By Mr WILLIAM PINKE, Mr of Arts late Fellow of Magdalen Colledge in OXFORD.


Ignat. Ep. ad Rom.



TO THE HONOVRABLE AND TRVLY Noble Lord, the Lord GEORGE DIGBY, Sonne and Heire of the Right Honourable the Earle of BRISTOLL.

Right Honourable and my very Good Lord,

THAT I haue pre­sumed to present to your Lordships Patronage, these few Sermons of a deceased worthy friend, it is not so much the acknowledgment of those great favours and noble respects wherewith you were pleased to grace [Page] Him, and since his death haue vouchsafed to extend to mee your vnworthy ser­vant as a due consideration (if in Dedicatiōs matchable­nesse be to be regarded (how properly and peculiarly they doe belong to your Lord­ship both in respect of the Authour and the Argument. The Authour was one, whom, for his singular dex­terity in the Arts, depth of iudgement, sharpnesse of wit, and especially his skill in languages, Hebrew, Greeke, Arabicke, you were pleased to make choice of for one of your Readers during your abode at Magdalen Colledge in Oxon, in which time you [Page] so obliged him by the abun­dant testimonies of your good affection to him, that He oft professed to mee how great & iust an interest your merits claimed in all his stu­dies and labours. This which you here see is but an Essay to some master-peece which you might haue expected, if he had liued to finish what he attempted in the Greek An­tiquities, & obseruations on the Hebrew Text. For the matter, it being a Theame of the weightiest businesse in Christianity, the ground­worke of all; which if it bee not first rooted in the heart, all other our conclusions and speculations in Diuinity will [Page] bee but like the building a Castle in the ayre, and may giue the soule content per­haps, of a rare speculation, but cannot of a powerfull, experimentall, soule-quick­ning, and soule sauing Reli­gion: The Argument, I say, being such, as I could not harden my selfe against the requests of some who desired the publishing thereof for the good many soules might reape by it, so neither could I thinke any, fitter to Patro­nage a Theam of piety, than one who shewed himselfe a­mongst vs, both a Patron & an example of it. I would be as farre from flattery as you are from the want of it, and I [Page] would not, you should looke your selfe in a false Glasse: ouerweening in any man is a thing that exposeth to secret contempt, when­soeuer the weaknesse shall be espied, but Great men so much the more, by how much they are the more obserued, and haue occasi­on oftner to come vpon the stage. You remēber what manner of man he was, se­rious in his studies, deuout & strict in an holy conuer­sation, the things you lo­ued in him, and imitated: A singular O men, when No­ble mē begin betimes to be countenancers of goodnes and good men: so perseuere [Page] to doe like a good Obadiah 1 King. 18. the Church shall blesse you and God shall honour you, 1 Sam. 2. 30. For those that honour him, he will honour, and them that despise him hee will couer with shame, either by bring­ing on them some notable judgement, or by giuing them vp to such headlong courses and filthy vices, whereby their honour shall be stained, their estates wa­sted, themselues and their posterity ruined (it being not vnusuall with God to punish men by their owne deuices and sinnes wherein they delight.) And so doth your Lordship perseuere to doe, I will not load your [Page] modesty with a slender re­port of your owne worth: What perhaps I ought to say, your Lordship may guesse by what the people doe say of you, and what I should commend vnto you (if I were able or worthy) by what the world expects from you: I know there is nothing more vaine then to liue by opinion, by what men say or expect; opinion is but an ill rule and gouer­nesse of our liues and acti­ons (another mans measure being too long, or too short for me) yet this vse we may make of it; when men be­gin to applaud and take no­tice of that which our selues [Page] haue the greatest reason to study & affect, it may serue to raise our vertues to an higher pitch, than our own priuity could lightly bring them, the loue & practise of any good increasing with the acceptance it findes a­broad: But I forget what I haue in hand, I close all with apprecatiō of all hap­pinesse to your Lordship: the God of Ioseph double vpon you the blessings of Ioseph, Deut. 33. 13. 6. Blessed let him make you for the precious things of Heauen, and of the deep that coucheth beneath, for the precious things of the Earth, & the fulnesse there­of, but especially, for the [Page] good will of him, that dwelt in the Bush: Doe worthily in Ephratah; Ruth. 4. 11. and bee you famous in our Isreal: The seeds of Vertue and pious education wherewith your tender yeeres haue beene seasoned, let them budde and yeeld their pleasant & wholsome fruit in their sea­sons. I still trespasse. Mo­neo, quod facis

Spondes digna tuis ingenti­bus omnia coeptis.
Virg. Aen. 9▪
Your Lordships humble and deuoted seruant, WILLIAM LYFORD.

To the Reader.

COurteous Reader: I here present thee with some peeces & fragments of an intire and iust discourse in­tended by the Author, con­cerning that vsefull & wor­thy Argument, the sinceri­ty and triall of a Christians loue to Christ: It was the glory of the last age, that a­mong other miracles, God blessed it with the resurre­ction of Leraning, it being [Page] being a time wherein liued and flourished men famous for learning and piety, who sent abroad into the world many large volumes for the vindicating of Gods true Re­ligion and worship from Bar­barisme, Errour, and Super­stition: And 'tis a part of the happinesse of this our Age, that (beside the same truth still maintained) it hath sent forth many famous Trea­tises concerning the nature of faith, the power and pra­ctise of Religion. Amongst which, this would not haue beene of the least note, if the Author himselfe had liued to finish it: A continua­tion and perfecting whereof [Page] I cannot hope for from o­thers, much lesse dare I pre­sume to attempt it my selfe, as euer loathing that soloe­cisme,

Hor. Art. Poet.
—vt turpitèr atrum
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa supernè.

Take therfore these Sermons as they were deliuered and left by him: What is done in them I had rather should appeare to thy iudgement in the serious reading, then from my opinion of them: onely let mee intreate thee to read them with the same spi­rit they were written (for that's the way to profit by o­ther mens works) and con­tent [Page] not thy selfe to trifle a­way some odde houre in thē, but reserue them to some of thy most retired thoughts and seuerest meditations, so maist thou by Gods blessing finde something to streng­then the assurances of thy hopes by Christ, and to en­crease thy future care and loue to sincerity. In which respests, if they profit any in­to whose hands they come, I shall lesse blame the importu­nity of some who for that cause earnestly desired them, and the lesse regard the cen­sure of others, who may hap­ly mislike the publishing of them. As his conuersation was sweet, so is his memory [Page] pretious, to mee as to any o­ther: Neither can I thinke it any way stained by the ser­uice of loue, wherein I chose rather to giue life to some things of His, than that all should die with him. All the good bee thine, and all the Glory, Gods. Farewell.

Thine in the truest Bond. W. LYFORD.
1. COR. 16. V. 22.‘If any man loue not the Lord Iesus Christ, let him bee Anathema Maranatha.’

SAINT PAVL being now to close vp his E­pistle to the Co­rinthians, and hauing thus far vsed the helpe of a Scribe is willing to giue them the fare­well salutation in his owne hand-writing: The salutation of mee Paul with my owne hand, in the verse before my Text. His salutation in this as in all the rest of his Epistles is a so­lemne Apostolicall benedicti­on, [Page 2] wishing them the grace & fauour of God in Iesus Christ in the verse following my Text. But now knowing too well how many false brethren there were at Corinth, who were content indeed to pro­fesse Christ for some outward carnall respects,The mise­ry of those that pro­fesse Christ for out­ward car­nall res­pects. but did grosse­ly dissemble with him in their hearts, least such should misap­ply this comfortable salutation vnto themselues, least such dogs should imagine these ho­ly things to be giuen them, hee salutes them after another man­ner, and preuents their pre­sumption by this terrible, thun­dring execration: If any man loue not the Lord Iesus Christ, let him bee Anathema Mara­natha.

This Text is somewhat ob­scure by reason of the strange words which are in it which [Page 3] (setting aside all curiosity) I will vnfold as nakedly as I can, that I may in few words lay open a plaine way to the sense and instructiue matter of this Scripture.The inter­pretatiō of the words Anathema Maran­atha. The word Anathe­ma is a Greeke word: in En­glish it signifies Accursed: The words Maran-atha are Syriack, & signify in English, Our Lord commeth. That the full meaning of the holy Ghost in the vse of these words may more cleere­ly bee conceaued by you; you are to bee aduertised that in this Text there is an allusion vnto the Iewish manner of Excommunication which was twofold.The Iew­ish manner of excom­munication is twofold. 1. The first kinde of it called Nidduî was onely a separation for a time, common­ly for thirty dayes from all cō ­merce or society with any man within a certaine distance. This is thought to bee that which is [Page 4] called in the New Testament a a casting out of the Synagogue. 2. The second more seuere and terrible then the former was, when a scandalous offender with curses out of the law of Moses was in the publike audi­ence of the whole Church, without any limitation of time excluded from the communion of it. This is thought to be that which is called in the new Te­stament a deliuering vp vnto Sathan. This in Hebrew Che­rem, in Greeke is called [...], which word you haue in the Text.A twofold Anathema. This Anathema was twofold. 1. Simple when what I haue now mentioned was performed. 2. With an additi­on, Anathema Maran-atha, when besides all other maledi­ctions out of the law they ad­ded this clause, Our Lord com­meth: By which forme the ex­communicated [Page 5] person as des­perate & quite forlorne, with­out all hope of pardon or resti­tution, was left into the hands of the Lord to receaue from him an heauy doome at his cō ­ming. This then being applied vnto my Text the sense runnes thus:The mea­ning of the Text. If any man loue not the Lord Iesus Christ, let him bee accursed and that in the most desperate manner, expecting due vengeance from the Lord when hee commeth [...], with his holy millions to execute iudgement vpon all, and to conuince all that are vngodly, as it is in Enochs Prophesie re­corded by S. Iude, to which this last degree of excommuni­cation Maran-atha (or as the Syrians pronounce it) Moran-etho, our Lord commeth, may probably seeme to haue speciall reference. If any man &c. By [Page 6] any man vnderstand any man that liues in the light of the Gospell, that professes and thinkes himselfe a Christian; for to such S. Paul directs his speech; if any man thus quali­fied loue not Christ Iesus let him bee accursed in the highest degree. It cannot be expected that such as sit in the darknesse of Gentilisme should loue that Christ whom they haue not heard: and therfore albeit their case bee lamentable because they heare of no Sauiour, yet sure theirs is farre more feare­full who heare him daily prea­ching in their streets, and take little notice of him, but neglect him and trample him vnder foot. If any man loue not: some imagine an Hebraisme to lye couched in these words, Loue not, supposing the sense to bee, if any man hate; and in­deed [Page 7] this is the sense, but in my weake iudgement the conceit of an Hebraisme is needlesse, seeing that as our Sauiour tells vs Luk. 11. 23. Hee that is not with him is against him, and questionlesse, whosoeuer pro­fesses his name, and yet loue him not, hee hates him at the very heart. But if my conie­cture deceaue me not, my Text may receaue excellent light from Ephes. 6. v. vlt. Grace be with all them that loue our Lord Iesus Christ [...], in puri­ty or sincerity. I suppose those whom Saint Paul curses in my Text to be directly opposed to those whom hee there blesses; and seeing to the Ephesians he blesses those who loued Christ with an vncorrupt, vnmixed, vnfained loue, it's likely that in my Text hee bestowes his im­precations vpon those who▪ [Page 8] great shewes of loue vnto Christ with their mouthes, but vnderualue and despise him in their hearts.

The Text being thus explai­ned (not to mangle it with an vnnecessary diuision) affords this materiall doctrine. Who­soeuer hee bee that professes himselfe a Christian▪ and thinks himselfe verily to bee so, and yet hath not the loue of Christ Iesus kindled and setled in his heart is in a most dangerous and cursed estate.

Great variety of reasons and proofes might bee produced for the inlargement and confir­mation of this point: those which I intend to make vse of,2 Generall considera­tions pre­mised for the confir­mation of the point. I will reduce vnto two gene­ [...]all considerations which will sufficiently manifest both how fearefully and how iustly hee stands accursed, who profes­sing [Page 9] Christ Iesus with his mouth entertaineth him not with his best affections in his heart.1 All the curses of the Law are due vn­to him, that doth not really loue Christ Iesus. 1. My first considerati­on is this, that whosoeuer hath not imbraced Christ Iesus with the sweetest vnion of real loue, hath no part in him, and there­fore all the curses of the Law stand in full force against him. I shall not need to insist vpon the aggrauation of the wofull condition of him who is yet in bondage to the law. Marke, I beseech you, the exquisite ri­gour of it comprised in that one sentence Deut. 27. 26. Gal. 3. 10. Cursed is euery one who con­tinueth not in all things which are written in the booke of the Law to doe them. O then how infinitely accursed are all of vs naturally, who on the contra­ry, haue continued in the vio­lation of all things which are [Page 10] written in it. I am perswaded (howsoeuer some proud here­tiques of these times haue pra­ted) that there is no man so stu­pid, or senselesse of the misery of being tried by the Law with out any appeale vnto the Gos­pell but in his serious moodes when God shall in some mea­sure awak his cōscience, he will confesse it had beene better for him neuer to haue been borne,The wo­full estate of him to whom the Law shall be a Iudge. then that God without the me­diation of his Sonne should call him to a punctuall account for the most harmelesse and vnof­fensiue day of his whole life. Now what can a man haue to comfort and secure his soule in these sad meditations but this, that God is superabundantly mercifull, in so much that hee sent his owne Sonne to redeeme vs from the curse of the law, and to bee made a curse for vs, Ga­lat. [Page 11] 3. 13. These indeed are heauenly consolations and such as neuer faile those who are rightly qualified for them: But now they appertaine not to such as loue not Christ Iesus, to such as know not how to value and worthily esteeme the glo­rious purchases of his passion. It's true;Gods mer­cy excludes not his Iu­stice. God is mercifull infi­nitely aboue all finite conceit, but so is hee iust too: Magnifie his mercy as long as thou wilt, thou canst neuer doe it enough, but when all is done thou maist say as much for his iustice as S. Paul, Rom. 11. 22. equally ad­mires the goodnesse and seuerity of God. Whosoeuer he be then, who lookes for mercy from God without Christ, who on­ly hath satisfied his iustice, dreames not so much to finde God mercifull as to finde him vniust. Now to come nee­rer to the point, can any man [Page 12] bee so sottish or impudently presumptuous as to hope to fare the better for Christ who sees nothing desirable in him? Who is so far from counting all things dung, that hee may winne him, as S. Paul did, Phil. 3. 8. that hee euen prefers dung the basest trash and vanities of the world before him?They can [...]aue no [...]enefit by Christ who prefer plea­ [...]ure or pro­fit before him. Is it likely that hee should haue any reliefe from the Gospell, who is so farre from counting all things losse for the excellency of the knowledge contained in it, as Saint Paul did, that he can tast no such excellency in it, that he should loose one farthing, for­beare one pleasure, forgoe one vanity for it. Our Sauiour him­selfe, Mat. 10. 37. expresly tels vs, He that loueth Father or Mother more thē me is not wor­thy of mee, that is, whosoeuer loues what he hath best reason [Page 13] to loue in this life more thē his Sauiour, is not worthy to haue a­ny benefit by him, to haue any share in his merits? What then thinke wee, can they expect from him, who are so coldly affected towards him, that they preferre euery trifle before him? All the promises of God (saith the Apostle) 2. Cor. 1. 20. in him (in Christ Iesus) are yea, and in him Amen, that is, sure and infallible. But still in Christ Iesus. And what's this to any man if hee himselfe bee not in him? And how can hee bee in him but by louing him. The accursed estate of the false­hearted Christian who pre­sumes much vpon CHRIST, whom indeed he hath nothing to doe with, will more af­fright him if hee would but consider it in other men. Who is there amongst vs but will [Page 14] much pitty and bemoane the lamentable condition of the poore Indians,The lamē ­table con­dition of the sauage Indian. and other Sa­uages of the vnchristian world, whose soules are ouer clouded with the blackest mists of irre­ligion that the Prince of darke­nes can possibly inwrap them, who come into the world knowing not wherefore, and goe out of it dreaming not whither, but liue here a while without God in the world, and then goe to the generation of their fathers, where they shall neuer see the light to vse the words of the Psalmist, Psal. 49. 19. A heauy case indeed be­yond all expression of a Trage­dy, A formall Christian is in as bad a case in respect of the world to come as the Silliest Indian. and which cannot bee suf­ficiently bewailed with an o­cean of teares of blood. But now whosoeuer hee bee with­in the Paradise of the Christian Church who hath nothing to [Page 15] distinguish him from these mis­creants but his outward con­formity to the lawes and cu­stomes of the place where hee liues, who hath nothing to proue himselfe a Christian but outward formalities, the chari­ty of other men and his owne sleight imaginations whosoe­uer hee bee that hath not as yet espied something in Christ. Iesus so amiable as that in ear­nest it may challenge his whole heart before all the pompe and pleasure in the world, I say that man whosoeuer hee bee may keepe his moanes and teares for himselfe: it's his owne case: for, for the present vntill the spirit of grace shall startle him vnto more sense of the mercies of Christ, hee is in as bad a case as the silliest Indi­an. I meane in respect of the world to come, for for in this [Page 16] life the most dissembling Chri­stian is partaker of many sweer blessings which the Gospell vses to carry about with it frō countrey to countrey, by which it ciuillizeth and pollisheth the most rude and barbarous nati­ons. But for the ioyes of eter­nity, what better clayme can hee lay vnto them then the wild American? Hee hath no more to doe with Christ then the other. Hee hath liued in­deed where hee hath heard much talke of Christ, of re­demption, and the glorious li­berty of the Sonnes of God; but what's all this to him who could neuer rellish any of these things, who neuer tooke them to heart,It is a pure sincere loue of Christ that distin­guisheth vs from Infi­dels. neuer could find any sweetnesse in them but passed them ouer like some vn­couth mysticall fables? Belo­ued we must not thinke that li­uing, [Page 17] within the ayre of the Gospell, amongst Churches and Bibles, can distinguish vs from Infidels, exempt vs from the rigour of the law, and en­title vs to Christ? No such mat­ter. Christ came vnto his own but his owne receaued him not, saith S. Iohn [...] were his own then euer the better for him? Not a whit. Our Sauiour whilst hee was talking with the Iewes, Ioh. 3. 40. tells them. Yee will not come vnto mee that yee might haue life: Hee was come vnto them, but they would not come vnto him. Albeit then Christ visit vs neuer so fre­quently, if wee welcome him not with that ioy with which Zacheus once did, though hee passe neuer so often by our hearts, if wee inuite him not in, and get him to sup and lodge with vs, wee must looke to get [Page 18] no more by him then those vn­happy mis [...]reants who neuer heard of his name. It's consi­derable to this purpose which S. Paul hath, Gal. 5. 6. In Christ Iesus neither circumcision nor vncircumcision auaileth any thing, but faith which worketh by loue, that is, outward markes or priuiledges aduantage a man nothing in Christ Iesus vnlesse hee bee so sensibly perswaded of those miracles of compassi­on which Christ hath perfor­med for his soule, that vpon this perswasion hee thinkes he can neuer loue him enough and therefore submits his whole soule vnto him in a vniuersall obedience vnto his will.

To draw towards a conclu­sion of this point,An expla­nation of Psal. 2. Kisse the Sonne, &c. let vs scanne a little Psal. 2. 12. Kisse the Sonne least hee bee angry and yee perish from the way [...] and this [Page 19] Psalme containes a cleere pro­phecie of our Sauiour and such great ones of the world as should oppose themselues a­gainst him, whom yet the Pro­phet vouchsafeth to direct, v. 10. For all this they might make their peace with God: the chiefe part of the direction is set downe in the words which you haue now heard; Kisse the Sonne, that is, reue­rence, respect, embrace the Sonne of God. Why so? Least by his anger yee perish from the way: from what way? The Sy­riack interpreteter tells you m [...] vrkeh from his way. He him­selfe is the onely way vnto his Father, to whom no man com­meth but by him, as himselfe tells vs in the Gospell. Who­soeuer therefore stands off from Christ Iesus, and striues not to kisse, that is, to be vnited vnto [Page 20] him by the choisest twinnes of dearest affection must needes perish out of the way to life, continue still in his sinnes expe­cting all the curses of the Law to fal vpō him. The law was our Schoolemaster to bring vs vnto Christ, saith the Apostle, Gal. 3. 24. What to bring vs within the sound of his name? To bring vs to talke and discourse of him? More then so, to amaze vs with the horrour of our sins, and to make vs [...]eele what need wee haue of a Sauiour, and ha­uing one offered vs, to lay fast hold on him whatsoeuer it cost vs, and to prize him aboue all the Iewels in the world. But if the Law▪ cannot preuaile so much with vs as to make vs groane for a redeemer, to make vs come crouching vnder our burdens vnto Christ Iesus, wee must continue still vnder the [Page 21] lash, It's true which the Apo­hath, v. seq. that after faith is come wee are no longer vnder a Schoolemaster: But if this faith which is inseparably ioyned with loue neuer come, we are sure to smart vnder his heauy hand through all eternity.

You haue heard the first part of his burden who in the light of the Gospell does not really loue Christ Iesus to wit, that he has no part in Christ & therfore all the curses of the law belong vnto him. One would thinke there needed no more to bee said to proue him accursed who loues not Christ Iesus seeing this hauing no part in him in­cludes more horrours and ter­rours then it's possible for the braine of man to shape the Ide­ates of. But I must tell you that as heauy a doome as this is, yet is it but light in comparison of [Page 22] which I shall describe vnto you in a second consideration,2 Consi­deration. to wit,Great plagues re­maine for those that doe not sincerely loue Christ but doe cō ­temne the Gospell. whosoeuer hee be that is Catechised and brought vp in the Christian profession and yet doth not heartily and sin­cerely affect Christ Iesus be­sides all the curses due vnto his sinnes against the Law, he trea­sures vp vnto himselfe a farre more compleat vengeance for his disesteeme and contempt of the Gospell. It were well, be­loued, if when Christ Iesus comes vnto a man and that man receaues him not, if hee left him in no worse case then hee found him, though that were vnconceauably miserable: But it's neuer so. For if hee enter­taynes not Christ as a Sauiour, hee is sure to haue him hence forth his accuser, and if he will not admit him ad salutem, hee shall haue him whether hee [Page 23] will or no ad Testimonium. It's true which our Sauiour told Nicodemus Ioh. 3. 17. That God sent not his Sonne into the World to condemne the world, but that the world through him be saued: Christ doth not knocke at any mans heart with that in­tent that he may haue the more aduantage against him if he let him not in, no hee comes with purpose and desire to brind in saluation with him, but if hee and his saluation be so little re­garded that we entertaine him onely with a few cold comple­ments at doore, as I may say, and so dismisse him. O then he goes away in a rage, complaines to his father that for such vn­gratefull wretches hee shed his dearest blood. And therefore though God sent not his Sonne into the world to condemne it, yet it followes in the next [Page 24] verse, Hee that belieueth not is condemned already, because hee belieueth not in the name of the onely begotten Sonne of God. Condemned &c. hee beleeueth not. Why? the Law had suffi­ciently cōdemned him before. True, but now God offers him a pardon by his Son to exempt him from cōdemnation, which seeing hee scornes, or cares not to accept, God will now not onely haue the other condem­nation to continue it's force a­gainst him, but hee will load him with another more heauy, which shall neuer be reuersed by any pardon. This is made more plaine by the verse fol­lowing, This is the condemna­nation that light is come into the world and men loue darknesse ra­ther then light, that is; For this is that great and finall condemnation, which can ne­uer [Page 25] bee remitted, as that of the Law may, that Christ is come into the world bringing re­demption with him,The con­tempt of the Gospell of Christ can neuer be remit­ted. and men are so little sensible of it, so dully affected with it, that they care not for making any vse of him, but had rather continue Satan's prisoners still, then come forth into his maruailous light. So that the neglect of Christ Iesus and his Gospell, is that which makes a man com­pleatly Anathema Maranatha, because if we passe by him there remaines henceforth no more sa­crifice for sinne but a fearefull expectations of Judgement: Hebr. 10. 26. Mistake mee not belo­ued, when I say there remaines no more sacrifice for sinne to those who haue passed by Christ Iesus, I meane such as haue passed him by for good and all, such as are not entirely incor­porated [Page 26] into him before they are snatched out of this life. For indeed wee haue a redeemer so sensible of our infirmities that when hee comes a wooing vn­to our soules, hee will not bee driuen away at the first deniall. Alas, if he should be so touchy, there would hardly euer any soule bee espoused to him, see­ing all of vs naturally hang backe, find excuses, and make many pauses▪ and demurres, before wee giue our consent. But our Sauiour is so patient towards our follies, that for all his repulse hee will vouchsafe to come againe and againe, waite our leasure,The wo­full estate of those that deny the grati­ous prof­fers of Christ Ie­sus. take all op­portunity sollicite the businesse by his holy spirit. But here is no ground for presumption. For whosoeuer denies him so of­ten, or so peremptorily, that he is forced as if it were to leaue [Page 27] of his sute, during the life of the party, or whosoeuer dallies so long with him, that hee is called out of this life (as who can promise himselfe an houre) before the match bee made vp, I say whosoeuer shall sleight his Sauiour, or neglect him after this manner, it had beene a thousand times better for him, that Christ had neuer been borne into the world, or at least that himselfe had beene borne in such an obscure corner of it, that hee had neuer heard of him. For his outward pro­fession of and with all the pre­rogatiue, of it, with which hee contented himselfe without a­ny hearty loue vnto him, the faire offers of saluation which hee had, and made nothing of, shall presse him more heauily at the day of Iudgement, then all his sins against the law, though [Page 28] they were murders, and adul­teryes; when for these very reasons it shall bee easier for Turkes, Americans, and Virgi­nians then for him.

If you demand the reason of all this mischiefe,The reason of all this mischiefe that falls vpon the contem­ners of Christ [...], is because the con­tempt of the Gospell is a sinne against all Persons in the Trini­ty. it is because the not laying to heart of what Christ hath done for vs, and the not-receiuing him being offe­red vs with the thankefull affe­ctions of loue and reuerence, vnmixed delight, and compleat content in him is the highest dishonour, and basest indignity (except wilfull Apostacy, or malious blasphemy) which can bee offered by a sinfull man to the most blessed and glorious Trinity. Should I stand [...]o recount and amplify euery circumstance of it, I thinke I should both weary and amaze you. Suffice it therefore onely briefly to consider how con­tempt [Page 29] offered to Christ and his Gospell reflects vpon all the Persons of the Blessed Trini­ty.

For the Father,1. Against the Wis­dome of the Father. whosoeuer sets light by his Sonne doth most grosly vnderualue both his wisdome and his good­nesse.

For his wisdome. The con­triuing of mans redemption by the death of his Sonne in the fulnesse of time is, so farre as is reuealed to vs, the master-piece & chiefe plot (with reuerence bee it spoken) which hath been from all eternity thought on by that infinite boundlesse wis­dome of God blessed for euer;God in­tended to get him more glory by the re­demption then the creation of mankind. whereby hee purposed to get himselfe farre more glory then hee did by the creation of the world, when by a deliuerance so superlatiuely admirable hee should both saue mankind, and [Page 30] astonish it. This is that for which the Gospell is so often called the wisdome of God vnto saluation. This is that mistery of Godlynesse which is great [...] by the confession of all without controuersy 1 Tim. 3. 16. This is that illustrious my­stery of saluation which the Pro­phets enquired after, and sear­ched diligently with the Angels to looke into 1. Pet. 1. 10. 12. Lastly this is that [...] that wisdome of God which hath such curious variety in it Ephes. 4. 10. Well then to come to the point when the time is come (as it is come to vs, who liue in this blessed noone-tide of the Gospell) that God reueales to any man this astonishing mystery of his infi­nite wisdome, when hee plea­seth to shew any man how ad­mirably hee hath contriued his [Page 31] saluation for him, by sending his own sonne to satisfy his iu­stice, and therefore expects a­bundance of glory by it: if that man now abase varlet, created by God that hee might applaud his lesser works of creation, shall behaue himsele so stupid­ly, that hee, forsooth, can scarse haue patience to take a full view of his Sonne, if hee can espie no such arte in the contri­uance as may rauish him, no such wonders as may with­draw his minde from those bawbles, about which it was before busied, O beloued, this is an indignity to the glorious wisdome of God the Father, beyond all expression of mor­tall eloquence.

2. For his goodnesse and mercy.2. Against the good­nesse and mercy of the Father. God the Father from euerlasting beholding mankind in the vgly masse of corruption, [Page 32] through their owne wilfull re­bellion knew he must bee iust, and yet desired to bee merci­full. And when nothing might make these two stand together, but satisfaction from one as in­finite as himselfe, that he might commend his loue to vs, as the Apostle speakes Rom. 3. 8. hee resolued not to spare [...] the sonne of his Loue as hee is called by a significant Hebraisme, Col: 1. v. 13. but to send him in similitude of sinnefull flesh, to vndergoe that heauy businesse for vs, presuming as it is in the parable that howsoe­uer his other messengers had fared but ill in the world, yet his Sonne the heire should bee entertained with reuerence. O then can wee imagine with what hellish contempt they euen defye the loue of God to­wards them, who look strange­ly [Page 33] vpon his Sonne, who behaue themselues towards him, as if his Father had sent him in a needles err and into the world, or as if there needed not to haue beene all this care taken for them.

2. In the next place it would bee an endlesse busi­nesse to rehearse the indigni­ties which are offered to the second person in Trinity Christ himself by such as call him Lord,2. Against the Sonne because his death and passion is vilified and cōtemned. Lord, but yet deale not honestly with him in their hearts. Greater loue then this hath no man, then that hee lay downe his life for his friend saith our Sauiour Ioh. 15. 13. True Lord, it's the greatest loue that one friend can shew another, but yet thy loue was greater ū ­to vs in that thou laydest down thy life for thy enemies, yea in that thou vouchsafedst for [Page 34] our sakes to take such a life which thou mightst lay down. Consider in briefe I beseech you, how the Sonne of God out of meere obedience vnto his Father and compassion vn­to vs rebellious wormes [...] emp [...]tied himselfe of the lustre of his Deity, and in the forme of a seruant humbled himselfe to the death [...]uen the most paine­full, and shamefull death of the Crosse Phil. 2. 8. Peruse the history of his passion, yea of his whole life which was litle better then a passion,The bitter­nesse of Christs Passion. obserue how throughly the sad predictions of a despised life and ignomini­ous death Isa. 53. were ful­filled in him, how in euery point hee was made isch enac­c [...]both a man of sorrowes, draw into a Catalogue the rude dis­courtesies, churlish affronts, the [...]euilings, bu [...]etings, spittings, [Page 35] torments, agonies and the con­tradictions of sinners all along (that is) of sinnefull caytifes which hee indured with pati­ence. Lastly remember that all this befell him onely because the Lord laid vpon him the ini­quity of vs all Isa. 53. 6. where the Hebrew phrase is elegant­ly significant, hiphgiah, he hath made the iniquity of vs all to meet, on him, as our translators haue rightly expressed it in the margent. Remember still I say that all this was but what wee had deserued and therefore we may well suppose him with pitifull moanes crying out vn­to vs vpon the Crosse in the mouing language of Ierusalem Lam: 1. 12. Is it nothing to all you that passe by; behold and see if there bee any sorrow like vnto my sorrow. Now beloued who­soeuer hee bee that hath read [Page 36] or heard all these things so pun­ctually set downe in the Gos­pell that hee hath had his saui­our euen crucified before his eyes, whosoeuer is conceited and he beleeues this history and yet cannot bleed within or weepe without for his sinnes which were the cause of it, but can bee moued to more tender pas­sions by a Tragicke fable crea­ted by the braine of a Poet can­not sympathise with his Saui­our in that passiō which should haue beene his,Christ is more tor­mented by our ingra­titude then hee was by his passion. cannot by his serious cōpunction share with him in those agonies which should haue been all his owne, cannot take these mercies so deepely to heart as with the earnest pangs of yerning affe­ctions to desire to bee crucified with Christ as S. Paul speakes of himselfe Gal. 2. 20. and to liue the rest of his life in the flesh [Page 37] by the faith of the Sonne of God; who loued him and gaue himselfe for him, questionlesse that man offers his Sauiour the most cut­ting iniury, and does him the most villanous spight that it's possible for a mortall wretch to offer vnto the Lord of Glo­ry. That mans ingratitude is more painefull vnto Christ Ie­sus then all the thornes were in his head, and wounds him more deepely then the nayles did his hands and feete; and therefore wee cannot imagine a lighter curse then Anathema Maran­atha to bee due vnto him. For by his sottish neglect of that death of which his sins aswel as any mans else were a cause, he becomes guilty of the murther of the Sonne of God, yea one of those [...], by [...], I vnderstang [...] and English it, who cru­cifie [Page 38] as much as in them lies the sonne of God [...] and expose him like a [...] ma­lefactour to publique shame. Heb. 6. 6.

3 Lastly whosoever in­structed in the Gospell doth not in earnest loue Christ Iesus hee vexes & grieues the third person in Trinity the Holy spirit,3. Against the holy Ghost be­cause his labour for loue to Christ is in vaine. whose chiefe businesse here below is to worke our our hearts vnto the loue of Christ, and as I said before to solicite the match betweene him and our soules. And this is one reason why our saviour be­ing to leaue this world, speakes so much in Saint Iohn of what the comforter should doe for him after his depar­ture. He shall testify of me Iohn 13. He shall glorify mee 16. 14. Whosoeuer therefore makes the Holy spirit to labour in [Page 39] vaine not suffering his perswa­sions to make any impressions vpon his heart, or to get thence any glory for him whose agent hee is but thinkes hee does Christ Iesus kindnesse enough in that he suffers himselfe to be called a Christian rather then a Iew or a Mahumetan, or Pro­testant rather then a Papist. In what a fit of discontent, in what a chafe (may we thinke) doth that man send or rather driue away the spirit of Grace. All that I haue said in this second consideration is comprised in that terrifying place Hebr. 10. 28. 29. which I know is there applyed vnto Apostates, but wee must note that all hypocrites, are Apo­states in Gods fight, and there­fore what wee may apply vn­to an Apostate in particular, because hee discouers the rot­tennesse▪ [Page 40] of his heart in the sight of men, wee may apply vnto hypocrites in generall because there is in them the same evill heart of vnbeliefe though wee cannot so particu­larly smell them out: the words are. Hee that despised Moses Law, died without mer­cy, vnder two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment suppose yee, shall hee be thought worthy, who hath troden vnder foote the sonne of God, and hath counted the blood of the cove­nant wherewith he was sancti­fied [...] (as the blood of a common man, or a malefactor not as the blood of a sacrifice) and hath done despight vnto the spirit of grace.

Applic. You see the feare­fully accursed estate of those professors of Christianity who deale falsely with their Savi­our, [Page 41] and loue him not at the heart, you see vpon what slip­pery tearmes wee stand be­tweene the greatest curses, and the greatest blessings.1 The be­nefit of embracing Christ and his Gospel. If wee haue indeed made Christ Iesus our portion, if wee haue beene so feelingly affected with his favours towards vs that now with the Spouse in the Canti­cles wee are even sicke with loue of him. If as the Apostle prayes for the Ephesians, Wee are so rooted and grounded in loue that we can bring good proofes, that with a constant resolution we preferre the in­tellectuall pleasures which is­sue from his reconciled coun­tenance before whatsoeuer else is most pretious and deare vnto vs, O then we may hugge our selues as men over-joyed, for as sure as God is God, all his rich promises in Christ Ie­sus [Page 42] shall be yea and Amen vn­to vs. But on the contrary if those heauenly raptures and glorious trances of sweetest entercourse betweene Christ and our soules sound as Phan­tastique dreames & harsh Para­doxes vnto vs,2. The dā ­ger of a meere out­ward pro­fession of Christs Gospell. if wee stupidly content our selues with an empty profession of his name and heartlesse conformity vn­to the outward garb of the Gospell, never striuing either to expresse or to feele the in­ward power of it, if wee goe on in a heavy, sluggish dull manner, never retiring vnto our Saviour but in some me­lancholy moodes which wee are quickly weary of, blindly presuming of much from him, and caring not how little hee hath from vs: O then we most grossely delude our selues: for the curse of curses Anathema [Page 43] Maran-atha doth most cer­tainely belong vnto vs, I pre­sume almost there is not any man in this assembly but would thinke himselfe much wronged if one should seri­ously tell him hee did not loue Christ Iesus: Not loue Christ? Why we imagine wee all doe it naturally, wee take it as the custome of the country to say so, It is not my purpose to dis­hearten any man, would to God that the least sparke of loue vnto Christ in any mans heart here were a glorious flame. But yet I would haue no man to deceiue himselfe in this point then which nothing more easy, nothing more dan­gerous. God is not mocked, he requireth truth in the inward parts and the exactest kinde of loue that can be imagined. Doe you thinke beloued but that [Page 44] the Iewes in our Saviours time were confidently perswaded that they loued God: they persecuted our Saviour in­deed because they could not apprehend him to be the sonne of God, but for God himselfe they made full account that they, and none but they loued him aright. Here was, I dare say, as strong a perswasion of loue to God,It is dan­gerous to be confi­dent in a customary loue to God. if confidence would beare out the matter as in the greater part of Christi­ans of their loue vnto Christ. But behold how miserably they were deceaued Joh. 5. 42. our Saviour expressely tels them, But I know you that yee haue not the loue of God in you. The like grosse deceit of the Iewes may be observed in the same chapter about their loue vnto Moses, why they were [...] and naile for Moses. The [Page 45] Law and name of Moses was the glory of their nation for which no doubt but many if they had beene put to it would resolutely haue lost their liues in our Saviours time as their ancestors had done before or their posterity since, so that one would haue thought hee might haue sworne they loued Moses, but yet when the mat­ter comes to scanning you shall finde there was no such mat­ter, for indeed they were so false hearted to Moses that at the last day hee shall bee their chiefe accuser, witnesse our Saviour verse 45. There is one that accuseth you in whom yee trust, that is, on whom yee presume, for had you belieued Moses &c. Lastly, to rouze vs out of the slumber of our pre­sumption, let vs take notice of one example more taken out of [Page 46] Mat. 7. 22. Luc. 13. 26. where we reade, that many shall come at the last day vnto Christ, pre­suming vpon their familiarity with him, some telling him they had eaten and dranke in his presence, some expostulating with him, Lord haue wee not prophesied in thy name, cast out divells, and done many wonder­full workes. Would you ima­gine all this could bee without great loue vnto Christ: O how confident should we be if we had such evidence of our vnion with him. How safe should we thinke our selues, could we challenge acquaintance with him vpon the same te armes when he shall come in his glo­ry to judgement. But yet you see all this might doe vs no good, seeing our Saviour will send many such packing with an angry protestation that hee [Page 47] knowes them not, and if he will not know them, you may bee sure they were such as had not for all these florishes dealt kindly and louingly, with him. Wherefore beloued, you see how much it concernes vs to pause a while on this matter▪ We all thinke we loue Christ Iesus: it were well if think­ing would serue the turne, but wee see that many, who thought as confidently as wee, and perhaps vpon better grounds, shall then perceaue themselues mistaken, when it shall be too late to remedy it. O then let vs not venture our selues vpon such groundlesse surmises, but while wee haue time to make all sure. Let vs make it a businesse to settle the estate of our soules which hang vpon such nice points, let not our shallow presumptious [Page 48] conceipts of our loue to Christ, let not the lazinesse and vn­towardnesse of our flesh hin­der vs from a speedy, impar­tiall, industrious examination of our hearts, whether they haue indeed the loue of Christ in them or no.

If vpon due enquiry wee finde in our selues the true ground of loue vnto our Savi­our,The infal­lible notes of reall loue vnto Christ. to wit a tender affectio­nate apprehension of our infi­nite deserued miseries, and his infinite vndeserued mercies, if wee feele the fruits of it a constant, even, vniversall re­solution to please him in all things, at all times, in all com­panies, a disesteeme of what­soever is honourable or plea­sant in the world in compari­son of his favour, a continuall hunger and thirst after a neerer and more sensible communi­on [Page 49] with him, I say if vpon exact triall thou finde in thy selfe these infallible notes of reall loue vnto thy Savi­our, then I hope it will not repent thee of thy labour. For now thou knowest vpon what ground thou standest, now thy ioy may bee full, as­suring thy selfe that thou shalt haue a confidence which shall not deceiue thee before thy Sauiour at his appearing. Con­trariwise if when thou entrest into thy heart, thou findest no sacred fire vpon the hearth but all cold and vncomfortable, if thou hast not yet beene ac­quainted with those prickings of heart and affrightments of conscience for thy sinnes, which vsually put poore hum­bled soules into those vehe­ment fits of loue vnto our Sa­uiour, [Page 50] If thou canst giue no rea­son of thy supposed loue vnto, Christ from any thing that thou hast felt in thy selfe but onely frō what other men say, frō the Lawes & customes of the place where thou art a subiect, then thou findest thy selfe but in an vnhappy case; yet thou art hap­py in this that thou knowest the worst of thy selfe, and maist seeke out betimes for an effe­ctuall remedy. If this bee thy case consider seriously that thou art yet vnder the heauy curse in my Text, and therefore im­patient of this accursed estate, recollect thy selfe and call a speedy assembly of thy best wits, and then bethinke thy selfe that Christianity is no lu [...] ­dicrous, or iesting matter, that the professiō of Christ the most serious businesse in the world, that therfore questionlesse there [Page 51] is a great deale more in it, then the formalities of comming to Church, carrying a bible, hea­ring a sermon, that without doubt Christ requires a reall inward disposition of the soule which should season all these complements and make them acceptable.

3. Consider in the next place the summe and scope of Chri­stianity which is onely to shew how miserable thou art by sin▪ The summ and scope of Christi­anity. and how happy thou mayst bee in Christ. When thou art come thus farre, set the looking­glasse of the Law before thee and terrify thy selfe with the vgly deformities and loathsome staines of thy soule through the guilt of sinne, then turne vnto the Gospell and consider how Christ Iesus out of the abun­dance of his loue with which hee loued thee being his ene­my, [Page 52] shed his deerest blood to wash away these staines from thy soule as very a wretch as thou art as well as any mans else.

4. Lastly,Prayer the best armor of a Chri­stian. hauing thy soule attentiuely fixed vpon this, be­take thy selfe to earnest prayer, & with strong cries & groanes improtune the spirit of grace to enlighten the eyes of thy vn­derstanding, that thou maist bee able to comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth, length, and height, and depth, and to know the loue of Christ, which passeth knowledge, Eph. 3. 19. Doe this from thy heart, and continue in it a while with an eager patience, and then I dare bee bold to say that thou shalt feele a strange alteration in thy selfe, then shalt thou feele [...] not one simple commotion in [Page 53] thy soule but an assembly and throng of passions, then shalt thou bee acquainted with those scalding affections to Christ Ie­sus which holy men haue felt in all ages and striued to ex­presse in their soliloquies but could not, yea the greater sinner thou hast beene the more wilt thou with MARIE Luc. 7. lay about thee with teares of sorrow, and teares of ioy, and in a holy kinde of distraction striue to loue much because much is forgiuen thee. Lastly thou wilt plainely see how vil­lanously hitherto thou hast dis­sembled with thy Sauiour, and what a deale of Angelicall cō ­fort thou hast lost by being a stranger vnto him, and hauing once after some cloudy scuds of penitent sadnes recouered the light, thou wilt reioyce as the wise men when they recouered [Page 54] light of the starre with excee­great ioy and follow it through thicke and thinne, through all difficulties and oppositions whatsoeuer til thou shalt come to see him as he is in incompre­hensible splendor amongst in­finite milliōs of glorified Saints and Angels; To whom with the Father and blessed Spirit the three glorious persons and one most infinite Deity bee as­cribed all honour, power, might, maiestie and dominion now and for euer, Amen.

EPHES. 6. V. 24.‘Grace bee with all them that loue our Lord Iesus Christ in sincerity.’

NOr to mispend a­ny good time in a needlesse preface, my text is part of the farewell close of an heauenly Epistle, where­in the composer of it in the so­lemne forme of a benediction wisheth Grace (that is) all those precious mercies and glo­rious benefits which flow from the grace and fauour of God, [Page 2] vnto all such as loue Christ Ie­sus in sincerity. The originall hath [...] in incorrupti­on, as our translatours haue ex­pressed it in the margent, the sense is all one, for to loue Christ in sincerity, is to em­brace him intirely without any rottenesse of heart, without a­ny vnsoundnesse of affections, without any mixture of hypo­crisie. The Greeke Scholiast conceiued the Apostle by the word [...] to haue required not so much the sincerity, as perpetuity of loue vnto Christ in those whom he blesses, and therefore hee expoundeth it by the aduerb [...], v [...]der­standing it not so much of a pure vncorrupt, as of a constant incorruptible loue, which yet alwayes presupposeth the o­ther. I confesse the word may very well sit vnder this inter­pretation, [Page 3] but yet I preferre the former before it, and both a great deale before Beza's (with due reuerence vnto so incomparable a man) who hath turned all quite another way, referring [...] not to loue but to grace, and taking it for [...] ad immortalitatem, as if the sense were to be, Grace bee with all them which loue Christ Iesus, vntill they come or to bring them vnto immor­tality. The construction of the word which our translatours haue made choyce of, hee re­iects because hee could not re­member, that [...] had any where that signification, I con­fesse it's a very rare one, and for that reason I haue insisted vpon it, being perhaps not to bee found in the new Testa­ment, but if any man please to looke in the 2. to Tit. v. 7. hee [Page 4] shall there find the word, and hardly capable of any other cō ­struction. Beza indeed suspe­cting that it crept out of the margent into the text, hath there left it quite out, which I wonder at, seeing himselfe confesses that hee found it in the ancient Greeke Copies, wherefore I suppose with­out any preiudice to the dis­course which I shall build vp­on this scripture I may pro­ceed confidently according to our owne translation especially seeing I know some six more of good note which all read ei­ther in, or with sincerity: In briefe then, the meaning of my text is this, Let the fauour of God & al those blessings which issue from it, rest vpon those who doe not by groundlesse presumptiōs flatter themselues or counterfeit appearance per­swade [Page 5] others that they loue Christ Iesus, but doe in very deed & good earnest loue him with all their hearts, and with all their soules. Or thus, Let the gracious promises of God in Christ be fulfilled vpon them and them onely, who embrace and obey his Gospell with sound and honest hearts, who are true Christians in whom is no guile. For wee must note that as the whole Law of God [...] as the Apostle speakes, is summarily compri­sed in the word Loue, Loue to our neighbour, including all the the dutyes of the second table, and loue to God the duties of both, though more immediatly those of the first, euen so our loue vnto Christ compriseth all the duties, all the respect and homage which wee owe vnto him and his Gospell.

[Page 6] It is not my purpose to dis­member my text by the vnto­ward curiosity of a diuision: I haue not as yet learned that piece of methode. The reasons inducing mee to the choyce of this Scripture arose from a seri­ous consideration of the spiri­tuall estate of these times. Wee liue in an age of most peremp­tory presumption, and we may obserue that our presumption of the end is vpheld by our pre­sumption of the meanes. [...]n this age [...]uery one [...]resumes [...] shall be [...]ued onely [...]ecause he [...]hinkes himselfe to [...]e a Chri­ [...]tian and [...]ne that [...]oues Christ. No man but thinkes hee shall bee saued, and why? because euery man thinkes himselfe to bee a Christian, to bee one that loues Christ, which to speake more rationally is but our presump­tion; for it is no presumption for a man to belieue that hee shall bee saued vnlesse hee bee vnassured of this supposition that hee is a Christian. In a word, whereas there is a two­fold [Page 7] grace of God: his promi­sing and rewarding grace, and then his qualifying or sanctify­ing grace, we presume vpon that because wee presume vpon this, wee make full ac­count of his mercies and pro­mises, because wee make no question of those holy qualifica­tions in our selues which dis­pose vs to belieue in him and to loue him. Now then seeing wee all suppose that the euer­lasting fauours of God doe most vnfallibly appertaine vnto all and none but such as loue Christ Iesus, 2. that our selues are all such, the first supposall beeing cleere out of my text, all our care must bee for the second, to see that we are not mistaken in our account of our selues. The triall of all, lies in this sin­cerity, whether we are indeed those men in respect of Christ [Page 8] which wee verily thinke our selues to bee. That therefore I may acquaint you both with the necessity and methode of this triall, that I might shew you both what need wee haue to examine the sincerity of our loue vnto Christ and Christia­nity, and after what manner we ought to goe about, that if it may please the opener and tur­ner of hearts to effect any thing by so contemptible an instru­ment, I may awake some one out of that pleasant, but deadly slumber which possesseth thou­sands in this land, and cause him to looke better to his stand­ing. The diuisi­on is into three most considera­ble points of our loue vnto Christ. I haue resolued by the assi­stance of the spirit at seuerall opportunities to discourse vnto you of three generall heads, or most considerable points in our loue vnto Christ; 1. the ground or foundation of our loue vnto [Page 9] Christ; the reasons wherefore wee are Christians. 2. the de­gree or intention of our loue vnto Christ; how much wee ought to loue him, or in what pitch of resolution to resigne our selues vnto him. 3. the effects and operations of our loue vnto him, or the speciall fruites of our sincerity. In my discourse of the ground of our loue vnto Christ I haue propo­sed vnto my selfe this methode 1. I will discouer two decei­uable insufficiēt grounds which at this day betray thousands vn­to perdition, causing them to fall short of those glorious hopes which were built vpon them. 2. I will lay open the true ground & proper originall from whence all sincere affe­ction vnto Christ ariseth. The first of those deceiuable groūds, is custome, the discouering of [Page 10] which will take vp as much time as your patience will bee willing to allow me at once.

The fall of man hath not so farre worne out of his heart the impressions of a Deity, and the engrafted notions of religion, but that we all bring into the world with vs those restlesse instincts, and importunate im­pulsions which will not suffer vs to bee at quiet vntill we are initiated into some Religion or other, The Ancient Epicures though it were the scope of their damned profession to bee altogether irreligious, and the most contenting perfectiō they could proiect vnto themselues, yet as wee may perceiue by such writings as they haue left vs they could neuer fully at­taine vnto it,The very E­picures felt often the gripes of conscience. but in spight of their affected Atheisme they were forced to betray many [Page 11] shrewd grudgings and terrible gripes of naturall conscience. And though in the deniall of diuine prouidence vpon the supposall of which depends all religion, they put a good face vpon it, and seeme to laugh at the matter, yet wee may per­ceiue they were still gawled with that formido oppositi and by those engraued principles were euer and anon stung to reall feare of that truth which they would faine haue mocked out of the world either as an ancient inuention of policy to keepe men in awe, or as an in­ueterate slauery of vulgar igno­rance. The same inbred seedes of religion by which it pleaseth God to force a manifestation of himselfe euen vpon those who would faine haue no notice of him, and in the most reprobate mindes to make Atheisme ra­ther [Page 12] a wish then an opinion, af­ter so many successions of ages are no whit decayed, but con­tinue still as stirring and actiue in the hearts of men as euer they were since they receiued that vnhappy crush by the first transgression. For the Creator of all things as the Psalmist tells vs Psal. 33. 15. fashioneth the hearts of all men alike, the word is [...], which signifyes together at once, intimating that the hearts of all men though separated from one ano­ther by neuer so vast a gulfe of time or place,The neces­sity of a Religion. are as exactly a­like in respect of their origi­nall inclinations, as if they had beene all moulded at the same time.According to the cu­stom of the country so is our wor­ship. The worship of a God then, some kinde of religion is necessary vnto vs, wee cannot shift it of: but now the propen­sions of nature being blind and [Page 13] confused, and there being a va­rious multiplicity of religions in the world, here ordinarily step in the lawes and customes of the countrey, into which the wombe of nature first empties vs, which shape our generall inclinations either to worship the true God, or this or that I­doll, and the true God after this or that manner. Looke a­broad into the world and ob­serue the swarmes of diuers & contrary religions which ei­ther fill places apart by them­selues or are promiseuously ex­ercised amongst one another, & you shall perceiue them to bee nothing but the naturall in­stincts of religion in generall, specificated into diuerse formes and fashions by birth and edu­cation. For albeit there may bee many occasions of, and dif­ficulties in the first bringing in [Page 14] of a religion into a countrey, yet after it hath once by coun­tenance from supreme autho­ritie and other plausibilities in­sinuated it selfe into the acce­ptance and approbation of the multitude, it thenceforth be­comes [...] to vse St Peters word, and with an ea­sie descent runnes downe the streame of succession, being deliuered from Father to Son as naturally, as the proper lan­guage, manner of diet, fashion of apparell, or any other cu­stomes of the countrey.

Now amongst so many reli­gions as in severall parts of the world are by custome convey­ed and passed from one to ano­ther wee suppose there is but one which wee may dare to trust for our happinesse,There is but one true religi­on by the which true happinesse is attained. but one that can certainely doe our soules that good which most of [Page 15] them would seem to promise.What true Religion is. Neither will wee seeme to doubt but that this one sauing religion is that which consists in the knowledge of the only true God, and whom hee hath sent Iesus Christ, and there­fore we will all seeme to bee much in loue with this heavē ­ly profession before any other whatsoeuer. If then wee will be sure not to cosen our selues in these perswasions, not to o­ver-reckon our selues in our loue vnto Christ and his Go­spell, here is a maine businesse for vs, punctually to enquire how we came by this loue and liking vnto Christ, vpon what motiue wee haue preferred this profession of Christ be­fore such a multitude of Reli­gions in the world.The mo­tiues or rea­sons of our embracing of Christia­nity before all other Religions. You know that no art or invention can force waters to mount aboue [Page 16] their spring head: in like manner, it's impossible that our affections vnto Christ should be more elevated, more heauenly and spirituall then the originall from whence they streame. If then being put to it by our selues or others we can think of no better rea­sons for our choice of Christia­nity then such as these because we had the fortune to be born in a place where Christ onely was talked of, because we haue heard Turkes, Iewes, and Pa­pists much spoken against, and were ever told that this is the best religion, because the King and Lawes haue banished all other Sects, and haue establish­ed this profession of Christ which we haue alwaies beene brought vp in, and could never see any harme in it, if such sot­tish, senslesse stuffe bee the best [Page 17] defence wee can make for our selues, it appeares too plainely that our religiō is nothing but those common reliques of na­turall instincts which I spoke of before▪ christned, as it were by humane lawes & customes, and that we are Christians up­on no waightier inducements, then wee might haue beene Pagans or Idolaters. I tremble to speak it; if an Indian should bee demanded why hee wor­shipped the Divell, changing only the circumstances hee might giue as sufficient rea­sons as these for his most feare­full and horrible Idolatry. But this example though it might square but too well to my pur­pose is too odious to be insisted vpon. Aske a common Iew why he blaspheames our bles­sed Saviour, why hee expects another Messias, a Turke why [Page 18] he is circumcised, why he is so devoted to Mahomet, they wil both in effect giue the ve­ry same reasons of their blas­pheamies and superstitions, which a common ignorant Christian will giue why hee is rather a Christian then a Iew or a Turke, justifie their dam­ned hatred and detestation of Christ, by the same arguments, which cause him to professe speciall loue and service vnto him. Nay you will say there is no Christian so barbarously ignorant but he may say more for himselfe then any of those vnbeleeuing misereants can, he hath heard the holy Scrip­tures read, beene made parta­kers of the blessed Sacraments he hopes to haue his sinnes for­giuen him by Christ, & though hee bee not able to proue it by formall argumentation, hee [Page 19] knowes well enough that Turkes and all such as speake against Christ are accursed in­fidells. I thinke indeed there are not many Christians but may say so much and perhaps more, by wrote, and taking it vp vpon trust, but this is quite besides the purpose. For I doe not now question the Christi­an in the duties or opinions of his religion, but I cal vpon him for his speciall reasons which cause him to performe those duties, or embrace those opi­nions. He hath beene partaker of the blessed Sacraments, but what better reason can hee giue why these Sacraments can doe his soule good: then a Turke may, why his circum­cision should be beneficial vn­to him; hee hath heard the Scriptures read and expoun­ded, but what better reason [Page 20] can he giue, why he supposeth the Scriptures to be the word of God, then the Turke will, why he is so confident that the Alcoran came downe imme­diatly from heaven, in that laylatto-Hanz [...]li, [...] as they call it, the night of demission; Last­ly, he stifly conceits himselfe to be one of the only true faith and all Turkes to be abhorred infidels, but what peculiar e­vidences hath hee that the Turkes are mistaken and not himselfe, seeing they are as cō ­fident on the other side that Christians are Cafirouna, [...] Infi­dels, as they tearme vs, & that themselues are the onely Mo­slimina or Musulmans (that is) right beleeuers? [...] If then the Christians being pressed with these demands can pro­duce nothing from any super­naturall alteration which hee [Page 21] hath felt wrought in himselfe, if he be not able from spiritu­all selfe experience of that cutting convincing power of the Scriptures, and of those admirable vertues & comfor­table influences of the Sacra­ments, if he be yet altogether vnacquainted with those caele­stiall flashes, irradiations and inward testimonies of the spi­rit, which vse to put all these things out of questiō in soules truly Christianiz'd. Lastly', if for want of better Apologie he be forced to retire to those poore, dishonourable, imperti­nent, To plead custome & law of the countrey is rather an excuse then a reason of ones religi­on. rather excuses then rea­sons of his religion, taken form the lawes and customes of his countrey, it is too too manifest that hee adheres vnto Christ vpon no better motiue then others blaspheame and perse­cute him, and even spit at the motion of his name.

[Page 22] But here some may put in;Obiect: howsoever such a Christian may be out-braved, yet that which he saies and thinkes is true: he is in the right though he cannot demonstrate like a Scholler how he came to it, & therefore hee is sure howsoe­ver men may prate, to speed well enough.

No such matter,Answere. it is a very disputable case, whether such a one as liues and dies a Chri­stian vpon custome, or a Turke be in the grosser error. This may seeme very harsh,Little diffe­rence be­twixt a Christian & a Turke, if the for­mer be so only vpon custome. but you may easily espie the truth of it if you please to remember, that both the assent of our vn­derstandings, and choice of our wills may bee misguided into errour two waies: either by assenting vnto, and approving that as true and good which in [Page 23] it selfe is false and evill, or by assenting vnto, or appro­ [...]ing that which is both true and good in it selfe, vpon weake, incoherent, insu­fficient inducementes, I can­not stand to comment vpon this distinction, and it is so tri­viall that I conceaue it need not much to bee exemplified. Applied vnto my purpose it cleerely shewes the ignorant Christian not to bee a whit more in the right then the Turk▪ The obiect of his assent and loue is most right absolut­ly in it selfe because it is not an object vnto him for that truth and goodnesse by which it's distinguished from all o­ther objects, but for those cō ­mon corrupt grounds, which abstractly considered, equally encline the soule to any ob­ject, as well to the grossest er­rors [Page 24] as the purest truth, to the extreamest evil, as to the chie­fest good. So that this compa­rison is like to light most hea­vily vpon the Christian, seeing the goodnesse of the object will not excuse or justifie, but rather shame and condemne him, who professing much loue vnto it, passeth by that which alone was louely in it. For the present indeed the Christians case is infinitely the better,The Chri­stians case is the bet­ter, only by reason of the oppor­tunities of correcting his errour. because hee may with more ease correct his errour, and hath all requisite opportu­nities to that purpose, but if he neglect to doe it hereafter, the Turke will get the better of him, whē at the day of judge­ment, he that hath died such a Christian, will bee glad to change places with him. In the meane time, there is not any difference in their errors [Page 25] discernable to reason, for this is certaine, that diversity of objects cannot put any diffe­rence in the assents, where the grounds are exactly the same, yea if some of the acutest mo­derne disputers haue rightly determined, that the assent vnto the premises, and the cō ­clusion is but one and the same assent, being originally to those, and terminatiuely to this, I can scarce allow the difference to be so great. For then it skills not how false or true the conclusiō be absolut­ly in it selfe, but how strong­ly or weakly it's inferred out of it's premises, and there­fore though one conclude an infallible truth, and another a monstrous falshood out of the same faulty premises, the er­rour of both is the same, if they assent vnto their conclusions [Page 26] vpon no other medium then this insufficiēt one,The igno­rant Chri­stians assent vnto the Gospell, & the Turkes to the Al­coran, pro­ceed both vpon the same grounds. vpō which they both agree. For example, the principle vpon which the ignorant Christians assent vn­to the Gospell stands, is this: That Religion which my Pa­rents haue taught mee, my So­veraigne commanded me, and the common cry of my coun­try approued is surely the best. The Turke changing only the appropriating circumstances, supposeth likewise, that reli­gion which his Sul [...]an, Parents and Countrey men haue com­mended vnto him to bee que­stionlesse the best. Both then proceed vpon the same medi­um, and therefore though by the intervention of other casu­alties, the Turke bee cast vpon execrable blasphemies & im­pieties, and the Christian vpon heavenly and holy truths, their [Page 27] error is directly the same, though more fortunate in one then in the other. And how­soever such a Christiā hath his assent & imaginary loue by lot of his birth and education, ac­tually fixed vpon sauing truths yet vntil he bethinke himselfe of more proper and solid rea­sons for his choice, he retaines still in his breast habitually and implicitly the seeds of all those hellish impostures, which by other men, in other places, haue beene entertained and swallowed vpon the same oc­casions. Suppose a Christian, who can make no better de­fence for his profession then such a one as I haue laboured to make him ashamed of, im­mediatly after his birth in England had beene conveyed into Turkie, and there insteed of Baptisme circumcised after [Page 28] the Turkish manner, and there so cunningly trained vp in the Turkish superstition, that hee had no occasion giuen him to suspect himselfe not to haue beene borne a Turke: no quest­ion but he would haue bene as zealous there for the rascall Mahomet: as now being bred in England, he is for the blessed Lord of the world. And no marvel, for the very same occurrences which haue made him a christiā here, must needs haue made him a Mahometan at Constantinople, seeing that whatsoeuer arguments drawn from lawes, customes, birth, e­ducatiō, pleade here for Christ would there perswade as effe­ctually for Mahomet, Neither speake I this as if this would argue any notorious imperfe­ction in the man: for doubtles this would be any mans case: [Page 29] Suppose any of those renow­ned Champions of Christ whō Queene Mary sent to heauen in fiery Chariots, had beene nursed and brought vp amōgst the Saracens, vnlesse God had vouchsafed them a miracle for their conversion, we cannot i­magine but they would haue beene Saracens. Suppose the deuoutest Saint of God at this day breathing had beene trai­ned vp at the feet of some Iewish Rabbin if we looke no higher then ordinary meanes, we must needs conceaue that with the hellish mallice of a Iew he would haue defied that blessed Sauiour of his, whom now he worships day & night. I mentioned not that there­fore to shew the weakenesse of the person, but of such rea­sons of his Christianity, as chan­ging only the scene of his nati­vity [Page 30] and education, might haue made him hotter against it thē now he is for it. So that the on­ly fundamentall reason why such a Christian is rather a Christian then a Iew, Turk, or Idolater, is because Christiani­ty bespoke him as soone as hee came into the world, and per­mitted not those madde super­stitions either to speake with him at all or not till it selfe had prevented them and gotten possessiō. For we may obserue that albeit generally in the world errour keepes truth out of the soules of men by anti­cipation, A formall Christian is a Christian by educatiō only, & the custome of his country damming vp all the passages by which shee should enter with base preconceipts and odious prejudices, yet in some corners where divine providence hath been pleased to allow truth an authorised, setled residency, it gets the [Page 31] start of errour, and prevailes as much by prepossession here as errour doth in other places, beating that away with the same clamours and out-cries by which it selfe is elsewhere baffled. But this to speake more punctually is not a fight betweene truth and errour though by the vndiscerning vulgar it be mistaken for it, but a kinde of blindfold combate betweene prejudice and pre­judice, or of custome against custome. For in these cases though truth blocke vp errors way, and so keepe that from stealing into the soule, yet doth not she presently enter in her selfe, but stands, as it were, be­fore the dore displaying her resplendent rarities and admi­rable perfections, and if for their sakes alone shee bee not earnestly invited to come in [Page 32] and importun'd to take vp her lodging there, she vouchsafeth not to enter but at last flings a­way in disdain. Men may ima­gine shee is gone in because they cannot heare or see here­sie or superstition stirring with in, but for certaine sauing truth never presseth into any soule vpon the bare advātage of be­ing the first commer, but for her owne singular worth shee lookes to be wooed, importu­ned, and with some violence haled in, as the blessedst guest that could possibly haue come first or last.

But here may some demand, if the summe of all this that hath beene spoken bee true, to wit,The bene­fit of our birth and education amongst Christians. That our loue vnto Christ and his Gospell be not gotten by our birth and education a­mongst Christians, what bene­fit is it to bee borne within the [Page 33] visible Church? What prero­gatiue to bee bred in the light of the Gospell? I answere, that it's an advantage of inesti­mable value, for which we all owe more thanks and praises vnto the Lord then our shal­low braines and narrow hearts can possibly conceaue. But we must wisely consider the pro­per end and vse for which it hath pleased the Father of lights to afford vs this blessed priviledge, which is not that it should bee a cause, but a meanes, not a ground but an occasion of our loue vnto his beloued Sonne. In our commō friendship we can easily distin­guish betweene the contin­gent occasions of our acquain­tance with a man, and the im­mediate reasons of our affecti­onate loue vnto him: those are accidentally offered frō with­out, [Page 34] these are some speciall ex­cellencies apprehended by vs to bee inherent in the person we affect, those are but meanes to bring vs to the knowledge of these. Even so in our spiri­tuall loue vnto Christ Iesus blessed for ever, the Lord hath gratiously planted vs within the sound of the Gospell, gi­ven vs education in Christian rites and fashions, and provi­ded vs the testimony of the Church to tell vs that there is such a Saviour come into the world, and to bring vs joyfull newes what vnvaluable trea­sures of mercy and glory hee hath brought with him to en­rich all such as shall come vn­to him, pinched with the sense of their spirituall poverty; Those are the meanes appoin­ted to giue vs notice of these, but these onely must bee the [Page 35] grounds of our affection vnto him.

To conclude this discourse, albeit our loue vnto Christ be gotten by our naturall birth & education, be nothing worth in it selfe, yet is it the ordinary rode which leades vs to the sight and sense of those tran­scendent perfections in him which will ravish vs with a more transcēdent loue of him: Happy are we if that base vul­gar loue be in time swallow­ed vp in a loue more celestiall and divine, if that which can doe our soules no good while we rest vpon it become a ma­nuduction vnto that which will certainely make vs bles­sed. Had not the Samaritans beleeued at first vpon an in­sufficient ground, the alarum of the woman, they had not come to beleeue vpō the true, [Page 36] their owne knowledge & ex­perience. Had not the faithful soule, which is now most sicke of a spirituall loue vnto her Sa­viour, first loued him vpon heare-say and custome, she had never felt, in all probability, those heavenly trances and vn­vtterable ravishments with which now she is transported. All that loue which wee pro­fesse vnto Christ betweene our first birth, and the first pangs of the second, is a loue arising on­ly from nature and custome, & is tolerable in vs while wee are children, being not so pro­perly an errour as an introdu­ction vnto truth: I say it's a hopefull preparation in chil­dren which are not yet come to that ripenesse of their natu­rall faculties that the ordinary means of grace, the preaching of the Gospell, may worke vp­on [Page 37] on them. But after they haue attained to maturity of reason and should beginne to haue [...], as the A­postle speakes, their senses ex­ercised to discerne betweene good and evill, if they proceed still in such childish conceits of Christ Iesus, & drowsie af­fections vnto him, as they suc­ked from their nurses breasts, their loue beginnes now to be grossely sinfull, and whensoe­ver it shall please the Lord to thunder them out of that sleep of death, wherein now they enjoy some cōtenting dreames they must penitently bewaile it amongst the other sinnes of their vnregeneracy.

I haue done with my dis­covery of the false ground of loue vnto Christ, by naturall instincts of religion, restrained to Christianity by birth and e­ducation. [Page 38] Before I proceed to an application of this discourse, I will insist vpon some oppo­site places of holy Scripture, which will adde both light & strength vnto the precedent discourse, and I hope prepare your hearts to the ensuing ap­plication. And first wee haue an excellent place, Cant. 5. v. 9 where the Spouse, that is the faithfull soule hath this inter­rogatory doubled vnto her, what is thy beloued more then a beloued; [...] mah­dodek middod, what is thy belo­ved more then a beloued, that is, what transcendencies, what singularities of alluring perfe­ctions, are so peculiarly remar­kable in that Saviour of them, on whom thou art so strangely enamoured, as if there were nothing louely besides him? But what hath the soule no­thing [Page 39] now to commend in her Saviour, but what might bee paraleld in some other? Yea, from that verse to the end of the Chapter, shee runnes on in a description of his rarities; a description so stuffed with the choicest delicacies of ex­pression, that I am perswaded it cannot be matched out of a­ny of those Poets which haue flowen highest in amorous in­ventions; I cannot stand to vnfold them vnto you: that which makes most to my pur­pose in it, is the superlatiue preeminence which shee giues him, v. 10. Hee is the chiefest, or as it is more ele­gantly in the originall, Hee is an ensigne bearer amongst ten thousand, for so the word [...] Dagull, properly signifies, v. 16. He is altogether louely; [...] cullo macha­maddim, [Page 40] he is all entire, he is all composed of loues, wherevpō she cōcludes with a triūphant Epiphonema, This is my belo­ved, and this is my friend, ô yee daughters of Ierusalem. Phil. 1. v. 9. 10. A se­cond memorable place is Phil. 1. v. 9. 10. S. Paul speakes thus, And this I pray that your loue, (to wit, to Christ and his Gospell) may abound yet more and more in knowledge, and in all iudgement, that you may ap­proue things that are excellent. that yee may bee syncere and without offence, till the day of Christ. The Apostle praying for the confirmation of their loue vnto the Gospell, and as an especiall meanes of that he praies, they may abound in all judgement, by which they may bee able vpon good grounds to approue the reall excellencies of truth before [Page 41] the plausibilities of errour, that so they may be syncere in their loue vnto it, to which purpose also he praies for the Ephesians, that they may bee rooted and grounded in loue, Ephes. 3. 17. A third couside­rable place is,1. Cor. 12. 3. 1. Cor. 12. 3. Wherefore I giue you to vn­derstand, that no man speaking by the spirit of God calleth Je­sus accursed: and that no man can say that Iesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost, that is, no man can with the fiduciall assent of his heart, acknow­ledge Christ to bee the only Lord, which he is to worship by the same impulsions, by which another curses and blas­pheames him, but by such pe­culiar motiues as are suggested and revealed vnto him by the Holy Ghost.

There is no man in this as­sembly [Page 42] but would thinke it very strange, if one should tell him seriously, he could not say, no not so much as thinke, that Iesus is the Lord. But if hee thinke and say him to be A­nathema, his saying will doe him no good, though he make it his only worke to reveale it as long as hee liues. The last place shall bee that eminent one in S. Peter, 1. 3. 15. But sanctify the Lord in your hearts, and bee ready alwaies to giue an answere to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, What rea­son? Such a one as may bee re­torted by those who question vs? Such a one as may perhaps make more against vs then for vs? Such a generall one as might bee giuen for any pre­sumption in the world? No▪ a reason from a cleere distinct [Page 43] knowledge of the peculiar grounds, and experimentall sense of those encouraging foretasts of our incorruptible hopes by the Gospell: which though it cannot convince such Hereticks and Infidells as examine vs, because the God of this world hath closed their eyes, yet it may streng­then vs to possesse our soules in patience, and to hold fast our confidence which hath such great recompences of reward in spight of all the terrours of Men or Divels.

Ʋse. 1. Vse 1. Is to examine your selues vvhether ye be come out of this customary loue vnto Christ, in­to a spiritu­all, or no. To admonish eve­ry man here present with all speed and diligence to com­mune with his owne heart, & to examine whether he bee as yet come out of his customary loue vnto Christ into a spiritu­all, or no. Beloued, we are all confident that we loue Christ [Page 44] Iesus, and if one should in ear­nest tell vs wee did not loue him, we should take it as ill, and interpret it as if he told vs wee were damned. Seeing then all our glorious hopes of a better life are built vpon this supposition: that wee are the true disciples of Christ, as wee would not be called to after-reckonings at that so­lemne day of accounts, or haue a flaw found in our evidence, which should eternally dash our expectation, even then when wee should take posses­sion, as wee would not haue our hopes to vanish in amaze­ment, and confusion at that terrible day, when it shall bee too late to recall or rectify a­ny thing which hath beene formerly amisse, as wee would not haue our confident con­ceipts of Christs loue vnto vs, [Page 45] and ours vnto him giue vs the s [...]ippe at the houre of death, when wee should haue most vse of them, and leaue vs to a fearefull expectation of judgement. Let vs, I say, if wee haue any regard of sense of these things deale ingenu­ously with our owne soules, and impartially examine what better ground wee haue for that supposition which vp­holds all our well fare, then such as I haue demonstrated to bee miserably insufficient. Christians we are all by edu­cation, by country & custome, by conformity vnto lawes and fashions: but is this all? haue wee proceeded no farther? why this will advantage vs no more for heauen then that wee are Englishmen. All this is but the outside of Christia­nity. Christianity thrust vpon [Page 46] vs by our naturall birth before wee were aware of it, and set­led on faster by custome, and as it were rivited in while we perhaps never thought of it. What saith the Apostle 2. Romans, 28. Hee is not a Iew which is one [...] in that which appeares outwardly. What not he a Iew which is borne and bred a Iew? yea hee is a Iew in all outward visible respects whatsoever. But all these will giue him no title to those e­verlasting promises which are made vnto Abraham and his seed according to the faith. He is no Iew in respect of them. In like manner he is no Chri­stian, who is but outwardly one: who slides insensibly to himselfe into the visible garbe of Christianity; by naturall generation. He only is a Iew, who is one [...] in the [Page 47] secrets of his heart, and he on­ly is a Christian, who hath bin made one by a second birth of his soule, invisible to others; but admirably sensible vnto himselfe, being borne not of bloud, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, as S. Iohn fully ex­presseth it, c. 1. v. 13 Well thē, if thou wouldst not be mista­ken in thy selfe, if thou wouldst be ascertained whi­ther or no thou lou'st Christia­nity vpon any other motiues then such as nature and cu­stome may suggest. First of all looke backe vpon the estate of thy soule ever since thou hast beene able to rememeber. Re­flecting thus vpon so much of thy life as is gone, canst thou not remember a time where­in thy selfe being judge, thou didst but dissemble with thy [Page 48] Saviour, when thou thoughtst of him but very seldome, and then but perfunctorily, with­out any heat of affections, when thou tookest not much to heart any thing hee hath done for thee, when thou tookest no conscionable care to liue vnto him, because hee had died for thee. Reflecting thus vpon thee time past, canst thou not discerne but that thy loue vnto Christ hath beene spun out in an even thread even from the cradle vntill now, but that the pulse of thy affections vnto him hath al­waies beaten much after the same manner, without any no­table variation. In a word can'st thou not remember but that thou hast loued him al­waies as well, if not better, then thou hast in the latter time of thy life past. I say if [Page 49] the case be thus with thee, its a thousand to one but thou lo­uest him only vpon that decei­vable ground which I haue la­boured to discover.

To direct a little farther in this examination. Suppose the winde which now sits in thy backe, and kindly blowes thee on towards Christ, should turne vpon a sudden and furi­ously bluster in thy face. Sup­pose those lawes and customes which hitherto haue encoura­ged thee to proceed in Chri­stianity, The backe sliding of others can­not seduce the sound Christian. should command thee backe againe, and tell thee they were mistaken: suppose all the men thou knowest or hearest of, should change the fashion of their religion, and leaue thee as much alone, as Elias once thought himselfe to haue beene: and holy A­thanasius was when hee held [Page 50] vp against a world of Arrians; I say if the [...] that speciall excellency of the knowledge of Christ, which made S. Paul to count all things dung, that hee might winne Christ, hath not furni­shed thee with vnanswerable reasons, why these supposalls should not pull thee backe, its a plaine case, that only the op­posite encouragements set thee forward. To bee briefe, art thou not sure that thou hast such speciall peculiar reasons for thy religion as could not haue suffered it, much lesse haue caused thee vpon any supposalls to haue beene of any other. Hast thou not with an inlightned vnderstanding e­spied in Christ Iesus those vn paralel'd transcendencies which put an insinitely vast difference betweene him and [Page 51] those many Antichrists in the world. Lastly, hast thou not at some time or other, in some measure had thy conscience convicted of sinne, revived with such gracious influences distilling from his louely coūtenance, and refreshed with such words of eternall life from him, as thou knowest (goe whether thou wilt) cannot be expected from any one else. If thy heart answere no to these interrogatories, as­sure thy selfe thou knowest not yet what this meanes to loue Christ, I should but flat­ter thee to tell thee thou art a Christian, yea I should in some sort mocke thee, by giuing thee a glorious title, which if thou continue as thou art, will no way benefit thee, yea it will not only keepe thee out of heaven, but sinke thee dee­per [Page 52] into Hell. Giue glory vn­to God that thou liuest in a time and place where thou hast all encouragements, op­portunities, invitations to bee more entirely acquainted with thy Saviour, and to grow as intimate with him, as any man else, but for the present be content to consider that thy loue of him hitherto hath bin built vpon a rotten foundati­on; giue no rest vnto thy selfe, vntill thou hast learned to loue thy Saviour vpon such induce­ments as he would haue thee, even because hee hath loued thee. Giue not over importun­ing the spirit of grace to direct thy heart into the loue of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ, as the Apostle di­vinely prayes for the Thess. 2. Ep. 3. 5. Giue not over I say, vntill thou hast attained vnto [Page 53] all riches of the full assurance of vnderstanding to the acknow­ledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, as the same Apostle sweetly prayes for the Colos­sians 2. 2.

Vse 2. Let me bespeake all such,Vse 2. th [...] those that are made partakers of the hea­venly cal­ling take two things to heart. as by the tender mercies of God melting their hearts, haue beene made partakers of the heauenly calling, and be­gotten againe vnto a liuely hope, let me I say, if there be, any consolation in Christ,1. The in­finite disho­nour that is done vn­to Christ by the cu­stomary profession of his glo­rious name and Gos­pell. if a­ny fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, let me beseech them to take two things deepely to heart. First, the infinite dishonour which is done vnto Christ, the author and finisher of our faith by the customary profession of his glorious name and Gospell in this kingdome. It's aboue [Page 54] three score yeares since the Saviour of the world hath vouchsafed after a most espe­ciall manner to reside amongst vs early and late, to call and cry vnto vs, to take notice what need we haue of him, to bethinke our selues of our infi­nite wants, which none but hee can suppl, counselling vs as he did the Church of Lao­dicea to buy of him gold tried in the fire that wee may bee rich, and white raiment that our nakednesse might not ap­peare an eye salue, that now in this our daies wee might see those things which belong vnto our peace, and all this without mony: now that after all this there should be thou­sands amongst vs, who being asked a reason of the hope that is in them, cannot speake to­lerable sense why they are [Page 55] Christians rather then profes­sed Infidels; that there should be whole parishes which can­not afford one wise word to­ward the defence of our most holy profession, that many who will take it very ill, if they are not accounted as good Christians as the best, should thinke no otherwise of Christ, then some doe of S. Patricke, and S. David, and other of the Saints of their country. Lastly, that those great and pretious promises which Christ hath purchased for vs, with the vn­valuable price of his owne dearest blood, by those who one day thinke to haue their share in them, that they set as slothfull, ignorant, heartles affections vpon them, as pro­fessed infidells doe vpon those poore imaginary, deluding hopes which Satan is permit­ted [Page 56] to abuse them with, que­stionlesse it becomes not any man, who hath resolued the rest of his time in the flesh, to seeke the things of Christ Ie­sus, and hath felt in his owne soule what good reason hee hath for it, I say it becomes not any such to thinke of these things which grate so merci­lesly vpon his Saviours wounds, and even make them bleed a fresh, without sighs and groanes, a bleeding heart, and a great deale of secret mourning. Betweene the mil­lions of men who hate the re­deemer of the world, and the multitude which loue him they know not wherefore,2 To com­miserate the lamen­table con­dition of their poore ignorant [...]ethren. O how few are there which loue him in syncerity! The second thing which I would intreat of those who vnderstand what a wofull thing it is to bee a [Page 57] stranger vnto Christ, to be yet vnreconciled vnto God by him, is that they would with yerning bowels commiserate the lamentable condition of their poore ignorant brethren which they shall meet with every where, especially in most country Villages.

I haue obserued vpon oc­casions much table merriment which hath beene made by tales which passe about of such absurd, senselesse answers as silly Christians haue given, be­ing demanded a reason of their faith, perhaps vpon their death-beds or at their com­ming to the Lords table. Let such vnnaturall mirth be farre from those who are to striue to haue the same minde in them, which was in Christ Iesus. You, who by the blessed change wrought in your [Page 58] soules, haue passed from death vnto life, consider with a thankefull reflexion vpon the Father of lights, that had not he vouchsafed you a more in­genuous education, fairer op­portunities to grow acquain­ted with the mysteries of grace, more distinct call of his fanctifying spirit, and more illuminated apprehensions to discerne them, you might haue groped and stumbled in a thicker mist of stupidity then now befooles your vnnurturd brethren, you might haue dis­honoured that blessed name by which you are called, by as wild misco [...]its and horrid follies, as any come from them, and whatsoever is ridi­culous in them might haue bin more prodigoius in you, you know what price to set vpon your owne soules. You know [Page 59] the soule of the meanest idiot is of equall value with yours, and that it cost the redeemer of the World as many stripes and wounds as yours, O then pitty thy brethren so likely to perish, for whom Christ died, yea the rather, because they being stuffed with sottish con­ceipts, will be ready to laugh at those who shall pitty them: Take all opportunities to doe them some spirituall good as occasion shall be offered, con­ferring with them and pray­ing for them: and let Christian sympathies bee the least you can afford them; you know what you meane, when you pray daily that Gods king­dome may come; remember, you pray not in earnest, vn­lesse you doe your faithfull en­denuour to helpe it forward, as in your owne hearts, so in the [Page 60] hearts of your brethren, with which at any time you converse. Consider I beseech you, what, a dismall fogge of Popery doth yet darken this Iland, Popery which few thinkes of, I meane that blind absurd implicite faith of be­leeuing, as the Church be­leeues. For there is not a pin to choose betweene him that beleeues in grosse, what the Church of England beleeues, and him that beleeues as that synagogue of Satan the Church of Rome beleeues, it neither knowes any thing ex­plicitly, what either Church beleeues. Meditate on this, and what zeale, what conrage, what indignation you feele in your breasts against the Anti­christian impostures of Rome, let them fly I beseech you vp­on all occasions, against this [Page 61] Protestant Popery. But I see no hope but that the Colliars faith will haue the greatest number of professors, whilst accurate Catechizing of all sorts of people, which did so much good in the primitiue Church, is in ours so general­ly neglected. But I conclude, bespeaking you in the words of S. Iude, But yee beloued, building vp your selues on your most holy faith, praying in the holy Ghost. Keepe your selues in the loue of God, looking for the mercies of our Lord Iesus Christ vnto eternall life. And of some haue compassion making a difference. And others saue with feare, pulling them out of the fire: hating even the gar­ment spotted by the flesh.

O thou father of mercies and God of all consolations, looke downe from thy throne [Page 62] of eternity, and take notice of vs thy poore servants, who doe now desire to muster vp all the faculties which thou hast given vs, and to employ thē in an acceptable thankes­giuing vnto thee. O Lord wee desire to spend our best spirits even to exhale our dearest soules in thankefull ejaculati­ons vnto thee, for that most incomprehensibly admirable contrivance of our salvation, by the death of the sonne of thy loue: O Lord we desire to be transported with a holy a­mazement, as often as wee thinke of this mystery of my­steries, and even to empty our hearts of their secrets in hal­leluiahs, and voices of exulta­tion. Most holy Lord, wee praise thee, for the marvelous light of thy Gospell, which hath acquainsed vs with those [Page 63] wonders of mercy, which thy Christ hath performed for our soules, for those comfortable evidences of our justification by him, with which our brui­sed consciences haue beene most gratiously revived. Wee praise thee likewise for those wounders of a new creation which thy blessed spirit hath begunne in our hearts, for that it hath begunne to weaken and wast the body of sinne, to crucify those corruptiōs which heretofore hath beene most insolent in vs, to weane vs frō those vanities, which hereto­fore haue beene our chiefe comforts, and to make vs more willing to bee kept within a holy compasse. O Lord we de­sire, wee desire with most en­larged hearts, to blesse thy in­finite goodnesse, for all those ravishing irradiations and glo­rious [Page 64] Prefaces of our blessed immortality, by which thy cō ­forting spirit hath so often en­couraged vs to patient conti­nuance in well doing. Wee blesse thee for all the heavenly thoughts, affections, desires, & resolutions which thou hast put into vs at any time, wee praise thee for that portiou of thy good word which thou hast afforded vs at this time, O thou that delightest to pardon abundantly, pardon all the er­rours & imperfections which haue come either from me in delivering, or any of thy peo­ple in entertaining thy mes­sage. Let it not bee a savour of death vnto death, vnto any mā who hath beene within the sound of it, but let it some way or other bee beneficiall vnto him in respect of thy king­dome. And now oh thou that [Page 65] dwellest in vnapprochable splendor, quite out of the ken of mortality, seeing thou hast suffered dust and ashes to ap­proch so neere to thee in thy ordinances, dismisse not any one of vs, wee beseech thee, without a blessing, send not a­ny one of vs without a com­fortable beame of thy counte­nance shining into his heart; Thou art the fountaine of ho­linesse, send vs not therefore out of thy presence without some more cleerenesse in our apprehensions of thy saving mysteries, and heavenlinesse in our affections vnto them. Send vs not from thy throne of grace but with a heavenly calme in our soules, or with such tempests of repentance as may prepare vs for an everla­sting serenity, O Lord send vs not away but either with that [Page 66] joy which passeth all vnder­standing, or that godly sorrow which may prepare vs for it. To thee O Father with thy be­loued Sonne and blessed Spirit, three most glorious Persons, & one infinite Deity, be ascribed all Honour, Power, Praise, Might, Majestie, and Domini­on, by vs poore sinners here militant on earth, and all the glorified companies trium­phant in Heaven, from this time forth for evermore. Amen, Amen.


THE TRIALL OF our sincere loue to Christ.

EPHES. 6. V. 24.‘Grace be with al them that loue our Lord Iesus Christ in sin­cerity.’

I WIL not dis­courage your attentiō with a tedious re­potition of what I haue heretofore in another audi­ence deliuered vpon this Scri­pture, [Page 68] something must needs be recalled to guid your atten­tion into the ensuing discourse & to knit that vnto a former: but I wil not trouble you with a word more, then the necessi­ty of methode shall enforce me vnto. To winde vp then as much as is necessary in a breife introduction.

We liue in an age of a Pre­sumption as peremptory as v­niversall: they are rare men that make any question of their salvation, and which is most to be pitied, they are for the most part such as haue least reason. I am perswaded, there was ne­ver yet any time when men were generally more confi­dent in their hope of heaven, or lesse able to giue a wise rea­son for it; insomuch, that it may be but too probably con­jectured, that to one that pe­rishes [Page 69] through dispaire, there miscarry hundreds through presumption.

This generall presumption stands vpon these two gene­ral suppositions. 1. That Grace, that is, all the gracious, preci­ous promises of God concer­ning a better life, doe infalli­bly appertaine to all such as loue Christ Iesus in sincerity: that is, to all such as are true, serious, resolute Christians. 2. That wee our selues are all such men, that we are all Chri­stians good enough to serue the turne, though wee are not so forward and exemplary, though we keepe not such stir with our profession as some o­thers doe. The first suppositiō is out of all question, and can never bee brought into dispu­tation by those which submit to the Scriptures, it being the [Page 70] scope, not only of my Text, but also of the whole Gospell, ye a of the Law and the Prophets. So that (with reverence bee it spoken) it shall bee as possible for God, that is the eternall truth it selfe to lye, as for that supposition to fayle any man, who observing the conditions of it, casts himselfe vpon it: so that in strict propriety of speech, it is not of it selfe any prop of presumption, but only by accident as it's subject to mis-application by vs. Well then, presumption stands more directly, and leanes more hea­vily vpon the second supposi­tion, and therefore all our care must bee every man for him­selfe, to see that wee are not mistaken in our account at home, to bee sure wee are all such men as wee deeme our selues to be, that is, such Chri­stians, [Page 71] as may vpon good suffi­cient grounds, lay clayme vn­to, and plead interest in all the glorious promises in Christ Ie­sus.

Vpon this I observed all the conditions required on our part, and by consequent, the whole tryall of our assurance, to be comprised in this since­rity of our loue towards him; and farther, for the exact triall, and through examination of this, I imposed vpon my selfe the handling of three most cō ­siderable points which make vp it selfe, and evidence vnto vs the sincerity of our loue vn­to Christ. 1. The true imme­diate ground, or originall of it. 2. The requisite degree or in­tension of it. 3. The especiall fruits and effects of it.

Concerning the originall of our loue vnto Christ, amōgst [Page 72] many insufficient deceauable grounds of it, I vndertooke the discovery of one which I foūd to be most dangerous and vni­versall: to wit, natural instincts of religion in generall restrai­ned to Christianity by birth & education. This discovery, I haue already elsewhere at large, as God enabled me, per­formed. In the second place, I promised a declaratiō of the true, proper, and sure ground of sincere loue vnto Christ: & this by the assistance of the blessed spirit, you shall haue paid at this time.

Well then, what is the most immediate and proper ground of the sincere loue of a poore sinner vnto his Saviour Iesus Christ? I answere out of the question, when in earnest hee finds himselfe to bee a misera­ble sinner, and apprehends [Page 73] Christ Iesus to be his gracious Saviour, and one of whom hee stands in infinite need. Or to to deliuer it more fully, it is a cleare,The groūd of a Chri­stians loue to Christ. distinct, particular, ten­der apprehension of his owne infinite wants and miseries by reason of sinne, & of those mi­racles of loue & mercy which Christ hath performed to cure these and supply those, & that as freely & purposely for him, as for any man elfe.

To cleare and confirme this excellent point I will, as God hath directed my meditations.

1 First proue it to be so.

2 And then demonstrate why it is so.

That it is so, appeares by sun­dry places of holy Scripture, out of which I will cull some few, which seeme to me most pregnant and pertinent. First, I loue the Lord, saith holy Da­vid, [Page 74] Psalm. 116. 1. marke his reason; because hee hath heard my voice and my supplications. But what kinde of supplicati­ons were these? vpon what oc­casion were they made? you may see both, v. 3, 4. The sor­rowes of death compassed me a­bout, and the paines of hell gate hold vpon me: then called I vp­on the name of the Lord, O Lord I beseech thee deliver my soule. These were my suppli­cations, which the Lord hath heard, and therefore I loue him, yea, because he hath inclined his care vnto me in these my spiri­tuall agonies, I will call vpon him as long as I liue. 2. we haue an eminent place, 1. Ioh. [...]. 19. We loue him, marke his reason, because he first loued vs. True, some may say, God hath loa­ded vs with innumerable ex­pressions of his loue in our [Page 75] creation and preservation, and we doe reciprocally loue him for them: but what's this to the loue of Christ? To omit as impertinent to this place, that in some sort we owe both our creation & temporall preser­vatiō vnto Gods loue in Christ; seeing it is not probable, but the whole frame of nature should haue beene dissolued presently vpon the fal, had not God of his mercy intended a Redeemer for mankinde to be revealed in the fulnesse of time: but to let this passe, S. Iohn in these words, because he first loued vs, vnderstands that loue of loues, that boundlesse, incomprehensible loue of God wherewith hee hath loued vs in Christ: as it plainly appeares by comparing 9. & 10. veries. In this (that is) in this infinite­ly more, then in any mercy of [Page 76] creation or preservation, was manifested the loue of God towards vs, because that God sent his onely begotten sonne into the world, that we might liue through him. Herein is loue (that is) herein infinitly more then in any thing else, not that we loued God, but that he loued vs, and sent his sonne to bee the propitiation for our sinnes. To recollect, and to bring it home to the point in hand, when as the fame S. Iohn speakes v. 16. Wee haue knowne and beleeued the loue that God hath to vs, when we find our selues to have been eeven dead men, and that God sent his Son, that we might live through him; when wee perceaue our selues overloden with sinnes, and that Christ was sent purposely to be a pro­pitiation for them; O here is the true originall of our loue [Page 77] vnto him, now wee loue him, because hee first loued vs. A third place, & I'le trouble you with no more, is Luc. 7. 37. where we haue a whole para­ble to this purpose, deliuered by our Saviour himselfe to make the Pharisees vnderstand what that poore womā meant by those strange distracted & seemingly madde expressions of her loue vnto him in wash­ing his feet with teares, and wiping them with her haire, &c. The parable is of a Credi­tor & his two debtors; I need not repeat it, most of you knowe it already, others may pervse it if they please. The application of it is, that then sinners doe indeed fall in loue with their Saviour when they perceaue themselues to bee o­ver head and eares, as wee say in debt vnto God, and them­selues [Page 78] most vnable to dis­charge one farthing, whē they feele that God begins to put his bond in suite which they had forfeited long before they were borne, when he sends an arrest for them by the terrours of his Law, their owne consci­ences, & the spirit of bondage. Lastly, when they feele them­selues even haled towards that prison from which never any man came out, which was once in, and then most oppor­tunely comes in Christ Iesus with his merits, satisfies his fa­ther to the full, rescues them out of the sergeants hands, that they being deliuered out of the hands of their enimies may serue him without feare, in holinesse and righteousnesse before him all the daies of their life. Indeed the conclu­sion of the application vers. [Page 79] 4▪7. seemes to thwart and vn­say all that which I haue said. Her sinnes which are many are forgiuen her, because shee loued much. I deny not but the words as they are, admit a pi­ous sense, neither am I igno­rant with how little adoe they may be reconciled which haue beene hitherto spoken.

But if I might bee worthy to deliuer mine own opinion, with due respect vnto the translaters, I would alter one word in the translation, which I suspect should runne thus:The ordi­nary tran­slation cor­rected. Her sinnes which are many are forgiuen, therfore shee hath lo­ved much. The sense requires this construction. 1. Because the whole scope of the para­ble is to shew that hee loues most to whom most is forgiuē, and not contrarily, that most is forgiuen to him that loues [Page 80] mo [...]t. 2. The antithesis in the same verse requires it, the words, but to whom little is forgiuen he loueth little, sup­poseth this thesis; because ma­ny sinnes are forgiuen her shee soueth much. Now as the sense requires this inter pretation, so the conjunction [...] admits it: for albeit not in the pure Greek idiom, yet in the Hele­nisticke vse of it, answers to all the acceptions of the He­brew [...] which hath some­times the signification of ideo, quapropter, &c. Neither may it prejudice this interpretati­on, that our Saviour after all those expressions of loue from the penitent woman, and his apologie for himselfe and her to the Pharisee, tells her that her sinnes are forgiuen her: this was but that sentence of absolution for her greater cō ­fort, [Page 81] and assurance outwardly pronoūced, of which no doubt but she had before some grati­ous inklings within, and the vertue of which she had alrea­dy tasted, though not in that comfortable measure, or di­stinct manner as she desired.

But now I would not wil­lingly be mistaken in the point as if my opinion were, or I in­tended to proue out of the a­fore-cited places, that there is no true loue vnto Christ, but what is grounded vpon an a­ctual perswasion of the remis­sion of our sinnes by him. Alas how many poore soules euen languish with a spirituall thirst after him! how many blee­ding hearts both feele and ex­presse most vehement pangs of importunate loue towards him: how many broken spirits euen spend and exhale them­selues [Page 82] in continuall sallyes as it were, and egressions of affecti­on vnto him, who haue indeed heard, but not as yet tasted how gratious he is, who haue not as yet perceaued in them­selues those inward whispe­rings of comfort, Feare not, I am thy salvation: bee of good cheere thy sinnes bee forgiuen thee: in a word, who haue not as yet felt themselues sealed to the day of redemption by that holy spirit of promise?

To rescue the truth out of these clouds, and to present it in her brightnesse vnto you, we must first obserue that eve­ry degree of true spirituall loue vnto Christ, proceeds frō a proportionable act of sauing faith: Secondly, that there is a twofold loue, 1. One of desire, which is an earnest longing after that, which wee beleeue [Page 83] would doe vs much good if wee could attaine vnto it. 2. Another of complacencie, when hauing attained that we desire, we hugge, and embrace it, and solace our selues in the fruition of it. Now as ordina­rily in the loue of any other object: so likewise if wee re­spect Christ, Iesus, the first of these loues is the introduction to the second; and both of thē issue from a proportionable act of faith precedent. That affectionate longing and thir­stie loue wherewith we pant and gaspe after Christ having never yet been refreshed with any comfortable testimony of the spirit since the beginning of our humiliation, proceeds from that former act of faith whereby we assent vnto al the Gospell promises as most true and good in themselues, and [Page 84] infinitely better vnto vs then any thing in the world could we bee once assured that they belong vnto vs as well as to other men. That other loue of complaconcie, when with the Psal: we returne vnto our rest, because the Lord hath dealt bountifully with vs, & sweet­ly repose our selues in the lap of our Saviour, with content vnspeakable and full of glory, proceeds from that last act of faith, whereby we are actual­ly perswaded by those wel­come whispers of the spirit of adoption, that Christ is as cer­tainly our Saviour as any mans else, and that our debts (as in­finite as they were) are can­celled to a f [...]rthing, as well as the smaller summes of others.

Lastly, it will not be amisse to obserue two things of this loue of complacency arising [Page 85] from a perswasion of Christs loue vnto vs in particular. 1. It's subject to all variations or changes, ebbings and flow­ings of that perswasion. For as often as in any violent tempta­tion, or sensible disertion our perswasion seemes to be con­futed, this loue of complacen­cie is either for a time quite stupified, or else it falls back as it were into that thirsty auxi­ous loue of desire. 2. This loue of complacencie admits de­grees proportionably to the degrees of that perswasion. If that be cleare and strong, this loue is more cheerefull & plea­sant: if that be weake and ob­scure, this loue is not so spright full,Faith may be sincere though mixed with Anxiety. but somewhat lumpish being cold with many feares, and jealousies. Whence this loue of complacency may not vnfitly be subdivided. 1. Into [Page 86] Ordinary loue which pro­ceeds from a weaker degree of that last act of faith, and though sincere, yet being im­perfect, is mixed with anxiety in the same proportion as that is with doubting. And 2. into Heroicall loue which spring­eth from a more eminent and transcendent pitch of perswa­sion concerning our owne re­conciliation in particular: this is that perfect loue, which S. Iohn saies, casteth out all feare (to wit) of distruste, bringing vs into a more intimate fami­liarity with God. I call the first Ordinary, because most Christians though effectually called doe ordinarily feele but such a timorous loue in them­selues. The second which I call Heroicall in that sense in which eminent vertues haue their Epithite, is constantly on­ly [Page 87] in such as either beside the evidence of the word and spi­rit, haue had some speciall re­velation to put them out of all doubt concerning their estate to Godward, on such as by a constant close walking with God,Constancy in a Chri­stian course frequent tasts of Christs loue, and the Testi­mony of the spirit assure vs of our Salva­tion. haue beene long exerci­sed in a Christian course, haue often entertained Christ Iesus at supper in their hearts, and habituated themselues in­to a more familiar acquain­tance, with that holy spirit which brings all the good news from heauen to those di­ligent soules which carefully wait for it.

Thus haue I according to the skill that is giuen mee, proued the originall of the syncere loue of a sinner vnto Christ Iesus blessed for ever, to be a serious tender appre­hension of his own extreame [Page 88] need of Christ, and of Christs superabundant loue vnto him: I haue likewise explained this truth, and vindicated it from such exceptions as crossed my way. I come now to discouer the demonstratiue reason of this truth, and after I haue shewed that it is so, to shew you now why it must be so.

Wee are all borne into the world [...],The se­cond part of the text. haters of God, and while wee continue in that naturall stupid condition, wherein we were borne, wee are all strangers both vnto God and Christ, There is not im­printed in our nature so much as the obscu­rest intima­tion of a Saviour or the neces­sity of one. yea, enemies in our mindes through wicked workes, as the Apostle speakes. Col. 1. 21. We retaine indeed some obscure cloudy notions of a God, but not the darkest inti­mations of a Saviour, or least suspition of any need we haue of one. In a word albeit wee [Page 89] are borne and bred within the shrillest sound of the Gospell, yet as long as we continue [...] meere animall, naturall men, it will not sinke into our heads, that we are in such mi­serable case as Preachers would make vs beleeue wee are, how ill its like to goe with vs vnlesse we laboriously en­quire after Christ, and get to be reconciled vnto God by him. Now what more effectu­all method can we imagine to beate vs out of this naturall antipathy against our Creatour and Redeemer, yea what o­ther contrivance may there be to worke such peeuish wret­ches, such froward rebels out of one extreame into another, out of deadly hatred to sincere loue of the eternall Father and his only Sonne, to pull downe their proud stomackes, to [Page 90] make them crouch and craule vnto his throne of grace, then to make them see in what a hell they are while they stand in this distance from him to a­wake their consciences a­gainst them, and to make them a terrour vnto themselues to let the Law thunder and ligh­ten into their soules vntill their wits and spirits beginne to faile them, and then amidst all these amazing tempests to let the glorious Gospell of Christ shine vpon them,The curses of the law driue vs to Christ. to shew them Christ Iesus with his armes of mercy stretched out, and vndertaking to free them out of all these confusi­ons, and to make their peace with his father if they will but come vnto him, and trust their selues with him, if they will but lay to heart, and learne to esteeme & admire those won­ders [Page 91] of redemption which he hath compassed for them. Had the prodigall sonnes stocke held out, and hee lyen still a­floate in the full-tide of his sin­full pleasures, hee had set vp his staffe in that fa [...]e country, and quite forgot that hee ever had a father: yea when the tide was gone and had left him vpon the sands: when the revells were ended, his brave­ry quite worne out into beg­gery, and himselfe preferred to be an attendant of a compa­ny of hogs, if he could but haue got his belly full of huskes, he would hardly haue thought of returning home: but when these were denyed him, and hee could see nothing but death before him, O now hee comes to himselfe, and begins to thinke of a father hee had, and resolues to goe vnto him, [Page 92] though he might well suspect his entertainment. Well, whatsoever that may proue, he is sure hee goes to a father, and therefore on he goes, and when hee, was yet a farre off, full of aboding feares, and dis­consolate mu [...]ings, behold his father about his necke before he was a ware of him, acting an over-joyned man, hee hangs about him and kisses him, trims him vp with a robe and a ring, conducts him home in a kinde of triumph, and wel­comes him with the solemni­ty of a feast and musicke! Here was a change for the prodigall enough to haue turned his braines as we say, but sure it could not but turne his heart. Had that beene of marble or adamant, this could not but melt it into loue. O what a swelling, a thronging, a wrast­ling [Page 93] did hee now feele in his bowels of tendrest passions, impatient for want of expres­sion. O how did he now lay a­bout him with teares of sor­row and teares of joy, being much pulled, whether it would best become to prose­cute his joy most or his sor­row: in briefe how mad is hee with himselfe that hee had beene such a sonne to such a Father!

I haue insisted the longer vpon the prodigals case, be­cause indeed it is our owne. For ordinarily; our heavenly father vseth the same method to fetch vs his prodigall chil­dren home vnto him, and to bring vs in loue with his be­loued sonne Iesus Christ. We are all as soone as we are born, gotten into a farre country, where we mispend, and mis­employ [Page 93] all those faculties and endowments, with which our Creator hath furnished vs, in the revels of sinne and vanity, walking on merrily and con­fidently [...] as the Apostle speakes Ephes. 2. 2. according to the course of this world: professing indeed (for fashion sake) loue both vnto God and Christ, but all the while denying and dis­claiming them both in our hearts and conversations. But God who is rich in mercy for his great loue wherewith hee hath loued vs. Ephes. 2. 4. when hee hath let vs runne our selues even out of breath in these riotous courses, and even ty­red our selues in our journey to hell, thinkes it sit to stop our progresse, and first to make vs vnderstand our selues, that we may the better esteeme of [Page 94] him and whom hee hath sent Iesus Christ. First then hee in­spires vs with so much spiritu­all life, as may make vs feele our spirituall burden, consist­ing of our sinnes, and his cur­ses due vnto them; hee raises vp many affrightments, and grim apparitions in our con­sciences, he giues Satan leaue to insult over vs, whatsoever outward contentment we fa­sten on, to put vs out of these dumpes, he beates vs off from it, he leaues vs not huskes to feed on, he driues vs out of one shift into another, til at last we are driven out of all, and so farre, that wee see plainely, there is but one way with vs, even to perish everlastingly, vnlesse we can get to bee re­conciled vnto him. Now wee begin to come to our selues, and perceiuing our onely [Page 95] course which we haue left,Gods ju­stice must be satisfied ere we can obtaine his mercy. to bee, to cast our selues vpon Gods mercy, but no getting neare vnto that, vnlesse his justice be first satisfied, no pos­sibility of that on our parts, vn­lesse we can get the satisfacti­on of Christ imputed vnto vs, finding the Scriptures so pe­remptory, that there is no com­ming to the Father, but by the Sonne, that hee that hath the Sonne hath life, but he that hath not the Sonne, hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Ioh. 3. 30. O now wee begin to see it was to some purpose, that wee haue heard Preacher so talke so much of Christ; now wee beginne to hearken better after him, to value and admire him; now wee wonder how wee could endure to bee without him so long, that we could thinke so [Page 96] slightly of him heretofore, now those holy fits of loue grow vpon vs apace, and vp­on a suddaine, with the Spouse in the Canticles, wee are sicke of loue. Now are wee entred into the loue of desire, and while our poore soules are sweating in these restlesse pas­sions, wee heare at length Christ Iesus in a milde still voice, inviting all such as are weary & heavy laden to come vnto him, that hee may giue them rest: vpon this wee ad­dresse our selues towards him, with our burden vpon our shoulder, and when wee are got within kenne of him, hee seemes sometimes to goe backward from vs, to make vs more eager after him, and thus oft-times he lets vs stand trembling and shaking, weep­ing and groaning vnder our [Page 98] burdens, till wee are even sinking and swovvning vnder them, and then hee conveyes them away, cleares vp the heavens over vs, speakes like a husband vnto our soules by his Spirit, he presents vs vnto his Father, who now smiles vpon vs with a reconciled countenance, and then vnto his Angels who amongst all their Halleluiahs, receiue some addition vnto their tri­umphant mirth by our conver­sion. Now no man need tell vs what Christ hath done for vs, we feele reall experiments of all in our owne hearts,There are Reall tasts of the be­nefits pro­cured by Christ in the hearts of true be­leeuers. now wee haue seene, and felt, and tasted how infinitely he hath loued vs, we are ready to make our boast of it, and with the Psalmist, to invite all such as feare God purposely that wee may declare vnto them what [Page 99] hee hath done for our soules. Now we are in that loue of complacency, now wee cling vnto him, and would faine come out of our selues, to creepe vnto him, affecting not only a vnion, but vnity with him, now wee bestirre our selues in all the holy comple­ments of heavenly loue, never thinking wee haue done e­nough, frequently bathing our selues in those delicious inti­macies of our spirituall marri­age. which how much they passe all vnderstanding, I ap­peale to their experiences; to whom these things are no Pa­radoxes.

You see the excellent con­trivance, by which our stub­borne rebellious hearts are wrought over vnto the sincere loue of Iesus Christ: I suppose it now expedient to cleare [Page 100] this discourse of the originall of vnfained loue, from some doubts and scruples which may arise from it.

1 Whether none can loue Christ in sincerity, but those that are brought vnto it by this method? I answere not one ordinarily, if his conver­sion bee wrought by the Mini­stery of the Word.The sense of our owne mi­sery makes vs in loue with Christ as a Savi­our. The reason is plaine out of what hath bin deliuered. Wee are to loue Christ as a Saviour: how can we be brought to those, vntill we feele our selues lost, and vnderstād what need we haue of a Saviour? Wee are to loue him as a Mediatour: what rea­son is there for this, vnlesse we first plainely perceiue God to be our enimy? Lastly, wee are to loue him as our Physiti­an: what sense is there for that if wee feele not our selues in [Page 101] some dangers, if wee feele no aches or gripings, no smart a­bout our soules, if we finde no good that Christ hath done vs, or can doe vs? Himselfe tells vs, the whole haue no need of the Physitian; onely the sicke, such as feele and acknowledge themselues to be sicke, will make vse of him. But here it's requisite to obserue, that the severall passages of this great alteration wrought in our aff­ections, are more or lesse sen­sible, according to the severall conditions of the persons. We are all prodigalls, yet some more, some lesse: we are all gone into a farre countrey, yet some roue a great deale far­ther then others: For illustra­tion, some haue had a more re­straining education then o­thers and beene trained vp in a more innocent civility, vn­till [Page 102] the time of their visitation, which oft-times overtakes them very early, and takes them in before they are ac­quainted with the villaines of the world, or vices of the times: such, though common­ly they take weeping crosse in their way too, as they come home vnto Christ, yet they passe not through so many pikes, so many panges, and terrors but with lesse stirre & diffficulty arriue safely at his bosome, and get within his embraces. On the other side, some are starke prodigalls, meere Publicans such as haue taken their full swinge in the wildest exorbitancies, such as haue served an apprentiship, perhaps two or three to the World, the Flesh, and the Di­vell, such as these, when it pleaseth God to put his hooke [Page 103] in their nostrils, to turne them round, and make them looke towards heauen, are brought to the loue of Christ, even steppe by steppe in that me­thod which I haue formerly described. The other are brought vnto the loue of Christ, but these being once brought vnto it, loue him more vehemently, for it's cer­taine he loues most to whom most is forgiuen.

2 Doubt,Whether our loue to Christ would not be more exact if we did consi­der the brightnesse of his glo­ry. Whether our loue vnto Christ would not be more pure and acceptable vnto him, if it arose from an exact, steddy contemplation of those infinitely amiable ex­cellencies, and transcendent beauties, which are resplen­dent in his person; he being the brightnesse of glory, and the ex­presse image of his Father, Heb. 1. 3. or as it is ver. 7. 26. The [Page 104] brightnesse of the everlasting light, the vnspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodnesse.

I answere by proposing three briefe considerations:Christ only consi­dered as a Saviour moues vs to loue him. 1. That is the truest loue of Christ, which beats vs out of our naturall enmity against him, and brings vs home with longing affections vnto him. Now it's most true, that the person of Christ, absolutely considered without the relati­on of a Saviour vnto vs, is in­vested with most attractiue excellencies, and ravishing beauties: but if a glimpse of that orient lustre should flash in the face of an vnregenerate mā, or impenitent sinner, vn­lesse the sanctifying spirit should at the same instant re­new his heart, it might driue him out of his wits but not [Page 105] out of his sinnes, it might ter­rify him into a desperate transe, but not advance him to a kindly extasie.

Likewise if one should goe about to winne an enimy of grace vnto the loue of Christ, by the most accurate Meta­physicall discourses of those infinitely superlatiue beauties in the Deity absolutely consi­dered, either they would bee phantasticke riddles vnto him, or at leastwise prevaile no more with him to that purpose, then it would per­swade him to loue one deare­ly, whom he mortally hated, to tell him that hee was a comely Gentleman. 2. Sup­pose these mysticall contem­plations were effectuall this way, yet he that is yet vnac­quainted with the power of converting grace, is altoge­ther [Page 106] vndisposed to set him­selfe about them. An acute, but vnsanctified schoole man may overstraine his vnder­standing with a wearisome gaze vpon those invisible beauties,Subtlety without the grace of conver­sion will not kindle the loue of Christ in our hearts. and dazle it into a more distempered ignorance, but not in to such a ravishment of loue, as may warme and elevate his affections where­as the penitent soule, which by the grace of conversion, hath felt those sacred coniu­gall affections already kindled in it selfe, may advantage her selfe excellently by such con­templations, by her intellectu­all all aspirings and affaires, as it were to see him that is invisi­ble, and by refreshing her selfe with sweetest meditati­ons of those inconceivable glories which are aboue, where Christ sits at the right [Page 107] hand of God. So that such con­templations, though they cannot ordinarily begin sin­cere loue vnto Christ in our hearts, yet they may keepe it vp, blowe it into a purer flame, and advance it to a de­gree of Angelicall sublimity. 3. That loue of Christ is most sincere and acceptable vnto him, which giues him most glory of that which he desires most to be glorified in: that is, of his goodnesse,Our loue to Christ must bee practicall. his attributes, and workes of mercy in our Salvation. Hee requires not an ayrie, but a fierie loue. He re­spects not so much that specu­latiue loue, which consists in a simple amaze of the vnder­standing, or bare admiration of those vndiscovered perfe­ctions of his nature, which haue not as yet done vs any good, though one day the sight [Page 108] of them shall be a part of our blessednesse. Christ requires that loue of vs, whereby wee confesse our selues beholding vnto him, that loue which laies vs flat before him, and where­by we acknowledge we owe our selues vnto him. I may much admire and applaud a man of excellent parts, for his rare endowments, and yet thinke my selfe no more be­holding vnto him, then hee is to me, yea I may beare grud­ges against him in my mind, and be farre from any affectio­nate loue towards him: Even so with some Schoolemen, and writers of mysticall theo­logie I may busy my braine, and set my minde a staring vp­on that absolute Ideaa of vnde­filed beauty in the Deity, and yet as long as I continue vn­sensible of what Christ hath [Page 109] done for my redemption, re­taine a frozen and a flinty heart.

If we loue Christ only be­cause hee hath loued vs, it seemes that in our loue vnto him, we haue a chiefe eye vn­to our selues, and that we loue our selues more then him, which ordinarily cannot bee pleasing vnto him, or any way stand with sincerity.The occa­sion of our loue to Ch. is our own salvation, the end his glory. For an­swere, wee must distinguish betweene the impulsiue and the finall cause of our loue vn­to Christ, or in termes some­what plainer, betweene the first inward occasion of it, and the maine scope of it. My care of my owne soule originally driues me to harken after a Sa­viour, and when I haue found him, and finde withall, that he hath bought me out of my selfe, that I am not my owne, [Page 110] as it is, 1. Cor. 6. 19. hence forth the maine scope & prin­cipall aime of my loue vnto him is to doe that for which chiefely I was created and re­deemed, to let goe all interest the loue of Christ constraineth vs, saith St Paul: why so? Be­cause wee thus iudge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: here is that originall of [Page 111] our loue implied which I haue so largely insisted vpon, it fol­loweth, and he died for all, that they which henceforth liue, should not liue vnto themselues, but vnto him that died for them, and rose againe. This is the end of Christs loue vnto vs, and must bee the businesse and maine drist of our loue vn­to him. So that our loue vnto Christ, arising from a tender apprehension of his loue vnto vs, is not mercenary, but makes most for his honour, seeing that if he had not pre­vented vs, we should in some sort haue stood vpon equall tearmes with him. Lastly, it is his good pleasure, that wee should loue that most which is best for vs, that in which most consists our perfection, if therefore wee loue him as our perfection, conceauing our [Page 112] selues to bee worse then no­thing without him if wee re­moue our selues, as it were, into him, & according to that sweet phrase of the Apostle, hide our liues with him in God: Though all this while impli­citly we loue our selues, yet wee need not doubt of our sin­cerity, this is the very loue which hee requires. St Paules loue vnto him was such as this. Gal. 2. 20. I liue, yet not I, but Christ in me, and the life which I now liue in the flesh, I liue by the faith of the Sonne of God: marke the reason, & first the inducement to all this, who hath loued mee, and giuen himselfe for mee. It's time by your patience to come to some application.

1 For examination, to per­swade every man that would not cozen himselfe in his per­swasions concerning his spi­rituall [Page 113] estate, speedily, and im­partially to examine the loue hee supposes hee beares to Christ Iesus by what we haue amply discoursed concerning the true and proper Originall of it. Thou pretendst most en­tyre loue vnto Christ Iesus, whom thou callest thy Savi­our, thou wouldst spit in his face, that should make any se­rious question of it, thou art confident that thou dost not dissemble with him. Well thē, vpon this supposall giue mee leaue to sound thy sincerity with these interrogatories. Dost thou remember a time when thou hadst not that loue in thy breast which now thou reckonest vpon for sound and currant, though thou canst not precisely tell when thou got'st it? Canst thou tell vpon what occasions, or gesse at the man­ner [Page 114] how thou at ashedst it? Wert thou brought vnto it by that methode which I haue discoured,Interroga­tories to [...] our sin­cerity. or at least by one somewhat like it? If thy con­science can now answer these proposals affirmatiuely, why then I hope thou maist picke a great deale of sound comfort out of the precedent discourse which will testifie vnto thee that thou louest Christ vpon a true ground, and that there­fore, that grace and favour of God with all the blessings is­suing from it, appertaines vn­to thee, which the Apostle wishes to all those which loue Christ Jesus in sincerity. But on the contrary, if thy consci­ence start at these demands, & beginne to fumble at them, making as if it did not vnder­stand them, if they driue thee to confesse, that thou knowest [Page 115] no such matter by thy selfe; why then my discourse will conclude thy pretended loue vnto Christ, to be but a meere fancie, and thy selfe for the present to bee but an vnhappy man. To goe yet more parti­cularly to work in this exami­nation according to the me­thode aboue proposed. Hast thou beene experimentally convinced in thy owne soule in what desperate case thou art by nature? Hast thou clear­ly perceaued to be true in thy selfe whatsoeuer the Scrip­tures tell thee of the mon­strous pronenesse of mans heart to any evill [...], and vnto­wardnesse to any good? Hast thou beene made to possesse the sinnes of thy youth, as holy Iob was? and haue the terrors of God stared thy guilty con­science in the face, & affrigh­ted [Page 116] it almost into a bloody sweat, and then hath there ap­peared as it were an Angell comforting thee? Hast thou felt thy selfe a condemned man, and even going to execu­tion, and hath Christ Iesus in the nick stept in with thy par­don both purchased and sealed with his owne most pretious blood? If thou hast felt either these passages, or some which may serue proportionably in­steed of them, to bee the canse of that which thou professest vnto Christ, I dare not questiō the synceritie of it, least with those, Ezech. 13. I wound that soule which should not dye, and make the heart of him sad, whō the Lord hath not made sad. I should wrong thee exceeding­ly not to beleeue that Christ is him whom thy soule loueth, & that with S. Pauls constraining [Page 117] loue, a loue as strong as death, which many waters cānot quēch neither shall the stoods drowne it. Cant. 8. 7. But now on the cōtrary, to conclude negatiue­ly from the former interroga­tories, to inferre the want of sincerity in any man for his not feeling those passages as they are verbatim proposed, would be too rigid, & perhaps raise a tumult in a well setled conscience: Onely thus much Ile say, if all of them sound as riddles and vncouth mysteries vnto thee, if thou never knew­est any thing like to what was proposed by thy selfe, as I feare many haue not. If thou knowest not what it meanes to come heavy laden, poore in spirit, hungry and thirsty vnto Christ: why then I wonder thou shouldst bee so sottish as to conceaue, or impudent as [Page 118] to affirme, that thou louest Christ, if thou wouldst haue vs vnderstand thee, that thou lo­uest him in sincerity. I doe suppose that thou louest him vpon custome, as thou dost the fashiō of thy country in which thou hast beene borne & bred, but so does the gretest part of the world defie him, vpon as good a ground as that so does a Turke loue Mahomet, one of the bafest misereants that ever was, vpon as substantiall a ground as that. But we speake of that transcendent loue of him, which cannot possibly be due vnto any one else, and which would be most due vn­to him, though all the lawes & customes in the world should vniversally conspire to crye it downe, dost thou professe such a loue vnto him, and knowest not wherefore? nor vpō what [Page 119] occasion thou wert moued vn­to it? It would vexe a man to the soule, who knowes indeed what it is to loue Christ, and how himselfe was brought vn to it, to consider the confident stupidity of multitudes in eue­ry place who will not be put out of their dreame, that they meane as louingly to Christ as any man, when as indeed they are not as yet come so far as to perceaue any proper reason why they should loue him, or what reason he hath to expect any loue from them. I knowe they will say, they loue him because he died for them, and they hope to be saued by him: Alas these are words of course and as soone spoken as any o­ther▪ they say this, because they were ever taught to say so, and never liued among any that said the contrary▪ Beloued [Page 120] it is not the saying of this, or beleeuing it confusedly like some old story or tradition wil melt our congealed hearts in­to the loue of Christ:That faith must be ex­perimentall which is the original of sincere loue. No, it must be through distinct fee­ling of it in our owne soules, it must bee the experience of this, which makes vs enamou­red on him and sets our hearts a mounting towards him in those seraphicall flames of san­ctified affection.

2 The Originall of sincere loue vnto Christ, being disco­vered, and directions giuen for selfe examination concer­ning it,Cautions against Co­zening semblance of Loue. a second vse shall bee for caution against many co­zening semblances of loue vn­to Christ, which may make vs thinke a great deale better of our selues then wee haue rea­son, which may easily bee dis­couered by trying them by [Page 121] this originall. To instance in some particulars: There is ma­ny a Ruffian in this kingdome, who if he should heare a Jew blaspheaming Christ, his blood would quickly bee vp; hee would long to bee doing with him, and bee hardly kept from hacking him in peeces. O what a friend vnto Christ will such a man suppose himselfe to be, he will conceipt he hath behaued himselfe like a Tem­pler, & done him knights ser­vice, and a hundred to one, but in this humour, he will call his companions to come and see the zeale which he hath for Christ Jesus. But if there were any such swaggering Zelot in this assembly, I would aske him these questions: Dost thou not think a hot spirited Turk would haue fallen as foule vpon the Iew, if hee had taken him vili­fying [Page 122] his Mahomet? Wouldst thou: not vndergoe as dange­rous a quarrell to winne the fauour, or please the humour of thy mistresse? Would'st thou not thy selfe, or at least dost thou not know some who will quarrell as sternely about a pipe of Tobacco, or the pled­ging of a health? Lastly, hast thou not suffered thy compa­nions to blaspheame Christ in their oathes, perhaps a whole day together, and thy zeale all the while hath beene very well contented with it? You see by these questions from what variety of carnall vnsan­ctified motiues this seeming plausible zeale may arise: and therefore in all such cases, it much concernes vs, to haue an eye to the true originall of all duties of loue, to consider, not so much what wee doe, as [Page 123] what makes vs to doe it,Wee must not somuch consider the vehe­mency of our Affe­ction as the cause of it. and in a word, to judge of our affecti­ons, not by the heat, but by the fewell. For a second instance: Many in reading the history of our Saviours life, and conside­ring his sweet, debonnaire and vnoffensiue carriage, & with­all the contradictiō of sinners, the insolencie of proud and churlish miscreants which he endured with an vnimitable patience, will find their hearts euer and anon rising in indig­nation against the Scribes and Pharisees, and euen tenderly sympathizing with our Savi­our. These men may present­ly imagine themselues to bee deepely in loue with Christ, but they may bee miserably mistaken. Let them consult with their owne experience, and obserue, whether they are not moued to as sensible passi­ons [Page 124] by the reading of any o­ther story, though prophane, if it be any way proportionable vnto the Evangelicall story for occurrences: twenty to one but they will finde it so: There is not any good story, either sa­cred or prophane, but for the most part it drawes the mind of the reader, for the time at least, in to some factio. Where­in it's evident, that such stir­rings of the affections, may proceed from a bare historicall faith, joyned with that com­mō ingenuity of nature,Many pas­sionate po­sitions of our loue to Christ may bee the fruits of a bare Histo­ricall faith ioined with common ingenuity. which teaches vs to adore the heroi­call vertues of Worthies, long since deceased, and to commi­serate their vndeserved disa­sters. Yea, which is worth ob­servation, they may proceed from this common ingenuity, by the meere working of the fancie, without any historicall [Page 125] beleefe at all. Wee finde it by experiēce in reading amorous stories, or histories of strange adventures, which though we knowe and beleeue to be fay­ned, yet oft times, it handsom­ly contriued; they raise more serious tumults of passions in our mindes, then the most re­all stories wee can meet with. Now the reason of it (if my owne fancy fayle me not) is, because the imaginatiō, which hath the same command over the passions, which the Poets haue giuen Aeolus ouer the windes, is it selfe stirr'd vp to sympathize with all such re­presentations as are exquisite­ly shaped & limb'd according to it's owne Ideas & inward contrivances: and in this case, the imagination poring vpon the representation it selfe, so that suite well with it's owne [Page 126] images within, it regards not not much, whether it be of an acted truth, or of a possibility, forgetting, as it were, for the present, to distinguish what might haue beene from what hath beene. This observation directs me to a third Instance, with which I will conclude: some perhaps may weepe de­voutly at a Passion-Sermon, & presently imagine their teares to be distillations of tender af­fections vnto Christ; They may be so, but they may very easily not be so. Who knowes not, that the charmes of elo­quence about any sad argumēt, may easily steale good store of teares frō an auditory of wo­men, or of soft natur'd men? Solemne Musicke, a good Pa­vin wil doe as much: any liue­ly representation of a Tragical accident, whether reall or i­maginary, [Page 127] will doe as much: amongst those that can bee so il busied, as to sit three or foure houres at a Tragedy, some can be so wisely, good natur'd too, as to weepe heartely at it. You see into what variety of mis­takes, offices of loue vnto Christ may put vs, while wee consider them loose by them­selues, and examine them not by that which ought to be the fundamentall inducement vn­to them in our hearts, you see how expedient it is to judge of these complementall ex­pressiōs of loue vnto our bles­sed Saviour by our hearts, and not of our hearts by them, and by cōsequent, you see of what excellent vse this doctrine of the ground, or originall of our loue vnto Christ is, To God the Father, &c.

LVKE 14. 26.‘If any man come to me, & hate not his Father and Mother, Wife and Children, and Bre­thren, and Sisters; yea & his owne life also, he cannot hee my Disciple.’

I Proceed still in my Tract or discourse, cōcerning the sin­cerity of our loue vnto our blessed Saviour. My method in it I haue acquain­ted you with heretofore, im­posing vpon my selfe a copi­ous and full handling of three most cōsiderable points, which both make it vp in itselfe, and evidence it vnto vs.

[Page 1] 1. The true and proper ground or originall of it: the speciall reasons inducing vs to loue him.

2. The requisite, degree & intention of it: how much we are to loue him.

3. The especiall effects and testimonies of it: what we are to doe because we loue him.

The first of these heads I haue dispatched already; ha­ving heretofore in another au­dience discovered the false, & in this congregation, the true groūds of our loue vnto Christ Iesus: I am now falne vpon the second point, and therein more punctually to enquire, how much we are to loue him which querie our Saviour him­selfe clearely and throughly resolues in my Text.The occa­sion of the words. If any mā come vnto me, &c.

Our Saviour was now in [Page 2] the progresse of his humiliati­on▪ going about & doing good. Being on his way, he obserues great multitudes thronging & flocking after him, no doubt for various ends, and vpon va­rious motiues. This hee well knewe: and therevpon that they might not dishonour him and deceaue themselues by grosse, absurd conceipts of a common easinesse, for any man to get whatsoever good was to bee gotten from him by a little trotting after him, hee thought it expedient to let thē all knowe before hand, what they must of necessitie resolue vpon, if they would followe him to any purpose, & solemn­ly to forewarne them, what they must trust vnto if they made account to get any good by running after him. If any man will come to mee (that is) [Page 3] hoping or desiring to bee bet­ter for mee in regard of a bet­ter life,The expl [...]cation of them. and hate not his Father and Mother, &c. (that is) if he set not so high a price vpon his hopes by me, that he bring this resolution with him to part with any thing which may hinder him from doing mee constant, vniversall ser­vice; yea though it bee that which otherwise he may most lawfully and ought most dear­ly to affect, hee cannot bee my Disciple, he is not qualified ei­ther to doe mee that honour which I shall expect from him, or to receaue those fa­vours which hee will expect from me. If any man desirous of a more satisfying expectati­on of this Scripture shall en­quire yet more particularly, in what sense the Disciple of Christ must hate his parents & [Page 4] children, wife and kindred, yea and his owne life.

I answer. 1. The law of God doth not only permit, but also command vs to loue all these, and to embrace them with the sweetest cleerest affe­ctions that nature can possibly stirre vp in our breasts & bow­els: Farre be it from our Savi­our to contradict this law by requiring that his Disciples at their very first entrance into the schoole, should turne bar­barous and strip themselues of those sacred, decent affecti­ons of nature and humanity: that which he requires is this, that seeing even during the true Church there will daily happen many ca [...]es wherein wee must needs either deale vnkindly or dishonourably with him, or breake squares with such as are neere & deere [Page 5] vnto vs, and in time of perse­cution we may be so put to it that we must either bee asha­med of him before men, and in the extremity of basenesse abjure him, or else part with our temporall life and all con­tentments; I say▪ hee requires, that his Disciples should come with mindes so possessed with an extraordinary overreaching esteeme of him beyond any thing else, that they might bee prepared afore hand for such exigents, and resolue to runne the most desperate hazard of the losse of any mans favour, or their owne liues, that no­thing may interrupt their obe­dience vnto him, or intercept the light of his countenance from them. 2. Wee are to note, that the hatred which is required, hath not reference to the persons specified in my [Page 6] Text, but to such favours and contentments as wee may re­ceaue from them. The loue of Christ will not suffer, much lesse cause vs, in any case to neglect the duties, or growe weary of the relations of na­ture: onely thus much Christ expects from vs seeing wee may bee often driuen to that push that we must either loose him, or the good looks of those whom wee account▪ our best friends, that in comparison of our hopes by the Gospell, wee should so hate, (that is) by a Hebraisme, neglect or dise­steeme whatsoeuer comforts or favours wee could expect from them, that without any long pause or deliberation, we may bee content to let them goe, and be glad we are [...]o rid of them, that wee may sticke close vnto Christ, and be found [Page 7] in him enwrapped in his righ­teousnesse. To vnfold this yet more distinctly:We may part with what is deare vnto vs for the loue of Christ in [...] respects. wee may part from that which is deare vnto vs for the loue of God or Christ in two respects. 1. As a sacrifice, to wit, when God is glorified by that which wee part with: so Abraham was willing to part with Isaacke, and in this respect might bee said to hate him, though no doubt but his bowels yearned most vehemently, even when his hand was fetching the fa­tall blow; so that heroicall mother 2. Macc. 7. hated her seaven sonnes whom indeed she loued most tenderly, be­ing content to see them all butchered before her eyes with horrible rarity of tor­ments, that they may not dis­obey the law, and God might be glorified. 2. As a temta­tion, [Page 8] when wee our selues be­ing severed from it may glo­rify God more freely: Thus Moses refused to be called the sonne of Pharaohs daughter, hating the treasures of Aegypt in comparison of the reproach of Christ, Heb. 11. 26. Thus Ioseph parted with his Mi­stresse and all his hopes by his Master, because he would not doe that great wickednesse and sinne against God. The ha­tred requi­red in Christs dis­ciples is passiue more then actiue. So that in­deed the hatred in my Text is more passiue then actiue, con­sisting in an humble willing­nesse to forgoe any thing which may bee either an ac­ceptable sacrifice vnto Christ, or a dangerous temptation from him, in a well composed dislike and disesteeme of those things, which our nature counts her jewels, when com­pared to those glorious invisi­ble [Page 9] rarities which they may hinder vs from. Lastly in a pla­cide, well tempered conten­tednesse, vpon a small warn­ing to part with them, either one after another, or all of them at a clap, so that wee may be sure of the maine, so that by letting them goe, wee may take better hold of Christ Iesus, in whom we are sure to finde with an infinite overplus whatsoever wee loose for his sake.

My text being thus explai­ned.The Do­ctrine of the Text. I will contract the pith both of it and it's explication into this doctrine. Whosoe­ver makes account to bee the better for his profession of Christ, and to haue his share in those vnvaluable purchases of his passion, must prize Christ Iesus and his hopes by him farre beyond whatsoever, [Page 10] or whomsoever hee may, most lawfully & ought most deare­ly to loue in this world, yea farre beyond life it selfe, and whatsoever cōtentments may endea [...]e it vnto him. To heape vp other testimonies or to goe any farther then my text for the proofe of this doctrine, were to prejudice both our Saviours authority, hee being so plaine and peremptory in the point, and your esteeme of it, as if you were not by his bare word sufficiently per­swaded and convinced of a truth, so much concerning himselfe and you too, if you doe in earnest desire to haue any thing to doe with him. My labour, I suppose will be bet­ter spent in demonstrating vn­to you the equity of that which may seeme rigour in this doctrine, in discovering [Page 11] vnto you what good reasons our Saviour had to exact so great a measure and high a pitch of loue from all those who would be partakers of his redemption and sharers of his merits:The equity of the Doctrine de­monstrate [...] by two reasons. Some of those reasons I will specify and amplify in two considerations.

1. It will not stand either with the justice, or wisdome of God the Father, to loose the glory of his everlasting mercies in his sonne, by con­ferring them vpon such as doe not perceaue & acknowledge some out-stripping excellency in them beyond all his tempo­rall blessings. Indeed it is vsu­all with God in his generall providence to heape his tem­porall favours vpon such as ne­ver thinke of his loue in deal­ing thus bountifully with them, but the reason of that is [Page 12] because he can call them in a­gaine, and blow vpon them at his pleasure, and though hee get no glory for his mercy whilest hee bestowes them as blessings, [...]pirituall [...]lessings [...]re not so [...]ommon [...]s tempo­ [...]all. yet he can be sure to glorify his justice by turning them into curses: But now for his everlasting mercies, those riches of his loue in Christ, he vseth not to part with them so easily: hee lets not them goe out of his hands: by his Mini­sters hee proclaimes and dis­plaies the infinite worth and value of them: if any man bee so taken with the lustre of them that for joy Mat. 13. 44. he goes and sels all that he hath to buy them, God pre­sently giues an everla­sting assu­rance of salvation to all who loue Christ sincerely. and thinkes hee hath a good bargaine too, God presently seales vnto him an everlasting assurance of them by the spirit of promise, and giues possession of them at the [Page 13] day of his death, when all o­ther possessions leaue him. But now if any man thinke so poorely of them, that either he will not vouchsafe to chea­pen them, or if hee doe thinke them worth the buying, yet will not come off roūdly, and buy them outright with all that he hath. I say it will not stand either with the justice, or wisdome of God the Fa­ther, to cast them away vpon such prodigious sorts. The reason may be gathered out of our Saviours words, Mat. 10. 37. He that loueth Father or Mother more then mee is not worthy of me: Alas, you will say, no more is hee that loueth him infinitely better, then his Father and Mother: yes such a one is worthy of him, not in­deed with such a worthinesse as God may expect but with [Page 14] such a worthinesse as he in ju­stice may accept: not with such a worthinesse by which he may deserue Christ, [...]t is an pos­sible to bee [...]ustifyed without Christ as to performe [...]ny thing which may deserue Christ. for then he would haue no need of him, seeing that worthinesse might aswell immediatly an­swere the justice of God with­out Christ, but with such a worthinesse as may fit him ha­ving need of Christ, and Christ being freely given him to re­ceiue him. What kinde of worthinesse is that? it is the worthinesse of faith working by loue, consisting in a tho­rough sense of the extreame misery of our greatest happi­nesse without Christ, in a cleare perswasion of the in­comparable worth of those things which wee are promi­sed in Christ, and in a well ad­vised resolution to doe or suf­fer any [...] thing that we may bee [Page 15] assured of our part in them.

But alas what worthinesse is there in all this? seeing that whatsoever wee can possibly doe or suffer for Christ in this life, is not, worthy to be com­pared with the glory which shall be revealed Rom. 8. 18. I answere there can be indeed no meritorious worthinesse in all this, but there is an ac­ceptable worthinesse: for by acceptance hee is worthy of whatsoever God does for him,There is a twofold worthines Acceptable and Mere­torious. who in some good mea­sure vnderstands the worth of his benefits and takes them to heart, desiring and endeavour­ing to giue him all the glory which hee intended for him­selfe in bestowing them. The principall thing God intends in doing good vnto any of his creatures is the glory of his goodnesse, if therefore his [Page 16] creature acknowledge his goodnesse proportionably in his benefits▪ desiring to value them all single at that high price, and in comparison one aboue another proportionably as the donor would haue hee should, hee restore vnto God that which he aimed at in his benefits, and is worthy of them with that worthinesse which a Creator may expect from a creature▪ It is not re­quired by God that any crea­ture should deserue his gifts. seeing an in­finite Creator which had need of nothing, cannot expect any thing from a finite creature hauing nothing but what hee first bestowed vpon it, but the glory of his benefits.

Now to draw neerer vnto the point: the greatest matter containing in it infinite varie­ty of wonders, which God from all eternity hath contri­ved by his wisdome, compas­sed [Page 17] by his power, bestowed by his goodnesse vpon mankinde to get himselfe as it were an infinite masse of glory which should suffice him through all eternity, was the sending of his owne sonne in our nature, on our behalfe to satisfie his justice.The Re­demption of man is the most admirable worke of God. This was that astoni­shing proiect, wherewith that invisible Lord blessed for ever intended in the fullest, com­pleatest measure to glorify all his attributes at once, and to make himselfe farre more ad­mirable then hee was in the creatiō & government of the world. This was that mistery which was hidden from ages and generations, in which God would make knowne the riches of his glory: Col. 1. 26. which holy men for many ages together saluted a farre off, and reioyced to see, though [Page 18] it were through a cloud, which the Angels themselues desire [...] ▪ most heedful­ly to prie into 1. Pet. 1. 10. out of their heavenly▪ places be­holding in the Church the ma­nifold wisdome of God. Ephes. 3. 10. This being so, whosoe­ver is admitted to see what i [...] the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath beene hid in God, v. 9. If he be so caught vp with admiration of it, that he grow presently into a loathing of all his other happinesse in com­parison of this; if at the sight of such a concourse of won­ders, he be so ravished out of himselfe, that hee care not what become of what he most doted on before, so that hee may get his part in that fel­lowship, I say, such a one is worthy of Christ, because hee [Page 19] giues God that glory which Christ meant to procure him, and therefore it will stand both with his wisdome and justice, to allot such a one his portion out of those vnsear­chable riches of Christ Ep. 3. 8. But on the contrary: whosoe­ver is admitted to the sight of the fellowship of the same mystery, if he can espy no such extraordinary excellency in it but that hee may keepe him­selfe as hee is, and hold fast what he hath, if he cā discerne no such superlatiue worth in it as may call in his thoughts from all other matters, and command their attendance vpon it selfe; if his affections continue still glued vnto such trash and mucke as they were fastened on before, in a word, if hee satisfy himselfe with such grosse conceits as these, [Page 20] that sure the things which are offered vs in Christ are excel­lent things, but offered vpon very hard tearmes,They who [...]ill not [...]ke Christ [...]n those [...]earmes he [...] offered, [...]hall never enioy him. and there­fore, perhaps other matters may be better for vs for the present, that those are mat­ters of another world and would bee good for vs when we are dead, but in the meane time it's▪ best for vs to make as much of our selues as wee can, and by Gods mercy wee may at length haue our part in those matters as well as those that keepe most stirre about them, (I say) such stupid sots are so strangely vnworthy of Christ, that God cannot doe them any good: his wisdome and his iustice will not suffer him: it would infinitely lesse become his wisdome to pro­stitute such treasures vnto the trampling of such swine, then [Page 21] it would become the wis­dome of a man to giue chil­dren Diamonds to play with, who will bee better pleased with cherrystones, or to feed hounds with the most costly dainties, which had rather be doing vpon carrion. It's like­wise impossible for his iustice to bestow his chiefest, choi­sest mercies vpon such brutes as will scarce take them for mercies, being not throughly perswaded that they haue a­ny need of them; did I say it will not stand with the justice of God to bestow his princi­pall mercies where they are thus brutishly vndervalued: nay hee that thus vndervalues thē must not carry it away so: the justice of God will not suf­fer him to let that man passe, without the most heavy and fearefull plagues that his om­nipotency [Page 22] can inflict, because it is the greatest affront and most intollerable despight, that such wormes can offer his impassible maiesty,They offer [...]he greatest affront to God, who scorne his loue. thus as much as in vs lies, to be foole his wisdome and even scorne his loue in that where hee thought to doe vs most good and himselfe most glory, wee forsooth can see no such great need of that, or extraordinary reason for this.

Nay you will say, but wee may value Gods loue in Christ very highly, albeit wee e­steeme some few things which our nature hath taken speciall likeing vnto before it? No such matter: Hee that e­steemes the dearest things he hath, suppose his owne life, but in the least degree aboue it, vndervalues it as much in effect as he that makes no ac­count [Page 23] of it at all: would any man say that hee esteemed a pearle who should preferre a barley-corne before it: yet there is some proportion be­tweene a barley-corne and a pearle, but none at all be­tweene our temporall life and that exceeding weight of glo­ry, treasured vp for vs by Gods loue in Christ. O this loue of God in sparing his owne son for our redemption, is so full of bottomlesse, fathomlesse mysteries, it is in such tran­scendent excesse infinite, that those multitudes of his bles­sings in our creation and pre­servation, inestimable too in themselues where with [...] day by day he loadeth vs Psal. 68. v. 19. (take them altogether) are not worth the talking off in comparison of this, nor as wee [Page 24] say to be named the same day with it; O this sending of Christ to dye for vs, when we were yet sinners, was that speciall, royal present where­with the King of heaven would commend his loue vn­to vs, as the Apostle excel­lently expresseth it Rom▪ 5. 8. In this saith Saint Iohn 1. 4. 9. was manifested the loue of God towards vs that he sent his one­ly begotten some into the world that we might liue through him manifested in this? Why, in what not? so it is in every bit of bread we eate, in every sup of aire we take in. O but the noblest blessings of this life are such poore curtesies in comparison of what we hope for by Christ, that Gods loue though most eminent too, doe's scarse appeare in them, being eclipsed by that most o­rient [Page 25] and everlasting blaze of his loue in Christ.

Wherefore to conclude my first consideration: it is no wonder if the justice of God, which is to see that his Glory receiue no damage, require that our esteeme of this his greatest mercy, which him­selfe values so farre aboue all his other mercies, should so far exceed our esteeme of any other matters though other­wise most excellent in them­selues and deare vnto vs, that our very esteeme of them may be but a disesteeme and a ha­tred if compared to our e­steeme of his loue in Christ.

Consid. 2. If a man professe never so much loue vnto Christ,The secō [...] Reason. if hee doe indeed pre­ferre him before never so ma­ny conveniences of this life, yet if hee loue but any one [Page 26] thing in the world never so little better then hee doth Christ, he doth him in effect as much dishonour as he that ne­ver lookes after him at all. Thus much I intimated be­fore; but what I did but touch vpon, and in reference to God the father, I will now ampli­fy with speciall references vnto God the sonne. It is all one,It is all one [...]ot to e­steeme Christ at al and to pre­ferre one though but one con­tentment before him. as I said before, not to e­steeme a pearle at all, and to esteeme it lesse worth then a barley-corne: in like manner, though wee preferre Christ before never so many profits and pleasures, yet if there re­maine behind one darling con­tentment which wee are re­solued to keepe whatsoever may become of his glory or our interest in him: wee doe in the issue esteeme him not at all, because wee still wit­tingly [Page 27] value him below that which is infinitely worse then dung in comparison of him. When a saleable commodity is offered vpon reasonable price, we vse to say that if it be not worth that, it's worth iust nothing: Now our part in Christ is so infinitely over­worth any thing that wee can possibly giue for it, that by farre better reason wee may say, that he that thinkes it not cheape bought with all that he hath even to his last breath, indeed thinkes it worth no­thing at all. Let a woman loue her husband better then a mil­lion of men, yet if shee loue but any one man in the world better then her husband, hee will giue her but little thankes for louing him aboue so many others.

But to amplify this point [Page 28] more distinctly, let vs briefly consider that transcendent pitch of loue we owe first vn­to the benefits of Christ; se­condly vnto his person; All those inestimable benefits which wee make account of by Christ may bee reduced to 2. heads 1. a ransome 2. an in­heritance. The ransome is from horrours and those tor­ments which are infinite for smart, variety and duration, which wee haue all deserved a thousand times over,Had the blessings procured by Christ beene infi­nitely lesse then they are, they had bin in­estimable. and therefore the case being thus with vs, though wee looked for nothing but such a ransome by our Saviour, though he had procured vs only this that af­ter this life wee should spend eternity in a Limbus vnac­quainted with any paine or pleasure, yea though hee had procured vs only the morta­lity [Page 29] of our soules, that they might perish with our bodies; I say this alone had beene be­yond all proportion, better for vs then the whole world: see­ing what would a thousand worlds doe vs good if after a while wee must bee packed out of them all into that place where we shall everlastingly curse the day that ever wee were borne or made reasona­ble creatures. But now that besides all this, wee make first account for an inheritance by him, an inheritance immortall, vndefiled, reserved in heaven for vs, seeing wee expected to be made heires with Christ in that glory which hee had with his father before the beginning of the world, of that glory, the least sparke of which if visible to bodily eyes would shame all the beauty, pompe and [Page 30] bravery of the world, and whatsoever the Magnifico's of the earth are proud of, it is a stupidity worse then any mad­nesse to conceiue, we esteeme sufficiently of such glorious hopes, if vpon deliberate choice we make much but of any one indearement of this life which may any way hin­der our assurance of them. 2. for our loue vnto the person of Christ, equity requires that we should loue him with a loue yet more overtopping then either our ransome or inheri­tance, and therefore it will be yet a more intollerable extre­mity of madnesse, to imagine we loue him with an accep­table degree of affection, as long as we dare to bring the most louely obiect that wee can picke out of the store­house of nature within the [Page 31] compasse of a comparison with him.Wee sh [...] loue Chr [...] person mor [...]e en [...] ­rely then [...] his benef [...] I say, reason requires that wee should loue his person more entire­ly then his benefits, that wee should preferre his glory be­fore eternall life it selfe. Our Saviour is contented that our feare of misery and desire of happines, should first enter vs into the loue of him, that til we know him better wee should loue him onely for our owne sakes and his benefits, but after that he hath sent his spirit to expound the mystery of his loue vnto vs more clearely, to make vs lay to heart not onely what he hath purchased for vs, but also how deare the pur­chase cost him, how though he was rich, yet for our sakes hee became poore that wee through his poverty might be made rich [Page 32] as the Apostle passionately de­liuers it, 2. Cor. 8. 9. how being every way equall with God, Phil. 2. 7. [...], he was faine to emptie and strip himselfe as it were of all his royaltie that he might compasse these great matters for vs, for whom hee had not the least reason to doe the least good: when his spirit hath effectually melted our hearts with these considerati­ons, [...] is a mer­ [...]nary loue [...] loue Christ chie­ [...]ly for our [...]wn salva­tion. we shall perceaue our lo­ving him chiefly for our owne salvation to be somewhat too grosse and mercenary loue, be­ing not much different from that of a woman who loues her joynture better then her hus­band, or that of a sonne, who loues his Father chiefly for his patrimony. And though hi­therto wee haue loued Christ only because wee hope to get by him, yet now that we know [Page 33] what the kisses of his mouth meane, that which we princi­pally loue in him is his loue, & hauing before loued the giuer for the gift, by a kinde of re­gresse in our affection, wee henceforth striue to loue gift for the giuer. But this point though many of Gods children knowe it to bee most reasona­ble, and haue found it most cō ­fortable, yet I knowe it will seeme to many both too rigide and too curious, and therefore I dismisse it.

All that hath beene deliue­red in my second consideratiō may bee summed vp in this excellent conclusion.So muc [...] only we loue Ch [...] as we lo [...] him be [...] then any [...] thing else▪ So much onely wee doe loue Christ as wee loue him more then any thing else besides though ne­ver so louely: 1. Because wee haue infinitely more reason to loue him then it is possible [Page 34] wee should haue to loue any thing else: and therefore it is not to be accounted loue vnto him, if wee can afford as much and more to something else: 2. Because if we loue but one thing better then we doe him, that one thing may force vs to despight, forsake, and betray him as accursedly as if we pre­ferred a hundred things before him: yea, hee that resoluedly preferres but one thing be­fore his communion with Christ will quickly be entrea­ted by his owne heart to pre­ferre more. He therefore that would certainely knowe how much hee loues his blessed Sa­viour, that would judge exact­ly of the measure of his loue vnto him, must not doe it by feeling the pulse as it were, or calculating the degrees of his affectiō vnto him; but by com­paring [Page 35] his affectiō vnto Christ with his affections vnto other matters, and considering how farre that hath got the start of these, and what overplus it hath beyond them all in the comparison; for so much and no more doth hee indeed loue Christ. For it deserues obser­vation: that we cannot judge of an affection by its single ex­ercises what it does alone by it selfe, but onely when it is brought within the lists, when it's put to wrestle for the ma­stery with other affections in the same heart. Where it comes to passe that of two af­fections of the same kinde, the weaker may proue the stron­ger, if seated in a heart, where as weake as it is, it hath the so­veraignty over all the other affections proportionally wea­ker then it selfe; and the stron­ger [Page 36] may proue the weaker if it dwell in such a heart, wherein it is overmatched with some one at least stronger then it selfe. Did I loue Christ Iesus with as eminent degree of loue as ever did the most reso­lute Martyr, yet were it possi­ble that I should loue any en­dearement of this life never so little beyond that pitch, my loue would be as good as none at all; yea the same measure of loue which made him a glori­ous Martyr, would not keepe me from being an accursed A­postate, seeing that if I were put to it, as he was, that I must either renounce my Saviour or my other contentment, this would hold me so fast, that it would make mee most despe­rately let him goe: and this would bee not because my loue vnto Christ was in it selfe [Page 37] weaker then the Martyrs: I supposed the contrary: but be­cause my affection vnto some­thing else was stronger then any affection in the Martyr, & too strong to be over-mastred by my loue vnto Christ.

But here some may put in a foolish question; though a Dis­ciple of Christ must not loue any thing better then his Ma­ster, yet may he not loue some things as well? I answere the conceipt is impossible. First, Because it is an impossibility, that for any continuance our affections should bee setled in an equall size vpon two ob­jects, which commonly fall crosse one to the other & may ever and anon bee brought in opposition one against the o­ther. Now whatsoever wee loue besides Christ vnlesse it be in subordination vnto him, [Page 38] either actually, when we par­ticularly thinke of it & intend it, or habitually, in the generall constant purpuse of our minds, wee loue it in opposition to him either explicite & direct, or implicite and interpreta­tiue, as the Schooles speake (that is) such neglect of him as he wil interpret opposition. All this we learne from him­selfe who hath pronounced it impossible that one mā should serue two masters, and his rea­son is, hee must needs hate the one, and loue the other, Math. 6. 24. 2. Wee may note that loue and the rest of the affecti­ons may bee considered two waies. 1. Physically, as they are qualities in the soule. 2. Morally, in respect of their motiues and other morallizing circumstances. Now suppose it were possible that wee [Page 39] should loue Christ and some worldy contentment which the very same degree of affe­ction,If we lo [...] any con­tentment [...] equally with Chri [...] [...]ee loue Christ in­deed farre lesse then that con­tentment. although these loues would bee equall considered naturally as qualities, yet con­sidered morally, our loue of Christ would be farre lesse thē our loue of the other content­ment: seeing our loue of that vpon small reasons would bee as great as our loue of Christ vpon the greatest reasons that ever were, or ever can bee to obserue and perswade the greatest loue. Thus in two cō ­siderations haue you heard ex­plained, confirmed, and ampli­fied this maine doctrine, who­soever hee bee that makes ac­count to bee the better for his profession of Christ.

Before I descend to appli­cation I suppose it expedient to vindicate this fundamentall [Page 40] point from some exceptions which it may be charged with by such as doe not or will not vnderstand it.The point [...] vindica­ [...]ed from [...]ome exce­ [...]tions.

In the first place, it may be objected, if none can get the rich pearle in the parable but he that will giue all hee hath for it: if none can haue his part in Christ but he that prizeth it aboue his life, and is ready to buy it with whatsoever is deare vnto him, what meanes then that Evangelicall procla­mation Esa. 55. 1, Ho every one that thirsteth come yee to the waters, and hee that hath no money; come and buy milk with­out money, and without price? What meanes that nuptiall in­vitation, Rev. 22. The spirit & the bride say come, and let him that heareth say come, & whoso­ever wil, let him take of the wa­ter of life freely. What are we [Page 41] invited and entreated to drink on free cost of the water of life, and yet must we venture our liues for it, and breake through a whole host of Phili­stines for it, as the Worthies of David did for the waters of Bethel. 2. Sam. 23. Are wee made beleeue that Christ is gi­ven vs freely, and yet must we buy him, and buy him with all that wee haue? I answere, 1. That proclamation in the Prophet, and invitation in the Apocalyps are not to be so vn­derstood, as if God required nothing on their parts who shall partake of his promises in Christ, but only to step forth and challenge them. The sense and scope of those places is this, whereas worldly com­modities though never so vaine and transitory cannot be gotten without price, so that [Page 42] he that is pennilesse must bee content to goe without them, those heavenly and everlasting commodities are attaineable to all sorts of men, as well to beggars as to Princes, poverty can hinder no man from buy­ing them, hee that hath not a penny may come and drinke as freely of the waters of life as he that hath coffers full. As God expects from vs whatso­ever we haue, so that which we haue for him shall serue the turne though it bee never so little, though wee haue no­thing but the shirt on our backes; but our naked, deseased carkasses, yet if we are willing to giue them for Christ, they shall bee sufficient pay. God turnes away no chapman be­cause hee cannot giue enough, but only because hee will not giue what he can. For if there [Page 43] be first a willing minde, God accepts according to that a mā hath and not according to that a man hath not, as it is spoken in another case. 2. Cor. 8. 12. 2. When wee are said to buy the pearle, to buy Christ with­all that wee haue, such like speeches are in no wise to bee vnderstood properly but Para­bolically; for in propriety of speech, when wee forsake all to winne Christ, wee doe not lay down any price vnto God for him, who hath giuen him for vs all and offered him to e­very one of vs most freely, on­ly we ridde our selues of such things as may hinder vs from receauing him being freely gi­ven. If one should offer mee handfulls of Gold▪ I for the present hauing my hands full of clay, I should quickly be rid of the clay that I may finger [Page 44] the gold, yet I doe not pay him for his gold with my clay, but only prepare my selfe to re­ceaue it. In like manner there being an infinitely greater dis­proportion betweene Christ and the most pretious com­modities that wee can forgoe for him; then there is between gold and clay when wee dis­member our selues of any thing that wee may make roome for Christ, wee doe not purchase him, but prepare to entertaine him comming of his owne accord vnto vs.

[...] But is it so in earnest, will some say? must every mā that will bee the better for Christ, be willing to loose his owne life for him? This is worse then all the rest, why then, vpon the point, none can bee saued but Martyrs. I an­swer, wee may safely affirme [Page 45] that none are saued but Mar­tyrs; Martyrs either actually or habitually▪ Whether any can be saued but Martyrs▪ hauing faith e­nough to encourage and loue to constraine them to be Mar­tyrs, if the honour of their pro­fession should require it. If this assertion make any mans eares to tingle, I knowe not why the hearing of my Text should not be as offensiue vnto him, or the reading of divers other speeches of our Sauiour, requiring a resolued dise­steeme and contempt of life in any man whosoeuer hee be that dares to set his hand to his plough, or seriously set his face towards heauen.

There is a Popish scribler not worth the naming in a pulpit, who would perswade vs that these speeches of our Saviour are not precepts of necessity vnto all that shall be [Page 46] saued by him, but onley coun­sells of perfection to such as will not bee contented to bee doore-keepers in heauen, but ayme at some higher place. For my part I cannot expresse how injurious I conceaue this glosse, as well to our Saviours person, as to his doctrine. But if any man present to set his owne heart at quiet, bee wil­ling to bee of this fellowes mind, I leaue him three things to pause vpon. 1. Our Saviour did not speake thus much only to some select, forward men, only to his speciall Disciples, but as it is in the verse prece­dent, there went great multi­tudes after him, and he turned and said vnto them, If any man, &c. But perhaps though hee addresse his discourse to them altogether, yet hee intended it not to each of them single. No, [Page 47] what then meane the first words of my Text, If any man &c. what meanes the conclu­sion of his discourse, verse, 33. So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be my Disci­ple. 2. The considerations which shew the equity of those conditions required by our Saviour, the reasons indu­cing him to require so great a measure of loue, as you haue heard before, equally▪ concern every man, and therefore there is no reason why wee should imagine that our Saviour pro­posed these hard tearmes only to some few & not to all that would haue any interest in him. 3. Contempt of life in comparison of a communion with Christ is most vniversal­ly requisite in all sorts of men. 1. Because the Church never [Page 48] enioyes such a calme, but a ter­rible storme may vnexpected­ly dash it away, and therefore there is no man though borne in the most peaceable time of the Gospell, but ere the glasse of his life bee runne out, hee may be over taken with a fiery triall. 2. Yea there is no pro­fessour of the Gospell, though hee liue and dye during the publike tranquillity of it, yet he may privately bee brought to that plunge, that he must ei­ther hazard his life, or else in some fearefull, horrible maner against his conscience disho­nour Christ Iesus. 3. Many may take away our liues which cannot take away our other contentments, as Popish Assascinats haue depriued Kings of their liues when they could not of their kingdomes. It is certaine that whosoever [Page 49] cares not for his owne life is master of another mans, & by consequent of any mans reli­gion that loues his life better then hee doth it. How easie were it for a Ruffian that had no religion of his own▪ to pull such a one into a corner and with a naked blade to make him forsweare his religion, as often as he pleased, yea if the tricke were in vse, such a one might be robbed of his religi­on vpon the high way seeing any man that were so disposed with a Pistol at his brest might make him deliuer vp his faith with as much hast as his purse.

3▪ It may bee replied if e­very follower must loue him more then his owne life, then it seemes that the weakest Christian, if indeed a Christian must loue him as much as the most renowned Apostles, see­ing [Page 50] the best of them all could loue him no more then so, for greater loue then this hath no man then that he lay downe his life for his friend, witnesse Christ Iesus himselfe, Iohn. 15 13. It seemes likewise that all must haue an equall portion of faith; both which conse­quencies palpably contradict both Scripture and experi­ence. I answere first without question all that shall be saued must bee saued by the same faith, viz: by faith of the same nature, though not in the same quantitie. Now that which breeds the mistake in this ob­jection, is a conceipt▪ that to loue Christ more then our liues proceeds not from the nature of saving faith simply considered, but from some e­minent degree of it, which cō ­ceipts is erronious. For it is ve­ry [Page 51] observable, that the nature of faith, if true and saving, bee the degree of it never so small necessarily includes thus much: it being an assent vnto all Scripture revelations, espe­cially vnto the Gospell pro­mises, as most true and good in themselues, and farre better in the choice then any profits or pleasures in the world, yea thē life or whatsoever may swee­ten it vnto vs. Whence an in­comparable writer of our own who hath dived profoundly into the nature of justifying faith, hath weaued the words of David, Ps. 63. Thy louing kindnesse is better then life, into his compleat definition of that faith whereby the iust doe liue. 2. Though all the Disci­ples of Christ must assent to so much be their faith, & expresse if need bee, so much by their [Page 52] loue, yet according as those tasts and relishes of heaven imprinted in their soule by the spirit, vpon which the assent of faith, and fervency of loue are grounded are more or lesse liuely and pleasant, the faith and loue of Christi­ans admit sundry degrees and measures: but not properly in regard of their esteeme of the object, (for all, as I haue shew­ed, must esteeme it better then life) but in respect of the radi­cation and setling of this e­steeme in themselues▪ so that howsoever all faithfull Chri­stians iudge and esteeme their hopes by Christ to bee better then life, yet they may bee more or lesse in their iudge­ment, and those apprehensions which cause this esteeme may be more or lesse cleere and di­stinct. 3. Tis true, that to dye [Page 53] for the profession of Christ is the greatest possible expressi­on of loue vnto him, for the matter of it there may bee great diversity▪ and according­ly by severall degrees of faith, and loue may bee expressed by it. Amongst so many thousands as haue beene crowned with martyrdome in Primitiue and latter times, no doubt but there was infinite variety of degrees of faith and loue, all which had but one common expression for the matter; but for the ma­ner of it, some laid down their liues more cheerefully and triumphantly reioycing that it was giuen to them, not only to beleeue, but also to suffer: o­thers with more deliberation, staggering, & reluctancy some with Peter denied Christ di­vers times before they would dye for him, recanted a [...]iured, [Page 54] and runne through a hundred of base sights before they would come to the stake, others behaued themselues more honourably & heroical­ly, and being glad of such spee­dy conveyance to heaven died with a kinde of Angelicall Majestie.

To drawe towards a con­clusion: if any honest tender heart, which vses to tremble at the word, and to mourne for its own infirmities, be brought into dumps by this doctrine, causing it to thinke thus with it selfe; if every one that loues Christ to any purpose must loue him better then life, and be able to dye for him, then sure al my loue vnto him is no­thing worth▪ [...] When I am in my best moodes his louing kindnesse is dearer vnto mee then thousands of gold and sil­ver, [Page 55] and I am of Davids mind that it is better then life, but yet if my life were in question for it, I know not what would become of me, sure I should never hold out but flinch most shamefully. For comfort and direction vnto such a soule I commend these considerati­ons. 1. This feare of flinch­ing is a good signe, that thou wouldest not flinch for feare: you know what Peters loud protestation (though all men forsake thee yet will not I) came to not long after, you know the story of Dr Pendle­ton, or you may reade it in Mr Fox, vnlesse thy life were exceeding deare vnto thee, it would be no such great te­stimony of thy loue vnto him, to part with it for his sake; vnlesse death were very ter­rible, Martyrdome would [Page 56] not bee either such an ac­ceptable sacrifice vnto God, or glorious wonder amongst men. To feare martyr­dome, yea and to pray a­gainst it with submission vnto Gods will, is warranted by our Saviours owne example, when he prayed so earnestly, that if it were possible the Cup might passe away from him, but still with submission vnto his fathers pleasure. That place concerning our Saviour, Heb. 5. 7. is very remarkable, who in the daies of his flesh, when he had offered vp prayers and supplications, with strong crying and teares vnto him, that was able to saue him from death, and was heard in that he feared. I stand not vpon the words in that hee feared, for indeed the construction of the words [...], is very [Page 57] vncertaine, that which I espe­cially note, is, that it is said here, our Saviouor was heard how was hee heard? Marke how, and thence will spring a second branch of comfort. His Father heard him, not in re­mouing the Cup from him, but in strengthning▪ him to drinke it with victory: so art thou sure to be heard, if thou prayest as hee did: either the Cup shall bee removed from thee, or sweetned vnto thee. Remember withall, that God is never more for vs, then when wee are most for him, that his glory lies at stake as well as thy life, and that hee is more curious of that, then thou canst bee of this. God is faithfull who will no [...] suffer vs to be tempted aboue that we are able; but will with the tempta­tion also make away to escape [Page 58] that we may be able to beare it. 1. Cor. 10. 13. Remember that thy Saviour hath had ex­perience of all the amazemets and horrors of death when he suffered it for the [...]e, and there­fore cannot forget, both to pitty and succour thee when thou art to suffer it▪ for him: for in that he himselfe hath suf­fered being tempted he is able to succour them that are tempted, as the Apostle sweetly infers, Heb. 2. 18.

Lastly, let mee commend this caution vnto the tremb­ling soule; Anxious distrustfull care for the future in matters of the soule, is more disho­nourable and displeasing vnto God, then in matters of the body. Remember therefore thy Saviours advice, care not for to morrow, let that care for it selfe. Afflict not thy selfe [Page 59] with such sad supposals, what if Queene Maries daies should come againe; what if I should bee brought before such a fellow as Bonner, re­member thy Saviours reason for his advice, sufficient for the day is the evill thereof. Which as it is too true for matters of this life, so it's much more true in businesse of our spirituall life. If thou art indeed entred into a covenant with God, if thou hast seriously and advi­sedly resolued to liue the rest of thy time in the flesh by the faith of the sonne of God who hath loued thee and giuen himselfe for thee, if thou art indeed one who knowes what an infinite, endlesse, vnwea­ried diligence is required to a constant, close walking with God, why then thou hast e­very day, every houre, omissi­on [...] [Page 60] and commissions to looke vnto, thou hast continuall swarmes of thoughts, words, and actions most warily, and precisely to watch over, thou must tread every step as nice­ly and gingerly, as if thou wentest amongst sna [...]es, and walkedst vpon pinnacles, thou must ever and anon chaine vp thy beloued affections shorter, and deale roughly with those lusts, which perhaps are as deare vnto thee as thy life. What hast thou thus▪ much bu­sinesse every day; and hast thou time to make suppositions for the future, and to torment thy selfe with presages? Let to morrow care for it selfe: ab­staine from fleshly lusts which fight against thy soule and most dangerously in times of peace: stand vpon thy gard against thy sinnes of daily incursion, [Page 61] against such temptations as are incident to thy present condition, in simplicity of heart resigne thy selfe vp vnto him, that hath loued thee and given himselfe for thee, and thou be confident, that neither life nor death, neither things present nor things to come shall ever be able to separate thee from him: this being most certaine that he that does in­deed liue by faith, hath that in him, which, if need should be, will enable him to die in it & for it.

But what reason had I then at this time to trouble mens heads with such a thorny dis­course of Martyrdome? I an­swere. 1. The habite of Mar­tyrdome, as I haue shewed, is included in the most funda­mentall principle of Christia­nity, loue of Christ better [Page 62] then our selues, selfe resigna­tion or deniall: and therefore they deserue no answere but silence, who shall thinke a dis­course of it at any time to bee harsh and vnseasonable. 2. As the Prophet Ezechiel fore­warned the Iewes, Wee haue had mischiefe vpon mischiefe, and rumor vpon rumor, and if mischiefe and rumors continue and multiply vpon vs as fast as they haue done of late, the daies may bee sooner vpon vs then wee are aware, when there may be too much occa­sion to practise this point and no time to preach it. The Lord open our eyes and change our hearts, the Lord of his mercy order matters for vs, above all that wee are able to aske or thinke, contrary to the cry of our sinnes, contrary to proba­bilities, that the event may [Page 63] proue such discourses vnseaso­nable. Here now should fol­low a large application of the maine doctrine branched into divers vses, but that if God giue leaue shall ere long be the exercise of another houre.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.