, they knew not how to answer it, because they understood it not before he had told his wife, and shee them, then they related the Riddle to them, hee confesseth their answer to be good, But, saith he, had you not plowed with my Heifer, you could not have expounded my Riddle.

I use the same comparison for our purpose; use Gods meanes, if you would know Gods minde, take counsell of him that is privie Counceller of Heaven: would you be perswaded of Gods love and affection towards you? will you know how your case shall goe at the last day? would you know if your name is written in the Book of life? if you would, why then, know the way to obtaine it, seeke it of the Spirit of the Lord, for he search­eth the chiefe things of God: consider what our [Page 102] Saviour tels you, Luke 11.12. Why then, must this Spirit only certifie the pardon of sin? Why, looke up to heaven then, and plead thus with him, Lord, I am a father, and give my childe what hee wants, and if I see him in need, I releeve him; why, I need thy Spirit, Lord, I beg it, thou hast promised it, Lord give that Spirit to the soule of thy servant, and let it restifie to my conscience, that thou art reconciled to me.

Object. But how shall we get the Spirit home to a man in this case?

Answ. The meanes are two:

Meanes. 1 Thou must labour to be such a one, to whom the Spirit belongs. Labour to be an humble hear­ted sinner, and then the Lord will send his Spirit, and give notice to thee of his acceptance, for the Lord doth not passe over his comfort, or mercie, or compassion to any soule in the world, but onely to those that are broken hearted before God; there is no mercy for thee that art stubborne, no compassion for thee that art stout hearted; woul­dest thou have the Spirit make a lye for thee, and come from Heaven to make a new Scripture, to bring a loose stubborne drunkard, or adulterer to heaven? it will not bee so, it cannot bee so, never thinke to bring the Spirit of the Lord, and make him speake mercy to thee, when it belongs not to thee, 1 King. 14.1, 2, &c. Doe not thinke to com­plain it with the Lord Jesus, and put the finger in the eye & weep a few teares, and say, I confesse my rebellions are sinful, I am sory for my sins, and will repent me of my sins: the Spirit wil say, Come out [Page 103] thou proud wretched hypocrite, doest thou feigne thy selfe to be an humble broken hearted sinner? doe not I know thy reservations? doe not I know thy by-wayes and back-doores? Come out thou proud wretch and sturdy hypocrite, I am sent to thee with heavie tidings, you may cozen man, but you cannot deceive God; therefore never thinke he will give grace and mercy unto thee, unlesse thou be fitted for it.

Meanes. 2 Be sure you harken not to your carnall cavils of reason, nor to the clamours of a corrupt heart, nor to the bawlings of Satan, all which stop and hin­der the testimony of the Spirit, and with their loud cries drowne the voyce of the Spirit, that it cannot be heard. It is a fashion amongst Lawyers, at Assises or Sessions, when in their Courts there comes in a wise judicious witnesse, and the Law­yers plead a base cause, they feare him, and there­fore, before he can speak out his tale, one speaks and another speakes, and so hinders this that hee cannot bee understood; then the man saith, hee came for a witnesse, and not thus to be disturbed; then the Judge commands silence, and then hee hath liberty to discover what he knowes, and then the case is cleare; so it is with the soule, and car­nall reason, and the Devill. The triall is, whether a man hath any interest in Christ or no. Now the Spirit of the Lord working graciously upon the heart, would bring in a faire testimony of Gods grace to the soule: but when the soule commeth to a faithfull Minister to tell him how God hath wrought upon him, and met with him, and how [Page 104] he was burthened with his sins: Oh, saith Satan, you were burthened with your sins, but you re­turned to them againe; then the soule saith he was humbled for his sinnes, yet the goodnesse of God was never sealed to him: aye, saith Satan, but you continue in your sins still: aye, saith the soule, I am weary of these sins; aye, and you are weary of labouring against them too, saith Satan. Thus the soule is tyred by carnall reasons, temptations of Satan; now let the evidence of the Spirit bee ne­ver so plaine, he cannot perceive it; be watchfull therefore in this case, if you heare what feare, or feeling, or suspition saith; feeling saith, I find no­thing; feare saith, it will never be; suspition ima­gineth, I shall never see that day: but now com­mand silence to every one, to feare suspition, fee­ling, and unworthinesse, and say, now speake bles­sed Spirit, then you will see the case cast present­ly: It is said of Abraham, he considered not Sarahs barren wombe; for imagine Abraham had thus reasoned, I never had childe, for mee to beare a childe, it is against nature; shall a man that never begat, beget a childe in his old age? I will never beleeve it: If hee had done thus, for ought I know, though hee had lived unto this time, hee should never have had a childe, but he never con­sidered of any of these things, and therefore the Promise was accomplished. Therefore be sure not to hearken what failings, feare and doubt, and cor­ruption saith, for they will be ever against thee; there is no mercy from corruption, no grace from feare and suspition, but consider not your dead [Page 105] barren wretched hearts, but attend upon Gods promise, and you shall finde Gods Spirit witnesse unto you the acceptance of your persons before God.

Object. But you will say, may not a man consider of his sins, and attend to the corruptions of our owne hearts.

Answ. I answer, a man may, nay must, in a fit time, after a right manner, to a good end, for he that ne­ver seeth his sins, can never be humbled for them, but this consideration only fits us for mercie, and can never get assurance of any interest in mercie.

1 The consideration of our sins, will give us no­tice of these three particulars: 1. It gives us no­tice of our owne vilenesse and basenesse, the lay­ing these upon the soule, it is a maine meanes to breake the heart, and bruife a filthy stubborne soule.

2 It gives us notice of the emptinesse and infir­mity of all outward parts, and gifts, and meanes, and helpes to doe us any good.

3 It will make us see the absolute necessity of a Saviour, and of the great worke of redemption, which Christ hath wrought for us; nay, it will drive us out of our selves, and force us to fall at the foot-stoole of Gods mercy, that so wee may gaine Gods favour to us: but it is impossible that the consideration of my sins, should certifie mee of my interest in Gods mercy.

Meanes. 3 Labour to bee informed, and to understand a­right the language of the Spirit. Looke as it is with a poore man in the Court, a wise witnesse [Page 106] comes in and speakes plainly, but it will doe the poore man no good to heare the witnesse, unlesse he understand it: so though we heare the Spirit, and doe not understand the language of the Spi­rit, it is as if we never heard it. Now the language of the Spirit is nothing else but the tenour of those gracious promises, which God hath made to poore humbled sinners. Now if we be not able to cast the sense and meaning of the promise, it is like an uncertaine sound, though the witnesse bee good and plaine, yet I cannot be comforted there­by. 2 Cor. 6.16, 17. This is the language of the Spi­rit: Now let a poore humble hearted soule come and lay his heart levell to the promise, one saith, it is true, if it were so with mee, then God would be my God; that promise is made to them that touch no uncleane thing, but I am defiled with sins and abominations, and carried aside by them; therefore no share in this promise. Now the mea­ning of the testimony is mistaken, the witnesse is as good as can be, and will cast the cause on your side; but you understand not the meaning of the witnesse, therefore we will spell the words, what is it to touch no uncleane thing, it is not to bee lightly acquainted with it; therefore art thou con­tent to sue out a bill of divorce to all thy sins, how ever heretofore thou wert married to them, yet now thou art resolved to bed with them no more: art thou contented God should make knowne what ever is amisse in thy soule, and subdue eve­ry distemper, that is the meaning of the promise, and if it be thus with thee, the promise belongs to thee.

Meanes. 4 Labour to keepe the promise by you for ever, and have a readie recourse thereunto, upon all oc­casions forget not the promise, be not a stranger to it, be not unacquainted, be not unaccustomed, to have daily trading with the promise, which is so profitable to us: Prov. 3.3. marke what coun­sell God gives by wisdome, Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: mercy and truth will forsake a man, Satan would plucke them away, but suffer them not, saith the Text, to depart from thy soule. Iob 22.21. so the originall hath it; have a daily inter­course to the promise, meditate therein, and muse thereupon, see thou looke a ready way, and have recourse to the Lord upon all occasions.

Motive. 1 To perswade us to use these meanes, is this, be­cause this most concernes our good, if a man had all the good things the world could afford, and his hearts desire, if he had friends to respect him, wealth to enrich him, and honour to promote him, yet if the Lord should send this heavie Mes­sage into his conscience, God will curse those blessings, and dam thy soule and person, that newes from heaven of Gods indignation would take away the sweetnesse of all the comforts of this life; but had a man good tidings from heaven, were the Lord pleased to give notice of his love and mercie in Jesus Christ it would sup­port us in whatsoever miseries or troubles should befall us, nay, when our owne hearts and conscien­ces tell us hard tidings, these evils thou hast com­mitted, and they will be thy plague, and for this thou shalt be damned, and frie in hell, this is ill [Page 108] newes; but this will beare up a mans heart, if hee can but looke up to heaven, and take good tidings and notice of Gods favour, this will joy and re­fresh a mans soule.

Motive. 2 As this most concernes us, so Satan is most cunning to deprive us of the same, if hee can stop any intelligence, and take away any evidence of Gods love and mercie to the soule: this is that Sa­tan labours for; for if the heart gets evidence this way, and have notice under the hand of the Spi­rit, what love, what joy, what power and vertue will be in the soule, what courage and undaunted­nesse will be in the heart, to walke in the wayes of godlinesse; then learne from the Devill himselfe, he labours to keepe from you what will doe you most good; therefore be you as carefull to get this notice of Gods love to your soules, from the Spi­rit in the promise, as Satan is to hinder you from the same.

Vse 3 Instruction: Hence I conclude, that the poo­rest humbled sinner, of the mean [...]st capacity, doth know more of spirituall truths, concerning grace and salvation, and Gods love in Christ, than the most wise and learned in the world that are not humbled. In a word, take the meanest Saint, that ever breathed on the earth, and the greatest schol­ler for outward parts, and learning, and reach and policie, the meanest ignorant soule, that is almost a naturall foole, that soule knowes and understands more of grace and mercy in Christ, than all the wisest and learnedst in the world, than all the greatest schollers, and most [Page 109] pompous Cardinals, these were never humbled. How doe I conclude this? why thus; if Gods spi­rit onely give notice of this favor to the humble, then all other, bee their parts what they will bee, God doth not informe them: the humble are informed, they not instructed; therefore the other know not what they cannot conceive. As suppose one dull blocke, and a quicke wit, are both set to one trade, yet if the dullard had an expert master, and did beat into him the skill of the trade, and the quicke spirit was with a master that could not teach him his trade; wee see that the dull blocke is more wise in his trade than the other: so it is here, they have the Lord for their master.

Vse 4 To shew us the certainty of the assurance of faith, if the spirit of God gives notice, and certi­fie a thing, it must needs be certaine: and hence it is, that the assurance of faith must needs bee in­fallible, and undeniable, in those that have it. I ground it thus; That which commeth from the no­tice of the spirit, is most undeniable; but the as­surance thereof commeth from the notice of the spirit, that faith is most undeniable; hence com­meth those triumphs: I know my Redeemer liveth, I am perswaded that neither height, nor depth, &c. shall be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ.

The worke of God upon the understanding, we have spoken of at large; now wee come to the worke of God upon the affections: as the under­standing apprehendeth the truth of the promise; so the heart looketh at the goodnesse of the pro­mise: [Page 110] Now therefore the Lord, he must teach all the affections to come unto the promise, and the first affection that commeth next in order, is the affection of hope.

Doctrine. The Doctrine is this; The holy Spirit of the Father doth stir the heart of an humbled and in­lightned sinner to hope for the goodnesse of the Lord: The Lord calleth all the affections; come joy, come desire, come love; but the first voyce is to hope; only observe this passage, it must come from a heart humbled and inlightned, for nothing commeth to the heart to be affected, but onely by the head and understanding; therefore before the soule can hope, the heart must bee humbled, and inlightned: humbled, in regard of prepara­tion, and inlightned in regard of the certification of Gods goodnesse.

Secondly, it must be stirred up to doe it; the spirit must stir up the heart unto it: when a poore sinner is truly abased, and cut off from every thing in himselfe, and is content to be at Gods dispose, yet the soule cannot dispose of it selfe, it cannot carry it selfe to the affecting imbracing of any supernaturall grace or good by the power of na­ture: looke as it is with a wind-mill, it is fitted for to goe, and if the winde blow, it will goe; but now the saile will not stirre the mill, unlesse the winde stirre the saile: So here though the soule bee humbled and content to bee at Gods dispose, yet I say an humble broken selfe-denying heart is not able to stirre of it selfe.

Thirdly, To hope groundedly, it is not a flashy [Page 111] hope, a vaine hope, an idle hope; as the wicked men, they hope for grace, they hope for mercy, but they have no ground to beare them up, but the hope of such men will perish: but this hope is upon good ground; the Lord calleth the soule to wait upon him, to expect him; this is hope which will not make a man ashamed, Rom. 5.5. We have a hope as an anchor of the soule more sure and stedfast; Hebr. 6.19. this is the nature of hope to stand still and wait for mercy and salvation of God, and to looke when the Lord will have mercy upon the soule, and this grounded hope the spirit of God must stirre and worke, or else there will never be any hope: the proofe of the point, Lament. 3.24. The Lord is my portion, saith my soule, that is all the good, and all the comfort I have in heaven and earth; he is my portion; life gone, and health gone, and friends gone, yet the Lord is my portion for ever and ever; therefore will I hope in him, there­fore the soule expecteth that mercy, looketh af­ter it, waiteth for it, Hos. 2.15. I will allure her in the wildernesse, and speake comfortably unto her, and give her the valley of Achor for the doore of hope: therefore the Lord will allure her in the worke of humiliation, and did speake comfortably unto her in vocation; thou wantest mercy, mercy is pre­pared for thee; thou wantest grace, grace is pro­vided for thee; that staggering soule of thine shall be strengthned, that troubled soule of thine shall be pacified; and then the soule commeth to hope, when the heart is throughly humbled and abased, then followeth hope. Now for the fur­ther [Page 112] discovery and explication of the point, wee will shew two things.

First, the reason why after a soule humbled, and the minde enlightned, the Lord worketh upon this affection of hope. Secondly, the manner how the Lord stirreth up the heart to hope, what bree­deth it, what feedeth it, and upon what it groweth, and what maintaineth it in the soule, and then the Doctrine will be very cleare.

1 First, the order, why the Lord doth proceed in the next place to stirre up hope.

I answer, the reason is this; because when the Spirit of God hath enlightned the understanding, and given evidence, that mercy is prepared for an humbled soule: why (brethren) the fittest fa­culty of the soule, that ought to bee imployed to lay hold upon this, it is the facultie of hope; it is the maine office of this affection in the heart, to looke and expect for a good to come; for hope is nothing else, but that extent of the soule, where­by it earnestly affecteth a good to come: it must be a knowne good and to come that hope expe­cteth: if the good be present, wee love it, and joy in it; but if it be absent, the soule looketh out for it, and waiteth for the same; it is a fine passage of hope, 1 Phil. 20. according to my earnest expecta­tion of hope: hope is a faculty of the soule to looke out for mercy; it is a similitude taken from a man that looketh after another, and lifteth up it selfe as high as he may to see if any man bee comming neare him, looking wishly about him, so here the soule standeth as it were a tiptoe, expecting when [Page 113] the soule will come: as the man that is to meet another in such a place, they doe set the time ap­pointed, and then goeth up to a high hill, and loo­keth very earnestly round about him, wondreth he commeth not, and yet he hopeth he will come: so an humbled sinner, when the Lord saith, mercy is comming towards thee, mercy is provided for thee; now this affection is set out to meet mer­cy a farre off, namely hope; this is the stretching out of the soule. O when will it be, Lord? thou saist mercy is prepared, thou saist mercy is ap­proaching, the soule standeth a tiptoe; O when will it come, Lord. As now something that hath a strong sent, a man that hath a good nose, can smel a good way off; though it findeth it not, though it feeleth it not, yet it may, and saith hope, this sinful soule of mine, it may through Gods mercy bee sanctified, this troubled perplexed soule of mine, it may through Gods mercy be pacified, this evill and corruption which harbour in me, and hath ta­ken possession of me, it may through Gods mercy be removed.

Now for the second thing, how doth God stir up the heart of an humbled broken hearted sinner to hope? this is worth a while a little to consider of the ground to get and maintaine this hope may be referred to these three heads.

First, the Lord doth sweetly stay the heart, and fully perswade the soule that a mans sins are par­donable, and that all his sinnes may be pardoned, and that all the good things he wanteth, they may be bestowed; this is a great sustainer of the soule: [Page 114] hope is alwayes of a good to come; now when a poore sinner seeth his sinnes, the number of them, the nature of them, the vilenesse of them, the cur­sednesse of his soule, that he can take no rest; he seeth no rest in the creature, nor in himselfe, though he pray all day, yet he cannot get the par­don of one sinne: the soule is out of any expe­ctation of pardon or power of mercy in any thing he hath or doth; though all meanes, all helpes, though all men and angels should joyne together, yet they cannot pardon one sinne of his, yet the Lord lifteth up his voyce, and he saith from hea­ven, thy sinnes are pardonable; this is a voyce a great way off, thy sinnes may be pardoned in the Lord Jesus Christ: Looke as a traitour, that doth apprehend the anger of the King against him, and that he is sent for to be attached, hee and cry is made after him, the Pursevant pursueth him; the poore creature flieth from court to countrey, from countrey to city, and so to the sea coast, seeking for some shelter; the Pursevant besetteth the sea coast for him, the poore soule is now al­most in despaire of mercy from the Prince, hee seeth no hope of pardon from him; but when he overheareth a man that saith, in truth you had better open the doore, and yeeld your selfe to the King, there is hope, the poore soule is much su­stained; What, is there yet hope that my offence may bee pardoned, will the King receive mee to mercy: So when the Lord humbleth the soule, discovereth his sinnes, maketh knowne his judge­ments, these are thy sinnes that thou hast commit­ted, [Page 115] and for them thou shalt be plagued; the great judgement of the great God shall come upon thee, and the great God whom thou hast disho­noured will come against thee, and to hell thou must. Now the poore soule seeth no hope, no helpe, no means of supply; now the poore soule heareth a voyce from heaven, there is no hope in thy selfe, nor in meanes, yet in the Lord Jesus Christ thy sinnes are pardonable, thy soule may be saved, thy heart may be quickned: that place in the Psalmist, Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with him is plenteous redemption: this upholdeth and sustaineth the heart of Gods servant, yet there is plentifull redemption; and this may discover it selfe in three particulars.

1 The infinitenesse of Gods power; though thy sinnes are many, though the guilt of sinne is migh­ty and powerfull to condemne the soule, yet when the soule apprehendeth an infinitenesse in the power of the Lord, to over-power all his sins, all the guilt of corruption; this lifteth up the heart in some expectation, that the Lord will shew fa­vour unto a man: though it is a hard thing to hope when the soule is thus troubled, can this hard heart be broken, can these sinnes bee pardo­ned, can this soule bee saved? now commeth in the power of God; God can pardon them, never measure the power of God to that shallow con­ceit of thine, as Christ when he had told his Dis­ciples, it is hard for a rich man to be saved; they said, how can any man be saved; the Lord Christ saith, all things are possible to God, though not [Page 116] to men; and it is said of Abraham, hee hoped above hope, he looked to the Lord, that was able to doe what he promised, to supply what he wan­ted; he considered not that he had a dead body, but he considered he had a living God; not Sarahs barren wombe, but the gracious goodnesse of God, able to make it fruitfull; nay hee beleeved in the God that can make things that are not: thy soule is not humbled, the Lord can humble it; thy sinnes are not pardoned, the Lord can pardon them; thy soule is not converted, the Lord can convert it; though I cannot see it, though man cannot imagine it, yet the Lord can doe it.

2 As the infinitenesse of Gods power, so the free­nesse of his grace and promise, that is a thing that marvellously taketh up the heart, and maketh it hope, for wee are ready naturally to expect no kindnesse from God; the Lord is able to doe it, that is true, but I am unworthy; the Lord will not bee wanting to them that can desire it, but I am wanting: now here is comfort, the Lord will not sell his mercy, his mercy is not to be merited, it is not to bee discovered, it is to bee given, and to bee bestowed: Malach. 7.18. Who is a god like unto our God; we say, Oh if I could please God, if I could walke with God: nay, but God saith mercy pleaseth him, and that place in Esay, I for my owne Name sake will doe this, not for thy workes sake; I for my owne sake, not for thy obedience sake: this is certaine, as there is no worke in any poore creature can discover any mercy from God, so there is no wickednesse in the heart of a sinner, [Page 117] that can hinder the Lord, when hee will bestow grace and mercy in Jesus Christ.

Object. But the world will say, Then a man may live as he list, and doe what he will, if grace be free.

Answ. No, no; the Lord will pull downe thy proud heart, and lay thee in the dust; the Lord will abase thee and humble thee, before thou shalt receive any mercy from him; hee can as well sit thee for mercy, as bestow it upon thee.

3 The abundance of the riches of Gods good­nesse, that exceedeth all the basenesse and vile­nesse of man: though thou hast sinned against heaven, and the Lord in heaven, yet there is mer­cy above the heaven: bee thy sinnes and rebelli­ons for the nature of them, for the number of them, for the continuance of them, never so hai­nous, yet they may bee pardoned. Here the soule saith, My sins are so many, so great, of such a na­ture, what, shall I beg mercy, and oppose it? shall I desire grace, and resist it? as that place clearly sheweth, Rom. 5.20. Where sinne abounded, grace superabounded; hee is the Father of mercy, and the God of all consolation; Iam. 2.13. there the holy Ghost saith, mercy triumph above justice: justice cannot bee so severe to revenge thee, as mercy is gratious to doe good unto thee; if thy sinnes be never so many, Gods justice never so great, yet mercy is above all thy sinnes, above all thy rebel­lions; this may support the soule. So then you have the first ground to stirre up hope, thy sinnes are pardonable, this is possible; what thy sinnes be, it skilleth not; what thy iniquities be, it mat­tereth [Page 118] not; there is more mercy in God, than sin in thee, to pardon; more power in God to shew mercy to thee, than power in sin to destroy thee.

2 The Lord doth sweetly perswade the soule that all his sinnes shall be pardoned: the Lord maketh this appeare, and perswadeth the heart of his, that he intendeth mercy; that Christ hath procured pardon for the soule of a broken hearted sinner in speciall, and that it cannot but come unto it. So that hope commeth to bee assured, and certainly perswaded to looke out, knowing it shall bee ac­complished: the former only sustained the heart, and provoked it to looke for mercy, but this com­forteth the soule, that undoubtedly it shall have mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ came to seeke and to save that which was lost; he came for this pur­pose, it was the scope of his comming: now saith the broken and humble sinner? I am lost, did Christ come to save sinners? Christ must faile of his end, or I of my comfort. God saith, Come un­to me all you that are weary and heavy laden; I am weary, unlesse the Lord intended good unto me, why should he invite me and bid me for to come? surely he meaneth to shew mercy to me, nay hee promiseth to releeve me, when I come therefore he will doe good unto me.

3 The Lord letteth in some rellish and taste of the sweetnesse of his love, some sent and savour of it, so that the soule is deeply affected with it: marke this, there is yet a further dint, a setling, and an assured kinde of fastning of the good unto the soule, so that the heart is deeply affected with [Page 119] it, and carried mightily unto it, that it cannot bee severed. It is the letting in the riches of his love that turneth the expectation of the soule another way, it overshadoweth all outward good. Looke as the covetous man is up early to contrive his ri­ches, the ambitious man his honour: now Gods letting into the soule the sweetnesse of his grace, doth turne the whole streame of the soule thi­therward.

It is a reproofe, and meeteth with two things in wicked carnall persons: First, those that will cast off all hope in point of desperation: Second­ly, against those that will doe nothing, but hope without ground; and that is presumption: both are here to be reproved and condemned.

If the Lord stirreth up the heart of his to hope groundedly for his mercy; Oh then take heed of that fearefull and unconceiveable sinne of de­spaire: despaire wee must in our selves, and that is good; but this despaire which wee now speake of is marvellous hainous in the eyes of God, and marvellous hurtfull to thy owne soule: therefore take heed of it, for ever I say this sin of despaire, when a man casteth away all hope, casteth away all carnall confidence. This thou must doe, and yet thou must hope; let Israel hope in the Lord, for in the Lord &c. O the Lord taketh this very ill at our hands, thou goest to the deepe dungeon of thy corruption, and there thou saist, these sins can never be pardoned; I am still proud and more stubborne: this distresse God seeth not, God suc­coureth not, his hand cannot reach, his mercy [Page 120] cannot save; now marke what the Prophet Esay saith to such a perplexed soule, Esay 40.27. Why saist thou thy way is hid from the Lord? The Lord saith, why saist thou: so the young man shall faint and bee weary, but they that wait upon the Lord shall re­nue their strength: is any thing too hard for the Lord? nay I say you wrong God exceedingly, you thinke it is a matter of humility, you count so vilely of your selves: can God pardon sinne to such unworthy creatures? marke that place of the Psalmist, they spake against the Lord, Can the Lord prepare a table in the wildernesse? They spake not against themselves, but against God; so wee speake against God, and charge God himselfe: it is true, saith the soule, Manasses was pardoned; it is true, Paul was converted: it is true, Gods saints have beene received to mercy, but can my sinne be pardoned? can my soule be quickned? No, no, my sinnes are greater than can be forgiven, saith the despairing soule: then mee thinketh Satan is stronger to overthrow thee, than God to save thee: then it seemeth sinne is stronger to con­demne thee, than God to doe good unto thee; and thus you make God to be no God upon point, nay you make him to be weaker than sinne, than hell, than the devill: And this is most injurious to God, to make the power of sinne greater to condemne thee, than the power of God to save thee: to make the power of Satan stronger to ru­inate thee, than the mercy of God to releeve and succour thee: and what can you say more? and what can you doe more against the Lord? Is not [Page 121] this to make God an underling to Satan, and to sinne? this is to say, the Almightinesse of God is weaker than the weaknesse of sinne: the Suffici­ency of God is weaker than the malice of Satan. It is true, a poore humble sinner many times will make bitter complaints this way, and they thinke they speake against themselves: No, no, they speake against the Lord: they spake against God, when they said, Can the Lord prepare a table in the wildernesse: So you that speake in this desperate manner, why truth Lord, this proud heart will never bee humbled: if any thing would have wrought, it would have beene done before this day. How many sermons, how many mercies, how many judgements, how many prayers? and yet this proud heart, this stubborne heart, will not be reformed: you thinke you speake against your selves now; no, no, you speake against the Lord, and brethren thinke much of this; thou that thinkst so, that saist so, that concludest so; this is one of the greatest sinnes thou committest, to say thy sinnes cannot be forgiven thee.

Secondly, This sinne of desperation, as it is most injurious to God; so in the second place, it is extraordinary dangerous to thy owne soule: It is that which taketh up the bridge, and cutteth off all passages: and there can no spirituall com­fort and consolation come into the poore soule of a poore sinner: Luk. 3.15. Luk. 3.15. Every ditch must be filled, and then all flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord: what are these ditches? why, nothing else but those deepe gulfs and ditches of despaire, [Page 122] and unlesse these bee filled, no man can see the Lord Jesus Christ. In a word, my brethren, suffer me to open my selfe; the truth is, this despaire of the soule is that which cutteth the sinewes of all mans comfort, and taketh off the power and edge of all the meanes of grace: it daunteth all a mans endevours, nay it plucketh up a mans endevours as it were quite by the rootes: for that which a man despaireth off, hee will never labour af­ter. It is here as with a man in pangs of death; unto such a man all means are unavailable for his good, his bed will not ease him, meat will not re­fresh him, chasing will not revive; at the last, we say he is gone, he is a dead man: friends leave him, Physitians leave him, they may goe and pray for him, and mourne for him, but they cannot reco­ver him. So this despaire of soule maketh a man cast off all hope, and lie downe in a forlorne con­dition, expecting no good to come: alas, saith a man, what skilleth for a man to pray? what pro­fiteth a man to read? what benefit in all the means of grace? the truth of it is, the stone is rolled up­on me, and my condemnation sealed for ever: it is sure in heaven, and therefore I will never looke after Christ, grace, and salvation any more, and presse the means to him: let him come to heare the Word, marke how he casteth off all the bene­fit; it was marvellous seasonable and profitable, it was the good Word of the Lord, very com­fortable unto such as have any share therein. Why may not you expect good? why may not you receive benefit there from? why, no, saith the [Page 123] soule, the time of grace is past, the day is gone, and thus the soule sinketh in it selfe; if Christi­ans would pray for him, and Ministers would la­bour to doe him good, why hee biddeth them spare their labour, for hell is his portion, and his condemnation is sealed in heaven: see now and consider what desperate danger of despaire brin­geth to a poore heart, and maketh him to be be­yond the reach of mercie, that no meanes can come at him. It is a pretty passage of David, Psal. 77.7. Will the Lord cast me off ever? and will he shew no favor? I said this is my infirmitie, saith the text, the word in the original, this is my sicknes; as who should say, this would be my death, what, is mercie gone for ever? then my life is gone, then is all my comfort and all my hope gone, therefore take heed of this, it taketh off the edge of our ende­vours, & Gods ordinances that might do us good.

Secondly, it reproveth and marvellously con­demneth that great sinne of presumption, a sinne more frequent, and if possible may be, more dan­gerous; the presumption of carnall hypocrites that boulster up themselves with marvellous boldnesse in their course; I beseech you observe it, it is true here, as they said, Saul hath slaine his thousands, but David his ten thousands: despaire hath slaine his thousands, but presumption his ten thousands: that men may sweare, and lye, and cousen, and breake all commands, and yet hope to be saved, yet they hope grace will save them; they resist grace, yet hope Jesus Christ will shew mercie unto them, they oppose Christ, this [Page 124] is that which, I say, hath slaine many thousand soules amongst us, and they are few that have not split at this rocke; therefore, I say, this serveth to reprove the basenesse, the vilenesse of such Hypo­crites that boast themselves, and compare their hopes with the hopes of the Saints: it is true, say they, I cannot walke so freely, I cannot repeat a Sermon, I want those parts that they have, I walke not so curiously, yet I hope to be saved as well as they: this is that which hath slaine many thousands of soules that now are roaring in hell, and they may thanke presumption for it. Now this hope is not the hope of the Saints; the hope of the Saints is a grounded hope, but these hopes meerely hang upon some idle pleas and foolish pretences, and some carnall reasons: but I tell you they will fall, and their hopes will sinke, and they into the bottomelesse pit before they bee aware: it is the command and counsell of Peter, That every man should be ready to give a reason of his faith and hope that is in him; therefore let us see the reasons that carry you, the arguments that per­swade you to these groundlesse and foolish hopes; you hope to be saved, and you hope to go to hea­ven, and you hope to see the face of God with comfort: let us see the ground for these hopes of yours, good hope hath good reasons, grounded hope grounded reasons; you say, you hope to be saved, and have no reason for it; it is a foolish hope, an unreasonable hope, the grounds there­fore of Hypocrites are mainly five:

1 The ignorant poore silly man, he pleadeth he [Page 125] can thinke it, hee cannot conceive it, that God hath created any man for to damne him; sure the Lord is more mercifull than so, and therefore though we be sinfull, and base, and untoward, yet the Lord will not damne us: I answer therefore, it is true indeed, God did never preserve men for this same end that he might damne them; though it is as true, hee that made men, hee will damne most of men in hell for their sinnes committed against him; Narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth unto life, few there be that finde it: is this the argument of thy hope? marke the folly, and observe the weaknesse of it: if creation bee a good argument, then all the damned should come out of hell and be delivered; nay by this reason the Devill himselfe should be saved; they are now in hell, they were created as well as you ignorant silly creatures: thinke of these things how your hope will shatter and breake under you, and you with them will fall together into the bottomlesse pit, Esa. 57.11. See how the Lord bringeth this argument and confuteth it, it is a people that hath no understanding, therefore he that made them will not save them, he that created them will shew them no mercy, the text saith, the Lord saith from heaven, though hee made thee, he will not shew thee mercie, if thou continue to be wicked and rebellious.

2 Another groweth in hope, that God will shew mercie unto him in regard of Gods favourable dealing with him in things of this life, and hee saith and pretendeth great thankfulnesse for Gods [Page 126] goodnesse, and hee praiseth the Lord hee never wanted any thing, his lot is fallen into a good ground, and therefore he doubteth not, but that God, who hath beene his God from his youth will save him, and shew mercie unto his soule; this is the second ground, and it is a poore feeble ground to support the soule in such a case as this. I answer therefore, thou art deceived, thou takest that for an argument of Gods love and mercy, which rather may bee an argument of Gods ha­tred and indignation: Psal. 92.12, The wicked flou­rish, saith the text, then a man may say, they will all to heaven, they will all be saved if they so pro­sper here, no, saith the text, they flourish that they may be destroyed, and perish for ever, the oxe is fatted for the slaughter, so it is here, thou art fatted here, thou hast more than heart can de­sire, thy cups are full, and thy table well spread, thy breasts full of milke, and thy bones full of marrow, it is that thou mightest bee destroyed, Psal. 1.5. Prosperitie destroyeth the soule; it is like poison, like ratsbane; now would any man say thus, such a man is most like to live, be­cause he eareth most poison? nay rather the con­trarie, so prosperitie meeting with a sinfull with a naughtie heart, it is poison to him; the text telleth you, when Haman was invited, it was that hee might be accused; the truth is, these men of the greatest hope in this life I meane for honour, and pompe, and respect, and preferment, many of them are men of the least hope for heaven.

3 Others because they have felt the heavie hand [Page 127] of God, many sorrowes, many weaknesses, many troubles in their course, many losses in their estate, these stayeth up their comforts, and upon these grounds they build their hopes; I have had my hell in this life, and I hope to have heaven in the world to come; I hope the worst is over, now I have beene troubled in this world, I hope I shall be comforted in another world, and here is the ground of your hopes: I beseech you con­sider what I answer, I say this, all the grievances, trouble, sorrow, sicknesses, be they what they will be unlesse thy heart be humbled by them, unlesse thou bee brought unto the Lord Jesus Christ by them, they are so farre from being an argument of grace and salvation unto thee, that they are harbingers of those everlasting torments, you shall endure in hell: Sodome and Gomorrah they burnt in brimstone, and they shall burne in hell; a man would have said they had their hell here, and therefore they should not have it here­after; why? the text saith they suffered vengeance of eternall fire; why, brethren, I beseech you ob­serve it, will any man reason thus; such a man hath had the earnest of the bargaine, and therefore he shall not have the bargaine? will any man say thus, hee that is attached, arraigned, condemned, shall not be hanged? nay rather he that hath the ear­nest shall have the bargaine, he that now is accu­sed, condemned shall now be hanged, so here.

4 Others beare their hopes and sustaine their hearts upon the privileges that God bestoweth upon them, and the meanes they have, and in [Page 128] regard of the duties they doe discharge, and though they thinke they have faire hopes and great hopes of heaven, why, say they, God will powre downe his wrath upon those that know not God, and that call not upon his name, but what doe you make of us, are we heathen, are not we Christians, have not wee beene baptized, and the Lord hath inabled us to doe something, wee call upon his name, and seeke him by fasting and prayer, and therefore he that hath done so much for us, and hath done so much to us, sure hee will give us heaven: I answer, that this bottome is not sufficient to beare up this hope, all the pri­vileges thou hast, all the meanes, ordinances thou enjoyest, unlesse thy heart be humbled, and thy soule brought to Christ, all these will fall under thee, and thou wilt goe to hell, Rom. 2.28. He is not a Jew that is a Jew outwardly, the Jewes they bragged of this, they were circumcised, and the Heathen were not circumcised; they were the seed of Abraham, but the Heathen were not; Paul vilifieth all this, he is not a Jew, that is a Jew out­wardly; thy baptisme, thy praying, and thy hea­ring, there is no profit by them, no comfort in them, if thou maintaine a wicked life, and a naughty heart, therefore this will not serve the turne, you know it, and the Scripture speaketh it, Iudas an Apostle, Iudas called by Christ, he sat with our Saviour, and dipped his hand in the dish, he was a Devill then, and is with the De­vils now; the foolish virgins had a trim profes­sion, as well as the others; thou professest, and [Page 129] hearest, and prayest; thou wilt lye too, and cousen too, and sweare too, thou art naught, and this bot­tome will never beare thee up.

5 When they see all this will come to nothing, then they make a shift to plead mercy, and they hope that will stand then in stead, and doe them good, when nothing else will, and therefore you shall heare carnall wicked men confesse them­selves naught, their sinnes many, and they vile, but there is mercie enough in God to releeve them, and they hope that will save them. Bre­thren, I confesse mercie is able to save thee, and if thy hope can lay hold upon it, it will save thee, if thou be so within the reach of mercie, mercie is able to save thee, and will save many other be­sides; but thou art not capable of this mercie, thou art not within the roome and compasse of mercie, what availeth it to talke, and speake and hope for mercie, and to see a great deale of mercie in Christ, a great deale of merit in Christ, a great deale of vertue in Christ, able to save thee and a thousand more, and yet thou not in the compasse of mercie, not capable of mercie, but sinkest in thy owne sinnes, before thou gettest any mercie from God, Isa. 27.11. hee that made them will have no mercie upon them, as who should say, it is true, here is abundance of mercie, mercie enough, mercie that saved a poore company of poore Jewes, that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ; mercie that saved Paul a persecutour, Manasses an Idolater, but I will shew no mercie unto thee, he that confesseth and forsaketh his [Page 130] sinnes, shall finde mercie, mercie owneth those, mercie doth good unto those, but unto thee that lovest thy sinnes, that embracest thy sinnes, that hid [...]st thy sinnes, the text saith it, thou shalt never finde mercie, delude thy selfe thou mayst, but thou never shalt have mercie; Luke 14.24. there was a marriage made, and a rich marriage feast, enough to have fed many thousands, but those that were bidden did not come, they shall not so much as taste of them, they shall have none of them; so there are sweet comforts, strong con­solations, admirable refreshings, able to sustaine a thousand soules, but you that would keepe your sinnes, and have the pride of your hearts, but you that stand it out with the world, and will not yeeld to the authoritie of the truth, heare what the Lord saith from heaven, he that is the God of comfort, thou shalt never be comforted; he that is the Authour of salvation saith it, thou shalt never be saved, thou shalt never have a crum of these dainties, nor a drop of these sweet wines of spirituall consolation: what a world now of men are shut out by these trials, that are found guilty of these particulars, you poore ignorant creatures, doe not many of you lift up your heads full high, and many a poore presumptuous hypocrite beare up themselves upon rotten hopes? Object. but I tell you, when you come to the day of judgement, all this will faile you; but you will say in the former use, you laboured us from despaire, and incouraged us to hope, and yet now you take away all our hopes, why if neither crea­tion [Page 131] may comfort us, nor the experience of Gods kinde dealing with us may incourage us, nor the afflictions that wee have endured in this world, nor the privileges that we have enjoyed, nor the mercie of themselves may give us any hope to re­ceive mercie, why then it seemeth you would have us despaire, and cast away all hope of any good?

Answer. The truth is, as I must not make the way broa­der than it is, so I must not make it narrower than I ought, therefore know these two things:

1 As long as thou retainest and keepest a proud, stubborne, unconverted heart, there is no hope in heaven or earth, that God should ever shew mercy unto thee, and save that hard, stonie, impenitent, unbeleeving heart of thine, unlesse thou thinkest, that God will bring all thy pride, all thy loose­nesse, and sinfull delights unto heaven; God can­not shew thee mercie unlesse he will deny him­selfe, and crosse his holinesse; follow peace and holinesse, without which no man shall see God; God taketh a corporall oath of it, an unbeleeving man that liveth under grace despising it and con­temning it, God taketh an oath he shall never be saved, now the oath of God shall ever stand: there be two immutable things, namely, himselfe and his oath; himselfe cannot be changed his oath cannot be broken; now the Lord sweareth, such a man shall not enter into his rest, a man may be saved that cannot keepe the law fully of him­selfe, but a man cannot be saved that will not humble his soule before the Lord, and receive [Page 132] mercy from him; and hence Ephes. 2.12. Without God, without Christ, without hope; the Lord hath said, the Lord hath sworne it, that an unbeleeving, an unrepenting sinner, shall never come unto heaven: he cannot save thy soule, untill he hath humbled thy soule; hee cannot save thy soule, as long as thou retainest an unbeleeving soule.

2 This is that which you must take notice of, that I may let in a little crevise of comfort to every naturall man; that I may set open a peepe-hole of mercy; know therefore this, that though the Lord will not, nay the Lord according to his oath cannot save a continuing unbeleever; yet here is all the hope thou hast, and blesse God for it, and bee thankfull that thou hast it; though whilest thou art an unbeleeving creature, thou canst have no mercy from God, yet God can make thee a beleever: he can breake that heart, he can make thee good; therefore I say, blesse God, that thou art yet in the land of the living, and say, good Lord, this is mercy, that I am on this side hell: if I had died, I had as certainly gone to hell as the coat upon my backe: hath not the Lord said it, did not the Minister speake it, and the Word re­veale it; that as long as I had a proud, naughty, stubborne, wretched heart, I should never finde mercy, unlesse I should thinke that God would make new Scriptures, turne the course of his pro­vidence to save a company of base wretched crea­tures. Oh my brethren, you that are yet in the gall of bitternesse, and bond of iniquity; proud before, and proud still, that live and lie in your [Page 133] sinnes, I say, every morning, and every evening, that yet you live, thinke with your selves, Hath God given me this hope, this liberty, and that my life is continued, why now bestirre your selves to get mercy. I beseech you thinke o [...] it, if you be not wrought upon by the Word, if Heaven and Earth should meet together to save thee, and an Angell from Heaven would speake comfort unto thee, all would faile: therefore you see by this time in what case these are; goe aside and mourn for your selves and neighbours; this say, if you will continue proud and wicked, there is no hope for you, all the hope is this, you are yet alive, the Lord may humble that heart, hee may enligh­ten your eyes, he may worke upon thy soule, else there is no mercy for thee.

Vse 2 It is an use of consolation, and I hope you will be content to heare that. I beseech you therefore to observe what I say, take notice here, that every poore broken hearted sinner may take some ground here to stay his soule, though much dis­quieted, though exceedingly perplexed: when the soule seemeth to be aloofe off from the Lord, when the Lord doth not shine abroad the sweet­nesse of his mercy upon the soule, when the Lord withdraweth himselfe and his grace in assisting and comforting his Saints, when thou hast no sense, no feeling, thou canst not bee perswaded of it, or thy heart beleeve it; canst thou but looke up to God, and hope, I say thy condition is good: thou art a good scholler in the Kingdome of the Lord Jesus, Esay. 40.18. The Lord waiteth upon [Page 134] his Saints to doe them good; but marke what the Text saith, Blessed is every man that waiteth upon the Lord: he doth not say, blessed is the man that hath sense of Gods favour, blessed is the man that hath assurance of Gods mercy, but blessed is that man that waiteth upon the Lord: thou saist thou canst not doe this, and thou canst not doe that; I say if thou canst but wait and hope for the mercy of the Lord, I say thou art a rich Christian: if a man hath many reversions, though he hath them not for the present, men that judge of his estate, will not judge him for his present estate, but for his reversions which hee shall have: haply thou hast not for the present the sense and feeling of the assurance of Gods love; away with that fee­ling, doe not dote upon it, thou hast reversions of old leases, ancient mercies, old compassions, such as have beene reserved from the beginning of the world, and know thou hast a faire inheritance: this is observable; Rom. 8 28. We are saved by hope: now hope that is seene, is no hope: for why should a man hope for that which a man hath? wee are saved through hope: now if you would have hope to be seene, you have no hope in conclusion; though thou hast it not in thy eye, yet if thou dost hope, it is enough, that hope will save thy soule. It is the folly of our sinfull proud hearts, that sometimes in the sense of our owne sinnes and sight of our owne unworthinesse, we almost disdaine to looke upon what God hath done for us, and we consi­der not the kindnesse of the Lord. That place in the Psalmist, The eye of the Lord is upon them that [Page 135] feare him, and wait for him; it is the wretched di­stemper of the soule: we can fall out with heaven and our selves, because we cannot have what we would; nay we quarrell against the means of grace: what availe meanes and helpes as long as I have such a stubborne naughty heart: Psal. 174.1 [...]1. The Lord taketh pleasure in those that feare him, and wait for his mercy: alas brethren, out of the pride of your owne spirits, you fall out with God and your selves, and so deprive your selves of this comfort.

Object. But you will say, were my hopes of the right stampe, and of the right coyne, then a man might comfort himselfe therein: though he wanted the sense of Gods love, and the assurance of his mercy: but there are many false hopes, flashy hopes, leane hopes, how shall a man know that his hope is sound and good, and will comfort him?

Ans. You may know it by these foure particulars.

The first is this, a grounded hope, it hath a peculiar certainty in it, it doth bring home unto the soule in speciall manner the goodnesse of God, and the riches of his love in Jesus Christ: this same grounded hope doth not stand upon Ifs and Ands, but it saith, it must be undoubtedly, it must certainly bee mine: and this you must know, it is the nature of hope, to make a thing to be certaine. Hope maketh things infallible and undoubted, and withall there is a kinde of speci­ality, a bringing home of Gods goodnesse unto the soule, in a peculiar manner: hope alwayes if sound, it hath something to say for it selfe alwaies, [Page 136] it hath a ward to hang and hold upon: Psal. 130.5. I wait upon the Lord, and I hope in his Word: and so Rom. 15.4. All things are written for our instruction, that through the comfort of the Scriptures wee might have hope: here is hope, not through your con­ceits, imaginations and dreames, but through the Scripture: we might have hope, a grounded hope is a Scripture hope, it is a word hope; and there­fore those that cannot bring a word, and give a reason for their hope, I would not give a rush, nor a farthing token for a hundred cart load of such hopes: No, it is Law hope, it is Gospell hope, Scripture hope, Word hope; so that the soule can say, the Word saith, the Lord came to save those that are lost, why I finde my selfe to be lost, and therefore I hope the Lord will seeke mee, though I cannot seeke him; I hope the Lord will finde me, though I cannot finde my selfe; I hope the Lord will save me, though I cannot save my selfe. But the hopes of the wicked hang like a cloud, they are not grounded upon the evidence of the Scripture, they crowd all in the generall; I hope to fare as well as others, and other had mercy, and why not I? And hence the hopes of the wicked are unstedfast and wavering: but a man might here demand, are not the hopes of the Saints so too? Doe they not waver and stagger many a time? Answer, It is true, but with this difference; the hopes of Gods servants are like an anchor, which though sometimes it is shaken, yet it holdeth the faster: but the hopes of the hy­pocrites are like the waves of the seas, and they [Page 137] come to nothing: Prov. 8.28. The hope of the righteous shall be glad, but the expectation of the wic­ked shall perish; as who should say, though the waves be great, and the stormes violent, yet the anchor shall bee fast, and the ship shall come safe to haven; but it is otherwise with the wicked, their hopes doe perish. What is become of your hopes now? you thought you should bee saved, and that you should doe as well as others; but when the day of judgement commeth, and the last great day of account shall be, what then shall be­come of all your hopes? You shall see, it is as if a man should plead for a mans inheritance, be­cause he did dwell in the same towne, and were of the same name. But now the Saints of God, when they come to lay claime to mercy, they bring a hold, a word, Isay 61.3. He appointeth them that mourne in Sion: will you have a legacy of joy, mercy, and pitty? here it is, the Lord Christ left it you, I bequeath this and leave it to all you broken hearted sinners, to all you humble mourning sin­ners in Sion: this is your legacy, sue for it in the Court, and you shall have it for ever. Hence Da­vid ventureth all for this hope, hee taketh this as a childs part, Psal. 33. the last verse; Let thy mer­cy come unto us, as our hope is in thee, not according to our sense and assurance, but according to our hope; thy desires may faile, and endevours faile, and the means faile, yet let thy mercy come unto me according to my hope.

2 The second is this, a grounded hope is ever of great power and strength, to hold the soule to the [Page 138] truth of the promise: the Spirit you know, wee shewed, stirreth the heart to hope: now hee tur­neth hope so to God, that the eye of the soule go­eth that way and cannot bee taken from it, but it will goe promise-ward, and God-ward. Hence take a poore sinner, when hee is at the weakest under water; when all temptations, oppositions, cor­ruptions, grow strong against them, the Lord let­teth them loose against the soule, nay letteth the poore soule come to joyne side with Satan against himselfe, and the goodnesse of the Lord; and hee saith, the truth of it is, I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul: this proud foolish filthy heart of mine, it will be my bane; it had better for me never to have beene, I shall never get power, strength and grace against these sinnes; here is the lowest under of a poore soule. If a man should now reply, why then cast off all hope and confi­dence, reject the meanes, and turne to your sins; Marke how hope steppeth in and saith, it is true, what ever I am and doe, what ever my condition is, I will use the means, I am sure all my helpe is in Christ, all my hope is in the Lord Jesus, and if I must perish, I will perish seeking him, and wai­ting upon him. Why, this is hope now, and I war­rant that soule shall never goe to hell. Psal. 119.81. My heart fainted, and my hope was in thy sal­vation: Isay 8.7. I will wait for the Lord, who hath hid himselfe from the house of Iacob: the Lord hideth himselfe, he doth not shew himselfe, he hath not manifested himselfe, yet I will hope in the Lord, that hideth his face: Psal. 69.3. But the hope of the [Page 139] wicked is not so: 2 King. 6. and the last verse, this evill commeth of the Lord, and why should I wait any longer? Prov. 14.32. The hope of the wicked is dri­ven away; that though a man stood upon his bot­tome, and all the world could not perswade him to the contrary, but that he should be saved, and hee should goe to heaven, though proud still, though vaine still, but his hope shall bee driven away, but the righteous shall have hope in his death: friends faile, life faile, and wealth faile, but yet he hath hope in his death.

Signe. 3 As the strength of this hope is great in regard of all opposition that commeth to the contrary, so also the excellency and surpassing worth of this hope, which overshadoweth all the hopes in the world, that can be offered, propounded, desired; all seeme nothing to this hope, which the soule hath to God; that when the soule commeth to be drawne to God, and to hope in him, all other hopes hold no weight: hopeth not for honour, for profit, nor liberty, nor delight; it discovereth the basenesse of these, so that the soule careth not for any thing else in comparison. It is in this case with the soule, as with the hound; the hound haply followeth the game untill hee bee spent, and tyred; yet if there come a fresh hare, yet the very sent of a fresh one will make him leave all: so it is here, though heretofore hee hath had ma­ny games in the world; he hoped for honour and profit, and his soule run all amaine upon them; but when the soule hath beene brought to know the riches of Gods mercy in Christ, it leaveth the [Page 140] old profits, the old contents, the old delights that he had; Heb. 11.13. All these died in the faith, when they had saluted the promises. And ob­serve here a carnall hearted Hypocrite, his hopes be vaine, idle and uncertaine; the truth is, if the world giveth other hopes of honour, and profits, and delights, he leaveth his hope, and with Demas he embraceth the present world; but the Saints of God are not so, Heb. 11.25. Moses might have had great honour, but he forsooke his honour, and had an eye to the recompence of reward.

Signe. 4 The last is taken from the vertue of hope, and the speciall fruit and effect that it worketh in the soule; A grounded hope it alwayes lendeth sup­ply and succour, when all the rest of a mans abi­lities faile, and are not able to sustaine and sup­port his soule; when desire faileth, and love fai­leth, I meane in his owne sense and apprehension, I say, then hope supporteth the soule, Psal. 16.9. My flesh shall rest in hope, that is, hope will give a man rest in the most miserable forlorne condi­tion that may be, that when the heart is ready to say, where is the meanes that I have had, and the good dayes that I have seene? this dead heart cannot bee quickned, I am as dead as the roome where I am, and the bed where I lye; why, hope will give a man rest in this condition, my flesh shall rest in hope. Looke as in the sea when the stormes arise, and the billowes beat, and the tempests rage, then a little hope, yet the anchor holdeth; so though the mast, the saile, and all sinke, yet the anchor holdeth; nay when all give [Page 141] themselves for lost, despaire of all helpe, yet the anckor holdeth; and here is the excellencie of an anckor in this particular, that when a man hath nothing to sustaine him, yet commeth in this grace of hope, yet it may be better, and it will be otherwise, this upholdeth when nothing else can; it is not, but yet hope saith, it will be, therefore cheare up that fainting soule of thine, that love God will enlarge, that desire God will quicken, that fearfull heart God will establish, that dead heart God will quicken; thus the anckor hol­deth still from day to day, hence hope is said to be the nurse of the soule, it nourisheth faith, and it feedeth faith, hope fetcheth the promise from farre, Lord thou hast said it, and therefore it can­not but be: I beseech you observe, looke as it is with a man that cannot see a thing a farre off, yet with a prospective glasse he may see it, so here, how ever eye cannot see it, the heart cannot feele it, yet hope waiteth still, expecteth still, as a man in a sounding fit, he cannot see and heare, yet there is some life in the heart, and that bringeth him againe, so when a mans heart would faile, and he is overwhelmed with sorrow and despaire, then yet the pulse of hope beateth still, there is this life of hope left still in the heart of a Chri­stian; but it is not so with the wicked, their hopes are not like the hopes of Gods servants. It is a fine place, Iob 11. last verse, The hope of the wic­ked is like the giving up of the ghost, that though a man can lift up his head full high, and thinke he shall be saved and goe to heaven, though he car­rieth [Page 142] a base wrethed heart about with him: No, no, when the Lord shall come to lay thee upon thy death-bed, let us then see your hope, if your hope can now keepe life and soule together, if it can cheare, comfort, and refresh you, let it, nay if all the Ministers under heaven, and all the Angels in heaven, should come and reveale the promises; why, a man will then tell you, Alas! I am a wretch, I never did any thing, never had any thing, but that which cursed carnall Hypocrites have had: I have prayed, and Iudas prayed, and he is in hell, and so may I be too, for ought I know: why, but the Minister replieth, comfort up your owne heart, cheare up your owne soule in expectation of some favour from God, why? alas! saith the soule, there is no comfort for me: why? but saith a man, there is mercie in Christ, it is true there is mercie, but alas I have resisted mercie, I have despised the offer of grace, there­fore there is no hope, he was gracelesse here, and he shall be damned for ever, he was stubborne here, and he shall be for ever miserable hereafter: Looke as a tree that is falling, there are some strong sprigs in the root, and that beareth it up, and it bringeth sometimes a great deale of fruit, so it is here, though desire, endevour be dead un­to the word and ordinances, yet there is a sprig of hope, and that supporteth the soule, and the soule saith unto the Lord, thou hast said, the broken hearted sinner shall have mercie, I am so, I am wearie and heavie laden, therefore re­fresh me, I have a dead heart, Lord, but wearie [Page 143] of it, Lord, a prophane heart, but wearie of it, Lord.

Vse 3 The last use, it is an use of exhortation, since you see the worth of it, and the way thereunto, Exhortat. let every one labour for this hope, Heb. 11.6. there saith the Apostle, I would desire you to give the same diligence to the full assurance of hope; I desire you, I intreat you, I will not say I command you, though this may be enjoyned: if you have any hope in heaven, if you have any treasure in Christ, labour to quicken this affe­ction above all: here I am to shew the motives and the meanes.

Motive 1 The first motive is this, in truth wee have no more use of any thing than of hope, it is a thing that is most usefull for us in all estates, in all con­ditions, what ever we doe, brethren, there is no­thing more usefull than this grace of hope, hope is an universall grace: I tell you hoping and brea­thing are all one, as breath continueth life and soule together, so doth his hope: the truth is, wee have as much use of hoping for God and waiting for his goodnesse, as the body of breathing and preserving of life, 1 Corin. 9.10. That hee that ploweth may plow in hope, brethren, all our actions must have hope goe along with them, the man must pray in hope, preach in hope, and heare in hope; what ever thou hast, hope still, that God may blesse it; what ever thou dost, hope that God will assist thee in it: when a man preacheth, hee must preach in hope, though hee doth not doe good now this day, nor next day, yet hope what [Page 144] the Lord may doe, yet hope what the Lord will doe, so in the time of our pilgrimage here wee cannot live without this hope, so in comming to the word of God, thou commest one day, and yet the word of profiteth not, thou commest the second day, and yet the word prevaileth not, thou com­mest the third time, yet the word humbleth not; come still, hope still, the Lord may be pleased at last to set home some word, that may humble thy heart, and quicken thy soule, and subdue thy corruptions.

Motive 2 The second motive is this, we have most need of it, as nothing is more usefull, so nothing is more needfull for the benefit of the soule: you know in warre, those places of the body that are most rea­dy to be assaulted, they looke to fence that espe­cially, as now the head of every souldier, there­fore every one getteth a head-peece, and will bee sure to get a helmet about him: now what a head-peece is to the souldiour in warring, that hope is to the Christian in living, 1 Thessal. 5.8. I beseech you observe it, the Devill fighteth at the head continually, which is the hope of salvation, the assurance of Gods love, this is the head-peece of a Christian, if once this be gone, the soule is gone, and a mans heart sinketh within him, Sathan in­tendeth most harme this way, and therefore wee should bee most carefull to bestow the more paines for our helpe in this particular: take a poore sinner, cut off his hope, and you cut off his head, if a mans armes were gone, hee might live, if a man want a leg, he might still con­tinue, [Page 145] but if his head-peece be gone, all is gone; a Christian may want many inlargements, many comforts, many abilities, but if his head-peece be gone, if his hope be cut off, alas! he hath nothing to support and sustaine himselfe in the time of trouble.

Motive 3 This hope is that whereby our hearts are kept both in the love of God, and provoked unto obe­dience unto God, Iude 21. Keepe your selves in the love of God, expecting the mercie of God; now this is nothing but the worke of hope, and brethren, this is a rule, unlesse we expect some mercie from God, we will never looke after him, we will never obey him, never walke with him, but when wee expect some good thing comming unto us, then wee love him and follow after him: but some might here say, it is true, we doubt not of the com­fort and benefit that commeth by it, but what meanes are there that might helpe a man to hope in the goodnesse of God, how shall a man uphold his soule in some measure in expecting mercie from the Lord? Answ. The meanes are three.

Meanes 1 Labour above all to cast out all carnall sensuali­tie, that commonly creepeth upon us, and would prevaile over us; I meane this that wee would faine live by sense, our carnall hearts be sensuall creatures, we would faine live by our sense, what we see with our eyes, and feele with our fingers, and have in our hands, that we can be sure of, but wee can have nothing in hope: now when the soule is taken up with, and bestoweth it selfe up­on the present things, then you put hope out of [Page 146] office: Rom. 8.24. You are saved through hope, and hope that is seene is no hope; a man doth not hope for a thing that he hath, but hope alwayes ex­pects a good that is to come; this is the marvel­lous sottish distemper of our wretched hearts, that wee will trust God no further than wee see him: Acts 1.9. wilt thou now restore the king­dome to Israel, just now; so here, saith the soule, may I now have grace, may I now have assurance, may I now have the evidence of Gods love? but I would have it now, where now is hope all this while? you take away the worke of hope, when you would have things present: wee know the childe must wait for his portion before hee hath it, so you must stay your time, and be contented with the dealing of the Lord toward you in this kinde.

Meanes 2 You must daily attend and labour to bee much acquainted with the precious promises of God, to have them at hand, and upon all occasions, for those are thy consorts, those are they that support thy soule, that looke as the body is without com­fort, unfit for any thing, nature groweth feeble and weake, a pale face, a faint heart, a feeble hand, and the like; so it is here, unlesse a man hath that provision of Gods promises, and have them at hand daily, and have them dished out and fitted for him, his heart will faile: Rom. 15.4. What ever was written was for our comfort, that through the Scripture we might hope. Verse 13. That we might abound in hope through the Gospell; as who should say, it is not in your power to support your hope, [Page 147] it is not in any power here below, but through the Scripture; yee might have hope, and through the power of the holy Ghost: brethren, I beseech you observe it, while wee looke upon our owne infirmities on one side, and the feeblenesse of the meanes on the other side, this is the next way to dampe our hope, to dead our hearts, and to take away all our comfort and assurance; this is not the way to abound in hope through the power of the holy Ghost; I beseech you observe it, all these things here below cannot give any com­fort, a man may as soone wring oile or water out of a flint, as wring comfort out of these meanes. In all these outward things there is no sound comfort or hope, there be these three things, ei­ther wee shall not finde comfort or contentment in them, or else not sufficient content, or else no constant, no continuall content. It is with the hope of a poore Christian, as with Noahs dove, she found no rest upon the earth for the sole of her foot; so it is with our wretched hearts, wee send out our hope to our abilities, to the meanes we doe enjoy, to our prayers and performances wee doe discharge, and thus all our hopes breake and faile us, for in all these things there is no foot-hold for hope; we must ancker our foot-hold in Christ, what I want Christ can supply, what I need Christ can give, what is good for me Christ can bestow, what I have done amisse Christ can pardon; though I barren, he is full, though I dull, he hath enough grace and enlargement for me; it is said of Naamans leprosie, Let him come, and hee [Page 148] shall know there is a God in Israel; though the King cannot heale, yet a God can; though the meanes cannot, yet the Lord can; so it is here, the hope that a man hath in these things here below, and the hope in the Gospell: A man sendeth out his hope, having a wounded conscience, hee now goeth to his gifts, that they should pacifie him, he sendeth out his hope to his prayers, that they should ease him; marke what they say, are wee God, we cannot helpe; but heare what the pro­mise saith, though prayers cannot, though parts cannot, though outward helpe cannot, yet there is a God in Israel, there is a promise that is able, here is mercie enough, here is power and comfort enough.

Meanes 3 Maintaine in thy heart a deepe and serious ac­knowledgement of that supreme authoritie of the Lord, to doe what he will, and how he will ac­cording to his owne pleasure; brethren, I beseech you to observe it, this I take to be the ground, why the heart of a poore sinner is marvellous ta­ken up with passion and distemper, and a kinde of teachy shortnesse; wee thinke to bring God to our bow, we have hoped thus long, and God not answered, wee have stood so long, and no comfort, and shall we wait still? wait? I wait, and blesse God that you may wait: if you may lye at Gods feet, and put your mouth in the dust, and at the end of your dayes have one crum of mercie, it is enough, therefore checke those distempers, what if God will? when a wretched sinner wrang­leth with God for his dealing with him, Paul cut­teth [Page 149] him short, what if God will? so when thou thinkest the time long, when Lord, and how long Lord, what if God will? he oweth thee nothing, thou deservest nothing, what if God will damne thee, and will send thee to hell? it is a most ad­mirable strange thing, that a poore worme wor­thie of hell should take up state, and stand upon tearmes with God, and he will not wait upon God, who must wait then? must God wait, or man wait? must the Creatour wait, or the creature wait? Acts 1.9. wilt thou now restore the king­dome to Israel, it is not for you to know the times and the seasons; as who should say, hands off, meddle with that you have to doe withall, it is for you to wait, it is for you to expect mercie, it is not for you to know: so I would have you to doe, when you begin to wrangle and to say, how long Lord, when Lord, and why not now Lord, and why not I Lord? why? checke thy owne heart and say, it is not for me to know, it is for me to be humble, and to be abased, and to wait for mer­cy, but it is not for me to know the time.

Thus much concerning Hope:

Now followeth next Desire.

[headpiece]
JOHN 6.45.

Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father, commeth unto me, &c.

IN this great worke of vocation, there are two things considerable: First, the call on Gods part by the preaching of the Gospell; Second­ly, the gracious answer to Gods call. Now as all the soule departed from God, so it must bee all brought backe againe to God. Therefore, first the understanding is enlightned, and that gives notice to the soule that mercy is in­tended towards it; then hope expects that mercy, and then desire wanders about from ordinance to ordinance, and longs for that mercy.

Doctrine. The Doctrine then which ariseth hence is this, that. The Spirit of the Lord quickens the desire of an humble and inlightned sinner, to long for the riches of his mercy in Christ.

For the right conceiving of this Doctrine, three passages are to be understood:

1 First, that this desire is in the heart humbled and inlightned: if either of these two be wanting, this desire cannot grow there.

2 Secondly, this desire is quickned by the Spirit; for though the soule bee humbled and made no­thing, and be content to be at Gods disposall; yet it is not able through any principle of life which it hath of it selfe to bee carried to any such super­naturall worke as this desire is: therefore the Spi­rit must quicken and move the heart thus humbled and inlightned to long for the riches of Gods mer­cy, and this desire is called the lifting up of the heart after the good it wants. As the Infant can­not go without the hand of the Father, so a poore sinner (in himselfe considered) is as an Infant, and not able to lift up himselfe to this desire any further than the Lord inables him by his grace and spirit. The bowle is fit to runne, yet it can runne no longer than the strength of the hand sticks upon it: So the humble in lightned soule is fit to come to Christ, yet it will not, nay it can­not stir further than the hand of the Spirit moves it. Note. Let every poore broken hearted sinner take notice of it, for this will informe you of a strange kinde of truth, remember this, you must not thinke to bring desire with you to the promise, but receive desire from the promise: It is a vaine thing to thinke that if the oares be in the boat, the boat must needs goe; indeed the oare will move the boat, but the hand of the Ferri-man must first move the oare: The soule is like the oare, and unlesse the hand of the Spirit moves our desire, it cannot move towards the Lord.

3 Lastly, the Doctrine saith the spirit quickens up the heart to long for the riches of Gods mercy; [Page 152] the desires of the wicked are flashy, lazy and fee­ble, and come to nothing. But even as the long­ing desire of a woman with childe will not leave her till her life doth leave her, so the desires which the promise workes will never leave the soule till it be possessed of the thing it desires. Our Saviour saith, Matth. 12.20. A bruised reed shall he not breake, and that smoaking flax shall hee not quench. Now wee all know that flax will not smoake, unlesse the sparkles come to it; but when the sparkles have taken the flax, then it doth smoake, and will not leave till it come to a flame. The soule is like the flax, and it will never smoake in desire towards the Lord, till the Lord by his Spirit in the pro­mise doth strike fire upon it: the Lord must first strike fire by the promise upon the soule, before it can ever flame in a desire towards the Lord; and when it doth once smoake in a holy desire, the Lord will not let it faile before he brings it to a perfect flame, and before it bee possessed of Christ and mercy which it longs for.

Reason. The reason of this order of Gods worke, why desire comes next after hope is this; because de­sire is that other affection which serves the great commandresse of the soule, the will, for these affe­ctions are as hand-maids to serve the will. The will saith, I will have this or that good, and there­fore hope wait you for it, and desire, long you af­ter it: Hope is the furthest and greatest reach of the soule; for when the soule is doubting and quarrelling, and saith, will the Lord doe good to such an unworthy wretch as I am: yes saith the [Page 153] mind inlightned, mercy is intended towards thee, then hope goeth out to wait and looke for this mercy. Now when the soule hath waited a long time, and yet this mercy comes not, and he mar­vels at it and saith, the Lord hath said the weary soule shall bee refreshed: Oh where are all those precious promises? then the will sends out desire to meet with that good which will not yet come, and so desire goeth wandring from one ordinance to another, till it bring Christ home to the soule. As a gentleman doth when he expects some noble personage, hee sends out a man to wait in such a place, and bring him word whether he seeth him or no: afterwards when he returnes and saith he seeth him not, the gentleman sends out another messenger to meet him afarre off, and so likewise to bring him and give him entertainment: So it is with the soule of a poore sinner in this case.

Quest. Now how doth the Lord by that promise quic­ken up this desire?

Ans. I answer, the cordials that God lets in, and the motives that make the soule wander towards God are three, or thus: There are three speciall considerations of good in the promise that doe effectually worke upon the heart to bring desires after.

Motive 1 First, there is a peculiar good in the promise that is sutable to all the wants of the soule; there is a salve for every sore, Esay 61.1.2. Art thou a dead soule? goe to the promise, there is quickning for thee. Art thou a weake soule? goe to the pro­mise, there is grace to make thee strong. Art [Page 154] thou a damned lost soule? goe to the promise, there is salvation to save thee. Art thou a polluted soule? goe to the promise, there is grace to purge thee. Doe you see your sinnes, and feele the burthen of them? Oh away to the promise, there is abun­dance of comfort in the Lord Jesus Christ: there­fore let desire be going and seeking up and down, and never returne till it bring the Lord Jesus to me to the soule.

Motive 2 Secondly, as there is a fitnesse in that promise so sutable to all a mans wants, and this fitnesse in that promise marvellously stirres up desire after it: So the beauty and excellency of that fitnesse gives full satisfaction to the desire; as it is with a man that hath an old cankered wound, which puts him to dayly trouble and vexation; if this man should heare of some speciall salve that would forthwith take away his pain, and ease him; and withall would take out the dead flesh, and heale him perfectly, how would this man desire that salve? nay nothing would content him but that. So it is with the freenes of Gods grace, Prai­er, the Word, Conference are very good, and thou hast had an old cankered soule, and a wayward peevish spirit, and these sinfull lusts sticke up­on thee, and are still vexing of thee, and these are not quite purged out: Oh, saith the soule, these old recourses of base corruptions are ever dogging of me. Now if any bid this poore soule pray, and heare, and use the means; yes, saith he, these are usefull and good; but I may pray, and heare, and receive the Sacraments, and yet goe [Page 155] downe to hell for all these: But oh that free grace of God in Christ, that would blesse all these means, and make all effectuall to mee for my good. Oh that I had this grace above all the rest, Cant. 5.8, 9, 10, 11. Ioh. 6.34.

Motive 3 The last motive in the promise is this, the con­sideration of that fitnesse and excellency in the promise, makes the humbled soule more sensible of his wants, and makes the necessity of a broken heart more unsufferable; so that hee can endure delay no longer. I confesse that when the eye is opened and the soule humbled in contrition, hee seeth his sinnes, and is burthened with his many wants; but the sight of this fitnesse of the good in the promise, and the intimation of the excel­lency of it, and the hope thereof makes him more impatient of delay; and therefore more violent in desire. When the soule begins to consider the glory and pretiousnesse of Gods free grace now revealed and made knowne in some measure, and when the sparks and beauty of it are kindled in his heart, now he begins to reason in this manner; What, is this the only excellency of the promise that can give content to my soule? Oh happy I (and blessed be God) that I may yet see the good­nesse which many never come to know; milli­ons of men never heard the sound of this glori­ous grace and mercy; Oh happy I that know it; but miserable I, if I come to see this and never have a share in it: Many are my wants, and the greater are they, because I see the good they have deprived me off; and it had beene better for mee [Page 156] never to have knowne the excellency of the good in the promises, than not to partake thereof; and the very consideration of this, that hee hath had some hope of receiving the good in the promise, makes him say, why not I? why not my sinnes pardoned? and why not my corruptions sub­dued? What, shall all my expectations bee void? What a fine plucke had I once for heaven? Shall I see heaven, and never come there? this makes him marvellous sensible of his misery, and mar­vellous watchfull in the use of the means to reco­ver himselfe againe.

Vse 1 The first use is a ground of strong consolation, to stay the hearts of many poore sinners, in the midst of many infirmities that beset the soule: be thy weaknesses never so many, and thy tempta­tions never so great, yet if thou canst but finde this smoaking desire, thy condition is good, thy consolation certaine: O but, saith the soule, the sluggard desireth meat and hath it not; I am afraid all is naught: Why, leave thou thy desire with God, and the time also, and bee not weary of desiring, and then thou shalt enjoy the benefit of it if thou faint not; doe thou what thou shouldest, and let the Lord doe what he will.

Object. Oh, but saith the poore soule, how can this be? my sinnes are more than my miseries; a little de­sire and a little grace will not serve my turne.

Ans. To this I answer, see what the Lord saith, Esay 44 3. I will powre cleane wa [...]er upon the thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: thou hast many and great wants, and much misery lieth upon [Page 157] thee; therefore God will not onely drop a little comfort into thy heart, but hee will poure it in; and if a little mercy will not serve thy turne, then he will poure flouds of mercy upon thee.

Object. Oh, but saith the poore soule, this is all the dif­ficulty, if my desire were sound and sincere, then I might have some comfort: how shall I there­fore know that my desires are sincere?

Ans. I answer, the signes of sound desire are these.

Signe 1 First, as the desire is, so the endevour will be; if thou desirest earnestly, thou wilt worke accor­dingly. Now the labour that makes knowne the soundnesse of desire, discovers it selfe in foure particulars. First, he that labours from a longing desire, is content to use all meanes which are re­vealed and made knowne to him, because hee knowes not which will speed. Secondly, hee is carefull of improving all opportunities in the use of the meanes. Thirdly, hee will hold out in the use of those meanes, his wants and desires are con­stant, and therefore his endevours must needs be so too: as Lament. 3.49. These three former will discover many hypocrites, Triall of sound desires. though most doe not come thus farre: but a terrified hypocrite, and a heart that hath beene awed, may doe all these, and yet bee naught too. But there is another triall of sound desires which will justle any Hypocrite under Heaven to the wall, and that is this: Though the poore sinner uses all meanes, and takes all opportunities in the use of those meanes, and is constant in the use of them, &c. yet the soule that is truly desirous of grace [Page 158] and mercy rests not in those labours; Alas, saith he, I labour and use the meanes, but what is that to me if I have no Christ and no grace, which I pray and heare for; the soule must have Christ, and mercie, and grace, which it desires, or else it will not be satisfied: a man hung up in chaines, cries onely for bread: so it is with a poore fa­misht soule, he desires nothing but Christ, and nothing else will satisfie him: this last signe none but a true sincere soule can have.

Signe 2 Secondly, he that truly desires mercy and grace, desires Christ for himselfe, and now when a man desires Christ for himselfe, then his desire is sound; as a maid that desires a man in wedlocke, she doth not desire the portion, but the person of the man, if I beg and die with him, saith she, if I never see good day with him, yet let me have him, and I care not; so the soule that desires Christ, not for profits, or by-aymes and ends, but for himselfe, it saith, let me have a Saviour, though I goe into prison and banishment with him, this is a heart worth gold, now when a man desires Christ for himselfe, it will appeare in two parti­culars:

1 First, hee that desires Christ for himselfe, will part with all he hath in the world rather than he will be without Christ. If hee cannot have a Sa­viour with that he hath, he will part with all, and this an hypocrite will hardly be brought unto: an usurer will part with all old gold, and his lands, and all for a great lordship, not for the lordship it selfe, but because he shall gaine more gold by par­ting [Page 159] with his gold. So an hypocrite may bee con­tent to hazard riches and honour, and all for his profession, because he thinks to gaine more credit by that hazard, but it is not for Christ himselfe. But a gracious good heart will part with all for Christ, How to know whether we de­sire Christ for himselfe or not. and he will not part with Christ for all the good in the world, only he that desires Christ for himselfe, is content to take him upon the hardest conditions in the world: if Christ comes, let what will be come besides, hee is not like those Iewes, Marke 15.32. that would have had Christ and his crosse seve­red, there is no such Christ to be had in the world.

Secondly, the soule that desires Christ for him­selfe is carefull to avoid all those inconveniences that may hinder him from Christ, as Zacheus did, Luke 9. this is the second thing.

Signe 3 Lastly, the soule that truly desires grace and mercie, is ready to receive it with thankfulnesse, and will entertaine whatsoever meanes may re­veale, and whatsoever messenger may bring home Christ and mercy to his soule: an hypocrite may goe a great way here, but this is the right stroake: a gracious holy soule, the more spirituall the meanes are, and the more he hath of Christ, and the more cleare evidence of the Spirit there is, the more they are well-come to that person, that tru­ly longs for Christ; the soule is willing and un­wearie to receive that mercie which God offers; you never see a hungry man nice and squeamish when meat is set before him, but he falls to and fits at it.

Vse 2 We come now in the second place to a word of [Page 160] reproofe, which falls heavie: if this be so, that the Lord breeds a thorow and sound desire in the hearts of those he intends good unto (not a fla­shy desire, but) like the desire of a longing wo­man that must have her longing, or else she dyes, so an humble soule must have a Saviour or else he dyes, for what she said in regard of children, the humbled soule that hath a true desire after Christ saith the same, Give me a Saviour or else I die. This then is a bill of inditement against a world of men that lift their hands full high, and thinke their penny good silver, and are termed profes­sours; if a man be baptized and comes to Church, this is that which upholds him in the time of trouble and time of extremitie, he desires to be holy, and he desires to please God. If the Mini­ster reproves him, and tells him his life is naught, and his conversation wicked; You grace? no, no, you cannot have grace here, nor salvation hereaf­ter upon these tearmes, your speeches are unsa­voury, your life is unprofitable and unfruitfull, never thinke to have any grace if you thus conti­nue: Hee then confesseth hee hath many weak­nesses, and he cannot talke as he would, and words will come sometimes from him before hee is aware, but his desire is to please the Lord, and his desire is to be holy, and this is the businesse that brings most men into a quiet kinde of calme, and so they goe hudwinkt downe to hell. But what if I now prove that you never had a desire, I meane a true sound serious desire; what then? will you then give up the buckler, and yeeld the day, [Page 161] and say, If this be so, then (good Lord) I am in a miserable condition? let your hearts be perswa­ded and yeeld to the point, are you come to the conclusion? if it shall appeare by the word and sound arguments, that you have no true desire, then you will yeeld you are resolved of it, that this true desire never as yet came into your hearts.

Now these men that never had any sound de­sires, I will referre to three rankes: Unsound de­sires discove­red. the lazy hy­pocrite, the stage hypocrite, and the terrified hy­pocrite: All these it shall appeare there was ne­ver any true desire in their soules.

1 First then it shall appeare that your lazie kinde of professour never came to attaine this saving worke of God, to have a desire soundly set on in his soule, he will be content to give you the hearing, say what you will, and injoyne him what you please, be the duty never so exact, the course never so strict, nay if you will reprove him sharp­ly, and deale roughly with him, hee is made of even mettall, his resolution is this, he will thanke you for your counsell, and blesse God for the meanes, and hopes he shall amend; he confesseth the evils you discover should be reformed, and the duties you command should be discharged, and he desires he may, and he hopes he shall, and when you have him here, you have the best of him, when he hath brought you hither he can goe no further, but stands still where he was, hee will fill your eares full of talke, but he will not ende­vour as he should; the former doctrine casts him [Page 162] out as one that was never partaker of this sound desire, for he that endevours nor desires not, his desires are flashy, and his labour is answerable, it was so in Balaam, it was hammered in Balaams forge; Oh, saith he, that I may dye the death of the righteous: but wishings and wouldings keepe no house (as we use to say) this was just Balaams fashion, Oh that I might dye the death of the righteous! but yet hee would not set one foot forward to walke with care and conscience be­fore God: these desires are bred in the braine and understanding of a man out of some terrifyings of conscience, because knowledge saith, a man should do so, therefore he thinkes he doth so, but this is not desiring, it is lying and dissembling; I beseech you bee your owne Judges, you that are masters of servants, will you say that servant de­sires the furtherance of your estate, when hee will not set his hand to doe your worke; will you say, that messenger desires to doe your message faith­fully, that will not stirre one step forward? you are so wise you will not be cozened after this fashion, you will not be thus deluded: the master saith, if you desire my furtherance, why doe you not la­bour then? and if you desire to doe my message faithfully, why doe you not goe about it then? O suffer not your selves to be deluded and coze­ned in those things which concerne your ever­lasting comfort, it is no true desire when a man will not labour in the use of the meanes God hath appointed, it is a delusion that will cozen you, not a desire that will helpe you at the great day of [Page 163] accounts; would any have a harvest and yet nei­ther plough nor sow? this is the practice of many in this point of desire, they thinke they desire Christ, and grace, and mercie, and yet never en­devour after it: It is observable, Prov. 13.14. the sluggard de­sireth and hath nothing, he desires meat, and yet he starves; he desires clothes, and yet is not covered; he desires riches, and yet dyes a beggar; his desire never accomplisheth any thing, he could be con­tent to have this and that, but hee will doe no­thing for it, therefore he hath nothing, this is the picture of a lazie professour, he desires mercy, and he desires that God would pardon his sinnes, and he desires that God would give him grace against his corruptions, but alas! the desire of the sloth­full is all in talking, and because he doth nothing, therefore hee hath nothing at the time of his death, and day of his departure, hee hath neither mercy, nor favour, nor grace, nor assurance, but perisheth everlastingly: hence it is that the Lord dealeth with the sluggard answerable to his de­sire: The desire of the sluggard killeth him, Prov. 21.25. saith the text, because he cannot get his hands to labour: some Interpreters, holy, and judicious, doe mar­vellous fitly expresse a sluggard by this place of Scripture; it is not said, because hee cannot get his heart to labour, but because he cannot get his hands to labour; as if he should say, it is good for a man to labour, it is good to heare and pray, but I cannot get my hands to it: the sluggard saith, prayer in his family is good and commendable, and the Lord requires it, but thy tongue will not [Page 164] speake, his knees will not buckle, the fault is not in thy tongue and knees, but in thy heart, there­fore the text saith, his desire will kill him, and that will be his bane, for when the sluggard shall thinke he hath desired grace, and mercy, and par­don, and salvation, and shall misse of that hee thought hee truly desired, when hee lyes on his death-bed, and seeth that his desire vanisheth and comes to nothing, this will slay him, because his labour was not answerable, his desire was not pro­fitable, his labour was nothing, therefore his de­sire brought him nothing. These lazie professours you would thinke there were but few of them in the world, but these lazie droanes swarme every where, and are the very plague-sores of our fa­milies and townes, they could be content to be as they ought, and doe as they should, but they ne­ver labour to doe that which God requires, there­fore let me enter into some particulars, and I will ranke these lazie hypocrites into foure formes, that every one may see of which sort he is.

4 Sorts of lazie Hypocrites. The first sort are those, who when they enjoy the meanes of salvation marvellous profitable and plentifull, when wisedome hath killed her fat things, and refined her wines, and furnished her tables, every one may come and eat of my meat, and drinke of my wine, now these lazie pro­fessours esteeme not, receive not any benefit by these blessings which God offers, and wisedome tenders to them, but complaine of too much bread, and too much wine, and too much manna, they will not take that mercy which is offered; [Page 165] a Minister cannot force a power of grace upon their soules, or any of Gods precious promises upon their hearts, these are lazie droanes indeed. Doth that man desire a commoditie that will beat the Carrier that brings it to him, and cast it away from him? No, all the world will say he prized it not, hee desired it not, otherwise hee would have received it gladly, and given much money for it too. If a soule were hunger-starved, would hee not receive bread if it were offered him, or would he not call the man to him that sold bread, and buy it of him to supply his wants with the soo­nest, and say, let me be served first: So had these professours any longing desire after the precious meanes of grace and salvation, when mercie and salvation hath beene set upon the stall, and the Lord crieth, Ho, every one that will, let him take of the well of the water of life, and live for ever freely; and, Ho, every one that thirsts, let him come and buy wine and milke without money: nay, many a poore Minister would faine leave his commodity be­hinde him, and saith, You must have it, and shall have it, and I will give you the buying of it; wee are faine to force Gods favours upon the soule, we beseech you to beleeve, and wee intreat you for the Lord Jesus Christs sake to receive mercie, and humble your soules, wee would force Gods fa­vours upon your hearts: But will any man take these favours now? No, beloved, these lazie hy­pocrites will not prize this grace, they will not re­ceive this mercie; many sweet promises, and ma­ny admirable precious things of grace and salva­tion [Page 166] are revealed, but they neither passe nor care to receive any benefit thereby; this argueth that such men have no true desire after Christ Jesus, For a poore hungry sinner that is apprehensive of his owne weaknesse and feeblenesse, hee longs; when will the feast day bee? and when will the Lords day come? And when hee comes into the congregation to heare the word, how carefully will he listen? and how diligently will he attend? and if the word comes home to his conscience, or if hee receive not comfort, hee cries out, Oh when will the dish come to the end of the table; I am full of doubts, good Lord resolve me; I am in trouble, good Lord comfort me; I have a proud stout stubborne heart, good Lord humble mee: thus the hungry soule longs after these meanes of salvation, and is willing to receive benefit by them, and a longing heart is at best ease when the word works most: Note. But a lazy Hypocrite is at best ease when the word workes least upon him. And therefore when he thinkes the Minister will come to his soule, hee will not bee at home that day, he will be sure to be out of towne, he knowes the Word would have awakened him and affrigh­ted him, and he cannot beare the blow; therefore he keeps away, and shunnes the hearing of Gods Word which would awaken and humble him.

Sort of lazy Hypocrites. 2 Secondly, of this crew are those, who when God hath taken away and deprived them of the ordinary meanes of grace and salvation, whereby he doth good unto the soule, they are well con­tent to be without the same, they sit downe very well satisfied; if they have a Minister, they doe [Page 167] not greatly care, and if they want one, they are not greatly troubled, but they fit and are blinde, and never saw any need of a Saviour. All they can say is this (in a good mood) they marvellous­ly extoll the goodnesse of God to such a place, and say; Oh the Gospell is a precious Jewell, but they will not goe out a mile or two to receive that mercy they doe so commend and want. I be­seech you observe it: the childe that is almost fa­mished, goes first to his father because hee hopes he will provide for him; but if the father bee carelesse and will not provide for him, hee will either beg, or buy, or borrow; starve he will not. So it is with the poore people of God, when they are famished for the bread of life, they repaire to their owne Minister, (and they ought to doe so,) and they should comfort and encourage them in the way of well doing in the preaching of the Gospell of the Lord Jesus. It is said, Amos 8.11. God will send a famine not of bread, but a famine of the word, and they shall goe from one sea to another, from one coast to another, and seeke bread, but shall finde none, how farre will men goe to seeke out bread in times of famine, rather than they will starve; then they will find their hands and legs, and goe though it be never so far for comfort: So it will be with thy soule, if thou hast a sound desire after the Word of God, were it so as it is sometimes in time of drought, that a company of cattell for want of water were like to bee spoiled, will not a man drive them a mile or two to water, that they may bee refreshed? Goe thou then downe [Page 168] into thine owne conscience, and condemne thy owne soule: hadst thou as much care for the good of thy soule, as thou hast for the good of thy cat­tell, thou wouldst goe as farre to heare the Word preached, that thy soule might receive comfort and refreshment thereby. When the famine was sore in the Land of Canaan, Iacob did not say to his sonnes, let us fit still here till the Egyptians send us food, but, get you up thither, and buy some, that wee may live and not die. That which was in Iacob would be in thy soule, if thou hadst a sincere desire after the riches of Gods mercy in Jesus Christ.

Sort of lazie Hypocrites. 3 Thirdly, those who when they have the means of grace and salvation, are content to use them, and if they want the meanes will seeke out for them, but yet are not carefull and watchfull to prevent those inconveniences, and to remove those hinderances which prejudice and hinder them from receiving that benefit by the meanes which they want and desire; these never had any true and sound desire after Christ, and therefore never shall receive sound grace so continuing. Of this sort are your tipling Gospellers, for there are such a generation in the world: a man may have the name of a professor, and yet bee a secret drun­kard. First, hee seeth his evill and confesseth it to God, and prayeth against it in the morning; yet he will venture into that company, and seeke after those occasions, whereby he may be brought to commit the same sinne againe: And he saith, alas, it is my fault, and it is my infirmitie; my [Page 169] desire is to abandon it, but all flesh is fraile, and alas, what would you have me do? I pray against it, it is not I but sinne; and therefore if I be over­taken and drawne aside with it, pitty is to be ten­dered, and you must pardon me; thus hee heals himselfe. No, no, let such men take notice of this: It was not a true desire as wrought in thee, it was onely a deceit. Is that man desirous to keep his mony, that will go into such company as he is sure will couzen him of it, or goe in that way where hee is sure to meet with theeves that will rob him? No, experience teacheth us how tender men are to goe in such company, or to tra­vell that way where they may be assaulted. So I say of these, had the Lord ever wrought effectu­ally upon thy soule, and had thy heart beene en­larged with desire after the mercy which God of­fers, when thou hadst good exhortations, admo­nitions, and many sweet promises made knowne unto thee, thou wouldst not goe amongst theeves and robbers that should deprive thee of the com­fort which thy soule hath received from the Word.

Sort of lazie Hypocrites. 4 The fourth sort are those, who though some duty bee prescribed, and some particular service revealed to them, and exacted from them by the Minister, yet they will not set upon any duty, but carelesly cast it off and not attend thereunto: these never attained any sound desire in their soules. I doe not say hee that omits a duty upon occasion, either out of temptation surprising him, or occasion prevailing: But when a man is infor­med [Page 170] and convinced in his conscience that hee ought to doe what the Word requires, and yet will not set upon it, but carelesly neglect the same; this argueth his soule was never quickned with any sound desire after the thing, because he would not labour for the thing hee desired. Hee that is desirous to speake with a man, is not content to goe to one place onely and aske for him, but hee will seeke from place to place, from man to man, and never rest till hee findes him. So it is with a heart that is soundly desirous after grace: it will not only take up some duty which God requires, but if there bee any service which the Word re­veales, or any duty the Lord commands, hee will take it up, and as hee is able set upon the dutie. Sometimes a man may neglect a dutie he knowes not of, but if hee be informed and convinced thereof, hee cannot but set about it, if hee desires to gaine good thereby. Therefore if any man hath wronged any by false dealing, theeving, or pilfering; the servant, the master; the childe, the father, the chapman, the buyer, &c. let that soule know it is his duty, and God requires it if ever he will have peace of conscience, and the evidence of Gods love made knowne to him in the pardon of his sinnes, that he must make restitution. We see Zacheus when God had opened his eyes, and given him a thorow desire to come home and receive Christ, made an open proclamation; If I have wronged any man, Luke 19.8. let him come, and I will re­store him fourefold. If there be any that I have co­zened by my false weights, and faire pretences: [Page 171] If I have wronged any man, not of foure pounds, but of forty, a hundred pounds; not some man, but any man, I will restore, &c. Beloved, this is a duty which God requires of every soule; and this is a way whereby thou mayest get some comfort to thy selfe, if thou art content to renounce thy sinnes, and receive mercy in the pardon of them. If therefore any here present shall goe away and hide his stollen waters, and bee loth to restore that which hee hath gotten by his cheating and false dealing, but saith his estate will be impove­rished, and hee shall bee cast behinde hand; and what will the world say, I shall quite bee shamed for ever: Why, if thou beest afraid of shame, de­liver thy money into the hand of some honest and faithfull Minister, and let him make up the matter privately. But what, dost thou tell me of poverty? thou hadst better be cast behinde hand, than bee cast into hell. Dost thou desire grace and mercy? Hearken what the Lord saith, this duty must bee performed, if ever thou receive mercy, set upon that duty then, or else thou shalt never get par­don of thy sinnes. So now wee may see by these particulars, that the world even swarmes with lazy Hypocrites, and that there is but little sound desire after grace. How many have the meanes and will not use them? How many want the meanes, and will not seeke out for them? How many seeke out for the meanes, but yet are not carefull to avoid those hindrances which may hin­der them from receiving benefit by Gods Ordi­nances? How many are informed and convinced [Page 172] of many duties, that ought to bee done, and yet will not set upon the performance of them? What can any one say against this truth? Prov. 14.27. Salo­mon saith, in all labour there is abundance, but the talking of the lips tendeth to penury: So say I, in all sound labour and sincere endevour there is pro­fit; If thou endevourest truly after Christ, and if thou dost labour after grace in the use of all meanes constantly and unweariedly, there is a great deale of benefit to be gained thereby; but all thy talking and wishing tends to penury, it will bee thy bane in the end. This is the first sort of those that have not a sound desire, which I terme lazy Hypocrites.

2 The second sort are such as I call stage Hypo­crites, that act the part of profession curiously, as Ahab acted the part of fasting; for he humbled him­selfe and put on sackcloth, &c. Now there is the same difference betwixt a Stage Hypocrite, and a true sincere professour, as is betweene a chapman that buyes for gaine, and a chapman that buyes for necessity: He that buyes for gaine, will have his penny-worth, or else he will none of the com­modity; hee will have it worth his mony, or else leave it: But a poore famished soule and hunger-bitten creature, that buyes for meere necessitie, must have it and will have it what ever hee wants beside: hee stands not upon Ifs, and Ands, but give me grace and take all; hee cares for nothing else. Now of these Stage Hypocrites, I will set downe two sorts, because I desire to lay them naked.

Sort of stage hypocrites. 1 And first those that will take up so much of Christ and the Gospell as may stand with their credit and with their estate, they will embrace all those truths that are not troublesome but profi­table, that are of honour and credit, and will goe off roundly, these they are forward to take up: But to have all Christ, and nothing but Christ, by no meanes they will yeeld to. Now the Lord be mercifull to us, this is the religion of many; looke into every mans family, consider every mans course, so much of the Gospell as will serve our turne, so much wee will welcome and trade in. But to come to the congregation only for Christ, that is a shame, and to be strict in ordering ones family, we know not what it meanes. So a shop-keeper will have so much religion as shall inable him to pray in his family, and conferre as occasion serves, and to towle in a customer, and put off a crackt commoditie, thus farre hee likes religion: but when he comes to this, to have so much reli­gion as shall make him feare to doe any wrong, so that if a poore childe or silly woman should lay him downe a groat or a tester more than his com­modity is worth, he dares not take it, but give it backe againe: Oh this will doe him no good, he can gaine nothing this way: doe these men desire religion thinke you? Many a maid would faine marry a man because he hath a good estate, and can make her a good joynture, but that the man should rule her, and she be obedient to him, this shee will none of, all her desire is to have a rich joynture in his estate. So many professe the [Page 174] Gospell, because it is a matter of credit, and great men cannot countenance the Gospell so much as the Gospell credits them: but if thou wilt not be content to be ruled by the same, thou art an adul­terous professour, thou never didst desire Christ for himselfe, but for thy owne aymes and ends, only to make a booty of Christ; but now a good heart, a gracious soule, that hath this desire, set on by the Spirit powerfully and effectually, will bee content to have all Christ, and nothing but him in every thing he enjoyes. A covetous man de­sires wealth, and would he have but a little? no, he cries, more, more, and hath never enough: the ambitious man desires honour, and is never satis­fied. So hee that longs for the Lord Jesus, will have all Christ, and every thing in Christ, and Christ in every thing; hee will have a Saviour what ever he wants besides. A childe that longs for the meat on the table, when his father gives him a peece, hee eats it; his father cuts him ano­ther, he eats that too; then his father bids him goe downe; no, but more of that, father, he still begs more of that, and is never content. So it is with a soule that desires grace for grace sake, and Christ for Christs sake, he cries still, more of that grace, and more of that Christ. If Christ comes to re­prove him, he takes that; if Christ comes to con­demne him, well-come; if Christ come to re­forme his sinnes, hee rejoyces, and would have more of that still; Oh more mercie, and oh more grace, and more holinesse, he can never be conten­ted, he can never be glutted with that.

Sort of stage Hypocrites. 2 The second sort of these stage hypocrites are those that goe further than these, they will use all Gods ordinances, but when it comes to part with any thing for Christ, and to suffer any thing for the Lord Jesus, then they shake hands; this was Peters folly, but it was in a temptation, when the damsell said, Thou also wert with Jesus of Galilee; he answered, I know not the man; he knew not that Christ that was now in trouble. So when the Gospell comes to require suffering, and contempt, and disgrace, we know not the Gospell, wee have another Christ, and another Gospell then. Car­nall men deale with Christ, as Achish King of Gath did with David, when hee had remained some yeares with him. Achish was to goe to bat­tell, and David was desirous to goe with him, but the Princes were against it, and Achish said, thou art upright, I have seene no evill in thee, but only the Princes doe not favour thee, and therefore David must not goe. This is the guise of this base, rot­ten, and sinfull age of the world, they say this and that holy course is commendable, and honoura­ble, but they feare ill times, and they are out of date, and so leave it where they found it; there­fore urge your great men with strictnesse, and they reply presently, what will the world say then, and what will the world thinke then? here is their religion: It is no matter what the world saith, I will tell thee what God and the Word saith, thou that art a stage professour, a meere outside Christian, the Lord never yet wrought any sound desire after grace in thy heart to this [Page 176] day; of this sort were those we reade of, that be­leeved in our Saviour, Iohn 12 47. but durst not professe him by no meanes, they wished things were better, but because things are as they are, they will doe as the times doe: the text saith, They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God: so it is with these men, they weare such and such fashions, because Gentlemen weare the same. I tell you, you love the guise and applause of the world more than the mercy and promises of God in Christ. It is that which is also observable in the young man, he held out till Christ came to this, to sell all. So also in the other, Matth. 18. that professeth to our Saviour, I will goe with thee whither so ever thou goest; Wilt thou, saith Christ? but thou must know upon what termes then, Matth. 18. The foxes have holes, and the birds of the aire have nests, but the Sonne of man hath not where to lay his head; if thou follow me, saith Christ, thou must have povertie, and shame, and disgrace, therefore thou hadst best looke before thou leape: away went he when he heard this, wee never heard of him more. So these men say, the profession of the Gospell is good and commendable, but when we come once to selling all, then they are gone, they will not med­dle with it. Now had a man a longing desire in­deed, he would not delay and demurre the time, nor passe what men say or thinke, but he saith, let me have what I need, and let men say what they will; I passe not what the world esteemes of me, let mee have that mercie I need, and that grace I want, let me have Christ, and let men speake their [Page 177] pleasure. We have done now with the two first sort of hypocrites, which discover, they never had this true longing desire wrought in their hearts. I come now to the last.

Sort of hy∣pocrites. 3 There is another sort that have gone very farre, and yet fall short of the truth and sound­nesse of this desire, and they are terrified hypo­crites, such as God hath revealed the vilenesse of their sinnes unto, and shewed them the basenesse of their abominations, even all those privie haunts of their lusts and sinfull distempers, the Lord hath made this cleare to their judgements, and hath also let a veine of vengeance into their hearts, and kindled the flashes of hell fire upon their consciences, hee hath shewed them their sinnes committed, and hell fire gaping to receive them: I beseech you marke, it is strange how this person will bestirre himselfe, his desires are very vehement, his endevours extraordinarily abundant, in every way that concernes his good, so that a man would wonder that any man should doe what he doth in this time of extremitie; and the ground is this, the horrour of conscience and guilt of sinne is upon him. You can goe away with your pride and stubbornnesse now, and make nothing of it; what, you afraid of a Minister, and of the judgements of God denounced? no, if hell were set open before you, you would not be afrighted thereat: well, the Lord will teare that heart of thine one day, and rend the gall of that soule of thine one day; and observe it, when the Lord doth this, as the horrour of conscience, and [Page 178] guilt of sinne is unsupportable, so it is admirable to observe what a man will doe to bee rid of it: and the passages of a terrified hypocrite discover themselves in two particulars:

Signes of a terrified Hy­pocrite. First, he will be lingring and hankering after some corruption, he will be playing with edged tooles with the flie about the candle, and will venture farre upon those occasions that may draw him into sinne; as a drunkard will be content to be called into an ale-house, that he may have oc­casion to tipple; but a gracious heart though hee loathes all sinne, yet he loathes that most which he hath most loved; as an adulterer flyes from all loose thoughts, as from a Devill, as from hell, and from all occasions that may give way there­unto.

2 Secondly, in this hypocrite you shall finde com­monly this note, hee will slight and slubber over some smaller sinnes, as he thinkes, and some lesser corruptions, and though hee bee taken aside with some distempers, yet this and that service he can doe, this and that prayer he can make, such duties he can performe, that will make all whole againe. But thou hypocrite, doth the Lord Jesus Christ give thee power against one sin, and not against every sinne? dost thou finde one sinne vile, and not another? thou willingly deceivest thine owne soule: for that soule that hath beene truly woun­ded with the uglinesse of sinne, dares not meddle with it, but if reproofe comes, it yeelds, if any thing be amisse, he will reforme it, he will rather be miserable than sinfull.

3 Nay, in the third place a terrified hypocrite it is marvellous what he will doe in pretence of re­ligion for Christ, hee will part with any thing, hee cares not for shame, when men point at him, what, you turned professour now? I have knowne the time you have hated and railed at such, hee cares not for this, let them say what they will, nay, even persecution he will suffer contentedly, and never seeke Christ all this while; what is the reason of this? why, he findes now by experience that hell fire is worse than wild-fire; tell not mee of reproach, saith the poore soule in horrour of heart, tell mee not that men will scoffe at me; I had rather have wild-fire about mine eares, than hell fire upon my conscience, any thing that will cure mee and heale mee shall be well-come; it is hell where I have beene, and it is horrour that hath seized upon my soule, and I had rather doe or suffer any thing than thus continue; and all this is for ease now: for horrour of conscience is greater than all the plagues in the world, and therefore he will be content to beare that one, so he may be rid of the other; hee had rather bee shamed than plagued; rather bee banished than terrified; rather imprisoned than tormented: yet onely seekes his owne ease, not a Christ all this while: And therefore experience hath taught us this, that many after a great deale of terrour and horrour of heart, when the pang is over, have returned, and beene as vile, and as base, and as sin­full, nay, haply worse than ever they were be­fore: the reason is, they have gotten their desire [Page 180] now, and they care for no more, they have gotten their ease and quiet now, and as for Christ, and grace, and holinesse, they care no more for them, because they have no more use of them: Nay, to goe further (observe it) this poore creature may in his owne sense and feeling apprehend and thinke, that he doth renounce all sinne truly, and that he puts the highest esteeme and greatest ac­count upon the Lord Jesus Christ above all things in the world; if hee looke into his owne apprehension, he may thinke he doth thus, and yet the union and league betweene sinne and his soule was never broken, all this may bee in sense and feeling, and an honest Minister, if he be not very wise in charitie, will judge so, as shall appeare by this instance: Take water seething hot, though in nature it is the coldest of all elements, yet while it continueth on the fire, it growes so hot, that a man shall feele no cold at all in it, but yet there is a principle of cold remaining in it (as the Philosopher conceives) for plucke the fire from the water, or the water from the fire, and it will returne to coldnesse againe, and freeze the soo­ner, because when it is taken from the fire, it beats out the heat with the more violence: Now the reason why the cold was there, and yet not per­ceived, was, because the fiercenesse of the heat did over-master it, and made it retire, and not ex­presse it selfe in outward appearance. So it is with this terrified hypocrite in these pangs of ex­tremitie, and horrours of conscience, when the soule is possessed with the fierce indignation of [Page 181] the Almightie, when the flashes of everlasting vengeance seize upon the heart of a sinner; this takes off the pleasure, delight and content, which the heart had in sinne: though the soule love it, and the heart embrace it, and the spirit close with it, yet he can find and feele in his owne apprehension no pleasure at all in sinne, nor no sweetnesse in his lusts, by reason of the dominee­ring vengeance of the Lord, which takes off all the pleasantnesse that was in it before. And there­fore the adulterer that hath his dalliances every morning, if God let the flames of his vengeance once into his soule, as hee hath flamed in lust, all his sweetnesse and delight in sin will vanish away in his owne apprehension, but yet his soule cleaves to his base lusts still, and his heart is knit to them, and the league and combination betweene sinne and his soule was never broken and parted. So that by this we may see, why a sinner in his owne apprehension may thinke hee hath no delight in sinne, and yet there is a league betweene sinne and the soule still, and this Hypocrite may thus continue all the while the sound of the stroke is upon him. If haply his affections be stirring af­ter some sinne, then saith conscience, You re­member what was done before, you remember what you did such and such a time; would you fain be in hell againe? I will arrest you for this one day (saith conscience) and so his soule flieth off from his cursed distempers, not that the union between sinne and his soule is broken, but onely his cor­ruptions for the present are abated for acting. By [Page 182] this time you see the reason why I entred upon this point, which was this, to undermine the bottome that beares up the soules of many carnall men in the world, and to cut off all pleas, and to raze the foundation of all carnall confidence un­der heaven: therefore I beseech you marke it, you will say this is marvellous hard, these truths are marvellous terrible.

Quest. But some may say, What, doe you thinke that all those which will not come under the power of the Gospell that enjoy it; Doe you thinke that all that will not seeke out for the Gospell, that want it; Do you think that all those who are not carefull to prevent those inconveniences, which may hin­der them from the benefit of the Gospell; Doe you thinke that every man that is informed and convinced of a duty, and will not take it up, hath no desire after godlinesse? Doe you thinke if a man will not part with all, and be content to bee vile and base for Christ, that hee hath no desire after Christ? Doe you thinke a man may take up all duties for his owne ease, and seeke Christ in them?

Ans. Beloved, I speake not my owne thoughts, but it is cleare out of the Word of God, that none of all these sorts of persons ever yet attained a true longing desire after the Lord Jesus Christ. You told mee in the beginning if I could prove this, you would yeeld the day; therefore take these truths home to your soules, and reason and parly soundly and thoroughly with your owne hearts after this manner: Why, how farre am I from [Page 183] heaven? If the Lord hath not yet opened mine eyes, and humbled my heart, and enlarged my soule; If I never yet had a longing after a Savi­our, what not desire heaven; how then can I dreame or thinke that God will shew mercie to my soule in the pardon of my sinnes? If no desire, no Christ; no desire, no Heaven; but I have no desire, therefore no Heaven, no Christ, no hap­pinesse. The Lord settle these things upon your soules, that you may never give quiet to your hearts, nor rest to your soules, till you finde this sound desire wrought in you. Beloved, what will you doe for heaven, if you cannot so much as de­sire to come to Heaven and Happinesse?

Quest. But here some will say, this is a very strict course, this is a very narrow passage indeed; let us see how we may not bee couzened in our con­dition, nor deceived by resting in our performan­ces, &c.

Ans. I referre my answer to these three con­clusions.

Conclusion 1 First, thou must know that the remainders of those distempers, (that a man should rest upon the merit of duties performed) are such remain­ders of sinne, as will sticke to us and remaine with us so long as we live on the face of the earth: But when once the Spirit of the Lord takes possession of the soule, it counterworkes and digs deeper than these distempers: for the good Spirit of the Lord that seizeth upon the heart truly humbled, goeth betweene sinne and home; it goeth be­tweene sin and the soule continually, and makes a greater evill appeare in the soule, than is the [Page 184] evill of punishment, and makes knowne a greater good to the heart than ease, and the removall of the outward plague and horrour: The Spirit of God undermines these distempers and corrupti­ons: the corruption of the soule would faine have ease, but the Spirit saith there is a better good than ease, that saith horrour is terrible, but the Spirit saith sinne is more miserable. Looke as it is with a good Cordiall, it will worke out a distemper, though it lie long in the heart of a man, yet it will drive it away at length. So it is with the almightie worke of Gods Spirit, which possesseth the heart of the soule tru­ly humbled. (I would faine expresse my selfe more fully) You must know that these shifts of spirit, and privy prankes of heart whereby the Devill windes himselfe in upon a terrified conscience, they are the last cast, the maine hold of Satan, he is now driven into his tren [...]hes, and therefore he will play fast and loose a long time, and disco­ver desperate subtilties.

Originall corruption is like a fountaine; now a fountaine hath many Conduits, some nearer, some further: but if there bee any water in the Fountaine, the neerest Conduit will have it soo­nest. So if there be any originall corruption (as there is in all) it will be sure to bee seene in this Conduit of selfe-ease and selfe-confidence in hor­rour to bee avoyded, and duty to bee performed. The Naturalist observes, the heart is the last that dies; therefore though the eyes bee dimme, and the tongue falters, and the hands bee feeble, [Page 185] yet the pulse of the heart will goe still, so long as there is any life there. So it is here, the pulse of originall corruption will bee seene in these base distempers of spirit, which cleave unto us whilest wee live in this world; but they are still undermined and opposed by the Spirit of God.

Conclusion 2 Secondly, judge not thy selfe in time of ex­tremity and horrour of Spirit, by the not stirring and not moving of thy affections to sinne. Doe not thinke thy estate good because thou findest not this, neither judge thy condition ill because thou findest some corruption stirring at such times, for that is the false ground of an Hypocrite; he judgeth the water to be meerly hot, because he can feele no cold; he thinkes hee hath no love to sinne, because hee cannot feele that hee hath any affection to it in the time of horrour: but he is deceived, for the act of sinne may be overpow­red, when the union betweene sin and the soule still remaines. As for example, a poore Saint of God may have Gods Spirit and yet never perceive it, because the Spirit may sometimes either sus­pend his action, or else the action may be over-clouded by the distemper. So it is here, Satan may rule in the hearts of the children of disobe­dience, and cast in the seeds of base corruptions, and build holds of distempers, and the poore soule not understand the same.

Quest. But how shall a man judge himselfe in such times?

Ans. I answer, In such times labour to see how thy [Page 186] minde is inlightned to see the beauty of holinesse, and how thy understanding comes to prize the excellency of goodnesse for it selfe, how thy heart stands bent to entertaine all the truth and goodnesse of God made knowne unto thee. And (marke what now I say) if thou desirest holinesse for it selfe, and the bent of thy heart is after holi­nesse, so that thou canst not bee content to bee eased by holines, unles thou beest possessed, over­powred by holinesse and the vertue thereof: If it be thus with thee, judge thy selfe by this means. Suffer mee to expresse my selfe after this manner, that every one may understand: Conceive two women, the one sicke, the other in love, both desire the Physitian; the sicke desires the Physi­tian, to bee healed by him, the other desires him not so much to be healed, but shee is desirous to be married to him. So it is with the soule that is carried in a kinde of love and affection to godli­nesse, hee would not have Christ onely to heale him, but he would be married to Christ, that hee may enjoy the God of all pardoning, that he may enjoy the God of all purging and purifying. Take notice of it, sometimes men in times of sicknesse use that for physicke, which in the time of health they used for common diet: So a gra­cious and holy heart in the time of terrour and vexation of conscience will embrace holinesse, not for physicke sake onely to be healed by it, but for diet sake to live by holinesse, that hee might take possession of holinesse, and that holinesse might take possession of him: this is the best [Page 187] judgement the soule hath in time of extremity, for marke some passages of this nature. It is possi­ble out of selfe-love for the preservation of a mans selfe, to desire ease and quietnesse; but hee cares not by whom, if God, or Christ, or Holi­nesse, or Prayer, will ease him, let them doe it, and all this may bee for meere selfe-love, not for any love of Christ or holinesse at all. But to have the soule carried with desire to a supernaturall good, to holinesse in the beauty thereof, that it may en­joy it, and be possessed of it; corrupt nature can­not, corrupt nature will not come to this, it is the Spirit of the Lord onely that can enable a man to doe it.

Suffer mee to expresse a passage or two this way: the extremity of Gods indignation is a farre greater evill than all the good things in the world can be comfortable; it is a farre greater evill than any thing here below, better to bee in beggery, better to bee in prison, better to bee persecuted, than to be tormented, than to be set upon a con­tinuall wracke by the horrour of conscience: Now as the indignation of the Lord is a far grea­ter punishment than these; so the ease from this is a greater good than can proceed from the things here below, the ease is answerably good, as the indignation is evill. A wicked man would have ease for his sinnes; therefore his sinnes are a grea­ter good than his ease. But a gratious heart de­sires holinesse beyond ease and sin, and all, though hee were in the greatest extremity. I expresse it thus: A gratious heart if he had all the ease in the [Page 188] world, if hee had not holinesse, hee could not bee satisfied; and if he had holinesse, though hee had not ease, hee would bee contented: I say, had a gracious heart ease and quiet, and yet had a vile and polluted soule, if his old distempers were still remaining, and his old corruptions still continu­ing, he would complaine and say, I have ease and quiet now, but my heart is as bad as ever. If hee had ease and not holinesse, he could not bee satis­fied if hee were of a right stampe, and if hee had holinesse and more power against sinne, and the presence of Christ prevailing with him, and pur­ging him from corruptions, he would blesse Gods Name: that is the second.

Conclusion 3 The third conclusion is this, doe not content your selves in this, that you see a need of a Savi­our, because your minds are inlightned therein, and your reason perswaded thereof, when in the meane time you place a kinde of confidence up­on the duty performed, and service discharged, and thinke to bring Christ thereby to bee at your becke, and you in the meane while doe what you please, this is a wonderfull cunning craft of Satan. This I say then, A man may see a need of a Sa­viour, but doe not quiet thy soule because thou knowest it must bee so, and because thou findest by experience thou canst not helpe thy selfe; the guilt of sinne still stickes upon thee, and there­fore a Saviour now must helpe thee. How Satan de­ludeth the soule. I say, con­tent not thy selfe with the meere notion of it, to say I see it must be so, and so it should bee so, and rest thy selfe contented in the performance of ser­vices, [Page 189] and thinke to bring a Saviour to be at thy becke, to doe what thou wilt for thy soule; How Satan deludeth the soule. this is a slight or secret that Satan hath pinned to thy soule. Many thinke to have a soveraigne autho­rity over Christ when they have performed holy duties. So that an Hypocrite doth not use the means to be led to Christ, that Christ may dispose of him; but he takes up his duties to be comman­ders of Christ, that hee may dispose of Christ to serve his owne turne: so that he makes Christ an abettor of him in his wickednesse, not a subduer of his corruptions. This is a marvellous deceit, when men rest in their owne abilities, and so abuse Christ, not entertaine him. An Hypocrite prayeth not for mercy, that mercy may rule him, but that hereby hee might command Christ, and dispose of him, to take away the sting of sinne, that so he may dally with sinne. And this will ap­peare in two passages.

Rule 1 Observe in the first place before the commissi­on of sin, how thy heart is in the performance of duty; doth thy prayer, and hearing, and perfor­mance of services, make the venturous and foole hardy to meddle with corruptions? then it is a certaine ground, thou placest carnall confidence in thy owne performances. As for example; If a professor should say, what if I doe now and then sinne? and what if I doe now and then pilfer and use false weights and measures? I will pray but so much the more, and fast so much the oftner; will not conscience then be satisfied? It shall be satisfied, I will command it, I will put in baile [Page 190] for my sinne, and pray against it: Now (I be­seech you observe it) this praying and perfor­ming of duties, is meerly to command a Saviour to give allowance to sinne, that so he might com­mit sinne freely. As who should say, I have au­thoritie over my Saviour, and he shall pardon my sinnes, and give me allowance to commit sinne. Oh the wretched villany that is in a mans heart. Fearfull is thy estate (whosoever thou art) that makest thy performances an abettor of thy di­stempers, so that thou doest thy duty not to en­joy Christ, that he may helpe thee to prevent sin, but that Christ might take off the venome and indignation of sinne, that so thou mightest com­mit wickednesse without suspition or distra­ction.

Rule 2 Observe in the second place, how thy soule be­haves it selfe after the commission of sinne. Is it so, that a man can finde after the naked discharge of the dutie, all quiet and calme, notwithstanding he lives in a daily course and practice of sinne, so that he prayes, and lyes, he fasts, and couzens, and yet this makes all whole? I tell you it is an undoubted argument, that that soule did place a carnall confidence in his owne performances, and never attained to a Lord Jesus Christ in the du­ty; for he that seekes a Saviour in his duties, and rests not upon his selfe-performances, he brings a Saviour, a Christ into his soule: and marke what followeth, Christ brings pardoning vertue, and purging vertue with him, and gives him more power against his corruptions, and more suspi­tion [Page 191] over his soule than ever he had before. So that the soule begins to quarrell with it selfe, and lies down with shame, & saith, What shall I think of my praying and hearing? Where is the ver­tue and power of it? did ever Christ heare my prayers, or come into my soule by his ordinan­ces? where is the purging vertue then to cleare me of my sinnes? where is the purifyng vertue to cleanse mee from my corruptions? This is a ground of a gracious heart that placeth not any confidence in holy duties, but onely in the Lord Jesus Christ, it will sinke in regard of the failings in his best duties, and never bee quiet before it gaine vertue and holinesse from Christ

Vse. 3 The third use of the point now remaines, which is a use of exhortation; and I beseech you, be ex­horted and intreated in the bowles of the Lord Jesus Christ; since you see the way that God hath chalked out before you, since you see the marke and white at which you must levell and ayme; what then remaines, but that wee should have our hearts carried, and our affections rightly disposed to ayme at this marke? You see what the Saints will doe, and what God doth doe, their hearts are quickned to long for Christ; labour thou to be such as they are, strive, that what others have, thou mayest likewise attaine unto, and bee possessed of; provoke one another, stirre up one another, and say. Are our desires quickned? doe we long for a Lord Jesus Christ? this is that we must come to, if we looke for happinesse, either here or hereafter.

Quest. But you will say this is worth the while indeed, and the dutie is worth the performing, but what are the meanes whereby a man may procure this at the hands of the Lord?

Answ. The meanes are soule (I beseech you thinke se­riously of them) how the heart may be wrought upon, and the soule finde this blessed desire; get this, and you get heaven, it is worth the while, Oh that we had hearts to labour for it.

Meanes. 1 The first meanes is this, be acquainted thorow­ly with thine owne necessities & wants, with that nothingnesse and emptinesse that is in thy selfe: the thing is propounded easily, but the skill is to worke it upon our hearts, which will be most hard and difficult. We have many wants all of us, but wee worke not our hearts to see these, and to bee sensible of them. Therefore worke thy soule not only to be sensible of all other wants, but also of this want of desire, (I speake now to those that want this desire, not to those that have attained it already at the hands of the Lord) as therefore thou findest many wants in thy services, and ma­ny weaknesses in thy performances: So take no­tice and consider of the want of a sound and sin­cere desire after the Lord Jesus Christ, and worke thy heart thereunto the more by these two pra­ctices.

Practice. 1 First, labour to cut off all those carnall pleas and pretences, which would perswade thy heart, and that falsly, that thou doest desire the Lord Je­sus Christ. This is an old rule, the soule is never couzened, nor never commits a sinne, but it hath [Page 93] a pretence for it. Therefore abandon all those carnall pleas and foolish imaginations, which de­lude thy soule, and perswade thy heart that thou hast desired, when indeed thou hast not: for this I say, a false presumption that a man hath a thing, doth hinder him as much from desiring of it, as if he possessed it already. Wee finde it in nature, Simile. the stomacke is pinched with hunger, because meat is wanting; now from this hunger there fol­lowes a great endevour to get succour and supply, but if there come a cold winde, that overpowers the stomacke, and takes away the hunger, and the winde in a mans stomacke deprives him of his appetite, though he hath no meat: So it is with the soule, there is a great want of mercie and com­fort, and assurance of Gods love, the soule stands in need of holinesse to purge it, and mercie to par­don it; Yet when a man hath a fond fancie that all is well, and all his desires are good, he fills his heart with a vaine foolish desire, and that takes away all his endevours, and the presumption that he doth desire, doth make him as well contented, as if he desired indeed. So that I beseech you, be not carelesse, doe not groundlesly cast away the word that would informe thee, and convince thee.

When you heard the word of the Lord, your lazie hypocrite, stage hypocrite, and terrified hy­pocrite applaud themselves, and clap themselves on the backe, and they know what they know, contenting themselves, and perswading them­selves as they did before, they care not for the [Page 194] Word, nor Minister, &c. which comes to passe by cherishing these false pretences, that they doe de­sire Christ, miserably deluding their owne soules, and utterly taking away the edge of their desire after grace and goodnesse. The Laodicaean Church was rich, and wanted nothing; She wanted nothing, Revel 3.18. opened. why? because she said, Shee was rich, and yet shee was poore, and blinde, and miserable, and na­ked. Shee presumed shee was rich in grace, and therefore wanted nothing; shee presumed shee had cloathing, and therefore needed not to desire white rayment, &c. So that a presumption that a man hath a thing, makes him carelesse to get the same. Therefore now yeeld the day, and give up the bucklers; I would have every one that hath heard the word, to yeeld and give up himselfe to the authoritie of the same: And say, the truth is, I never desired aright; say one to another, and informe one another, and question one another, and confesse, the truth is, my desires were de­ceits and fancies, no sound desires; and it is Gods great mercie, that I and my flashy desire were not flaming in hell long before this day. No, no, the truth is, I am a lazie hypocrite, I am one of that nature, that will turne with the doore on the hinges; I say, I hate my base distempers, and yet continue in them; I pray against sinne, and yet live in sinne; thus call upon thy heart and con­science, and say, I am the lazie hypocrite, God hath informed and convinced me of many duties, telling me what I should doe, but yet my heart could never bee brought unto it, to pray in pri­vate, [Page 195] and make satisfaction to those I have wron­ged: God saith, I must restore these ill gotten goods, and yet the truth is, I would never part with them hitherto, but retaine them still, there­fore I never had a true desire. Yet agine (I be­seech you helpe one another) goe home and rea­son with your selves, the truth is, I am the stage hypocrite, I onely make a bootie of Christ; even so much religion as will serve my honour, and my ease and credit, I will take up, but when it comes to suffering once, that my life, or liberty, or pro­speritie lye at the stake, then farewell Christ and grace: by this it appeares, that I never had any true and sound desire after Christ. And if there be any terrified hypocrite here, I thinke there are but few come so farre, but the time will come you shall have enough to doe that way, that con­science of yours, whose mouth you have stop­ped, will be awakened one day, and rend the kall of your hearts, if not here, yet hereafter; But if there be any terrified hypocrite here present, goe home, and reason with your selves, I am this terri­fied hypocrite, the Minister spake, as if hee had beene in my bosome: In horrour of heart I can call upon God, and seeke to him, and pray in my family, and humble my soule; but when the blow is off, I returne with the dog to his former vomit, and I thinke to heale all by my services; I am the man, I am the woman, I beseech you, plucke one another on, and say, I lazie, and you lazie, I terrified, and you terrified, I deluded, and you deluded; therefore now labour to get out [Page 196] of this condition, if ever you meane to get mer­cie to your soules, but if you will lose your soules, who can helpe it? goe to the proofe, make the word good to your consciences; doe I desire Christ for himselfe? No, there is no such matter, therefore yeeld it before heaven and earth, I did never yet attaine to this sound desire; this is something yet, now you see your wants.

Practice. 2 Secondly then observe the difficultie of getting this desire, you must not thinke that this desire is an easie matter to attaine, the soule should often reason with it selfe, how dangerous is it to want this desire? without it I am undone for ever; as also how hard a matter is it to get this, it is be­yond all the power that God hath bestowed upon me, the thing is wonderfull hard and difficult, per­swade one another of the thing, and say, you and I, neighbour, thought it was an easie matter to get this desire, wee thought it was nothing to say so, and professe so, and resolve so, but this is not a desire, to talke, and wish, and promise, it is a de­ceit. Desire is another-gesse matter than we ima­gine, it is no easie matter to desire aright; who will not say, hee doth desire? every man can doe that, yet no man hath good desire almost; a man may have abilitie to know, and understand wise­ly, and dispute judiciously of Christ and grace, and yet never get a desire after Christ and grace. It is a great matter to know what we should doe, it is harder to doe what wee know, and hardest of all to get a desire to do what we ought. There­fore consider of it; is the worke so heavie, and [Page 197] the duty so weighty, and we so unable; then how had we need to bestirre our selves, and frame our hearts to seeke for, and attaine to this blessed de­sire after Christ?

Meanes. 2 The second meanes is this, consider the necessi­tie of this desire after grace and goodnesse, it is not a matter of complement and indifferencie; No, no, I may call it the very wheeles of faith, upon which faith is carried, for all this while faith is a sowing into the soule: Looke as it is with a waggon, knocke off the wheeles, and all lyes in the dust; so take away this desire, and faith is in the dust: the tenour of all the promises run upon this, the thirstie they are invited, the hun­grie they shall be satisfied; nay not onely so, but observe further the necessity of this, when desire comes, all good workes goe forward, and our hearts are not only set upon the dutie, but the du­tie is crowned and credited by this desire. It is like the mill damme, the fuller the damme is, the faster the mill goes; so get but desire, and all will goe forward; the more desire, the more paines in seeking after grace, this gives a crowne and a cre­dit to all our actions; thou prayest, haply halfe an houre, it is not thy tongue that the Lord ac­cepts, but thy desire; thou performest many du­ties outwardly, God cares not for that, he lookes only at thy desire to approve thy selfe to God in those duties, this is the thing that gives credit to all our actions.

Meanes. 3 The third meanes is this, labour to spread forth the excellencie of all the beautie, and surpassing [Page 198] glorie that is in the promises of God. Looke wisely, daily, and judiciously, upon them as occa­sion serves, and when thou seest that admirable, and incomparable vertue and beautie, that is in Christ, and in the precious promises, and canst but view them in their proper colours; Oh they will even ravish thee, and quicken up thy desire. If a man carry a packe of never so rich commodi­ties, and never opens them, no man will have a desire to buy; Or if a man have a cabinet full of never so precious jewels, if he doe not unlocke it, no man will be stirred with a desire after them. Even so it is with the promises, all those un­searchable riches that are in the Lord Jesus, and all the comforts, both of this life, and that which is to come, they are all shut up in the promises: Now set open the Gospell, and unlock the cab­binet of the promises, and then the soule will ear­nestly desire the same. I tell you God is a God of comfort, and all the promises are yea and Amen in the Lord Jesus Christ, read them daily, and exa­mine the excellencie and beautie therein, that so thy heart may be brought to prize them, and the comfort arising thence. Thy soule is discouraged, there is mercie to comfort; thou wantest grace, there is grace to quicken thee. See the worth thereof more fully: Luke 24. When Christ came and walked with the two disciples that were travelling towards Emaus, Luke 24.32. opened. Did not our hearts burne within us, say they, while he opened the Scriptures; the Latine word signifieth to burne with desire; But how came this? they did not talke a word, and away, [Page 199] but the Lord Jesus Christ opened the Scriptures to them: the riches of grace and salvation were un­locked, and by Christ opened, and then their hearts burned againe with desire; Oh that Christ, and that mercie, and that pardon, &c. So view thou the promises of Christ, and grace, and salva­tion, you doe not see the value and riches that are therein, but if you will but talke and conferre about them, your hearts will burne with desire, doe not cast an eye and be gone, doe not looke over a promise and away; no wonder though your hearts are not affected, because the excellent things therein contained are not opened and pro­pounded to you.

Meanes. 4 In the fourth and last place, after all this, thou must know that it is not in thy power to bring thy heart to desire grace, thou canst not hammer out a desire upon thine owne anvill, digge thy owne pit, and hew thy owne rock as long as thou wilt, that is a worke out of thy abilitie and strength. Nay let all the Angels in heaven, and all the Ministers on earth provoke thee, yet if the hand of the Lord be wanting, thou shalt not lift up thy heart, nor step one step towards heaven; therefore I beseech you marke and acknowledge this, and goe to him who is onely able to worke this desire in thy soule. It is the complaint of Christians, and they mourne under it, and it is a great miserie. Oh they are troubled, because they cannot fetch a good desire from their owne soules, and one falls, another sinkes, and a third shakes, and they are overwhelmed with discou­ragement: [Page 200] And their complaint is this; What a wretched heart have I? Object. Grace? No, no; the world I can desire, the life of my childe I long for that, nay every trifling profit and pleasure my soule covets it; and I say with Rachel, Let me have honour, or else I dye. But I cannot buckle my heart, nor worke this vile nature of mine to bee carried after, and long for, the unconceivable un­searchable riches of the Lord Jesus Christ. And will the Lord shew mercie to me? Shall I at­taine any favour either here or hereafter?

Answ. Marke the deceit in this case; desires grow not in your garden, they spring not from the root of your abilities, you cannot frame your soules, nor order your spirits to desire Christ; no, struggle while thy eyes sinke in thy head, and thy tongue falters when thou prayest, and yet thou shalt not pro­cure any longing desire after Christ whiles the world stands, desire comes from the quickning vertue of the spirit: Therefore seeke to God, and confesse, In truth Lord I cannot, it is not in my power, I have not any sufficiencie to frame my heart to this desire, I expect it not from my selfe, it is not this vile and sinfull soule, it is not this wicked base wayward heart of mine that can lift up it selfe, it is earthly and heavie; but it is thou, O Lord, from whom come all our desires, it is thou that must worke it, it is thou that hast pro­mised it: good Lord quicken thou this soule, and inlarge this heart of mine, thou only art the God of this desire; none of thy Saints that ever pan­ted after, and longed for thy mercie (David him­selfe) [Page 201] had it not in his owne power and sufficien­cie, it must come from thy power, and thy pro­mise, and thy grace, and blessing. Now, good Lord, worke this in the heart of thy poore ser­vant, I would faine have a desire Lord from hea­ven; thus hale downe a desire from the Lord, and from the promise, for there only you must have it, this is the course whereby you may par­take of this desire from the hand of the Lord. When the Church was lazie and sluggish, and would not rise, Cant. 5.4. the hands of her beloved dropped mirrhe upon the handle of the doore, and this raised and pulled up the heart of the spouse, and she lin­gred after him, and followed him, and pursued him, and her heart was quickned and inlarged to seeke after him, whom her soule loved and prized, and from whom she expected that good she nee­ded. It ought to bee so with our desires, they must proceed only from the sparke of the spirit; The smoking flax God will not quench, Matth. 12.20. all flax of it selfe will not smoke, but a sparke must come into it, and that will make it catch fire and smoke: thus lay your hearts before the Lord, and say, Good Lord, here is only flax, here is only a stub­borne heart, but strike thou by thy promise one sparke from heaven, that I may have a smoking de­sire after Christ, and a longing desire after grace, that I may walke with more care and more con­science with thee hereafter, using the meanes thou hast appointed for my good, that they may at the last worke unto my good; this take no­tice of above all the rest, for he that thinkes to [Page 202] get a desire from himselfe, will not labour to ob­taine from the hands of the Lord. Therefore la­bour to use all meanes, and labour to see a weaknes in all means, and expect this desire onely from the hands of the Lord. Thus we see the means how we may get this desire.

Thus we see how the Lord learnes every facul­ty his lecture, the mind hath beene inlightned, we have done with that, hope hath beene stirred, and desire quickned, these we have likewise fini­shed. We come now in the fourth place to treat of two other faculties of the soule, Love and Ioy; which because they are so neerly combined to­gether both in nature and forme, as we shall heare hereafter: therefore with your patience handle them together, and read one Lecture to them both. But before I proceed to meddle with the particulars, let me premise something in the ge­nerall, that wee take all rubs out of the way, and that none may stumble at that which shall be de­livered. Therefore let no man thinke it strange, that I come here to meddle with Love and Joy, as though I would make sanctification to goe before justification; for wheresoever we finde love and joy, they seeme rather the effects that follow faith, than to be the seeds and spawne to bring in faith: Methinkes these doubts should not trouble any, if they did but consider what wee have spoken al­ready in the worke of preparation. But a little to take away these rubs, take notice of three en­suing passages, which will cleare the way to that which afterward shall be spoken.

Passage. 1 Know in the first place, it is not mine intend­ment [Page 203] to perswade any to thinke that sanctificati­on is before justification: for the truth is, I con­ceive the thing is not agreeable to truth, taking sanctification in a narrow strict sense, as it must be so conceived in this place; neither can the Do­ctrines which I have delivered, if they bee under­stood aright, according to the explication there­of, shew so much, this is the first.

Passage. 2 Secondly, looke by what right and reason ma­ny judicious Divines of late yeares, having by ex­perience observed in their owne spirits, and judi­ciously scanned and delivered it, that there is a saving desire, by which God brings in and breeds faith in the soule, (It is the speech of judicious Perkins) Nay the Spirit seemes to me to intimate as much when it saith, Ho every one that thirsteth, Iohn 7.37. come and drinke: there must be first thirsting, then comming and beleeving, which thirsting is no­thing else but a saving desire. Therefore as there is a saving desire by which God causeth both grace to breed, and faith to spring in the soule; by the same reason there may bee a kinde of Love and Joy, by which as spawnes, and seeds of faith, faith may bee communicated and stamped upon the soule, for the same ground that is for the one, is also for the other: and it is a thing to me incredi­ble, that the soule of a man should fall and rest upon the promise, and yet never desire it, nor hope for it, being absent, and imbrace it, love, and delight in it with joy when it is comming. For looke with what authority and right there is thirsting before comming, and a desire before faith (for faith is all this while a hatching and bree­ding) [Page 204] by the same right and authority there is a saving kinde of love and joy before faith, whatso­ever wee speake of the one, wee must necessarily speake of the other.

Passage. 3 The third thing is this, wee must understand that all these saving workes of the affections are no sanctifying, (I call them saving, that is, such workes as doe accompany salvation) for there is a difference betweene a saving worke, and a san­ctifying, taken in the proper narrow sense of it. Know therefore that desires and loves are of a double nature, some in vocation are observed, some in sanctification are considered, as there was a sorrow in preparation, & a sorrow in sancti­fication, so there is one desire and love and joy in vocation stirred, another in sanctification expressed, both joyne one with another, but they are not the same. The frame of the heart, and the worke upon the soule in vocation, is not the same which is in sanctification. Briefly, in vo­cation in this call which I speake of, the Lord worketh this worke upon me, I have no power of my selfe, but onely receive it from the Lord. At the first conveying in of the power of hope, and desire, and love, and joy, God communicates them unto me, but in sanctification I worke from a principle which I have received from the power of grace, which Christ hath communicated to me being called, and sanctified, and having received the Spirit of Adoption: So that the graces I now speake of, usher in and lead the way for the com­ming in of faith; when faith comes into the soul, [Page 205] it is there as the King in his privy chamber, it rules and commands all his servants. Now the way be­ing cleare, if you meet with hope and faith, love and faith put for one another, understand that they are not literally to bee conceived, but in a figurative sense. So then to proceed to the Do­ctrine I meane to stand upon, which is this:

Doctrine. The Spirit of the Lord kindles in an humbled heart, and inlightned sinner, love and joy, to en­tertaine and rejoyce in the riches of his mercy: there are three passages to be considered, that so we may see the compasse of the point in hand.

Passage. 1 First, this love and joy is no where to be found but in a heart humbled and inlightned, for unlesse the soule bee humbled before God, it seeth no need of grace or mercy, and therefore despiseth it, and disclaimes it, and is carried with a hatred against that grace that would master his corrupti­ons and purge them: Nay the soule is carried with a kinde of wearisomnesse, and is pestered with the power of grace that would frame his heart anew, his corrupt heart is rather troubled with it, than any way delighted in it; and if hum­bled and not inlightned, be could not be inlarged to bestow his heart thereupon, nor carry himselfe with that pleasure and delight which otherwise he would: this is the first passage. I know there is a wilde kinde of love and joy in the world, coun­terfeit coyne; but this is not the love and joy we meane, we will have garden love and joy, of the Lords owne setting and planting; those carnall hypocriticall joyes we will not meddle withall.

Passage. 2 The second passage is this, this love and joy is kindled by the Spirit of the Father, he it is from whence come all the sparkes that must kindle grace in us. So that all other love and joy which is not spirituall and from him, cannot be accepta­ble to his Majesty. It is that in generall which the Apostle Paul inferres, Rom. 8.8. They which are in the flesh cannot please God. So all the joy and love (as well as any other action) that proceeds out of nature and flesh cannot please God: But it must be hea­venly love and joy, proceeding from the Spirit: Suffer me to expresse my selfe after this manner Looke as it is with a gentleman in the countrey, he will bee content to leave his habitation for a while, and give up his house to the King for a while, because hee is but a meane man, and not able to entertaine so great a retinue; there­fore the King sends his owne provision be­fore hand; (observe it.) So it is with a poore humble broken hearted sinner; the poore soule is marvellous well content, the Lord should come to him, and dwell in him, and dispose of him; but he is such a poore beggerly wretch, Simile. he is not able to make God a fire, he cannot love God, hee hath not that holy heat of love and joy to entertain and welcome the Lord as becommeth his Majesty: therefore the Lord sends provision before hand, and kindleth love and joy in the soule, that by that love and joy he may be welcomed to the heart of an humble sinner; or thus (to expresse my selfe more clearly;) Take a burning glasse that will receive the beames of the Sunne, and heat and [Page 207] burne other things, the glasse of it selfe hath no such heat in it, but when it hath received the beames of the Sunne, it heats and burnes other things, as flax, and such combustible matter; but it is by the heat of the beames of the Sunne re­ceived, otherwise it could doe nothing. So it is with an humble sinner, hee lieth fit to receive the beames of Gods mercy, and waits when the Sun of righteousnesse will shine from heaven comfor­tably upon his heart; and being warmed with the beames of Gods love and favour effectually, hee is able to reflect the heat of love and joy backe againe: this is the second thing.

Passage. 3 Thirdly, the Doctrine saith, that love and joy are kindled, that they may entertaine and rejoyce in the riches of Gods mercy. This last clause is added to discover the difference, and to make knowne the distinct nature of this love and joy here, from all the fained and false love and joy, which hypocrites pretend to have, and seeme to expresse to the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore I say this love and joy is kindled not onely to en­tertaine him, and rejoyce in him; for there is a kinde of entertaining and rejoycing in Hypo­crites. Iudas had a haile Master, and the common people spread their garments, and welcomed Christ, crying Hosanna, blessed is hee that commeth in the Name of the most High; and the young man pretended a deare affection to Christ, Master, I will follow thee whither soever thou goest; And the stony ground received the word with joy, Matth. 13. and with love too, for they goe both together, for he that [Page 208] joyes in a thing, cannot but love that he rejoyceth in: So that wee see all these had a kinde of joy, but it is not that kinde of joy that comes from the Father, neither will it carry it selfe beseeming the riches of Gods mercy; for hee that saluted his Master All haile, in conclusion betrayed him: is this your joy and love you entertaine Christ withall? So that young man that would follow him whither­soever he went, presently forsooke him: And they that even now cried Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed be hee that commeth in the Name of the Highest, anon crye as fast, crucifie him, crucifie him; and they that received the Word with joy, when temptation and persecution came, rejected it: This joy is a foolish imagination hammered out of their Anvill, for base ends and by aimes; but they carry not themselves beseeming the riches of Gods mercy revealed to them. For, Hee that loveth father or mother, or brother or sister, more than me, is not worthy of me, saith our Saviour: that is, hee that priseth any thing more, and delights in any thing more than Christ, is not worthy of him. Therefore whosoever he be that bestowes his love and joy more upon any thing in this world, than upon Christ; it is not a love and joy beseeming him, nor brought from heaven, but proceeds from a base rotten heart, and will faile us, and bring no profit nor comfort in the end. This then sufficeth for the sense, and proofe of the point; we come now to open it a little; where­in for explication, and confirmation thereof, wee will handle these two things: First wee will [Page 209] shew you the reason of the order, why after hope and desire, there comes this love and ioy. Se­condly, we will discover the motives and grounds what it is in the promise that will kindle and strike fire, and inflame these two affections, and bring them to the Lord.

First, Reasons. you will say how comes love and joy next after hope and desire? I answer, you must know there is no more but two affections in the soule, God infinitely wise having so framed it, and these two are hope and desire. The understan­ding saith such a thing is profitable and comfor­table, if I had it, then hope is sent out to wait for that goodnesse, and if it comes not, then desire the second affection is sent out to meet the good; hope stands and waits for it, but desire wanders up and downe, seeking and enquiring after a Lord Jesus, and goeth from coast to coast, from East to West; Oh that I could, and oh that I might, and when shall I, and how may I come to the speech of a Lord Jesus Christ. As it was with the Spouse in the Canticles, when her beloved was gone, she wandred up and downe, seeking of him, and en­quiring of the watchmen if they did not see him: so desire wanders from this thing to that thing, from this place to that place, and never ceaseth, to see if it can gaine notice of Christ: It goeth to prayer to see if that will intreat a Christ: It goeth to the Word to see if that will reveale him: It goeth to conference to see if he can heare of a Christ there: then it commeth to the congrega­tion, and to the Sacrament, to see if it can heare [Page 210] any newes of a Lord Jesus Christ, and of mercie; and the soule thus continues wandring and seeking, till at last the Lord Jesus Christ comes into the soule, when the soule hath hungred and longed for him. At length the Lord is pleased to shew himselfe in view: behold thy King com­meth; so the Lord saith, Behold the Lambe of God that taketh away thy sinnes: Oh thou poore broken hearted sinner, here is thy Saviour, hee is come downe from heaven to speake peace to thy soule in the pardon of thy sinnes; thou that hungrest for a Christ, here he is to satisfie thee; thou that thirstest for a Christ, hee is now come to refresh thee; thou that hast long sought him, hee saith, here I am, and all my merits are thine. Now when the Lord Jesus is pleased to present him­selfe to the soule; now desire hath met with the Lord: there are two other affections sent out by the Spirit to entertaine Christ, and they are love and joy. Suffer me (I beseech you) to expresse my selfe after this manner, that I may discover the frame and guise of Gods Spirit in this graci­ous worke.

It is in this case with a sinner, as it is with a ma­lefactour or traitour (observe what I say) who is pursued with a Pursevant, and is fled to the sea coasts, and hath taken a hold, and he is there be­sieged. And now hee seeth there is no hope of favour, nor no hope of escape; therefore hee is even content to submit to the Kings pleasure, Simile. and yeelds his neck to the block, that hee may receive punishment for his offence. Now comming to [Page 211] execution, he heares an inckling from the messen­gers, there is yet hope that this man may be par­doned; with that the poore malefactour in the tower, his heart is stirred up to hope: Nay then he heares another messenger from the King him­selfe say, if he will come unto the Court and seek unto his Majesty, and importune his Grace for mercy and favour, it is like he shall be pardoned: this is the second voyce: one saith thou mayest be pardoned, the other saith, nay if thou wilt sub­mit thy selfe, thou shalt be pardoned. Then hee makes haste, and desire carries him to the Court, to sue for favour from the King: So that he will bee continually there, listning and enquiring of every one, saying, did you heare the King speake nothing of mee, how stands the Kings minde towards mee, I pray how goes my case? then some tells him, the truth is, the King heares you are humbled, and you sory for it, you are like to heare more newes hereafter. At last the King lookes out of the window, and seeth the male­factour and saith, is this the traitour? they say yes, this is the man thar is humbled and intreats for mercy, and desires nothing so much as favour. The King tells him the truth is his pardon is drawing, and comming towards him: with that his heart leaps in his belly, and his heart is inlar­ged to his Majesty; and he saith, God blesse your Majesty, never was there such a favourable Prince to a poore traitour. His heart leaps with joy be­cause his pardon is comming towards him; hap­ly it is not sealed yet: Now when it is sealed and [Page 212] all, the King calls him in and delivers it, and that is the last stroke of faith.

So it is with a poore sinner, hee is this malefa­ctor: you that have committed high treason, you thinke not of it, but take heed, God will pursue you one day; haply the Lord lets you alone for the present, but he will surprize you on the sud­den, and conscience will pluck thee by the throat, and carry thee downe to Hell. And now the Lord pursueth him with heavie and terrible in­dignation, and lets flie at his face, and sets con­science a worke as Pursevant, and that saith, these are thy sinnes, and to hell thou must goe, God hath set me to execute thy soule. Now the poore soule seeth hee can by no means escape from the Lord, and to purchase any favour he sees it is im­possible; therefore he is resolved to lie downe at Gods feet, and saith, I confesse Lord, there is but one way, let me be damned, so thou maist be glo­rified. If the Lord will shew favour, so it is; but he cannot desire it almost, because he hath so sin­ned against him. Now comes the great voyce, he heares a noyse afarre off by the ministery of the Gospell, thy sinnes are pardonable: with this the soule lookes up, and hope stirres the heart, and saith, then it may be a damned creature may bee saved, then it may be a dead dogge may live, and a traytor may be pardoned: Then the soule heares another voyce, if thou canst see the excellency of mercy and long for it, and seeke after it, thou shalt be pardoned. Why, goe then, saith Desire, and he fills heaven and earth with his cries, and his [Page 213] closet with his prayers, and the congregation with his teares, and will enquire of the Minister of God, and other good Christians; Sirs, you are of the bed-chamber, you are acquainted with God, I pray how goes my case? will the Lord, thinke you, pardon me? did you heare the Lord say nothing of me? how stands it with me? Now the Ministers of God that understand the frame of the heart aright, will say, The Lord heares you are an humble sinner, and that you long for mer­cie, and lye at the court gate, and will not away without mercie; wee heare, God intends well towards you, you shall heare more hereafter: thus farre now desire goeth.

At last, Christ presents himselfe to the sinner, and speakes to his soule by the ministerie of the Word, he lookes downe from heaven, and gives him a sweet looke of mercie, and that makes his heart leape againe, and that is done in this man­ner, (for still understand that God doth it by the ministerie of the Word, doe not now looke for any strange dreames or miraculous imaginati­ons) the Lord speakes by his Word, and saith, thou hast a broken heart, thou hast longed for my salvation, goe thy wayes, I have heard those prayers of thine, and observed those endevours of thine, and thy pardon is granted, bee it to thee as thou hast desired, and thy pardon shall afterward bee sealed and delivered. Now when the Lord tels the soule, It is done, it wants only sealing and delivering, the heart of a poore sinner, when it findes some comfort and refreshment from the [Page 214] Lord in the word, he saith, The Minister said I was the sinner, and God intends good to me, and that my sinnes are pardoned: as the Prince saith, Fiat, let it be done; so the Lord saith, Mercie is comming towards thee, and mercie is granted to thee: Now the heart leapes with joy, and bles­seth the Lord, let my soule blesse him for ever: How ought I to blesse that God that hath done so great things for my poore soule? What, I par­doned? and what, my sinnes forgiven? what, is the pardon granted, and now sealing, onely it wants delivering? why then if I never see more of it, but goe downe to hell, yet this is my com­fort, that I have seene a smile from God, this makes my heart leape within me, though I burne in hell for ever; this is the next voice.

Now that brings in love and joy: See a pas­sage this way, Esay 40.2. opened. Esay 40.2. Comfort yee, comfort yee my people, saith the Lord, speake comfortably to Jeru­salem, and crie unto her, that her warfare is accompli­shed, and her iniquitie is pardoned, tell Ierusalem shee is accepted; tell her so, saith the Lord. So the Lord speakes to poore hungrie broken sinners, after he hath seene their desires to be sound and thorow; the Lord saith to his Ministers, Speake to the heart of a poore sinner, tell him from mee, tell him from heaven, tell him from the Lord Je­sus Christ, tell, from under the hand of the Spi­rit, his person is accepted, and his sinnes are done away, and he shall be looked upon in mercie. So Esay 66. Esay 66.2. opened. the text saith, The Lord lookes to him that is of an humble and contrite heart, and that trembles [Page 215] at his word. The poore creature cannot but ob­serve every word, and tremble at every truth: Here is salvation (indeed, saith he) but it is not mine; here is mercie, but that is not mine: and so he shakes at the apprehension of it, that he should heare of it, and not enjoy it. The text saith, The Lord lookes at such a trembling soule; that is, he casts sweet intimations of his goodnesse and kindnesse upon him; and saith, Thou poore trembling sin­ner, to thee bee it spoken, I have an eye towards thee in the Lord Jesus Christ; this, as I take it, is the meaning of the place. Ephraim is the picture of a soule truly humbled; we may see his beha­viour towards God, and Gods dealing towards him; the text saith, Surely I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himselfe, (here is the heart broken, and thirsting, and what more) thou hast chastized mee, Ier. 31.18, 19, 20. and I was chastized, as a bullocke unaccustomed to the yoake; turne thou me, and I shall be turned; thou art the Lord my God, surely after that I was turned, I re­pented, and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh, I was ashamed, yea even confounded, because I did beare the reproach of my youth. Here wee see Ephraim lamenting himselfe, as if the sinner should say, I am the wretch that have seene all the meanes of grace in abundant measure and beautie, and yet never profited under the same; the Lord hath corrected me, but I would not be tamed; the Lord hee hath instructed mee, but I would not learne; Lord turne mee, thou art my God, I have nothing in my selfe. Nay now I see the evils which before I never perceived, and I [Page 216] observe the basenesse of my course now, which before I never considered; and I am ashamed of my former abuse of Gods grace revealed; I am even confounded in regard of the abominations which my soule hath harboured; this is the mourning of a poore sinner: Now marke Gods answer, Ephraim is my deare sonne, hee is a plea­sant childe, for since I spake against him, I doe earnestly remember him still, therefore my bow­els are troubled for him, I will surely have mercie upon him. The Lord kindled the fire of his in­dignation in his heart, and spake bitter things against his conscience, yet hee remembred him all the while; as who should say, I observed all those desires, and considered all those teares, and heard all those prayers, and tooke notice of all those complaints; and my bowels earne towards a poore sinner that desires my mercie in Christ, and the truth is, I will shew mercie to him: thus wee see the behaviour of God to the soule, as also the behaviour of the soule to God: and thus you see the order of the affections; when God is absent, hope waits for it, and desire longs after it; when the good is in view, love entertaines it, and joy delights, and sports, and playeth with it: love is like the Host that welcomes the guest, and joy is like the chamberlaine that attends up­on him, and is very ready and pleasing to enter­taine the promise, and the Lord Jesus Christ: this is the very guise of the heart, as I conceive.

The second thing observable, is the motives whereby the promise comes to inflame these two [Page 217] affections, and to worke this frame in the heart, namely, by the Spirit of the Father, which kindles in an humble and inlightned soule, love and joy, to entertaine and reioyce in the riches of his mercie, as beseemes the worth thereof.

Quest. But how doth the Spirit kindle this love and joy?

Answ. I answer, thus it is, when the Spirit of the Lord in the promise lets in some intimation of Gods love into the soule, the weight lieth upon these two words; lets in some inckling, conveyeth some rellish of the love of God into the soule. I beseech you, marke it, when the Lord doth ex­presse his favour and goodnesse in that same powerfull manner unto a heart humbled, longing for his favour, that it doth force the soule to bee affected with it, and doth prevaile with the soule, and by a holy kinde of might prevaileth, and makes the soule to be affected with the rellish of his favour; this is the ground: A possible good stirres up hope, a necessarie excellencie in that good setleth desire, and a rellish in that good setled, kindles love: So that in the promise there is a fulnesse to take up the whole frame of the heart. The phrase is admirable in the Psalmes; The Lord shall command his loving kindnesse in the morning; Psal. 42.18. (a strange passage) it is a phrase taken from Kings, and Princes, and great Commanders, whose word is a law. So that the Lord shall send forth his loving kindnesse with a command; as if he should say, Goe love and everlasting kindnesse, take thy commission, and I charge thee, goe to [Page 218] the poore humble sinner, goe to the poore, hun­gry, and thirstie sinner, goe and prosper and pre­vaile, and settle my love upon his heart, whether he will or no, and let my kindnesse be setled upon his soule that hath longed for it. Experience tels us this, the Lord doth by an Almightinesse give a charge, and put a commission into loving kind­nesse hands, that hee shall doe good to a poore soule, even then when hee sinkes under the bur­then of his sinnes, and under the apprehension of his weaknesse. What, shall I have mercie? No, no. Will the Lord Jesus Christ accept me? No surely. Could I pray so, and had I those parts, and could I performe duties after this and this man­ner, then there were some hope; but, alas! there is no mercie for me. But hearken, I beseech you, what the word discovers your estate to be; is it thus and thus with you? yes; then I speake from the Lord, mercie is yours, and heaven is yours; No, no, saith the soule, I cannot beleeeve it, such a wretch as I goe to heaven? No, heaven shall rather fall than I come there. Thus the discoura­ged sinner knocks off mercie, and shuts the doore against it. Now when all carnall reasonings, and high imaginations (as Paul cals them) have raised up strong holds against mercie and comfort, when the word cannot doe it for the present, God is faine at last to command loving kindnesse, and send him with a commission from heaven, saying, I charge you, breake open the doore of the heart of such a sinner, rend that veile of ignorance, and teare that cursed veile of carnall reasoning; And [Page 219] I command thee, goe to that soule, and cheare it, and comfort it; goe to that soule, and refresh it, and fill it; tell him his sinnes are pardoned, his person accepted, and his soule shall be saved; tell him his sighs and groanes are heard, and his pray­ers observed in heaven; make this good to his soule, I charge you, before you come backe againe; this is the admirable goodnesse of the Lord; the soule many times hath so many trickes, and shifts, and windings, and yeeldings to carnall reason, that no comfort will come in; So that the Lord is faine to send loving kindnesse to cheare the soule: As it is with some unruly fel­lowes, who will not give a man possession of his right, till the high Sheriffe comes, and gives him possession by force whether they will or no: So loving kindnesse is Gods high Sheriffe; now when a company of base fellowes, as carnall reasonings, and the like, would keepe out mercie and favour that is due to a sinner, the Lord commands loving kindnesse to breake open the doore, and speake comfort to him: and now take notice of what I say, as a good to come was the ground of hope, and if there be any necessarie excellencie, desire longs for it: So when the good is not only present, but expresseth his presence, and leaves some kinde of remembrance, as it were, and dis­covers it selfe in some manner effectually to the soule; that stirres up love continually, and that must be done before any love can be kindled. (I open it thus:) Looke as it is with touching, which is a facultie of nature, if the thing lyes up­on [Page 220] a man, leaves a strong impression upon him, then a mans touch will feele it; but if it be mar­vellous light, then it may lye upon a man, and be present with him, and yet not be perceived: as a feather, lay it upon a mans finger on the sudden, or a mote in a mans face, because it leaves no im­pression, hee feeles it not; but if there bee any weight laid upon his hand, then he feeles: so if it be water that moistens him, or fire that scor­cheth him, he is sensible of it; so love in the soule is like touching in the body: now when loving kindnesse is not set on upon the heart, though it be present with the soule, yet because it leaves no impression upon the soule, hence it comes that the heart cannot be stirred with any love towards it, nor be touched and affected with it, nor returne that joy and delight as becomes the favour of God. So that there must be the love of God, let­ting some sweet intimations into the heart, and expressing it selfe to the soule, and affecting the heart therewith; and then our love comes to bee kindled towards God againe; Gods love setling upon the soule, drawes and puls our love to God againe.

This is the ground of that the Apostle speakes, We love him, 1 Iohn 4.19. because he loved us first. It must be the beames of Gods love that must fall upon the soule, before the soule can returne love to God againe. Hosea 11.4. So in Hosea, I drew them, saith the text, with the cords of love, and with the bands of a man: as who should say, God lets in the cords of his love into our soules, and that drawes our loves to [Page 221] him againe. But most excellent is that place of the Canticles, (marke the manner of the guise of the Spirit of God, expressing himselfe to the soule) He brought me to the Banquetting house, Cant. 2.4. and his Banner over me was Love: and what followeth? Stay mee with flaggons, and comfort mee with apples, for I am sicke of Love. When the Banner of Christs love is displayed over the soule, the soule comes to bee sicke of love to Christ againe. In warre when the Captaine displayeth the banner, three things are done by it: First, it argueth the pre­sence of the Generall: Secondly, it commands all the Souldiers to come to it: Thirdly, all come under it. Now observe the excellency of the sweetnesse of the sense of the Spirit of God; when God displayeth the banner of his love, in the perfect colours and beauty of it to the soule; then all the hearts of poore fainting sinners come in as Souldiers, and they are sicke of love to him; now this love of God begets love in us againe, in three particulars.

Particular. 1 First, there is a sweetnesse and rellish which Gods love lets into the soule, and that warmes the heart. When a man is fainting, aqua vitae com­forts him: Thy loving kindnesse is better than life (saith the Prophet David) there is aqua vitae in­deed; the Lord lets in but one glimpse of his love, and that warmes the soules. This is that obser­vable in the Canticles, Cant. 2.3. opened. Let him kisse mee with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is better than wine; because of the savour of thy good oyntment, thy Name is an oyntment powred forth, therefore doe the Virgins [Page 222] love thee. Every poore sinfull creature, thou that drinkest water, if thou hast Christs love, thou thinkest it better than the best wine under hea­ven: Let him kisse me with the kisses of his lips, that is, with the comforts of his Word and Spi­rit: so that marke what the soule saith; Let the Lord Jesus Christ refresh my soule with the sweet comforts and consolations of his Word, and it will be better than wine. But first he must kisse him with the kisses of his lippes, before his love can be better than wine, that is, the Lord by the power of his Spirit in the ministery of the Word, must expresse his love to the soule, and that drawes the love of the soule to God: and marke what follow­eth, because of the savour of thy good oyntments, therefore the Virgins love thee: by Christs oynt­ments, are Christs graces signified. Now when the Lord Jesus Christ doth communicate the sweet savour of his grace into the soule, then the Virgins which are loosened from sinne, love the Lord Jesus; but first the savour of the oyntment must be spred abroad before they can love him.

Particular. 2 Secondly, as the sweetnesse of Gods love warmes the heart, so the freenesse of the same doth even beginne to kindle a love in the soule: Herein saith the Apostle, God commends his love towards us, Rom. 5.8. in that while we were yet enemies unto him, Christ died for us. The Lord sends from hea­ven to a poore miserable creature; commend my love, commend my mercy to such a poore soule, and tell him though hee hath beene an enemy to me, yet I am a friend to him; tell him though he [Page 223] hath beene a traitor to mee, I have beene a good King to him: he hath beene a rebell to mee, but tell him I have beene a good God to him; com­mend my love to him, and let him know that all his sinnes are done away, for the Lord Jesus died for sinners, when they were sinners. This is the argument of Saint Iohn, If God so loved us, as that he gave his onely begotten Sonne for us, how ought wee to love one another? I collect from hence; But how then ought we to love God himselfe?

It was this that kindled the frozen heart of Saul, he had a heart almost as cold as ice, and yet this did worke upon him. Marke what the text saith: When David had taken Saul on the hip, 1 Sam. 24.19. and had him at advantage, and might have taken away his life, and yet would not: when hee saw that David was so kinde and would doe him no hurt; David knew Saul persecuted him, and de­sired to kill him, hee was the most profest enemy he had, and was the onely man that stood be­tweene him and the kingdome: Now when Da­vid had him in his hands, and spared him, this kindnesse of David wrought even upon the heart of a Saul, and kindled a kinde of love in him, as the text saith; Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded mee good, and I have rewarded thee evill, and thou hast shewed this day, that thou hast dealt well with me; forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered mee into thine hands, thou killedst me not; for if a man finde an enemy, will hee let him goe well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good, for that thou hast done unto me this day. So that wee see a [Page 224] Saul is warned, and his love is kindled towards David for his kindnesse. So when the soule con­siders, what, is the Lord thus gracious to me? who ever found an enemy and slew him not? Had it not beene just with the Lord to take advantage against me? Had it not beene just, that I which lived in sinne, should have perished for my sinne? Had it not beene just, that I which loved my cor­ruption, should have perished for my corrupti­ons? But that the Lord should finde an ene­my and not slay him, nay that the Lord should finde an enemy, and send his Sonne to save him, is wonderfull. Let my soule for ever love that God, and rejoyce in that mercy; this would work almost upon a Devill. If the soule had but the sap and sweetnesse of this, it could not but warme the heart of an humbled sinner, and kindle in him an abundant love to God, who hath beene so lo­ving to him.

Particular. 3 Lastly, the greatnesse of the sweetnesse of the mercy of God, this inflames the soule; the sweet­nesse warmes it, the freenesse kindles it, and when the greatnesse meets with these, it sets the soule all in a burning flame. This is the ground the Apostle presseth to the Ephesians, he desireth that they may be rooted in love, that is, stablished with mighty strong love, how shall that be? Why the text saith, comprehending with all Saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge: as who should say, can you but once comprehend the unmea­surable dimensions of Gods love and goodnesse; [Page 225] this will kindle and inflame your hearts with ad­mirable love to the Lord Jesus. When the sinner thinkes thus with himselfe, I that have done all that I could against so good a God, that my heart even bleeds to thinke of it; there was no name un­der Heaven I tore in peeces, but Gods Name: his wounds, and heart, and life, I have torne all: nay there was no command in the world that my soule so much despised, as the command of the Lord Jesus. There was no spirit that ever spake to me, which I so much resisted, as the Spirit of the Lord. Oh how many sweet motions hath the Lord let into my soule, that he might plucke mee from my base courses and sinfull practices: but I have flowen in the face of his blessed Spirit. If I had lien in a dungeon, and had beene plagued with torments all my life time; yea though I had another world of misery to live in, it is infinite mercy, so the Lord would passe by these base dealings, and pardon these rebellions of mine. But that God should send his Sonne to love mee, so incomparably, so unconceivably, that I could not hate him so much as he loved me; I could not so exceed in unkindnesse towards him, as he hath exceeded in kindnesse towards mee. Oh the height of this mercy beyond my desire! Oh the breadth of this mercy without all bounds! Oh the length of this mercy beyond all times! Oh the depth of this mercy beneath all miseries! Were my eyes made of love, I could nothing but weepe love; were my tongue made of love, I could nothing but talke love; were my hands [Page 226] made of love, I could nothing but worke love; and all too little for that God that hath loved mee so admirably, so unmeasurably. What shall I love if I love not the Lord? I love all things, but I love God above all things. Psal. 18.1. I love thee dearly, O Lord my strength, saith David: this is the last par­ticular, whereby the soule comes to bee all on a flame, and hath a burning affection towards the Lord Almighty.

Vse. 1 We come now to the application of the point, that so wee may reape some good to our soules thereby. First then it is a ground of instruction, which I desire to presse unto you, because it is both seasonable and profitable. From the former Doctrine therefore wee collect and conclude un­deniably; that there is no sufficiency in a natu­rall heart, to be carried to the Lord Jesus Christ, or to the worke of grace: wee have not this, be­fore God doth give it unto us: nay we cannot move towards God, or be carried in the least kind to love or delight in him further than the Lord will carry us himselfe, and beare up our hearts by the hand of his Spirit. It is true (and wee finde it by wofull experience) it is in our power to love the world, it is in our power to delight in our lusts: Nay being but naturall men, it cannot be but that we should love our selves, and love our ho­nour, and our ease, and profit, and applause in the world. There is enough of this foolish wild­fire, there is enough of this carnall selfe-love in every mans heart. But to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and to have a heart inlarged with joy to [Page 227] him, this is a worke of grace, which groweth not in our gardens: there is not one sparke of this holy fire and spiritual delight in our hearts. Nay we can­not buy it, nor borrow it, nor receive it from any creature under Heaven, further than the Father sends downe some beames of his love to kindle this in us, further than the blessed Spirit of God is pleased to blow these sparkes when they are kindled, further than the Lord Iesus Christ is plea­sed by the power of his merits, to feed these sparkes of love thus blowne in our soules. It is al­most impossible, that any man in his naturall estate should be so deluded, as to thinke hee can love the Lord or delight in him. 1 Tim. 1.13, 14. opened. The Apostle Paul tels us plainly, hee was a persecutor, and a blasphe­mer, and injurious: Paul could doe this, and thou haply canst doe this; thou canst be a blasphemer against Jesus Christ, and thou canst be a persecu­tor of Jesus Christ; but Paul cannot beleeve in Christ, nor love the Lord Iesus; how comes hee to this? Why, the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Iesus: (marke that) As if hee should say, it was Gods abundant grace that over-powerd my unfaithfull heart, and made it faithfull: It was Gods abun­dant grace that over-powerd my stubborne inju­rious heart, and made it a loving heart. But how comes this, that the grace of the Lord was abun­dant in faith and love? Why, it is in Christ, saith the text; from Christ this faith was rooted, from Christ this love was kindled: As if he had said, I could persecute, and blaspheme, and despise, [Page 228] and cast off God and his grace, I was a wretch, a villaine, that I could doe: But that I should love the Lord being injurious, and that I should be­leeve the Lord being unfaithfull, this was from Christ alone. In experience we finde it, the ball must first fall upon the ground, before it can bound up againe, and returne from the ground: So the Lord Jesus must dart in, and fling in this love of his into the soule, before the soule can re­bound in love and joy backe to him againe. We must receive the Spirit of love from God, 2 Tim. 1.7. before the Lord can receive any spirituall and holy love from us. In a word, what the Lord spake in some case to the Jewes, is true of every man naturally; I know that you have not the love of God in you: Iohn 5.42. As if he should say, you know not your selves, you thinke you have hearts inlarged to God, and you pretend great kindnesse to God: but you are de­ceived in your soules, and cozened in your cor­rupt natures: for I know full well that the love of God is not in you. I pursue the point the rather for these two ends.

First, it discovers and confutes the carnall conceits of a company of carnall Gospellers, that pretend they doe not delight to set out them­selves in shew so much, and they doe not heare and pray and fast so much as these and these doe. But, say they, as for the soundnesse of our love to the Lord Jesus, wee defie any man in the world that speakes against us; they finde no difficulty in the matter to love the Lord, they are certainly perswaded they doe that. Therefore if the Mini­ster [Page 229] shall presse upon them, and challenge them of want of love to God and his grace, they flie in a mans face presently; What, not love the Lord Jesus Christ? why then it is pitie a man should live upon the face of the earth: they doe love him, and they will love him, all the world shall not perswade them from the loving of Christ. Oh poore silly creature, it is a great argument that thou never hadst this love to God, because thou sawest no hardnesse to get it. It is an argu­ment thou never didst expresse any delight in Christ, because thou thinkest it an easie matter to delight in him. Most men thinke it a matter of nothing; what, not love the Lord Jesus Christ? why, who cannot love Christ? Who cannot? I say, neither thou, nor I, nor any man under heaven can love Christ by any power in himselfe: Nay let me speake peremptorily, thou art as able to save thy owne soule, nay thou art as able to re­deeme thy soule without Christ, as thou art able (unlesse the Lord by the Almightie helpe of his Spirit-inable thee) to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Nay marke what I say, you that love Christ, and yet doe nothing for him, but pretend great kind­nesse inwardly, how ever you expresse not your selves in outward appearance; I tell thee, if a man might have happinesse by it, if he might have heaven laid downe upon the naile (as wee say) if he could love Christ, I say, upon these conditions, if thou hast but nature in thee, thou wouldst never goe to heaven, thou wouldst never be happie. No, no, it will cost thee more than [Page 230] that comes to, it will cost thee much paines, it will cost thee many prayers, and many teares, be­fore that day come. It is not an easie matter to love the Lord Jesus; the Father from heaven must learne you that; you must goe to another manner of schoole, than ever you have beene at yet, if ever you learne this lecture: thou mayst pray till thy eyes sinke in thy head, and till thy heart failes; and yet thou canst not love Christ, unlesse the Spirit inable thee thereunto. Thinke of this, you that thinke it is nothing to love the Lord Jesus Christ: If it were nothing but to talke of love, and to complement with the Lord Jesus, to make a cursie to Christ, and to make a leg to the Lord, and yet hate him inwardly, then it were an easie matter indeed; it is nothing to buckle to him in this fashion, and in the meane time oppose him, and the power of his grace: but to entertaine and welcome a Saviour, sutable and agreeable to the worth of him, this nature will not, cannot doe, it is the worke of the Lord.

1 Observe it (I beseech you) I say, as nature can­not doe this, so nature will not doe it: first nature cannot doe it, 1 Iohn 1.5. God is light, and in him is no dark­nesse, Ephes. 5.8. saith the text, at all: and, Ye were darknesse, but now are light in the Lord: A man naturally is no­thing but darknesse, and God is nothing but light; a man by nature is nothing but unholy, and God is nothing but holy. Now darknesse will resist light, and not give way to it; and wickednesse will oppose holinesse, and not give way to the same: this is thy condition, thou hast an igno­rant [Page 231] carnall blinde heart, and God is light, pure, and holy, and thou canst resist a Saviour, but not entertaine him, doe what thou canst.

2 Nay further, as a man cannot naturally doe this, so in the second place, I say, he will not doe it. The Apostle affirmes of the Thessalonians, That they would not receive the love of the truth, 2 Thess. 2.10. opened. that they might be saved; he doth not say, They would not receive the truth, but they would not receive the love of the truth. It is a phrase taken from a man, which makes love to a partie, so the truth of God makes love to many a man, it makes love to thy naughtie and corrupt heart, and would plucke thee away from these things here below, and would draw thee from thy base haunts, and filthy lusts, and sinfull courses; and it would wooe and winne thy soule to take place in it, that it may shew comfort to it: the truth of God makes love to the world, and the world will none of the truth: Christ came to the world, and the world received him not, they were so farre from seeking a Savi­our, and comming to him, that they would not receive a Saviour, when hee came unto them. Therefore know, thou hast a heart that can hate the Lord Jesus Christ, but thou hast not a heart to love him, thou hast not a heart that can delight in his good Spirit, thou hast not a heart that can take content in his rich grace.

2 The second reason why I presse this point, is this, I would discover the disorderly dealing of many poore Saints of God w [...]th their owne soules: Many a poore childe of God labours ex­tremely, [Page 232] and takes great paines to worke his soule, and bring his heart to love Christ: he falls out with himselfe, because he cannot love God, and he is ready to curse himselfe, hee cannot get his heart up to heaven, where is more riches than is in the best riches of the world; where is more honour than in the greatest honour upon earth; where is more pleasure than in the grea­test delight here below: they labour, and can finde no good successe; they take paines, but their worke doth not succeed prosperously: the reason is this, they doe not begin at the right end, they worke the wrong way: goe to the sea of love, and goe to the sunne of righteousnesse, and to the beames of Gods mercie, which onely can worke thy heart to love God, and delight in him: doe not goe to thy cold earthly frozen heart, and thinke to fetch love from thence, thinke not to bring love to the promise, but looke to receive love from the promise, but it is the love of God towards thee, that must draw love from thee to God againe. It was the speech of Christ, when he was to send the Comforter to his Disciples, Iohn 16.14. He shall receive of mine (saith the text) and give it unto you: marke the phrase, all graces and all spirituall abi­lities are Christs; goe thy wayes therefore, and presse the Lord Jesus with this promise of his, and say, The truth is, Lord, the heart to love thee and delight in thee is thine; and thou hast said, thy Spirit shall take of thine, and give to us; therefore give to us of thine, Lord, that thou mayst receive of thine from us: Our hearts cannot love nor de­light [Page 233] in thy Majestie, but it must come from thee; give it to us therefore Lord, that wee may give thee of thine owne.

Vse. 2 The second thing I gather from this doctrine, is this, namely, strong comfort and consolation to stay and refresh the hearts of those that have received this gracious worke. What ever thy weaknesse be, it skils not: Is thy love in truth? Is thy joy sound? it is enough, thy soule may bee comforted, in that the Lord hath bestowed this gracious worke upon thee in any measure; if thy love be in truth, it will carry thee through all oc­casions in this pilgrimage of thine, and bring thee to everlasting happinesse; it is a ground of admi­rable refreshing to the soule, that findes in his heart this love and delight in God. The text tel­leth us, a man by nature cannot doe this; There­fore if thou hast this, goe thy way, cleare thy soule, and blesse God for it, and make much of it, and say, Thou hast more than all carnall men, than all cunning hypocrites under heaven can have; pretend what they will, and professe what they please, thou that hast the love of God in any measure, though in much weaknesse, thou hast more than they all. This may refresh the hearts of many of you poore ones, though haply many other things goe ill with you, yet this appeares in the younglings of Christ, though they cannot doe any thing for their Father, yet they can love him; it is a loving childe, we say, it can love the Father, though it can doe nothing for him: so you poore weake Christians, that have small meanes, little [Page 234] abilities, haply thy understanding is not so deepe to fadome the mysteries of life and salvation, thy tongue is not so glib to talke so freely, and con­ferre so comfortably of heavenly things, thou canst not be enlarged in holy duties, thy under­standing is marvellous blinde, thy memory mar­vellous weake, thy parts exceeding feeble, so that thou art even ashamed of thy selfe, and of what thou hast and dost. But I aske thee this question, Canst thou love Christ, and reioyce in the Lord Jesus? mee thinkes many a poore soule replies, Yes, I blesse the Lord, that is all I have to uphold my heart withall; I thinke all the profits, and pleasures, and friends in the world, cannot draw my love from Christ, it is my delight to love him, and rejoyce in him: Goe thy wayes then, and the God of heaven go with thee; this sparke is a sparke of that immortall Spirit of the Father which will never dye, it is a worke of grace, which will never leave thee, it is a badge, it is the cognizance, and the proper liverie which the Lord Jesus Christ gives only to his Saints: there was never a hypo­crite under heaven that ever wore this, God in­tended it not for them; but those, and onely those, which the Lord hath effectually called, and will glorifie with himselfe hereafter, weare this: and therefore thou that wantest all, & yet hast this, comfort thy selfe with this in the want of all, and say, I love the Lord, and the Lord knowes it, and my soule knowes that I love the Lord Jesus; I can say but little for Christ, my understanding is weake, I conceive not, my memorie is weake, I [Page 235] retaine not, but yet the Lord knowes I love him, and delight in him. Yea, and know thou it too, and comfort thy selfe therein; the Apostle pro­vo [...]es us to love one another, Iohn 4.7. because love comes from God; now if the love to the brethren comes from God, because wee see Gods image in them, then the love of God hath a much more expresse worke in it: therefore reason thus with your selves; The time was, that this wretched, vile, carnall, world­ly heart of mine, could finde no relish in the pro­mise; I could not bring this naughtie soule of mine to entertaine the Gospell of grace, nor the Spirit of grace, but they were tedious and irk­some to my soule, but the Lord (blessed be his name) hath beene pleased to helpe me, so that I can doe that which I never could doe. I finde the Lords promise and goodnesse much more com­fortable to me, than all the corne and wine in the world, and my heart is cheared with the conside­ration of the same. The Apostle saith, Rom. 8.28. All things shall worke together for the best to them that love God; namely, to those that are called according to his purpose, that is, to those that so love God, that their love came by calling, according to Gods everlasting counsell. He called them in his good time from darknesse to light, and he called them from the love of the world, to the love of God; therefore all things shall worke together for the best to them: let nothing therefore discourage thee in this case, but say, All things shall worke for my good, because God hath given me a heart to love him: nay be cheared herein, I charge you, and [Page 236] let not your hearts droope, and quarrell not with the Lord for a greater portion, but blesse God for that you have received, your lot is fallen into a faire ground, and the Lord hath dealt loving­ly with you, you need no more for a childes part. David desired no more, Looke upon mee, O Lord, (saith he) and doe good unto me: how? as thou usest to doe unto those that love thy name. As if hee had said, I desire no more for my life and everlasting happinesse, and the comfort of my soule; deale with me no otherwise, but just so, as thou doest with those that love thy name: I know thou wilt love them that love thee, I know thou wilt save them that love thee; I know thou wilt comfort them that love thee; I know thou wilt glorifie them that love thee: thus Lord doe good to thy servant, I desire no more, I crave no other, but as thou doest, as thou usest to doe good to those that love thy name: if I have that, I have enough: David a King, a glorious Saint, desired no more, expected no more: if thou hast so much, know that thou art beholding to the Lord, and be con­tented therewith. Haply you have not that vaine of talking and conference which others have, this is commendable, but there is a great deale of pride and vanitie in it now adayes; thou canst not crancke up thy selfe in performances, but thy heart closeth with God, and thy affections are set upon him, and thy soule burnes with love towards the Lord; why? that is enough to bring thee to heaven, if there be ever a Saint in heaven, thou art one now, & shalt be in heaven forever hereafter.

But now here is the difficultie, if a man had that love which comes from God according to his pur­pose, this would stand us in stead: but there is much feigned, wilde, hypocriticall love, in the world:

Quest. How shall I (therefore) know my love, whe­ther it be true, of the right nature, or no?

Answ. Here is the skill, therefore we will skan the mat­ter a little; if it be true love, and right joy, God will accept it, therefore put this love and joy upon the triall, and we will say no more than what we have ground for out of the doctrine of the text. Examine thy love and joy by this, whether thou welcomest, and entertainest the Lord Jesus Christ, as beseemes him; whether thou entertai­nest grace, answerable to the worth of grace; for that is the nature of this love and joy which God kindles and workes. Now this appeares in five particulars:

The first is this, if thou wilt know the truth and soundnesse of thy love and joy (for what I say of the one, I say of the other, if love be good, joy will be sound, for they grow both upon one root, onely the one hath more sweetnesse of Gods favour shed into the heart, which makes the soule sport with it, &c.) I say therefore, to discover the soundnesse of this love of thine, observe these trials:

Triall. 1 First, observe the root and rise, from whence thy love came, and wisely consider this, for it is a point of great weight, and hard to discover, yet it is that which will never faile, it is the narrowest [Page 238] search in the world; if thy love come from the right mint, it is currant and warrantable, it is such as our Saviour approves of: It is Christs royall prerogative to mint love, and coine such love, as he will take for payment, and accept of; therefore doth thy love come from the Spirit of the Father? then it is made fit to close with the Father, and to close with the Lord Iesus, and with his good Spirit; and consequently the Father al­lowes this, and will give acceptance to it. You know great men must be entertained answerable to their worth; for a man to have meane fare and scant provision, this may content a poore man; but the choisest and best, deare bought, and farre fetched, beseemes men of great ranke and place. So there is a kinde of leane love, this earthly and naturall love, that growes only out of thy owne strength and naturall parts, it is scant provision, it beseemes not, it suits not with God the Father, it is not answerable to the place and state of the Lord Iesus Christ. It is good enough for these base things here below, earthly love for earthly things, carnall love for carnall things; it is good enough for these things. But will you entertaine the Father of heaven? Will you en­tertaine the Lord Iesus Christ? I tell you then you must have dainties, you must have spirituall love to welcome a spirituall Father, otherwise it will not be sutable to his worth. Looke as it is with flowers, those flowers which are sowen and planted, and by the skilfull hand of the gardiner inocculated, are choise ones both for sent and [Page 239] sight, are your province roses and the like, are of great account; but your common hedge roses, no man cares for them: So it is with the worke of Gods Spirit, and all other common graces, there is province love, and province joy, which is planted and wrought in the heart by the skilfull hand of God and his blessed Spirit, these make a sweet smelling savour in the nostrils of God: Aye that love, saith the Father, Aye that love, saith the Lord Jesus, wee cannot better please them, than by entertaining them after this matter; but these hedge roses, this carnall love and carnall joy, that growes upon the hedge of our owne naturall hearts, the Lord cares not for this love and joy, it beseemes him not in any measure, therefore ob­serve this, canst thou say, I love God because hee loved me; this is a love of the right coine, it came from the right mint; and know it for ever, that that God which cannot but love himselfe, he cannot but like that love of thine, which is of his owne nature, which came from his owne selfe, who is the God of all love. I would faine have you understand what I speake, is thy heart there­fore affected and inlarged with love to the Lord, because thou hast found, and felt, and received, the sweetnesse of the rellish of the riches of his grace into thy soule, doth love and joy grow up­on this root, namely, upon a grounded applica­tion (as I may so say in speciall manner) of Gods favour to thy soule, settled, and sealed, and made knowne in this kinde, if thy love doe grow upon this ground, upon the particular application of [Page 240] Gods mercie to thy soule; so that thy soule can say, the Lord hath looked downe from heaven; hee hath said in his word, that hee will looke at them that tremble at his name; I looked for mercie, and I sought for grace, and blessed bee God, I have found that mercie and grace I loo­ked and sought for, the Minister spake it, and his Spirit spake it, that my name was registred in hea­ven, and that my prayers were heard, & my desires satisfied, and therefore how shall I love the Lord that hath done all this for mee? my sinnes I have bewailed, my complaints I have powred forth, and the Lord hath looked from heaven, and given me a gracious answer; therefore I will love the Lord for it, even for ever; I love thee dearly, O Lord, my strength, thou art my support that hast strengthned me; thou art my Saviour that hast saved me; therefore my soule shall for ever love thee, for that mercie of thine; this is a love now that comes from a right mint, it is currant, and good pay. Difference be­twixt the love and joy of an hypocrite, and of Gods childe. But if a man love God from himselfe, this love will bring a man to himselfe, and there leave him: as if a man have a love to his parts, or to his hearing, or reading, or praying, or preaching, or conferences, if a man have a love to his under­standing, wisedome, and policie, he loves his wisedome and policie well, therefore hee would faine be beholding to Christ, to helpe him to glo­rifie this wisedome and policie, and these parts of his, that he might receive honour to them: now the love of his parts brought all to his parts, and Christs honour in the meane time lay in the dust, [Page 241] and so I might instance in a thousand examples of the like nature: Whereas now (marke what I say) that love which is wrought from God, alwayes drawes the soule unto Gods love againe, the Lord lets downe the cords of his love into the soule, and thereby breeds love, and kindles love in the soule, to that goodnesse and kindnesse of his; and this is the excellencie of a Christian, and this love is of a right coine, and of a right stampe: but love of my parts, that Christ may glorifie my parts; and love of profit, that Christ might pro­mote my profit: I love my parts and profit only now, and not Christ in this case: and this is the greatest difference betweene the love and de­light, which the cunningst hypocrite under hea­ven can have, and the Saints of God: I expresse it thus; Meat that a man takes downe inwardly, Simile. and digests, breeds good bloud, and good com­plexion; but that which a man takes, and digests not, but vomits out againe presently, breeds nei­ther good bloud, nor good complexion: So it is with the love of the heart that is rightly wrought upon, to entertaine and love a Saviour, and de­light in him, and welcome him, as beseemes his worth: a heart that is foundly wrought upon by the Spirit, feeds heartily upon the promise, and that feeding and taking downe of the promise, and that closing with the promise, breeds good bloud and good complexion; true love that breeds good bloud, and true joy that breeds good complexion, because the promise is fed upon: it is the worke of Gods Spirit which seize upon, [Page 242] and worke effectually upon the heart, that bred this sound love and true joy. But a carnall hypo­crite, that only hath a taste of the promise, and a flattering apprehension of the promise in general, Christ came to save sinners, &c. these are prettie things to tickle their conceits, but they never goe downe, they digest not the promise of Christ, and therefore that love which comes from hence, is but a fained love, and that joy which ariseth from hence, is but a false joy, it breeds no good bloud, it breeds no good complexion, but meere vanities and overtures in a Christians course; here is the difference betweene the love and joy of an hypo­crite, and of a Saint of God: this is the first triall.

Triall. 2 Secondly, if thou entertaine thy Saviour, as be­seemes a Saviour, thou must entertaine him as a King (for he is a King) that is, give up all to him, and entertaine none but those that attend upon him, and appertaine to him; in a word, love all in Christ, love all for Christ, but expresse thy affe­ction and joy to him above all; he is the King, all the rest are but retainers, and therefore entertaine him in the first place; hee that loves any thing equall with Christ, hee never loved Christ truly; he that sets up any thing, cheeke by jowle with his Saviour, he despiseth, he renounceth his Savi­our. It is all one (in plaine termes) as if a man should put a slave into the chamber where the King is, and say, he hath entertained the King, this base behaviour of his, will drive the King away, as well as if he did openly and profesly bid him be gone.

So if thou settest up any thing with thy Savi­our, thou dost drive him away, as well by thy base behaviour, as by open profession: a man cannot receive friendship with Christ and the world up­on the same termes: Iames 4.4. a wife that loves her hus­band, loves him only as a husband, hee only hath her heart, and she loves none but him in that man­ner; she loves others as friends and neighbours, and gives them respect so farre as they keepe themselves there, but if they come to claime the love of a husband, she abhorres them: so a loving heart loves Jesus Christ onely as a bridegroome, and all things else only as friends and neighbours: the soule that loves Christ, loves him onely as a Christ, and all the rest as friends: the soule will love riches that may credit it, and parts that may advance it (as friends to speake for a man, and to give occasion to a man, to come to a Saviour) as the wife loves her husband firstly, and the rest as friends and neighbours, that must further the match: so the soule loves the Lord Iesus Christ in the first place, and all things else, as profit, and riches, and parts, as friends and neighbours that may make up the match with a Saviour, and bring it into acquaintance with a Saviour: the soule loves prayer, and hearing, and Gods ordi­nances, as friends to speake a good word to Christ for it; but if any thing come to steale away the heart, and challenge the affection of a spouse, it abhorres it, it hates honour, and riches, and all things in the world that will challenge any spouse-like love, Christ only shall have that.

Luke 14.16. opened. Our Saviour saith, Hee that hates not father and mother for my sake, is not worthie of mee: that is, if father and mother stand betweene thee and Christ, if they would be married to thy soule, hate and abhorre them, love them so farre as they lead to a Saviour, but when they step into the place of a Saviour, abominate and hate them.

Difference be­tweene a sound and false heart in the enter­tainment of Christ. This I take to bee the difference betweene a sound and false heart, in the entertainment of the Lord Jesus; a sound heart entertaines a Saviour, as a favourite entertaines a Prince, he comes in­to his house, and disposes, and orders every thing as he sees fit, what he will is done, and no more: but now an in keeper, hee entertaines him that comes next, he will take any mans money, and give welcome to any man, for he loves the gaine of all, but loves the person of none: so a gracious soule entertaines Christ as a Prince, all give at­tendance to the Lord, and all the courtiers are welcome, because they are serviceable to his Ma­jestie; but if a man be an enemy to his Majesty, he will rather imprison him, than entertaine him; he will rather punish him, than welcome him: but now an hypocrite entertaines the Lord Je­sus, as a stranger into an inne, if honour, or pro­fits, or riches come first, they are first served, all are welcome, they and Christ, and Christ and they, but loves not Christ, but he loves himselfe in all.

Triall. 3 Thirdly, he that truly loves Christ, labours to give contentment to Christ, for love alwayes gives contentment to the thing beloved; so it [Page 245] must bee with every Christian heart that is truly humbled, and hath this affection kindled, be­seeming our Saviour; the soule that thus enter­taines him, is studiously carefull, and marvellous watchfull, lest it doe any thing that may grieve the Lord Jesus, and discontent his Spirit, and send the good Spirit of the Lord sad; or in any dislike to Heaven; it is carefull, lest the Lord Iesus should bee displeased with him, and offen­ded at him, or goe away in anger and displeasure; the heart feares, lest hee should doe any thing that may cause this, and it would be almost death to him, if hee should doe this. Marke the guise and behaviour of the Spouse, she never left seeking of her beloved, till she had found him, Cant. 3.7. and when she had found him, shee layes hold of him, and when she hath done so, she brings him home, and when hee was there, shee gives charge to all the house, I charge you, O ye daughters of Ierusalem, by the Roes and the Hindes of the field, that you stirre not up, nor awake my love, till he please. Look as it is when men of great place come into a mans house, there is a great charge & warning given; see there be no noyse about such a place, lest such a man be raised before his time. What basenesse is this that wee should have our hearts inlarged to any thing but Christ? A good heart wil do as the spouse did here; when the soul hath received the Spirit of a Saviour, & found the mercy of a Saviour, it keeps watch & ward within it selfe, and gives peremptory charge to all in the family; I charge you profits, and plea­sure, and riches, and honour, and all the things [Page 246] of this life, love and joy, and all the faculties of the soule, (it gives them warning) I charge you that you stirre not, I charge you that you grieve not, I charge you that you disquiet not the Spirit of the Lord, let there bee no motion but enter­taine it, no command but obey it; no advice but receive it; thus the soule gives peremptory charge, not to grieve the Spirit of the Lord, or to doe any thing that may distaste it.

See this in Lot, who when he had received the two Angels into his house, the cursed Sodomites came to the doore, and thought to abuse his stran­gers. Now (marke it I beseech you) Lot could be content that rather any hurt or distaste should befall himselfe than them: therefore observe how he pleads with those base people. Lot went out unto them, and shut the doores after him, and said; Gen. 19.8. I pray you brethren doe not so wickedly; Be­hold now I have two daughters which have not knowne man, let me bring them out unto you, and do to them as is good in your eyes, onely to these men doe nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roofe. This was kinde honorable entertainment. As Lot deale with the Angels, so a loving heart will deale with the Lord Iesus: let my soule bee wounded (saith the loving heart) but let not Gods Spirit be grie­ved; let my honour bee laid in the dust, but let not God be dishonoured; let temptations, oppo­sitions, persecutions, and disgrace befall mee, but let Gods glory be advanced. The soule is willing and content to beare any thing, but it will doe no­thing against Christ, it will doe nothing against [Page 247] the Gospell of the Lord Iesus. The soule saith, you may doe what you will with me, my life, and ho­nour, and wealth is in your hands, but to the Lord doe no harme; blaspheme not his Name, resist not his Spirit, doe no dishonour to his Gos­pell, doe not contemne his grace what ever be­tides me: This is the frame of the soule that truly loves Christ.

They that entertaine Persons which they highly respect, are inquisitive of those that apper­taine unto them to know what their minde is, what likes your master, and what takes he most contentment in? this they doe, that they may prevent him with a kindnesse, though he aske not for it; what ever will best content him, they seeke for it, and what ever will distaste him they labour to avoid it: So a gracious loving soule never sa­tisfieth it selfe, but labours to give content to the Lord Iesus, that hee may have his will onely. Therefore such a soule will come to a faithfull Mi­nister and aske him, how must I order my family? What shall I doe in regard of my selfe and chil­dren? How may I please the Lord better? And how may I entertaine the Lords Spirit better? What duty is to be performed? What service is to bee discharged? What course is to bee taken, that I may please Christ? You are acquainted with Christ, you know what will content him; I pray you tell me how I may pray so; and performe du­ties so that nothing may distaste him, or be offen­sive unto him. This I take to bee the difference betweene an honest sincere heart which enter­taines [Page 248] Christ as beseemes him, and a naughty hy­pocriticall spirit that would fawne upon Christ Iesus: this is the difference betweene faithfull true love and joy, and dissembling love and joy. There is the same ods betweene them, which is betweene a man that entertaines a servant, and another that entertaines a noble friend, or a King into his family. A man entertains a servant, that he may please him, Simile. and not that hee may please his servant: he seeth he is wise to order his occa­sions, and diligent to dispatch his businesse, and therefore hee receives him, that hee may get con­tentment from the servant, not that hee may give contentment to the servant: but if hee findes any inconveniency in his estate, or receives not that satisfaction from him which hee desires and expects, hee turnes him out of doores. But now hee which entertaines a Noble man after a noble manner, and he which entertaines a King after a kingly manner, labours to give him all content, hee will not please himselfe, nor fulfill his owne minde, but studies how hee may give content to the Noble man, or to the King. Nay it is admira­ble to see what men of great place will doe in this case: When they entertaine a King, they them­selves will bee servants while the King is there; haply hee is a man of great estate, and hath many to attend upon him, yet hee gives charge to his servants, I care not what becomes of me, but bee sure let his Majesty be pleased; and if any comes to speake with him, hee tels him hee can­not possibly speake with him now, hee must [Page 249] attend upon his Majestie.

So it is betweene a sound faithfull loving soule that entertaines Christ, and an Hypocrite; the one receives Christ into his soule as a servant in­to his family, and all the while Gods Gospell or Grace may promote his honour, or ease, or credit, so farre as these may serve his turne, so farre as profit, and honour, and riches come in by this means, welcome Gospell, and welcome Christ: But if he sees danger will come, or inconvenience befall, or misery betide; then he turnes Gospell, and Christ, and profession, and all out of doores, because hee entertained the Gospell onely as a servant to content himselfe. But hee that enter­taines Christ and the Gospell, as a King into his soule, labours to give him all content, he will not please himselfe, or his lusts, or his pride or vaine glory, or any thing in the world: Nay when Christ comes once to be received into the soule, he which before had his retinue, and all to attend upon him; they must all serve Christ now, nay he will not give Christ distaste in the least thing, he cares for no honour now, but to honour him, he cares for no advancement now, but to advance him, he esteems of no riches now, but so farre as they may credit the Gospell: Nay to goe fur­ther, they that were his neerest and deerest friends, if they come and desire his company, he tels them no, he cannot, the Lord Iesus must bee pleased, and the Spirit must bee contented: Nay his old lusts, and his old acquaintance, his old base haunts of heart, and his old sinfull courses, [Page 250] that have beene at inward league with his soule, though they come and plead for acceptance, the poore sinner regards none of all these, he respects Christ onely: Nay he will displease a fashion, ra­ther than he will displease Christ; he will displease all the great men under Heaven, rather than hee will displease Christ. Nay all that same glory and pride of his which hath beene so much belo­ved of him, the soule that hath beene truly hum­bled, and brought to an apprehension of Gods goodnesse, will rather displease that than dis­please the Lord Iesus Christ.

This is an entertainment that beseemes the Lord, and this is the guise that beseemes him which gives contentment to a Saviour: You must now and then receive the Gospell when it pleaseth you, and anon fling out the Lord Iesus, and cur­rishly behave your selves towards him; but you must give all content unto him, and bestow all attendance upon him. It is admirable to see what love will doe, how men will square their mindes and hearts to the mindes of those that are tende­red by them; they will be where they please, doe what they will, Psal. 40.8. and talke of what they will: I delight to doe thy good will, O my God, (saith David) the originall carries it thus, It is my good will to doe thy good pleasure: So it is the good will of the soule that loves God to please him above all things, wee should so speake, and worke, and walke, as beseemes the Lord, as will give sweet contentment to the Lord, that hee may de­light to love us, and walke with us, and bee a [Page 251] good GOD unto us for ever.

Triall. 4 The fourth triall is this, He that loves a thing, it is his happinesse and good to see the happinesse and good of the thing he loves; (observe it) this is an undoubted argument of sound affection, that a man should bee willing that that which is affe­cted by him, should have all good, though hee in the meane time misse of it, if there bee any pro­sperity befals the party he loves, he thinkes him­selfe blessed; if any honour comes to him, hee thinkes himselfe honoured; nay he had rather hee should be honoured and advanced than himselfe, this is true love indeed. But see a patterne of love, and a blessed mirrour of a heart inlarged with af­fection: When David was anointed to the crown, and Saul pursued him heavily, and thought to defeat him of the Kingdome, and dealt wretch­edly and cruelly with him; 1 Sam. 23.17. Now Ionathan meets him after an heavy affliction, and labours to cheer up the heart of David, and saith, Feare not, for the hand of Saul shall not finde thee, thou shalt bee King over Israel, and I shall bee next unto thee: A man would thinke, why should not Ionathan rather la­bour for the crowne himselfe, hee was next heire apparant thereunto; hee might have said, Saul is my father, and why should not I succeed him in the crowne? why should David start in before me? No, this comforted his heart, and rejoyced and cheered his soule, David shall bee King, and I shall bee next unto him; hee loved David dearly, and therefore this refreshed him, thou shalt bee King in Israel, and it is the comfort of my heart, [Page 252] that I shall be next unto thee. As who should say, it contents me more that thou shalt be honoured, than if I my selfe were honoured.

So it is with a good heart that loves Iesus Christ, and his Grace, and his Gospell: Oh, the happinesse of the Gospell, and the promotion thereof, is the greatest good and comfort that can befall him. The Christian saith, let God bee honoured, though I bee disparaged, it skils not: Is the Lord advanced, and doth his Gospell thrive? Is his Glory promoted? Doth the worke of grace goe forward? It is enough, what becomes of my honour, or parts, or liberty, or case, it is no mat­ter. Let it goe well with the Gospell, and let ho­nour be given to the Lord Iesus in the use of the means, and ordinances which he hath bestowed upon us; let Gods cause finde that acceptance amongst his servants which it ought, it is suffici­ent, it rejoyceth my heart. See this in Iohn the Baptist, when Christ began to set forth the Gos­pell, and to baptize, and many came unto him; the Disciples of Iohn grudged at it, and said unto Iohn, Iohn 3.29. Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond Iordan, of whom thou barest witnesse, behold the same baptizeth and all come to him: (Now marke how Iohn speaks) His Disciples were stirred because they thought the honour and credit went away from them. As if they had said, Master, there is one now that carries all before him, every mans eye is towards him, and every mans heart is after him. Now Iohn loved Christ, and marke how he replies, He that hath the Bride, is the Bridegroome, but the friend [Page 253] of the bridegroome, which standeth and heareth, rejoy­ceth greatly, because of the bridegroomes voice, this my joy therefore is fulfilled. As who should say, Christ is the Bridegroome, I am but the friend of the Bridegroome, who labour only to prepare hearts for Christ. Is the Lord honoured? Is the Lords worke prospered? if this bee so my joy is full, I have enough; let the Lord increase, though I de­crease; let the Lord have the praise that is due unto him, and what ever befals me, I care not.

This also was that of Mephibosheth, when he was dealt falsly with, and some false reports had beene suggested to David against him, he was content to put up all the wrong; and when David re­turned in peace, and hee saw the Kings face, and that he had gained the day, and got the field: David began to comfort and refresh him, 2 Sam. 19.30. and bade him divide the land which hee had taken from him, betweene Ziba and him: now marke how hee replieth, Let him take all, for as much as the King is come againe in peace to his owne house: as who should say, as for the land it skils not; as for my selfe, and the field, and my life, I passe not; for as much as you my King are come home in peace, it is enough, it is sufficient that I have seene your Majestie in peace; this was better to him, than the field, or any thing else, whatsoever could be­fall him.

Beloved, many a man is all a mort, because his honour fals to the ground, and because his credit lies in the dust; but if he may have his owne ho­nour and credit, he is not troubled, though Christ [Page 254] and his Gospell, and Gods honour and glory lye in the dust; this man loves not the Lord: for he that loves the Lord, makes him his portion and his glory; it is enough Christ is mine; it is suffi­cient that his glorie and Gospell prospers; what ever befals me, I care not; let the world take my ease, and liberty, and life, and all, let the Gospell be advanced, I care not.

Brethren, such are the base dispositions of too too many amongst us, they can tread upon Christs shoulders, and lift up him, that they may appeare above him; they can labour to lift up Gods Gospell, that they may lift up themselves there­by: this is a base disposition, that harbours in the heart of most men: but (I beseech you) lye downe in the dust, and be content that the Lord may be advanced, though thou be disgraced; be content that the Lords name may bee praised, though thou be dishonoured: what though eve­ry mans mouth be against thee? and every mans hand opposit unto thee? yet if God be honoured, let that comfort thee: nay if any of Gods people advance God more than thy selfe, rejoyce in it: and let this be the aime of all our endevours for ever.

Triall. 5 The fifth triall is this, it is the nature of sound love to covet nearer union with the thing belo­ved, and to have a kinde of earnest impatience and restlesnesse, till it attaine a greater measure thereof. Observe it, this is a thing which flowes from the nature of love; especially from this love I now speake of, which beseemes the Lord, who [Page 255] is the best of all other things, which the soule can desire, or the heart possesse. 2 Branches. There are two bran­ches of the point; I will handle the one largely, and only touch the other.

1 Love, I say therefore, is first of a linking, and a gluing nature, and it will alwayes carrie the soule with a streame and earnestnesse, to enjoy the pos­session of, and union with the thing beloved; it cannot have enough of it, it is never satisfied with it; it covets nothing so much, riches now seeme loathsome, and profits and pleasures are tedious vanities to him; the soule is out of taste with all worldly delights, and desires nothing so much as to enjoy Christ; this is that he would have. Let the wicked have what they will, and possesse what they please, but let me enjoy that only, and I care not.

When David had beene doting on the things here below, at last he came to see better things in God: and see how he stayeth his heart: Psal. 73.25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none in earth that I desire in comparison of thee: he bids adieu to all other things, and marke what followes; It is good for me to draw neare to God. As if hee had said, let the rich man have his wealth, and let the am­bitious man have his honour, let the drunkard have his cup, and the adulterer his sweet dallian­ces: let them drinke, and swill, and whore, and goe downe to hell, much good doe it them with their sops, let them have what their hearts can de­sire; but it is good for me to draw nigh unto God: Oh the pleasures that are at Gods right hand! [Page 256] Oh the mercie and holinesse which hee hath pre­pared, and will bestow upon those that are up­right!

When Marie had beene seeking and weeping for a Saviour, Christ said unto her, Woman why weepest thou? Iohn 20.16. Whom seekest thou? Marke now what Marie did, being moved with love to the Lord; she conceived Christ to be the Gardiner, and shee spake thus, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell mee where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away: She would be content to have the body of a Sa­viour rather than want a Saviour, she would have a dead Saviour rather than none: but when our Saviour revealed himselfe to her, when shee saw that he lived, and was risen againe, she flew upon him and with marvellous violence embraced our Saviour, (for so the words must of necessitie be understood) for Christ saith, Touch mee not, for I am not yet ascended: the meaning is this, Marie was very eager of her Saviour: Have I againe seene my Saviour? And doe I againe possesse him? I will never part with him more: Christ saith unto her, Marie, and so discovers himselfe: she saith un­to him, Rabboni, that is to say, Master; and there she holds, as if she would never leave him more: now Christ checks her, because she depended so much upon his outward presence: Hee saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended; as if he had said, I shall live many dayes upon the earth, and thou shalt bee satisfied with my presence, therefore doe not cling so fast unto me; for the word touch signifies as much; and the same word [Page 257] is used in the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 7.1. opened. It is good for a man not to touch a woman, that is, to cleave and to cling unto her; and it is taken from those peeces of buil­dings, which are let one into another: her affe­ction was such, that she would not part with her Saviour, when she had met him.

This is a lively picture of that love which many a poore soule possesseth, when the Lord lets in the glimpse of his love into the heart; when the soule hath waited long for mercie and comfort, and the Lord is pleased at last to refresh it, and cheare it therewith, and to let in some sweet incklings, and intimations thereof; many of Gods Saints begin to bee light headed, because they are so ravished therewith, they are alwayes cleaving thereunto, insomuch that many times they are almost be­sides themselves.

Looke as it is with parties that live in the same family, Simile. and their affections are drawing on one to­wards another in marriage; they will cast their occasions so, that if it be possible, they will be to­gether, and have one anothers company, and they will talke together, and worke together, and the time goeth on marvellous suddenly, all the while their affections are drawing on: so it is with the soule that loves Jesus Christ, and hath this holy affection kindled, it thinkes every place happy, where it hath heard of Christ, and thinkes that houre sweet, wherein it put up its prayers to the Lord, and enjoyed love-chat with him; hee thinkes the Sabbath marvellous sweet, wherein God is revealed in the power of his ordinances: [Page 258] any glimpse of Gods goodnesse, and notice of his mercie in Christ, is marvellous comfortable to the soule.

And it is the desire of the soule to fit by it: as the drunkard doth in another kinde, so the lo­ving soule would fit by this mercie and love of God, that he may be more acquainted with it, and more quickned and cheared by it; the soule is ra­vished therewith, and overcome as it were with the apprehension thereof: Psal. 84. David envyed the por­ter that kept the doore of Gods temple, where Gods pre­sence was, and the very birds that built their nests there: as if hee had said, You have liberty to see the sacrifices offered, and you may heare the voi­ces of Gods people, and you may build your nests in the temple of my God, and my Lord; and Lord am not I as good as birds? therefore his heart was inflamed with the want of these ordi­nances of God. Nay old Simeon when hee had seene our Saviour incarnate, his heart was so inlar­ged therewith, that he would have beene content to have left his body, that he might have had his full of his Saviour; Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seene thy salvation: as if he had said, stand by body, let me come to my Saviour, let mee bee for ever with him, I have beene long enough in this sinfull world already. A spouse that is contracted, thinkes every day a yeare, and every yeare twenty, till that day comes; shee blesseth the very place where the bridegroome is, and she thinkes the parties happy that talke with him, and she takes every token that [Page 259] comes from him marvellous kindly, but yet shee thinkes, if that day would once come wherein she might possesse him, and be possessed of him, that she, and she alone might enjoy her husband; Oh this would bee a happy day, her heart would bee cheared, and exceedingly refreshed therewith: so a loving soule that hath beene truly humbled and inlightened in the apprehension of Gods love and mercie, and is contracted, as I may so say, unto Christ, hath many thoughts; when will it once be, that I may be married to Christ, and pos­sesse him, and bee possessed of him? to bee with Christ is best for me: such a one thinkes every to­ken marvellous welcome, and every promise, and every word, that reveals any intimation of Gods kindnesse; but yet, oh when will the day come, that I shall be forever with the Lord Jesus; this is the highest pitch, that Saint Paul speakes of, 1 Thess. 4. We that are alive, and remaine, saith he, shall bee caught up together with them in the clouds, and meet the Lord in the aire, and so shall wee bee ever with the Lord: thus the soule thinkes, when will that day come, that I may never be with sinne more, never with the world more, never with corruptions more, ne­ver with base company more? but with that mercie, and that Spirit, and that grace, and with that Christ, for ever and ever; this is the guise of the soule, and the frame of the heart, that is kin­dled in sound love to the Lord Jesus; nay such is the strong and gluing nature of true love, that it will make a man bee with the thing beloved, though hee bee in never so great misery. When [Page 260] Iacobs sonnes came, and told him that Ioseph was slaine, Iacob was grievously distressed, because he loved him deerely; now marke what the text saith, All his sonnes and daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted; and said, I will goe downe into the grave to my sonne Ioseph; he would rather be in the grave, than not to be with Ioseph; and hee will goe downe into the grave, that he may be with him: so the wife that loves her husband, when hee is in prison, shee will bee there with him, shee is sorry that it should bee so with her husband, but shee will rather bee in the prison with him, than want his company: so an humble soule that hath his heart kindled in ear­nest and sound affection to Christ, is content even to goe into the grave with the Lord Jesus, yea into prison with the Lord Jesus; let mee bee with Christ, saith he, though I be in persecution; let me be with the Lord Jesus, though I be in dis­honour: it is a griefe to the soule if Christ bee so; but a greater griefe, if he may not be with him where hee is: Cant. 2.6. when the spouse had wanted her bridegroome a great while, and at last the Lord was pleased to reveale himselfe unto her, she fastens upon him, and rests contented with him and desires no more; my beloved is mine, and I am his; as who should say, thou art mine, and I am thine, let the world thinke what it will, I am thy wife, and thou art my husband: so saith the soule, Christ is mine, and I am his, and if I may have more of that grace and holinesse which is in Christ, I have enough, I desire no more, but [Page 261] without that I cannot be contented, I cannot be satisfied.

Secondly, there is a holy restlesnesse and impa­tience in the soule till it can attaine this, it will take no nay at the hand of the Lord, but sues for the match though Christ seeme to forbid the banes; and it were worth the while to observe how restlesse the soule is, and how it be stirres it selfe to attaine neerer union with the Lord Jesus, even when he seemes to absent his presence from the soule; but we cannot prosecute that, so that by this time then it doth appeare what it is to love the Lord trul [...], and wee have laid downe the triall whereby we may know whether wee have this love or no.

Vse. 3 The third use is a word of reproofe, you have heard the ground of consolation already, there­fore when the pill is sugered, I hope it will down the better: Here then wee have a just ground of reprehension, and it comes marvellous heavy as a witnesse to accuse many, nay as a Judge to con­demne many in the world; this is sufficient to shake their hearts, and to make their soules that live in the bosome of the Church almost to sinke in the consideration and sight of their owne mi­serable and fearfull condition, upon whom this worke was never stamped, in whose soules this grace of God was never yet kindled; certaine it is such never loved the Lord, nor ever rejoyced in Christ. Woe to their soules therefore, and (be­loved) this is the condition of the greatest part of those that live in the Church, and are counted [Page 262] professors among us; they love not Christ, they rejoyce not in him, yet they will not bee perswa­ded of it; therefore give a little attendance I be­seech you to what I shall say.

This is the cunning that Satan hath to deceive poore soules withall, because these holy affections are inward and retired, as hope, and desire, and love, and joy; because I say they are secret things in the soule, and doe not discover themselves out­wardly to the view of the world, further than the fruits thereof manifest the same: Therefore men not knowing these affections themselves, and not conceiving of the nature of them, that is the cause that many leane upon the expectation of what they have in frame of heart, though they want in the course of their lives: this is that which every man almost doth challenge to himselfe, as that whereby he will beare up his heart in time of trouble, and cheere up his soule in the day of di­stresse. Wicked men when every one cannot but see and behold their base courses, and loath their sinfull practices, nay when they themselves can­not but confesse their filthy behaviours, &c. Why they confesse they fall foully, and they fall dayly and scandalously; but that which heals all & helps all is this, they say it is true it is so with their lives, but yet they love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts; every vile varlet will say thus when hee hath sworne by a Saviour, and torne his flesh in peeces, his blessed body, his blood, his wounds and all; yet when he hath done this, he loves a sweet Saviour still. Oh poore deluded miserable sin­full [Page 263] wretch: that I may apply my selfe particular­ly to such a one; I beseech you give mee leave to doe two things. First, I will make it good that most men have not this love of God: Secondly, I will plead the Inditement, and then when I have laid out the Inditement and pleaded it, and shewed who they are that have not this love of God, the point will be cleere.

First it is sure and most certaine, 1 Most in the world have no love to God, but hatred a­gainst him. that most in the world that live in the bosome of the Church have not their hearts carried in any love of God, but in a hatred and desperate opposition against the Lord Jesus Christ, In him was life, and this life was the light of the world, and the light shined in darknesse, and the darknesse comprehended it not: the meaning is this, the Lord Jesus Christ was the life of the promise, in him was life, the promise of life was in Christ, and that promise of life was a light to teach men the way to life and salvation; but when this light of the promise of grace shined to the world, the darke world comprehended it not, they knew it not, Christ came unto his owne, Iohn 1.11. and his owne received him not. There the Lord speakes of the Jewes that were his chosen people, and his owne by covenant: His owne by reason of the privileges and benefits, and ordinances which he bestowed upon them: His owne by profession, they tooke the Name of Christ upon them: Christ came not to heathens and pagans, but to his owne, and they received him not. How many are there amongst us who professe the Name of the Lord Iesus, and take up the Gospell of Christ, and yet [Page 264] being Christians in profession, will not entertaine the love of the Lord Iesus Christ which should make us Christians in d [...]ed. Christ comes to many a mans doore, and knocks, and calls, and intreats en­trance, but few will entertaine him when hee comes; nay let mee say more, my heart trembles to speake it, nay my heart, were it as it should be, would grieve to thinke it: Wicked men are so farre from prising Christ and loving the Lord Iesus, that they hate him more than sinne; nay I had almost said, yet I am loth to speake it, my heart shakes to thinke it, but that I hope you are willing to heare the worst; why then I will speake it, and they are the words of the Scripture, wicked men hate Christ more than the devill himselfe; the Lord be merciful to such poor sinful creatures, good Lord that ever men should be created by the Lord, and enjoy mercy and meanes from the Lord, and yet love sinne and the devill himselfe more than God.

Object. But you will say, are there any such, is it possi­ble that ever any man that breathed and received mercy from the Lord Iesus, should deale so sinful­ly and unkindly with him; why, the devill would not doe it.

Answer. I say to you as the Prophet said to Hazael in another case▪ I know, saith he, the evill thou wilt doe to the children of Israel, their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, 2 King. 8.12.13. and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with childe▪ but Hazael said, what, am I a dogge that I should doe this? the Prophet [Page 265] told him, the Lord hath shewed it unto me: I know, saith the Prophet, the cruelty and venome of thy spirit though thou knowest it not: So when I speake of these things, men will bee ready to say, what, are there any such dogs to deale thus with the Lord Jesus: I tell you the Lord knowes this, and the Word seeth all thy venome and spight and hatred against Christ, the Lord seeth and knoweth it. Most men in their hearts doe hate Christ, though they see it not: beloved, your hearts are more vile than you can conceive, and more base than you can imagine, the Word will make it cleere. The greatest evill of all wee know is sinne, the Devill is not to be loathed but for his sinne; and the reason why he is so loath­some, is because hee is so sinfull. Now marke what the text saith, this is the condemnation, Iohn 3.19. that light is come into the world, and men loved darknesse more than the light: the Lord revealed light (that is, Christ) to the world, but the world loved sin and the temptations of Satan, and the corruptions of their owne hearts more than Christ, and more than mercy that was tendered to them in the Lord Jesus; it is cleere therefore it was so, it will be so, and it is so to this day; Men love their base lusts and sinfull corruptions more than the Lord Jesus Christ, and the power of his grace which he expresseth to their soules, and consequently they love the delusions and suggestions of Satan, more than the motions of Gods Spirit, and the comfort thereof. Thus now we have laid downe the Inditement, let us also plead it a little; wee [Page 266] see there be many in the Church that doe not lo [...]e the Lord Jesus Christ, but who are they? of that we will now speake, for when we lay the charge, we must name the man; the Inditement in ge­nerall is nothing, we will therefore referre these men that love not Christ to three rankes. The first are open enemies to Christ: The second are the glozing newters of the world: The third are the fawning Hypocrites that are faire in shew, but false in heart; all these are guilty of this Indite­ment, wee will therefore plead it against them, desiring the Lord to convince their consciences thereof.

Ranke. 1 First for the former, and they are open ene­mies to the Lord Jesus; we will not spend much time here, but stand longest there where is most need. First therefore there are open enemies to Christ, and they are many, such as Isaiah speakes of, ye stiffe necked and hardhearted, ye have resisted the Spirit of the Lord: Those which set their mouthes against Heaven, and stand in open de­fiance against the Lord Iesus, and against the power of his Grace, and the worke of his Spirit in the hearts of his, and in the ministery of the Word, and these we referre to two heads.

Sort. 1 First, such as are profest opposers of the evi­dence of the truth, those whereof Christ spake, the Housholder let out his Vineyard to Husbandmen, Matth. 21.33. and when the time of the fruits drew neere, hee sent his servants to the Husbandmen that he might receive the fruits of it, and the Husbandmen tooke his ser­vants, and beat one, and killed another, and sto [...] [Page 267] another; at last he sent his sonne, and said, surely they will reverence my sonne; nay when hee came they all combined and conspired together, and said, this is the Heire, come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours; this was an intimation of the Scribes and Pharisees, the Chuch was the Vineyard, and it was let out to them, and God sent his Prophets among them, they persecuted them; then hee sent his Disciples, they stoned them, and when his Sonne came, they conspired against the Lord Iesus, with one open mouth, with one joynt en­devour; Come, said they, this is the Heire, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours: And doe you thinke that the Scribes and Pharisees are dead, and have left none of their cursed brood and generation behinde them? I tell you beloved, there are many persecutors of Christ and his Gos­pell to this day, which are the leaders of the campe, which stand in open defiance of the God of Heaven; but if you aske mee what entertain­ment their lusts have among these men, they find all welcome: possible temptations whisper not, occasions come not, corruptions stirre not so soone, be the company never so base, the course never so vile, the practice never so wicked, but these miserable sinfull creatures give audience and attendance, and acceptance, and entertain­ment to these base courses, nay they invite them and provide for them, nay they bestow a great deale of cost for the entertainment of their lusts, they seeke out occasions to commit their sinnes; the adulterer goeth in the twi-light to meet his [Page 268] queanes, and the drunkard goes to the Ale-house to meet with his base companions; thus they in­vite their lusts, and provide for their lusts; this is that the Apostle disswades us from; Rom. 13.14. make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof: yet these men make provision for their base lusts, their mindes are plotting, and their endevours la­bouring, to provide all courses that may give en­tertainment to their lusts; therefore no marvell they finde such long continuance in their sinnes, because they make such provision for them: but now if you will observe how these men entertaine Christ, you may discover it by these two passa­ges.

Passage. 1 First, observe how they entertaine the power of Christs Spirit in the ministerie of the word; and secondly, how they entertaine the presence of our Saviour in the graces of his children: First, concerning the ministerie of the word, if it be so that the ministery of the word comes powerful­ly home to the conscience, and would open the eyes, and awaken the heart of ungodly men, and would plucke them from their sinnes: Oh what an uproare there is! and how doe men take up armes against the truth, and beat off the power of the word, that it may not prevaile with the heart, and awaken them, and that it may not rule in their lives? Christ notes such as these for op­posers of goodnesse; Luke. 19.27. Bring hither mine enemies, that would not that I should reigne over them, and slay them before my face: the word would plucke the cup from the drunkards mouth, and the adul­terer [Page 269] from enjoying his dalliances with his mate; but their hearts swell, and they groane to be un­der that truth, and under the rule thereof, and to be swayed thereby; nay they doe not only with­draw themselves from yeelding obedience to the holinesse of the word, but they will not so much [...]s acknowledge the truth of the word, which the Devill himselfe did: when Paul was preaching the grace of life and salvation, the text saith, Acts 16.17. The damsell that had the spirit of divination met him, and the Devill said, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation: the Devill acknowledged that this was the word, and the very truth; the Devill acknowledged these were the services which God commands, and these were the duties which ought to be dis­charged: but wicked men will not be perswaded of this, they will not beleeve that they must be holy, as he is holy; neither will they beleeve, that they must be pure, as he is pure; these men doe not give God so much honour, as the Devill did: but die out, and say, I will never be of that opinion, all the world shall not perswade mee to it, five hun­dred Ministers shall not make me thinke so: Be­ [...]oved, this is profest opposition, and desperate hatred against the Lord, not onely to withdraw [...]he heart from obedience, but the understanding from the acknowledgement of the truth, which [...]he Devill himselfe confesseth: Lord, what hearts [...]ave these men, and what distempers are in their [...]pirits? who will not doe that, which the Devill [...]imselfe will doe.

Passage. 2 Nay in the second place, looke how they be­have themselves, when they come into Christs presence, doth not that man hate a man, that can­not endure to be in his sight, and enjoy commu­nion with him? if Christ come amongst these, and presse into the societie of them in the pre­sence of his children, their hearts are transported with infinite indignation against the appearance of grace in the lives, and against the appearance of holinesse, in the courses of those which are the servants of the Lord, (observe this) they that h [...]e poore Christians for the holinesse and grace which they have received from Christ, they ha [...]e Christ more, and holinesse more: fearfull is the case of such, and their condition lamentable; O [...] that they would at last goe home, and parley with their owne soules, and reason with their hearts after this manner, and not suffer themselves any longer to be deluded; say thus to thy soule, I have beene heretofore deluded, and I have deceived my selfe, I pretended I hated such men, because they were dissemblers and hypocrites: no no, I hate the picture of grace; much more grace a selfe in them: if a man cannot endure the picture of a man, much lesse can he endure the person of that man; so is it with the soule: I beseech you, be at last convinced of it, and say, I hate the shew and forme of godlinesse in Gods children, but I hate the vertue and power of godlinesse mu [...] more; if I hate the beames of the sunne, I ha [...] the sunne much more; if I hate the sonne for the fathers sake, I hate the father much more; if I [Page 271] hate a Christian, because Christ hath humbled and brought him home, then I hate Christ infi­nitely, then I hate his Spirit infinitely, then I hate his grace infinitly much more; if I hate the lan­thorne for the lights sake, then I hate the light much more: a thiefe cannot endure a lanthorne, if it be a light lanthorne, (if it be a darke one, haply hee can away with it) but if it be a light lanthorne, hee loathes the lanthorne, and hee loathes the man that brings it, but he hates the light much more than the lanthorne: so is it with every sinfull opposer of the practice and profes­sion of Gods grace: a Saint of God hath a rush candle light of Gods grace, and purity, and up­rightnesse, and he carries this among a company of blasphemers and opposers of God and his grace, now when they see this light of holinesse, they hate the man that beares it, much more holi­nesse it selfe, which is in him, for which hee is so opposed an [...] resisted.

To this ranke also belongs your poore, igno­rant, carnall creatures, and civilized carnall Gos­ [...]elers, however they will not doe, what these [...]en doe, yet they will approve of what they doe; poore silly things that know nothing of God and grace, and can doe nothing against the truth of God of themselves; though they are not brought to this height of wickednesse, to be pro­fe [...] opposers against that which is holy, yet they will joyne sides with the wicked, and what they doe they commend, and appl [...]d, and approve of: [...]f a poore Christian be banded from one place to [Page 272] another, to the losse of his liberty, and griefe of his heart; nay, say these poore deluded crea­tures, and carnall gospellers, it is no matter, they must be more holy than others, and they must be more precise than others, it is no matter now, see what they get by it; these men now approve of what a company of persecutours doe, and their heart is the same, though they do not do the same they are guilty of it, because of their approvement of it; as the Scribes and Pharisees conspired against our Saviour; the souldiers they took our Saviour, Pilat he condemned our Saviour, now the poore crowd, they cried below, Crucifie him, crucifie him, they did not condemne him, nor take him, but they were guilty of crucifying Christ, because they gave their consent and approvement thereunto, as S. Peter saith, Ye have crucified the Lord of life, so there are a company of poore creatures, Acts 2. you know you old poore husband, and your old poore father, though poore fooles, they can doe nothing against the Gospell, yet it doth their hearts good, when it is opposed, and they say, it is well, it is pitty but it should be so: I tell thee thou a [...] guilty of opposing Christ, as well as he that per­secutes Christ; marke what Christ saith to the Scribes and Pharisees, Your Fathers slew the Pro­phets, and you build their sepulchers; that is, th [...] approved the practices of their fathers, so th [...] looke as it is with a campe, there are some lead [...] and commanders, and there are some souldiers and there are others which are followers of th [...] campe, and carry the baggage; now though [...] [Page 273] be not leaders, and captaines, and souldiers, yet all are of the same campe; so there is a great long traine in the Devils campe, there are some lea­ders, and profest opposers of Christ, which the sunne is wearie to behold, and the earth is weary to beare, these are the souldiers, and captaines, and commanders, and poore ignorant creatures, and carnall gospellers that follow the baggage, they are of the black guard too, though they are the taile of the armie, yet they are of the armie of the Devill, and they are all young Satans, though their talents bee not so long, and their clawes so sharp, as others are; they have not lear­ned the skill to make a prey of a poore man, as others have, but yet they will approve of that which others doe: consider this then all ye that stand in open defiance against Christ, all you that joyne sides with, and give a kinde of allowance to such ungodly courses, you are guiltie and found tardy in this case, though the sinne be not yours by action, yet you make it by approvement: thus the open enemy to Christ is gone, as also the poore ignorant creature, and carnall gospeller, and civilized person, who though the will not doe a thing, yet it is rost meat to him to see it done.

Ranke. 2 The second sort that comes here to bee repro­ved, are glozing neuters, these also love their sinnes more than Jesus Christ, and love not him in truth; these are those that halt betweene two opinions, your linfie-woolsie men, (as we speake in the proverb) these tame fooles that will doe no body no harme, provid [...]d that no man hurts [Page 274] them; the highest pitch of these neuters is this that they may procure safety among all men, and gaine some respect amongst the best; they wish all should doe well, but their resolution is this, they will not trouble themselves, nor be trouble­some to others, they say, hurt comes by medling, and he that meddles lest is best at ease; they dwell like civill good neighbours by Christ and the Gospell, and now and then they will doe Christ a good turne, provided they may not hazard them­selves, and that they may serve their owne turne; they will welcome all persons of all rankes, if a blasphemer or riotous person comes in, they will suit with them, and welcome them, if they be ne­ver so vile and base, they will say nothing; little said is soone amended; they will not reprove them, because they should not censure them againe: nay if they will take up sinfull courses (though they will not doe the same with them yet) they will stand by and looke on, and secretly give allowance thereunto: nay further (I be­seech you, observe it) as they will welcome such persons, so they will often invite a Minister to their houses, and intreat him to preach on the sunday, and they: will straine marvellously: [...]o [...] some holy talke, because they know the heart of a poore Minister cannot brooke idle conference, but this neuter likes those Ministers best, that will not meddle with any personall fault in his family; but if a Minister will speake only in the generall, hee hath what hee would, and hee com­mends highly the judgement of the man, hee [Page 275] thankes him extraordinarily for his paines, and desires much more of his company, and com­mends him for a very discreet man, and one that knowes how to carry himselfe; (I and he knowes how not to meddle with him, you must under­stand that too) if the Minister will preach do­ctrinall things only, and take up points, and lay them downe, and have halfe a score points in his sermon, then hee extols him for a judicious and learned man in the Scripture, and he gathers the very creame of the Scripture, but if he come home to the conscience, and apply personally, and dis­cover particularly the basenesse of his heart, and the basenesse of his life, hee then takes his Bible and fals to reading, hee cannot heare with that eare, but wisheth that men would follow their text, (and I could wish every one did so) Now this neuter intrencheth upon articles of agree­ment betweene him and the Gospell, for he made this covenant with the Gospell, that he will not trouble the Gospell, not persecute it, neither will not have that to meddle with him, but if the Gospell come home to him, and would drive him out of his pace, hee wisheth the Minister would keepe his text: this man counts zeale in a good course, like a fever in a mans body, and hee thinkes it dangerous to be sicke, and therefore he will keepe a cold temper in his body for consti­tution, and a cold luke warme temper in his pro­fession, and then he is admirable healthfull; and [...]he will be talking much of the customes of men in the world that are in great place, and if there [Page 276] be any thing which is naught authorized by great men: he takes much upon him those two words, Church and state, and holds them up as en­signes, and hee thinkes it a strange thing, and thinkes it to be high treason, and false Latine, that any man should question on what he speakes in this case, the English of it is this, he is resolved to see the strongest side, and he will be with that side, whether it be with the Lord Christ, or the power of his grace, he cares not, but he will be sure to sleepe in a whole skin; so that these base sinfull men care not for the power of religion, they love themselves, and love not Christ: these men deale with profession, as the neuterall townes in the Low countries deale with the armies and soul­diers of the Emperour and the King of Den­marke, they will leane to both, that they may be subject to neither, they will not take sides with the Emperour, nor yet with the King of Den­marke, but they will be content for to live at ease, and they will doe any thing that they may not be troubled, but if any of both sides begin to set up­on them, they turne head presently, they will doe no harme to them, if they will not hurt them; but if they seeke to bring them under authoritie, they are not able to beare it, but resist them: so it is with these neuteralists in a Christian course, they will fashion themselves to the world, that the world may not despight them, and they will fashion themselves in profession to the better side, that they may not distaste them; a man will pray in his family in the morning, and leave Christ [Page 277] there, and payeth tribute that way, onely Christ must give him leave to couzen in his shop at noon; [...]et him have what he would, and hee will pay tri­ [...]ute to the Gospell, and Christ, and all; he will pay [...]ribute of all hands that he may not bee troubled. This is observable of men in great place, a great man will have one or two good servants in his family, to credit himselfe that way, and hee will [...]ave a knave and a drunkard too, that they may [...]lose with those of that ranke, and so get credit [...]n both sides: but if the Gospell besiege this man, [...]nd the power of the Word flies in the very face [...]f him, and hee must lay downe his owne aimes [...]nd ends, and he must lay downe his applause of [...]he world, and his owne credit, and his civilizing [...]ourses; then they turne head presently, and are [...]ot able to beare the authority of the truth, to [...]oope thereunto, and be framed thereby (for the [...]ords sake thinke of it) these men entertaine Christ in this case, as sometimes men doe their [...]eighbours, they entertaine them lovingly if they [...]ill keepe within their bounds, and looke to [...]heir owne ground, that hee may suffer no harme [...]y them, but now to entertaine him as a Land­ [...]ord, and as a Conqueror, that hee should take all [...]om them, and they depend upon him, this they [...]annot beare. Now the Saints doe this, they can [...]ntertaine the Lord Iesus as a Landlord, and as a Commander; but these newters entertaine the Gospell and Christ as good neighbours; all the [...]hile the Gospell troubles them not, and puts no [...]azard upon them, they will welcome it; but if [Page 278] the power of the truth will by force presse in up­on them, and make them either better or worse, they cannot beare it with patience, but are in a devillish fume with the power of the Gospell that is revealed with evidence unto them: Let these men know that they which are not with Christ, are against Christ in his account, though a man stand still and doe nothing, and therefore thinks all shall bee well with him, and all shall bee quiet with him; let him know that all the wrong which is done to Christ and to his Gospell, which he sees and assents unto, and is not an helper against, the Lord will require it at his hands, and they are guilty of it before the Lord: C [...]rs [...] yee Merosh, curse him with a bitter curse, because hee went not out to helpe the Lord against the mighty; It is nothing for a man to say I did not such a thing, and I was loth to put my finger in the fire before I was called, I tell thee thou wert called to it; such a man, such a Minister, that saw the Gospell lie at the stake, and had not a heart to grieve for it, and a hand to succour it, hee is guiltie thereof: the Lord will spew such new [...]ets out of hi [...] mouth, Revel. 3.16. I would thou wert either hot or cold, because thou art neither, therefore I will spew thee out of my mouth; that is, either openly prophane, or sound­ly sincere, be something, appeare in your colours either a Saint that may be saved, or else a Devil that may bee damned; otherwise the Lord will vomit you out of his mouth: cold water is best digested, and a mans stomacke by hot water is least offended, but luke warme water is most [Page 279] loathsome; so the Lord hates and abhors a luke­warme Laodicean foole that is of no side, because [...]he is not sincere hearted of any side.

Ranke. 3 The third and last sort is your fawning Hypo­crite, who pretends extraordinary zeale for Christ, and expresseth outwardly much love to good­nesse, and will speake for a good cause, and hazard himselfe therein; and yet when he hath done all, and shewed himselfe a friend to Christ in profes­sion, hee proves in conclusion a most bitter ene­my: Saul was just such a fawning Hypocrite, God commanded him to goe against the Amalekites, 1 Sam. 15.3. and destroy all: Now Saul pretends great matters what he would doe, and what he had done for the Lord; and when Samuel came to meet him, Saul said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, I have performed the Commandement of the Lord: as if he had said, I am glad you are here, that I may give up my account, I have done what the Lord enjoyned me to doe, and am glad that I may approve my heart unto thee herein; but Samuel presently convinced him and said, What means then this bleating of sheepe in mine eares, and this lowing of Oxen which I heare? As who should say, hast thou done the commande­ment of the Lord? No, though I were silent, yet the lowing of Oxen, and the bleating of Sheepe can te­stifie that Saul is an hypocrite and a dissembler, and hath not discharged nor performed the duty God commanded him; he bade kill all, but thou hast saved some. But leaving these, I come a little to discover divers other sorts of Hypocrites amongst us, and they may bee ranked into foure [Page 280] sorts. First, there is a whining Hypocrite: Se­condly, the wrangling Hypocrite: Thirdly, the glorious Hypocrite: and fourthly, the presump­tuous Hypocrite. I shall hardly peruse any of these at this time, I will onely touch the second a little, which I thinke to bee seasonable, and that is the wrangling hypocrite: There are a company of wretched men in the world that fawn and flatter, and pretend to doe great kindnesses, and they professe they are at your command to serve you, to doe what you will, and performe what you please; but trie them and prove them, and you shall finde it otherwise, they will not openly pro­fesse that they will not doe the thing, but when all comes to all, they pretend these and these in­conveniences will follow if they should doe it: they will not professely say they will not doe the kindnesse, but they will make a plea that they ought not, that they should not doe it, and it is against reason that you should require it: so these Hypocrites they resolve to live no longer, they resolve that they would not enjoy any thing in this world, they would not bee any thing, or doe any thing, but onely so farre as the Lord Ie­sus may be honoured, and his Gospell promoted: If they thinke they should promote the Gospell of Christ more another way than this, they would not undertake it: but when it comes to this passe that a man must leave his honour, and livings, and profits, which so neerly concerne him, for Christ, then (his tricke is this) hee doth not professe [...]y say, I will have pleasure or profit and not Christ, [Page 281] but he will wrangle with Christ, and stand upon tearmes with God, and say, hee ought not to doe this, it is not fit he should doe it, there is no com­mand for the thing. Beloved, it is admirable to observe the spirit of these men when the word comes cleere to them, when the duty is revealed and required at their hands; Oh how they will search farre and neere to invent arguments, to make it no duty, and turne over all bookes, and (as he spake wittily) rake the Devils skull, that so they may have some shift not to doe that which they ought. It is a pretty trick to bee observed amongst great men that follow the fashion. First, they resolve to conforme themselves to the Word of God revealed, but when the fashion comes up, they will plead for that too: and now the questi­on is not what they must doe, but what they will doe; for all fashions must bee lawfull, because they are resolved to use them. I will propound one truth onely to these men (observe it in thine owne soule) doe not thinke to wrangle out the truth, and to quarrell with the Gospell, or to make any pretence against that way which God hath chalked out before thee, and against any du­ty God commands thee: But art thou in good earnest, content that that should bee true which God will have to bee true? Art thou willing those things should bee naught, which the Word of God saith are naught? Men may talke what they will, but they have their reservations still, and there is a league betweene them and their base courses which they will not bee con­vinced [Page 282] of: There is a secret way of sinning which they will not leave, but plead for it, that their Conscience may not flie in their faces, and that they may not goe professely against the evi­dence of the truth. Beloved, these men give no contentment to Christ, but to their owne cor­rupt hearts. One gives content to the fashion and weares that, another gives content to his liber­tie, hee will not bee hazarded: Therefore hee will do any thing rather than he will be undone: now this man loves freedome, and not the truth of Jesus Christ, hee will not suffer im­prisonment for it. This gracious worke of the Spirit was ne­ver wrought in these mens hearts.

JOHN 6.45.

Every man that hath heard and learned of the Father, commeth unto mee.

WE are now come to the worke of the will, which is the great wheele as it were, the great commander of the soule; we are now come to the chamber of presence: the for­mer affections I told you, they were but as hand­maids to usher in Christ and the promises. The minde saith, I have seene Christ; hope saith, I have waited; desire, I have longed; love and joy say, that is here which wee have received, and entertained, here is that which will supply all wants, that will overcome all corruptions, that mercy that will pardon all our sinnes: then saith the will, content, it shall be so, and this makes up the match; for now the match commeth to bee made, when the will saith Amen to the businesse: and this is that great worke of the will, the spawn and the seeds of faith went before, now faith is come to some perfection, now the soule reposeth [Page 284] it selfe upon the Lord; and Divines say, that here commeth in faith; what the minde hath knowne, and hope expected, and desire longed for, and love embraced, then commeth in the great wheel, the great commander, the will, which saith, I will have it: Goe no further, it is the best match wee can make; you saw the seeds of faith before in the affections, but now you shall see the root of faith, and the full growth of faith in the will. So from hence the point of Doctrine is this.

Doctrine. The will of a poore sinner humbled and en­lightned, comes to bee effectually perswaded by the Spirit of the Father, to rest upon the free grace of God in Christ, that it may bee interested therein, and have supply of all Spirituall wants from thence.

For the better clearing of this Doctrine, con­sider these foure particulars.

1 First, the worke must be in an heart humbled, and enlightned:

2 Secondly, the will must be effectually perswa­ded by the Spirit of the Father.

3 Thirdly, by the power of this perswasion it casts it selfe upon the rich grace and free mercy of God in Christ.

4 Fourthly, the end of it, that it may bee inter­ested into all the good that is in the promise.

For by faith wee come to have a title to all that ever Christ purchased, and God hath prepa­red for his people; and as by infidelity wee went from God, so now by faith we come again to God.

Particul. in the doctr. 1 For the first passage, this grace of faith, the root whereof is seated in the will, it is in an heart hum­bled and enlightened, if either of these two bee wanting, it is not possible, that ever sound saving faith should be in the soule: I doe not now dis­pute of the measure of these, how farre a man must bee humbled, and how much enlightened, these I have handled before, I abate a man of the measure, and leave that to the good pleasure of God, but the heart must bee truly humbled, and soundly enlightened.

1 First, The heart must be humbled, that is, loo­sed from sinne and from selfe; if the soule be not thus truly humbled, there is no roome for faith, for the worke of humiliation cleeres the coast, [...]nd clenseth the roome; for if the soule of a poore sinner be not loosened from sinne, and made wea­ [...]y of it, but takes fast hold of it, as Ieremie saith, Ierem. 8.5. They hold fast to deceit, and would not returne; so when a man will hold his pride and his corrupti­ons, that man is carelesse of Christ, and not onely so, but also opposit from going to Christ, he will not goe to Christ, that he may receive power for [...]he subduing of his corruptions, because he is re­solved to keepe his sinne still, and therefore know, [...]hat it is not possible to receive Christ, and to [...]leave to sinne too.

2 Secondly, suppose the soule be truly burdened, [...]nd the heart be surcharged with sinne, and the [...]eart seeth an absolute necessity of a change, and [...]e saith, if this be certaine, then I am a miserable [...]an, and either I must reforme my way, or else [Page 286] perish in my way; now when the soule is come to this, if the heart will yet shift for it selfe, and thinke to recover it selfe, seeing it must need [...] change, it will change it selfe, it will hinder faith; for whatsoever it is that keepes a man in him­selfe, that alwayes hinders the worke of faith, for faith ever goes out to another for grace and power to ease him of corruption, and for strength to subdue his sinnes; if the soule say, either I need not change, or if I must change, I will change my selfe, and save my selfe, what need have I of a Saviour: these hinder faith, there­fore if ever faith be there, the heart must have thi [...] wrought, he must see himselfe in a lost condition, that is, that by all the meanes under heaven he [...] cannot succour himselfe, this is the meaning of that phrase; Luke 19.10. The Lord Iesus came [...] seeke and to save that which was lost; a lost man, in­deed every man is lost under the power of sinne and dominion of Satan, but he must see himselfe lost; how the guilt of sinne is condemning him, and therefore lost in regard of pardon to save him, and also how he is polluted, and therefore lost in regard of power to subdue corruptions, and when he seeth this indeed, that nothing can helpe him but a Christ, then the soule makes out for a Christ, this is the meaning of that place; Iohn 1.12. To as many as received him, he gave, &c. so that we must receive a Christ, when we are gone o [...] of our selves by humiliation, then are we fit to goe to God by vocation.

Quest. But may not a man beleeve, and is it not l [...] ­full [Page 287] to beleeve, unlesse a man be thus humbled?

Answ. It is lawfull at any time (if thou canst) but I say, it is impossible for thee to beleeve, untill thou be thus humbled: as Iohn 4.44. the Lord Christ comes to the Pharisees, and saith, I know you will not come to mee, that you may beleeve: nay in the next place he saith, How can ye beleeve that receive honour one of another? how canst thou beleeve in the Lord Jesus Christ to subdue thy lusts, and yet wouldst bee uncleane still, and live in thy lusts still? how canst thou beleeve in Christ to master thy rebellious heart, and yet wouldest be rebelli­ous still? it is impossible; heaven and earth can­not meet together, no more can these two stand together; therefore set your hearts at rest; a man must be truly humbled and broken hearted, [...]f ever he beleeve.

2 Secondly, the soule must be enlightened; I [...]oyne these two together in this clause, for though faith be above reason, yet it is with rea­son; it is not that colliers faith of the Papists, [...]hat put out his owne eyes to see by another mans: this is a delusion and an implicite faith; [...]herefore, I say, a man must be inlightened to see [...]he grace, and mercie, and freenesse of Gods love [...]n Christ: as Psal. 119.10. They that know thy name [...]hall put their trust in thee; it is against common sense, that the soule of a man, that is reasonable, [...]hould fall upon any thing, and rest it selfe there, [...]nd yet never seeth whether it bee a sufficient helpe or no: this is by the way of preparation.

Particul. in the doctr. 2 It is effectually perswaded by the Spirit of the [Page 288] Father, to rest it selfe, &c. this I adde in the se­cond place upon the same ground, because a man hath no legs of himselfe to bee carried to the Lord Jesus Christ, to beleeve in him, further than God doth convey this, and communicate to the soule, a man naturally is as well able to keepe the law, which is doe and live, as hee is of himselfe, (in himselfe so considered) to beleeve in the Gospell, and to keepe the second covenant of grace, which is beleeve and live: but the diffe­rence is here, the Gospell requires abilitie, and gives it; the Lord cals us to come, and inables us to come; whereas the law reveales a mans cor­ruptions, but never gives him power against them; but as the Lord called Lazarus, so the Lord gave Lazarus power to rise; so when the Lord cals a poore sinner, he gives strength and spirituall ability to come, according to the call which the Lord reveales, that he may come by that saving and precious faith, (as S. Peter cals it) therefore it is of necessity required, that as the soule beleeves, the Lord must give strength that it may beleeve, and therefore it is effectually per­swaded.

Now that I might meet with that erronious opinion of Pelagians, consider what I say, they say it is of necessity required, that a poore sinner have his minde inlightened, but the will of man is unaltered, and left free to refuse or chuse grace if it please; so that they put a kinde of ability in the will, to take or refuse Christ and grace when it is offered; but here is a deepe mistake, because [Page 289] the will of man is as farre averse from God, as the minde is blinde, nay it is more averse from God than the minde is blinde, and it is more hard to be framed: therefore there must be this effe­ctuall perswading, as the understanding must have the truth cleered to see a Christ, so the will must be perswaded, that it may receive power from him: as it is with the sea and the thames, there is ebbing and flowing; now the natutall Philosophers observe, that the ebbing and flow­ing comes not from any inward proper principle of it selfe, but the light and heat of the moone leaves its beames upon the water, and drawes the water after it; this makes it to flow, and when the moone is gone, the water returnes backe againe, and this is ebbing: just so it is with the soule of a man humbled and enlightened, there is no power in the soule to goe any further than it selfe, to flow unto a Christ, and to goe towards the promises, further than the Lord lets in, by the power of his Spirit, the beames of his mercie, up­on the soule, and sheds in the freenesse of his grace into the heart, and that makes the soule flow againe, so that as it ebbed and went away from God by sinne, so it now flowes and comes to God againe; but it is by the power and Spirit of God.

Quest. Now if you aske mee what it is to have the heart thus perswaded of Gods goodnesse in Christ:

Answ. It is nothing else but this: first, as it is undeniably [Page 290] inlightened, to see this mercie of God, so there comes in a streame of the freenesse and riches of Gods grace, and doth affect the heart with the sweetnesse and rellish of Gods grace, that it findes a marvellous sweetnesse in it. Quest. Secondly, what is it to be effectually perswaded?

Ans. It is thus much, not a touch and away, and a little sip and begone, nor a hourly kinde of tasting: but take notice of these two things in it; First, when the prevailing sweetnesse in the promise, and that goodnesse in the promise is let in by the Spirit of the Lord, that it sinkes into the heart roots, and it comes to take possession of the soule of an humble sinner, and is next the soule, there is nothing next the soule but that: the world and pleasure, &c. are without the heart; but the goodnesse of the pro­mise, and the freenesse of Gods grace hath its privie chamber in the heart of a man: this I take to be the meaning of that phrase of rooting the promise in the heart; and this was the fault of the stony ground-hearers; Matth. 13.21. The seed grew up suddenly, and perished suddenly: why? because it had not depth of earth; the seed of the promise had not the depth of his heart: but there was a stone in the heart, and the world lay next the heart; and a stone of lust and pride was be­tweene the word of the Lord and the heart, so that the promise had not root: and hence it was slightly affected with the truth, but never thus powerfully, to have it goe downe to the roots of the heart: the good word of the Lord in this case comes to the heart, not as an owner, but as a tra­vellour; [Page 291] this is the meaning of that place: Hosea 2.14. I will allure her, and draw her into the wilder­nesse, that is, by preparation, and then I will speake comfortably to her; that is, I will speake to her heart; so it is in the originall: there is a kinde of prevailing sweetnesse of the grace of God in Christ, that will be at the roots of the heart, that it may give allowance unto it: now marke what followes from hence, and this is the first part of the effectuall perswading of the heart, when the heart saith, away with profit, and the world, and all, let me have the Lord and his grace; Oh that goes to the bottome of the heart! hence it is that the soule thus prevailingly is sweetned with the goodnesse of the promise, can taste nothing in the world without this; it is now out of love with all other things, it had loved and doted on before most immoderatly, the sweetnesse of the pro­mise hath stolne away the heart of a poore sinner, and gotten the good will of the soule to be only for Christ, and to have his heart to close with Christ, and to be nothing in the world without him; this effectuall perswading, it is the meaning of that place: Act. 3.19. Amend your lives, repent and turne, that your sinnes may be done away; repent and be converted, that is, be truly prepared in the worke of humiliation; and be converted, that is, have a through heat of the heart for grace in vo­cation, that your sinnes may be done away in ju­stification: so then when the soule is first hum­bled in preparation, and the heart now all for the Lord Jesus Christ, and can taste nothing but [Page 292] Christ, and nothing in regard of him, and God hath gotten his good will, then followes justifica­tion, that your sinnes may be blotted out: this was the practice of the repenting Church, when the Lord had hedged her way, and built a wall that she could not finde her old lovers, Hos. 2.7. at last the Church saith, I will returne to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now; as if the Church had said, Oh the mercies of God, and the consolation of Christ, are better than all my delights in sinne! the soule comes now to see a bettering in Christ; Oh to have my heart pur­ged, and my sinnes remitted, it were better than to wallow in my lusts still! now the heart is go­ing out of the world to the Lord Jesus Christ, when there is an overpowering vertue of the sweetnesse of the promise, that prevailes with the soule above all, and affects the heart with the good thereof, more than all the rest, this is then to be effectually perswaded. Now the will and the heart is gone that way, let all the temptation and the darling delights of sinne come in never so fast: yet the prevailing power of the promise out bids, and goes beyond all these, and affects the heart more than all these: I would have you re­taine those things, that ye may trie whose hearts are sound: many pretend to have a lingering de­sire after Christ, and to seeme to bee for Christ, and yet the worke was never sound, they were never perswaded, powerfully, as I now speake: and as there is a strong and effectuall perswading so there is a kinde of hourly and feeble perswa­ding, [Page 293] and a slight motion of it: the heart may seem to make out toward Christ, & yet never get [...]ut, because it was never effectually perswaded; [...]hese slight motions and hourly perswasions are [...]ike the untimely birth of a woman, that vanish­ [...]th away, and comes to nothing in the end.

Many a man hath had his eyes opened and the sweetnesse of the promise revealed, and the soule [...]ad begun to purpose, and to be at a hay, now [...]ay, and then he will goe to Christ, and yet sinks [...]owne againe and falls back and perisheth ever­ [...]stingly. As it is with a waggon that passeth by a [...]angerous pit, being well loaden, which if it passe [...]ot by, hee is undone, he is at a set: well, they will use their skill, they pull with might & maine, [...]nd now it is going, and then it is comming; it [...] ever at a hay, now hay: at last the traces breake [...]nd it falls downe irrecoverably. So it is with a [...]arnall false hearted Hypocrite, that hath had ma­ [...]y of these feeble perswasions to pluck a base [...]ile heart from his corruptions: the Lord hath [...]id some hand upon him by the terrours of the [...]aw, and let in some intimation of mercy, and [...]t him see what good he might have if he would [...]art from his sinnes, and he hath many good re­ [...]lutions; the drunkard will be drunke no more, [...]e adulterer will bee uncleane no more, and the [...]roud person will never be proud any more; it is [...]et at a hay, now hay: but because hee is not [...]fectually perswaded, hee falls off from his halfe [...]odging with God, and is wholly overcome with [...]nne never to be recovered more: this was the [Page 294] practice of Agrippa, Act. 26.27. where Paul shew­ing his conversation, and what God had done for him; when Agrippa heard this, he was even at a dead lift and said, Thou hast almost perswaded me to become a Christian, almost holy, & almost humble, and almost to forsake my sinnes. I will never be more malicious against God, and as the originall word saith, Thou hast almost perswaded mee in a few things, but hee never came to any good at all. This is the guise of many that come to some out­ward reformation, and get some knowledge, and some parts, and some duties performed, so that a man would thinke they were making forward toward Christ, and yet they recoyle and fall back againe to their old base courses most fearfully. Of this generation was this spoke, Heb. 6.4. that had a taste of the Heavenly gift, that is, saving faith; they liked the promise, but it was never at the heart roots. Oh, said they, comfort, ease and sal­vation is good to be had; but they did not take downe the promise and disgest it, and make it good blood, they wanted this sound perswasion, somewhat was neerer to the heart than the pro­mise, and therefore it came to nothing. An Hypo­crite that is tickled and hath some flashy desires as the stony ground was, is a little affected with the Word of God. This man may entertaine i [...] some kinde of hourely perswasion, somewhat of the promise for some respect: the promise is this, that God will pardon the iniquity of his poore children, and ease them of all their miseries, and glorifie them for ever. The Hypocrite heares this [Page 295] that there is salvation to be had, and grace is now offered: (Oh it is pretty, saith the soule) then I hope it is possible for something to come to my share; in conclusion hee entertaines the promise to pardon him; but the promise and the prevai­ling power of it goe not deepe enough to loose him from his corruptions, and to purge him; hee would sip of the promises, but make a meale of his lusts: But a good heart doth the contrary; the promise is the standing dish, and the Lord [...]esus Christ to be loved and embraced, that is his meale: onely he may sip now and then at his lusts [...]nd corruptions. The Hypocrite will have his [...]ase haunts and his corruptions still, but in the meane time hee could bee content to thinke on Christ to pardon him, and that these evils might [...]ot befall him.

Part. 2 Now you see what it is to bee effectually per­swaded, nothing but God can doe this, and in his lies the excellency of faith, to rest it selfe up­on the freenesse of Gods grace, that it may have [...]n interest in the good thereof; that is the end [...]f faith, there lies the marrow of faith, that is the [...]ertue and spirituall efficacy of faith; that as hope [...]aited for mercy, and desire longed for it, and [...]ve and joy welcomed it; and they all bring the [...]romise home to the soule: so then the will [...]ith, Amen, Lord, let it be so, I will goe no fur­ [...]her. It is in this case as it was with the woman [...]f Samaria, Iohn 4.29. When Christ had opened [...]er eyes and shewed her the vilenes of her heart, [...]nd also told her that shee had seven Husbands, [Page 296] saying thou art an adulterous woman; now when she had heard this, away shee goes to the Citie, and said, Behold, a man that hath told mee all that ever I did, is not he the Christ? Just so all the af­fections come to the will the great commander, and plead in this case, and thus begin to strive with the heart. Oh, saith hope, I have waited for this goodnesse of the Lord, and my eyes have fai­led with looking for it: And desire saith, I have longed for this goodnesse, and saith love, I have received it; and joy saith, I have felt the sweetnesse of it: is not this mercy worth the re­ceiving? Then the will saith, is it so indeed? hast thou waited for it, hope? and hast thou longed for it, desire? and hast thou felt the sweet­nesse of it, joy? then we will all goe to that mer­cy and seeke no further. Let base corruptions and lusts doe what they will, wee will goe to that mercy, Foure things or Acts. and repose our selves therein. Now this re­sting of it selfe discovers a foure-fold act.

Act 1 First, it implyes a going out of the soule to Christ, that the soule runnes and reacheth after a Christ; for a man can never rest on a thing before he come to lay hold on it, and to deliver all his strength, and lay all his weight upon it. This is implied necessarily, and it is one maine proper act of faith, when the soule seeth this, that the Lord Jesus is his aid, and must ease him and par­don his sinnes: then let us goe to that Christ, saith he, see what our Saviour saith, Iohn 6.35. He that commeth to me shall never hunger, and hee that belee­veth in mee shall never thirst: the phrase of com­ming [Page 297] and beleeving they are both one: Ier. 3.22. there the Prophet makes the answer of the humble sinner, the Lord calls upon by his Spirit, and sets on his mercy effectually, and saith, Come to me yee rebellious sinners, and I will heale your re­bellions. Though a poore Minister speake the word, yet the Lord from heaven saith, come to me ye loose hearted, &c. Now this voyce com­ming home to the heart, and the prevailing sweetnesse of the call overpowring the heart, the soule answers, Behold we come, for thou art the Lord our God. The soule goes out and falls and flings it selfe upon the riches of Gods grace thus setled and revealed: Come to mee all yee that are weary (saith Christ:) when the Lord saith come, I have mercy, though thou hast none; and I have comfort, though thou hast none; nay, I not only have it, but am ready to bestow it: and come to me thou poore burthened sinner, I have under­taken for thee, and I will ease and helpe thee. Now as for you that were never humbled nor brought low, God will pull downe your proud hearts, and make you stoope: but you that have beene burthened, and have seene your sinnes, and mourned under the loathsome burthen of them, to all such the Lord saith, Come to mee thou poore broken hearted sinner, I will heale thee, and I have undertaken for thee: we goe then (saith the will) to that Christ, and that promise, and that mercy, and that grace that will pardon all, and subdue all whatsoever is amisse. It is with a sinner, as it is with a Sea-faring man that is tossed with the [Page 298] windes, and driven to a hard set with the tem­pest, hee labours to betake himselfe to a shelter, and to land at some Haven.

This is the nature of beleeving in the Hebrew phrase, as Esa. 25.4. Thou hast beene a strength to the poor and needy in trouble, a refuge against the tempest, & a shadow against the heat, &c. Now when a poor sinner is weather-beaten, and can see no com­fort, and finde no evidence for the pardon of his sinnes; the Lord is pleased to make knowne the goodnesse of Christ through the promise: then the soule shrowds it selfe under that sh [...]dow and that goodnesse thus offered and revealed: Psal. 118.11. Davids soule had gotten away from God, and he began to quarrell with Gods providence, saying, I said in my haste, all men are liars; see what an hasty spirit is, hee hoysed up saile upon the maine Ocean, and he had imaginations and con­clusions of feare and despaire: At last he got the Haven againe, and said, where art thou, Oh my soule? thou hast gone from God, and from his promise; Returne to thy rest, O my soule, let us goe to the promise, and keepe us there to see land, and make haste to it, and labour to hold the heart close to the Lord Jesus Christ: now the soule is come to Christ.

2 The next Act of resting is this, it layes fast hold upon Christ, and when the Lord saith, Come my Love, my Dove, and come away; behold, I come (saith she) and when she is come, she fast­neth upon Christ and saith, my Beloved is mine, and I am his: When she is come to Christ, shee will [Page 299] not away againe. In the Hebrew phrase, to beleeve is nothing else but Amen; the Heathen say that the answer of a man is this, let it be done, which thou hast promised, that's faith. So after the soule hath walked a great while in horrour and vexati­on, and the soule sinks in the apprehension of it; the Lord lets in the comfort of his promise, and saith, thou poore burdned heart, thy person is ac­cepted; thou art unworthy, but Christ is wor­thy; thou art sinfull, but hee is mercifull. Now when the soule heares this voyce, it saith, even Amen Lord, let it be so Lord. This is the hold of the heart, hope and desire, love and joy have dis­cerned a world of mercy; and the will saith, so be it, let us stay and hold here, and goe no fur­ther. Esay 64.7. There is none that calleth on thy Name, neither that stirreth up himselfe to take hold of thee. Faith layes hold on the Lord, and will not let mercy goe, but cleaves unto it; it is sweet to see faith in conflict with the Lord. When a man hath it, as in Iob, see how faith holds its owne, God makes him even the Butt of his wrath (as it were) but Iob saith, though he slay mee, yet will I trust in him. Me thinkes I see how the Lord makes his hand all goare blood, and yet faith holds his owne; it is able to fasten it selfe upon the promise of God in Christ. 1 King. 20.32, 33. when Ahab was deeply provoked with a drunken Benhadad, who said, take him alive, &c. they entred the combat: now when the day went against Benhadad (for hee had dealt basely with Ahab) and hee could not with any face looke for any fa­vour [Page 300] from him; yet when hee was driven to a stand, his servants (being worse than their master) came to him and said, Wee have heard that the Kings of Israel are mercifull Kings, we pray thee let us put ropes about our neckes, and sackcloth on our loynes, &c. Because the poore servants were like to come into danger as well as their master, they went to Ahab and said, thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee let me live: and Ahab said, is he yet alive, he is my brother; and the servants catched at that word, and said, he is yet alive, and they went away rejoycing. This is a lively picture of a broken hearted sinner, after he hath taken up armes against the Almigh­ty, saying; shall he be at Gods command? he will never doe it whilest the world stands; but he will have his lusts, his profit and ease, &c. and the Lord and hee are at open warres; and now the Lord lets in justice, and hee seeth the anger of God bent against him, and even frowning upon him, and the wrath of the Lord dogging him from day to day, saying thou art an enemy to me (saith the Lord) and I will be an enemy to thee. Now the soule seeth that he cannot avoid justice, nei­ther can he beare it, and therefore the soule rea­sons thus: I have heard that though I am a re­bellious sinner, yet none but sinners are pardo­ned; he is a gracious God, and therefore the soule falls downe at the footstoole of the Lord, and saith, Oh what shall I doe! What shall I doe unto thee, Oh thou preserver of men! and the broken hearted and terrified sinner craves that he may yet live in the sight of the Lord. And at [Page 301] last when the soule hath beene sufficiently hum­bled, the Lord lets in his sweet voice of mercy, and saith, Thou art my sonne, and thy sinnes are pardoned: with that the soule catcheth at that mercy, and saith mercy Lord, and a sonne Lord, pardon Lord, and love Lord, the soule is mar­vellous willing to heare of that consideration: But it will not away from the Lord againe: as they catched at the words of Ahab, and said, thy brother liveth; so the soule saith beleevingly, and [...]eccho-like, pardoned Lord, accepted Lord, love and mercy in Christ Lord: the heart holds it selfe there. It is the fashion of a drowning man, when hee seeth himselfe going and sinking, if any man come to helpe him, when he hath taken hold, hee will rather die, than leave him, hee holds for his life: Just so it is with a drowning sinner, that is tossed up and downe with the floods of Gods in­dignation.

He that formerly made nothing of all, and a mock of Christ, and thought hee might goe to heaven with all his lusts, now the Lord opens his eyes, and sets upon him, and tosses him up and downe, that the heart smites with it; and hee seeth himselfe lost, and going downe to the pit, [...]nd hee expects nothing but damnation; and at [...]ast the Lord lets in a record of mercie, and the promise of grace and salvation; when the soule [...]eares hereof, hee catcheth it greedily, and knowes if that faile, his soule must needs faile, [...]nd therefore he will never let it goe.

Act 3 The third act of resting is this, it flings the [Page 302] waight of all its occasions and troubles upon Christ, as the porter that is weary of his waight, and hath no way to helpe himselfe, but to be ea­sed of his burden: so when the soule hath fast­ned upon Christ, it layes all the waight of all its guilt and power of corruptions upon the Lord Jesus Christ: Christ hath promised to give ease and power to pardon; and the soule now layes all upon him, as Psal. 35.7. Commit thy way to the Lord, and trust in him; commit thy way, that is, the waight of all thy occasions: roule thy way upon the Lord, as it is with a barrell that is tum­bled up and downe; the earth beares the waight of the barrell, but some body moves it: so the soule casts the waight of all its disgrace, disho­nour, temptation, and all upon Christ: Esay 50, 10. Hee that walkes in darknesse and hath no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon hi [...] God; that is, if any man be in extremes, hopelesse, in misery, and seeth no helpe for himselfe, nei­ther in himselfe, nor the creature, and walkes in desperate discouragement, and hath no light of comfort; let him trust upon the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God: as when a man can­not goe of himselfe, hee layes the waight of all his body on another; so the soule goes to a Christ, and layes all the waight of it selfe upon Christ, and saith, I have no comfort, all my dis­comforts I lay upon Christ, and I relie upon the Lord for comfort and consolation: and when the soule hath thus leaned upon Christ, it leaves it selfe there, and sucks and drawes all the good [Page 303] that it needs from Christ. Cant. 8.5. Who is this that commeth up from the wildernesse, leaning upon her beloved? the party comming is the Church; the wildernesse is the troubles and vexations the Church meets withall; and the beloved is the Lord Jesus Christ: now the Church comes out of trouble, and out of her selfe, and leanes her selfe all upon her husband the Lord Jesus Christ: she only walked with him, but he bare all the bur­den for her: and as the Jewes after their Passe­over had their feet shod with sandals, and staves in their hands; the promise to the soule is like that staffe, which did testifie the promise: when we are going to the land of Canaan, the promise of grace and mercy is the staffe which wee leane upon; and it is not a broken staffe that will faile us, but a strong staffe which a man may trust to, and lay all the waight of life and happinesse upon it, and the subduing of his sinnes also; 1 Pet. [...].7. Cast all your care on him, for he careth for you: the originall is, hurle your care upon the Lord; as [...]f a man should say, suffer not your care to re­bound backe againe, but hurle it upon the Lord, as a man doth with a ball, when it rebounds hee beats it backe againe: the Lord will not thanke you for carrying your cares and troubles about you, but he requires you should hurle it upon the Lord, for he careth for you.

All that faith would have the soule doe, is this: 1 First, that the soule should labour to finde out the meanes of grace; 2 Secondly, that it should pra­ctice what it knowes; 3 Thirdly, that it improve [Page 304] all meanes when it hath gotten them: now that it may bee able to doe this, faith layes all the weight of the worke and burden of the day upon the Lord Jesus Christ, so that I shall know what I should doe, or the Lord will pardon what I doe not know; and either I shall be able to doe what I know, or else God will accept of my poore en­devours; and either I shall finde successe in that I doe, or else God will make me contented; so that all the burden is gone: therefore what if thou doest not know what thou shouldst doe, seeing God will pardon thy ignorance? and what if thou dost not that which thou knowest, if God will pardon thee in it? and what if thou hast not that successe thou desirest, if God will accept of thee without it? and therefore David chides his owne heart, and rocks his owne soule asleepe, where it was golling; Psal. 42. Why art thou cast downe, O my soule? &c. I am banished from my house, and from my friends, and especially from the house of my God; and have not I cause to be disquieted? no hee had not; but how shall I amend my selfe in all these troubles? still trust in God, for he is yet the helpe of my countenance, and my God, and I will yet give him praise: as if he had said, thou shalt not need to be distracted, discouraged, nor vexed inordinately; still trust in God, and cast all thy care upon him: the faith­full soule viewes all his sinnes that he hath com­mitted, and all the miseries that are intended and inflicted; and when it hath done all, it conclude thus with it selfe, and saith, It is not in my power, [Page 305] nay it is not my duty to determine of all these troubles; I lay all the weight of my sinnes upon Christ to pardon them, and all the weight of my corruptions to subdue them, and then I know he will care for me, that hath undertaken merci­fully for me; all my care is to leane upon my Saviour, and this is my comfort, he will looke to me, though I cannot doe it for my selfe.

Act 4 The fourth act of reposing the Spirit (which makes it up) is this, (and this indeed is the nature of faith) it drawes vertue, and derives power from the Lord Jesus Christ, for succour and sup­ply; here is the especiall life of faith, and it is the very words of Scripture, or else I durst not speake so much of it, but that the Scripture sayes it open in this manner: faith findes all in the promise, and fetcheth all from the promise that it needs: as when a man hath provision of meat and money in his house; if any man say to him, where shall we have such and such things? Oh, saith he, I will goe fetch them: so it is with the nature of faith, it goes for mercy, and grace, and comfort in Christ, it knowes tis to bee had from him, and therefore fetcheth all from him; it drawes and suckes the sweetnesse of the promise: as it was with the woman that had the bloudy issue; Mat. 9.21, 22. Oh, saith she, could I but touch the hem of his garment, I should be whole; and so she did, and vertue came from him, and shee was healed of all her grievances that lay upon her: so it is with a faithfull soule that toucheth the Lord Jesus Christ, it layes hold but a little on the promise, [Page 306] and there is sap and vertue communicated to the beleeving heart, whereby it comes to be helped and comforted in the way of God: Esay 12.3. it is said, With joy ye shall draw water out of the wells of salvation; the fountaine of salvation, and all the waters of life, and grace, and mercy, are in Christ: now it is not enough to let downe the bucket in­to the well, but it must bee drawen out also: the waters of life are in Christ, now it is not enough to come to, and to looke to Christ, but wee must draw the water of grace from Christ to our soule; as Esay 66.11. They shall sucke and be satisfied with the brests of the consolation, that they may milke out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glorie; the Church is compared to a childe, and the brests are the promises of the Gospell; now the elect must suck out and be satisfied with it, and milke it out: the word in the originall is, exact upon the pro­mise, and oppresse the promise, as the oppresso [...] grinds the face of a poore man, and will have his goods what ever become of his wife and children: so a man must wrest the promise for grace and power from the Lord Jesus Christ. Ah beloved, this is our misery, we suffer abundance of milke to be in the promise, and we are like wainly children, that lye at the brest, and will neither sucke nor be quiet; so we suffer this to be in the promise, and yet imploy not our selves to get it out, and to sucke it out: therefore brethren, suffer not your faith to come to the promise, and to lye at it; but hale mercy from thence, and with a [...] holy kinde of oppression exact upon it, and get [Page 307] what good you may from it, the Lord allowes it.

Quest. But here it may bee asked, how this is done, how doth faith draw vertue from Christ?

Answ. I answer, It is an heavenly skill, and yet marvel­lous hard and difficult: Threefold Act. faith drawes vertue by a threefold act; or faith improves the promise three wayes: 1 First, faith doth appropriate the pro­mise to it selfe, and applies all that good and grace that is revealed & offered in the Lord Jesus Christ home to it selfe; the voices of faith in the Scripture are these, my Lord and my God: so Paul saith, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chiefe, he would be sure to have a share in the mercy; as if a man should say, I will cut something before the dish goe away: Psal. 48.14. when the Lord had so much care of his Church, and how terrible he was to the enemies, and how mercifull to his people, &c. in the end the Church saith, This God is our God, and he will be our God even till death; she doth appropriate God to her selfe, and engrosseth God, and saith, our God is not as the Heathens god; and there David would have God all his owne, and saith, whatso­ever God hath done for any of his people, how terrible for them, and how mercifull to them, the same God hee is to my soule, and he will bee my God for ever: and hence the Scripture saith, Esay 55.1. Come buy, and eat, &c. all these places are nothing else, but the act of faith; to come, is to repaire to the promise; and to buy, is to take pos­session of it; and to eat, is nothing else, but to embrace it for our good and comfort: it is not [Page 308] enough for mee to goe to the market, and stand looking on the commodity there, but I must lay downe my money, buy it, and take possession of it, and beare it home; so the Lord saith, Come to the waters, buy wine and milke, &c. the Lord sets open the shop of grace and salvation every day where the Gospell is preached; and therefore not only cheapen, but come to the agreement and buy; offer like chapmen, and stand not hag­ling, but say, I will lay downe all my lusts, and part with all for Christ; and when yee have done thus, take mercy and comfort, it is yours, you have bought it: so that now the faithfull soule enters upon the promise as his owne; as a man that comes to take possession of house and land as his owne: so the faithfull soule reads of all that mercie in pardoning of sinne, and all that God effects to save, and all that mercy offered to the poore man, out of whom the Lord cast seven De­vils; & then the soule saith, all that mercie is mine: Manasses was an idolater and a monster, yet the Lord humbled & saved him; and all that mercy is mine: Paul a persecutour and an oppressour, and yet the Lord opened his eyes, pardoned his sinne, and hee is now a glorified Saint in heaven, &c. all that mercie is mine: hence I take that phrase to be, Iohn 3.33. where faith is said to set its seale to the promise; He that beleeveth, hath set to his seale, that God is true: now observe that, as it is amongst men in their agreements, it is not enough that the articles are drawne and made, but they must be sealed; if they are only made, wee [Page 309] use to say, they want nothing but sealing; now when they are sealed, every than takes his owne, and the bargaine is thorow: Just so it is betweene the Lord and the soule; the Articles of agree­ment, whereby God passeth over his promise to a poore sinner, are these: If wee will part from our selves and our sinnes, the Lord Jesus saith all this grace and mercy is yours: you that are thus burthened, Christ will ease you; and you that are thus lost, Christ will finde you. But now if a man will not set to his seale, and if the soule doe not take all this to it selfe, and enter possession of it in this kinde, and seale and deliver (as wee use to say) it will never prove authenticall; but when it is sealed and delivered, then it is authen­ticall: So when the soule makes an application of the promises to it selfe, then it is authenticall, and the soule feeds upon it, and refresheth it selfe therewith for ever.

2 Secondly, faith jogs the hand of God, and sets Gods power on worke, and makes way for the streame of Gods promise and providence, that it may take place: I say it makes ay for the worke of the promise, that so whatsoever is good, may flow in amaine upon the heart, and be communi­cated to it, as it is in other courses of providence. When God sets up a course of providence in the [...]se of means, then in the use of those means as [...]e ordinarily workes. Now God will nourish a man if he will eat his meat, and use the means ap­pointed for his nourishment, and hee that will take up the course that God hath appointed, may [Page 310] expect a blessing; so faith is the condition that God requires, and the means that he hath appoin­ted, whereby he will convey all good to the soule, and as all grace and mercy is conveyed from God through the promise; so if wee will beleeve and lay our hearts to the promise, wee are under the power of the promise, to convey all grace and mercy to us: As it is with a Pump or Well; there is water enough in the Well, but yet a man must draw and pump it up before hee can have any; and when hee drawes, then the water doth come: So the Fountaine of all grace and good­nesse in Christ, and the promise is the pump; now faith must jog the promise before any grace can come: this I take to be the reason of all those passages in Scripture, where the Lord is said to give away himselfe to beleeving soules, as Matth. 15.28. Oh woman, great is thy faith, bee it unto thee as thou wilt: Christ gives her leave to goe to the treasure of mercy and grace, and to take what she would: he doth not say, be it unto thee, as I will, but as thou wilt: looke what health thou wilt have for thy daughter, and what comfort for thy conscience, goe and take it, the Lord denies her nothing. This is the meaning of that place, Math. 9.29. Bee it unto you according to your faith; not according to your wit, or pride, or strength, or sturdy spirits; as if a man would goe to Heaven, and bee proud and stout hearted too: no, no, there is no such matter, not according to your parts and gifts, but according to your faith; Gen. 17.7. God makes a deed of gift to Abraham, say­ing, [Page 311] I will be a God to thee, and thy seed after thee; take all Abraham: so that beleeving sets Gods grace a going, and puts Gods power and provi­dence forth for the good of the soule. Now imagine the Lord did yet deny that soule that mercy which it seekes and begs, and doth not answer the desire of the heart, and let in that good and sweetnesse the beleeving soule expects from him; what will faith doe then?

This is the third Act of faith in drawing ver­tue from Christ, faith urgeth God with his owne word, and presseth Gods promise, and challengeth God on his faithfulnesse and truth, not to be wan­ting unto him, for the acceptation of his person, and the pardon of his sinnes. Faith enters into suit with God, Psal. 143.1. Heare my prayer Lord, and in thy faithfulnesse answer me: as if he had said, I confesse I am base, vile, and sinfull, and deserve [...]o mercy; therefore not in my worthinesse, but in thy faithfulnesse answer me. I cannot bee but [...]ile, and thou canst not bee but faithfull; and if thou canst cease to be faithfull, I am content to be miserable; and so you may, for he can as well cease to be faithfull, as cease to bee God. It is a [...]aw-case betweene God and Iacob, Gen. 22.10.11. see how he presseth God in a point: Oh, saith hee, I know my brothers maliciousnesse and dogged spirit, and I expect hard measure from him. O Lord therefore remember thy servant, for I feare my bro­ther Esau, and thou hast said thou wilt doe good to thy servant, &c. As a man that hath a good cause at the Assizes or Sessions, though hee hath a great [Page 312] enemie, one that over-powers him, yet being con­fident that his cause is good, will bring it about againe, and will not rest till he hath an equall hea­ring. So faith when the Lord frownes upon him, yet the heart puts him in suit, as it were, and doth expostulate the cause with the Lord, saying, Hath the Lord forgotten to be gracious, and will he be no more intreated? This expostulation of the soule that the heart presseth in upon God withall, when it is upon a good ground, it argues the pursuit of God, that he will not leave till the Lord give that hee hath engaged himselfe to bestow. Thus to gather up all, faith goes out to the Lord Jesus Christ, and layes hold upon him, layes all the weight upon him, drawes vertue from him, as in all the former particulars.

The fifth and last thing wherein the great worke of resting consists is this; faith leaves the soule with the promise, and after all desires (haply) and all denials, and all the discouragements of God; and yet the soule seeth not the way of God; but that God frownes upon him; and though God comes not, yet faith leaves the heart with God. This is marvellous needfull, and it must needs be the worke of faith; for it is the maine tenour of the worke of the covenant of grace, and the co­venant of workes, in the covenant of workes made with Adam, when he said, doe and live: If Adam had done that, hee should have received constant assistance, and God would never have de­nied to helpe him: but now in the covenant of grace, because it must bee, and is free, and that a [Page 313] soule may and must know that it is onely the goodnesse of God to us; therefore the Lord re­serves this prerogative royall to himselfe, that howsoever God will bestow what he hath promi­sed, yet hee reserves the time to himselfe, and what time he will doe it, and after what manner, and by what means, that is onely of Gods free will: and hereupon the soule acknowledgeth that it is of Gods free grace; as if the Lord should say, it is mercy that I give, and therefore it is accor­ding to my owne minde, and I will take my owne time.

Now in this dead lift the power of faith is this; it leaves the soule with the promise, it takes up its standing there, and saith, I will goe to none other, and I will seeke no further, Esay 28.16. He that beleeves, makes not haste, hee makes haste to use the means, but he is content to stay till the Lord please, because he knowes the Lord onely must doe it: and if the heart bee given to mur­mure and repine, saying, I pray, and the Lord doth not answer; I have grapled with my sinne, and the Lord subdues it not: now faith saith, we must goe to God for mercy, that hee may order all our occasions; and wee must not order Gods grace according to our humours: but the Lord seemes to frowne upon the soule, and to reject the prayers of a poore sinner, and to beat him away from the doore, as the Lord Christ did, when hee called the woman a dog; yet faith will bring on the heart still, and it will be sure to lye at the gate, and it keepes the soule with the promise, what [Page 314] ever befals it, as Psal. 119. Mine eyes failed for loo­king up for thy word, Oh when wilt thou comfort me! his heart and all failed him, and yet he would looke towards heaven. Oh, saith he, when will this sinfull soule be humbled, and this distressed conscience pacified? hee would looke towards heaven till hee had no heart; and therefore excellent is that passage, Genes. 32.36. when the Lord and Iacob were wrestling, and the Lord would have beene gone, Iacob said, I will not let thee goe, untill thou hast blessed mee: so the faithfull soule layes hold upon the Lord for mercy, pardon, power, and grace, and though the Lord seeme to give him up to the torment of sinne and corruption; yet the soule saith, though my soule goe downe to hell, yet I will hold here for mercy, till the Lord com­fort and pardon, and subdue graciously these cur­sed corruptions, which I am not able to master my selfe. As it is with a sun-diall, the nature of the direction is this, the needle is ever moving, and a man may jog it another way, yet it will ne­ver stand still, till it come to the north-point: so when the Lord leaves off a beleeving heart with frownes, and with the expression of displeasure, yet the soule turnes to the Lord Christ, and will never leave, till it goe God-ward, and Christ­ward, and grace-ward; and saith, let the Lord doe what he please, I will goe no further, till hee bee pleased to shew mercy: then the issue is this, faith goes out to Christ, it layes hold upon Christ, and layes the weight of all upon Christ, and drawes vertue from Christ, and it leaves the soule [Page 315] with the promise, and this is in every faithfull soule under heaven, howsoever the sense is ta­ken away: if the soule once come to Christ, it will never away, but ever cleaves to the promise, and is towards God and Christ, whatsoever be­fall it.

Part of the doctr. 4 The fourth and last part of the doctrine is this; First, as the soule must be humbled and enlighte­ned. Secondly, as it is effectually perswaded by the Spirit of the Father. And thirdly, as by the power of this perswasion it casts it selfe upon the freenesse of Gods grace; so in the last place the soule comes to bee furnished with all spirituall wants, and the supply thereof, and this containes the finall cause, and that discovers the good and benefit which comes from faith.

1 First, to open it in generall, and then to come to some particulars: In the generall observe thus much; a poore sinner having fallen from God, and departed from him, he goes away from God and all goodnesse at that one stroake, he that goes away from God, the God of all strength, must needs be weake; and he that goes from the God of wisdome, folly must needs possesse him, because God is the God of all wisdome, and all wisdome must be from him; and hee that goes from God, goes from life and happinesse, there­fore death and cursednesse must needs seize upon [...]im: now hee that hath gone from God, hath gone from all these, and therefore he is full of no­thing, but wants, miseries, and troubles, and vexa­ [...]ions, that are come in upon him, and overwhelme [Page 316] him. Now faith is appointed as that only meanes whereby the soule may bee succoured, and the heart furnished anew: and it is faith that doth all these, and this is the excellencie of faith, and the good of it, and the benefit that belongeth to faith in a peculiar manner, above all other graces in the world: now that yee may see how faith suits a man with all graces, take notice, that there are three wayes, whereby the heart went away from God; and the spirituall wants, which by this meanes befell the soule, 3. Sorts of spir. wants. are three, all which faith supplies to the soule answerably.

1 The first and great want of the soule is this, it is gone away from God, and the Lord is a stran­ger to it: it was made for God, and to have com­munication with God; but now it is gone from God, and God from it: there are now many con­troversies betweene the Lord and the soule: this is the great want, and this brings in all the rest: now faith supplies succour and answers to these necessities: faith bringeth the soule againe to God, and the soule to have a nearer union, and more inward fellowship with God, than ever it had: thus the soule being an enemy to God, and God an enemy to it: and God being a stranger to the soule, and the soule being a stranger to the Lord: now faith doth this; it pitcheth the soule, and makes the soule of a poore sinner to fall upon the very Deity, and essence of God; firstly, and upon all the three whole persons, as some Di­vines (that are now with the Lord, leaving a re­membrance behinde them) have interpreted it; [Page 317] which phrase the Septuagints never used, as they are observed: for it is one thing to beleeve, that there is a God, and another thing to beleeve into God: faith faste [...] upon the Godhead, firstly, as 2 Corin. 6.11. where the Apostle saith, Hee that joyneth himselfe to an harlot, is one body, but hee that joyneth himselfe to the Lord is one spirit: the Spirit of God sets a frame of soule upon the poore sin­ner, that it flings it selfe upon God: that which firstly must be the object of faith, that faith must firstly rest upon, as that which is able to give that succour which it wants; now because God only is infinite, he alone is able to succour a man accor­ding to his wants: therefore faith must first goe to him: we need pardon, and therefore faith goes to God, who only is able to pardon; and we need power, and faith goes to God, who is able to suc­cour us; thus it is an infinite God only, that must create this power in us, and therefore nothing but God must firstly be beleeved in; we beleeve in the promise, because God is there, and because [...]n the promise only wee finde a fulnesse of suffici­encie, to supply what ever wee want or need: therefore why should faith goe to any thing else? now nothing can save a man, but God infinit, and therefore faith goes to none but him, and makes an end of all controversies betweene God and the [...]oule, it takes away all divisions, and brings the soule into favour againe, and makes it acceptable [...]o God through the merits of Christ, so that now [...]he anger of God is appeased; Act. 26.17. when God sent Paul among the heathen, he gave him [Page 318] this commission, saying, Goe preach the Gospell, and open the eyes of the blinde, that they may turne from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan to God: every man by nature is gone from God, and you goe all sin-ward and hell-ward, and away you goe from God; now that you may bee for God againe, faith goes to God; Ioh. 1.12. To as many as received him, and beleeved in his name, to them hee gave this privilege, that they should bee the sonnes of God; God will not only bee a friend to them, but a carefull, loving, and tender Father: thou by nature art a childe of perdition and destruction but dost thou beleeve and repent? now then [...] the controversies betweene God and thee are [...] ­ded, and of a fiend of hell, thou art made the so [...] of God; and the Lord is a tender hearted Father to that poore soule of thine; Ioh. 3. He that bel [...] ­veth, shall bee saved; but hee that beleeveth not, t [...] wrath of God abides upon him; so that an unbelee­ving soule hath God up in armes against him: Oh that God would perswade your hearts of th [...] this is a great misery, when thou lyest downe, t [...] wrath of God hangs over thine head, and thy ey [...] may close up, and the Lord may send thy so [...] downe into the pit: and when thou goest fr [...] home, the wrath of God abides upon thee, th [...] mayst never returne home againe: goe what thou wilt, and doe what thou canst, while th [...] abidest in thy sins, the wrath of God abides [...] thy soule, body, and what appertaines to thee, [...] thou art an unbeleever; but if thou art a bel [...] ­ver, the wrath of God is gone, and thou art p [...] [Page 319] from death unto life: Ah, what a happy condi­tion is this? that a man may say, Lord, I was a child of wrath, I wonder that God cut me not off, and I admire at it, that God sent mee not downe to hell every night that I went to bed! but now the Lord hath made mee to beleeve, and hath ac­cepted me; I was under the curse of God, and now God hath delivered me, and now I have beleeved in the promise, and now I have a right to the pro­mise, and all the mercy and goodnesse in it; thus the soule hath a supply of this first want, and is brought into favour with God againe.

Want 2 The second want of the soule is this; the soule being now departed from God, the God of all wisdome, good, and life; hence it is that the soule is deprived of all good, and grace, and life; for whatsoever life and grace it had, it was from God, and therefore the soule being departed from God, the Lord strips the soule of all that righte­ousnesse and holinesse it had in Adam; the Lord gave him wisdome and righteousnesse in Adam, and in him to all his posterity; but now being gone from God, God hath justly taken all from him: so that now the poore sinner is dead, and though he lives, because he hath a naturall life in him; yet he lives not spiritually, because he hath no spirituall life in him, and therefore can doe no spirituall good; he can neither doe well, nor live well, that thereby hee might please God for his comfort.

Now faith steps in like a friend at a dead lift, and lends helpe this way; it not onely brings a [Page 320] sinner to God, but it is as a hand to communicate from God to a sinner, whatsoever spirituall good it needs, and this only faith can doe. Marke it, I beseech you, a man that is dead in sinne, and should be brought to some spirituall good and life, he must either live by himselfe or by another, but by himselfe hee cannot, because a dead man cannot live by himselfe: but every man is spiri­tually dead by nature, and of himselfe hee cannot live, and therefore he must goe to another, which is God; he must give life, and therefore he must beleeve in another, and receive the spirituall grace and power from that living gracious God, to walke more cleerly in a good course; this i [...] the intent of all these phrases in Scripture, Gal. 2.20. the text saith, I live, but how? it is by faith in Christ, Christ lives in him, and he in Christ: faith is not so much the soule of a Christian, but faith inables a man to live by Christ, whom it ap­prehends: therefore Saint Paul to the Hebrewes saith, Heb. 11.6. Without faith it is impossible to please God: it is said of Enoch that he walked with God, and did thereby please God; but how came he to doe it? by faith hee did it. Now no man can yeeld obedience to Gods commandement, and thereby please God, except he goe to God by faith, and receive power from God, thereby to please God: I take this to be a truth, that in pro­prieties of language and speech, faith (as wee now speake of it) is not any part of the spirituall life and soule of a Christian, but a spirituall instru­ment and engine, whereby the soule goes to God [Page 321] to fetch a soule, whereby he may live: thus it is punctually, the soule in vocation goes to God, and being come, it receives the spirit of adoption, brings in the image of sanctification, which Adam had lost: and now the sinner is inabled to live in obedience unto God; so that in vocation we goe to God, and in adoption we receive the spirit, the image of sanctification from God, and by san­ctification the spirit brings new spirituall powers from God to the soule: and so the soule is inabled to love God above all, and his neighbour as him­selfe: now whether Adam had this faith or no, I will not stand to dispute in this popular congre­gation, but onely speake so much as shall be seaso­nable and profitable. Therefore for the thing in hand, this I take to be the excellency of faith, to goe out to God to fetch a spirituall new principle of life and grace: faith saith, thou art dead, and must have life, and thy life is to be had only from God; and therefore goe out, that thou maist re­ceive spirituall life from God: so then, when no other can bring it selfe life, faith brings all other graces; now faith doth all these, not so much be­cause it goes to him that hath all life in him: faith is the field, and the pearle is in it, and the hid treasure is in Christ; and faith goes to God from whom it received all things, from the consola­tion thereof; this is the meaning of that place, 2 Cor. 3.18. and to this it is to be referred, But we all with open face beholding as in a glasse the glorie of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glorie to glorie, even by the spirit of the Lord; this discovers [Page 322] how faith brings in a new soule, and a spirituall life into the soule: by the glory of the Lord is meant the glorious attributes of the Lord, as his holinesse, justice, righteousnesse, patience, &c. by the glasse is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, as a m [...] face is seene in a glasse, so all the attributes of the Lord are cleerly seene (as in a glasse) in the Lord Jesus Christ: now how doe wee behold them [...] him? the heart being made to beleeve by faith, it lookes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and in hi [...] seeth all these graces; and what followes there­by? we are changed, that is, we are transformed from one degree of glorious grace to another; Jesus Christ, God and man, hath all graces in him­selfe; now by faith the soule eyes the Lord Jesus Christ, and then answerably it receives grace for grace; eying his patience, by the self-same spirit it is made patient; and eying the holinesse of God, by the self-same spirit it is made holy; and eying the meeknesse of Christ, by the self-same spirit it is made so: thus the soule looking up­on the glorious grace of Christ, it receives gra [...] for grace: if thou wouldst be patient, see that by faith in Christ, and by that spirit of patience i [...] Christ, that it imprint the like grace upon th [...] soule, and it will doe it.

Want 3 In the supply of this third want appeares the excellencie of this worke of faith; the heart of [...] poore sinner being friends with God, and ha­ving received grace from God, it is marvellous fearfull, lest it should lose that grace that it hath and not bee able to maintaine that stock which [Page 323] God hath put into his hands: this is a great want, and it was in Adam; he had a faire state, and lost all, and undid himselfe, and his posterity too: now the soule feares this, but faith steps in, and lends succour herein, as thus faith maintaines a conti­nuall influence of Gods grace and power into the soule upon all occasions; so that howsoever ma­ny wants and weaknesses may bee in the soule, faith goes to heaven, and brings new succour up­on all occasions to releeve it: this is the maine difference betweene the first and second cove­nant: Adam had the stock in his owne hands, and the fountaine and roots of it was in himselfe: yet howsoever it is true, a mans grace is weake, and would come to nothing, and may easily bee over­come; and yet the fountaine of grace and good­nesse that is in Christ, will never be drawne dry; and faith goes to that daily, and so drawes supply and succour: and from hence it is, that faith is called the protectour of all graces; Ephes. 6.16. there faith is called a shield: now the nature of a shield is this; It not only covers the body, but all the armour of the body; so faith not only covers the soule, but all the graces of the soule, and suc­cours them all; and it is not only the protectour of all graces, but it is also a victorious conquerour in the behalfe of graces; so 1 Ioh. 5.4. This is your victorie, even faith: so that faith makes a Christian soule a conquerour, and keepes him safe and sure: now it is true indeed, that mans corruption is too strong for his owne grace in himselfe, and his temptations are too strong for all his spirituall [Page 324] abilities in himselfe: yet faith goes for n [...] power and might from Christ, and with this might and power from Christ, makes him strong as Ephes. 6.10. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might: 2 Tim. 2.1. My sonne be strong in the grace that is in Iesus Christ; hee doth not say, bee strong in the grace that is in thy selfe, but in the Lord Christ, as for instance thou hast many p [...] ­vocations to kindle thy patience and choler, and many occasions to injurious dealings, and th [...] hast an impatient and peevish heart of thi [...]e owne too: now these corruptions are too strong for this patience, yet faith saith, I will be strong by that might and power of that patience which is in Christ, and that subdues all impatience, and beares all injuries, and faith brings that patience in Christ, and makes the soule strong with that pati­ence; hence we are said to be preserved through faith unto salvation; faith keepes the soule to God, and God keepes faith, and soule, and all: so that it is the power of God by the meanes of faith, clasping the soule to God: you that are weake Christian consider this, you complaine that you are so proud and peevish, that you cannot subdue these corruptions; now set faith on worke, and that will make you strong in Christ, and make you able to stand against all temptations and oc­casions; as it is in the naturall frame of a man: the Philosophers and Physitians observe these two passages in it; there is not only a soule and a body in a man, but there is an heavenly heat and a naturall spirit, either animall or vitall, that [Page 325] lyes and knits the soule and the body together, [...]nd looke how strong this is, so strong is the bo­ [...]y; but if this band bee once broken, the body [...]omes to nothing: just so it is with the soule, God himselfe is the soule of this soule, I meane Gods free grace in Christ, the heavenly heat and [...]pirituall spirit, and the bloud that bindes God [...]nd the soule together, is faith, and whiles this [...]aith holds, a mans good condition holds even for [...]ver: I conclude with that of the Apostle, [...] Corin. 1.24. where hee saith, by faith you stand, it is faith that gives foot-hold to all graces; we have weake patience, but faith gives patience strength and foot-hold; for it goes our to the Lord Jesus, and receives sap and life from him, whereby every grace comes to flourish in the soule; 1 Pet. 1.9. Receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your soules: as if he had said, faith will be with you upon all occasions, in temptati­ons, and distempers of heart, and doe you service, [...]nd goe to Christ for strength and power, and up­hold you, till it hath brought you into heaven, [...]nd shut the gates upon you, and if you cannot [...]hift for your selves there, then perish: this faith puts a man into possession of everlasting happi­nesse, and never leaves him till then; this faith furnisheth the soule with a supply in spirituall wants.

Now to summe up the point, 4. Causes of faith. take notice of the [...]ength and breadth of this blessed grace of faith, that you may see how it is made up of the causes; which are foure:

1 First, the next principle and the efficient cause of faith is the Spirit of God, undeniably, repor­ting this favour of God unto the soule; this is that which workes faith, and the hand from whence it comes.

2 Secondly, the matter of which faith is minted, is this, it is effectually perswaded of, and affected with this goodnesse of the Lord thus reported: this is the firme earth (as I may say) on which faith stands; and whereby it is able to rest it selfe upon the promise.

3 Thirdly, the nature and forme of faith is this, the reposing of the soule upon the Lord, and his speciall favour so reported, for the ground, why any man goes to God, is, because he was effectual­ly perswaded of, and also affected with the good­nesse of God; as it is with some outlawed trai­tour, he dares not goe to the court, unlesse he will goe to his ruine, because hee knowes there is no­thing expected but cruell execution; but if once he come to see his pardon sealed under the broad seale, and that there is some hope of mercy, then hee willingly goes to the court: what was the ground of his going home? even this, because hee was effectually perswaded, that the King had a favour to him: so it is with an hum­bled sinner, humbled in the fight of his sinne, and broken, because of his Lords displeasure against him: and when the soule hath this cer­tification from t [...]e hand of the Spirit, that the Lord intends good to him, then the soule goeth and saith, Lord I durst not have beene here, but [Page 327] that I have heard thou art a mercifull God.

4 And lastly, the finall cause of faith is this; the soule comes to be fitted with all good, according to is necessity.

Object. But some may say, I heare nothing of the belee­v [...]r all this while, it seemes he doth nothing; if the Spirit bee the efficient cause, and if the Spirit workes it, and makes the soule able to worke up­on Gods free grace, and if the Spirit be the finall cause of all, then the beleever doth nothing, &c.

Answ. This worke of beleeving is a worke of the Spi­rit upon the soule, rather than any worke wrought by the soule, or issuing from any princi­ple which the soule hath in it selfe; as it is with an eccho, when God saith, thy sinnes are pardo­ned, thy person accepted; faith sounds againe, my sinnes pardoned? my person accepted? good Lord let it be so: then this perswades the heart, and that marvellously, to rest it selfe there for all good: but it is done upon the soule rather, than by the soule; as Phil. 3.12. we are said, To be com­prehended of God, and not to comprehend God; so we know God, because we are knowne of him: now give mee leave in a word to describe the cause of it; what it is in the promise, that thus effectually perswades the heart, that it may beleeve, and herein I will goe no further than the promise, and therein shew the motives in the promise, and how the heart comes to beleeve, and these will discover the reason of the point.

There are three things in a promise, 3. Things in a promise. whereby the will of man is drawne to beleeve.

First, the all-sufficiency of the freenesse of Gods favour, that is an admirable cause to perswade the heart to come on cheerefully, it is the speciall prerogative of the promise to answer the soule wholly in all the desires of it; nothing under heaven doth or can doe this, but the promise: haply a man desires wealth, and when hee hath it, this cannot make him honourable; and the ambitious man desires honours, and when hee hath them, they cannot make him rich; so each thing of it selfe hath but a particular helpe: but the promise hath all-sufficiency to answer all the heart would have: the will of a man naturally desires good, and so consequently all good; now the promise hath all good in it; as in that place, open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it: there is a fulnesse in the promise to answer all the pantings and desires of the soule: thou saist thou art a poore dead sluggish creature; and the promise calls upon thee, as the Angel did, and saith, come hither, and here is life that will quicken thee; and thou art a weake creature, come hither (saith the promise) and I have grace to make thee strong; and thou art a damned creature, come hither; then saith the promise, here is mercy to pardon all sinnes of all kindes: the consideration of the rich provision in his fathers house, carried the prodigall home: so there is mercy, grace, par­don, & comfort enough in the promise: you poore hungerbitten sinner, away, away, away for shame, to that enough of the promise, and there refresh your selves for ever: it is that which Elisha said [Page 329] to Naaman, 2 King. 5.8. Let him come hither, and he shall know, that there is a God in Israel; and that there is a healing God, though not a helping King: so the promise saith to every fainting, lan­guishing, and leprous soule, if thou art a truly humbled heart, and art sick of thy sinnes, and even drawing on to despaire, and all thy prayers and dayes cannot prevaile, nor doe thee good; but still thy sinnes, thy sorrowes, thy corruptions prevaile, and thy condemnation sleepes not, but is drawing on apace upon thy soule: now see what the promise saith, let him come hither, and he shall know that there is a God in Israel, that is able to cure all, and to loose him from all his corruptions.

Object. Oh but, saith one, I confesse there is enough in the promise to be had, but what is that to me, if the Lord intend it not to my good?

Ans. 2 Thou being humbled and broken hearted, God doth seriously intend it for thy good; and on Gods part there is nothing to hinder thee from it, it is not more cleare, that the promise is all suf­ficient, then it is certaine the Lord intends it for thee, if thou beest humbled, God sent his Sonne to save thee; Esa. 61.1. Christ came to binde up the broken hearted, and to comfort all that mourne: Iohn 12.47. God sent not his Sonne to condemne the world, &c. Nay, Christ being sent of his Father, freely came to this end: 1 Tim. 1.15. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; that is, humbled, and broken, and meeke hearted sin­ners; and not some of them neither, but all that [Page 330] are broken hearted, and all that are lost sinners; but never a proud, stout-hearted, and sturddy sinner under heaven; hee came not to call the righteous, that is, those that trust to their owne righteousnesse, but sinners to repentance.

3 Nay God doth earnestly desire thee to come and take this mercy; ho, every one that will, let him come to the waters of life, &c. and behold, I stand at the doore and knocke, if any will open, &c. and the Lord intreateth you to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5.20. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and be that commeth, I will in no wise cast away, Ioh. 6.37. the originall saith, cast away: no, no, thou poore distressed soule, though thou art never so meane in parts or g [...]fts, or never so much distressed in the world, though thou weare a leatherne pelt, and though haply great men may despise thy so­ciety, yet the Lord Jesus Christ will not cast thee away; thou mayst cast away thine owne comfort if thou wilt, through thy pride and peevishnesse; but the Lord Christ will not cast thee away, if thou come to him, he will never doe it.

Object. 4 Let me adde a fourth motive; I confesse, saith the soule, there is no want of willingnesse on Gods part, but I have a heart which cannot be­leeve, what is that to me to see provision of mer­cy, and have no heart, to receive it? Oh this unwilling and distrustfull heart, it cannot be­leeve!

Answ. If I finde a cure in the promise for this, then I hope you will yeeld; therefore know that the Lord hath provided in the promise a meanes [Page 331] whereby thou mayst bee made to beleeve, and thou shalt be able to beleeve; first that sufficiencie which is in the promise, and which God intends for thee.

Now the Lord strikes up the match, 2. Things. and that the Lord doth this, it shall appeare if you consider the manner of Gods worke in two things.

1 First, God the Father in the promise gives an humble broken hearted sinner into the hands of [...]esus Christ that hee may make him able to be­ [...]eeve.

2 Secondly, he gives Jesus Christ into the hands of a poore sinner, that hee may take him, and re­ceive mercy from him. Now though thou canst not beleeve, yet if Jesus Christ take that heart of thine in hand, he can and will make thee beleeve. This was the end of his office and comming; Iohn 6.44. No man commeth unto me except the Fa­ther draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day: I will make him beleeve, and in the grave I will love his poore body, and not lose so much as his [...]shes, but will preserve them there, and raise him up from thence, and at last I will bring both body and soule to honour, and make both happy in Heaven for ever: for Christ his sake thinke on this earnestly, that every broken hearted sinner is given to Christ, as if God the Father had said, Oh my Sonne, looke well to such a man, he lives in a base world, and hath many corruptions in his heart, but looke thou to him: Iohn 10.16. Other she [...]pe I have which are not of this fold, and these I must bring home saith Christ: there are many of [Page 332] Gods people called and converted, but there are many yet which are in the gall of bitternesse; and I know such a drunkard, and though hee bee a woolfe now, yet he is one of my sheepe, and him I must bring home: It doth my heart good to thinke that there is many an enemy of Jesus Christ, and many that hates grace and goodnesse, many a wretched drunkard, many a covetous and uncleane wretch that shall bee brought home: One goes up and downe this way, and another that way, as a company of poore sheepe that wan­der up and downe, one falls into this ditch, ano­ther into that, and another in such a grove: so there is many a poore sheepe that goes away from God and all goodnesse; the Lord give us hearts to pitty them: howsoever God hath opened your eyes, and brought your hearts, and my heart home to himselfe; yet there are many other sheepe that as yet goe from God. Oh, what a bles­sed mercy is this? If Christ hath once underta­ken for you, hee will seeke you out wheresoever you are. The Lord seekes you out many times in the congregation, you might come home then if you would: well the Lord will make the fire of hell to flash upon the conscience of a man, and drag him home, but it is no matter which way the Lord brings him home, so he come to heaven at last. Iohn 17. Thou gavest them to me, and I have given them eternall life. There is no more diffe­rence than this, the Father gives the sheep to Christ, and saith looke to him; and Christ saith, you are given to me; take you everlasting life be­tweene [Page 333] you, and take eternall glory; I give it to you as freely as ever God the Father gave your soules to me. Secondly, God the Father gives Jesus Christ to the poore soule, and saith, I give thee him freely with his bloud and all his merits, his grace and goodnesse: Oh (saith the poore sinner) blessed be God, that Jesus Christ hath un­dertaken for me, and that God the Father hath given mee Christ; but alas, I cannot pay the price, I am notable to purchase the pearle: as in a marriage, when the parties are both agreed, if there bee a quarrell about the feffment, all breakes off: so it is in this case, the soule is now inabled to rest upon Christ, but what will the Lord require? for I am base and poore; well, saith God the Father, I will not sell my Sonne, but I give him to thee, and thou must not thinke to purchase him; Ioh. 19.26, 27. when Christ would commend Marie to the care of Iohn, hee saith, Woman behold thy sonne; and to Iohn he saith, Behold thy mother: so God the Father saith to Je­sus Christ, My blessed Sonne, behold that poore, broken, humbled, sighing sinner, behold thy sonne, take him for thy owne; and thou poore sinner, behold thy Saviour, take him to thy selfe: and the soule receives that gift at the hand of God the Father; Ioh. 10. So God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Sonne, &c. that is, God so set his heart upon those whom he would save, that hee gave Jesus Christ to bee received from him, and to doe all good for them, according to all their necessities: thus I hope the heart hath no [Page 334] starting holes, the promise is sufficient, saith the soule, if I had it, and God sadly intended it, there­fore I may take him, and God hath given Christ the care of me, to make me to beleeve: now the will is fully perswaded, and saith to hope and de­sire, and all the other affections, here is good enough: and come hope, expect it for ever; and come desire, here is mercy enough that thou hast desired: and come love and joy, here is that mer­cy whereof you have felt the sweetnesse: nay, saith the will, let us rest here, and settle our selves upon the freenesse and favour of the mercy of God in Jesus Christ; as our Saviour said to the Disciples, Ioh. 6.27.28. Will you also goe away? oh, saith Peter, whither shall we goe, thou hast then words of eternall life: the world cals, and our lusts call, and pleasures call, and the more they call for our hearts, the more wee cry after thee out Christ; whither shall we goe, if not to thee? for there is none so gracious, none so mercifull to sinners, none so ready to doe all good for us: and as there is sufficient in the promise, and as here is sufficient in thee, and enough for sinners: so upon thy mer­cie we will hang, upon thee our Saviour wee will live and dye; and upon the promises will we put our selves, to receive all the comfort and good they will affoord, and upon this will we feed for ever. Thus much for the opening of the point.

Vse 1 The first use is for information to rectifie our judgements for the right understanding of the nature of faith, and the frame of this blessed grace in the soule; and that which wee col­lect [Page 335] is this; saving faith is no part of that holi­nesse which Adam had, nor no part of that image to which we are restored by sanctification: in a word, faith is a worke of effectuall vocation, and no part of sanctification, neither of the image in which Adam was created, or to which wee are renewed, and this followes from the Doctrine thus: If it bee so that faith is the maine especiall [...]nstrument, whereby the soule goes to God to fetch a principle of grace, and the Image of grace whereby wee may live, then it is not the image which formerly wee had in Adam, nor to which we are renewed againe in sanctification. But the first is true, namely, that it is faith that goes to fetch that spirituall power from God, which wee [...]ost in Adam, therefore it is not that spirituall power, this is the point of information: Beloved [...]n our Saviour Christ, I am not ignorant that ma­ny learned godly judicious Divines, whose parts I reverence, are of another opinion, yet I remem­ber their different opinions, and therefore I hope [...]o man will be offended with mee, though I dif­ [...]er from some, for I must needs differ from some; [...]nd it hath ever beene my care not to trouble a [...]opular congregation with any matter of dis­ [...]ute, and I hold that it rather should bee the care of Ministers to winne men to faith, than to trou­ble them with matters of this kinde, and I hold it the greatest part of zeale to get them to holy hearts, and to exact lives and conversations: Therefore I am marvellous hardly drawne on to the least dispute in this kinde, and yet at the [Page 336] earnest request of some, and also because this is the proper place where this question falls, and to cleare some doubts according to my promise, and because haply some good m [...]n may stumble at some things, therefore let mee deliver those thoughts which I have many times heretofore in­tended to impart, and I should bee very willing to heare of better arguments, if any shall be sug­gested, these are spirituall passages, and hard and difficult, therefore this I would tell you.

1 First, what the controversie is, and wherein it lies.

2 Secondly, the reasons of it.

3 Thirdly, shew the order of Gods proceedings in this worke of grace in the soule, and when these are done, the point will be very plaine.

1 First for the first, namely, wherein this con­troversie lies; It is confessed of all hands that Adam in his innocency did not beleeve in a Savi­our, he needed it not, onely here lies the maine point of controversie, that though Adam did not beleeve in a Saviour, and God did not require it, yet men conceive, and some judicious Divines too, that Adam had ability, that if Christ had beene revealed he could have beleeved; for they say thus, a man is able having a cleere eye to see but one world, because there is no more, but if there were five worlds, the same eye that seeth one, the same eye would see them all if they were visibly made. So Adam did not beleeve a Savi­our, because the Lord Christ was not revealed, and administred to him; but Adam had that spi­rituall [Page 337] power of faith, if the Lord Jesus Christ had been revealed, hee was able to beleeve in him and so to rest upon him, as men doe now in the time of the Gospell; this is the controversie which we flatly deny.

2 Secondly, the reasons to confirme this point that Adam had not this, grace of faith: The rea­son is this, this beleeving in the Lord Jesus Christ [...]is that which doth directly crosse the estate of Adam in his innocency; and the innocency of Adam wherein he was created, and therefore can­not by no means agree to him, and that appeares thus: for a man to have a principle of life in him­selfe which Adam had, and to fetch a principle of life from another, which wee doe by faith, these are contrary the one to the other, hee lives well, and to bee saved by living well, and to bee saved by another, and to live well by the power of ano­ther, these are contraries one to the other, to have all in himselfe as Adam had, and to have all from another, and not in himselfe; these are contra­dictions the one to the other, and therefore can­not stand together, and therefore observe it, the manner and phrase of Scripture is this, and it is very strange, Phil. 3.9. That I may bee found in him, not having mine owne righteousnesse, as if he should say, Adam in his estate of innocency was in himselfe, and had his owne righteousnesse, he had a power to please God, and to save him­selfe by it: but now in the time of the Lord Christ, the case is cleare, wee are not, nor cannot [...]he found in our owne righteousnesse, or in the [Page 338] workes of the Law, but in the righteousnesse of God by faith imputed to us, and of his grace be­stowed on us, so that these two cannot stand to­gether. So then I reason thus, that which is crosse to the innocencie of Adam, and contradicts the estate of Adam in his innocency, that can never agree to the estate of Adam, but for a man to be­leeve in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to have all from him if it had beene revealed, this had beene crosse to the nature of Adam, and therefore it is not possible that he should have this faith in him; now I come to answer some objections.

Object. .1 First, if Adam had not this faith, and if the Lord did not require it at his hands, then it seems that not beleeving in Christ is not a sinne against the Law of God, for God commanded it not i [...] the Law.

Answ. 1 To this I answer, that not beleeving in the Lord Christ, is not a sinne against the morall law, but it is a sinne against the Law of the Gospell, 1 Iohn 3.23. This is his Commandement, that wee should beleeve in the Name of the Lord Iesus Christ: the want of this faith is a sinne not so much against the ten Commandements, as against the Gospell properly, as Rom. 3.28. By what Laws boasting excluded? by the Law of faith; so that there is a Law even of faith, not onely a law mo­rall, but a law of faith.

Object. 2 Againe they object, did not Adam then trust in God, and put his confidence in God:

Answ. 2 I answer, there is a kinde of confidence which Adam had, but it is not that which is of faith, and [Page 339] which we now speake of in vocation, and Divines do truly say that we are bound to trust in God by the first Commandement, but that trust is not this faith, but it is of a marvellous farre different nature: Know therefore that to trust and be­ [...]eeve in Christ savingly is thus much, when the soule is wholly pluckt off from it selfe, and goes wholly to another for that which it hath not of it selfe: this Adam had not, for Adam could not seeke to another for a principle of life, for hee had it in himselfe, neither was [...]t sinne in him, for the Angels themselves doe not beleeve in Christ, neither is it required of them. Againe, Adam had a kinde of trust and confidence in God, but not this trust, nor this faith; but it was this, so farre as the creature be­ [...]ng a second cause, should stay and move it selfe according to the first cause, and to concurre with the first cause unto any worke: This Adam had, [...]nd the Angels have it in Heaven, which beleeve not in Christ. The blessed Angels have a power spirituall in themselves, and they say that all power is firstly in God, and that he doth governe them and all the Heavens too, and stay themselves upon God firstly, and so co-worke with God: but this is farre different from saying thus; the An­gels stay themselves first upon God, as being the first cause of all created substances, and to goe to God, to fetch a principle of life from God, these are contraries.

Object. 3 The maine objection of all is this; If (say they) Adam never had power to beleeve, and so belee­ving [Page 340] in Christ was not in the state of his in­nocency; then why doth God condemne [...] for not beleeving, seeing they have not this power, and Adam had it not? It is all the difficulty that lies upon the point: The answer is plaine, open, and naked, and therefore I answer it by distinction thus:

Answ. 3 Infidelity and not beleeving doth imply two things thus: the first is the meer want of the power of faith, and the absence of ability to rest upon another; and to fetch the principle of grace from another, neither the Law nor the Gospell, nor God himselfe doth condemne thee for this: nay the Gospell doth not require this, that a man should have power of himselfe to beleeve, not God doth not require it, but the promise breeds faith, and feeds faith, it begets faith, and conti­nues faith in the soules of all those that have it; and this is all that God would have, that the soule of a poore sinner should be contented to taked from him, and bee under the Spirit, that would inable him to beleeve, and to goe to him for the which may make him beleeve that hee might be made strong in the power of the might of Jesus Christ, as in that place of the Ephesians, the Gos­pell saith, thou art a poore miserable sinner, her is mercy, only be contented that I should worke upon thee for thy good, and convey mercie to thee; so that the bare want is not the cause why God doth condemne a man; the Angels in hea­ven this day have not this saving faith, and yet there is no sinne in them: againe, besides [...] [Page 341] are want of this confidence, there is an aversnes [...]f heart, and a crossenesse of soule, to the meanes of grace, and the Gospell, and against the Spirit [...]f grace, that would worke faith, and draw my [...]ule out of my sinne, and plucke my soule to my [...]aviour [...] sinfull soule is fastned to his folly, and [...]ettled upon his base corruptions, and hee rests here with a kinde of resolution, not to goe off [...]om his distempers, and he will hold his corrup­ [...]ons, and maintaine his lusts, so that when mer­ [...]e is offered, he saith, I will not have mercie, but [...]y sinne; and the Spirit of God shall not plucke [...]y corruptions from mee, but I will have my [...]nne rather than a Christ, thought I perish for it; [...]is resisting against the meanes of grace, the pro­ [...]ise, and mercie, and the most blessed Spirit of [...]ace, this flowes from originall corruption, and [...]refore Adam never had this, and comming [...]om sinne, and being a fruit of sinne, a man shall [...]nd must justly bee condemned for it: though [...]dam had not faith, yet he would not have oppo­ [...]d the Spirit of grace, it would have wrought [...]pon him: this is the infidelitie which the Scrip­ [...]ure so often makes mention of, because the [...]eart is proud and sturdy, and setled upon his [...]es, and saith, What, shall Jesus Christ come to [...]fer me grace, and to plucke away my sinnes and [...]rruptions, and to give mee grace? I will none [...] this Christ, not I; if thou doest want grace, be­ [...]use thou hast resisted grace, thou art justly to [...]e condemned as a sinner: this is the whole [...]urse of Scripture, Ioh. 3.19. This is the condem­nation, [Page 342] that light is come into the world, and men love darknesse better than light, because their wayes are evil; that is, they love their sinne, lusts, and cor­ruptions, and chuse them, and fasten to them, and will have them, and will not have a Christ; this is the ruine of a sinner, and this is the infidelity which the Lord speakes of, and this is nothing else but the resisting the grace and mercie, which would worke grace in him, and this is properly unbeleefe; to see how unbeleefe bankes the way to heaven, a man that is a covetous wretch, close hearted, the word reveales this, and condemnes this, and saith hee, I will not forsake the world; and the adulterer saith, I will not forsake my lusts, and the drunkard faith, I will not forsake my com­panions, hee is staked downe to his corruptions, so that all the Angels in heaven, and all the pro­misses of the Gospell cannot perswade him to forsake his corruptions, but he is staked downe to his corruptions, and hugs them, and saith, I will hug my sinne in despire of all the world, and God himselfe; this is a cursed fruit of originall corruption, this is sinfull and fearfull, and a man is justly condemned for it; so then no man is condemned for want of power to beleeve, but because he resists grace and mercie, and will not receive power to beleeve.

3 Thirdly, now I come to show how the Lord workes upon the heart, this is easie for all of you to apprehend, and you may the better see the or­der of Gods worke, if yee observe these foure rules; the maine weight lies upon the third, and [Page 343] the fourth; therefore we will onely propound the two former to make way for the rest.

1 First, when God comes to worke upon a poore sinner, hee findes him dead in sinne, and hee hath no good at all in him, no saving supernaturall good, and hee is not able to worke any good in himselfe by all the meanes in the world, and he is not able to receive any spirituall good in the use of those meanes; so the Apostle saith, I know that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing; and our Saviour, Iohn 3.6. Whatsoever is borne of the flesh, is flesh; whatsoever comes from man, from corrupted flesh, is uncleane; so Rom. 8.7. The carnall or the fleshly wisdome is not subject to the law of God; so that a man not only hath no good in himselfe, but he is not able to receive any good, but rather op­pose it.

2 Secondly, hence it is cleare, that all saving workes are the proper gifts of God, and the peculiar ope­rations of his good Spirit in the hearts of those that have it, for if every man by nature is dead in sinne, and hath no good of himselfe, and can re­ceive no good, but rather oppose it, then if hee have any saving worke wrought in him, it is Gods free gift: therefore first the Lord meets with a poore sinner, and reveales himselfe to him before he be aware of it, as many a man haply drops into the congregation, or fals into a house where there is conference, and mercy, and grace, shines upon him, before he is aware of it, and doth effectually draw the soule home from sinne to God; as Ioh. 6.44. No man comes to me, except the Father which [Page 344] hath sent me, draw him; the Lord bindes the strong man in preparation and humiliation, for the De­vill will not goe out by intreaty; no, the Lord Jesus must binde him, and then the Lord Jesus is pleased to separate the soule from sinne to him­selfe, and he takes possession of him, and in voca­tion hee perswades the soule effectually, and brings it home, and when he is brought home, he gives him his good Spirit to sanctifie him.

3 Thirdly, (and this I would have you marke) though all grace come from the Lord Jesus Christ, and the power of his Spirit, yet the Lord workes the worke of his grace and Spirit, after a divers manner: and the manner especially, which is remarkable, is this; no man hath grace by na­ture, nor any good, and all that he hath is the pro­per worke of God, and this God workes, though differently; some workes God workes upon us, to bring us to himselfe, and some workes God workes in us, to bring us into a nearer commu­nion; and 2 Tim. 1.14. That excellent thing which was committed to thee, keepe fast, how? by the Spirit that dwels in us; this excellent thing was the do­ctrine of the Gospell; now Saint Paul perswades us, to keepe it by the Spirit that dwels in us, this is a matter which blindes many a poore ignorant man, that otherwise would bestow himselfe upon the free grace of God; we truly say, that all grace comes from Christ, hereupon many a man thinkes that he must first be in Christ, before he can have any grace; we receive Christ by faith, and there­fore we must have faith, before we can have him, [Page 345] and wee come to Christ by faith, and therefore we must have faith before wee can come to him: now the Lord Jesus is the Authour of all grace in the hearts of his owne; the Lord workes some grace upon us to bring us himselfe, as the worke of preparation and vocation, this is a saving worke of Christ, but yet it is the worke of the Lord to bring us home to himselfe, but now when we are come by faith, then God conveyes another worke to us, he doth justifie a sinner, and adopt him, and sanctifie him: as in this simili­tude, the first Adam by way of a naturall genera­tion, must beget a childe, before he can imprint his image of corruption upon him, and he must be the sonne of Adam, before he can receive cor­ruption from Adam, so that generation is the way to corruption, else it is no corruption, as in that place, Adam begat a sonne in his owne image, that is, as blinde, as stubborne, as proud as Adam, so that generation is the way by which wee re­ceive corruption from the first Adam: so it is in the second Adam, he doth by spirituall regenera­tion, and after a speciall manner worke upon the hearts of his, to bring them home to him, before he will imprint his image upon them, which is the image of sanctification; the Lord Jesus will by the worke of vocation and preparation, as by a spiri­tuall union, bring the soule to himselfe, before he will imprint his image upon him sanctification; now preparation and vocation goe before sancti­fication, and yet they are not sanctification in the strict sense; as generation went before the im­printing [Page 346] of the fathers image, so vocation to Christ, is before the image of Christ can bee im­printed: I use to expresse my selfe by this simili­tude, looke as it is with a clocke that hath the wheeles turned the rong way, what must a man doe to make these wheeles goe right? First he stops the wheeles, and the wheeles doe not stop themselves, and then he turnes the wheele, and the wheele doth not turne it selfe, and when hee hath done so, then he gives it a poise or pl [...], and by vertue thereof the wheeles run right, and the clocke strickes right, all these are severall worke [...] upon the wheele, the stopping is not the turning, and the turning is not the striking: so it is with the soule of a poore sinner, the heart of man i [...] like this wheele, it was made for God to please him, and to serve him, and was altogether heaven-ward, but now it is hell-ward, and sin-ward, and world-ward, and it is quite unjoynted: now how must God worke upon this heart, to bring it into the right frame againe? First, the Lord stop [...] the poore sinner, and that is by preparation, he shewes him his sinne, and the punishment of it, and when he is posting on to hell, the Lord writes bitter things against him, and saith, friend this is not the way to happinesse, friend if you goe that way, there is the pit of destruction before you, and so with a mighty strong commanding hand he stops the sinner by godly feare, and sorrow, and hatred, and turnes it from wickednesse. Secondly, the Lord turnes the heart to himselfe in vocation, and the Lord saith, come hither thou poore sin­ner, [Page 347] doe not goe to thy lusts, they will kill thee; but goe to the Lord Christ, and he will save thee; goe not to the world, it will delude thee; but goe to the Lord Christ, and he will inrich thee; thou art filthy, but goe to Christ, and he will purge thee; thou art miserable, but come to Christ, here is happinesse, and that will save thee: by thi [...] time the wheele is stopped, and also turned the right way, and every wheele is where it should be: and then the Lord justifies a poore sinner, and is well pleased with him, and is reconciled to him, and he giveth his Spirit in adoption, and that is as the poise, that so he shall no more be ruled by the world, nor by his lusts, but by the good Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the hand of the Spi­rit of the Lord Jesus Christ doth assist that poore soule for ever. Thirdly, the soule having recei­ved the Spirit by faith, as Gal. 4.5. receives here­by the adoption of sonnes. Fourthly, now the whole frame of the heart runs right, and is to­wards God, and for God, and loves God, and hath the spirituall power, and a new principle of it selfe, and this is the maine worke of sanctifica­tion: if you will take sanctification in the strick­test sense, all the rest are saving workes, but this is the maine worke of all. Fiftly, as the clocke when it is thus framed, strikes right, and when it is two, it strikes two, and when it is three; it strikes three: so the soule is thus led by the Spirit of God, as Rom. 8.14. and then it obeyes God, and doth every good duty, and loves God above all, and his neighbours as himselfe, in truth, and in [Page 348] uprightnesse, so that the soule is stopped in hu­miliation, and is turned in vocation, it receives the poise in adoption, and renovation in san­ctification, and it obeyes God in all things: then the conclusion is this, all these are saving workes, and such as doe undoubtedly accompany salvation, but all this while, one is not another, for two of these are wrought upon us, that is, pre­paration and vocation, and these are by a passive worke: the wheele workes because it is moved, and in the other three the Lord conveyes his Spi­rit to us, and mercifully workes the power of san­ctification in us, and makes us able to serve him and obey him; Acts 26.18. Paul was sent to the Gentiles to open their eyes, to turne them from the power of darknesse to God, that they may re­ceive forgivenesse of sinnes, and an inheritance amongst them that are called and sanctified: marke all the passages of it, from darknesse and Sathan, that is, in preparation; to God and to light, that is, in vocation: and as Saint Peter saith, Acts 3.19. Repent, and be converted, that yee ma [...] re­ceive the forgivenesse of sinnes; repent, there is pre­paration; and bee converted, there is vocation; turned from Sathan, and the power of the Devill, that they may be under the power of the Lord Je­sus, and lye at his foot-stoole: as a souldier is tur­ned from such a captaine, when hee is content to be under another; so the soule is turned from sinne, and is content to take presse money, and to become a souldier of Iesus Christ. Thirdly, that he may receive forgivenesse of sinnes, that is in [Page 349] justification and an inheritance among them that are sanctified, thats in sanctification, & all these are done by faith: the scope of the holy Ghost there, is to discover the frame of grace in the heart; and therefore it is not to be understood of the nature of Sanctification, but of the worke of it; that a man should receive his sanctification by faith, and yet is but sanctified in part, these are contraries.

The fourth is onely the worke of sanctification, and lastly from the question thus resolved; from hence that question falls to the ground, and from hence, first a man may see it clearly that sanctifi­cation comes after justification: and secondly, whether repentance is before faith, or whether repentance is before justification, or justification before faith and repentance: and thirdly, whe­ther there be any other instrument to beleeve in Christ, but faith; No, there is no other, for they all concurre by faith: Thus much for the first use; a word of confutation, and information.

Vse 2 Secondly, if it be so that faith is a resting upon God, and a receiving of mercy from God, then this is a word of terrour to all that still remaine in unbeleefe: they are to see their sinne and mi­sery by sinne, their sinne is most hainous, and their plagues are intolerable; if it bee faith that brings a man to Christ, and suits a man with all comforts from Christ: then all you unbeleeving sinners, let your soules shake in the apprehension of all these plagues, of which you are guilty. It is the misery that befalls poore creatures, they are loth to be knowne to be drunkards, or theeves, or [Page 350] robbers, because shame will come to them; but not to beleeve the promise, and to despise the Lord Jesus Christ: you make nothing of this, you draw the harrowes lightly after you, you confesse this sinne, and the other sinne, and you doe welcome it: but in the meane time no man lookes to his unbeleeving heart, and yet this is the greatest sinne of all other, and brings the greatest misery; as Heb. 3.12. Take heed, why? whats the matter? For the Lord Jesus Christ his sake, take heed lest there be in any of you an evill heart of unbeleefe, to depart from the living God: this un­beleefe makes you depart from the Lord God, you will take heed of whoring and drunkennesse, and you will say you are not so and so, but I say thou hast an evill and unfaithfull heart, and thou art a dead man, and a miserable man, and thou art gone from the Lord God, the God of all hap­pinesse, and therefore thou art but a damned man: This is the root and the worst of all, take heed of an unbeleeving heart, it departs away from the living God; this is the nature and misery of this sinne. What is the estate of the damned in Hell? and this shall bee the sentence that is past against the wicked in that day, when the Heavens shall melt, and the Goats shall stand on the left hand, and the Sheep on the right hand, and when ye shall see all the Heavens on a flame, and you shall heare that fearfull voyce, saying; arise you damned unbeleeving wretches, stand forth and heare your doome; what will bee your greatest misery in that day? even this, Depart from me yee [Page 351] cursed, into everlasting flames: this is the upshot of vengeance, and the sharpest sentence; would you not thinke this terrible, if you did heare it?

Now therefore away thou varlet, bee gone to Hell; I doubt not but the very proudest wretch in hell would then be content to hang upon mer­cy before hee went to Hell, and hee would beg that he might yet breathe to call after mercy: If thou wouldest take heed of this sentence, then take heed of an unbeleeving heart; for by unbe­leefe, thou passest the sentence against thy selfe, thou needest none other to condemne thee. Oh therefore get you home and humble your selves in secret, and say thus; The Lord hath given mee a heart to see the evill of my heart: I blesse the Lord, thou hast kept my hand, my eye, my life, but good Lord I never saw the horrible nature of sinne, which will be my bane; to this day I was never burthened with it: Oh that I might now take heed of it, what shall I say to mine owne heart? depart thou wretch to Hell, the Lord for­bid. Oh strive mightily with God, and with your owne soules, and rest not till you get some strength from Heaven, and say if that voice should come againe, Oh, woe to mee for ever, well my unbeleeving heart doth this, and hath past the sentence upon mine owne soule; you heare these, and if you would but take home these truths, they would make you stagger: See what our Saviour saith, Iohn 5.40. You will not come to mee that yee may have life: but I know you that yee have not the love of God in you: comming is beleeving, is this [Page 352] sinne so heavy, the Lord fasten it upon your hearts: what, shall any man goe away and say, I will not beleeve there is such a generation, whi­ther will you goe? If the world calls, yee run; if the devill calls, ye goe presently; but will you not come to the Lord Jesus when he calls you? then Hell is to good for you, beare witnesse of it; many a soule here this day is still resolved to goe on in his sins, and sayes, I am resolved to have my owne courses, and I will be as proud as ever, and sweare, and drinke, as much as ever, and I will not goe to Jesus Christ, whither will yee goe then? Will yee goe to destruction? I call the Angels and all the Saints to record, you will not come, then you must to destruction, there is no other way to come to Jesus Christ, but by belee­ving in him.

Now further to discover the fearfulnesse of this sinne, and the misery of them that continue in it, let mee lay it open by foure particulars, whereby it shall appeare, that howsoever unbe­leevers make no great matter of it, yet if they have the hearts of men about them, they shall see the misery of their owne soules, and that in th [...]se foure particulars.

1 First it keeps off the riches of mercies that are in Christ, from the soule, that it cannot enjoy them; there is no happinesse but onely by com­munion with God; and now infidelity keeps off God from us, and keeps out that goodnesse which God is willing to bestow upon us, if we had hearts fitted to receive it. Infidelity shuts up a poore [Page 353] sinner that hee cannot looke out, nor looke up towards Heaven, and thats the reason why when the Lord chaines ups poore sinner under the power of his chiefe displeasure, he gives them up to hardnesse of heart, and unbeleefe, Rom. 11.32. He hath shut up all in unbeleefe: it is a compa­rison thus to be conceived, as it is with a hainous malefactour that hath conspired against the King, and when he is taken they put him into little ease, or some such close darke dungeon, and clap cold irons upon him, and if any friend come to bring him any thing, hee cannot speake with him, nor he cannot receive it because he is close prisoner: So the Lord doth in his heavy displeasure, hee locks up the soule in unbeleef, and holds the heart in the chaines of unbeleef; that howsoever judge­ments passe up and downe the world, yet all these judgements cannot awaken him, nor all mercies; why? because the unbeleever is sure enough hee cannot so much as looke to that mercy prepared, and offered in Iesus Christ; and thats the reason why when the Lord comes by in all his glory, and mercy, as he did Exod. 33.6.7. saying, the Lord, the Lord, strong, mercifull and glorious. When all these passe by, the unbeleever fits in his seat, but his heart is lockt up, that hee cannot looke up, and thats the reason why the Apostle saith, Rom. 11.8. He hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and eares that they should not heare to this very day; that though he hath all the calls of mercy, yet he hath eyes and sees not, and all is still, and nothing stirring in the soule, [Page 354] nay, it is not onely shut up and cannot come to God, but unbeleefe barres the doores, that Jesus Christ cannot come to it: therefore, Iohn 1.11. He came to his owne, and his owne received him not; but in the 12. verse, to as many as received him, to them he gave power to be the Sonnes of God: this unbe­leefe barres the doores, and raiseth Forts against him, and closeth every crevis of the heart, that not a beame of mercy, not a glimpse of pitty, can be let into the soule, so long as it is in this condi­tion. I beseech you observe it, unbeleefe is a fin, not so much of one faculty of the soule, but it is that as carries the whole man with it: as when a man sets himselfe in any unruly will, and will be ruled thereby, so that it stops every passage, and there is no entrance for mercy; for looke as it is with faith, the root of it is in the will, but the rule of it is over all the whole man, and therefore faith carries all the whole soule to God; love, and hope, and joy, and all goes to­wards God, and the very same nature unbeleefe hath, to carry the soule from God; the root of it is in the will, but the rule of it is in the whole man, and keepes the soule under the power and authority of it, as by faith wee goe home to the Lord Jesus Christ, and are content that he should doe what he will with us; so unbeleefe keepes the soule under command, and will dispose of all at his owne pleasure, this is the poyson and venome of this corruption, it stops all the passages of the soule, that Christ cannot come at it, nor it at Christ, so that if eternall life and happinesse were [Page 355] laid downe upon the naile, yet unbeleefe will not suffer the soule to stretch out a little finger to it; and saith love and joy, I charge you, delight not in that mercy, and desire, looke not out after it; nay, if the wrath of God bee revealed from Heaven against the soule, yet it stops the soule that the wrath of God moves it not, because un­beleefe rules; and saith feare, tremble not at Gods judgements; and sorrow, mourne not you for sinne; come all this way and sorrow for the losse of profits and pleasures, and because my will is crossed, but I will not have you so much as looke after God. This is the cursed nature of unbeleefe, that there is nothing of God, of grace and happi­nesse, can come neere the soule, unlesse the iron gate of infidelity bee pluckt off the hinges, and the bars be broken asunder: this is that which the holy Prophet speakes of Isay 7.9. when the Lord would expresse the power of himselfe in an ex­traordinary manner, he bids Ahaz that he should looke for a miracle; and yet he saith, If you be­leeve not, you cannot be established: so that though God expressed never such miraculous power of mercy and goodnesse, yet so long as the heart is lockt up in unbeleefe, there is no mercy can come at him; nay, which is worse if worse can be, un­beleefe not onely shuts the doore against Christ, and will not receive him when hee intreats for entrance, but it sets open the doore to all base lusts, to sinne and Satan, than which there can bee no greater indignity offered to the God of heaven and earth, as Ier. 2.12.13. Oh ye heavens [Page 356] be astonished at this; why, what is the matter? my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountaine of living waters, and digged to them­selves broken pits that will hold no water: This is not onely unreasonable, but unnaturall, and the heavens they shake at it; it is against the course of nature, that a man should depart from the Al­mighty that would strengthen him, and to rest upon his owne folly, and goe from the wisedome of God, that would direct him in every good way; nay it chuseth a mans owne base corrupti­ons and lusts: and in the meane time departs away from the Lord, and his grace, and his mer­cy; and it preferres sinne and the Devill before the Lord, and all that sufficiency of good that is in him; and therefore the Prophet wisheth the Heavens to bee astonished at this: weake things naturally incline to that which may strengthen them, and heavy things will not rest, untill they come to the earth, because that will sustaine them. Oh what a basenesse is this, the Heavens are weary of a base wretch, that will trust to his owne corrupt heart, and renounce grace and Christ, and happinesse and all: this is the first passage.

2 Secondly, unbeleefe it makes all means to bee unprofitable; that is, when a man is setled upon his folly, and is resolved to rest upon his rebelli­ous will, and to bee ruled by that, hee will not looke out nor attend, nor give entertainment to whatsoever is revealed to the contrary. This makes all meanes unprofitable, bee the meanes [Page 357] never so precious and powerfull, and though they have done never so much good in quickning the hearts of others, yet they never doe these men good, this unbeleefe makes all meanes to be spilt upon the ground, and they never doe good to an unbeleeving heart; as Heb. 4.12. let us feare there­fore, lest at any time by forsaking the promise of entring into his rest, any of you should seeme to be deprived of the grace and mercy of God; for the word was preached first to us, as also unto them, but it did not profit them that heard it, be­cause it was not mixed with faith, there is the cause; be the reproofes and threatnings never so fierce, that it would almost affright the heart of a Devill, and the comforts never so sweet, and the heart of a poore Minister never so enlarged, to worke upon the hard-hearted, yet infidelity is as the buckler that beares off all, and he saith, I will never beleeve it, all his words fall to the ground, and enter not unto the heart; no reproofe terri­fies, no exhortation prevailes; the heart is un­beleeving, it beats backe, and shuts out all; this is the reason why the Devill labours to make up this fortresse above all the rest, because he knowes, if any man have an unbeleeving heart, it will make all meanes unprofitable; the Devill is con­tent that men have parts and gifts, and these will carry a man to hell that hath an unbeleeving heart: and therefore many wicked men that are the Devils factours and schoolmasters, the first lecture they read to a poore soule that is com­ming on, because they feare that hee will bee [Page 358] wrought upon by the word, and the light of the word is come into his minde, and his eyes are in­lightned, and hee saith, If this bee true that the word saith, then hee saith, I am a miserable man, the Lord be mercifull to me: now see what the carnall wretch that is the Devils familiar, saith to him, I hope you have more wit, than to bee per­swaded of whatsoever he saith, he speakes out of passion, and he must say something, and threatned men live long, &c. thus nothing workes upon him, and the Minister had as good speake to the pillars, for all comes to nothing, and we finde it in nature thus, that the not beleeving of any thing, keepes the heart from being affected with it, as for example thus; let there bee never so many threatnings, as that the Spanyard hath an invinci­ble navie of so many ships set out, the merchant that understands any thing, knowes that the Spa­nyard cannot make such a navie, and therefore they beleeve it not; but in eighty eight every mans heart begins to shake, and every man begins to bestirre himselfe: nay, let the promise be ne­ver so faire and sweet, yet if wee are not perswa­ded of it, we never care for his kindenesse, and we looke not after it, and say, these are good words, and faire words make fooles faine, but wee be­leeve it not: just thus it is with an unbeleever, when hee comes to receive all the meanes of grace from the Lords hands, and when all judge­ments are denounced from heaven, and the wrath of God against sinne; and the word saith, Be not deceived, God is not mocked; if you so [...] to the [Page 359] flesh, and walke after it, you shall reape everlasting perdition: and againe, No adulterer nor drunkard shall enter into the kingdome of heaven; they heare these, and consider of them, and make a small mater of it, and will not beleeve it, and therefore they tremble not at it, and are not affected with that cursed condition, in which they are; Deut. 29.18, 19. when the Lord had denounced all the judgements that could be expressed, all the mer­cies that could bee revealed; in the end he saith, Take heed lest there be in any of you, any root of bitter­nesse; so then, when yee heare the words of this curse, yee blesse your selves in this estate, and say, I shall have peace, though I walke in mine owne wayes; as if he had said, if any man come to this, that hee can heare all the flashes that come from hell, and see hell gaping for him, and here the thundering of Gods judgements, and beleeves nothing, but blesseth himselfe, and saith, the Prophets and Ministers must say something, and they must have leave to speake, but yet I shall bee blessed for all this, this wipes of all the authority of the truth of God: looke as it is in nature, that physick which the stomack is not able to retaine (though it bee ne­ver so good) it will never purge; and the meat though never so comfortable, yet if the stomack cannot take it downe and digest it, it will never nourish a man: so be the word never so physicall and cordiall, yet if a man have [...] unbeleeving h [...]t, that he will not take downe the truth, it is marvellous certaine, that that word cannot pro­fit an unbeleeving heart; and that [...] the cause of [Page 360] that curse which Ieremiah speakes of, chap. 17.5. Cursed bee the man that trusts in man, and hee that maketh flesh his arme, and withdraweth his heart from the Lord, for hee shall bee like the barren heath in the wildernesse, that it shall not see when good commeth; as it is with a barren heath, though the seed bee never so good, and the seasons never so comforta­ble, and though the sunne shine never so fairly upon it, and though the dewes come from hea­ven never so sweetly, yet there will not be a graine of good corne, because it is a barren heath; so it is with that unbeleeving heart of thine, thy heart shall be like a barren heath, and thou shalt never see when good commeth, much good will come to thy family, it may be, there will one childe be humbled, and it will come to the same chamber; one servant is hardened, and another saved; the wife converted, and the husband is hardned; and the husband is converted, and the wife is way­ward and froward still: now though the dewes of heaven bee never so comfortable, so that one poore soule is strengthened, and another poore heart cheared, yet thy unfaithfull heart is like a barren heath, no good shall come to thee in it, there is no mercy nor consolation for that soule, in all the meanes that God continues and vouch­safes, this is the maine cause of all the inconve­niences that come upon us, that after all the meanes continued and multiplied, there is al­most no good at all done, every family is [...] a barren heath, there is no good comes to such a childe, nor to such a servant, they are all infidels, [Page 361] I doe not meane Pagans, but unbeleevers, and they receive not that mercy which Christ offers; nay it is just that it should bee so, that thou shouldst never get good, though all the Angels from heaven should come and reveale Gods minde, and though all the Devils should come from hell to terrifie thee, because unbeleefe drawes away thy heart, and pluckes away the soule, and makes the power of the truth not to prevaile with it, so that when the Lord would come in upon the heart, unbeleefe pulls away the heart from the truth of God; Rom. 11.20. The Iewes were broken off, because of unbeleefe; they were cut off from b [...]ing Gods people, and from enjoying the meanes of grace; that when the Lord would lay hold upon a poore soule, unbeleefe plucks the soule from the word, that it may turne from it.

Quest. But some will say, if unbeleefe makes all meanes unprofitable, then an unbeleever should use no meanes at all.

Answ. I answer, Yes, use all the meanes as may be, be­cause the word may take away thy unbeleefe, and as thou usest all meanes, so labour to have thy heart subdued and overmastered; the word tam­pers thy tongue and thy fingers, but looke thou up to the Lord, and say, Good Lord let thy word be powerfull to come in upon my heart, and to take away my unbeleefe.

3 Thirdly, it is unbeleefe that maintaines all sinne in the heart of a sinner, in the strength and power of it, so much as may be in this case: unbe­leefe [Page 362] is the mother of all corruptions, and breeds many, it nurseth and nourisheth them, so that they are fat and well liking, and they come up marvellous well; thats the meaning of the Apo­stles phrase, 2 Thess. 3.2. That we may be delivered from the hands of unreasonable and absurd men; how came they to bee so? because all men have not faith; that is, he that wants faith, will never want him; and he that wants faith, will ever be unrea­sonable and absurd: drunkennesse stares men in the face, and out-faces the officers, and contempt of God, and prophanation of the Lords day, and the world carries all before them, as if they were the only commanders of the world; whats the reason of it? all men have not faith, they doe not beleeve the word of God that condemneth those sinnes, and which would direct them to cast away those sinnes, and therefore they goe on with marvellous violence; let the word of God come in publike or private, they make nothing of all these, but they will have their owne wayes: I use to call unbeleefe the protectour of the estate of corruption; as it is with some lower states and princes, as in the Low-countries, and in Germa­ny, they are not able to subsist of themselves, and therefore they are in league with some other, that they may be protected by them, and receive succour from them, and if they defend them, they hope to make their parts good with any: so this unbeleefe maintaines any sinne, good in its rank and state; indeed restraining grace, may curbe cor­ruption, and keepe in the distempers of the heart; [Page 363] but there is nothing that can kill corruption, but onely the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of his grace; Rom. 8.2. The law of the Spi­rit of life, which is in Christ Iesus hath freed mee from the law of sinne, and of death; sinne sets up a law, and rules in the heart, as you shall finde it in your owne hearts; pride saith, you shall bee proud, there is a soveraigne rule, and a tyranicall autho­rity, which pride expresseth in the heart; now the Spirit of the Lord Iesus, sets up another law, and there is more commanding power in that, than in the corruption of the soule; and the law of the Spirit taketh away the power of sinne, that would prevaile against a poore sinner; the law of meek­nesse in Christ, takes away the law of anger in the heart; and the law of patience in Christ, takes away the law of impatience; and the law of cou­rage, takes away the law of cowardize; and the law of chastity, takes a way the power of unclean­nesse: so that there is no sinne can be subdued, but by the power of Christ, and the work of his Spirit: now unbeleefe keepes the heart wholly from Christ, therefore it can receive no good from Christ, and from hence it is that all sinne is maintained in the soule in the full vigour of it, there is no unbeleever in all the world, but he hath all sinne strongly in him, and not one sinne that ever was slaine; it is strange to see, when unbe­leefe previles but a little in the heart of a poore Saint, how all other sinnes put out their heads, and shew themselves a maine; as Luke 22.32. Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to sift thee, as wheat, but I [Page 364] have prayed, that thy faith faile thee not; Sathan la­boured to shake the hold of Peters faith, and thereupon many corruptions were expressed in his life, because Peter did faile, and did not be­leeve that which Christ had said to him; so soone as unbeleefe prevailes, then false-heartednesse ex­prest it selfe, and he presently denied his master; and then base cowardlinesse sayes, I know not the man; and his want of reverence to the name of God discovers it selfe, for hee fals to sweare that he knew him not, and there was self-love in all these: thus you see, when a man will not beleeve, every corruption breakes forth, and that amaine, and this unbeleefe will fat all corruptions in the soule, and all cursed distempers, and makes them fat and well-liking; as it is of faith in the spiri­tuall man, so it is of flesh in the corrupt man; 1 Pet. 2.11. The flesh lusteth against the soule; there is a kinde of armour of the flesh and of corrup­tion, as well as the armour of the Spirit, which procures comfort to the soule; sinne hath its ar­mour as well as grace; now looke as it is in the spirituall armour of a Christian, faith is a shield, a shield defends not only the body, but all the ar­mour of the body; so faith, it defends not onely the body, but the soule, and all the graces of the soule: so it is also with this infidelity, in regard of a mans corrupt nature, corruption it is main­tained by infidelity, as by a shield, it is the shield of a mans corruptions, as faith is the shield of the spirituall man; I confesse that reformation, and the meanes thereof out of the ordinances of God, [Page 365] and the powerfull worke thereof, may marvel­lously snub and wound sinne; but infidelitie will heale it againe, and will restore life to it againe. I compare reformation to the retreat of an army, when one side is weake, and the other side is too strong, and they are not able to make their parts good, then they make a retreat, and goe home againe to their trenches, and hee that wisely re­treats himselfe, though he may lose the day, yet he loseth not a man, and the Commander saith, such a man was wounded, and such a man was hurt a little, but we came all well home; they re­treat into the trenches, and get more strength, and then they levy our their forces againe. So it is with outward reformation, haply a man lives under a powerfull Minister, under a good master, and in a good family, and all these make sin re­treat; and hee dares not sweare, and he cannot walke in his wicked wayes, his master curbs him, all this while his sinnes make a retreat; but there is none of them gone, the life of never a one of them is gone, so long as he hath an unbeleeving heart: let the unbeleever enjoy never such means, and live in never so good a family, yet he hath not one sinne killed, they are onely retrea­ted, and so unbeleefe nurseth them, and makes them grow out with greater violence. This I take to be the reason why many a man that hath professed the Gospell, and hath had much horror of heart, and many good resolutions, and much care expressed outwardly after many yeers, his corruptions breake out againe and get ground, [Page 366] and they are armed afresh, and they run violently, and for any thing a man knowes, they goe downe to hell: how many professours have turned to be uncleane persons, and to be drunkards, because their old sinnes were but onely snubbed by good company and the word, &c. But they never had their hearts throughly broken; the root that nursed all, was still the same, and therefore they breake out notoriously, to the dishonour of God, the scandall of the Gospell, and the confusion of their owne soules, if God be not mercifull.

4 Fourthly, as unbeleefe keepes God from the soule, and makes all meanes unprofitable, and maintaines all sinne in the strength and life of it: So lastly, it makes the soule of a poor sinner to be in a desperate estate, and a man continuing in this condition, is past hope, help, & recovery; beleeving is the last covenant that ever God hath exprest; a man may be saved and not doe the law, but a man cannot be saved if he doe not beleeve: thats the last covenant and condition of all, and if hee stick here, he is past all recovery without a wonderfull worke from Heaven, Heb. 3.18. There the Lord takes a solemne oath, that they that would not be­leeve, should never enter into his rest: to whom did he sweare thus? to them that beleeved not; God never takes an oath that hee that keeps not the law, shall not bee saved; or that hee that cannot performe to keepe all the Commandements, shall not be saved, and never see happinesse: no, but he takes an oath, that they that beleeve not, shall never see happinesse, and when God once sweares, [Page 367] the thing is unchangeable. God never swore that if Adam did not doe, hee should not live; but if he had not beleeved in that Christ that was pro­mised, hee had never beene saved; but though we cannot live by exact doing, yet we may live by beleeving, and we may goe to another to doe what God requires of us; and this is the reason of that peremptory curse which God seal [...]s downe upon the hearts of unbeleevers, Iohn 3.18. He that be­leeveth is not condemned, but he that beleeveth not, is condemned already; hee hath one foot in hell, but why is it so?

I answer; looke as it is with a man that hath a case to be tried, if it be tried in all the courts of England, and he cast in them all, there is no more trouble to bee made, nor no more hope of reco­very: So it is in this, hee that beleeveth not, is cast in all Courts in Heaven and earth: Law and Gospell both condemne him; justice will not save him, for it must bee satisfied; and mercy will not save him, for he is an unbeleever; so that there is no trial to be lookt for, the sentence is passed upon him in heaven and earth, onely there wants a Jaylor to bring him to the gibbit, that is death and the devill, who is the hangman to turne him off into hell for ever, there to plague him: nay, unbeleefe bindes Gods hand, and hinders the power of God, as may be said with reverence; he may justifie a sinner, but he will not justifie an un­beleever in his estate of unbeleefe: Marke 6.5. He could doe no miracle there, because of their unbeleefe: the text doth not say, hee did not great workes [Page 368] there: So S. Matthew hath it, but he could doe no great workes there; so the Lord, hee can doe mighty workes, he can justifie a sinner, and com­fort the discomforted, and cleanse the polluted, and save the polluted, but he will not save the un­beleever, hee cannot worke this mighty worke upon him; and therefore doe not trouble thy selfe so much for mercy towards thee; if thou bee an unbeleever, never dreame of comfort, for God cannot save thee: will God goe against his owne words? then he should not bee truth; hee hath sworne that an unbeleever shall not enter into his rest, this word and oath shall stand for ever. Therefore goe to God, that hee may give thee a beleeving heart, and then mercy will come, and pardon and glory will come to the soule; but re­maining in unbeleefe, hee cannot save thee, hee will not deny his Word, nor his oath, for never an unbeleeving wretch under Heaven. Now if you doe conceive the nature of your sinne, and your misery thereby; then for the Lords sake, you that heare the Word this day, all you unbe­leevers that never had this worke of faith in your soules, hie you out of this miserable condition, goe your wayes, and give no quiet to your soules, nor no comfort to your consciences, before the Lord shew mercy to you in removing this cor­ruption from your soules, and shew mercy to you: Now whether you have true faith or no, I shall shew afterwards when I shall come to trie every mans evidence: and that yee may come out of this unbeleeving condition, labour to see the [Page 369] danger of it in three particulars, and establish thy heart with these considerations, that thou maist never bee in quiet, till thou have some power against them, and grace to come out of them.

1 First, know and consider seriously that what­soever thou dost so long as thou art an unbelee­ver, it is all unprofitable, and to no purpose at al: couldst thou heare with attention, and remem­ber sufficiently whatsoever is revealed, and pray with abilitie and understanding, beseeming a Christian man in that case: didst thou reforme whatsoever is amisse outwardly, thou seest the evill, and labourest to reforme it, and whatso­ever service is required to God or man, thou dost it as thou art able, and walkest unblamably: all this is to no profit if thou remainest in unbeleefe. The God of Heaven never receives the prayers of an unbeleever, bee his prayers never so glori­ous, and his attendance on the means never so di­ligent, yet the God of heaven regards not the per­formances▪ and therefore say of thy unbeleeving soule, as Haman did of Mordecay, Ester 5.13. when the King had granted him all that his heart could desire, and his requests were ever made good, and his malice ever satisfied, and the posts dispatched it to root out the Jewes, and was invited to the Queenes feast; yet one thing tooke away all the contentment of the other, when he saw Mordecay sit in the Kings gate and reverenced him not; this overthrew all: as he did sinfully and foolishly, so doe thou wisely and with great judgement, and reason thus, and say, good Lord what availes it [Page 370] me to heare, and pray, and live unblamably, so long as I see this unbeleefe perking it selfe in this corrupt heart of mine. So long as this re­maines, all my praiers will doe me no good, these will bring the wrath of God upon mee; nay, the wrath of God is upon mee, and I am condemned already, in my fasting, prayer, and all my holy duties.

2 Secondly, confider that all the good things thou hast, will prove uncomfortable to thee, whiles this unbeleefe continues in thy soule; it is very observable, you know the heart of a man is sometimes cheared, and the soule is con­tented, partly with the good things of the world which it receives, partly with other things, not onely temporall, but also spirituall, which God gives; now I would have an unbeleeving heart take off the contentment of these with the feare of this danger, and this will dash all thy delights, and spoile all thy pleasures, and mar all thy mirth; let that alwayes come for a back reckoning: wee should thinke of this, it might bee as gall to our corrupt hearts. Thou liftest up thy parts, and saist, my parts are greats my abilities many, I am able to conferre, to performe duties: bee it so, that thou hast all these; and another saith, thou seest thy barnes full, and store-house full, thou hast honours to advance thee, and riches and all de­lights to give thee content; and I grant this, and yet thou hast an unbeleeving heart to depart from the living God, and when thou hast these, Oh, woe to that miserable soule of thine. Good [Page 371] brethren thinke of these things, it is good to heare of this now, and better it is to know them now, than to know them when it is too late: now you have your houses, and beds, and pleasures, to comfort you, but you have an unfaithfull heart, goe thy wayes poore wretch, thou hast enough, thou hast that about thee that will sink thy heart for ever. Oh, let this be written upon the palmes of your hands; and graven upon the testures of thy bed, and say this is a goodly house, and I have goodly riches, but I have an unfaithfull heart too: labour to be affected with this for the Lords sake; you know what Esau said prophane­ly, when hee was like to die, Whats my birth-right to me, if I die for hunger? Gen. 25.32. I tell you it will be as gall and wormewood to you; when the drunkard is in his cups, and the adulterer in his dalliances, you may say I have this and that, but what availes these when I have an unbelee­ving wretched heart about me, I carry my bane, and that which will be my breake-necke.

3 Lastly, when you begin to see some sinne, base, and vile, and odious, in the account of the world, and sometimes in your owne account, then thinke thus with your selves, and say, doe I see a basenesse in this and that sinne? what then shall I thinke of my unbeleefe, which is the breeder of all these? could I see mine owne base heart, it is the mother and breeder of all these sinnes: thou art loth to be seene drunke in the street, because the boyes would hoot at thee, and thou art a­feard of murder or theft, because thou wouldst [Page 372] not be taken for a jayle-bird, thou art ashamed of these: wert thou but a witch, or a traitour, or a man condemned, wouldst thou not be ashamed? hadst thou but reason in thee, thy soule would shake at it, and say, Oh wretch that I am, that I should live to bring such discredit upon my selfe, and all good men: Oh goe thy way, and looke into thy heart, and say, I may thanke an unbe­leeving heart for all these, if I had not had an un­beleeving heart, I had not beene overtaken with any of all these sinnes, nor dishonoured God by this sinne, as I have done: unbeleefe is the au­thour of all, and therefore to be hated more than all: I would faine have people looke inward; thou hast stollen such a thing from such a man, and thou art ashamed of it; now infidelity can rob God of his honour, and by this sinne thou hast refused the Lord Jesus Christ; and thus dog thy owne heart ever and anon, and when thou hast done so, be earnest with the Lord, to take these cursed corruptions from thee, sigh especially un­der this sinne, and labour above all to be freed from this sinne, and then all the rest will dye and decay in thee. I would have a poore unbeleever doe as the prisoners doe in New-gate; what la­mentable cries will they utter, saying, good your worship, remember the miseries of poore priso­ners; good Gentleman spare a farthing to the wants of poore prisoners: so thou art shut up in unbeleefe, therefore looke out from the gates of hell, and from under the barres of infidelity, and crie, that God would looke on thee in mercy, and [Page 373] spare Lord, a poore unbeleeving wretch, lockt up under the barres of unbeleefe, good Lord succour and deliver in thy good time; and as the Prophet David saith, Psal. 79.11. Let the sighing of the priso­ners come up before thee; though that was meant of the bodily imprisonment, yet the argument prevailes much more, in regard of the spirituall thraldome; good Lord let the sighing of the prisoners come before thee, so goe thou thy way home, and humble thy selfe in thy secret closet, and cry out of the prison of unbeleefe, and say, Let the sighing of poore distrustfull soules come up before thy Majesty, send helpe from heaven, and deliver the soule of thy servant from these wretched distempers of heart: deale in this case, as men that are ingaged for prisoners, so doe thou with the Lord Jesus, Esa. 49.8, 9. it is the office of Christ, and for this end hee came into the world; and the Lord saith, In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee, that thou mayst say to the prisoners, goe forth; and to them that are in darknesse, shew your selves; the Lord Jesus came into the world in an acceptable time, and hee had this covenant made with him, that he should draw poore soules out of darknesse, and say to the prisoners, come forth: God the Fa­ther hath sent him for this end, and hath promised to heare him when he calls for mercy in the be­halfe of poore sinners: you poore creatures re­member this; for I doubt not but here are some that have faith, though no question, there are many of you in this place that are yet unbelee­vers, [Page 374] and marke this, if you were never yet sensi­ble of your unbeleefe, in some measure, I say, you never tooke one step towards grace nor Christ; wee cannot helpe our selves, wee cannot goe to Christ, and Christ cannot come to us, so long as this iron barre is betweene us, therefore intreat him, for his covenants sake, to accomplish that he hath said: and tell him, that thou art a poore prisoner, and that Christ came for this very end; plead hard with him, and say, Blessed Redeemer, it is but one word of thy mouth, say to a poore pri­soner, and an unbeleeving heart, rest thy selfe up­on the promise, plead thus with the Lord, and this is the only way to obtaine this mercy of the Lord, it is a sinne that undermines all our com­forts, and makes all meanes unprofitable, whatso­ever we have, and yet we never looke after it, nor care for it; Oh hate all sinnes, but hate this infi­delitie above all other sinnes.

Vse 3 In the next place, is it so, that the Spirit of the Father must perswade the heart, before it can rest upon the free riches of Gods mercie in Christ? then here we collect the difficulty of the worke of faith, the conclusion not onely followes appa­rantly, but undeniably, that the worke of faith is of marvellous difficulty, and beyond the reach of all created power, and beyond all the power of man, to have power of himselfe, to beleeve the promises of God: the point followes thus; if we cannot come to God further than God carrie [...] as, and if we have not legs to goe to the Lord Jesus Christ, no further than the Lord gives us legs, I [Page 375] meane spirituall power, then let us all know it, and conclude it, that it is not only hard and diffi­cult, but also impossible for man, from any power of his owne, to rest upon Gods promises by the worke of faith; it is true indeed, we can doe thus much, wee can settle our selves upon our owne bottomes, and rest our selves upon our owne suf­ficiencie, and if a man have parts and gifts, wee can, wee doe naturally stay our selves upon these broken props, and our soules goe that way natu­rally, as heavie things naturally goe downward, this we can doe out of the power of corrupt na­ture, thus we are our selves, and we rest upon our selves; in a word, when a man findes parts, and gifts, and meanes, and then to rest upon God, and to cast away all carnall confidence, and to cast our selves upon the free grace of God, it will cost us much worke to doe it, nay it is beyond all our power, it is the worke of God to doe it: I speake this the rather for these two ends; First, to crush that vaine conceit of a company of poore igno­rant creatures, that make it a matter of nothing to beleeve in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thinke it is all one to beleeve, as to say they beleeve, Oh they beleeve in their sweet Saviour, and man nor Devils shall not perswade them to the contrarie: hence is that speech of a poore creature, standing by a man ready to dye, when a Minister of God, who was there, did exhort him to rest upon the promise, and urging him to many things that way, and the poore creature complaining much that hee could not beleeve, here upon his carnall [Page 376] friend standing by, said, Beleeve thou foole, canst thou not beleeve? A man would not imagine it al­most, but that experience hath made it good, and others have informed us of it, that many wise judicious men are not ashamed to speake it, that if people knew the current of the Scriptures, and were able to understand the texts of Scripture, it were not so hard a matter to beleeve as men would make it; but men are not able to dive into the nature of Scriptures, and to conceive of the mysteries thereof, which if they did, it were an easie matter to beleeve; this is the conceit of a company of poore deluded creatures, though otherwise learned and judicious; follow these men home, and you shall finde this true, that ei­ther they are carelesse in their families, or else they have some tang of some strong corrupti­on: now to overthrow these two, let mee doe it upon these two grounds; First, see the difficulty of the worke of faith, in regard of the feeblenesse of all that a man hath or doth to make him be­leeve: Secondly, in regard of the extraordinary greatnesse of the worke, that may hinder a man from doing what he may; for the first, that which may dis-inable all those things that a man expects comfort from; there are but foure things that a man can put any confidence in; first, the excel­lencie of his parts; or, secondly, the height of his privileges; or, thirdly, the performance of his duties; or, fourthly, the powerfulnesse of those meanes that he hath: to summe up these briefly, and to overthrow them; first, hadst thou that [Page 377] strength of judgement, sharpnesse of wit, and quicknesse of memorie, and all naturall abilities, none of all these can make thee able to worke faith in thy selfe; Matth. 11.25, 26, 27. when Christ had considered the hardnesse and difficul­tie of the worke of faith, and had upbraided the Pharisees because they beleeved not, at last hee saith, I thanke thee heavenly Father, Lord, because thou hast hid these things from the great and wise of the world, and hast revealed them unto the babes; it is so, Oh Father, because it seemed good in thy sight; if wisedome, and prudence, and skill in arts and sci­ences, would have carried men to Jesus Christ, the Scribes and Pharisees would then have gone to him; but God hath hid these things from the wise and prudent; so it will be in every man, bee his parts and abilities never so great, for the worke of faith, it is not in thy parts and gifts, but in the Lords revealing, it is not thy selfe, but the Lord that must worke it; babes themselves shall have these things revealed, and shall be made able to beleeve, when thou with all thy parts, and gifts, and wisdome, shalt be cashiered, and thrown downe to hell; and then he shewes the reason of it, All things are delivered to me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father, and he to whom the Sonne will reveale him; so then, it is not what we have or doe, but what the Lord Christ can and will doe for us; all the wit in thy head, and all thy skill and parts, will never make thee able to know the Father, unlesse the Lord Christ will make thee able to know him; if Christ make thee [Page 378] know him, then be must chuse thee; and this we know, that hee chuseth the weake and meane things of the world; nay all these excellencies are so farre from interesting a man in the Lord Jesus Christ, that it is a great suspition, I doe not say, in alwayes certaine, but I say, it is a great suspition, that the Lord Jesus Christ will never reveale himselfe to thee, because be reveales him­selfe to the poore and weake, therefore thy parts cannot make thee beleeve, if thou hadst all that ever any scholer under heaven had, because it is the worke of grace: Secondly, all thy privileges are weake, and cannot reach the worke; as Saint Paul by experience proves it, Philip. 3.7.4. verses, The things that I accounted gaine, they were losse unto me; If any man might be confident in the flesh, much more I; what soule could say any thing for any outward excellencie, but Paul could say much more? were they circumcised? so he was; were they Hebrewes? so was he; were they zealous? so was he; did they live unblamably? so did he; now were not all these able to carry him to hea­ven? no, saith he, I thought my selfe to be upon a good bottome, but I found them all to be losse; that is, they were all causes and hinderances, why he did come unto Christ; so farre were they from being an incouragement to come to Christ, that they were barres to keepe him from resting upon a Saviour: if this could not profit Paul, no more will they profit thee, thou mayst heare, and fast, and pray, and read, and come to the supper of the Lord, which are appointed as a meanes to [Page 379] nourish the soule, and yet have an unfaithfull soule, and goe downe to hell.

Thirdly, all thy duties, though they were never so glorious in the eye of another, and never so great in thine owne apprehension, yet they are all too weake to worke this grace of faith in thy soule: Luk. 13.24. Strive to enter in at the strait ga [...]e, for many shall seeke to enter in, and shall not be able: There are foure or five passages or aggra­vations, to helpe on this point; hee doth not say that idle and lazy people shall not enter in, but those that seeke and take paines, and thinke they are at great cost too, and not a few of them nei­ther: but many shall seeke, and he doth not say they shall not bee able to run on in the wayes of godlinesse, but they shall not be able to enter into that gate, it is beyond all their power and ability to make them enter in: So that were a man able to attend with never so much care, and heare with never so much reverence, and judgement, to re­forme with never such conversation, and were a man able to doe much in the profession of the truth, yet hee might goe to hell, and never get faith, nor Christ: It is possible to goe thus farre, and to doe all these services gloriously in mans fight, and yet never come at Christ, and so perish ever: If ever man might have thought it to have done it of himselfe, then Paul might have done it, as Acts 23.2. I am verily a man, which am a Iew, borne in Tarsus a famous City in Gilicia, but brought up in this City, at the feet of Gamaliel, and instru­cted according to the perfect manner of the Law of our [Page 380] fathers; and Gal. 1.14. Hee profited in the Iewish re­ligion exceedingly, and yet all this while he confes­seth that hee was an unbeleever, 1 Tim. 1.13.

Lastly, the power of means are not able to frame the soule to this blessed gift of beleeving: a man would thinke that if a mans paines were great, and the means powerfull, that this would undoubted­ly worke faith, but yet this will not doe it nei­ther: for then Ierusalem that had all the Prophets to foretell a Christ, and all the proclamations of Iohn Baptist, and Christ himselfe preaching, that spake as never man did, and besides all these, shee had miracles expressing the power of God, to con­firme that doctrine, yet she fals short of the work; as, Iohn 12.37. Though they saw many miracles, yet they beleeved not in Christ: they had all the Pro­phets and Apostles, and all the sacrifices and ser­vices, and thither the Tribes went up, and all the helpe that ever any had, and yet they belee­ved not: and therefore it is that Christ upbraids them heavily for their fearfull scandalous hard­nesse of heart, Matthew 11.16. He compareth them to little children sitting in the market place, and calling unto their fellowes, saying, We have piped to you, and ye have not danced; wee have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented: that is, no means in the world would worke upon them: Iohn Baptist came in the way of humiliation, and Christ came in the way of comfort, but all would not prevaile with their hearts, no Law, nor Gospell.

Quest. But you will say, if this bee so, that neither a mans endevours, nor the means will make a man [Page 381] able to beleeve, then what will it availe a man to doe any duties, or to use any means?

Answ. I answer, it is very profitable and usefull, as the Apostle saith, because though wee cannot worke faith in the use of the means, yet God by the use of the means can doe what he will: the begger must come to the doore, though the man in his love and bounty provides to give the doale, yet the begger must come to the doore to wait till it be given him. Acts 18.27. The Apostle confir­med those which had beleeved through grace: So that the Word of God, & the meane of grace, and all the duties that we doe, these are but as Con­duit pipes to convey what God is pleased to be­stow; he may stay the Conduit when he will, hee may worke with means and without means, but let us wait upon God in the use of them. The Lord in them may and haply will work upon thee: So that if the best meanes, and the chiefest pri­vileges, and the best duties cannot worke faith, then I presume it is not onely difficult, but in re­gard of parts, and privileges, and all duties and means of themselves, it is impossible ever to have this faith wrought, and therefore it is not easie to get this faith into the soule.

Secondly, as the weaknesse of the means that should doe this worke, shewes that it is difficult, so also the greatnesse of the worke hinders us, that we are not able to compasse it by all the means we doe enjoy: Now the greatnesse of the worke of faith will discover it selfe in three particulars: First, because there must be severall hinderances [Page 382] removed, before there can be any room for faith; and these hinder the power of Satan, that takes possession of the soule naturally, and the supreme soveraignty of sin, it carries the whole man accor­ding to the lusts thereof, and the soule must bee brought from under both these, before it can be brought to Jesus Christ: the soule must be brought from under the jurisdiction of sin, and the domi­nion of Satan, before it can be translated unto the kingdome of God, Acts 26.18. the Apostle was sent to the Gentiles to open their eyes, and to turne them from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Every man by nature is in darknes, and under the power of sin, now the Apostle must turne them from the power of sin, before he can bring them to God, and all this must be done be­fore a man can receive remission of sins, and justi­fication by the blood of Christ. Now darknes, and sinne, and Satan, expresse their dominion over the soule, and wee cannot have sinne and Satan to bee our Lord, and have Christ our Lord too: This must be wrought in preparation: Matth. 12.29. The strong man must bee bound, and cast out before another strong man can come to take possession: Satan is the strong man, who by the power of sinne takes possession of the soule: now the power of sinne and Satan must bee east out by the power of preparation and humiliation. Now for a man to plucke a poore soule from the power of sinne and Satan, and to wrest the keyes from the hand of the devill; and to rescue a poore soule from the malice of the devill, a [...] to breake that le [...]g [...] [Page 383] and combination betweene sinne and the soule, and to withdraw the heart from these corrupti­ons, and from that power which sinne and Satan and Gods justice would expresse in the soule, no man can doe it, but onely hee that hath a greater power than both these, which none but the Lord Jesus Christ hath, Revel. 1.18. which hath the keyes of hell and of death: now the key is a signe of com­mand: now the Lord Jesus Christ only hath the key of hell & death: tis he that hath led captivity cap­tive: tis he that triumphed over all his enemies: therefore he only can pull the soule from the go­vernment of sin and Satan, and so prepare a way for faith, and thereby bring the soule to God.

Secondly, consider the glorious nature and the excellencies of this grace of faith, looke upon the surpassing excellency of the worke of faith above all other graces; for we have made it good by argument heretofore, that faith is a worke above man in his corrupt estate: so that a man may truly say, that this worke of faith is more than naturall: now for nature to worke above nature, tis above common sense: that a tree should see and walke, and a beast to reason, these things nature abhorres. Now because faith is above corrupted nature, therefore it is impossible for man to worke it in himselfe: this I take to be the reason why this gracious worke of God findes more contradiction in the heart, than any grace I know. A man findes a greater doe with his owne heart, and a greater hardnesse and crosnesse in the heart to come in and beleeve, than to doe any [Page 384] thing else; a man will heare, and read, and pray, and doe any thing, and mourne, but to beleeve it is that which a man scarce considers of; and this is the reason of it, because not onely corrup­tion opposes the worke of faith, but even a mans gifts, and selfe, and sufficiency which God gives him, that now and then seemes to bee the hinde­rance of faith, its through our corruptions in­deed: in other things it is not so; we would faine get sorrow, and therefore we labour for it; and we would have love, and therefore we labour for it; But all this is out of our owne power or abilities; we would keepe us in our selves, but faith would have us goe out to Christ: and our parts would worke this in us; but faith sayes wee must goe to the Lord Jesus Christ, or else wee are not able to doe that which he commands.

So now you see that a mans parts and abilities are sometimes great hinderances and barres to keep a man from beleeving; and this is the reason why, if God opens a mans eyes, and discovers a mans corruptions, by nature we fall to doing, to repenting formally, and all this while never see a need of a Christ, but rest in our selves and our owne abilities, and will never goe to Christ: Thousands goe to hell this way; the most that professe the Gospell, and perish, they perish upon this point. So then the work is more than naturall.

Thirdly, if wee consider the manner of Gods working upon the soule in beleeving, the Lord doth not concurre in an ordinary common kinde of providence; as meeting with some power and [Page 385] abilitie in the soule to helpe forward the worke, as God moves, and wee move, and wee are co-workers with God in severall passages; and so it is in all the workes of sanctification which comes after faith. There is still something that concurs with God in the worke, but now it is a true mira­cle, hee findes nothing in the soule, but meere feares and oppositions at first; and therefore Divines doe truly say, that it is more to make the soule beleeve, than to create a world, for in the creating of the world, the Lord had no opposi­tions, he onely spake the word, and all was made; but now sinne and Satan, and the world and all, set against the poore soule. If a man gets a knocke by the Ministery of the Gospell, and be­gins to be humbled, then carnall friends begin to perswade, and every man hath a blow to hinder him from receiving the powerfull impression of the Word of God; so that the Lord in this worke findes more fierce oppositions, than in any worke; and moreover, when these oppositions are opposed and removed, and the Lord comes into the soule, the soule is very emptie, and can­not receive nor close with any grace. As it is with a dead man, hee hath no power to quicken himselfe, as. Ephes. 19.20. What is the exceeding greatnesse of his power to us ward, who beleeve accor­ding to the working of his mighty power which hee wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead: the same Almighty power which raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, the same power the Lord puts forth in bringing a dead soule to beleeve: [Page 386] So that as the dead body hath no living vertue in it selfe to quicken it selfe, so the soule hath no ability to beleeve of its owne selfe: but see how the Apostle cannot content himselfe to speake of this worke of God, you shall see five degrees in it, what is the exceeding greatnesse of his power to us that beleeve. First, the power of God: Secondly, the greatnesse of it: Thirdly, the excessivenesse of this greatnesse: Fourthly, the excessivenesse of that mightinesse: Fifthly, the working of all together: so that there is the exceeding greatnesse, and the excessive great­nesse, and the mightinesse of that excessivenesse, and then the worke of all: as if he had said, view you the heavens, search all the stories, and be­hold all the miracles that ever God wrought, and there is none equall to his, to bee compared with this worke of beleeving. I say of faith as Iacob did of Reuben, Gen. 49.3. Reuben thou art my first borne, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignities, &c. So I say of faith, it is the first borne of all other graces, it is the might of God, and the beginning, and the excellency of the might and power of God: for as the first borne hath a double portion appointed by God, so this is the first borne, and hath a double por­tion of that Almighty Spirit of his.

So then if it be so, that all the parts that ever a man had, and all the highest privileges, and meanes, and duties, cannot reach this worke, and are not able to worke faith, but are too feeble to worke faith: and if it bee so, that this worke is [Page 387] extraordinary great, and so are the hindrances to be removed, and none but Christ can doe it; and if faith bee supernaturall, the opposition against this worke of God bee so fierce, let then every man that heares the word of God this day, yeeld that it is unconceivable how it is done, and there­fore much more out of our power to worke it in our owne soules: therefore you that have heard, and understand the minde of God, that out of ignorance have beene deceived, to you I now speake, you are to be intreated in the name of the Lord, to goe home, and say, and take shame to your selves, and confesse your owne folly; thou that hast made it a easie worke to beleeve, saying, if people were but judicious to understand the Scriptures, it were easie to beleeve; now take shame to your selves, and say thus, Lord, the truth is, I condemned such and such a poore soule, I heard such a man a mourning, and saying, hee could not beleeve; in the meane time I thought it was easie, or else they wanted wit; but I thought that by my parts and abilities, and because I was able to see the depth of Scriptures, that therefore I could beleeve, and that it was an easie matter to doe it: but poore deluded creature that I was, I see now that I am no more able to beleeve out of my owne power, than to pull the sunne from the heavens: consider it sadly, and know, that he that beleeves, must beleeve through grace, therefore parly with the promise, and say, Lord, I must be­leeve through grace: it is not parts nor privi­leges, meanes nor duties, I must beleeve through [Page 386] [...] [Page 387] [...] [Page 388] grace: if I could meditate till my eyes sunke in­to my head, yet Lord it is through that grace that I must beleeve, through that grace of thine; inable thy servant, and strengthen him in hearing, prayer, and all meanes, that I may receive the good and benefit of faith to my comfort: and brethren, whensoever yee appeare before the Lord in the use of the meanes, doe not sticke up­on the meanes, and say, now I shall beleeve, but looke to him, that by all these can doe more than thou canst doe; and say, Good Lord, thou hast appointed the ordinances to worke faith, and the messengers have knockt at the doore of my heart, and would faine have had me come home to the Lord Jesus; but alas! this heart would not yeeld, I will not beleeve, nor rest upon the pro­mises, nor goe to Jesus Christ, nor denie all car­nall confidence in parts, and gifts, and the like; therefore good Lord, thou that hast the keyes of hell and death, doe not onely stand and knock, but Lord shake off these iron gates of unbeleefe from the hinges, it is thy owne worke, doe it Lord, for the good and comfort of thy servant; this we must doe, or else it will never be done, it is the Lord that must doe it: you know, a little before my text, the Scribes and Pharisees said, How did he come downe from heaven? Let no man, saith Christ, be offended with this, for no man can come to mee, ex­cept the Father draw him; and in the 28, 29. verses, they said, How shall we worke the worke of God? This is the worke of God, saith Christ, that ye beleeve in the Sonne of God; this is the Master peece, and the [Page 389] first-borne of God, and the exceeding greatnesse of his mightie power: and in the text, Hee that hath heard and learned of the Father, commeth to me; and Christ saith, I have called you out of world; the Disciples were setled upon the world, and Christ calls them; now if all the Angels in hea­ven had called, they would not have heard; but Christ saith, I have called you from the world, and from that evill, and sinne, in which ye were, &c. when you heare of there workes, treasure them up in your heart, and plead thus with the Lord, and say, Lord thou hast bidden us come unto thee, and it is our dutie; but no man can come unto thee, though he have never so many parts and gifts, ex­cept thou draw him; Lord draw this heart of mine to beleeving: no man can know the way to thee, except thou teach him; Oh therefore teach thou this blinde minde of mine, it is not our worke can make us beleeve, it is not in our power to frame our hearts to this blessed worke; Lord doe thou it, and let that excessive greatnesse of thy mighty power be manifested, in making mee beleeve, and draw home this soule by the greatnesse of thy power; Lord here are great hin­derances, and great sinnes, and mightie great basenesse and loosnesse of heart, Lord thou hast that exceeding great power to doe it, Lord worke mightily upon my heart, and over-power this greatnesse of sinne, with the greatnesse of thy power; and over-power this mightinesse of cor­ruption, by that mightinesse of thy power: you must goe to God for this power, or else it will ne­ver [Page 390] bee, for though you had all the meanes and helpes, that ever any had, yet this carnall confi­dence will never out, before the almighty power of God come downe from heaven, seeke for that power, and never be in quiet till you have it, that you may have this worke of faith to your com­comforts for ever.

Vse 4 Hence in the next place, wee collect the excee­ding great benefit that will come by beleeving to the soule; the difficultie in getting of it can­not be so great, but the benefit of it, when it is gotten, will bee as great every way: and that is thus, faith makes the life of every man that hath it most easie, and brings full content to the soule of him that hath it; these are the two heads to which I will referre the benefit of faith: First, it makes the life of a Christian most easie. Secondly, it gives full content to the heart of a poore Chri­stian; these follow from the former truth in this manner; if this be the nature of faith, to cause the soule to rest upon the free grace of God in Christ, and to furnish the soule with a supply of spirituall wants from hence, then this must needs make the life of a Christian most easie; if faith makes the life of a Christian so easie, then the soule must needs bee contented: but the nature of faith is this, to cause the soule to rest upon God and his promise, and therefore it makes the life easie. Secondly, it furnisheth the soule with all necessaries, and therefore it gives the soule full content. First of the former, the life of the beleever, is the life that hath most ease with [Page 391] it, and brings most delight with it; there is no life under heaven more free from tediousnesse, and hath more ease and liberty than a Christian course; let a mans condition bee what it will bee, faith makes a mans life most easie: I use to compare the conditions of them that want faith, to the cart that is from his wheeles; they draw heavily, and they are in great extremitie, and they tug and toile, but it will not be drawne with any ease or good successe: so unfaithfull soules sinck in their sorrowes upon every occasion, and their lives are tedious and wearisome; but faith sets the cart upon the wheeles, and carries all away easily and comfortably: you must know thus much, it is the hardest matter in the world to get faith, when we want it; but it is the most easiest life in all the world, and hath the most delight in all the world, if wee have but skill to use it wisely when we have it, and it gives most ease and quiet to a man in all his conversation: and this faith doth two wayes; First, because faith hath a skill, and a kinde of slight, to put over all cares to an­other, that whereas the unfaithfull heart beares all the cares in himselfe, and so he sinckes under them; this is the cunning of faith, to put over all to another: wee take up the crosse, but faith hurls all the care on Christ, as Matth. 11.29. Take my yoke upon you, and you shall finde rest to your soules; faith makes a man rest, and goe on easily in a Christian course, and all his troubles are remo­ved, and therefore he may goe on easily in a Chri­stian course; all his troubles are removed, there­fore [Page 392] he may goe on with ease; whereas the un­faithfull heart is as Saint Iames speakes, Chap. 1. 15. Like a wave of the sea, tossed to and fro: and Esa. 57.20. There is no peace to the wicked, but they are as a raging sea, which cannot rest; faith sets us to the worke, but it layes all the weight of the worke upon another; it is an easie matter to lye under the burthen, when another beares all the weight of it: this is the difference betweene a faithfull soule, and a man that lives by his wits and shifts; looke as it is with two ferry men, the one of them hals his boat about the shoare, and cannot get off, but tugs and puls, and never puts her forth to the tide; but the other puts his boat upon the streame, and sets up his saile, and then hee may sit still in his boat, the winde will carry him whither he is to goe: Just thus it is with a faithfull soule, and an unbeleever; all the care of the faithfull soule is to put himselfe upon the streame of Gods providence, and to set up the saile of faith, and to take the gale of Gods mercie and providence, and so he goes on cheerfully, because it is not he that carries him, but the Lord Jesus Christ; whereas every unfaithfull soule tugs and puls at the businesse, like the ferryman with his boat up­on the shoare, and can finde neither ease, nor cheare, nor successe, because hee thinkes by his owne wits and power to doe what he would; but faith will keepe a man upon the streame of Gods providence, and labours for the blessing of God to carrie him along, and so he rests himselfe upon the free grace of God: this makes the life of [Page 393] faith marvellous easie and free from trouble, and makes the soule goe on wonderfull cheerfully: though the childe were naked, yet if the father would buy cloth, and see the garment fitted for him, hee only to take it and put it on; were not this easie? and though the childe were even hun­gerstarved, yet if the father would provide meat and drinke, and set it before him, hee only to eat it; were not this easie? when the Lord had made a marriage for his Sonne, Luke 14. the text saith, He hath killed his fatlings, and drawne out his wines, all things are ready, come therefore to the marriage; this is all that God lookes for at our hands, all the dainties of life and salvation, peace, pardon, power against corruption, whatsoever we can want, they are all prepared, onely come unto the marriage: take this mercie, and feed upon these precious comforts that the Lord Jesus Christ offereth unto us: if you want grace, and if you want wisdome, and power, and holinesse, and patience, you may goe to Jesus Christ, and take it, it is bought and paid for already, onely take it and put it on; is not this an easie life? what would you have, brethren? nay, yet more, if more may be added, all that the Lord requires in this case, is, in a manner, to stand still, and see what the Lord will doe for him; as in the 2 Chron. 20.15. to the 20. when Iehoshaphat was in a great straight, and knew not what to doe, the Lord saith to him, The battle is not yours, but Gods, stand ye still, and see the salvation of God; it is easie conquering, when a man may stand still, and overcome by looking on [Page 394] the adversaries; then in the 19. verse, the Levites the Sonnes of the Kohathites, fell to singing and to praising of God, when as yet they had not strucke one stroke in the battle; but the truth is, they had the victorie by faith, they beleeved the Prophets of God, the Prophets had spoken it, and therefore the King did beleeve it, that it should be done; and it was not only so in that extraor­dinary case of his, wherein the power and life of faith was expressed, but it is that which apper­taines to all the Saints of God in their spirituall combats, and what God did for the King in that case, the same hee doth for all the Saints; there­fore Rom. 8.38. The beleevers are more than conque­rers; and why so? there is no man can conquer before hee come into the field, and contend with his enemies; but wee overcome before wee fight, how? through him that loved us: if wee looke upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and keepe our hearts by a holy bent to the promises of life and salva­tion, we shall overcome our enemies; this is the first ground.

2 Secondly, faith makes the life easie this way, because it sweetens all our afflictions, even those that are most hard and full of tediousnesse, and withall faith apprehends all troubles and afflicti­ons, and faith apprehends the faithfulnesse of God, ordering all for his good: and thats the rea­son why all troubles are digested comfortably, without any harshnesse at all: looke at H [...] and Mordecai, Haman had the Kings favour, and all his desires granted him, and the postes were [Page 395] dispatched, and yet he was more troubled in plot­ [...]ing this evill against the Jewes, than Mordecai was in bearing it, because faith made the life of Mordecai easie and comfortable, and therefore [...]e saith, Salvation will come, I see not the way, [...]or I know not the meanes how it should be, but [...]alvation will come; therefore David in the 119. [...]salme, 75. verse, saith, I know that all thy judge­ [...]ents are just, and that thou of very faithfulnesse hast [...]fflicted mee; hee drunke nothing but mercy in [...]hat bitter cup which God had tempered for [...]im: when the patient takes bitter pills, if they [...]ee well sugered, they goe downe the easier, and [...]he bitternesse never troubles him: so it is with [...]aith, it takes away the harshnesse of all inconve­ [...]iences, which are bitter pills in themselves, but [...]hey are sweetned and sugered over by the [...]aithfulnesse of God, for the good of the soule, [...]nd therefore it goes on cheerfully: so the issue of the point is this, if the burthen of the worke [...]e laid upon another, and if all cares be put over [...]o another, and if all the harshnesse of all troubles [...]e taken away by faith, then faith must needs make the life of a Christian easie and comfor­ [...]able.

2 The second thing wherein the excellencie and [...]enefit of faith appeares, is this, it fils the soule of a beleever with full contentment, and in truth [...]ontentment commeth through beleeving: for [...]ee that doth partake of the mercie of God in Christ, he cannot but partake of all the good that [...] therein, and so hee cannot but bee contented [Page 396] therewith: Oh, saith one, I would faine have contentment in the world, then the life of faith brings full content to the heart of a believer, so that he shall say, I can desire no more; 1 Corin. 3.22, 23. when the Apostle would still the divi­sions that were risen amongst the Corinths, (for every man was not content with what he had, but would have even what hee list) hee saith, All is yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all is yours; and will not all content you? would you have the world? it is yours; would you have things pre­sent? take them; would you have things to come? expect them; they are yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods; Christ hath what God hath, and the beleever hath what Christ hath; nay, sinne, and hell, and death, they are but your servants, and hee that hath Christ, and all good in a Christ, hee hath all working for his good; therefore hee that hath a Saviour, and all good in him, he cannot be discontented.

Now faith workes a mans full content three wayes:

1 First, faith supplies all wants.

2 Secondly, it cures all feares.

3 Thirdly, it inables a man to all duties; and more than these cannot be added nor desired.

1 For the first, faith supplies all wants, faith plucks the soule, and hales the heart of a poore Christi­an away from all those secret bosome distempers, as pride, and such like, which breed any discon­tentment within a man, as all curiositie, and all [Page 397] pride and unquietnesse, for these rack the soule with a restlesse discontent, all the inordinate de­sires and the like: these lusts and corruptions ought not to bee quieted, nay it cannot bee; for spirituall things will not satisfie a corrupt heart; and worldly things cannot quiet it: Now faith divorceth the soule, and withdrawes the heart from under the power of those boysterous di­stempers, and makes the soule resigne up it selfe to the good will of God, and when faith hath done these, then in the second place faith makes the soule say, the good will of the Lord is better than any thing that hee shall deny, or than all the good things that an inordinate sinfull heart can crave: faith makes the soule apprehend that whatsoever God doth, and whatsoever Gods pleasure is, is better to him, than whatsoever hee can desire, though God deny what he desires: if God will have a man poore, faith sayes, it is better than if he had given him riches; and if it bee the will of God to lay shame and disgrace upon a man, faith sayes, it is better that God lay shame upon me than honours, because it is his good will and pleasure so to have it, and so the heart is qui­eted and fully contented, and the want is suppli­ed, because the will of God is better than to have what wee desire. The Patient that trusts to the skill and faithfulnesse of the Physitian, is better content to take pills from him, than all the best Cordials that can be desired.

Thirdly, faith either obtaines what wee need and desire, or else procures a farre better thing [Page 398] than what we desire; art thou in trouble and mi­sery? faith will either fetch from God what thou needest, or else bring that which is better from the hands of God; by this means the Lord Christ cures all the discontentment that might creep in upon the hearts of his Disciples: Matth. 19.29. There is no man which shall lose father, or mother, or wife, or children, or friends, for my Names sake, but he shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit eternall life: whatsoever wee lose for a Christ, we shall have a hundred fold recompence for it; as if a man for the cause of Christ suffer persecution, or imprisonment, and loseth peace here, thou thou shalt have peace with God, and thy soule shall prosper in grace; and if friends haply for­sake thee, and the father is against the sonne, and the husband is set against the wife, thou shalt have the favour of the Lord God of heaven, which is better than the love of all earthly husbands or friends; for all these things here below are but as it were the shell, but this is the pith and ker­nell, the love of God in Christ: and if a man lose liberty for Christ, he shall have a thousand times more libertie in the peace of a good conscience, and a free heart to serve God: and in the 63. Psalme in the beginning of the Psalme, David was in the wildernesse of Iudah, when Saul had banished him from his house, and deprived him of friends and meanes, and all, yet see how David supplies all in the 3. verse, because thy loving kindnesse is bet­ter than life, my lips shall praise thee; and in the 5. verse he saith, My soule shall bee filled as with [...] ­row [Page 399] and fatnesse: now marrow and fatnesse is the chiefe of all you know; as if he had said, Saul hath taken away my meanes, but thy loving kindnesse is better than all the world, it is that which fully satisfieth me: Saul hath taken away my liberty, but thy loving kindnesse is better than life it selfe, and therefore my soule shall bee fully quieted therein: Thus faith brings a supply of all good to the soule. In the 73. Psalme 25. and the last verse, compare them both together, and see how David makes the conclusion: David was almost disqui­eted, and his heart disquieted with the prospe­ritie of the wicked; therefore hee said, if this bee so, then have I cleansed my hands in innocencie, and washed my hands in vaine: yet marke how hee re­covers himselfe againe, saying, Whom have I in hea­ven but thee? and there is none in earth that I desire in comparison of thee; therefore it is good for me to draw neere to God. Let the wicked take the world, and their profits, and their pleasures, yet there is no­thing in the world that I desire in comparison of the Lord Jesus Christ, and his grace and good­nesse: Consider it sadly, the wicked have much wealth, and friends, and means: Oh thou belo­ved faithfull soule, thou hast the rich treasury of grace and mercy to inrich thee, all this whole world is nothing to that rich treasury of mercy which faith brings in: as Salomon saith, in Eccle­siastes, Money answers all; if a man have money, he may buy meat to feed him, and cloth to apparell him, and cover him: If money will doe so much, what will mercy doe then? thou hast not wealth, nor [Page 400] friends, nor meanes, but thou hast mercy from God in Christ, and this will answer all: it is bet­ter than friends, and meanes, and all: therefore if thou hast this, let thy heart be contented, and know that thou hast a childs part, and thy lot is fallen into a marvellous faire ground.

2 Secondly, as faith takes off all miseries, and supplies the want of them; so in the second place faith takes away all feares for the time to come: alas, saith the soule, friends, and means, and wealth are good, but they continue not ever. What if sicknesse come? and if povertie come, what shall I doe then? and so the heart shakes at the feare of evill: Now pray marke how faith cures all feares, and takes off the edge of all those inconve­niences that may bee brought upon a man, as in the 112. Psalme 7. He shall not bee afraid of any evill tidings, why? for his heart is fixed, and he beleeveth in the Lord: for although heaven and earth may shake, yet God, and Christ, and the promise will never faile, and hee casting his heart there by faith, he must needs hold. What is it that a man may feare? we feare the power, and policy, and malice of the devill and his wicked instruments; now faith outbids these, and faith rests upon the precious promises of God in Jesus Christ, and faith perswades the heart that they have no power but from God, and they cannot use that power further than God gives leave, and they cannot have successe further than God goes with them, they can goe no further than God gives a Com­mission. Now, sayes faith, that God which or­ders [Page 401] the power of all these, he is my God, hee is the God of Hosts; and none of all the armies can either command peace, neither can they hin­der peace; therefore I adde a little more, faith levies new forces from heaven, against all the sor­ces of earth; are the wicked politique? then sayes faith, the Lord is much more wise, and is able to dash all their enterprises: and are the wicked fierce, and violent? then faith lookes to God, where there is more power to defend him, than they can have to hurt him: doe wee see the wicked maliciously bent, and full of spleene to wrong the people of God? faith sees mercy and goodnesse in the Lord, that is more able to re­leeve us, than all the wicked can bee to hurt us: faith sayes, if hell gates were open, and all the de­vills were about thy eares, they can doe nothing further than God gives them power, and gives a Commission to them; therefore I may bee quie­ted, because God is more able to keepe me, than they are to hurt me.

3 Thirdly, faith it is that inables a man to all du­ties; for imagine a man had all the power in his owne hands, and had no wants present, nor feared no wants nor troubles to come; if yet hee were not able to doe what God required, this would disquiet his heart: therefore by faith the Lord inables a man to doe every duty that the Lord commends to him, or expects from him: It is the ground that Paul contents his heart withall, Phil. 4.13. I can doe all things through the power of Christ which strengtheneth me: I can bee poore and [Page 402] beare it, and I can be rich, and yet not surfet of the world; I can doe all, but how? through the po­wer of Christ inabling me: therefore famous is that of Abraham, Rom. 4.18. God had promised Abraham a childe, and yet his body was dead, and his wife barren, and it was even against nature for him to beget a childe, or for her to beare any: Now how doth God provide for this? Abraham under hope, beleeved above hope; and in the 21. verse because he was fully perswaded, that he that had pro­mised it, was able to make it good: there was no hope in nature, that Abraham should beget a child, his body being dead, and no hope that she should beare any; therefore faith goes to God that was able to quicken them: hast thou a barren & a dead heart as theirs was, and therefore thy soule com­plaines, and thou saist, I shall never be able to goe through the worke required? I know it is the complaint of many poore soules; Oh send faith up to Heaven, and beleeve in him that is able to succour you, and to quicken you, to whatsoever he requires; content thy heart in this manner, and say when thou findest thy heart dead, I am ig­norant, but the Lord is able to inlighten my blinde minde, and I have a dead barren heart, but the Lord who is the God of power, hee is able to quicken me, and to releeve a poore dead blockish sinner. Hee beleeved in him (saith the Text) which calleth things that are not as if they were; Abraham is not lively, and Sarah is not fruitfull, but the Lord can make them so; and therefore faith goes to God; so thou shalt be wise, and have [Page 403] thy heart quickned to whatsoever duty concernes Gods prayse and thy owne comfort; so then hee that hath what hee will, or can desire, or stand in need of; and he that hath all his feares removed, and is inabled to doe all duties commanded: no­thing more can bee added to this man, therefore why should not hee be contented? what would you have, you poore beleevers?

Quest. Then the question here growes, namely, if it be so that faith makes a mans life easie, and gives him full contentment in every condition, then why is it thus, as Gedeon said; so if faith thus contents the soule, then how comes it to passe that those poore silly creatures are so troubled with discou­ragements and discontentments, and none so cast downe with their owne basenesse and vilenesse as they; they hang downe their heads, and goe droo­ping all the day long; either (saith one) I have not faith, or else if I have faith, then why is it thus with me?

Ans. I answer; the fault is not in faith, that it doth not or cannot lend supply and succour to thee; but the fault is in thy selfe, either in thy careles­nesse, and ignorance, that knowest not when thou hast faith; or else in thy unskilfulnesse, that thou dost not imply that faith which thou hast faith­fully for thine owne good; I speake only of the beleever, I goe not about to prove that he which hath not faith, can be contented; no, hee hath a worme in his bosome, a conscience which will plague him and torment him for ever.

Quest. But to speake of one that hath faith, if it be so [Page 404] that it bringeth such contentment, how may a man that hath faith improve it to have this con­tentment from it?

Ans. For answer hereunto the rules are foure, which a man must use to have this contentment, where­by he may be carried on in his course, and goe on singing to Heaven; remember still that I speake of a man that hath faith.

Rule 1 First, labour to gaine some evidence to thy owne soule, that thou hast a title to the promise, make thy title good. It is not enough for a male­factour in prison to have a pardon granted him, but he must know that the pardon is granted be­fore he can bee contented therewith: haply the King hath granted it, and the Prince hath begd it, but the malefactour is not contented untill hee know it. It is not enough that a poore begger hath a friend or a rich unkle that will doe much for him, or that he hath setled a great estate upon him, and his heires after him; but hee must know it before he can be contented with it: it may be he is not neere by a hundred miles, and he is troubled with misery and poverty, because hee knowes not of it; just so it is with a faithfull soule; there is never a poore beleever, but hee is rich in faith, though hee live in a smoaky cottage, and lives meanly, and goes barely, yet all these revenues of faith are his; Heaven and Earth, and all is thine thou poore beleever. But what is all this to the matter, if thou hast no evidence that all this i [...] thine? this is the fault why poore Christians goe drooping, and are overburthened with their sins [Page 405] and their miseries, because they see not their title to mercie, nor their evidence of Gods love; in 2 King. 6.16, 17. when Elisha was beset with an armie of his enemies, the servant of the Prophet said, good Master, what shall we doe, they are many, and wee are few, they are armed, and wee are naked? then said the Prophet, Lord open his eyes, that he may see, and God did it, and then hee saw those hils full of fierie charets, and then hee saw that there were more with them, than were against them, and then hee was quiet: now the armies and the chariots were there before, but hee saw them not, and therefore he could not be quieted: so it is with every faith­full soule, the Lord hath caused his Angels to pitch their tents about the elect, wee have God on our side, and Christ, and the Angels, but wee see not our privileges, and the interest that wee have in the mercie and goodnesse of the Lord; we crie out as he did, good Master, what shall we doe? so many sinnes, and so many corruptions, how shall we be succoured? the Lord open our eyes, that we may see the free riches of his grace, and the fulnesse of his mercie: this is all ours, that we may see his love to us, and his Angels waiting upon us, and his blessing going with us; this would quiet our hearts: I will not now adde, how you may doe this, and how you may make your evidence cleere, that you have a title to mer­cie; this were to multiply a division upon a di­vision: only judge your estate by the word, and take one evidence from the word, as good as ten thousand; this is the fault of people: it may bee [Page 406] some evidence fits them marvellous well, but be­cause they have not all, they will have none at all, in truth, but throw away all: and therefore, I say, judge your estates by the word, and not by carnall reason, and if you have but one promise for you, you have all in truth, though all be not so fully and cleerly perceived; this is the first rule.

Rule 2 Secondly, labour to set a high prize, and a won­derfull great account of the precious promises of the Lord, thus estated upon thee for thy good, and make account of the least promise of grace above a thousand worlds; looke what account you make of the sufficiencie of a thing, so much content you have in that thing, whose sufficiencie you see, and doe esteeme of: now because the promises of God, and the riches of Gods love in Christ, are most worthy of our love, and most suf­ficient for us, let us therefore be contented with them above all, and then wee shall bee contented though wee want all; Luke 12.32. when the Disciples were in great trouble, and expected more and further miserie after the death of Christ, the Lord Christ saith to them, Feare not little flocke, it is your fathers pleasure, to give you a kingdome; if you finde hand measures, and feare troubles, and expect persecutions on every side, yet feare ye not, you shall have a kingdome, and that will carry you through all occasions; are you imprisoned, and persecuted, and disquieted? feare not, you shall have a kingdome, and then you shall bee comforted and quieted for ever: you little ones that are poore and meane in the world, [Page 407] and you lye as stepping stones for every base wretch to tread on, you are persecuted, and despi­sed, and scorned, but feare not, you shall have a kingdome; the want of this is the cause of all that discontentment, that is in the hearts of Gods owne people, which are beloved of him, and re­spected by him. Take a poore man in misery, his children crie for meat, and the mother saith, goe to bed poore babes, you shall have meat, when the Lord sends it; brethren, this is hard I con­fesse, but now if a friend should come and give him two hundred pounds a yeare for ever, this would make him goe away contented, because this would provide for him and his: now I pro­pound a promise to this man, the Lord hath said, he will never faile thee, nor forsake thee; what is this worth of your money? one man offers him two hundred pounds a yeare, and I offer him a promise, now couldst thou, thou poore miserable creature, bee content to take this two hundred pounds a yeare, and leave the promise, and bee content that the Lord should not pardon, nor comfort, nor save thee; I presume thou wouldst not doe thus: now will a thousand pounds con­tent thee, and will not the promise? the reason is, thou prisest the money because it is temporall, and thou seest it, and thou prisest not the promise, because it is spirituall, and thou seest it not: take a man in contempt, and disgrace, and scorne, and no man lookes after him; if this man were regar­ded and honoured of men, all were well, and the man were healed, and fully contented: now the [Page 408] Lord accepts of thee thou faithfull soule, he hath honoured thee so farre as to make thee his sonne, and to give thee a kingdome, why should honours comfort thee, when the honour of Gods love and favour in Christ will not doe it? the reason is, be­cause wee are carnall, and see not these; if a man could but see his privileges, and say, the world shames mee, but God accepts mee, this would quiet his heart for ever; therefore take speciall heed of those earthly and carnall affections, that take off the price of the promise, an earthly heart would have more than it ought: I say, take heed of these affections, and know that thou hast a ti­tle to the promise, and know that one promise, and the sweetnesse of Gods mercie in Christ, is better than all the honours in the world to ad­vance thee, better than all the riches in the world, or than all the parts that ever any scholler had; prize these at this rate, and then thou canst not but be contented with it.

Rule 3 Thirdly, labour to keepe the promises ever at hand, that you may have a ready recourse to the promise at a trice, and at a turne, and that you may not have the promises to seeke when need is; what is it to mee, though I have a thing in house, if I have it not at my need? if a man should say, I have as good cordiall water as any is in the world, but I know not where it is; what folly were this, to set his bottle he knowes not where? haply the man is ready to swound and dye, and he saith, I have as good cordiall water as any is in the world, but I know not where it is; hee may [Page 409] swound and dye, because hee knowes not where his waters are: so thou hast a title to rhe pro­mises of grace, and thou settest not a high price upon the promise, but out of thy carelesnesse, lea­vest one promise here, and another there, and thou hast taken up thy heart with the world, and when miserie comes, and thy heart is surcharged, thou saist, Oh some comfort to beare up a poore, fainting, drooping soule, my troubles are many, and I cannot beare them; Christ and a promise would have done it; but you throw them in a corner, it is your owne carelesnesse, and that breeds all your miserie; keepe the promises at hand, and let them be within your reach; he that is ready to faint often, will bee sure to carry his bottle in his pocket, and will set it at his beds head every night, that whensoever hee should faint, hee may finde it presently: now for the Lords sake, let me intreat you to be wise for your poore soules, there is many a fainting and aguish fit and qualme comes over the heart of many a poore Christian, persecutions without, and sor­rowes and corruptions within, therefore keepe your cordiall about you, and bee sure that you have it within your reach, and have it not to seeke when you have need to use it: I would have a poore Christian acquainted with the promise in the darke, that so at midnight, when God frowns, and the Devill threatens, and corruptions boile within you, you may have it ready at hand, set the promise ever at your beds head, take one, and bring another, and be refreshed by another, and [Page 410] goe singing to your graves, and to heaven for ever; in the 63. Psalme 5, 6. verses, marke the con­nexion of those two verses, My soule shall bee satis­fied as with marrow and fatnesse; but when shall this bee? looke the 6. verse, When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate upon thee in the night wat­ches; he was now in the wildernesse, but when he left his house, he tooke the promises with him, he would not leave his cordiall behinde him; my soule shall be satisfied; enough Lord, enough, I am satisfied as with marrow; but when is all this? when I remember thee upon my bed; hee re­membred well where hee had set the promise, when I remember the mercie of the Lord; that though all my friends be gone, yet I remember thy mercie; that doth all, and thy faithfulnesse and goodnesse that satisfieth all fully: Ile war­rant you that the promise will fetch you againe, though you were fainting and going away.

Rule 4 Well I have now a title to the promise, and though I have not wealth, nor honours, nor friends, yet I have a Christ; and though I can­not doe this and that, yet I hope to goe to hea­ven, in spight of all the Devils in hell.

Now lastly, be sure to drinke a heartie draught of the promise, if a man drinke a little, and spet it out againe, it will never doe him good; there­fore stand by the promise, feed and drinke hear­tily of the promise; and as Eliphaz said, Iob 22.21. Acquaint thy selfe with God; bestow thy selfe upon the promise every houre, whensoever thou dost finde the fit comming, this is the only way to [Page 411] finde comfort, it is the counsell that the Lord Christ gives to his spouse, Cant. 5.1. the Lord hath fitted all things to refresh his poore chil­dren, and marke what the manner of feasting is, [...]nd what every man that comes to this feast must doe, Eat, Oh friends, and drinke, yea, drinke abun­dantly, Oh well beloved; the word in the originall [...]s, in drinking drinke, ye cannot be drunken with [...]he Spirit, as ye may with wine, therefore drinke [...]bundantly; looke as it is in nature, were the greatest dainties in the world prepared, and the tables furnished, send a hungar-starved man to the place, if he only take a bit and away, hee must needs goe away an hungred; the fault was not in the meat, for there was enough for him, but the fault was here, hee did not feed heartily, hee did not drinke it downe; thinke of it sadly, you faith­full Saints of God; they come now and then, and take a snatch of the promise, and then comes feare, and temptation, and persecution, and all is gone, there is enough in the promise for thee and all thy posteritie; but to take a snatch and be­gone, and to thinke of the promise, and flye off againe presently, this is the cause why you come [...]hirstie, and goe away thirstie; you come discom­forted, and so you goe away; it is your owne fault, brethren: experience tels us thus much, take a poore distressed soule, much burthened and pinched, and he wants the sense of Gods love, and is not worthy the ground hee goes upon, bring this man to the word of God, and to holy confe­ [...]ence, and the like, and hee will say, I blesse God, [Page 412] my heart is very well quieted now; and h [...]s trou­ble is over, and his temptation is gone, yet hee is no sooner gone from the congregation, or from the place of conference, but hee is the same man that he was before, still doubting of Gods love, and quarrelling with himselfe and his owne comfort; and the fault was here, hee onely tooke a snatch and away: but remember this, the same promise that you heard in the publike, keepe it, and be ever sipping of it; I confesse, saith he, my heart was cheered, and when I heard such a Mini­ster preach, and such a Christian pray, I was excee­dingly comforted, and had sweet assurance of Gods love, but now all is gone; the fault is your owne: for if you would cleave to the promise, it would doe you as much good in the private, as in the publike; it would comfort you at one time as well as at another: many times it thus befals us Ministers, when we preach of consolation, and when wee pray and conferre, wee thinke that wee are beyond all trouble, but by and by we are full of feares, and troubles, and sorrowes, because wee take not full contentment in the promise, wee drinke not a deepe draught of it: therefore take heed of these two things, whereby poore Christi­ans are marvellously couzened; First, take heed of attending to the parlies of temptations, and of making a pursuit of every temptation of the De­vill; if you will listen to his chat, he will make you forget all your comfort, for the Devill casts in a bone of dissention, and we snarle at it, and parly with him about it, and so lose the comfort of the [Page 413] promise: therefore talke not with Satan at all, but hold your hearts to the truth of the promise, that is revealed to be yours.

Secondly, be not alwayes quarrelling and ca­villing with carnall reason, but when you have any evidence, keepe it, and let it not be taken out of your hands; for it is certaine that there are ma­ny poore Christians, that cannot but confesse that they have faith, and are wonderfully comfor­ted; but when they are gone from the Minister, their old carnall reason comes againe, and they attend not to the promise, but to their carnall reason, and from hence the devill gets marvel­lous ground against a poore soule: therefore when you have the promise cleared from the Word, heare nothing from Satan against that, but from the Scripture, but throw away all cursed carnall suggestions, hold you close to the truth; and if the devill can say any thing against the truth so tis, if not, then hold to it. Now is it so, that faith makes the life and soule of a beleever full of comfort and contentment? then you faithfull soules take heed of ever repining and murmuring against the Lord, and when you finde these di­stempers rising in your hearts, still them, and suf­fer not your hearts to murmure against God, nor to bee discontented with his good providence. Oh, saith one, I have no sense nor feeling of his love, nor I cannot doe this nor that, and would you have a man contented in this condition? how now soule? why, did God never give thee any grace, nor stir up thy heart to beleeve? yes tis true, I [Page 414] have a little faith, if it were not for that, what should I doe? it is all I have, I have nothing but that: Oh for shame hold your peace, nothing but that? is it all come to nothing? is Christ, and Grace, and Heaven, and mercy, and all come to but a so much? hath God given thee faith, and wilt thou not bee content with it? seeme the consolations of God small unto thee? is it no­thing to thee that Christ and Heaven is thine? is it nothing that God hath given you his Sonne, and that Christ hath shed his heart-bloud for you, and made you able to rest upon him? is all this nothing? It is as much as if a poore man had a thousand pounds given him, and hee were angry with his friend for his kindnesse: Oh, g [...]e your wayes cheered and comforted, and murmure no more, but say as good Iacob did, I have not this nor that, but I have a Ioseph in Egypt, my sonne i [...] alive, I will goe and see him ere I die: He is better to me than friends, and means, and all: so goe your way, and take heed how you offend the riches of Gods free grace: nothing but a heart to beleeve? Oh, for shame bite thy tongue when it saith so, and say, Lord I have not friends, nor means, nor this nor that, but I have a heart to beleeve, and to rest upon thee; Lord, cause mee to rest upon thee more and more; it is enough that I have a beleeving heart, though I never see a good day besides. It is enough that I have seene Christ my Saviour and my Redeemer, &c. It is a m [...]r­vellous folly, and shame, and trouble, we dis­honour God, and Christ, and all, and make the [Page 415] wicked peopl [...] say, that swearers and drunkards goe on merily laughing and rejoycing; and these Christians they goe drooping. If this bee grace, saith one, God blesse me from it; there is a strug­ling & a striving to get a little grace, & assurance, and power against corruption, and yet for ought I see, they have no more comfort than I have. Oh, walke humbly, yet cheerfully and comfortably; hast thou any wants? faith will supply them; hast thou any feare of trouble for the time to come? faith will cure all feares; art thou weake and un­able to doe this or that duty faith will inable thee to every duty required; doe but beleeve, and rest upon Christ, and grace and strength will come, and thou shalt bee able to doe all things through Christ that strengthens thee. Oh, saith one, this is a lesson for a Paul, and for the great standers, the Cedars in grace: I answer, Paul doth not say hee did it of himselfe, but by the power and grace of Christ strengthning him; and Christ hath as much strength and grace for thee, as hee had for Paul, if thou beleeve in him, and rest in him: therefore goe thou thy way, and let us all be comforted; thou and I, and every poore Saint of God may doe well through the grace of Christ that strengthens us. Thus much of the fourth use.

Vse 5 Hence in the next place wee conclude, that as the difficulty is great in getting faith, so the bene­fit of it when it is gotten, is every way as great; therefore it is a ground of admirable comfort to all the servants of God, that through his mercy [Page 416] have received this grace at his Majesties hand; they ought to be wonderfully comforted because they have it, and so to bee thankfull to him that hath wrought it; you see the difficulty of faith, and the benefit of it: Now hath the Lord wrought this in thy soule? then goe thy way com­forted for what thou hast, and be thankfull to him who hath given it thee. The Lord gives one man riches, and another man advancements, and ano­ther hath great parts, and another large revenues; thou seest all these, and thy teeth begin to water at them, and thy heart begins to bubble and re­pine at this, and thou saist the Lord hath gi­ven riches to this man, and honours to that man; well, but hath he not given thee a heart to beleeve and to rest upon the riches of Gods free grace in Christ? then goe thy way for ever cheared, and know that thou hast a marvellous great childs part: therefore be thankfull unto him, and droope no more, nor bee dismaid no more: thou saist thou hast not riches, nor honours, nor parts, and thou hast not what others have, nor thou canst not doe what others can doe: but hast thou a heart to be­leeve? be cheared then, and snarle no more, mur­mure no more, thou hast a good part, and wilt doe pretty well; every day thou risest, and every nigh [...] thou goest to bed, blesse God, and downe upon thy knees, and prayse him for ever that hath gi­ven thee a graine of this precious faith, bee for ever thankfull and rejoyce, as David saith, Psalme 92.1. It becomes upright men to be thankfull: Let the wicked those that have no share in these g [...] ces, [Page 417] let them be discouraged, but the Saints of God cannot go away dismaid, it becomes the righteous to be thankfull. If the soule be inwardly setled and established by faith in the promise, there cannot but come some savour of comfort to it: 1 Pet. 1.9. In whom though yee see him not, yet have ye beleeved, and re­joyce with joy unspeakable and glorious: therefore observe it, beleeving rejoyceth and saith, Good Lord, is Christ mine, that have abased him; and is Heaven and the Spirit mine, that have so abu­sed it; and the heart leaps at the remembrance of it, and wonders at it, and can scarcely beleeve it to bee true: but yet hee is wonderfully thank­full. It is a duty to rejoyce for mercy and grace received, as well as to be humbled for sinne com­mitted: all those phrases of Scripture run thus, and those joyes that may make us rejoyce, they all belong to that man that is brought home to be­leeve. Men rejoyce as those that divide the spoyle, you know this gives much joy to the soul­diers that overcome: so when the rich merchant gets a prize, what rejoycing is there? So there was never any poore soule that beleeves in Christ, and comes home to Christ by the pro­mise, but he is a great conquerour, and hath got­ten a rich spoyle: one promise is better than all the Rubies and Diamonds of the Indies. When the Prodigall had beene pinched with famine and poverty, when he was returned from his mi­sery to his father, marke what a deale of mirth there was; the friends were feasted, and the fa­ther rejoyced: but if they were so comforted, [Page 418] what was the Prodigall then? surely his joy was incomprehensible, and unconceivable: if they which were onely the beholders of the Prodigals good did so rejoyce, then what was hee that was the gainer of all that good, to come from such a deale of misery to such a father; nay to come from such a base course, not onely to be entertai­ned to the family, but to the affections of the fa­ther, hee must needs bee full of joy for the same: Oh then, how great is that joy and that consola­tion which is spirituall, and which every faithfull soule which hath beene a Prodigall, now receives, when hee is come home to God, and is come home to him whō he hath formerly dishonoured? This Prodigall is nothing else but the picture of a poore sinner that runs riot from God, and from his truth: as 1 Pet. 2.25. We were as sheepe going astray: we are the Prodigals naturally, and wee follow our owne wayes, and the corruption of our owne hearts, and we have spent all our patri­mony, and are gone away from God, and grace, and life, and all; but the broken hearted sinner now comes home to God the Father by faith: Now if the Prodigall, when he found his home, was so cheared, and if his father rejoyced, and the friends feasted, much more then when a poore sinner comes home to God the Father: there is joy in Heaven for one sinner that repenteth; therefore thou maist justly rejoyce in earth: God the Father rejoyceth to see thee comming home; and God the Son rejoyceth to receive thee poore and meeke, and the Spirit of God rejoyceth to [Page 419] welcome a poore sinner, that art brought home by true repentance, and faith, to the Lord: The Saints of God rejoyce to see thee, and the Angels of Heaven glory in it, and it is the greatest com­fort that they have; the Angels fing Hallelujah [...] when any poore Saint is humbled, and brought home to the Lord, and they make it holyday in Heaven. It is a good day to those glorious Spi­rits, nay all those that were friends and favourers of thy poore soule, they all rejoyce: wert thou a wife or a childe that went away from God, and art thou now brought home to rest upon the Lords free grace in Christ? thy tender hearted Father that hath often prayed for thee with ma­ny teares, hee rejoyceth; and thy mother that hath sighed many a groane for thee, nay all the people of God with one joynt consent, many of whose hearts thou hast sadded by thy ungodly practices, they have sought for thee, and said, Lord breake the heart of that poore creature, Lord humble that wife or that childe: when they heare that God hath answered their prayers, and humbled thy heart, their soules leape within them to heare this, and they say, there was such a Prodigall, such a wife, such a childe, such a vilde wretch, but now he hath forsaken his vilde wicked courses, and he is now come home to the Father, and they all rejoyce at it.

Now doe all the Saints, and all the Angels in Heaven rejoyce, and all thy Friends thinke it a happy day, t [...]at they live to see this day; that thou art humbled, and broken, and brought home [Page 420] to the Lord Jesus Christ; then goe thy wayes for shame, and blesse God that ever thou hast lived to bee possest of all this goodnesse and mercy from God: If the standers by doe so rejoyce, how ought thy heart to be inlarged in thankfulnesse to that good God, who hath beene so gracious to thee? Let me perswade every faithfull soule who hath found this, to humble himselfe before the Lord, and to tell the Lord in this manner, saying, Lord, I was vilde, and ignorant, and rebellious, and went away from thee, but now I am come from the world, and from my lusts and all, to a Saviour, to a Father, to a Spirit of comfort, and blessed be this day that ever I came home to thee, that I may receive this mercy at thy hands. You know in Exodus 15.1. when as Pharaoh had pursu­ed the children of Israel to the red sea, and they drowned themselves in the red sea, and that the Israelites were come safely upon the shore, then the text saith, they beleeved the Lord, and feared him, and hi [...] servant Moyses: then Moyses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said, I will sing unto the Lord, for hee hath trium­phed gloriously; so Revel. 15.3. there the same song is recorded againe, saying, great and mar­vellous are thy workes; and in the 107. Psalme 8. when the Prophet had shewed the great workes that God had done for his people Israel, he saith, Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodnesse, and declare his wonderfull workes before the sonnes of men. This was also a type of our spirituall comming home to Christ; wee are all [Page 421] slaves to the Devill, and in spirituall bondage, under sinne, hell, and death; but faith sets a man upon the shore, and brings him home unto Christ; as Iohn 5.24. He that doth beleeve, is passed from death to life; Lord, saith the poore soule, I confesse, I was in the mouth of hell, but now I am passed from death to life: faith sets a man beyond sinne, and death, and all, therefore the soule should be thankfull, and sing a song of praise un­to the Lord his God.

Now there are two bottomes from the former Doctrine, which give foot-hold to your com­fort:

1 First, by beleeving, all the goodnesse and mer­cie of God is thine, and he cannot, nay, he will not deny thee; therefore thou mayst with boldnesse challenge the good of all that mercie and good­nesse of his. When God hath engaged himselfe to be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee, he cannot take away his mercy from a faithfull soule, because hee cannot deny himselfe, hee will not denie his truth and his promise; therefore the Saints of God cannot but be partakers of all this mercie and goodnesse; the Apostle saith, Ephes. 3.17. Christ dwels in our hearts by faith;so Coloss. 2.3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wis­dome and knowledge; now gather up all, and the summe is thus much, and there you may see how the comfort comes by faith; I lay hold upon a Saviour, in whom dwell all the treasures of wis­dome and knowledge, and so I lay hold upon these: what would you have? and what is it that [Page 422] may comfort you? thou art beggerly in wisdome, and in consolation, and in all the graces of Gods Spirit, but if thou hast faith, thou hast a Christ, and in him are all the treasures of wisdome and mercie: take your treasure, and be inriched for evermore; you may doe it, it is your owne.

2 Secondly, all the sinnes that thou standest guilty of, and all the temptations of Sathan, cannot hin­der thee from injoying that light, and receiving that good which thou hast need of, there is no sinne that hath beene committed, can stand be­tweene thee and eternall life; be thy corruptions never so many for number, never so vile and strong for nature, never so long for continuance in them, and all those old bruises, and old lusts of youth, which make thee say, can the Lord pardon me, and is it possible for such a wretch as I am to have mercie, that have all these corruptions? I answer, it skils not what thy sinnes be, see thy faith and repentance bee sound, it matters not what thou hast beene, a rebell even against God, if now thou canst beleeve and rest upon God, and repent thee of thy sinnes.

Quest. But now the point growes on, the soule is in some reasonable manner satisfied, that if it had faith, then it could be satisfied; but many seeme to have faith, and have it not; if my faith were true, I could gaine some sound comfort to my selfe, that all would goe well with mee, but how shall I know that?

Answ. I answer, I confesse that the faith of the most men in the world is but a meere delusion, as I shall [Page 423] discover in the next use of reproofe: but that thou maist be undoubtedly perswaded of the truth of this grace, that though thy faith be never so lit­tle, yet it is saving justifying faith, I will there­fore lay downe some trials: I will not now in­trench upon any of the particulars that come af­terward, but onely lay open such particulars for triall, as are in the doctrine: I know faith puri­fies the heart, and workes by love, &c. and faith makes a new creature; but these come too farre off; I will onely gather somwhat from the point in hand.

Triall. 1 First, observe the root and rise of thy faith, the cause by which thy faith was wrought, and from whence it came, and this will be an undoubted evidence, whether thy faith be good or not there­fore when thou dost begin to brag, and say, I doe beleeve, then aske thy heart this question, and say, how came I by it? prove it: have I faith? make it good then: it is not enough to say so, but let mee see that it is so; didst thou bring it into the world with thee? did thy wits contrive it? did thy parts and abilities worke it? and because thou hast more wit and learning than others, and thou thinkest it as easie a matter to beleeve, as to understand a hard writing, if it bee thus, thy faith is a delusion, and no faith at all: it is true here of faith, which Iob speakes of wisdome; nature saith, it is not in me; and eloquence saith, it is not in me, I know not the way to it; all these say, I have heard the newes of faith, but I am not acquain­ted with it, God onely knowes the way thereof, [Page 424] and is the worker of it: the text saith, Every man than hath heard and learned of the Father, commeth un­to me; the Father must first teach this lesson, or else no man can understand it; except the Father give thee a heart to know Jesus Christ, there is no power in thee, that is able to give this grace to the soule: hast thou thy faith from heaven? then it is like to bee of the right kinde, but it must bee from thence, it ariseth not from the earth, it comes not from parts, and gifts, and learning, it must come from heaven, or else it is not of the right kinde: all the coine that is currant, is min­ted in the tower by authoritie of the King, if not, it is not currant; in 1 Pet. 1.7. the Apostle cals it precious faith, it must bee stamped by the Lord Jesus Christ, by the hand of the Spirit, it must come from the tower of Zion, or else it is copper faith, and not saving justifying faith, nor that which will stand in steed in the day of triall here, or in the day of judgement hereafter: as wee say in nature, the Alcumists are growne to that skill, that they will make Alcumie appeare to be perfect silver and gold, and much of it will beare the touchstone, insomuch that a man can hardly discover some of it, it is so cunningly made but when the fire and the hammer comes, it will beare neither of them: but the true gold comes from the gold oare, and will endure the fire and hammer; the alcumie gold comes not from the right place where the gold is, it comes not from the minerals, from the golden mines: so there is a great deale of this alcumie faith, for the [Page 425] world is come to this passe, that they have a faith of their owne faining, and it is ready to cousen the touch, I meane of able judicious Christians; but now this faith never came from the right place, for if it were right, it must come from the mine of mercie, and from God, and the worke of his Spirit; from thence thou hast it, if thy faith bee sound; Rom. 10.17. Faith comes by hearing the word; faith is not in us, it comes to us, it is not wrought or purchased by our owne worthinesse or power, the word is the conduit to convey it, but the Spirit of the Lord Jesus is as the fountaine that sends it into the soule; so that you must not thinke to have faith here first; but hast thou found faith here first, then it is not of the right, but if the good Spirit of the Lord hath wrought upon thee, if it be so, then thy faith is right: but some will say, we heare the word diligently, and we doe at­tend upon God in his ordinances, and have wee not faith? I answer, hearing is the meanes to con­vey it, but it is the Spirit of the Father that con­veyes it by the meanes; and that Spirit thou must receive by the meanes, if ever thou have it, there is the pitch of the point.

Object. But how shall we know when the Spirit of God is pleased to worke this in our soules, and to put it into our soules by hearing?

Ans. There is all the difficultie, and it is worth the while to consider sadly of it, for I know the worke of Gods Spirit by the word in the soule, by these particulars:

1 First, the Spirit sheweth to the soule of a poore [Page 426] sinner, that hee hath no faith, nor no abilities [...] worke it of himselfe, this the word workes first, but we are not yet at the bottome.

2 Secondly, when the Spirit hath shewed thee that thou art an unfaithfull soule, and that thou hast to power to worke it of thy selfe, then the Spirit of the Lord by the word breathes upon the soule of a poore sinner, and by the sweetnesse thereof overmasters, and breakes downe all those secret cursed distempers of heart, that brought under the soule, and kept him in himselfe: every man is brought in bed with his corruptions, as Iob speakes, namely thus, The Spirit of God in the word drives the soule to a restlesse disquiet, and makes him see that h [...]e must not stay here, but hee must seeke out, and goe from hence, and seeke for another condition, or else hee must perish for ever: rest not here, saith the Spirit, you must bee gone; and the soule saith, If I rest here, I am an undone man; therefore hee will out and seeke for another con­dition.

3 Thirdly, as the Spirit of God doth overpower those distempers, and drives the soule to a restlesse condition, till it looke out for a better condition, so lastly the Spirit of God shewes that poore soule an impossibilitie of finding mercie, but from God, and therefore turnes the face, and sets the frame of the heart that way, to looke God-ward, and to be for God, and this is the meaning of that place, Iohn 16.9. when the Spirit of God comes to bring faith and peace to the conscience, the text saith, Hee shall convince the world of sinne, be­cause [Page 427] they beleeved not on him; this place implies two things:

1 First, the Spirit of God sets downe all sinfull carnall pleas and pretences that the heart can make, and perswades the heart, that he is in a sin­full and most lamentable estate and condition, and must change.

2 Secondly, it convinceth the heart, that there is good to be found in another, and with that the heart is turned that way, to looke towards a Sa­viour, and to wait for him, till mercie come from thence; and then if thou canst say this to thy soule, The truth is, Lord, I was an unbeleever, and an unfaithfull creature, and the Lord made mee see it, and left me not there, but by the power of his Spirit, and the ministery of the word, he drew me from thence, and laid fast hold on me, and left some remembrance of his indignation upon my soule, and made me restlesse in myselfe, and ope­ned mine eyes to see a better way, and said, thou must goe on in another way, and in a better way, and so opened to me a glimpse of his mercie and goodnesse; so that the foule is now comming on to God; where this is, it will never end; but the Spirit of God will worke faith, and faith is now comming home to the soule, and the soule will come home to the flood o [...] conversion is nothing else, but a setting of the soule for God, as it is plaine in all the phrases of the Scripture; this is the first triall.

Triall. 2 Secondly, if thou wilt judge thy faith, whether it is true or noe, doe thus; faith makes choice [Page 428] wholly of Christ, and resolves to match with Christ onely; the meaning is this, it chuseth Christ wholly, for now the match is made up, when once the soule comes to beleeve; the pre­paration to the match, was before in desire, &c. but now the match is made up, and now the soule makes choice of Christ, as he on whom he will bestow himselfe: he chuseth Christ wholly, and that you shall perceive thus; when he is thus cald home by faith, whatsoever it is that Christ brings, the soule chuseth all of that; whatsoever belongs to a Christ, and is of Christ, and in Christ, he chu­seth all Christ: Christ is not only the Saviour of all his, but hee is the God of all grace, and hath grace to bestow upon the soules of all those that beleeve in him: now faith chuseth the holinesse of a Christ, and whatsoever grace is in Christ, the soule chuseth that as much, if not more, than p [...] ­don of sinne, and removing the guilt of sinnes: there is the authority and rule of Christ, and faith chuseth that, and had rather to be under the go­vernment of Christ, than under any other Sc [...]p [...] in the world; and faith chuseth the life of Christ, whatsoever life Christ lives, that life faith will chuse: the woman is now content to conforme her selfe to the estate and condition of her hus­band, she must not thinke to live as she list, and to be in this place, and that place, and that fashion: therefore thinke of it, that thou didst never as ye [...] beleeve in a Christ, except thou didst chuse the patience, and holinesse, and meeknesse of a Christ, and the rule and life of Christ: many Lords have [Page 429] ruled over us, saith the text, when thy cursed cor­ruptions come, and would rule thee, if then thou art content to bee ruled by a Christ, and to live, and converse as he did, this is an undoubted argu­ment, that thou chusest Christ aright: nay thou must chuse the shame, and disgraces, and the crosse of Christ, and the crowne of thornes too, that is, that whatsoever it is that comes with a Christ, thou must make choice of it, and say, I will have Christ, and all that comes with Christ; as it is with a woman that marries a man for better for worse, with all wants, and faults, and miseries; so the Lord Jesus Chiist doth with us, he chuseth us with all our miseries and disgraces, a poore meane Christian, a man of no parts nor place; yea howsoever you bee, Christ chuseth you with all these, and he loves you never the worse for these: and if thou chuse Christ aright, thou wilt not say as the Jewes, Come downe from the crosse, and wee will beleeve in thee: thou must not thinke to have a Christ, and no troubles nor disgraces with him, no thou shalt never have a Christ upon these tearmes, but thou must chuse Christ wholly, and all that comes with him; this cuts the throats of many that doe not chuse Christ aright, but their honours and ease; this is no beleeving, but a meer delusion: in Heb. 11.25.26. when Moses was there to make his choyce whether hee would bee the son of Pharaohs daughter, and have honours, and delights in the Court, or bee a persecuted Saint of God; the text saith, Hee chose rather to suffer adversitie with the people of God, than to bee [Page 430] called the sonne of Pharaohs daughter, hee chose them out of judgement, and accounted the reproaches of Christ greater honours, than to be so and so: He did not chuse an honoured and an advanced Christ; and an enriched Christ; but he chose afflictions, and the like; nay hee accounted them greater honours, than all the honours of Egypt: so wilt thou doe, if thy faith be sound and right.

Secondly, as thou wilt chuse all Christ, and whatsoever comes with Christ; so there must bee nothing on thy part that must hinder the match, but thou must forsake it, and cast it away, and let it rather be taken from thee, than thou to be takes from thy Saviour: As a man will not chuse his lusts if he were an adulterer before, because they will hinder him from receiving the chastity of a Saviour: Therefore he that will bestow himselfe upon a Saviour, he cannot but refuse that adulte­rous course which would hinder him from matching with a Christ: and the ambitious man will not now chuse his honours, but hee will cast away his pride and ambition, and advancement, because these will hinder him from receiving the humility of a Saviour. As a woman will be con­tent to take her husband for better for worse, so also she must be content to cast away whatsoever may hinder her from him, and shee will forsake friends or honours, or any thing that may hinder her from her best beloved; so if thou wilt chuse Christ wholly, as thou must take a Christ, and all that comes with him, so thou must cast away whatsoever may hinder thee from receiving him; [Page 431] as Ruth said to Naomy, Ruth 1.16. Intreat mee nor to leave thee, or to returne from following thee; for where thou goest, I will goe; where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God shall be my God; so saith the soule: If lust and pleasure, or the world, or any darling delight come and per­swade thee to set up thy selfe in stead of Christ; the soule saith, I have chosen a Christ, and there­fore intreat mee not to forsake the humility, and chastity, and meeknesse of Christ: for I will live and die with him, hee shall bee my Saviour and Lord for ever. The Saints of God first gave away themselves to God, and then to the Apostles; so faith chuseth all a Christ, and bestowes it selfe upon a Christ, to be ruled by him, and to enjoy whatsoever he hath, and to imbrace whatsoever comes with him, and to remove whatsoever may hinder the soule from him.

Triall. 3 Thirdly, justifying faith beares it selfe upon the promise in all its extremities, and is satisfied with it, for you know it is called resting; as if hee had said, here will I rest for ever. Oh, this grace and mercy, I will goe no further, it is good to be here, to be so holy, and so glorious, and so sancti­fied, and justified: and so I confesse that pride and unbeleefe will have his ranges, and sharke up and downe for some comfort and contentment in the world, and haply by base means: but where­soever saving faith is, when it feels these, it oppo­seth them, and breakes through them to come to the promise, and saith, now I see what you doe; rest is not in the world, nor in profits, nor in ho­nours, [Page 432] nor parts, nor abilities, nor any outward thing, but in the promise, and the promise is the portion of the soule, and that by which it lives, and the stock of commoditie which the soule trades withall; as a mans trades and his lands are his livings; though haply a friend may give him something else sometimes, yet hee lives by his owne means. So the faithfull soule will take what God gives, but it lives by the promise, and by the loving kindnesse of the Lord, that is the maine life and maintenance of the soule: as it is with a woman now married to a man; you would account it a strange thing if shee should goe away to another womans husband to aske for her re­leefe, this is an adulterous wretch, but the wife goes to her husband, and if there be any provision to be made, shee goes to her husband to provide it; and if any debts be to bee paid, her husband must pay them, and hee must pay all, and doe all, she relies her selfe upon her husband: So when the heart pretends great matters that it loves Christ, and yet will have his backdoores, and hee must live by his wits and his shifts, this is an adul­terous heart: It is rather of a harlot to his lusts, than of a holy chaste man, that is espoused to Christ: so it is with a faithfull soule; if he hath any wants, Christ shall heare of him; and if any trouble or distresse, faith sends to her husband, the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, and layes all the weight upon him; if any succour comes in by the way, the soule takes it thankfully from God; and in the meane time he lives by the promise: as in [Page 433] the 1 Sam. 30.6. when Zicklag was burnt, the wives and children taken captives, the people much grieved, and David much distressed, yet the text saith, that David comforted his heart in God, there was faith indeed: so the wife, haply her father or her mother dies, yet shee comforts her selfe in her husband; so the soule saith, the Lord is better than all outward comforts, and all ho­nours, and all friends and means under heaven: in a word, these two passages will bee of great use.

1 First, if in the want of all these, thy soule can be satisfied with a Saviour, and with the promise in him:

2 And secondly, if in the presence of all thy soule stands onely to, and rests it selfe upon a Savi­our, it is an undoubted argument that thy faith is right. I doe not deny but that there are pranks and fetches of flesh, and flesh will have his bouts, yet take away all from a Christian, and his heart is satisfied with Christ; and he goes to, and rests upon, and is satisfied in a Christ; but if thou beare up thy heart with other businesses, resting upon thy gifts, and parts, and pompe, and place, then thy faith is naught, it rests not upon Gods free grace, but upon it selfe, and upon some broken reed which will faile thee. When a man hath the world, and honours, and pleasures to stand by him, he goes on cheerfully and comfortably, but when these are gone, all his comfort is gone, then thy faith is naught; for if thou hadst rested upon the free grace of Christ, thou wouldst have been [Page 434] contented and comfortable, though all honours, and the like had beene taken from thee; but alas, this is our misety, wee sit downe Rahell [...] like, and will not bee comforted, because honours, and friends, and meanes are not; well, goe thy way, thy faith is naught, it never as yet rested upon a Christ: who would have continued any com­fort to thee? The conclusion is this, the soule must bee perswaded by the spirit of the Father: therefore nothing is the author of faith, but the Lord. Faith must come from Heaven, and from the Spirit of God, in the Word, if ever thou have that faith which will doe thee good. Secondly, the soule was effectually perswaded, and there­fore chuseth a Christ wholly. Thirdly, it rests upon his free grace, and therefore is fully con­tented with it.

Vse 6 In the next place, it is a word of just reproofe, and the former Doctrine is a bill of Inditement against multitudes of men, that were never yet partakers of this blessed worke of Grace; they are not far off, but in the very bosome of the Church of God, they are to this very day unfaithfull. It is a foolish delusion of many, who thinke that onkly Sithians, and Parthians, and Turkes, and Pagans, want faith; this is an idle dreame, and a doating conceit, and prevailes too much even with those that thinke themselves some body, and are in high place: Oh, let not this delusion prevaile with your judgements, for the former Doctrine comes as a swift witnesse against such as [Page 435] looke high, and professe gloriously, and thinke their penny good silver; yet the former truth I say, is that which testifies to their faces, and to their consciences, that there was never one dramme of saving faith wrought in them: Woe therefore to their soules for it, and to all such, whose conditions shall bee found to bee so; yet this is not the greatest of their misery, for al­thouhh they are in this condition, yet they will not see it, nor bee perswaded of it, when their owne lives can testifie to their faces, and also proclaime to all the world, that there is no faith in their hearts, and Gods people mourne for them, and cry to God for them, and sinke under the burthen of their miserie; yet it is strange to see how people will beare up themselves with a blinde boldnesse, and a wretched carnall confi­dence; and conceits that they have faith: It is true say they, our lives are not so holy as they ought, and our workes are not so good as they should be; therefore we trust not to our workes, but to Jesus Christ; he came to save sinners, and we trust in him: and all the worid, nay all the devills in hell shall not perswade us to the con­trary, but we will beleeve in our Saviour. If we should goe from man to man, and from house to house, and call at every mans doore and say, are there any beleevers here, they are at daggers drawing presently, and say, are not we all be­leevers? and we hope to goe to heaven, as sone as the proudest professor of them all: many soules perish this way, and goe downe to hell hood­winckt, [Page 436] and never know where they are, untill they come in the bottomlesse pit, past hope, past helpe.

I hope you will confesse this, that to beleeve is more than to say so, or to thinke so, or con­ceive it in a mans minde: nay it will cost you much labour before that day come, that those proud hearts of yours be humbled, and those di­stempered soules of yours that are fastned to your lusts and corruptions, be brought to beleeve, and to bee effectually perswaded by the Spirit of the Father, and that those doubting and staggering soules of yours be brought to rest upon free grace in Jesus Christ. Oh, how few finde this worke, I can scarcely tell whether to make it a matter of lamentation, or of reproofe of those that thinke they have faith, and have it not: I am afraid that too many of you will finde the want of it, when it is too late: If ever Doctrine were needfull to be pressed, then now especially in these times; that so if it were possible me might shake the car­nall confidence of most men: Suffer mee there­fore to goe on plainly in this use of reproofe, and let me doe it in two particulars.

1 First, I will shew and prove that many that live in the bosome of the Church, have not faith.

2 Secondly, I will shew who they be in particu­lar that have no faith; which things being ope­ned, then I hope every man, but especially such as God shall blesse this truth unto, shall be appre­hensive of their condition, if they will deale plain­ly with their owne hearts.

First, let me lay the inditement, and shew that many that live in the bosome of the Church want this saving faith, Scripture and reasons are preg­nant here: for the first, that many, not onely pa­gans and heathens, but you which live in the bo­some of the Church of England, have not faith; as Esay 53.1. Lord who hath beleeved our report, and to whom is the arme of the Lord revealed? this belee­ving spoken of, is saving faith, and it was so hard to be found, that though Esay were a man of ad­mirable parts, and one that spake in a most admi­rable manner, yet faithfull men were so few, that hee could see none; therefore he goes up and downe, as it were, to inquire for beleevers; is there any one in this family that beleeves? there­fore hee saith, To whom is the Arme of the Lord revealed? that is, the power of God in the Gos­pell, thats the thing you must take notice of: you that are wise, aske this question, did God ever re­veale himselfe to thee, to pull downe thy proud heart, and the heart of your wife, or your hus­band? &c. Christ found hard measure here, Iohn 1.11. He came to his owne, and his owne received him not; the Jewes were cald his owne people, he did not come to strangers, to pagans, and in­fidels, but to his owne, upon whom hee had be­stowed many meanes, and whom he had carried upon eagles wings, and to whom he had commu­nicated many rich tokens of his love; yet how did they use him? even they received him not, not only some few of them did not receive him, but the whole body of the Jewes, the whole nati­on [Page 438] and people of the Jewes did not receive him; indeed some few did receive him, but the whole masse of the Jewes did refuse him, nay they con­fesse it themselves, as Iohn 7.48. when the rulers had sent to take Christ, and in stead of bringing him, they returne wondring at him, and said, ne­ver man spake as this man doth, but said they, doe any of the rulers, and of the Scribes, and the Pharisees beleeve in him; it was then the fashion not to beleeve in Christ, it was the common road, and the common case; nay the sinne and curse that lyes upon the Jewes, proclaimes it at this day, they that were his owne, and are his owne by election, Rom. 11.20. even they have rejected him, the rout, and crowd, and the whole frame of the nation refused him, reserving only some few: now did they refuse Christ, and doe you thinke, that wee are privileged from this sinne? are wee exempted from it? no surely, the Jewes for the maine body of them were unbeleevers, and are wee better than they? wee have the same corrupt natures, and they had the same meanes that wee enjoy; nay of them came the law and the pro­mises, and of them Christ came, yet they beleeved not in a Christ, therefore they are broken off, and so are gone from Christ, and so from eternall life; it is very true, Christ hath his time, wherein hee will reveale himselfe to these againe, but as yet they are fallen off from Christ, though they had the truth; therefore what may wee thinke of our selves, and if any man thinke that we are better than the Jewes, consider then what the Apostle [Page 439] prophesied of these times, 2 Tim. 3.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. verses, In the last dayes shall come perilous times, for men shall bee lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, &c. disobedient to parents, unthankefull, unholy, ha­ving a shew of godlinesse, but denying the power of it; this is our times right, having toyes, and trifles, and deny the power of godlinesse, it is made good in our eares, and in our eyes this day; and so it was in all the earth, as Luke 8.15. there were foure sorts of hearers, leaving out the stragglers, that would never come to the hearing of the word, for these were constant hearers, and yet but one sort good, and yet there were three times so many more of all these three sorts, as there were of the good hearers; and therefore there is scarce one to ten in that proportion, nay in this last age of the world, when men shall bee full of the know­ledge of God, Ezech. 47.4. and when the waters of the Sanctuary shall run from the anckles to the chin, and men shall abound in knowledge, and when God shall bring home the people of the Jewes and Gentiles both together; yet even then marke what our Saviour saith, Luke 18.8. When the Sonne of man commeth, shall he finde faith on the earth? speaking of the power of prayer, and the vertue of it, when it comes from faith, hee saith, shall hee finde faith on the earth? a man would thinke, that that there should have beene many faithfull people, and many praying hearts, but if there had beene any, Christ would have found it; but the text saith, shall Christ finde faith on the earth when he comes; so Matth. 24.38. as it was [Page 440] in the dayes of Noah before the floud, men did eat and drinke, marry, and give in marriage, and knew no­thing till the floud came, and tooke them all away; so shall also the comming of the Sonne of man be; how? namely thus; this text opens the former, there will be such a common kinde of luke-warmnesse, and formality amongst people, that all shall have the name of profession, and a shew of godlinesse, and yet all almost want the pith and kernell; for as in the dayes of Noah, they would not be perswa­ded that the floud would come, though hee prea­ched and gave warning 120. yeares together, they knew nothing, that is, they beleeved no­thing; so also shall it bee in the comming of the Sonne of man, they shall not beleeve the truth of his comming, nor that which might fit them for his comming; therefore as Ieremie saith, chap. 5.1. Run to and fro by the streets of Ierusalem, and know and inquire in the open places thereof, if there be any that executeth judgement, and seeketh the truth; so may I say, is there any that beleeves? I know God hath his number every where where the Gospell is, but there are many places where a man shall scarcely finde any one that hath true and saving faith or grace: the reasons which especially make the case cleare, are three, in which it is plaine, that this great worke is hard to bee found, even amongst those that enjoy the meanes; the first reason is this:

Reason. 1 First, because it is a wonderfull difficult matter to convince a naturall man, and to perswade him of it, to confesse, that hee wants faith, and there­fore [Page 441] he is farre enough from it: this sinne of un­beleefe is bred, and hath his abode in the bottome of the heart, and doth not so much expresse it selfe in the next worke, but in some baser workes, and yet the root of unbeleefe is hid, the fruit, and leaves, and branches of a tree are seene, but the root and sap of it is hid in the earth; so it is here, other corruptions breake forth amaine, as the drunkard staggers in the streets, the angrie man railes and rageth against Gods people, and the blasphemer ecchoes and breaths out his oaths, that a man can scarcely have any wholesome brea­thing by him; and the covetous man oppresseth, and the poore complains of it, these are all out­side sinnes, and because every man can see these, therefore hee is the more easily convinced of these, and saith, I confesse, it is so and so, but yet no man is without sinne; &c. but unbeleefe is like a cankar in the heart, it is bred in the bowels, and therefore a man is hardly convinced of it, and hardly made to set downe himselfe this way, and to confesse, that he wants faith: and as this sinne is most secret, so it is a kinde of spirituall wicked­nesse, and it hath a kinde of refined villany, and hath secret passages of its owne, as a man knowes not the way of a ship in the sea, or discernes the sliding of a serpent upon a stone: so also there is a kinde of spirituall sliding away from God, and from the promise which is not seene to others, nay, scarcely can it be knowne to a mans selfe, all other corruptions are very troublesome, and dis­quiet a man most wonderfully, as envie eats out [Page 442] the heart, and the adulterer burnes and boiles in his lusts, and the covetous man cannot sleepe, and so forth; these are boisterous in a mans soule, therefore a man cannot but see them plainly, and so it carries the heart to outward things; but this unbeleefe slides off secretly from God, and from the promise, and from the truths which are spiri­tuall, so that a man cannot see his sinne; this is the cause of that speech, Iohn 16.9. it is the cause why our Saviour Christ doth challenge that sin, where hee saith, I will send the Comforter to the earth, and when he is come, he shall convince the world of sinne, because they beleeved not on him; a Minister may haply convince a man of his drunkennesse, and the Magistrat may convince him of his swea­ring, but the Lord from heaven, by that almightie power of his, must set downe the heart, and con­vince it of this sinne, or else a man cannot see that he beleeves not: nay, let a man goe from pole to pole, and aske all the drunkards, and all the vile rakeshames, and tell them thus, You are a drun­kard, a swearer, and the like, they say, I confesse, it is true, it is my infirmitie, and I confesse it; but tell them of unbeleefe, and they will not acknow­ledge that, but this fine spun wickednesse, and this spirituall wickednesse of the soule, is a meere tur­ning off from God, and so from Christ, and the truth, and the promise, and therefore not easily discerned.

Reason. 2 Secondly, as it is hard to see the want of this grace of faith, so it is marvellous difficult to see the use, and need, and benefit, and helpe, that will [Page 443] come from this grace; nay, wee are more ready to bee perswaded of the need and benefit of any grace naturally, than of this grace of faith; as an ignorant man, and a weake man, when he is asked a question, and a point of dispute, hee saith, Oh that I had learning, and were able to dispute; the reason is, because hee is sensible of his want of knowledge in that kinde; and when a poore Christian comes to joyne in prayer, and in confe­rence with others, it may be his abilities are small, and when he heares such a man pray so holily, and able to give such wholesome counsell, hee saith, Oh that I had that gift in prayer, and those parts and abilities, what a happy man should I be, he is sensible that hee wants the power of prayer, and abilities to conferre, and all this while he saith not a word of his unbeleefe, he complains not of that; the reason is, because all those abilities that carrie a man to his duty towards men, we are more sen­sible of the want of them, because that our credit and respect lies upon them; because a man thinkes, if he want these, it is a discredit, and hee shall want that respect that he might have, there­fore because these carry a man to his duty towards man, and make for our credit, wee are sensible of the need and use of them: but faith in the next worke of it, is to close with God, and to fasten upon him, and to rely upon the precious pro­mises, all these are beyond the reach of the world, [...]nd unbeleefe is the withdrawing of it selfe from God and Christ; now because unbeleefe doth not so much hinder us in our duties towards man, [Page 444] and because faith, I meane, in the next worke of it, (for faith doth fit us for duties, and the like) but because faith in the next worke of it, doth not so much furnish us with abilities to carry us out­wardly towards man, and also because unbeleefe hinders us not in the same, therefore wee are not sensible of the need and use of faith, nor of the hurt and the danger of the other.

Reason. 3 Thirdly, hence it followes undeniably, that as a poore sinner is hardly brought to see the want of faith, and sees lesse need of faith, than of any other grace, because hee hath lesse need of it outwardly in the next worke of it; therefore a Christian be­stowes least care and time about faith, and hath small and feeble desires after it, and little care to get it: but it is plainly proved before, that a Christian is hardly convinced, that hee wants faith, and seeth lesse need of faith naturally, than of any other grace, and therefore hee hath lesse care to get it; for that which a man seeth but lit­tle need and use of, that he hath least care to get; this I desire to make use of, and so I desire my fellow brethren and Ministers; this is the com­mon course of the world, take a sinner whose eyes God hath opened, and revealed his sinnes and corruptions to him, and let him see his wrath from heaven against him, and drives a man to a stand, so that hee saith, if this be so, then I am a damned man, and so he is even staggering; now in this extremitie, marke the behaviour of this poore soule, hee will doe any thing but beleeve, and seeke for any thing, but for faith; hee will [Page 455] confesse and crie out of his sinne, and resolve amendment, and the drunkard loath [...] his old company, and the adulterer will not goe after his lusts any more, and the covetous m [...] in the hor­rour of conscience, will rid his hands of all his il [...] gotten goods, and send for one man, and call for another, and make restitution, and all this while not one word of faith, nor of going our of him­selfe to a Christ for mercie and succour for him; [...]ay, those that have beene desperat persecu­tours of God, and of his much and grace, upon their death-beds they will turne to God, and love his people, and now those will pray, which for­merly have scorned prayer, and they will doe this and that, and yet all this while not one word of this precious faith: the reason issues from the [...]wo former things, because they are not convin­ [...]ed that they want faith, and doe not see the [...]eed and use of faith, and therefore doe not de­sire nor looke after it: so gather up all, and the summe is this, if all men by nature are marvellous [...]ardly convinced that they want faith, and see the [...]rtle, and if all men bestow least care how to get his faith, then the case is cleare, and it is no mar­ [...]ell though the most men want faith: now wee have laid the inditement, and it is marvellous [...]aire, you see and you cannot but confesse it, for [...] is against reason to deny it, as some stu [...]dy hy­ [...]ocrites doe, that will beleeve nothing, but what [...]hey list and yet they will be beleevers too.

Now let us come to plead the inditment; [...]ow mee thinkes every mans heart should trem­ble [Page 446] within him, and [...]e thinkes your very coun­tenances doe suggest what your hearts doe de­sire; let every man cast his head up and downe, and pa [...]ly wi [...] himselfe in this manner, and sa [...] Good Lord, is it so, that many families in the king­dome are unbeleevers, and many people in the bosome of the Church want faith, then why not my family too? if most parents want faith, th [...] why not my parents too? and if many children want faith, then why not my children too? and if many soules want faith, then why not my soule too? nay, it is ten to one, that many that heare the word of God this day, and many that live [...] the bosome of the Church, want faith: mee thinkes I heare some say, and am not I an unfaith­full man yet, and doe not I, and my wife, and my family want faith yet? Oh that I could know who they are in particular that want faith, th [...] we might know what to hold our selves to no [...] I will referre them to these foure sorts:

1 The first is the ignorant person.

2 The second is the carnall Gospeller.

3 The third is the meere civilized, or the judicio [...] professour, and a man that hath a great reach for judgement and parts, and haply able to put a Minister to a set, and yet hath nothing in th [...] world in him touching the power of faith.

4 Fourthly, the counterfeit, that hath made a vi [...] zard of faith, and hath his alcumie faith; as I tol [...] you, the Alcumists have that skill, to make alc [...] mie, silver, and so cunningly, that it will be [...] touch, but yet it is not true, because it will [...] [Page 447] heare the fire and the hammer; so there is a great deale of copper faith in England, not that I speake against the Doctrine of faith of the Church of England, for we are to blesse God, that hath given the King a heart to maintaine it, but I speake of that copper and counterfeit faith, which many have framed to themselves, which is not good, for if trouble, and dayes of persecution should come, they would forsake God, and Christ, and the Gospell, and all.

Sort. 1 Now for the ignorant person, the ignorant man is an unfaithfull man; I doe not meane a weake and a feeble Christian, and one that hath smaller and meaner parts than others have, for we all know but in part, even the best of Gods peo­ple, and the choisest of Gods Ministers, they know but in part, but I meane such as are grosly, and carelesly, and wilfully ignorant, as we are pe­stered with them, and I doubt not but my fellow-brethren finde much to doe with them in other places, they are content to goe up and downe as the horse in the mill, and yet know nothing, aske them what is Gods name, and what it is to hallow it, and what is to be understood by the comming of Gods kingdome, they know nothing at all, and they are wilfully ignorant, and doe not labour to get knowledge, neither doe they mourne for the want of it, this grosse ignorance is thus much, they will not suffer other men to helpe them, nor they are not able nor willing to helpe themselves: ma­ny come to our Sermons, it is little they under­stand, but it is lesse they remember: and if a Mi­nister [Page 458] come home to their families, and catec [...] them, Oh, say they, we are past children, wee are not schoole-boyes ever, you cannot helpe your selves nor you will not suffer us to helpe you, you are thus ignorant, and this ignorance & faith can­not stand together; be not it is that the promises of God, and Christ, and grace, as these substantiall truths of salvation, and the truths of the Gospell, they are as a sealed letter to them; take away the name of Christ, and the name of sinne, and the name of faith, and the truths that are under these names, and the most ignorant creature under­stands them not, it is almost impossible to thinke that men should be so desperatly ignorant; you that are masters of families, when you come home, catechize your families, and see whether they are thus or no; this may bee where faith is not, yet faith cannot be, where saving knowledge is not in some measure, I meane where the know­ledge of spirituall truths is not, which may reveale to the soule the way of grace, and the meanes how to get it.

I take it, that these three things must bee [...] some measure apprehended of every man that hath any faith:

First, he must have a through knowledge of [...] sinne, and of the want of faith, and of Christ, and all.

Secondly, he must have the knowledge of the excellencie and goodnesse of a Christ, which hee wants, and he must know the Lord Jesus Christ, and the good things in the Lord Jesus Christ, [Page 459] which the soule now informed of sinne, and fee­ling himselfe lost, he findes a supply there.

Againe, he must be thorowly informed in the way, how he may come to Christ.

All these three must be, and are learned of eve­ry faithfull soule that ever did or ever shall be­leeve; for that which a man sees not, nor knowes not of, he can never beleeve, and when a man knowes not the excellency and goodnesse of Christ, he will not rely his whole life and salvati­on upon him, specially if he be wise and judicious, and fai [...]h is a judicious grace: They that know thy Name, will trust in thee, saith David; and there­fore those that know not Gods Name, cannot trust in him, and therefore see what Christ saith [...]o the woman of Samaria, Iohn 4.10. A silly wo­man she was, and therefore see what our Saviour saith to her; thou poore silly creature, that igno­rance of thine is the cause of thy pride; for hadst thou knowne the gift of God, and who it is, that saith unto thee, give me drinke, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee water of life: had she knowne this, shee would have asked it; it is such a knowledge as will bring in faith. You that are ignorant, be humbled for this great sinne of yours which doth barre out faith: you that know not Christ, though you meet him. Looke as it is with men in darknesse, Exodus 10.23. When the Lord sent that plague of darknesse upon the land of Egypt, the Egyptians saw not one another, neither did any man remove from his place for three dayes, there was no passage all that while: so it is with an igno­rant [Page 450] man that sits in Egyptian darknesse, hee se [...]s not the way, nor he cannot finde it, nor hee hath no power to goe on in it; he sits still, and yonder is Christ and grace, but he cannot stirre one foot, for hee is fastned to his sinne, and riveted to his corruptions, by reason of his blindnesse: See what the Apostle saith, Ephes. 4.18. They were ig­norant of the life of God: from all that goodnesse and holinesse that is in God, for that is Gods life, his mercy, goodnesse, wisedome, holinesse, &c. but how came they so? through the ignorance that is in them: you that know how ignorant your husbands are at home, and how ignorant your children are, goe home and mourne for your selves and them, and say, wee are strangers from God; there is a great deale of mercy and grace in Christ, but wee are all strangers to it; why? because we are carnally ignorant, wee are a thousand miles off from him, and wee shall never have any part in him, continuing thus: you that are thus, be humbled and ashamed of it, & give no rest to your soules, before the Lord awaken you, and let you see the want of this blessed grace, and make you labour to get it: an ignorant heart is a wicked heart, and if you be ignorant, it is certain you have no faith; for except you will deny the Word of God, you cannot but confesse it.

Sort. 2 The second sort to be reproved, are the carnall Gospellers, which live scandalously, and live and trade in their wickednesse, they come and heare sometimes, and they thinke that God is much be­holden to them for it, one man will sweare, and [Page 451] another will be tipsee in a corner, and beare some good will to the truth, but fall off grosly; ano­ther cheats, and cousens, and keeps false balances, and yet professeth the Gospel, and thinks it a high dishonour, if hee be not respected; now though these will come to the meanes of grace, yet if the word of God doe but reveale these mens sinnes, and sharpen a reproofe against them, and come somewhat keenly upon their conscience, they are all up in armes, and make defiance for their sinnes, and their great Diana of Ephesus is like to fall, and they will rather part with Christ, and Gospell, and all, than with their lusts; these men thinke they have mercie in a string, and Christ at command, and power to beleeve, and you cannot perswade them that they doe not be­leeve: What? a swearing faith? and a cheating faith? and a drunken faith? the Lord keepe mee and all Gods people from it: you cannot per­swade them, but that they beleeve in a Saviour, and Christ must save them: this Doctrine will dash all their vaine hopes, they that beleeve, will submit to the Spirit of grace; they that beleeve, are effectually perswaded by the Spirit of the Fa­ther, in the promise, and they are pluckt away from their lusts and corruptions; but these take up armes, and are in open defiance for their sins; they that beleeve are humbled, for faith will not grow, but in a heart that is humbled and conten­ted to part with sinne, and selfe, and all; but these keepe both sinne, and selfe, and all: they that have faith, rest upon the freenesse of Gods [Page 452] grace, and depart from their corruptions, and on­ly cleave unto, and rest upon Christ; but these rest upon their corruptions, and goe from God, and Christ, and grace: few of these people come into the congregation; but if there be such a fel­low here this day, Oh that God would meet with him, and let him see that he hath no faith; What, thou faith? faith comes by hearing and not by resisting; faith comes by yeelding and submit­ting to the Spirit in the word, and not by oppo­sing it: therefore know, that faith never came in that wretched heart of thine; 1 Iohn 3.6. Whoso­ever sinneth, hath not knowne him, nor seene him; and in the 8. verse, Hee that committeth sinne, is of the Devill; that is, hee that makes a daily trade of sinne, and whose occupation is nothing else but rebellion, he that committeth drunkennesse, and adultery, and makes a trade of them, shall never see God, nay, he is the childe of the Devill; but he that beleeves, is not the childe of the Devill, all the world knowes that; now if thou trade thus in sinne, thou art the childe of the Devill, and therefore never hadst faith; and continuing thus, thou shalt never have it; Iohn 5.44. How can you beleeve, saith our Saviour, which seeke honour one of another, and seeke not the honour that commeth of God? so say thou to thy owne soule, how can I beleeve, and yet harbour my lusts, and attend to them, and doe not yeeld to the truth of God re­vealed, and made knowne to mee? mee thinkes these owles should not abide the light of the sunne: brethren, all that we intend towards you; [Page 453] it is, that you may see sinne, and what mercie wee desire for our owne soules, the same wee desire for you; but you must see your want of faith, before you can know the way to get faith: there­fore suffer us to trade freely with you.

Oh, get you home and howle you drunkards, and swearers, and enemies of God, and of his grace; get you apart as the leper did, and cry, I am uncleane, I am uncleane: Oh that the Lord would worke upon thy conscience, and make this truth good to thy soule this day; get you now in­to your corners, and there cry and say, I have an unbeleeving husband; you wives joyne with your husbands, and cry with your children, and say, we are all unbeleevers, and he that beleeveth not, is condemned already. Now if any cavill be cast in upon thee, and if the devill would make thee presume, and if some carnall friends come to thee, and say, if you beleeve the Minister, he will make you goe out of your wits, and no man must have faith, but they that are of his sect: therefore say, as it is spoken of Esau, Hebr. 12.16. He sold his birth-right for a few pottage; and so Iu­das, he sold Christ for thirty peeces of silver: so when the devill would cast in some temptations, and make you to presume, reason thus with thy owne heart, and say, Esau sold Christ, and Heaven, and Grace, and all for a few pottage, and Iudas was a wretch, and is now in Hell this day, and as his heart was full of covetousnesse here, so it is full of horrour in hell; but I have sold Christ for a base lust, and for my pride and envy, and abo­minable [Page 454] lusts, and drunkennesse, which I get no­thing by: What, I faith? nay the devils have as much faith as I have. When Pilate said to the Jewes, whether will you that [...] let loose to you, Barrabas or Iesus which is called Christ; they said, not Christ, but Barrabas: did they beleeve in Christ, which would have a wretch and a murthe­rer before Christ? let your consciences speak [...] plainly, nay they loathed, and crucified Christ, and did not beleeve in him: thou saist true, thou that dost refuse the Lord Christ, and chusest thy murther, and pride, and spleene, and envy, and all, dost thou embrace a Christ and rest upon him? the Lord perswade your hearts, and make you know that you are these carnall Gospellers, and such as have no faith: You that have beene brethren in iniquity, and you that have beene drunke toge­ther, and adulterous together, if any of you have hearts to pray, goe and pray together, and if you cannot pray, then cry together, and say, wee are these carnall Gospellers, and these ignorant per­sons that have no faith: If any of you have more gifts than others, goe and pray for poore drun­kards, and say, Good Lord, we have beene led by our lusts, and have made a trade of sinne, and to this day we have no faith. Oh goe home, and as you have beene sinfull together, so howle toge­ther; who knowes but the Lord may be gracious to you? If the Lord would but give you one dramme of faith, it would save you from all that drunkennesse and adultery of yours, is it not worthy the having? Oh, stirre, stirre, for the [Page 455] Lords sake; and as you have provoked one ano­ther to sinne and wickednesse, so now provoke one another to goodnesse, and goe seeke God one for another, and every morning and evening pray for those sinfull soules of yours, that have beene polluted by others, and never rest till you get this blessed grace of faith, that you may bee happy by it for ever.

Sort. 3 The third sort which we will meddle withall and discover that have no part in this saving faith, are the meere civilized and seemingly judicious professors, such as beare up themselves marvellous comfortably upon their owne wisedome and judgement; howsoever these have a name, yet it is but a name and no more: and for this man, that we may discover him, and that he may know himselfe, we will doe it in three things:

1 First, I will shew him in his fashion.

2 Secondly, wherein his falsenesse doth appeare, and wherein he falls short.

3 Thirdly, wherein hee discovers himselfe to fall short.

1 First, he is a man that will deale very honestly and fairely betweene man and man; hee is not scandalous in his practices, hee is a man of good parts, and deepe understanding, and deepe reach, if you will beleeve him, and he exceeds the most, nay even the best in his private paines; he is very studious and reads much, and can remember well, and can expresse himselfe marvellous well, and so will carry all before him; nay this man is so lif­ted [Page 456] up in his imagination, that hee could almost undertake to teach Ministers how to preach, if any man out of weaknesse would condescend to him: but if you follow him home to his family, there he prayes but once a weeke, and if misery, and sorrow, and affliction come, then haply hee can pray twice, unlesse some carnall base friend come into his family, which haply would scorne him and his profession, then he prayes once, and scarcely that, because hee would not offend his friend: and hence it is that poore people make this man an oracle, and this mans words, and judgement, and determinations, they are of great weight: and if a poore soule which can dive deeply into his owne heart, comes and questions his faith, and to make some doubt of his graces, all is in an uproare presently; what, say they, such a man have no faith? the Lord be mercifull to us then: if a man of such judgement and parts hath no faith, then what shall become of us? this mans words cast the ballance any way, and his words are of great weight amongst the vulgar sort of people: and hence it is that the poore ignorant creatures beare up themselves upon this mans judgement, and say they, for a man to pray twice a day, it is not required, and it is more than is needfull; and if a man have a minde to stay at home, may hee not read the Word in his owne house, and get as much good by it, as by going to Church? wiser than wee thinke so; and if it were not so, doe you thinke such a man would professe it, a man of parts and good judgement; [Page 457] and many times Gods owne servants, out of the sight of their owne weaknesse, and the discou­ragements of their owne heart; and when they see themselves so farre outbidden by their parts, then they have such a one in a high account, and preferre him above themselves by many degrees: now see the guise of this man; hence it is that this man falls in love with himselfe, and is lifted up into a fooles paradise, and he begins to admire at himselfe, and for any matter of faith, hee doth not question it, what a man of such wisedome, and such understanding, what not he faith? he makes no question, hee cannot misse of faith, and so he goes away comfortably and contentedly: thus you see the faith of this man.

2 Secondly, wee come to view and to see where he falls short, now you see him: Oh, that the Lord would make him see himselfe, and brethren observe thus much; few of these men are ever brought home by the powerfull preaching of the Gospell; and the reason is, because their owne wisedome is beyond the ministery of the Word, and they say, such a Minister is a good Scholer; but had hee that wisedome, and those parts, and the like: thus they reare up bulwarkes against the Word of truth, that it sinkes not into their hearts; therefore to make this man knowne to himselfe, observe thus much in the generall, the basenesse of this mans faith, (for it is no better, but that he is deluded that he cannot see it) it disco­vers it selfe thus: it is bred in his bookes, and in his judgement, and goes no further, and it is far [Page 458] from saving faith: therefore that the inditement may lie cleare, and that we may outbid him in his booke learning and all, know thus much, the maine ground of this mans mistake may be disco­vered thus: there are two things in the nature of faith: First, illumination: Secondly, applicati­on, as wee tearme it; illumination not onely is, when a man hath the common rumours, and in­timations of the truths of God, in the Gospell, and knowes the reason of the texts, and the mea­ning of the scriptures, this the reprobate may have, and this he hath; but there is also an operation of the Spirit upon the affections, and then there comes an application, wherein the soule goes out to the promise, and takes that for his good, which is thereunto appointed: now observe this judicious man, hee hath a generall apprehension of the truths of the Gospell; but as for that speci­all working upon the will, and to enter in upon the promises of God, and to have the sap and sweet of these, and to goe out to Christ, and to take all from Christ, he is a stranger to this, and it goes beyond all his booke learning; and hence it is that when the Minister comes to handle these points, he saith the Minister was something con­fused to day; and the reason why he faith so, it is because hee did not understand them; these men are ignorant in the spirituall turnings of the heart, Iohn 3.8, 9. when Christ came to teach Nicodemus, he was at a losse, and thought that Christ spoke without booke: therefore Christ reads the lecture againe and saith, I speake of the spirituall worke, [Page 459] that which is borne of the flesh is flesh, and that which is borne of the Spirit is Spirit: Oh, saith he, how can these things be? he could not gainsay Christ, and yet because hee could not understand it, therefore hee would not yeeld: so it is with this man, it befalls this man as it is with some wise Lawyer, hee reads over a mans writings and the leases, and hee rehearseth the tenour upon which the lands are holden, and what right the man hath to them, hee layes open all the questions of the law, and he reads his name in the will, and yet he never reads his owne name there, nor any right that he hath to them: Just so it is with this judi­cious professor, he is able to dispute of the maine points of the Gospell, and shewes that others have right to them, and he reads the writings, but never comes to partake of them himselfe; as it was with the wise men that came to inquire for Christ, Matth. 2.1, 2. verses, the Scribes and Pharisees could tell you where Christ was to bee borne, and bid the wise men goe to Bethlem, but they would not goe themselves: so these men have wisedome enough to say, here is the way to Heaven; but their owne hearts are not hum­bled nor framed to walke in that way, and to goe home to Christ, nor to receive mercy from him. Know therefore you that are weake, that beleeving carries two things with it in the phrase of Scripture: First, the assent of a mans judge­ment to the truth, when a man is so farre convin­ced that hee sits downe, and acknowledgeth that whatsoever the Word hath revealed, his judge­ment [Page 460] saith it is all true, and yeelds fully with the whole streame of his minde, this is that which the Scripture sometimes calls beleeving, and it is nothing but the bare assent to the truth, saying it is so.

Secondly, when the will embraceth that good in the promise formerly revealed, when the will of a man claimes Gods Statutes, and casts his heart and hope upon the goodnesse of the pro­mise. Now the judicious professour hath faith in the first sense, hee assents to all the truths of the Scriptures, and acknowledgeth that they are true; the devills in hell have this faith too, and all that have no more than this faith, shall goe to the devill too, as Iames 2.19. in the 14. verse, the Apostle saith, if a man say hee hath faith, and hath not workes, will that profit him: and in the 19. verse; thou beleevest there is one God, thou dost well, the de­vils also beleeve and tremble; that is, they assent to all the truths of Scripture that God reveals, and this is the beleeving of this great man which wee have discovered in his fashion, when a man can dive deepe into the Scriptures, and understand all the texts, and unty every knot, and dispute all questions, and is able to judge of the reasons of them, is this thy faith? the devill himselfe will outbid this faith: If cunning, and judgement, and knowledge be thy faith, the devils have this faith, they know the Lord Jesus Christ is the Sonne of the most high God, they know that the mercy of the Lord Christ is great, and that they shall never taste of it; they know [Page 461] that the Lord Jesus shall bee the Judge of all the world, and that hee shall condemne them, they assent to it, and tremble at it. Marke 5.8. when our Saviour came amongst the devils, they said, We know thee who thou art, even the holy one of God; and Acts 16.17. there was a Devill in a woman, which was a Diviner and a Witch, and she said, These men are the servants of the living God, which shew unto us the way of salvation; it was the Devill in the woman, therefore the Apostle bad him goe out of her, because he hindered their worke: I wish that the Devils in hell might not rise up in judgement against many of our unbeleevers, which will not yeeld to the truth of God; this is the bottome which beares up that kinde of boldnesse, which many carnall creatures have up­on their death-beds, which never had the power of grace in their soules. Come to a carnall man that knowes nothing savingly and sanctifyingly, and he will say, I beleeve in the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart, I have admired at it, and sought to know the bottome of it, and it is this, they thinke this is beleeving, to acknowledge that Je­sus Christ is come into the world, and that they are not infidels, they assent unto the truth, and yeeld unto it; in their judgements they thinke this is faith, and that it is sufficient too: Oh you poore creatures that have your friends, or parents, or husbands, that thus lay hold upon Christ, and are perswaded that this is faith; understand what the meaning is, they only assent to the truth, but never make application to their owne soules. [Page 462] Whats that to thee that thou knowest the way to life and salvation, and never walkest in it? and whats that to thee, to heare that the Lord Christ came to save sinners, and to know that there is mercie enough in him, and yet never partake of it?

3 Thirdly, I come to the evidences, which make it cleare to us, that he hath no more than this, and those evidences are two:

1 First, you shall finde this man past feare, and al­most carelesse, but he is without doubt of the dif­ficultie, either of getting or maintaining his faith; hee never comes to question whether hee hath faith or no, and he accounts them silly Christians, that are so daily troubled and disquieted for their estates, whereas he carries the matter very con­fidently, and scarcely lookes after it, but beares it out with marvellous boldnesse and confidence, which in truth is an undoubted argument, that this man never knew what this faith was, our Sa­viour saith, Strive to enter in at the straight gate, for the gate is narrow that leadeth to life, and few there are that finde it; and so the Apostle, 2 Pet. 1.5. Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure; yet this man makes it a matter of nothing; nay, when many seeke and labour, and take much paines, and never attaine it, by reason of their for­mer strength of it, as Prov. 1.28. They shall call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seeke mee early, but they shall not finde mee; yet this man thinks to have it with a wet finger: that faith which is wrought by the Spirit of God in the [Page 463] soule, and is thereby kept, it hath daily opposi­tion in the soule, so that every godly man that hath faith, he must fight against the Devill, and all enemies and oppositions, yet this man never comes to blowes, the Lord Christ found it thus by experience, and thus the Apostles and the Saints of God found it, yet this man hath found out a shorter cut, and an easier way to heaven, and he is not ashamed to confesse it, and say, If a man were exercised in the word, and if men had but his skill, and were but trained up in his schoole, it were not such a hard matter to get faith, and so it is true, for they may easily get that faith which thou hast.

2 Secondly, follow this man home, and close with him in his private chamber and attend upon him in his other occasions, and there he hath no power of godlinesse in his life, he hath practice without any pith, and a course without any kernell, and hee performes superficiall duties without any strength; all his duties are as dry as a chip, only he carries all out with this, he is wise, and learned, and judicious, and this answers all; if hee doe omit or neglect duties, and doe them carelesly, this comforts him, that hee is a judicious man: it is certaine this man wants that grace, which he seemes to have, hee that hath so much faith without wavering, must needs have his conversa­tion answerable, he that hath so much faith in his heart, must needs have a gracious and a godly life; if a man have much sap within, and no signe of it without, it is certaine it is no true faith, as it is [Page 464] with a tree, the tree that hath much sap in the root, will have much fruit in the branches, and the more sap it hath, the more fruit it will have: looke as it is with the floud-gates, the wider the sloud-gate is, the greater is the streame which comes thorow it; so were thy faith the faith of Gods elect, then the more faith a man had to lay hold upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the more sap and grace he would receive from Christ, and the greater would be the streame of grace that would run out in all holy obedience, to the Lord Jesus Christ; but when a man brags that he hath much faith within, yet if his conversation be without pith and savour, it is nothing but a conceit, and an apprehension; as for the power of Christ, and the life of Christ, this man never knew it, nor ne­ver had it.

The fourth and last sort is the counterfeit, that hath a forged kinde of faith, in such a manner, that they will sometimes bee ready to couzen a holy judicious man, and themselves too; they exceed all the former, and there is no disputing of the difference betweene those two that are past, and this man that followes; I told you that hee was a Chynicall, and an Alcumie man, and one that hath something to say for himselfe; hee hath the picture of faith drawne marvellous curiously, and he hath the appearance of some plea for him­selfe, and he hath the resemblance of this blessed worke, and that prettie lively too: of these there are three sorts; one exceeds the other in degrees, and yet all fals short of this blessed work of faith:

First, the temporarie beleever, wee take him as the lowest forme; a man is called a temporary bleever, that beleeveth for a time, and is hot at first hand, and admirable fierce in the pursuit of the truth, for the present push, but hee slides off, and goes away, and you shall see him no more; now that wee may deale home in the businesse, for hee that will search in a narrow case, cannot doe it suddenly: therefore suffer mee to lay this man open in three particulars: First, we will give him audience, and heare what he can say for him­selfe; hee shall come as it were into the open court, and plead his owne cause. Secondly, I will shew where he failes. Thirdly, give you the rea­sons why he fals short.

For the first, he shall discover it himselfe.

And for the second, the word shall lay it open.

And for the third, I will shew you, how, and what he is.

For the first of these, let the temporary speake in his owne language, and put his plea in his owne behalfe, and give him but a faire hearing, and you shall have thus much of him; hee professeth clearly, that hee hath not onely, as the judicious man had, an apprehension of the truth onely, and an assent that the Scriptures are cleare and true; but hee saith thus much, that his affections are carried on in a kinde of longing after it, and they are taken aside, and stirred by the Word of the Lord, and both his heart and affections have a rel­lish of the goodnesse of Gods word; this is his profession, and he will make it good to you too; [Page 464] [...] [Page 465] [...] [Page 466] this comes something neere faith, and there is some colour for him to plead, that hee hath some confidence in God; there are three things in Scripture that he saith for himselfe, as Luke 8.13. the stony ground there is the temporarie, and the text saith two things of him, That he receives the word with joy, and beleeveth for a time; these two things are there averred, and are in the heart of this man; the receiving of the word with joy, is the tickling of the affections, with the appre­hension of the sweetnesse of the truth; and his beleeving, is not onely a bare assent to the truth, but a worke of the will in a kinde of hourlinesse in application; these fall short of the spirituall worke, namely thus, when the treasures of wis­dome and holinesse are laid open before the soule of a poore sinner, and when the unsearchable riches of Gods love in Christ are let in, and come home to the heart of a stony ground hearer, the will is tickled therewith, and his inward man is stirred, and bedewed hourely with the sweetnesse thereof, this is the beleeving for a time; Iohn 15.35. our Saviour saith, Iohn was a burning and a shi­ning light, and you were willing for a season to have re­joyced in his light; one man that is at a losse, and out of his way, or another that is benummed and set with cold, the one seeth the fire, and is content to come to it to warme himselfe, but when it burns him, away goes he; so they delighted in the ministery of Iohn, and it was pretty good while it was new, but when it begun to scorch, then they would heare him no more: thus it [Page 467] was with those temporaries that flew off from Christ, Iohn 6.34. when Christ told them, that Moses gave them not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, for the true bread is hee which came downe from heaven; and giveth life to the world, and they said, Lord evermore give us this bread; but they that would ever have of this bread, they soone after vomitted him up againe, and said, This is an hard saying, who can beare it? the second instance of Scripture is this, Heb. 6.4, 5. It is impossible for those that were once inligh­tened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, &c. this is such a kinde of taste, as may be and is in such a man, as shall never have share in life and salvation; as the Apostle afterwards makes it cleare, the heavenly gift is the grace of faith, and the good word of the Lord, is the goodnesse of the word; I will open my selfe thus, observe that this taste cannot be the taste of the understanding proper­ly, for if hee were once inlightened, and hath ta­sted, saith the text, to say, inlightened, and in­lightened is without sense, and makes a kinde of unreasonablenesse in the dispute of the Apostle, and therefore it is something more than the work of judging and assenting.

Secondly, it is not the disgesting of the heaven­ly gift, for this man hath onely the taste of the heavenly gift, now a man may taste of a precious liquor, and a man may sip of a cordiall, that hath no power to make perfect use of it.

Againe, thirdly, it is a worke and stroke of the will and affections: here you may see the carnall hypocrite even almost at heaven, and yet he fals short, and when he is in hell, he shall say, I had thought I was in heaven, and yet because I have no faith, I am now cast downe to hell; it is thus much, when the Lord lets in a glimpse of the exe­lencie of the grace of faith, and the glory of hea­ven, and the sweetnesse of the pardon of all the sinnes of the faithfull, and the Lord lets in a glimpse of all these, which goes home to the top of the affections, and will that the Lord by a spiri­tuall kinde of flash, suddenly passeth by the will, so that he leaves some kinde of dew, and some re­membrance of those glorious things, which are thus let in upon the minde of a poore sinner, in­somuch that his heart is marvellously tickled and ravished with it: I expresse it thus; as it is with the water in a standing poole, and the water that runneth through a pipe; the standing water soakes and goes down-ward, and settles inwardly in the earth, but the water that passeth by suddenly, leaves only a little dew behinde it, but soakes not at all; so it is with this temporary beleever, the streame of the heavenly truths of the Doctrine of Christ passeth by suddenly, as namely, that Je­sus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that Christ came to take away the iniquitie of his servant, this doth passe by suddenly, and leaves a little dew behinde it; so that he saith, Oh this is good, this is sweet! I may be saved too, may I not? Oh I never heard a man speake so comfor­tably: [Page 469] this word bedewes the heart a little, but it soakes not downe, it goes not to the root of the soule, & therefore observe it: this is a work which the hypocrite may have, only observe thus much; he sips of grace and salvation, and makes a meale of his corruptions; but the gracious man onely sips of his corruptions, and makes a meale of grace, of holines, & mercy in Christ, Looke as it is with seed that is cast into the wombe of a woman, the seed is enough to beget some fruit; but if the wombe be a miscarrying wombe, it comes to no­thing: so it is betweene the stirring of the Word in the heart of a poore Saint, and in the heart of an Hypocrite; the Spirit of the Lord workes in the heart of a Hypocrite by the Word, and is able to moysten him; but the heart miscarries in the worke, and resists, and gainsayes, and never comes to any good, hee never comes to bee a faithfull man rightly proportioned, whereas the same Spi­rit of God, working rightly upon the heart of a beleever, it makes him a very proportionable Christian, the other remaining but a confused lumpe. Now see what this man may doe when he comes to this, let him bee thus bedewed with this taste of the excellency of faith, and never have faith strengthned and rooted in him, yet hee will bee very eager in the pursuit of the Word, and marvellous constant in attending upon the Word, because it is his delight, and hee will bee marvellous painfull to get the Word; for a man will doe any thing to get his delight, and he may bee angry with such as would hinder him in the [Page 470] pursuit of the Gospell, which is his delight; this a man may doe, and yet all come to nothing, and so may perish everlastingly; for looke what joy and delight will doe for a push, the same a carnall temporary may doe. But that this man will doe all this it is plaine; of this kinde was Balaam that wretched man, of whom you may see divers pas­sages in the 23. 24. chapters of Numbers: hee was a witch, as Divines hold, and hee was going to curse the people of God; but the Lord stopt him, and how did he it? why, he let him see the excel­lency of the condition of the Saints of God, and said, Oh thou wretched man, loe there and behold the happy condition of my people, and see all the good that I have given them, and wilt thou curse those that I love so dearly? Now see how he was taken up with it; Oh that I might die the death of the righteous! this was a glimpse of the glory that was let in upon him, to stop him and to awe his heart, yet hee re­turned to his old byas againe: the third Scrip­ture is in Matthew 25.8. I know Interpreters va­ry in it, but I will be bold to suggest what I thinke; the five foolish virgins said, give us of your oyle, for our lampes are gone out: they had lamps but no oyle, how could they kindle their lamps except they had oyle? they had a little oyle in their lampes, but none in their vessels; their lampes was their excellent and glorious profession, and the oyle which they had was nothing but the taste of the heavenly gift, they had so much stirring of the will and affections as might carry them on to professe the truth, but they had not oyle in their [Page 471] vessels which might sink downe into their hearts, to subdue their corruptions, and to quicken up their grace, they had not this power to frame their hearts strongly towards the Lord, and to feed their profession with constancy and perseverance to the end: so that you see what hee can say for himselfe; and me thinkes he speakes marvellous probably: The Lord bee mercifull to us, if a man goe thus farre, and come to nothing, it is wonderfull, he is farre beyond the judicious pro­fessor: Oh, saith he, I had a rellish of the sweet­nesse of the good Word of God, and a taste of the heavenly gift, and my heart was ravished with the sight of the glory of it, and I could even have gone to Heaven; now you see the best of him.

2 But now secondly, what is the falsenesse of this man, and wherein is his failing, and why: where he falls short of faith, and what it is that would make him an honest man: Now the second thing is this, that notwithstanding the sudden push of this man, hee will wither and will turne his backe upon the truth, and commonly he is an enemy to that truth to which his love was carried, and which was his chiefe delight; and this hee doth upon these two grounds commonly.

First, when he se [...]th the bitternesse, and mise­ry, and affliction, and vexation that accompanies the Word, hee is weary of the Word rather than he will beare those afflictions that doe accompany the Word; he will follow our Saviour no longer than prosperity follow him: for he will rather [Page 472] forsake Christ, than to forgoe these: hee was made a professour all upon a sudden, and hee re­ceives the Word suddenly with joy, when hee heares of the glorious grace and mercy of God, he faith, Oh, that Jesus Christ should come from Heaven to save sinners, and to wait upon poore drunkards, and adulterers, and vilde wretches: Oh sweet and admirable mercy, saith hee, and so all upon a sudden he turnes Christian and Profes­sour; but if afflictions and trouble come for the truth, then hee turnes off all, Christ, and truth, and his profession and all: Oh saith he, I have heard of much comfort and peace, and that the Lord would be good to his, and would save and deliver those that trust in him: you told me so, did you not? Had you told me of shame and disgrace, and miseries which I now finde, I could have told how to answer you, and how to order all my oc­casions; when the Sunne riseth hot upon him, and troubles and afflictions befall him, then hee leaves Christ Jesus and all, rather than hee will part with his comforts and ease, and the like: thus it is in Matthew 8.19. A certaine Scribe seeing Christ like to prove a great man, and thinking to have a good booty out of him, he said, I will fol­low thee whither soever thou goest: he thought Christ would bee preferred, and if I can but get under his wings, I shall be a made man for ever. Take heed what thou dost, saith our Saviour, if thou wilt follow mee, thou must take all miseries that come: I have not a bed for my selfe, and there­fore if thou want one, thou must be content: The [Page 473] Foxes have holes, and the Fowles of the aire have nests, but the Sonne of man hath not whereon to lay his head: so hee was gone, and wee heare no more of him.

The second ground upon which he commonly departs is this; when the good Word of the Lord comes home close to his heart, and reads the blacke side as well as the white side; when the Word of God pursues him home to his consci­ence, and shewes his sinnes, and discovers his base practices, and tells him thus; it is true there is mercy and salvation enough to be had in Christ, but there is none for such as will not part with all for Christ, nor for those that will not lose all to finde and entertaine Christ. Now when the Mi­nister comes to shake this mans hold, and to tell him, you follow after Christ for the loaves, your profession is faire, but your heart is naught; there is no sound worke nor saving grace wrought, all that you have done is lost and come to nothing; then hee is profesly at daggers drawing with the truth of Christ, and saith, what is it all come to this? This man doth not preach as hee was wont to doe; what mercy was he wont to discover, and what consolations would hee reveale to all the poore servants of God? he preacheth now as if he would vex men, and not comfort them: as Iohn 6.34. The Disciples were very desirous to have their meat drest for them; and Christ saith to them, I will doe it for you; the bread of God is he which commeth downe from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world; Oh, said they, Lord evermore [Page 474] give us of this bread; well, saith Christ, you shall have enough of it, I am that bread of life, hee that commeth to me shall never hunger, and he that belee­veth in me, shall never thirst; he that eateth my flesh shall never hunger: the flesh profiteth nothing the words that I speake, they are Spirit and they are Life; this must be done by faith spiritually: now marke these men in the 60. verse, they fall to open quarrelling and opposing; this is an hard saying, who can beare it? as if hee had said, you desired evermore to have of this bread, but you must bee humble and feed upon me by faith, and lay downe all confidence in parts and gifts: Oh, then they loathed this bread, and care not for it, it will not downe; this is bread that no man can digest; what, thus holy and thus heavenly minded, to man can endure it: So from that day forward they went away. So Gal. 4.15, 16. the Galathians there did entertaine the Word of the Lord mar­vellous contentedly, and their hearts were ravi­shed therewith, insomuch that they could have beene even content to pluck out their eyes to doe the Apostle good, and yet presently after, they would have pluckt the soule from his body, and all this was because hee would not dally with them, nor nourish them in their sinnes, but spoke the truth which would have pluckt away their corruptions from them. When the Prophet came to the wi­dowes house, and bade her take meale out of the barrell, and draw oyle out of the cruise, all the while that this lasted he was welcome; but when the childe died, she saith, Oh, thou man of God, art [Page 475] thou come to call my sinnes to remembrance by slaying my sonne? when shee conceived that he had seene her sinnes, shee falls out with him: so it is with this temporary beleever; all the while the meale and the oyle continue, and while a Minister will tell them of ease, and liberty, and prosperity, and preach smooth things, and fawne upon them in their base distempers, and daube them up, all this while the Ministers are welcome; but if a man come to shake their hypocrisie, and when they begin to say, what, a dissembler and a chea­ter, and yet a professor; then they say, Oh thou man of God, art thou come to shake the hold of all the hope we have; wee are not able to endure it: it is knowne by experience that commonly such persons turne the most bitter enemies against that truth which formerly they have professed, and seemed to love.

3 Thirdly, how comes it to passe that hee falls short, and what wanted he? you see he had some­thing like unto faith; the Saints of God were affected, so was he; the Saints of God had some taste of the sweetnesse of the Word, so had hee; where is the fault then? I answer, the failing was in three particulars, and they are very faire and open.

1 First, this was the wound of the temporary in his course, he received the Word suddenly and with joy, and so hee came not to the promise aright, but came to just nothing: for in Gods ordinary course of proceeding this is the course, [Page 476] whereas he did receive the Word suddenly with joy, he should have received it leasurely and with sorrow, as Ier. 50.4. at that time saith, the Lord, The Chilren of Israel shall come, they and the children of Iudah together, going and weeping shall they goe and seeke the Lord their God, and they shall aske the way to Zion with their faces thitherward: If ever you would seeke the Lord, and have your faces towards him, you must goe weeping and mour­ning; and this was the way that God led them, and that wisely too: as Ier. 31.9. They shall come weeping and mourning, and with mercy will I bring them: Againe, I will lead them by the rivers of wa­ters, &c. There are even rivers of supplications in their mouthes, they powred out their hearts there, and what came afterwards? their hearts were filled with comfort and consolation, it is that which you shall observe; the Lord appoints this, and it is the portion which God the great Housholder of heaven and earth prepares for his; hee prepares it for them, and therefore all you proud and stubborne wretches, and unbroken hearts, meddle not you with comfort: first he discomforted before ever you can bee comforted; as for this temporary beleever, his eyes were ne­ver opened convictingly to see his sinnes, and his heart was never burthened with them, nor loosned from them, that so the Lord Christ and his comforts might be setled upon: therefore in Hosea 2.14. I will allure her and bring her into the wildernesse, and speake friendly to her; and I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for [Page 477] the doore of hope; first in the wildernesse, and then in Canaan; first in sorrow, then in comfort; the valley of Achor is the valley of consternation, and then the doore of hope, this is the way toward Zion, but this temporary hath invented a new way to Zion, he doth as Ruffians doe, they will goe in the [...]oad way so farre as they finde good way, but when they come into bad way, they breake over hedges, and finde a new way, whether lawfull or unlawfull, they care not; so doth this man, he takes his comfort as soone as ever it comes, hee snatches at all the comforts of the Gospell, and thinks they are all his owne, and all on the sud­den he is a forward professour at three or foure dayes warning, and his heart snatcheth at every Sermon of mercie, and he is as good a Christian by and by, as many a poore soule which hath tug­ged hard for it many a yeare, but his conscience was never awakened, he never felt the burthen of his sinnes, nor the wrath of God against him for his sinnes: this temporary promises to him­selfe nothing but ease, and peace, and prosperity, therefore when sorrowes, and troubles, and mise­ries come, he goes away with as much speed as he came, like Ionahs gourd, that came up sudden­ly, and withered as suddenly: so in the beginning of the yeare hee is a hot professour, and before the fall of the leafe he is gone againe; the wound of this man was this, he wanted the worke of the law, not onely that through-worke of the law, which none shall have, but such as have faith, but also that legall worke of the law, which should [Page 478] breake and hammer his heart, this is the stonie ground-hearer, he wanted depth of earth; what that was, wee shall dispute anon when occasion serves; the meaning is thus much in the generall; the plow which should have given earth and mould enough, it was the sharp law, which should have torne up his proud sturdy rebellious heart all in peeces, but this man never had this worke, and therefore his proud heart beat backe the worke of the promise, that it never had roome in his heart; comfort and consolation will never sticke nor abide upon a proud heart, nor upon a stubborne and unbroken heart, which was yet never broken for sinne; plaisters may be made, but they shall never finde ease and comfort by them as they desire; you may goe away comfor­ted, and say, God is mercifull, and Christ is graci­ous, and he came to save sinners; and though our workes will not justifie us, yet the Lord Jesus Christ will save us; your plaister will not sticke; thus he failes in the entrance to the promise.

Secondly, he failes in his application of the promise, for the ground upon which he goes, or the cause and reason which carries him to roame after the promise, it is onely the generall notice of mercie, and of the salvation that God offers, the glimpse and the shine whereof being let in upon the heart, and passing by, jogs the soule, and so the heart snatcheth at it, he comes to heare the abundance of mercie, and the rich redemption, and plentifull goodnesse of Christ to pardon all sinnes, (the sinne against the holy Ghost onely [Page 479] excepted) and the freenesse of mercy to all sorts of sinners, be they never so many for number, ne­ver so vile for nature; yea, he heareth that there is a fountaine set open for all to wash in; when he heares this, hee saith, thats well, then I may come to heaven too, and there is some hope that I may receive mercie, never considereth the con­dicions upon which God promiseth, and bestow­eth mercie, whereas the man that is a true belee­ver, hath not only a common kinde of apprehen­sion of the mercie of God in Christ; but he hath a particular application of it; I will open it thus, that every man may take something; the tempo­rarie hath a common hear-say of mercie, and the common hear-say of mercie in the bare letter of them, as that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, it is in the bruit of it onely, but the humbled soule hath it under the hand of the Spirit, and the Spi­rit seales it, and makes it good to him, the promise of life slides and passeth by the temporary belee­ver, but now the Spirit of God settles it, and it takes a deep and a through impression in the heart of a beleever by application, the Spirit of God only, as it were, jogs the heart of a tempo­rarie beleever, but he sets it on deeply upon the heart that is humbled and fitted for it, as the An­gell said unto Gideon, The Lord is with thee, thou va­liant man; so the Lord faith to every humbled soule; not onely that the Lord is gracious and mercifull, for thus he saith to the temporarie be­leever, but he is gracious and mercifull to thee, and hee will speake peace and comfort to thee, [Page 480] which hast spoken trouble and terrour to thine owne heart; as in the 1 Cor. 2.12. Wee have not re­ceived the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are given to us of God; God not only gives us good things, but he hath given his Spirit, that we may know, that it is he which hath given us these good things.

3 Thirdly, and lastly, this temporary beleever failes and fals shott upon this ground also; I told you the soule is effectually perswaded to rest upon the free grace of God, and to fall into the armes of his mercie; now the temporary failes also in the worke of relying; that which feeds his hope, and stayes his heart, is nothing else but the taste and present sweetnesse which he had in the promise; he relyes upon the taste and sense which hee had by the sip of the promise; and hence it is, that when the taste is gone, the sweetnesse of the present push is gone, that then there comes trouble and sorrow more heavie, and more able to vex him, than all the other was to comfort him; then hee begins to repent him of his match, and thinkes that all his profession will not quit cost; now when that taste and that comfort which he had, failes him, and sorrow and afflictions come and overpowers his sweetnesse and comfort, then hee fals away: but a man that hath true saving faith, rests himselfe not upon the taste and sense of this good, but upon the good­nesse of God in the promise, and upon the all-sufficiency of God in the promise; he seeth more good in the promise, than in all the contents of [Page 481] the world, and hee seeth more certainty in the good of the promise, than in all the good things here below; and therefore he will rather lose all than the promise, and will rather trust to the goodnesse of God in the promise, than to any thing else besides; though riches bee never so great, and honours never so glorious, yet the faithfull soule knowes that the world promiseth much, and performes little, and it cousens us; but the Lord is true in all his promises, and what he hath promised, the soule beleeves: therefore saith he, though my sense, and taste, and all faile, and if many sorrowes and miseries come, yet I will rest upon the promise; for there is a greater good in the promise, than in all the world besides: to this I may adde the other, which I call the dis­couraged hypocrite, as there are too many of them in these dayes, such as heretofore have car­ried a faire sayle in the wayes of godlinesse; but when his honour and credit dies, hee goes away: some have died for griefe, they are all to be refer­red to this ground; so long as the winde lasted he stayed it out, but now hee is not able to hold up his head, unlesse he be lifted up by the chinne, and by the comfort of his profession: but he that is a gracious man, though all the frame of Heaven and Earth stagger, yet he is supported and beares up himselfe upon the promise, if it bee a saving worke: I know he may stagger, yet hee recovers himselfe, and at last lifts up himselfe upon the promise. A skilfull swimmer useth his bladders, but yet if they faile, hee recovers himselfe upon [Page 482] the streame, and beares up himselfe upon that: so the gracious heart is content to use comforts, and contentments, and whatsoever hee hath to beare him up with more ease; yet if all these blad­ders breake, and if all friends, and meanes, and honours goe, and if heaven and ea [...]th meet toge­ther, yet hee is able to cast himselfe upon the streame of the promise, and so to goe on cheerily, as Psalme 73. the Prophet saith, I am thus and thus, the bread of affliction is my meat, and teares are my drinke, and I am buffeted every morning; if the wicked rout and revell it, and have more than their hearts can desire, then have I washed mine hands in vaine, it is better for me to be as they are, than to be as I am; he began to staggar, and he was at a stand, yet hee saith, God is good to Israel, though persecuted and af­flicted, yet God is good to Israel: nay, in the 26. verse he saith, My heart had failed, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever; as if hee had said, the heavens and the earth may haply shake and shrinke, yet so long as God is strong, my heart is strong, and so long as he remaines, my comfort will continue even for ever: though a man, espe­cially if he be ingenuous, may shrinke under dis­grace, yet hee beares up himselfe upon the pro­mise, and though he lose his life, yet hee shall not lose a Saviour, therefore he stayes himselfe upon him: thus you see where this temporary failes, there is no great matter in him, but that it is stange to see what a man will doe for a push; we leave him, and only intreat the Lord to be mer­cifull to him, and let him see himselfe; if there [Page 483] be any of this kinde here this day, doe not goe away, and say, to heaven I must, all on the sudden, because I have a little taste of the word: no, no, thats not the way, it will cost you dearer than so, rather goe and see thy sinnes, and breake thy heart for them, and then there may bee comfort and consolation for thee: God hath the garment of gladnesse, but you must be in heavinesse first; you may goe on as you are, but then you shall ne­ver come to happinesse.

Sort. 2 The second sort of counterfeits, is the sturdy hypocrite; let us shew you first what wee con­ceive of him, and how we tearme him, I call the former a faint-hearted hypocrite, he must have his Aqua vitae, and his cordials of comfort ever with him, and God must provide a dish of com­fort for him, or else hee shall never have his cu­stome: but this is a sturdy hypocrite, and one that will not out of the pit for a small matter, but he will stand his ground, as a man doth in warre, and will undergoe much trouble, and stand stout­ly in the profession of religion, and yet though he be somewhat stout in his way, yet his heart is naught too; and that you may know him, and that hee may know himselfe, let us doe three things:

First, let us see what he can say for himselfe.

Secondly, wherein his falsenesse appeares, and the evidences of it.

Thirdly, the difference betweene him and a be­leever indeed.

1 First, what this man is, and how farre he goes, I [Page 484] cannot better plead for him, than he can plead for himselfe, and what he saith, you may beleeve him, he professeth tis true indeed, the temporary did meerly cousen himselfe, because he was cheared, before he was humbled and abased: but for his part he knowes how he came by his faith, it cost him hot water before he had it, he had his evi­dence with much labour, and therefore this is his comfort, hee hopes it is good, and of the right kinde, for, saith he, the Lord hath opened mine eyes to see my selfe, and to discover my sinne un­to my selfe, and made knowne the vilenesse of my sinne, and my misery by reason of the same, the word of the Lord was as a hammer to this stubborne heart of mine, I had almost the heart of a Devill, but the Lord met with me, and broke me in sunder: nay, it was a fire to let in the flames of hell into my conscience, thus I came by my faith: so that seeing my sinne and my vilenesse, I see a need of a Christ, and I see such a worth in a Christ, in so much that he hopes and professeth, that all the shame and disgrace that can befall him in a good course, shall never daunt him from that good way which hee sees chalked out before him: nay, and that which is the pinch of him, hee hopeth hee shall rather dye, than renounce that fruit of the Gospell which he hath received, and which hath comforted his soule: thus now hee hath beene humbled, and hath seene a need of Christ, and he may dye in the defence of the re­ligion hee professeth, and yet never savingly be­leeve in the Lord Jesus Christ, nor partake of the [Page 485] mercie and goodnesse in him: 1 Cor. 13.3. there the Apostle saith, though I give my body to be bur­ned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing: it is a rule in Logicke, those disjunct propositions both parts whereof are true, the whole must needs bee true; if either part be false, then the proposition must needs bee false; if the position bee true, then both parts are true; as in this position, I am not a rich man, and yet I am a poore man, both parts are true; so it is in this position, I may give my body to be burned, and yet I may want love, both parts are true; then it is plaine that a man may dye in the profession of religion, and yet bee damned when he hath done: thus much for the proofe of it by Scripture, the reasons that doe confirme it besides many other: the maine argu­ment is this, there are many things in the heart of a wretched man, which will make him die rather than forgoe his profession. A man sturdily proud may give way to be burnt, and to dye for faction, &c. hee dyes onely to content his owne proud heart, not because God requires it, and that God may be honoured, but only in sturdinesse of heart, and because he will dye in that profession where­in he hath beene brought up.

2 Secondly, his falsenesse doth appeare in this, howsoever afflictions and persecutions cannot pull him from the truth, yet case, and profit, and pleasure, and lust will suck out the heart; these troubled him not, because he had them not; but when he hath had them and felt the sweetnesse of them, he is thereby overcome, and so forsakes re­ligion [Page 486] and all: Thus the devill hits him in the right nicke, the devill could not dampe him with troubles and with persecutions and disgraces, but the devill provides dainties for him, and there he eats and surfets, and kils himselfe; these take off the soule from Christ, when all the persecuti­on in the world cannot daunt him. Take a man that is ingenuous and hath a stout heart of his owne, haply he is called to battle, and he scornes to be outbraved by any man; but when you can­not prevaile this way, yet by fawning and flatte­ring, you shall turne him which way you will; the onely way is to flatter him. This is the reason why many a man that hath gone farre in the pro­fession of religion, and hath stood strongly for it, yet when some have come and given him a bait, hee lies downe upon his belly and will doe any thing: as it is in fishing, a man doth not catch the fish, by beating the water with his rod, but by baiting his hooke; so it is with this man, the bait catcheth him, when the hook could not. We have an old parable of a traveller; the winde though it blew and blustered, yet it could not pull away his cloake, but hee held it so much the faster; but when the Sun shined hot upon him, he threw off his cloake and coat and all: when a man hath no honours, then persecution makes him hold the closer to the truth, but when the fine gleames of honour and profit come, and a man is lifted up into fools paradise, he puts off all religion and honesty: the sturdy hypocrite may die for the truth, and yet all out of a sturdy spirit, [Page 487] because he scornes to bee subject. It is said of the thorny ground, that the thorns did choake it, the Sunne did not parch it, hee could have gone to a prison, or to a stake, but when prosperity, and honour, and pleasure came, they choake all that hee had, that so hee hath not a word to say; thus it was with Demas; I doubt not but he had many a storme with Paul, and shared with Paul in all his troubles; but when hee had gotten good means, he left Paul; & because he could not attend those, and goe with Paul too, therefore hee left Paul, for he thought with himselfe that Paul would not let him goe on so, and therefore hee leaves him and the Gospell and all.

Now before I goe any further, give mee leave to answer two questions.

Quest. 1 First, why will prosperity take off this man from the profession of the truth, when you told us before that hee would lose his life in the de­fence of the truth? if he had died hee had lost all his pleasure, and ease, and all, why then doth prosperity take of his heare, when trouble and persecution would not doe it?

Ans. 1 To this I answer, the cause why these prevai­led not before, it was because they were not pre­sent with him, hee knew not the sweetnesse of these, and haply he had no hope to attaine them; but now hee injoyes them, and now hee is taken aside by them; haply his heart was the same be­fore, that it is now, but he had not the occasions that now he hath. Looke as it is with an inferiour [Page 488] subject, haply his heart is not disquieted for the crowne of the kingdome, for hee hath no hope nor likelihood of it, hee lookes not to attaine it; but now if hee were the heire apparant of the crowne, and had by conspiracy gotten faire way to the crowne and kingdome, hee would lose life and all rather than goe without it: and as it is with an adulterous woman, when she comes first into the family, shee loves her husband and the house and all; but when her companions come in and entice her to cursed dalliance, then shee leaves the house and her husband and all; shee was bad before, but she had not the occasions be­fore: this is the falsenesse in this wretch, having no hope to get wealth, he is not troubled with it, and having no hope to get honours, hee is not troubled with it; but though his heart was as bad before, yet the falsenesse of it did not so discover it selfe before, because he had not these occasions offered; and this is the reason why many a man that hath beene very forward in profession, and hath suffered much for the truth, yet one man is pluckt off from the profession of the truth by the world, and hee proves a muck-worme, and the world eats out the power of that grace which he seemed to have: And another man is taken by his base lusts of adultery, or the like, their hearts were as bad before, but they never had these temp­tations before; and therefore they abide trou­bles, because these temptations came not: and therefore when these come, they decline and fall away, and this is the cause of the base declining [Page 489] and falling away of all such wretches, which the world is pestered withall: and you that are Mi­nisters, and Christians, should doe well to aban­don the society of all such as make a profession of the truth, but deny the power of it in their con­versations.

Quest. 2 Now the second question is, why doth prospe­rity, and ease, and honour, take off the love of the truth, when troubles and persecutions could not doe it?

Answ. I answer, the reasons are two; and there you shall see the ground of his falsenesse.

1 First, because prosperity hath a great power to cousen and delude a mans judgement, it comes cunningly and slides into the soule, and so cou­sens him: as the wise man saith, bribes blinde the eyes of the wise, all his heart is upon the bribe; and though the cause be never so bad, yet it seemes good when so many peeces come to co­lour it over: even so here prosperity bribes the soules of poore creatures; the heart takes the bribe, and the understanding playes the lawyer, and pleads for it in this manner, and saith, now he is better informed, and he knowes more than hee did, and he is better advised The: English is thus much, he hath put on the spectacles of prosperi­ty, and hee hath seene a good living, or a good wife, and these bribe him, hee saw not these be­fore; and therefore these did not trouble him, but now hee hath seene them, certainly that must needs be good, that hath all these profits and plea­sures to plead for it: As the holy Ghost saith, [Page 490] Man in honour vnderstands not; as if hee had said, honour and prosperity blinde the understanding and bribe the minde of a man. They that are now and then overtaken with drink, may easily be cheated, and it is no wonder though they be, for they are not themselves: so a man may be drunke with the world, and with honours, and if hee be now and then cousened, you can looke for no other. This is the reason of all those faire kinde of colours which men put over their courses, they confesse their judgements were so indeed before­times, but now they have had learned counsell, that is, from their parts, and ease, and honours, &c. And shall I doe such a thing? and shall I walke in such a way? and they tell him there is great li­berty, and it is good law: thus a man is transpor­ted and taken aside most fearfully; nay here pro­sperity puts a pretence of a great deale of good that a man may doe in the Church; and a great deale of honour, he may bring to God; and hence they say, a man of such parts, and such iudge­ment and holinesse, if hee were a man of place, what a world of service might he doe to God, and to the Church, the world could not misse him; nay it is ten thousand pities that a man of such parts and gifts should not bee in high place; the Church misseth much good by the shift, and God loseth much honour. The meaning is, he loseth much honour, this cousens a mans judgement, when that which is the argument within a man is profit, or ease, or the like, whereas persecution doth no such matter; for in the time of persecu­tion, [Page 491] then a good cause appeares more plainly, and a naughty cause appeares more vilde. A man in persecution is not drunke, he is himselfe, and therefore hee is able to passe sentence as they doe deserve: persecution comes like an open enemy, and a man is aware of it, and therefore prepares for it; but prosperity comes like a traitour, and suddenly stabs us before wee are aware of it.

It is to be observed in nature, if the fishers goe and shew the bare hooke onely, the fish will flie from it, but when it is baited, then the fish will runne to it: so the bait of prosperity deludes a man, and he is deceived therewith, and is taken aside from the power and profession of the truth: Iudges 4.17. Baracke pursued Sisera, but hee over­came him not; and the reason was this, hee was not at peace with Baracke, but hee was at peace with Iael, and therefore she cunningly slew him: so here pro­sperity is a good blessing, and ease, and honour, and peace, these are all our friends, and wee are at peace with them: therefore these wound our hearts, and breake our neckes in conclu­sion.

Secondly, as our judgements come most of all to he cousened thereby, so it is that which deads our affections, and kils our diligences, and takes off the edge of our endevours, and makes us dead and sluggish in a Christian course, and hence it is that wee are desperately overthrowne thereby: persecution and trouble makes a man seeke more diligently, and crie and pray more earnestly, and labour more exactly than before, and consequent­ly [Page 492] seeking to God for succour, he receiveth more succour from the Lord, against all these troubles and trials: David was never tempted to that base lust in the wildernesse, when hee was pursued by Saul, because then he sought daily to the Lord, and had aid and succour from him; but when he was at ease in his house, then he grew dead hear­ted and carelesse, and was overcome in prosperity: men trust to themselves, and therefore they are foiled, but now persecutions and troubles make a man see himselfe helplesse in regard of him­selfe; and therefore he goes to the Lord, and so is supported and succoured by the Almighty, Esay 26.16. Lord in trouble have they visited thee, they powred forth a prayer when thy chastening was upon them; God cannot be visited in the time of prosperity, when we are full and aforehand, but in the time of adversitie and persecution, then they will powre forth their prayer, not drop out an idle lazie prayer, but pray with fervencie, and im­portunity, and so finde favour; so the Prophet Ie­remie complaines, I have spoken to thee in thy youth, but thou hast denied to heare mee; in our adversity, then Gods mercie and truth may take some place in our hearts, but in the time of prosperitie, then we turne the deafe care upon him, and we thinke wee have enough of our selves, as it is with the trees, the winde shaketh them, and so the sap comes more to the root, and it settles more firm­ly into the earth; but now if there comes a great drought, or an exceeding heat, that doth take away both sap and root, and all: so when the soule [Page 493] is shaken and tottered with the winde of perse­cution and temptation, the soule is settled more deeply upon the promise, for the guiding of him­selfe in a good way; but ease, and peace, and pro­speritie, dry up a mans endevours, and all the sap of grace and good which formerly a man seemed to have; then if it bee so that prosperitie bribes the judgement and couzens us, and if by prospe­ritie our care and diligence is deaded, no wonder then though honour and case prevaile so much against us, to hinder us more than persecutions can doe: thus you see this mans falsenesse.

Now the evidences whereby he discovers his falsenesse, they are two: and it is pretty to ob­serve, how his basenesse within will discover it selfe without; the first is this:

1 First, you shall finde him to maintaine his cor­ruption and his profession too, the world carries him, he must have that, and yet his profession must not bee cast away, hee will have Christ and ease, Christ and honour, he holds both in hand, and he divides his forces, he will be a professour, and yet be base in the world, and in his profits too, and you cannot take away either, he keepes a stall in both markets, Luke 8.14. it is said there, that the thornie ground brought forth no fruit to per­fection, it brought forth fruit, but the thornes did choake it, and so it brought forth nothing to any perfection; as it is in the thorny ground, the come haply hath a full eare with all the graine of it, and is as greene as a leeke, but it continues not greene still, and comes not to ripenesse and perfe­ction, [Page 494] because the thornes choake it; so this man hath his full eare, and is as greene as a leeke: you will fast and pray, so will he; you will professe, so will he; you will conferre holily, so will he in the outward appearance, but he never comes to good, because he bestowes the strength of his affections upon the world, or upon some base lusts; you can­not beat this man to lay downe his profession, and to make him say, I confesse I am dead, and my heart is vilde, and my profession is nothing but hypocrisie, no, hee will have his profession and his corruption too: thus observe the chap­man, when a Christian comes into his shop, hee will tell him a fine religious discourse, and so in the end couzen him; and if a vilde wretch comes in, he hath another tale for him, hee joynes with him, onely that hee may put a crackt commodity into his hand, and he joynes with the good man, that hee may couzen him too: so the Inkeeper, when a Christian comes to his house, hee tels him a fine religious tale; and if a drunkard comes it, he gives him his full measure; thus his thornes grow, and his corne too, hee holds his profession, and his corruptions too.

2 The second evidence of this mans falsnesse is this, he is weather-wise, that is, he observes how the state of things stand, and hee gives a shrewd guesse which way the winde and tide will goe, and he will be sure to goe that way, and to be on that side, he sees the winde begin to rise, and the stormes to bluster, therefore he will provide and shift for one, and doe any thing, provided that [Page 495] his honour and ease may not be lost, he will be of that side, that the thornes of profit and pleasure may not be plowed up, and therefore it is observa­ble, that those things which may hazzard his li­berty, he will not by his good will question them, but he carries out the matter bravely before him: so long as a man may have the substance, saith he, that is, Christ and religion, hee would not have men to trouble themselves about lesser matters; but the Lord Christ saith, hee that is unfaithfull in the least, is unfaithfull in much, and hee that makes not conscience of the smaller circumstan­ces, will not make conscience of the substance, and if hee bee compeld to enquire, and to make question of his course, he will be satisfied by those shewes, and that argument shall content him, which may content his honour, and maintaine his ease, and honour, and liberty, and hee goes away well apaid and fully quieted, and when this man is put to it, and the dent of the truth dasheth all those probable truths of his, then his last hold is this, he doth not beleeve it, and he cannot thinke it, but if you cannot beleeve and entertaine that which you cannot answer, then it is a signe that thy heart is naught; and if a man follow him fur­ther, and say, if a man set himselfe, and lift up himselfe, and his conceits against the truth of God, that mans heart is naught, then saith he, all the Ministers under heaven shall not make me beleeve it, but when hee can say nothing against the truth, he will keepe his hold still, and he will not beleeve it; thus you see this man at his full [Page 496] breadth and height: as it is with a plow, that goes to plow up a thorny tree, they tug, and pull, and make the traces flye, and breake the plow, but the tree stands still, it will not yeeld; so it is with this wretched hypocrite, all the reasons in the world, and all the truths cannot prevaile with him, he is resolved to stand to it, and not to beleeve it: wilt thou not now beleeve it? well, thou shalt beleeve it when thou art in hell, past hope, past helpe, thou wilt beleeve it then, thus the thornes choake the word, that is, strangle the truth, and stop the breath of the truth, so hee saith, I passe not, I be­leeve it not, this stifles all reasons, and the power of all Scriptures, that all prevailes not with him, nor takes no place in him, to make him know what it is to be a grower in the truth: by this time I presume you may easily guesse at him what his fashion is, and what hee can say for himselfe, and wherein his falsenesse lyes, and wheresoever you finde these, that both the corne and the thornes grow together, and that hee doth thus as in the former two, then this man is one of the sturdy hypocrites.

Now I come to the third thing, namely, to shew wherein this man fals short of saving faith, that a man that seeth it, may amend when he comes af­ter him, and that he may not faile as the former have done: the failing of this man appeares in two particulars:

First, hee failes in the point of humiliation, hee was not rightly humbled, as in that place of the parable, hee had horrour of heart enough for the [Page 497] measure of it, but not enough for the uprightnesse and sincerity of it, hee plowed deep enough, but he left some thornes standing, and hee had some lusts that his heart was more affected with, hee would not be thus, but there were some base, inor­dinate, earthly affections, which were closely faste­ned to his heart, and his heart glued to them, hee would not plow them up, and this was ill husban­dry, if he had done right, he would have plowed up every thorne as well as some: all the passages of Scripture run this way, as Luke 3.5. Every valley shall be filled, and every hill and mountaine shall bee brought low, and every crooked thing shall bee made strait; hee doth not say, this or that mountaine, but every mountaine; not one sinne, but every sinne; not the heart to bee loosened from one particular sinne, but from every sinne whatsoever; if ever you bee humbled, and that you make worke of it, you must blow up all, as Matth. 13.44. the wise merchant man went and sold all to buy the field; not sold some, but all; so this sturdy hypo­crite should have sold all his lusts and corruptions, and every cursed haunt of heart, and every sinfull withdrawing of soule: you know the privie prankes of your hearts, if there be but one sinfull lust maintained and continued in, it will con­demne you as well as an hundred thousand: there is no bargaine to be made with Christ, if you dal­ly with him and stand dodging, he will not yeeld to you, no, no, you must sell all, this man had his heart humbled in the consideration of some sinne, and it was either for the feare of the punishment [Page 498] of his sinne in generall, or else for feare of plague, and of hell, and of Gods wrath, or else because of the shame and disgrace that would come there­by, but if he had beene truly troubled for sinne, because it is the breach of Gods commandments, then every sinne would have strucke upon his heart, and troubled him; thus it is with the heart rightly torne up by the law, but if it have onely here a bauke and there a bauke, then it is base dea­ling, and you will never have harvest nor hope of mercie upon this ground, but if a man play the good husband, he must plow up all, from one cor­ner of his conscience to the other, and from the beginning of his heart to the ending, there must be no corruption setled, but hate sinne as sinne, and therefore every sinne, this is the temper of the soule that the Lord will doe good unto, and here is the failing of most unsound hearts, many religious men and professours too, what they bee the Lord knowes, they will dally with this sinne and that sinne, but a true broken heart shakes at the least sinne more than at all punishments, and had rather endure the torments of hell, than that the least sinne should be committed by him; this is a good heart which makes good worke of it, and herein this hypocrite failes, so that though he had legall terrour enough, for the measure of it, yet it was not right for the manner of it, for it could not bee any saving worke of grace, there­fore it must needs bee a terror for sinne, and yet the heart never truly humbled, nor never plowed in peeces by the law, and by the worke [Page 499] of Gods grace, thereby fitting the heart for him­selfe.

2 Secondly and lastly, he failes in making choice of Christ, he did not chuse whole Christ, it is one part of faith, and that which is included in resting, the soule that truly embraceth Christ, he takes the good of Christ, and the death, and persecution, and the death of Christ, and whatsoever comes with him; now here in the sturdy hypocrite failes, and this is the maine wound of him: the soule that makes choice of Christ aright, is resolved to match with Christ, and that nothing should hin­der him from it; now this hypocrite would not match with Christ, but onely trade with him, so much as may mediate for him, and bee a meanes that he may enjoy his beloved honours, and so much profession, and so much of Christ he would have, whereas the faithfull soule matcheth with Christ, and trades with the world; if honours will advance Christ, and if riches will make for Christ, and if his libertie will worke in him a free heart to serve God, then the faithfull soule will trade with them, but this wretch will onely trade with Christ, and Christ must stand at the doore, this is the cause why, when he professeth the truth of the Lord Jesus, if a better match comes in the way, he takes it, and leaves Christ: only thus much briefly; this thornie wretch takes Christ to dis­pos [...] of Christ, but a faithfull soule takes Christ, that Christ may dispose of him, and of all that hee hath, for his owne glorie: it is the fashion of some ma [...] part, sa [...]ie, domin [...]ting women, that they [Page 500] will marry men, not to make them their husbands, but their servants, and they could be content to have comfort and service from them, but not to be under the rule and authority of them as their husbands: so this sturdy hypocrite, and this ma­lapert heart, would have Christ to be at his becke, that Christ may provide honours, and ease, and pleasures for him, but that Christ may order him, and his, and all that he hath, to dwell at his com­mand, to be where he will, and be at his becke, that he will not doe by no meanes. Thus much of the sturdy hypocrite.

The last sort of counterfeits, which is the chiefe and the upshot of all, is him, whom I call the shif­ting stately hypocrite, he is a man that doth carry a marvellous high straine, and goes with a great saile in the profession of the truth, as the master cut-purse in his outside seemes to be a man of no small account nor meane place, in regard of his attendants, apparell, and he will ruffle it out in his silkes and velvets, as if hee were some great Gentleman of the country, and yet he is a base vilde wretch; so it is with this base shifting hy­pocrite: there are two passages in his life, and I use to call him by these two names, Shifting, and stately, he had all that the sturdy hypocrite had, and he also goes beyond him in the severall pas­sages of his course and practice, he is a fine spun hypocrite, and hath not only an ordinary colour of profession, but he layes on a seven-fold gilt up­on his course and profession, so that as it is with [Page 501] some counterfeit gold, if a man bee not a good Goldsmith indeed, he will say, it is good gold: so if he be not a marvellous judicious wise man, and able to finde him out, he will say, that this man is a sound Christian indeed: Now that wee may know this man, I will as in the handling of the other, doe three things.

1 First, I will shew wherein hee exceeds the for­mer Hypocrites.

2 Secondly, wherein his falsenesse doth ap­peare.

3 Thirdly, wherein hee falls short of saving faith.

1 For the first, wherein this man doth exceed the former, that you may see the full proportion of him, hee doth profesly stand in comparison with the former, and exceeds them too; and therefore he will trie the businesse with him, and view with him; and what the other could say, hee saith the same and more too: the sturdy Hypocrite had his conscience awakened, so hee had his heart awakened with a witnesse, and the Lord not on­ly called and rapt, but knockt hard at the doore: and for Christ, he hath seene so much beauty and excellency in Christ, that hee will lay downe his blood for him, thus farre the sturdy Hypocrite went: but now this stately Hypocrite outgoes the former in three particular steps or degrees,

First, he hath not onely so much strength that he is able to beare persecutions, and not to bee daunted, as the former had; but hee hath that wisedome and strength of understanding, that he [Page 502] is able to passe by, and to casheere the honours, and riches, and preferments of the world, and all the renowne of all the high places in the world, so that prosperity, I meane all the honours and preferments of the world, are not able to prevaile with him. Oh, saith hee, the sturdy Hypocrite was a foole, and was caught with the bait; but I see the bait in all these profits and commodities, and I am able to judge of the basenesse of all worldly things, and therefore I am not overta­ken with them: I know better than is in all these, if you goe no further than liberty, profit, ease, and worldly preferment; this Hypocrite hath some­thing better than all these, as namely the ex­cellency and beauty of the common graces which God hath wrought in him, and whereby God hath made him able to doe some duties, in these he puts a greater excellency and confidence, than in Christ: this is marvellous easie and apparant, even amongst the Heathens themselves. Many of the Heathens themselves have beene so farre taken up with the admiration at, and affecting of morall vertues, one man with patience, and ano­ther with temperance, they have been so taken up in meditation, and in the admiration of these, that they have trampled upon crownes, and have harse­ly esteemed of all the honours of the world: ma­ny speeches of the Heathen wee have to this pur­pose, as that, when one said, honours, riches, &c. cannot properly be said to be good, for then they would make him good which hath them: as wee see wisedome makes a man wise that hath it; but [Page 503] they that have riches and honours, for the most part are most wicked and vilde wretches; there­fore onely the wise man is the happy man, and an ignorant man is a miserable man; therefore hee seeing the excellency of, and putting a high price upon these morall vertues, this hath made them put a high price on the one, and trample on the other.

Now if Heathen men may be so farre taken up with these morall vertues, which have onely the light of nature to guide them, and never had the knowledge of Christ to drive them beyond them­selves, that yet they will doe all this; then a Hy­pocrite may come to see a greater beauty than is in all these, when they come from the Spirit of grace; for the Heathens had but the very shell and outside of these, but the Hypocrite knowes the vertue and benefit of these, and the eternall good that will come by these, this hee is able to discerne, and therefore hee is able to put a high price upon these, and it is no wonder; when the people came to make Saul King, hee hid himselfe amongst the stuffe, 1 Sam. 10.22. as if hee were unworthy of the kingdome: so that a man may for by-ends cast off preferment, and ease, and ho­nour.

2 Secondly, whereas the sturdy hypocrite tooke up a fine cold temper, and an ordinary path in a Christian course, this hypocrite scornes that, and he is a profest enemy to lukewarmnesse, and to a lazy carnall discretion in a Christian course. This is the zeale and forwardnesse of this man; but [Page 504] mistake me not, for I doe not speake this to dis­hearten a good cause, or the zeale and forward­nesse of any good man, no, God forbid; nay, let that tongue faulter, and cursed be the head that contrives, or the mouth that speakes any thing against the zeale and forwardnesse of any man in any good cause: the way is warrantable and law­full, and must be done; for though meere morall vertues will not save a Christian, yet without them no man shall ever come to Heaven: but I speake all this to shew that all this may bee done, and yet all be starke naught. I doe not speake this to discourage any man, for you see I commend of this man, hee is not swept downe from the fir­mament of his profession, as the sturdy hypocrite was, by the taile of the Dragon; but he maintains his profession with credit, and is zealous in it, he goes for a marvellous broken hearted Christian, he scornes to be a linsey-woolsey-man, halfe one and halfe of another, hee stands in the open de­fence of the truth, and dares side with the Lord Jesus Christ; and saith as Iehu, who is on my side, who? 2 Kings 10.16. Come see my zeale which I have for the Lord of Hosts; thus it was with Paul; Gal. 1. 14. He profited above many of his brethren in the Iewish religion, being more exceeding zealous of the traditions of the Fathers: and Phil. 3.6, 7. he was a Pharisee, and concerning zeale, he persecuted the Church; tou­ching the righteousnesse of the Law, he was blamelesse; and these he counted gaine: This was all the gaine that Paul had, namely, that hee had such parts, and gifts, and abilities to doe duties; this was all [Page 505] his gaine: and because hee had all these, hee thought he must needs goe to Heaven: nay, nay, it is harder to goe to Heaven than you thinke, for it is another manner of worke than so: the grea­test hindrance that ever Paul had in his conversi­on, was the carnall confidence which hee had in himselfe, there he stucke.

Now wherein doth the falsenesse of this man appeare? I answer, Amongst many others it discovers it selfe most grosly and notoriously in these particulars:

First, you shall finde that as for lesser sinnes, the reformation of which might spoile him in the venting of his commodities, and marring his market, that he cannot set himselfe, his parts and commodities at sale; he will slight those sinnes, and make no account of them, and swallow them downe without any chewing; because such as these bee, would hinder him in his trading, that hee could not vent and shew himselfe; and hee makes no great matter of them: this is for his out­ward practice.

But if a mans exactnesse in a Christian course be sincere, then he will be exact in all things; but if his exactnesse may give way to some sinne, then it is but hypocrisie, it is but a cloake and no soundnesse at all: why dost thou heare, and pray, and take up duties, though these must bee done, if thy duties bee sincere, and if thou lovest duties abroad, thou wilt love them at home too: 1 Iohn 2.3. Hereby we know that wee know him, if we keepe his Commandements; if a man keepe all the [Page 506] Commandements of God, then he shall savingly know God; and hereby hee shall know that he knowes God: this is a signe that saving faith is there, because it makes a man keepe all the Commandements of God; but cursed bee that prayer which seems to set it selfe against sinne, and yet gives allowance unto sinne. That prayer and performance which maintaines sinne, is accursed, and God will ne­ver accept of it: this is for his out side.

2 Secondly, though this hypocrite be very exact, and expresse much power of religion in the world, yet follow this wretch home, and dog him to his owne heart and closet, and there you shall finde him not onely living in, but maintaining some sinne, either in his practice, or else in others: as when hee was abroad, hee would swallow downe such smaller sinnes as would hinder him in the venting of himselfe: so at home hee maintaines some distemper either in his family, or in him­selfe. A man out of the strength of parts, and the excellency of his judgement, and the ability that God hath bestowed upon him, may doe this, that wheresoever he comes, he will comfort and quic­ken, and exhort and pray with others: these are good duties, I doe not discommend them: but he returnes home, and is churlish, and dogged, and cruell to his servants, and takes up a pang of passi­on, and will bee upon the house top for every tri­fle, and this is constant too, this is the bane of re­ligion and profession. Of this straine are those that for their parts and gifts are marvellous large, and they will goe from this house to that house [Page 507] to pray, and yet never pray in their owne families, nor never humble themselves before God; as if the performance of a service publikely, could abate all the rest in secret: It was not for his state to pray privately in his closet, but onely amongst others; some of these we have heard of, and we make no question but there are more of this fea­ther; if you know any such, either make them revoke these things, or else casheere them; the servant haply is religious, and therefore he is re­solved, he will not dwell but where he may have liberty to heare, and he will indent with his ma­ster and mistres, that he will have the fellowship and communion of such and such; this is all ve­ry good, and I love such a heart: but marke now when they returne home they are idle, and un­faithfull, and sturdy, and they are masters and mistresses, and will not bee governed, and their plea is this; My master is a carnall man, my mi­stres is a carnall woman; but if they are carnall, the Commandement is spirituall, and the duties injoyned are holy: and therefore those prayers of thine which maintaine thy sinne, will one day be an accusation against thee, but will never com­fort thy conscience: this is not true religion; all your setting your selves to sale, and all your out­side shewes and reformations, it is not all worth a rush, unlesse there bee the discharge of all those duties that God requires: If there were saving faith, and if ever thy soule rested upon Jesus Christ, hee would inable thee to all duties, as well as one, and cause thee to make conscience in [Page 508] all, as well as in one; faith would make thee shew forth the power of godlinesse, guiding thee, faith would make thee pray in private as well as in publike; For as faith doth crucifie the flesh, Gal. 5.24. so also it makes a man a new creature: 2 Cor. 5.17. It makes a new husband, a new wife, as well as a new Christian: therefore let them professe what they will, follow them home to their houses and closets, and you shall finde them to bee errand theeves and robbers, and rob God of his glory, the Lord of Heaven will finde out such, and con­demne them continuing so.

3 Thirdly, this is that which cuts the finewes, and sinkes the heart of this hypocrite, this will put him to the triall, more than ever any thing did; this is that which will goe to the quicke, and make him appeare what hee is, and either finde him sound, or else flie off altogether. If there come another Christian of the same ranke and place, that exceeds him in parts and abilities, so that this man is not esteemed, and his commodi­ty is not regarded, this touches his freehold; if it were in the matter of honours or riches, he would not care: but now when he sees his light to grow dimme and darke, and no man hath an eye to him, and his commodity growes naught, then this mans heart is quashed, hee is weary of the name and presence of that man, and loth to bee in his company, and loth to doe any thing while hee is there, and hee wisheth secretly that such a man had never come to the towne: whats the reason of it? because before this man came, his commo­dity [Page 509] went off easily, and hee was respected for his parts and gifts: And marke what followes, ei­ther God will humble him, and bring him upon his knees, or else he will fall off from his professi­on, and all, and will rather be content to be a base varlet, than to have no credit: If the Lord breake his heart and humble him, blessed bee his Name for it; but if God doe not humble him, but that he falls off, then he commonly proves an enemy to Religion, and God, and Gospell, and all goodnesse.

3 Lastly, this hypocrite fals short of saving faith, as in all the former things before mentioned of the sturdy hypocrite, as namely, that he was ne­ver truly humbled, hee was never effectually per­swaded by the Spirit of the Father to rest upon his free grace in Christ, and hee did not make a right choyce of Christ: for if hee had seene an absolute need of Christ, then hee would have pri­zed Christ more than all parts and gifts, because hee had gotten Christ which was better than all his abilities; but he hath made a match with his services and abilities, and hath only traded with Christ; he faild in all these, but the maine wound of this hypocrite lies here, hee rests not upon the Lord Jesus Christ, but upon his owne bottomes, and his owne abilities and performances, which God inables him to discharge, and so he fals short of a Saviour.

All this will not doe the deed, brethren, it is not rowing but landing which will doe the deed; it was the guise of those wretched Hypocrites in [Page 510] Esay 56.3. they plead with God, and begin to wrangle, because he heard them not, and said, Why have we fasted, and thou regardest it not? as if they had said, Thou must needs doe it, what shall I weep so much, and knocke my brest so hard, and crie out, and turne to the Lord, and will not all this doe the deed? no, for if thou couldst howle till thy mouth failed, and goe mourning all thy dayes, and goe howling downe to the grave, if thou hast not Christ in all these, it will never doe thee any good: what availes it a man to saile up and downe in the ship, and can never get to land? he must certainly perish if he have no comfort: so doe not delude your owne hearts, you may row up and downe in holy duties, and goe from sinne to dutie, and from duty to sinne, and never come to Christ, faith rests upon Christ, and not upon duties; we must not neglect duties, but we must not rest in them. Thus you see where this man fals short of saving faith: now to set it home a lit­tle, you see there are but few that have saving faith, if the ignorant man went out at one doore, and the carnall Gospeller at the other, and the meere civill man at the other, and all the hypo­crites were put into a corner, where would there be any faith found upon the face of the earth? how few have faith? and how difficult is it to get faith? the Lord convince your judgements of it; you see how farre men goe, and yet never have one graine of saving faith: what remaines then? there are two things evident from hence:

First, you that are gracious, and are the Saints [Page 511] of God, and see the basenesse of the hearts of wicked men, goe your wayes home and fall to praying; Oh that wee could leave preaching and hearing a little, and all of us fall to praying, and to examination; brethren, let us leave preaching and hearing, and all of us fall to mourning, that there are so few beleevers: you masters, goe your wayes home and mourne, that so many live in your families, and yet so few have gotten good by the ordinances of God; you that travell up and downe, mourne in secret, and say, Here is eve­ry man busie in the world, one makes haste this way, another that way; so many chapmen and clothiers going up and downe every weeke, and yet how few goe home to Christ by faith, and re­ceive mercy from him? in truth I condemne my owne soule, because I have not a heart to mourne for them; we reprove their sinnes, and condemne them for their sinne, and wee must doe so; but where are the heart bloud petitions that wee put up for them? and where are the teares that wee make for the slaine of our people? if they will needs goe to hell, let us bury them with bitter la­mentations, and not only should we doe this, but also you tender hearted mothers, and you that live one with another; you tender hearted wives, you have husbands, and you prize them, and love them, and some good you have from them, con­sider this when you see your husbands take lewd courses, let your hearts breake over them, and say, Oh woe is mee for that poore husband of mine, Iohn 3.18. He that beleeveth not, is condem­ned [Page 512] already; hee is cast in heaven and in earth, both by law and Gospell, there is no releefe for him: can you sit by a condemned husband, and eat and drinke, and lye by a condemned husband, and never mourne for him? haply you follow him from one taphouse to another, and still a condemned man: doe you love your husbands? if they were poore, you would mourne for them, if they were dead, you would mourne for them, and say, alas, I am left a poore widow! but he is a condemned husband, and hath not a dram of faith, and yet you cannot mourne for him: mee thinkes the sight of this should make you sinke againe, but alas our hearts are flinty, and we can­not mourne: and the like I may say of you mo­thers, there are many of you, whom God hath gi­ven children, beautifull, obedient, and wise, Oh mourne for them that so many come into the world, and so few come home to Christ by faith, the Lord be mercifull to us in this last age of the world, wee meerly scramble for our owne com­fort, and regard not our salvation, therefore get you home and mourne for them, and say, Oh these poore children which I have brought up, and had much comfort from, they are poore condemned children! this were enough to sinke us.

2 Secondly, it should bee a ground to make us search into our selves, and thinke that the staffe stands at our doore, imagine the hand-writing comes upon every man, then let every man take his portion, and say, No faith, no Christ, and so consequently no salvation by Christ; looke to [Page 513] thy owne soule, and say, Have I found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? if there be not, then I can tell my owne doome, the sentence is past already, shall we thinke of these, and yet live quietly? lay this under your pillow, and say, How can I sleep? a condemned man and sleep? what if God should take away my life ere morning? hell is prepared, and I fall into it: let every man take account of his owne heart, and say, Have I any faith? hus­band, wife, childe, hast thou any faith? It may be, saith one, I have it as well as another, but how doe you prove it? and how will you doe if you have it not? no ignorant person, no carnall Gos­peller, none of all these hath faith; what so many men that have so much knowledge, and yet fall short of faith and salvation? Lord, what shall be­come of mee? is there any faith here? make it good then, or else yeeld the day, and confesse, that there is no faith, and then there is some hope, say, I am a thousand miles off from faith, I never knew what it was to be thus inlightened, and to bee wounded for sinne, I can commit sinne, and play with sinne, but I never knew what it was to be wounded for sinne, I never knew what it was to be zealous in a good course, there are many strict truths that I have not a heart to receive, I confesse, I have no faith; now if you yeeld this, then there is some hope that you may get out; therefore take this advice, goe to some faithfull, humble, experienced Christian, and to some faith­full Minister, and intreat them to advise you how to get faith, but doe not goe to a faithlesse heart, [Page 514] [...] [Page 515] [...] [Page 514] that hath no savour of grace, nor godnesse in him, how can he tell that which he never had experi­ence of? make privie search, whether ever you had grace or no, and if not, then labour to know the way how to come to it; if a mans state did lye at hazzard, he would have every mans opi­nion, and hee would inquire of this man and that man, whether his evidences were sound, and his title good, and he would spare for no paines not cost; much more should we doe it for the title of eternall life: there is much conterfeit faith in the world, and thousands perish upon this ground, like motes in the sunne, and never know where they are, till they are in hell; therefore goe to the Lord by prayer, aske the counsell of some faithfull Minister, and never rest till thy heart is perswaded of it.

Vse last. It is of exhortation: you that see the way, walke in it, you that know the way, I should set an edge on your desires and endevours, labour, I say, hard for this blessed grace; as for you that have beene labourers, you are to be encouraged, continue your prayers, and quicken those ende­vours every day more and more: you that ne­ver did yet, you are to be provoked to the per­formance of the dutie, and give no sleep unto your eyes, nor rest unto your selfe, untill you have this: and here are two things to be done:

First, you must labour to get it.

Secondly, you must labour to use it when you have it.

1 First, you must labour to get faith, we ought to make it our daily taske and study, the aime of a mans desire, the maine white and marke that we should shoot at in all our labours: I would not have men account this as a matter of course, a dutie re­served for a rainy day, as sometime I have obser­ved here in the countrie, they will delay their base services, their lesser necessities for a rainy day, when they can do nothing else but O let us count it the most necessary duty, and not to reserve faith for a sick bed, an old age, a crazy body, only to get faith to goe unto Christ, when weare going out of the world; no, this is unseasonable, this is unreaso­nable, and therefore take this home to you, and make it the maine businesse of thy life, to get faith: I would have a Christian count all the endevours that he did, besides his duties and performances, to count them all losse, wherein he hath not made some step in this glorious grace: why? alas! your hearing, your sacrifices, will never profit you, un­lesse you have a heart to beleeve; nay, thy pro­speritie, thy blessings are cursed, unlesse thou hast this grace of faith: faith will make thee honou­rable in thy honour; faith will make thee bles­sed in prosperitie: Iohn 6.28. O how shall we worke the workes of faith? marke how hee answereth, Why? this is the worke of God, that you beleeve; why, would you doe that which God might take contentment in? O this pleaseth the Lord admi­rably, and contenteth him wonderfully, when he seeth the soule leaves honour, and leaves prospe­ritie, and leaves the world, and commeth to [Page 516] Christ, and lieth at his footstoole, and will never leave him nor forsake him, this pleaseth the Lord admirably: it is true, all duties are good with this grace, but none of them will please God without this; thou maist pray untill thy eyes are weary, untill thy heart sinketh, and thy Spirit fainteth, yet without faith the Lord careth not for thy best performances: if a poore Christian, whose parts are not so strong, whose prayers are not so powerfull, can but sob and sigh out a prayer in faith, this is more pleasing to the Lord: Eccles. 7. a man will doe any thing, that he may live; all a mans labour, it is that he might live; what wilt thou labour for clothes to cover thee, and meat to nourish thee, and wares for thy shop, and not for Christ and faith to save thy soule? therefore when your carnall friends would withdraw your endevours, and say, what needeth all these pray­ers? and what needeth all these endevours? an­swer, what, would you not have me live? observe the scope of all motions, and the end of all la­bour is rest; the poore sea-faring man, his eye is upon the shoare, when his hand is tugging at the oare; the traveller his body is in the way, and his heart is at home; the souldier fighteth, that he might have a peaceable victorie; the peo­ple in the wildernesse were travelling, and at last they had rest; Heb. 4.3. wee are thus wildering, wee are thus travellers, and wee are thus poore sea-faring men, that are tossed up and downe the waters of the world, and in seas of sorrow, and the truth is, we are so in wrath, and vengeance, [...] [Page 517] horrour of conscience, and would not you have rest? Heb. 4.4. He that doth beleeve, doth enter in­to that rest, he hath entred into that rest: Brethren, the truth is we are tossed, we are thus troubled; miseries without, horrour within. Would you not now be at rest? there is no more horrour to trouble you, no more vengeance to plague thee, no more wrath to haunt thee; let thy eye be upon the shoare; pray to beleeve, and heare to beleeve, and labour to beleeve, labour for that rest.

For the further clearing of the point, I will here discover three particulars:

  • 1 I will shew you the hindrances of faith.
  • 2 I will shew you the means to get faith.
  • 3 I will shew you the motives to perswade you to labour for it.

1 What these be that hinder a man from get­ting faith, and here in the generall know thus much; they are very many, and very dangerous: it is therefore a point of wisedome to bee care­full to foresee these hindrances, and to be watch­full to prevent these: Satan above all doth labour to hinder a poore soule this way, hee would not have a man chaste, hee would not have a man regenerate, he would not have a man meeke and humble, but above all, hee would not have him beleeve, for then he knowes he is gone: If he bee so violent to cast hindran­ces in our way, wee should bee as watchfull and carefull to avoid these hindrances. It is that wee shall observe concerning Peter; Satan, saith our Sa­viour, [Page 518] desires to winnow thee: Now that Christ aimed at, was that he would winnow his faith, and Christ laboured to fortifie that, for saith he, I have prayed that thy faith faile not; as if he had said, if faith holds, all holds: the Devill sights neither against small nor great, but onely against faith; he deales with faith, as one enemy doth with ano­ther in the field in fight one against another; if the enemy perceive that there is some castle, or some trench, to which the contrary side have re­sort upon all occasions, all their aiming is to cut off their passage & the bridge, that they may not come to the shelter, and then they can conquer them, and prevaile against them as they list. This is an ordinary care that one enemy hath against another: So Satan deales with the soule, hee easily perceives that the Lord Jesus Christ, and his promises, are the castle of a distressed soule; they are the trenches wherein the soule may re­fresh it selfe, and finde succour upon all occasions. Now Satan labours to cut off the passage of con­fidence, and take away the bridge of beleefe, when hee hinders a man from resting and belee­ving in Christ, he cuts him from comming to his shelter and castle, therefore he can prevaile against him as hee please. Therefore let the soule bee so much the more wary to prevent these hindrances, because Satan is so carefull and watchfull to lay hindrances in the way, and to fortifie all sides that we may not beleeve in Christ; this is the greatest labour of Satan, to hinder us, let it bee our grea­test endevour to attaine it.

Now to deale more plainly, the hindrances that Satan casts in our way to keep us from be­leeving, are of two sorts. The first are those hin­drances that doe disinable a man from comming to Christ, as having no title to him, no interest in his mercy: some hindrances doe really with­hold a man, that he cannot rely upon, and repaire unto the Lord Jesus Christ: Other there bee againe, that doe not take away our interest in the promises; they doe not hinder our title we have to Christ, but wee hinder our selves from com­ming to Christ, because wee are not wise to pre­vent these hindrances as wee should, and avoid them as we ought.

First, wee will beginne with the former, and the question is, what are those reall hindrances that keepe the soule that it cannot beleeve in the Lord Iesus, that it never shall beleeve in the Lord Iesus, upon these termes in that estate and condition, those hindrances are especially foure: The first is this: A blinded carelesse and sense­lesse security and presumption, which commonly takes possession of the hearts of men, whereby they content themselves with their condition, be­cause they know not the misery of their conditi­on: Marke what I say, this same sluggish sense­lesse, this same carelesse presumption of a mans welfare, when there is no such matter, he is only blinded and deluded. When men cry peace, peace, to their soules, when they conclude their estates are good, they desire to be no better, be­cause they see no other, because they see not the [Page 520] misery of it. These cannot see the excellency of faith, therefore cannot make a step to goe to Christ by faith; such a soule is rivetted and scrued to his base wretched condition: therefore there is no trading with him in matters of faith, till his conscience be a wakened, and his sinnes discove­red. The text saith, The whole need not the Physiti­an, and therefore will not seeke him; nay, he will not receive him when he comes, he cares not for him; while we thinke our selves whole, and safe, and sound, and seared, and speake peace to our soules in our naturall condition; wee looke not after Christ, neither will wee receive Christ, if hee come to our doores. It is a fine passage of Saint Paul, and it is the ground hee makes of the unbeleefe of the Iewes: Rom. 11.25. the text saith, Hardnesse is come upon the Iewes, till the ful­nesse of the Gentiles is come in: the word in the ori­ginall is prettie.

There is a kinde of sleepy, sluggish, stupid, be­nummed senselesnesse in the Jew, till the Gen­tiles came in; the one are hindred from comming to Christ, and beleeving in him, because they are rocked asleepe: therefore the word in the origi­nall signifies a stilnesse: for when a man hath got a stupid benummed heart, he is all stilled, all quiet and at rest; he seeth nothing, he lookes after no­thing, he cares for nothing, but rests in the con­dition he is in: and in this the Jewes shall dwell, till the Lord awakes him out of this securitie. This is the cause men complaine, they cannot endure sharp preaching, and to have their sinnes [Page 521] discovered, and their consciences awakened. I wonder Ministers should make this adoe, cannot men goe to Heaven without such a stirre? they see no neede therefore they desire no trouble: this is that the Lord observes of the Church of Laodicea: Revel. 3. which was an argument of the base estate she was in. Thou saist thou art rich and needest nothing, and knowest not that thou art poore, and blinde, and miserable, and naked, because she knew not her miserie, shee never laboured to goe to Christ, to be freed from her misery; and it is ob­served Zephany 3.12. when the Lord would discover a people that should beleeve, hee saith, I will leave an afflicted and a poore people, a poo [...]e soule that trembles at Gods Word, and seeth his mise­ry; hee is like to looke out for succour from the Lord Iesus: nay famous is that place, Iohn 12.39. marke a passage or two, they are very observable and usefull for the point in hand.

There our Saviour speaking of the Jewes, saith, they could not beleeve; hee addes the reason, for I say saith, The heart of this people is waxen fat, hee hath blinded their eyes, and hardned their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, and beleeve with their hearts, and should bee converted, and I should heale them: There are two passages observable, one by the by, that beleeving and converting are all one in Scripture, hee saith, they could not beleeve, that they might not he converted; but here was the ground why they could not beleeve: Their eyes were blinded, and their hearts were hardned. They were in a senselesse benummed secure cursed [Page 522] course, they hope to be saved, and all is well, and they never see what condition they are in, till they are in Hell; therefore they never seeke out for mercy: Therefore Christ saith to the Jewes, Yee will not come to me to be saved, for how can yee beleeve, when yee seeke the honour one of another, and seeke not the honour that comes from God. It is im­possible for a man to bee in Hell and in Heaven both at once, for light and darknesse to bee toge­ther in one place, for a man to rest upon sinne, and upon the feee grace of Christ, as long as thou art setled, as long as thou restest in thy base course, as long as thou livest in a naturall sleepy conditi­on. Tell it to your children, you that are Pa­rents; tell it to your husbands, you that are wives; husband, how can you beleeve? childe, how can you beleeve? when thou seekest not the honour of God, but setlest thy selfe upon thy base rebellions, and restest upon thy corruptions: Thus wee see the hindrance, it is a sleepy secure carelesnesse of condition.

Now the cure of it is this, namely, labour to inforce thy selfe, touching thine owne estate, and pinch thine owne heart, awaken and stirre up thy soule, and pinch thine owne heart in the appre­hension of that misery, and wofulnesse of that condition thou art in, and you shall helpe one another. A man that is asleepe cannot awaken himselfe, but another man that is but new awake, that scarce hath his senses about him, can stirre another better than himselfe: bee you so wise: Every poore sinner is asleepe and secure in sinne, [Page 523] when will his eyes be open? he will never see, he can never awaken himselfe; and jog him, and pinch him, awaken him you must, beleeve the word, you are in a fearfull condition, in a misera­ble estate.

A naturall man, is an accursed man; thus deale one with another, and resolve of this in two or three passages. Let every man say the Word is true, and reason undeniable, unlesse I be altered in my condition, I shall bee confounded in my condition; unlesse I be another man, I am an ac­cursed man; unlesse I bee borne againe by the Word, it had beene better for mee I had never beene borne into the world. I must not thinke that Christ will carry my soule and my sinnes to Heaven together: I must not perswade my heart that flesh and blood can enter into the Kingdome of Heaven: no heart, it will not be, you are slee­py and sluggish, and you thinke Christ will save you; no, no, tis true Christ came to save sinners, and tis as true Christ came to humble sinners, and to sanctifie sinners, and to convert sinners: Christ came to save his servants from sinne, as well as from Hell: Tell thou thy owne heart thus, and never be quiet till thou affect thy soule with the apprehension of Christ; I am a misera­ble man, and shall bee so for ever, if I continue in this condition.

Secondly, againe, imagine that the heart is now awakened a little, that the sinner beginnes to see that hee must change; hee lookes about, and conceives God is angry, and his sinnes are hai­nous, [Page 524] and hell is gaping for him; and the Lord tels him, there is your portion, thither you will goe one day, either you must be another man, or else an accursed man: When the soule begins to thinke of this, that he must bee altered and chan­ged; the other hindrance of faith is this, that a sinner thinkes hee can change himselfe: this is another maine hindrance, and it is one of the grea­test hindrances under Heaven. First, the soule thinkes it needs no change, what saith the soule? doe you tell mee of Hell, and stagger my consci­ence, I thinke my selfe well enough, but that Mi­nisters will not let me alone. But now he seeth he must change, and thinkes with himselfe, either I must have my soule humbled, and my life refor­med, or else goe downe to Hell; and then hee shuffles for himselfe, and sharkes for his owne comfort, and hopes to change himselfe, and help himselfe out of misery, hee conceives it is in his power, to procure his safety, and to satisfie all the wrong done to God, he now becomes a Sa­viour of himselfe.

Where is Christ now? he keeps the staffe in his owne hand now, and hee will still have it in his owne power to procure his owne happinesse: This is that every man is naturally given to, since he must alter, he will have it in his owne power to alter himselfe, and save himselfe.

This seemes to me to bee the meaning of the young mans speech, Matthew 19. when he came to trade for life and happinesse: What shall I doe, saith he, to gaine eternall life? Christ saith, goe thy [Page 525] way, and keepe the Commandements: Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steale, &c. I have kept all these from my youth, saith hee, what want I yet? as who should say, if thou have not enough, thou shalt have enough before I goe; I will pay thee upon the naile, I will be aforehand with thee, I will not owe thee a farthing token: What want I yet? as though hee would not bee onely even hand, but afore hand with God; as who should say, he could not misse Heaven, if he could doe as he thought he was able to doe. To have all a mans good in another, to receive all spiritual good from another, this is that nature is hardly brought unto, and yet this must be done, if ever we beleeve.

To make the matter plaine otu of Scripture, this was the maine hindrance that kept the Jewes from imbracing Jesus Christ: men thinke they are the bravest Christians in the world, because they have this, and can doe that, because they in­joy these abilities, nay performe these services; not that a man should now not doe these, but the resting here, and to thinke to helpe a mans selfe by this meanes, and the taking up a mans rest in these meanes, and the opinion of merit, this is the bane of religion, Rom. [...] 2. For I beare them record, saith the text, that they have zeale for God, but not according to knowledge: the Iewes had a zeale for God, they loved religi­on, and they were Christians, and circumcised, and doe not these attaine to life and salvation? no, for saith the text, they being ignorant of Gods righ­teousnesse, and going about to establish their owne [Page 526] righteousnesse, have not submitted themselves to the righteousnesse of God in Christ: what is the reason of this? because they went about to establish their owne righteousnesse.

Three things there be in the third verse for our purpose:

First, that a man cannot be saved by his owne righte­ousnesse, but by the righteousnesse of God, in and through Christ.

Secondly, that it is a point of submission and subje­ction, (Oh marke this) and it is a great point, it is a point of humilitie and submission to take and receive righteousnesse from another. It is a great point of submission, to have all from Christ, and nothing in our selves to have grace from Christ, and com­fort from Christ, this is admirable.

Now what hinders this submission? why? third­ly, the text saith, They went about to establish their owne righteousnesse of their owne workes, as if that could doe the deed, or nothing: thou must count them dung in respect of the righteousnesse of Christ; that is the first, the whole nation of the Jewes fell short of Christ in this point: the se­cond place, is Rom. 9.31, 32. marke how he rea­sons the [...] What shall we say then? as who should say, you will thinke we speake strange things, and it is a strange thing, but it is a true thing, that the Gentiles which followed not after righteousnesse, have attained unto righteousnesse, even the righteousnesse which is of faith; but Israel which followed the law of righteousnesse, have not attained the law of righteous­nesse; why? because they sought it not by faith, but [Page 527] by the workes of the law. Three things againe here in the text consider:

First, what shall we say? is it possible? what, a Gentile saved, and a Jew condemned? what, a Gentile that knew not God, attaine mercie, and the Jewes and people of God, cast off from mer­cie? what shall wee say then? why? marke the text, a Gentile that never trusted to his owne righteousnesse, that is, a miserable sinfull creature he seeth himselfe nothing, haply a cursed drun­kard, or an adulterer, the Lord opens his eyes, dis­covers his sinnes, and makes him see he is a lost man, and makes him see, that a Christ must save him from the sinnes of his prayers, and a Christ must save him from the sinnes of his performan­ces, or else he is an undone man for ever: Ano­ther man now, the Jew he sought after the law, that is, they were strict in the performance of the law, they had their circumcision, their washing, and all services, upon all occasions curiously; how comes this to passe now, that the one is saved, and the other damned? because the one will be be­holding to Christ, the other will not, therefore the one hath mercie, the other hath not.

Now we will explaine the point, and the pra­ctice of it: will you see how men procure their owne ruine in this kinde? take a poore sinner that is fallen into a base course, what is the course hee takes to save himselfe? hee is informed what to doe, and his conscience is awakened, therefore he goeth aside, and forceth himselfe, and labours to force his heart to a melting for, and hatred [Page 526] [...] [Page 527] [...] [Page 528] against his corruptions, whereby God hath beene displeased, now haply God breakes his heart, and teares flow abundantly, and the man riseth off his knees, and here takes up his stand, and thinkes all is well, and in conclusion thus he lives, and is as bad as ever he was before; and the next tempta­tion that is offered to him, he is taken aside with the same sinne againe, the reason is, he went away, and thought, my heart hath beene enlarged, I have confessed my sinnes, and God hath humbled my soule, and therefore I shall be saved, and rests upon his humiliation, and not upon Christ; upon his confession, and not upon Christ; so that his humiliation and confession is his Saviour, he hath made provision at home, therefore will not goe to the Lord Jesus Christ: another man, God opens his eyes, and makes him see his ignorance, (the Minister tels him, he must humble his soule, and pray in his family) now hee findes himselfe marvellous blinde, and unable to doe it, now he bewailes his ignorance and carelesnesse, and waits upon God in his ordinances, and gets abilitie to performe those duties, so that now he performes holy duties after an excellent manner, and there he stayeth, and in conclusion returnes to his old fashion againe: what is the reason? he establi­sheth his owne righteousnesse, (he settled upon dutie alone, and there was an end) he fell short of Christ, and rested upon doing of duties, and so went no further at all: well then, wee have the hindrances.

Then for the cure remember two passages:

First, be fearfull and jealous of thy selfe, when through Gods assistance and helpe thou art able to get some power in the performance of ser­vice, to get some measure of sufficiencie, when thou hast abilities about thee, bee most fearfull and jealous, because then thy estate lieth in most hazard: doe in this case as sea-faring men doe, they hoise up saile, and goe amaine, where there is no hazard, and where there is sea roome enough, but if they goe in a straight or in a sand, where many have suffered ship-wrack, and there is a remembrance of it, such a man perished here, and such a man suffered shipwrack here: how carefull are they then to sterne aright, and observe all curiously and exactly, lest they fall where others fell before them, and suffer shipwrack where others were overthrowne: or looke as it is with men that travell, if they come to some suspicious or theevish places, though they were carelesse before, yet when they come there, lest they be surprised on the sudden, and to fortifie themselves, one rides with his sword drawne, and another with his hand upon his sword, and they make what speed they can, because they suspect an assault: so it is here, Saul hath slaine his thou­sands, and David his ten thousands: I tell you, carnall securitie hath kild many, but carnall confi­dence hath sunke downe ten hundred thousands into hell: when you come then to this stand, when God hath enlightned your mindes, and given you some parts, and bestowed some abilities upon you, and now you clap and applaud your selves, [Page 530] and say, this is somewhat, this it is to be a Chri­stian, poore novices must come and live upon my crums, and desire my information, the Lord hath enlightned my eyes, and wrought upon my heart, thou art now upon a sand, for the Lord Je­sus sake, take heed to thy selfe; here Saint Paul had like to have suffered shipwracke, and here those hypocrites in Isay 28. suffered shipwracke; here is the skull of one man, and the hand of an­other man, and the soule of another man; I meane, thousands have suffered shipwrack here: now looke to heaven, and suspect thine owne soule, and thinke, if the Lord keepe mee now, I shall escape the worst, but here is the most hazard, therefore I must be most carefull hereof: it is pretty to observe in experience, poore Christians that are lowly and humble, how tenderly doe they walke, how fearfull are they of their hearts, of their pride, and peevishnesse, and idlenesse, and carelesnesse; when you shall see a bold brazen fac'd, presumptuous, carnall wretch, because hee can pray, and read, and heare, he will follow rio­tous fashions, and continue in base courses, and carrie all away with his abilities.

The second thing I would have you consider, is this, grow every day up in the observance of thine owne basenesse, and in the acquaintance of thine owne weaknesse in the best of thy duties; this is a sweet pitch of a Christian, the more God bestowes, and the more grace God vouchsafes; he goeth away, and hangs downe his head, and wonders at Gods goodnesse, that ever the Lord [Page 531] should help a poore creature, so to call upon his Name, and sayes, Lord it is thy grace, it came from the assistance of thy Spirit; but that ever a wretch should say to his services and duties, yee are my gods; abhorre this in thy soule, and keep a marvellous dislike of thy selfe, and a low esteem of thy duties, and bee wondering at Gods grace, and admiring at Gods mercy, and returne to God, that hee hath given thee power to performe any service, and lie thou in the dust, and trample up­on thine owne performances; doe therefore as Paul did, Phil. 3.7. he saith, Now these things I coun­ted gaine, I count losse for Christ: Oh, my zeale for the Law, and the exact strictnesse of the Phari­sees; I thought that would have carried mee to Heaven, but they are dung, I will tread them un­derfeet; nay doubtlesse, I count all things, not on­ly the services I did before, and the prayers be­fore God called me, but even since the best pray­ers and performances I ever did, dung in the com­parison of Christ. What availes it for a man to faile fai [...]e on the Sea, and suffer shipwracke in the haven? he had been as good have perished at Sea: thou sailest faire in the world, in thy duties, and thou sufferest shipwrack in the haven, and restest in thy duties, and goest downe to hell, thou, and thy duties, and all: therefore labour to see a need of a Christ, even to heale and to pardon thy best performances, that ever thou madest, and never leave thy soule and thy service, till thou grow to [...] apprehension of the basenesse therein, and so [...] to Christ.

The third hindrance is this, the sinner by this time is driven from these two holds, and driven two staires higher to Christ; the sinner seeth he must change, and that he cannot helpe himselfe, his prayers and performances are good things, good meanes, but the Physitian is in another place, a mans legs may carry him to the Physi­tian, but they cannot cure him; so a mans services are good things, but he cannot helpe himselfe, he must goe to another for helpe. Another hin­drance is this, when the sinner sees hee cannot helpe himselfe, yet he thinkes he is able to goe to another for helpe; it is a thing incident to our nature, and it is usuall, that we thinke, that it is in our power to beleeve, and that the matter of re­sting upon Christ, is not a matter of that difficul­tie, and that hardnesse, as some Ministers pretend, and the Word seemes to expresse unto us, and this is that keepes a man utterly from going out; I beseech you observe it, though a man cannot helpe himselfe in nature, yet a man will say, hee can call to another for helpe, though a man can­not succour himselfe in his want and necessitie, yet to take supply from another, that is an easie matter: so when we cannot doe what duties we should, when wee cannot satisfie Gods justice as he requires, and answer the law, we thinke though we our selves cannot helpe our selves, yet wee can goe to Christ, and intreat him, and beseech him to help us, and wee can receive succour and help from him, this is not so hard a matter, this is our nature, take notice of it in experience, looke into [Page 533] the course of mens carriages and lives, wee shall observe, that every man will acknowledge his in­firmities in other things, but now his inabilities in this, there is not one man confesseth: one complaines, his abilities are poore, hee cannot pray as he should; another, his parts are meane, he cannot conferre as he ought; another, his pas­sions are unruly and heady, and he cannot master them as God requires and commands: thus eve­ry one will confesse his infirmities in other things, but goe to every mans doore, and aske, doe you not beleeve? why? all the swearers, and drunkards, and sots in the towne, they can be­leeve, they can doe this, though they can doe no­thing else; they cannot pray, they cannot under­stand, they cannot remember, they cannot subdue their corruptions, but they shall be taken away with company, and fall into that sinne, but they can beleeve in Christ with all their hearts: thus we see that every man thinkes it in his power, and within the compasse of his abilitie naturally to rest upon Christ. Now marke what followeth, why should a man desire that hee hath? why should he seeke for that he hath attained? why should he labour to be possessed of that which is in his owne power, and he is possessed of already? if I can beleeve naturally, if it be in my power to goe to Christ when I list, why shall I use all meanes, and receive abilitie to doe that which I can doe by my owne power? and this I take to be one maine ground, why the endevours of men are taken off from attending, and why the labours [Page 534] of Christians are taken off from seeking often this blessed precious grace of faith: there are ma­ny grounds why men are driven to this kinde of conceit, there are many reasons that make way for this conceit:

As first, to beleeve, is a spirituall thing be­tweene God and thy owne soule, to pray and re­forme, belongs to the outward practice, but to beleeve, is a closure of the heart, with an enter­taining of the Lord and his truth, and the giving way of our soules thereunto: now because men cannot see their faith, therefore no man will yeeld, but he doth beleeve.

Secondly, men conceive, that it is an easie mat­ter to take of mercie from Christ, and say they, is there any man that will not have mercie? is it such a hard matter to receive favour offered, or to take a gift when it is tendered unto us?

Thirdly, these doe apprehend, that the assen­ting to the Gospell of Christ, wherein is revealed the riches of Gods mercie, is all that is required in faith, when the Lord saith, He hath sent his Sonne into the world, that he hath prepared salvation in him, and wrougt redemption through him: they acknow­ledge and assent to the truth, and conceive, this is whole to beleeve; upon this ground, poore crea­tures thinke it is in their power to beleeve, and take grace and helpe from Christ, though they cannot helpe themselves; therefore they labour not to get grace from God to doe this worke, be­cause they thinke they can performe this worke by their owne abilitie and power.

The cure of this hindrance is this, and it lieth specially in these three meditations:

First, see thy selfe, and convince thy owne heart, how thou art cozened, and thy conscience how thou art deceived in common sense, when such thoughts creepe into thy minde, and reason thus; were it in my power alone to beleeve, or in any mans power else, would any man goe to hell for want of beleeving? if it were in my power, or any mans power else to get faith, would any man perish for want of faith? Take a little experience from those that lie on their death beds: A rio­tous wretch that hath run headlong against the Lord and his truth, a man that hath lived stub­bornly and stoutly under the means of grace, and hath taken up armes against God and his grace, he lieth gasping, and then hee lookes to Heaven, and considers what shall become of him: The Minister saith he must renounce himselfe, and ap­ply Christ and his promises to his soule: Oh, saith he, I cannot beleeve the Lord will save mee, and pardon me, and comfort me, I cannot rest upon the promises of God: What, I such a sinner, and saved? what, I such a sinner and comforted? I cannot beleeve it, if all the Angels in Heaven tell it me; is it in this mans power to beleeve now when he sees Hell open before him, and the devils ready to receive him? doe you thinke hee would rush into Hell, if hee could beleeve and escape it?

Secondly, looke into the depth of thine owne heart, and weigh seriously thine owne weaknesse [Page 536] by the ballance of the Sanctuary, and thine owne infirmities by the blessed Word of the Lord, and see that thou must not onely have a gift from God to take it; God must not onely give a man a gift, but power to receive it: Ioh. 3.27. No man can receive any thing, unlesse it be given him from above; therefore judge your owne abilities, not accor­ding to your owne conceits, and overweening imaginations, but judge by the Word, and judge righteous judgement, that a man can receive no good thing, unlesse God give him power. The gift must come from above, and the power must come from above, whereby hee must re­ceive it.

Thirdly, consider and settle thine owne heart in this same determination and resolution, that there must be a supernaturall power put forth to make thee beleeve, or else all the power under Heaven cannot furnish thee with sufficiency thereunto; a man is able to doe the condition of the first covenant, as to observe the condition of the second covenant: he is as well able to keepe the Law, as to beleeve the Gospell, unlesse there be a power to inable him: Iames 1.18. Her hath begotten us according to his owne will, by the Word of truth; a childe cannot beget himselfe: So it is here spiritually, as there naturally, the Lord doth beget us according to his owne will, it is not in our owne will to beget our selves, as the Pela­gians dreamed, it is not in our will to dispose of our hearts, to take Christ when we will, to let him stand at doore so long as we see fit, and take [Page 537] him in when we see fit: but it is the Will of the Lord that must beget us, and not our will, that can beget our selves: Therefore that faith that groweth upon the ground of thy owne naturall abilitie, it is a fancy, it is no sound faith. God must come down from heaven to thy soule, before thou canst goe up to heaven againe; faith must be first wrought in thy soule, before thou canst be carried to God by faith; there must bee a power in all means, above all means; there must be a spirit in all endevours above all endevours, to helpe us to be­leeve, or else wee shall never beleeve while the world standeth: therefore avoid those proud ima­ginations of heart, when men thinke they may re­fuse grace, & take grace when they list, shut Christ out of doores over night, and take him in the morning, it is against sense, and there is nothing more crosse and contrary to the power of grace: No, goe secretly betweene God and thine owne soule, and confute it; what, I Lord, and my parts Lord; what, in my will Lord to beleeve, and in my power, and so forth: no, if all men and Angels should conspire together, and all the Ministers under Heaven joyne together to work faith in my soule, it will never bee, the power of Angell, Men or Word, will never worke it, but it must bee the power of the Lord that must worke it; as we may see, Ephes. 1.18. The same power that brought Christ out of the grave, must bring the soule to Christ, or else it will never come while the world stands: be perswaded of these things, they are true, chuse whether you will beleeve them; [Page 538] but the Lord make you beleeve them, that you may receive comfort to your soules.

We come now in the second place, to those se­cond kinde of hinderances which doe not deprive a man of the title to Christ, but through our own folly and weaknesse they stop us from comming so readily to Christ; wee have interest in a pro­mise, but through our owne ignorance, and Satans subtilty, wee goe not so readily to a promise wee have title to. The ground of all these hinderan­ces is one, and that is this; namely when men out of carnall reason contrive another way to come to Christ than ever God ordained, than ever the Word revealed; when wee set up a standard by Gods standard, when out of the heady haughty imaginations of our mindes, wee make other termes and conditions of beleeving, than ever God made, then ever Christ required; we lay bars in the way, and lay boults upon our feet, and ma­nacles upon our hands, and then wee complaine wee cannot goe; the fault is your owne, and the impediments are many, because carnall reason is fruitfull to devise, and Satan followes, and fires, these imaginations. I will onely mention three hinderances which are mainly observable, by which many a gracious heart is wonderfully dam­ped from comming to, and receiving benefit from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hinderance 1 The first hinderance, is a desperate kinde of despaire and discouragement which sometimes oppresseth the soule of a distressed sinner; the di­stressed soule lookes upon his owne corruption [...], [Page 539] and worthinesse, and sinfullnesse, and then hee dares not come to Christ: hee viewes the num­ber of his sinnes so many, the nature of his abo­minations so hainous, the continuance of them so long, the soule of a distressed man sends his thoughts affarre off, and viewes all, both the abominations of his life, and the distempers of his soule, and seeth his iniquities mustering up themselves, and Satan helps him forward; for this is his policy; First, hee will keepe a sinner if hee can, that hee shall not see sinne, and then all will be whole; and the sinner thinkes there is mercy enough in a Saviour, and why should I trouble my selfe? but when hee sees the sinner will pore upon his sinnes, then hee shall see nothing else but sinne, so that he dares not goe to God for mercy: this is that I desire to trade in, and follow Satan as far as I can. Now the sinner that is in this case, tell him that mercy is in Christ, and redemption offered in a Saviour, hee dares not heare of it, hee dares not thinke of it: what saith he, shall I once imagine or thinke that there is any mercy for me? that I have any title to, or interest in Christ? that were strange, and the soule is here foyled and fast­ned upon his owne misery, and never goeth to the Physitian; he stares in the wound and never goes to a Saviour; for a man is as well kept from going to Christ, by poring continually upon his distempers by despaire, as by resting upon his owne sufficiency by presumption; hee that seeth not his sinnes, he thinkes he hath sufficien­cy, and therefore will not goe to Christ, and [Page 540] when a sinner seeth and feeleth the burden of his iniquities, he dares not goe to a Saviour; this is the course of Satan, and here in hee is marvellous cunning: but this should not be any discourage­ment to our hearts from comming to the Lord Iesus Christ: for I beseech you observe it, for whom did Christ come into the world? for whom did Christ die? when he came, it was not for the righteous, that needed him not; but for the sin­ners, that had condemned themselves; and hee came to save those that could not save themselves: 1 Tim. 1.15. It is a faihfull saying, Christ came to save sinners, whereof I am the chiefe: Zachary 13.1. There is a Fountaine set open for all people to wash in, all sorts of sinnes, and all sorts of sinners; there is a foun­taine set open for them, bee they what they will be, be they what they can be; their sins never so great, the time never so long, and the hainous­nesse never so vilde, come they that will come, come and welcome. There was a fiery Serpent in the wildernesse, and there was a brasen Serpent to cure them that were stung; so if thou beest stung with the fiery Serpent of sinne, Christ is the brasen Serpent that will heale thee. Esay 43.24. When the Iewes had tyred God with their wickednesse, and wearied him with their distempers, yet the Lord for his owne Name sake pardoned all their iniquities, and remembred their sins no more: I say this, though our sinnes bee never so hainous, never so vile and abominable in themselves: if the soule can see these, and be burthened with these, they doe not hinder the worke of faith, and the worke of [Page 541] mercy. I would faine have you thinke of that which I now say; it is not our sinfulnesse proper­ly, I meane our unworthinesse, but our haughti­nesse that hinders us from comming to a Saviour; it is not a mans basenesse and sinne that hinders him, but his owne haughtinesse that lets him from comming to a Saviour; we would have somewhat in our selves, and not all from Christ; therefore when we have nothing in our selves, we are loth to goe to Christ: were your sinnes lesser, and your holinesse greater, then you would goe; then marke what followeth; thou goest to Christ, not because of the freenesse of his grace, but be­cause thou hast something in thy selfe to incou­rage thee to goe to Christ; thou wilt have some­thing before thou wilt goe to Christ, and there­fore wilt not have all from Christ: therefore it is not thy basenesse, and thy sinnes that hinder thee from Christ, but it is thy haughtinesse and pride.

Object. But Satan suggests and the soule replies: I dare not come to Christ, not onely because of my sins, but because it is the freenesse of the offer of grace that I have rejected.

Answ. Why this will not hinder thee neither, provi­ded thou canst be humbled for this; though thou hast cast off the kindnesse of the Lord, he will not reject thee and cast off thee, if thou wilt come unto him: Esay 57.18. the text saith, for his wic­kednesse I have smitten him, and was angry with him, yet he turned after the way of his owne heart; by this means Iudah should never be recalled: but marke [Page 542] what the Lord addes, I will heale him, and restore comfort unto him: as if he had said, poore soule, I have striven with him, but he scorned me; I offe­red him grace, he received it not, but went after the stubbornnesse of his owne heart; hee seeth not his mise­ry, but I see it, and I will pardon it: Ierem. 3.2. Yet returne to mee, saith the Lord: there is no time to late, if a man have a heart to returne: Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; that is, thou hast followed many sinnes, and addicted thy selfe to many distempers, yet returne unto mee. If a man put away his wife for fornication, will he receive her againe? no, he will not doe it: yet you have had many base haunts and backdoores, yet returne unto me, after all that stubbornnesse whereby you have opposed my grace, and slighted my mercy: yet returne unto me, and receive grace offered. There is no limit of the pardon and free grace of God offered to a poore sinner, except the sinne against the Holy Ghost; the Lord stands, and waits, and knocks, if any man will open; though he call till hee bee hoarce, and knock till he be weary, yet if any man will open, bee the drunkard never so base, the adulterer never so vile, if hee will open, the Lord will come, and will bring his comforts with him, and will s [...]p with him, and restore consolation to him.

Object. But you will say, Aye, thats true, if I had but a heart to mourne for them: see my sinnes I doe, and I cannot but acknowledge my corruptions: but I am not sensible of the load that lyes upon me, I cannot be burthened with the evils that op­presse [Page 543] me, I have a heart not only that doth not, but that cannot mourne.

Answ. I answer, this hinders not neither, provided thou beest troubled, because thou canst not bee troubled; provided thy heart be weary of it selfe, because it cannot be weary of its sinnes; if this be thy temper and frame, this hinders thee not from the mercie of God which is offered and thou nee­dest: for that Christ that freely pardons sinne, can, and will, and that easily, breake thy heart, and fit it for pardon: Micah 7.18. The Lord pardons sinnes, and subdues iniquities; not because thou pleasest him, but because mercie pleaseth him: wherefore did the Lord shew most mercie to Saul when he shewed most hatred against him; Saul is posting to Damascus, and breathing out threatnings against Christ; the Lord is opposed by Saul, and the Lord in the meane time pities and shewes mercie to Saul; Saul persecutes him, and he makes his moane to Saul; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou mee? the bloudy jaylour that op­posed the meanes of grace, the Lord overcame him by the meanes of grace; he that resisted the meanes of grace, was brought home by the power of the meanes to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Object. But the soule saith, this is that which over­throwes mee, you are now come to the quicke, this very word is like a milstone about my neck, that will sinke my soule into discouragement for ever; for this is my misery, the meanes doth not better me, though Saul and the jaylour were bad enough, yet they were bettered by the meanes, [Page 544] but this is the hopelesse condition of my heart, prayer will not worke, the meanes of grace will not prevaile; sometimes I thinke, Lord, this Lords day will doe, and this sermon will worke it, but to this very day the word of the Lord profits not, nor workes upon mee for my good, and is there such a heart in hell? is there any hope that I shall ever have grace, when the meanes which should worke grace will doe mee no good? this is the last plea of the soule, and indeed of Sathan, whereby hee holds many a distressed foule in hand, that God intends no good towards him.

Answ. I answer, yet this hinders not, but at least thou maist have a hope of mercie to support thy heart in the expectation of good, and that I may speake cleerely, observe three passages:

1 First, the word and meanes doe worke; if it doe make thee more sensible, and more appre­hensive of thy owne hardnesse and deadnesse, though indeed it workes not that good, and after that manner thou wouldst, and desirest, and ex­pectest, yet if it make thee see thy owne base­nesse, and observe thy owne wretchednesse, in re­gard of that body of death that hangs upon thee, it workes marvellous well, after the best manner, because it is after Gods manner, though not after that manner which thou desirest, and seest best in thy owne apprehension; observe it, that physick workes most kindly, that makes the patient sicke; that salve that drawes before it heales, cures most safely: so it is with the word, it workes kindly, when it makes thee sicke of these distempers, [Page 545] when it shewes thee the stubbornnesse and deadnesse of thy owne heart, and makes thee apprehend, that a broken spirit is the gift of God, and not of man and meanes; therefore the Lord will make thee looke to him to worke it and continue it; therefore know that this is a worke of God; for to see deadnesse is life, and to feele hardnesse is softnesse; onely beware, that there bee not a haunt of heart and distem­per, that thy soule cleaves to, and pants after, and thou art loth to part withall; for then the word will harden thee, because thou hardenest thy selfe, but if thou art content that the word should lay open the bowels of thy heart, and discover what ever is amisse, and reveale what ever is crosse to Gods command, and plucke away every corruption and distemper; then if the word reveales any hardnesse in thee, know that the word workes comfortably, that reveales hardnesse and basenesse, and doth drive thee out of thy selfe to God for succour.

2 Secondly, thou art the cause why thy heart is not softned, thou art the fault why the word pre­vailes not, because the distemper of thy heart hin­ders the worke of the word, and the dispensation of Gods providence, and the tenor of the cove­nant of grace; when a man will stint the Lord, and limit the holy One of Israel, just this sermon, and this quarter, and this season, this hinders the na­ture of the covenant, and crosses the worke of the covenant of grace; the Lord doth not stand bent to thy bow, the Lord is not at thy call, he will not [Page 546] give thee grace when thou wilt, but when he plea­ses; no, it is not for us to know the times and the seasons that God hath appointed; what if thou goest upon thy hands and knees begging of mer­cie to the last gaspe, and if then the Lord be plea­sed to shine in a drop of goodnesse and mercie, it is more than the Lord owes; therefore heare to day, and attend to morrow, thou knowest not whether God will blesse this sermon, or that meanes, or the other ordinance; and doe not complaine upon the meanes, but attend Gods leisure, and remember the Lord hath waited long for thee in the time of your rebellion, in the day of your ignorance, before you looked towards the Lord; and therefore if the Lord now make you wait for mercie and assurance of his love, know that the Lord deals equally, and kindly, and lovingly with you, and so as all shall be best for you; and know that this distemper of heart oppo­seth the tenor of the covenant of grace, for the Lord gives what he will, when he will, and after what manner he will; therefore stint not God in his giving, but wait when and what hee will be­stow upon thee.

3 Thirdly, know that thou restest upon thy owne duties and endevours, and goest not out to God that blesseth both the meanes and thy endevours for thy good; and that is the reason why thy heart is not enlarged, and grace communicated; the fault is thy owne, because thou restest in thy performances, and in the meanes, and goest not to God that would have done more than all, and [Page 547] wrought more than all these. If I thinke and am perswaded I have power to goe out of my selfe, in conceiving I have power, and staying there, I stay in my selfe, when I thinke to goe out of my selfe; it is a supernaturall worke, and the same hand must bring us out of our selves, that must bring us to Christ, the same hand must pluck us out of our selves and sinnes, that must bring us to the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore if I thinke, and through Satans delusion conceive, that I have abilitie to goe out of my selfe, I repose up­on my owne abilitie, when I profesly renounce my owne abilitie, I maintaine a repose upon my owne abilitie, when I renounce it, I say, I can doe nothing, and yet rest upon that I can doe; it is a point very profitable, therefore marke what I say, this is selfe deniall in truth, when the soule knowes it hath nothing, and therefore is over­powered by the almightie worke of Gods Spirit, and is stopped, as it were, in so much that the soule of a sinner doth not looke to expect any power, or any principle from it selfe; or any creature, or any dutie, the soule of an humble sinner knowes he is a dead man in sinne; hee cannot direct his owne wayes; therefore when he is brought to de­ny himselfe, it is by the almightie worke of Gods Spirit, when the Lord drawes the soule, that it lookes not inward, it lookes not downward, it lookes not to the creature, it expects no principle from within, no power from the meanes to per­forme any dutie, when then I thinke with my selfe, I have power and abilitie to goe out of my [Page 548] selfe, then I say, I have a power within me to doe something pleasing to God, namely, I can denie my selfe, which is contrarie; for to denie a mans selfe, is to looke for no power, or expect any power or sufficiencie from himselfe, or from the creature to performe that God requires: there­fore wee must listen and looke onely to the voice of Christ, he that cals us from darknesse, must call us to the glorious light of himselfe: we must as well listen to the voice that must pluck us out of our selves, and expect power from Christ to pluck us out of our selves, as wee must expect power from Christ to goe unto him: the conclusion therefore is this; I would have a sinner say, and thinke with himselfe, I expect no pow­er, Lord, from my selfe, I intend to wait upon the Lord, that hides himselfe from the house of Israel, and I will looke up, I will use all meanes, and improve all helpes I can, but I will not looke to hearing, from that to receive any thing; I will not looke to the Minister, from him to receive any thing; but in these meanes of hearing, and prayer, and in the use of all ordinances, I will looke up unto God that hides his face from his servant for the while, and will looke up to that wisdome to be informed, that is wiser than the wisdome of the meanes, and I will looke up to that power to be strengthened, that is stronger than the power of the meanes: Habak. 3.17. when he saw all began to faile, though the fig-tree blossome not, and the vine flourish not, yet will I rejoyce in the Lord, and stay my selfe upon the God of my salvation; [Page 549] marke this, when all meanes under heaven faile, when the figge tree blossomes not, when the vine flourisheth not; when all means faile, yet there is mercy with the Lord, there is power and strength and sufficiency in the Lord, to doe my soule good; and say thou, though my sinnes be great, and ex­ceeding great, though my heart be hard and comes not under the power of Gods ordinances, and the means of grace work not upon my soule, yet I will looke up to the Lord, and my eyes shal be towards him; my eyes shall not bee inward to looke upon any thing in my selfe, but my eyes shall looke upon to the Lord, and expect all from him: and thus much shall suffice for the second hinderance.

Object. Hinderance 3 The third hinderance, which hinders a poore sinner from comming to Christ, is the want of sense and feeling, and therefore the distressed sin­ner complaines, I never knew what it was to have the assurance of Gods love, I never received any sound sensible comfort unto my soule, and shall I thinke that I have grace? shall I thinke that my heart is fitted to receive that mercie which God hath promised to his Saints? the Scripture re­veales it not, the Saints have found it, that they which beleeve rejoyce in the Lord, but I am a stranger to that joy, and that is a stranger to me, how can I thinke then, that I have any interest to the promise? or any faith whereby I may depend upon the promise?

Ans. I answer, this hinders not that thou maist not come unto God by beleeving, and receive good from him: therfore remember these 3. particulars:

1 First, thou must not thinke to have joy and re­freshment, before thou goest to the promise: but thinke to expect it when thou doest beleeve, when thou doest chew and feed upon the pro­mise, and continuest so doing: know, that joy and sweet refreshment, it is a fruit that comes from faith: first beleeve, and then have joy; doe not thinke to have joy, and then beleeve; the heart is filled with peace and joy not before beleeving, but by beleeving, and after beleeving, then re­joyce with joy unspeakable and glorious; when faith is rooted in the heart, and hath had many sun-shines of Gods favour upon it, then expect those admirable ravishments, and sweet consola­tions, which the word speakes of, and thou maist obtaine.

2 Secondly, these joyes, and sense, and feeling, are things which may be separated from faith, a man may have a good faith, and a strong faith, and yet not have that comfort and sweet refreshment a sinner lookes for and desires; a man may want sparkes, and yet want neither life nor heat; a tree may want leaves, and yet not want sap; so it is with those consolations: faith may bee strong, when a mans feeling may be nothing; Restore to mee the joy of thy salvation, saith David hee was ju­stified and sanctified, and had faith, and yet had not this joy; nay Iob had faith, and yet he had no sense and feeling of Gods favour: Thou makest me a b [...] to shoot as, faith he, and thine arrowes have drunke up my spirits; and yet he saith, Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him; his faith was strong, [Page 551] though his feeling were nothing, trust to the goodnesse of the Lord, and not to those sha­dowes, and brittle bottomes, that will breake un­der you.

3 Thirdly, the Saints of God are deprived of comfort, not because God will withhold it, but because they will not take it; Gods owne ser­vants want the assurance of the freenesse of Gods love, not because God will take it away from them, but they will not take it when hee would give it them; it is not, because they may not have it, but because they will not receive it; Psal. 77. My soule refused comfort, like a little childe that will not eat his meat, because it is not in a golden dish; he doth not say, God did not offer mee consolati­on, but I refused consolation out of a disconten­ted spirit: because you cannot have comfort up­on your owne termes, and please your owne pal­lats; because you cannot have a dish for your tooth, you will have none at all; you want com­fort, not because God will not give it, but because you will not take it upon Gods termes: these and many more are the hinderances. One saith, God hath followed mee with crosses in my life and estate; another, the wrath of the Lord lies heavy upon me, I am still doubting and perplexed, and I cannot beleeve. The upshot of all these is upon one and the same ground, these are hinderances, which we out of our owne folly, and the subtilty of Satan, make to hinder us from comming so freely to Christ, and beleeving in him, as other­wise we might; and yet in truth these are no hin­derances, [Page 552] we onely make them so. Therefore we will now come to the cure of all these, and shew how wee may take off these hinderances if it bee possible, as in truth it is possible; and not onely to remove these hinderances, but all other of this kinde, quality and condition, if you will attend to the means that shall be propounded, it is possible to cure them; and the cures are these, whereby the soule may bee fortified against these, or passe by, and leap over all these hinderances; and not­withstanding all, goe to Christ in the promise.

Cure. 1 The first cure and helpe that I desire to pro­pound is this, namely we must not look too long; the soule distressed and troubled should not sticke too long, and looke too much, and dwell unwar­rantably and continually upon the sight and con­sideration of his owne sinnes, upon his weaknes­ses and distempers, so farre as to bee skared, and altogether discouraged from comming to, and depending upon the riches of Gods free grace. The devill keeps us in our sinnes by poring con­tinually upon our sinnes, when we thinke to have our hearts carried against our corruptions, we are more intangled in our corruptions, by dwelling continually upon them. This was the course that Abraham tooke, that was the Father of all the faithfull: Rom. 4.19. when God had promised him a sonne, and not onely a naturall sonne, but a sonne that should be a Type of Christ, where­by he and all the faithfull should be saved: Now this promise was made unto him when hee had a dead body, and Sarah a barren wombe; he unable [Page 553] to get, and Sarah unable to beare; now what course tooke he to heale this? why the text saith, He being not weake in faith, considered not his owne body which was now dead, nor Sarahs wombe which was now barren; he knew his deadnesse, and Sa­rahs barrennesse, but he considered it not, that is, hee did not dayly pore thereupon, and quarrell with himselfe and say, how can Sarah beare a childe, her wombe is barren and unable to beare, my body is dead, and unable to beget, there is no ground here to beare up his confidence; if hee considers Sarahs barrennesse, there is no childe to be looked for; if hee looke upon his owne dead­nesse, there is no childe to bee expected: now therefore what doth hee doe? hee lookes to the promise only, and there rests and stayes himselfe; though he had a dead body, the promise was li­ving, and though Sarahs wombe was barren, the promise was fruitfull; and though he were weake, the Lord was strong, and able to performe what­soever he had promised: so we must see our sins, and know our infirmities, and consider our weak­nesses; but we must never settle our selves, and sit downe in the consideration of our owne di­stempers, and thereby be hindred from comming to the Lord, and from receiving that mercy the Lord offers unto us in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we may freely take; for when a man is continu­ally poring upon his sinnes, and dayly medita­ting upon his corruptions, two things follow.

1 First, wee stop the streame and current of the promise, that it cannot run into the soule, wee [Page 554] turne the frame of the soule downward, and the frame of the heart inward, & shut down the sluce, whereas by beleeving wee open the flood-gates of the promise, that the streames of mercy may flow a main in upon our soules, when we returne inward, and doe settle our hearts upon our owne distempers, we shut downe the sluce of the pro­mise; and 2 secondly set open the flood and stream of corruptions, that they may run violently upon us to the overwhelming of us in conclusion; and our distempers will take advantages against us, by reason of our dayly consideration and atten­dance thereupon. Meditation in this case I com­pare to distillation; when a woman distils a kind of herbe or flower, and when the Alchymist di­stils some kinde of metall, there is an admirable water drawne out by distillation, and an excel­lent oyle by Alchymie, and this water and oyle were in the creatures before, but they were not seene to be there before, but they are of wonder­full force and strength when they are distilled: so it is with the dayly poring, setling and atten­ding upon a mans distempers; a man thereby distils a distemper and a discouragement, and an infirmitie, and drawes out the very life and sap, and spirit of it, and drawes out the very quintes­sence of a corruption, and makes it dangerous, nay he makes it deadly many times; so that after a mans dayly poring upon, and attending wholly to his sinnes, he multiplies inconveniencies more than else would be: so that the soule which be­fore was troubled comes now to bee overwhel­med [Page 555] with the dayly poring, and looking, and at­tending to his owne wickednesse. Therefore the wisedome of the woman of Canaan is to bee ob­served, and her humiliation is to bee regarded by us: observe the humiliation of her heart, and the wisedome of her minde: Matthew 15.27. she came to him to beseech him to heale her daughter, that was possessed with a devill: at the first, hee would not listen unto her, but shee would not be put off so, but cried after him; then hee answered, I am not sent but to the lost sheepe of the house of Israel, not to you that are Gentiles: yet for all this shee would not leave him, but came and fell downe, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, helpe me: then at last he compares her to a dog, It is not meet to take the childrens bread, and cast it unto dogs; as who should say, you Gentiles are dogs, and the glad tidings of the Gospell are bread, and therefore belong not unto you: Now had shee pored and setled her selfe upon the words of our Saviour, she had never beene made partaker of that mercy which Christ bestowed, and she stood in need of: now marke what shee saith, Truth Lord, but the dogs eat of the crums which fall from their Masters table. Here observe a heart truly humbled, and also truly wise to apprehend its owne weaknesse; she confessed all that Christ spake. Thou saist I am carnall, I yeeld it; thou saist I am a dog, I confesse it; my sinnes are more for number, they are more hainous for nature, than either my tongue can utter, or my heart can conceive: but though I am a dog, Lord, yet I will not goe out [Page 556] of doores, but lie under the table; she yeelded she was as bad as might bee, and confessed all that Christ spoke, yet shee will not from under the table: so wee ought to doe, when our corrupti­ons are apprehended by us, and our basenesse presented to the view of us, when wee see our selves damned creatures, and dogs, and lost in our selves, then let us say, Truth Lord, wee are worse than can be spoken of us, wee are worse than can be conceived of us, yet let us not fly out of doors, but lie under the table, and at the foot of our Sa­viour, and take a crum of mercy at the hands of our Saviour. But you will say:

Object. Is it not a thing which is not only allowed, but required, that we should meditate of our sinnes; nay, is not this the way that God hath chalked out to sinners? is not this the course that God hath commanded, that men should see their sinnes, that they might bee brought out of their sinnes, and be brought to Christ? I considered my wayes, saith David, and turned my feet unto thy testi­monies.

Answ. I answer, this is true; and all I said before was as true: it is not onely, I say, lawfull for us, but there is, I say, a necessitie lying upon us; we must see our sinnes, and consider our corruptions, but stay not too long, pore not too much upon thy sinnes, expect no comfort nor consolation from thine infirmities, and the meditation of them; see thy sinnes thou must, and oughtst to doe, but see them so, as thou maist be forced to flye to Christ for help and succour; doe not so see them, as to [Page 557] be settled in thy infirmities, and to have thy soule so discouraged, as thereby to bee driven from Christ; therefore see thy sinnes thou shouldest, that thou maist apprehend them loathsome, and finde them burdensome to thy soule; see thy sins also thou must, till thou see an utter insufficiencie in all things under heaven, to helpe thee out of thy sinnes; see thy sinnes thou must also, till thou see an absolute necessitie of a Saviour, and of the mercie that is in the Lord Jesus Christ, to recover thee out of thy sinnes: and when the soule hath done these three particular passages;

1 When it hath seene sinne loathsome, odious, and ugly:

2 When it hath seene the helplesnesse of all na­turall meanes, and all things under heaven, to re­cover it:

3 And when it hath seene the necessitie of mer­cie, to help it out of sinne:

Away then for thy life to the throne of grace, there is pardon enough to remove the guilt that sinne hath brought upon thee, there is grace enough to take away all those corruptions that have defiled thy poore soule. What madnesse and extreme folly is it for a poore sick man, that is overtaken with some grievous disease, or some sore wound, not to goe to the Physitian before he be whole, because hee is ashamed the Physitian should see him so distempered or wounded? In reason we should rather goe first to the Physitian, that he may heale us, than be first healed, and then goe to the Physitian and shew our selves: so it is [Page 558] the desperate folly of many poore sinners, wee would have our sinnes removed from us, and our hearts quickned in the way of well doing, and when we are healed, then we will goe to Christ, and when we have things about us, then wee will lay hold on the promise, and then wee will pur­chase salvation, or at the least be joint purchasers with Christ in the great worke of redemption: no, let this be thy course; see thy sinnes, and take notice of thy corruptions, and then away to the Physitian to be healed; goe first to the Physitian to be healed; but be not first healed, and then goe to the Physitian; 1 Sam. 12.10. this was the advice of the holy man Samuel, when the people of Israel had dealt basely with the Lord, by ca­sting off his yoake, (for when they cast off Samuel, they rejected the Lord) at last the Lord opens their eyes, and affects their hearts with those their sinnes; now, saith Samuel in the tenth verse, Stand and see this great thing which the Lord will doe be­fore your eyes, is it not now when harvest? I will call upon the Lord, and hee shall send great thunder and raine, that you may perceive that your wickednesse is great, that you have done in the sight of the Lord; now the Lord accordingly as Samuel had said, thun­dered terribly from heaven; now when they heard this, and saw Gods anger therein, they were driven to a kinde of a maze, and were almost at their wits end, and said, Pray yee unto the Lord for us, that we die not, for wee have sinned greatly, and to all other sinnes wee have added this, that wee have asked for us a King; now marke what a direction [Page 559] Samuel orders unto them; Samuel well saw that this is the nature of all men, by reason of their sinfull distempers, that when we thinke wee are in a good case, we never looke after mercie; and when we are apprehensive of our owne basenesse and wretchednesse, wee dare not looke towards mercie: before they saw their sinnes and Gods anger for them, they never cared for mercie, but now they heard the thunder, and apprehended Gods displeasure therein, they durst not goe to God for mercie: now marke how Samuel chalkes out a middle way betweene them both, in the twentieth verse, Feare not, saith he, you have done all this wickednesse, yet depart not from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your hearts, neither turne your backes after vaine things that can profit you nothing; as who should say, I will not lessen your sinnes, you have sinned grievously, you have sinned fearfully, and hainously, I intend not to excuse or extenuate your wickednesse: but de­part not from the Lord; as who should say, you will be gone from God now; you will looke for no mercie; you will expect no favour; the Lord you have cast off, and therefore you thinke hee will cast off you, take heed of that, depart not from the Lord, for that is to follow lying vani­ties, and that is to forsake your owne mercies: so the soule of a poore sinner should reason thus; Tis true, my sins are many, my wants are excee­dingly multiplied, I have sinned against God, and am discouraged, and shall I be more discouraged, and sinne more against God? I am miserable by [Page 558] [...] [Page 559] [...] [Page 560] departing from God, and shall I depart more from God, and be more miserable? thou darest not goe to Christ for mercie, why? because thou hast sinned, and wilt thou depart from God still, and be more sinfull? that is against all reason.

Cure. 2 The second cure is this; all this while I speake to broken hearted sinners; those that are obstinate, wicked, and ungodly men, stand you by, you must give mee leave to deale the childrens bread to them, you had your portion formerly, let the children have their bread also, and take their share too: the second cure therefore is this; make con­science, either not to attend to, or not judge thy selfe or thy estate by any carnall reason without a warrant: I will repeat it againe, because I would not have you forget it; make conscience, I say, either to attend to, or judge thy selfe or thy estate by any carnall reason, or carnall plea without reason or warrant: as thus, it is the fashion of poore distressed spirits to passe heavie doome, and to set downe heavie sentences upon them­selves, upon false, or weake, or groundlesse argu­ments, as, I never found Gods mercie, I never felt it, I never was perswaded of it, I feare it will not be so; thus we have these carnall pleas, which our mindes invent, and Satan suggests, and wee judge our selves by these, as the witnesses that should warrant our estates, as the Judge that should determine of our estates; now make con­science of judging thy estate in this manner: you that are broken hearted, (for to you I speake) this kinde of course is naught, and this sinne is [Page 561] more hainous than you imagine: for when thou concludest certainly thy estate is naught, and God hath given you no grace, upon these grounds, mark against how many Commandments thou sin­nest; first, thou dost wrong thine owne honour that God hath put upon thee in giving thee grace; thou sinnest also against the third Commande­ment, in wanting that reverence which is due to Gods name, and the worke of grace hee hath wrought in thy soule, thou dampest thy owne heart, and art a spirituall murtherer, and so sinnest against the sixt Commandement: thou robbest thy selfe of that comfort of heart, and refreshment of minde that God hath prepared for thee, and offered unto thee, and so sinnest against the eighth commandement; nay, you doe beare false witnesse infinitely, you speake against your selves, to the overthrowing of your soules, and you beare false witnesse against Christ, and his Spirit, and the worke of his grace, whereby you are sealed up to the day of redemption, and you joyne sides with the Devill in this case. But you will say:

Object. Truly, I speake as I thinke, and affirme as I am perswaded.

Answ. I answer, this hinders not but thou bearest false witnesse; if thou affirmest a thing thou hast no ground for, thou bearest false witnesse though it be true: this is a rule which Divines hold, if a man should affirme peremptorily, such a man is a drunkard, and yet he knowes it not, though he be so, yet hee beareth false witnesse, because a mans [Page 562] witnesse must bee upon ground and knowledge, so thou peremptorily affirmest; what, I grace? no, will God vouchsafe any good to mee? I will never beleeve it; now thou certainly affirmest of thy selfe, that thou hast no true grace, when there is no ground for it, but suspition, and feare, and the like, and therefore thou bearest false witnesse against thy soule: observe this the rather, be­cause of the sinfull distempers that creep into the hearts of many Christians broken and humbled, and it is usuall and common; this is their guise out of a selfe will of carnall reasonings, and out of a base haunt of heart, they swell against them­selves and their owne soules, their hearts come to bee perswaded, that they are not in a right course, that they walke not in a right way, unlesse they bee quarrelling and opposing the worke of Gods grace in their soules, and out of a selfe con­ceit of theirs, that they are moulded into by cu­stome, they thinke they have libertie to doe so, and that they doe well in so doing: now thinke of it you that are humble, know that you sinne fearfully all this while, and it is very remarkable to take notice of the soule in this kinde: in a case of conscience, when a poore broken hearted sinner hath his judgement informed, when rea­sons are plaine, and when the comforts are cleer­ly evidenced, when Scriptures are undeniable, these poore creatures now doe not so much attend what you speak, and what the Minister saith, and the Word delivers, but all their care is, how they may answer a mans reason, and put off the force [Page 563] of an argument, and they count it a matter of weaknesse, if they cannot answer any thing that is propounded to them for their comfort; it is ad­mirable to consider, and but that daily experi­ence teacheth us, wee would not speake it, nor could we beleeve it; therefore take notice of it, and know, that howsoever you give leave to your owne soules to doe this, and have invented rea­sons and arguments to gainsay the power of the truth, and to defeat the power of the Word; goe aside and wonder, that the Lord hath not taken away from thee all the worke of his grace, and all the comfort of his Spirit, admire at this, that when thou hast cast off all grounds of comfort, yet God doth vouchsafe it to thy soule: the Pro­phet David prayeth, that the Lord would turne away his eyes from beholding of vanitie; now if a man must turne away his eyes from beholding of vanitie, he must turne away his thoughts from attending to vanitie much more; hath God ever given me a minde to consent to Satan? hath God ever given me a tongue to parly with Satan? I have something else to doe, I must attend to the coun­sels of God, I must attend and listen to the voice of God, I must not listen to the suggestions of Satan, that I have nothing to doe withall, I sinne deeply in so doing, no man in reason will deale with a cheator, if hee know him to be a cheator, unlesse he meane to be couzened: so it ought to be our wisdome, carnall reason is a cheator, and an old deceiver; let us not therefore attend thereun­to, nor be ruled thereby, unlesse we resolve to be [Page 562] [...] [Page 563] [...] [Page 564] cheated: but if the sinne cannot scare you, yet let the miserie that will follow thereupon force you, and drive your hearts from it: in Esa. 50.2. last verses, the text saith, Who is among you that feareth the Lord, let him heare the voice of his servant, he that walkes in darknesse, and hath no light, let him trust in the Lord, and stay upon his God; there is a compa­rison made betweene the Saints of God, that will listen to the voice of the Lord, and the direction of his servants, and those that will follow their owne humours, and carnall reasonings, and stay thereupon: he that walketh in darknesse, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord; that is, though a sinner bee never so perplexed with sorrow of heart, though there be nothing but mi­serie without, and horrour of heart within, yet if hee will heare the voice of Gods servants; you broken hearts, that have not stopped your eares to the comfort that God hath revealed, let them trust in the Lord: but now marke what is said in the last verse, Behold all that kindle a fire, and are compassed about with sparkes, walke you in the light of your fire, and in the sparkes that you have kindled: this shall you have at my hands, you shall lye downe in sorrow; I will first open the place, and then apply it; what is meant by fire and sparkes here, in a word, in the old law there was alwayes fire kept in the sanctuarie, heavenly fire that came downe from heaven, and this did shew the wisdome and direction of God in his word; but now there was strange fire which Nadab and Abihu offered, that is, they did not take of the fire of san­ctuarie [Page 565] which God sent from heaven, but they tooke fire of their owne, that is, their owne devi­ces, and imaginations, and disputes; the sparkles and pleas of your owne thoughts, they are your owne fire; every poore creature carries his tin­der box about him, and is anvilling and forging his owne conceits: I thinke it not, I conceive it not, I am not perswaded of it; this is your owne fire, that is the first thing: then marke what fol­loweth, walke in the light of your fire, and in the sparkes that you have kindled, you shall lie down in sorrow: walke in the light of your fire. Hee doth not allow this, but he takes it as a thing for­lorne, as who should say, You will follow your owne conceits and imaginations; you have ham­mered out sparkes, and you will strike fire out of your owne carnall reasonings, and you will bee taken aside by them; there is no reproving of you, there is no removing of you from it: so that two things are cleare: First, the heart will coyne carnall reasons, and forge sinfull conceits, and then it will persist in them; and marke what fol­loweth, this is that which you shall have at my hands, you shall lie downe in sorrow; this will bring sorrow to thy soule, when the fire of the sanctuary burnes cleere, when comforts are plain, and Scriptures are pregnant, and reasons undeni­able, you will kindle your owne fire, and com­passe your selves about with your owne sparkes, and you will attend to them, and bee ruled by them; well, doe so: but this I tell you, there is no hand shall succour you, and bring comfort unto [Page 566] you, you shall have this at the hand of the Lord; you shall lie downe in sorrow, and then you shall repent you happily, and fling away your tinder box, and your carnall reasonings and imaginati­ons: this is the second cure.

Cure. 3 The third cure is this, be marvellous wary and exceeding watchfull that you enter not into con­tention with Satan upon these termes, whereup­on you cannot determine a controversie: I can­not tell how to expresse my selfe better. Enter not, I say, into the lists of dispute with Satan, con­cerning those things which belong not unto you: as for example, If I bee elected, then I shall bee saved; but I am not elected, I have injoyed Gods ordinances, and lived under the precious means of grace and salvation, and they have not wrought upon my heart; I perceive that God in­tends to doe no good unto my soule, therefore all my labor is in vain, when I have done what I can, I shall perish. Sometimes againe the soule saith, the day is past, and the time is gone: Oh, the times of grace, and dayes of mercy that I have seene, the Lord came kindly to my soule, and was pleased gratiously to reveale my sinnes to my soule: but then hard hearted I, and stubborne wretch I, I shut the doore against the Lord Jesus Christ, and now mercy is gone, the day is over, the time is past, and the sunne is set, there is now no hope of mercy. If the devill catch a man upon these lists, there is no determination of the point, for upon this ground a man shall never gaine an­swer to himselfe, hee shall never gaine ease to his [Page 567] conscience; for if I know not the things of this nature, and if no man else knowes them, how shall any man administer comfort, or how shall I be able to receive comfort? therefore take heed of it. It is in this case with a sinner, as it is with a traveller; theeves overtake him, and pretend to lead him a faire way, at last they carry him into a wildernesse, and lead him into a desert where no man comes by, where no mans voyce can bee heard, and there they doe what they list, because there is no helpe to bee expected, no passenger comes neere: So it is with the soule, when Sa­tan gets him into these straits, and wilders him in the desarts of Gods secret counsels of election and the like, there is no passenger comes by this way, no man can apprehend these secret things of Gods counsell, and therefore no man can ad­minister succour or comfort: therefore for your caution and direction in this case, I will suggest these three rules.

Rule. 1 The first rule is this, let thy soule in this per­plexity stay it selfe, and its owne staggering upon the power of God: Ephes. 3.20. the text saith, that God is able to doe exceeding abundantly, above all that we can aske or thinke: Gen. 17.1. I am God All-suffi­cient: attend to Gods sufficiency, and rest upon the Almightinesse of his power, and support thy heart thereby.

Object. But the soule may say, what is this to me: I know the Lord is able enough, and all-sufficient, but how doe I know that God will shew mercy, and doe good to my soule?

Answ. I answer, and marke what I say, if thou beest throughly perswaded indeed of Gods all-suffici­ency, it will helpe thee this way, for if God can doe exceeding abundantly above all that wee can aske or thinke, then God can will, for ought thou knowest, above all that wee can thinke or ask: thou canst not know or conceive of Gods po­wer, thou canst not desire so much as God is able to doe, nor conceive so much as he is able to per­forme: therefore God may be willing to doe thee good, though thou conceivest it not, for this I take to bee a truth, that generally the soule doth never sadly doubt of Gods Will, but in some measure it doubts of Gods Power; for if God be able to doe more than I can apprehend, and more than I am able to desire, then God hath as well power to will to doe me good, as hee is able to doe me good, he hath power to will to doe mee good, above all that I can thinke or desire, and hee that doubts of the one, doubts of the other.

Rule. 2 The second rule is this, checke thy owne soule for prying into Gods secrets; blame thy selfe and that deeply for thy curiosity, in that thou lookest beyond thy last, as it is in the proverbe, and soa­rest too high, and medlest with those things thou hast nothing to doe withall: you meddle with Gods Election, and with Gods Will and secret Counsell; I charge you meddle with your owne businesse, meddle with that you have to doe with­all, meddle with your owne duties and occasions, and keepe your owne station: checke your owne [Page 569] hearts therefore, and when Satan would lead you out into a wildernesse, and suggest these things unto you, How doe you know God hath elected you? doe you pray? and what if you doe pray? doe you heare? and what if you doe heare? When it is thus with thee, checke thine owne heart for prying into Gods secrets, and meddle with that thou hast to doe withall: Deut. 29.29. Secret things belong to God, revealed things belong to us, and our children: What have you to doe with Gods secrets? what hath that proud heart and curious minde of yours with Gods secrets? Election be­longs to God, it is his prerogative: 1 Corin. 2.16. Who hath knowne the minde of the Lord? You that will be aloft in the skie, and mounting up to hea­ven, who ever knew the minde of the Lord? Sa­tan and your thoughts tell you so, that you were never elected; why, Satan is a lyar, he knowes it not, nor thou knowest it not neither: who ever knew the minde of the Lord? minde you your owne matters, doe you what God commands, performe those duties God injoynes you, keepe your owne station; all the Angels in Heaven, and all the men upon Earth, never knew the minde of the Lord: therefore never prie into Gods se­crets. Ionah 3.9. When God had threatned Ni­nivie to destroy it, and had sent Ionah to speake fire and powder: Oh, all you drunkards of Nini­vie, and all you blasphemers of Ninivie, and all you prophane wretches of Ninivie, vengeance shall come upon you, and fire from Heaven shall destroy you; they were now at a maze, and dri­ven [Page 570] to a stand: now marke what the King saith, Hee caused a fast to bee proclaimed both for man and beast, and commanded all to cry mightily unto the Lord, and to turne from their evill wayes; for who can tell, saith he, whether the Lord will turne away his fierce wrath from us that wee perish not? who can tell but that the Lord may yet shew mercy and favour in the pardoning of us? so say thou when Satan tempts thee, and temptation suggests unto thee; You seeke to God for pardon in the use of the means that God hath appointed, and you injoy the precious means of grace and salvation: But it is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy: but God will never shew any favour to you, God will never vouchsafe any mercy to you, God will never bestow any grace upon you, if you pray till your tongue falters, and your eyes sinke in your heads, and your heart failes, it will doe you no good, God will never give you grace: why, how can Satan tell this? all the devils in hell know not this, all the Angels in Heaven know it not; therefore walke thou in thy owne wayes, follow thine owne talke, doe that thou oughtst to do, and performe what God requires, and let God doe what hee please, and say, let me doe what I should, who can tell what God may doe? who knowes but God may break my hard heart? who knowes but God may par­don my sinnes? who knowes but God may give me power over my corruptions? nay, who knowes but God will too? Satan himselfe cannot tell: that is the second rule.

Rule. 3 The third rule is this; measure not the riches of God, nor the freenesse of his mercy, according to the scantling of your owne imaginations, and according to the fadome of your owne con­ceits; doe not thinke because you cannot doe it, therefore God cannot doe it; because you cannot conceive it, therefore God cannot worke it; stint not, limit not the Holy one of Israel so as hee must stand at your tribunall in this matter, and be within your lists and compasse: It is a sweet passage, Esay 55.7. Marke there the exhortation of the Prophet, Let the wicked forsake his wayes, and the unrighteous man his owne thoughts, and returne unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon: As if he had said, all you unrighteous, you that have cou­zened and detained, and dealt falsely and unjust­ly; you that have lived wickedly and prophane­ly, let them all forsake their wicked wayes, and turne from their vaine imaginations, and returne unto the Lord, and returne not to themselves, and their owne conceits, but let them come unto the Lord, and hee will abundantly pardon; but the soule replies;

Object. Will the Lord pardon all these sinnes?