THE BREAST-PLATE OF FAITH AND LOVE.

A Treatise, Wherein the ground and exer­cise of FAITH and LOVE, as they are set upon Christ their Object, and as they are expres­sed in Good Workes, is explained. Delivered In 18. Sermons upon three severall Texts, By the late faithfull and worthy Minister of Iesus Christ, IOHN PRESTON, Dr. in Divinity, Chaplaine in ordinary to his Maiesty, Master of Emmanuel Colledge in Cam­bridge, and sometimes Preacher of Lincolnes Inne.

But let us who are of the day be sober, put­ting on the breastplate of Faith and Love,

1 Thes 5.8.

What will it profit, my Brethren, if a man say he have faith, and hath not workes? Can faith save him?

Iames 2.14.

LONDON, Printed by W. I. for Nicolas Bourne, and are to be solde at the South En­trance of the Royall Exchange. 1630

ILLVSTRISSIMO, NOBILISSIMOQVE VIRO, ROBERTO COMITI WARVVICENCI, IOHANNIS PRESTONI S. T. D. ET COLLEGII IMMANVELIS Q. MAGISTRI (CVIVS TVTELAE, DVM IN VIVIS ESSET, PRIMOGENITVM SVVM, IN DISCIPLINAM, ET LITERIS EXPOLIENDVM, TRADIDIT) POSTHVMORVM TRACTATVVM PARTEM, DE NATVRA FIDEI, EIVSQVE EFFICACIA, DEQVE AMORE, ET OPERIBVS BONIS, DEVOTISSIMI, TAM AVTHORIS, DVM VIVERET, QVAM IPSORVM QVI SVPERSVNT, OBSEQVII TESTIMONIVM M. D. D. D.

  • RICHARDVS SIBS.
  • IOHANNES DAVENPORT.

To the Christian Reader.

Christian Reader,

INnumerable are the sleights of Satan, to hinder a Christian in his course towards Hea­ven, by exciting the corruption of his own heart to disturbe him, when he is about to doe any good; or by discouraging him with inward terrours, when he would solace himselfe with heavenly comforts; or by disheartening him under the feares of sufferings, when hee should be resolute in a good cause. A type whereof were the Israelites, whose servitude was redoubled, when they turned themselves to forsake Aegypt: Wherefore we have much neede of Chri­stian fortitude, according to that direction; Watch ye, stand fast, quit your selves like men: 1 Cor. 16.13. especi­ally since Satan, like a Serpentine Crocodile pursu­ed, is by resistance put to flight.

But, as in warres, (which the Philistines knew well in putting their hope in Goliah) the chiefe strength of the Souldiers lyeth in their Captaine, so in spirituall conflicts, all a Christians strength is in Christ, and from him. For, before our conversion, we [Page] were of no strength: since our conversion, we are not sufficient of our selves to think a good thought. And, to worke out from the Saints all selfe-confidence, God, by their falls teacheth them, To rejoyce in the Lord Iesus, and to have no confidence in the flesh.

Whatsoever Christ hath for us is made ours by Faith, which is the hand of the soule enriching it by receiving Christ, who is the treasure hid in the field, and with him, those unsearchable riches of grace, which are revealed and offered in the Gos­pell: Yea it is part of our spirituall armour. That which was fabulously spoken of the race of Gyants, is truly said of a Christian, hee is borne with his ar­mour upon him;1 Thes. 5, 8. [...] Eph. 6.16. [...] of [...]. as soone as hee is regenerate hee is armed. Its called a Breast-plate, because it pre­serves the heart, a long, large shield, (as the word signifieth) which is usefull to defend the whole man from all sorts of assaults: Which part of spirituall armor, and how it is to be managed, is declared in the former part of the ensuing Treatise, in ten Sermons.

Now, as all rivers returne into the sea, whence they came, so the beleeving soule, having received all from Christ, returneth all to Christ. For thus the be­leever reasoneth. Was Gods undeserved, unexpected love such to me, that he spared not his onely begotten [Page] Sonne, but gave him to die for mee? Its but aequall that I should live to him, die for him, bring in my strength, time, gifts, liberty, all that I have, all that I am, in his service, to his glory. That affe­ction, whence these resolutions arise, is called Love, which so inclineth the soule, that it moveth in a di­rect line towards that obiect, wherein it expecteth contentment. The soule is miserably deluded in pur­suing the winde, and in taking ayme at a flying fowle, whilest it seekes happinesse in any crea­ture: which appeares in the restlesnesse of those irregular agitations, and endlesse motions of the mindes of ambitious, voluptuous and covetous persons, whose frame of spirit is like the lower part of the elementary region, the seate of windes, tem­pests and earthquakes, full of unquietnesse; whilest the beleevers soule, like that part towards heaven, which is alwayes peaceable and still, enioyeth true rest and ioy. And indeed the perfection of our spirits cannot be but in union with the chiefe of spirits, which communicateth his goodnesse to the creature according to its capacity. This affection of Love, as it reflecteth upon Christ, being a fruit and effect of his love to us apprehended by faith, is the subiect of the second part of the following Treatise in 7. Sermons.

The iudicious Authour out of a piercing insight [Page] into the methods of the Tempter, knowing upon what rockes the faith of many suffers shipwracke; that neither the weak Christian might lose the com­fort of his faith, through want of evidences, nor the presumptuous rest upon a fancy in stead of faith, nor the adversaries be emboldened to cast upon us, by reason of this doctrine of Iustification by faith one­ly, their wonted nicknames of Soli-fidians, and Nulli-fidians; throughout the whole Treatise, and more especially in the last Sermon, he discourseth of good Workes, as they arise from faith and love. This is the summe of the faithfull and fruitfull la­bours of this Reverend, learned and godly Minister of the Gospell, who whilest he lived was an exam­ple of the life of faith and love, and of good workes, to so many as were acquainted with his aequall and even walking in the wayes of God, in the severall turnings and occasions of his life. But it will be too much iniury to the godly Reader to be detained lon­ger in the porch. Wee now dismisse thee to the rea­ding of this profitable worke, beseeching God to in­crease faith, and to perfect love in thy heart, that thou maist be fruitfull in good workes.

Thine in our Lord Iesus Christ, RICHARD SIBS. IOHN DAVENPORT.

OF FAITH. The first Sermon.

ROM. 1.17.

For by it the righteousnesse of God is reuealed from Faith to Faith: As it is written, The iust shall liue by Faith.

IN the words I haue read vnto you, Paul tels them that he is not ashamed of the Gospell of CHRIST. For it was a shame to him, partly, because the very substance of the Gospell was then persecution; and partly, because he was plaine in speech; hee came not with excellency of words, or mans wisedome; and therefore you may obserue what adoe he had to defend himselfe in his [Page 2] Epistles to the Corinthians, a wise people, who partly hated, and partly despised his manner of deliuery: but, saith hee, I am not ashamed of it, for it is the power of God to saluation: it is that which, being receiued, will bring men to heauen; being rejected, will shut men vp in Hell; and therefore it is of no small moment. He giues a reason in these words, why it is the power of GOD to saluation: For, saith he, by it the righteousnesse of God is reuealed. That is, the righteousnesse which is of GOD, which on­ly GOD accepts, and by which alone men can be saued, is reuealed by the Gospell, and no other way.

But to what purpose is this reuealed, if I know not how to come by it? Many things are reuealed, but how shall I know that they are mine? Therefore he addes, it is the power of God to saluation, to euery one that beleeues. As it is reuealed by the Gospell, so something is to be done on our part; as GOD manifests it, exposes it, and layes it open, so you must re­ceiue it by faith.

I, but I haue not so strong a faith, I cannot beleeue as I would, and as I should. Sayes he, Faith hath degrees, it is reuealed from faith to faith. That is, one receiues it in one degree, and the same afterward receiues it in a greater degree, and so forward. All are alike iustifi­ed, but there is difference in Faith, some is stronger, some is weaker, which I will after­ward shew at large.

[Page 3]The point to be gathered out of these words is this: ‘That Righteousnesse by which alone we can be saued now in the time of the Gospell,Doct. is reuealed and offered to all that will take it.’

When you heare this, it may be, at the ve­ry reading, you may not haue such a conceit of the thi [...]g as you should haue: but it is not a matter of light moment, but an exceeding great thing to see the righteousnesse of GOD reuealed. It is the great, glorious mysterie of the Gospell, which the Angels desire to pry into, which made Paul in his Ministery so glo­rious, which swallowed vp his thoughts, that he could not tell how to expresse it: that now in this last Age, Christ hath reuealed through vs the vnsearchable Riches of his Grace, that is, Riches which I know not how to expresse. Therefore hee prayes that God would open their eyes, that they might comprehend with all the Saints, the height, and length, and breadth of that Redemption, which Christ hath wrought for them. It is past a full com­prehension, yet he prayes that they may com­prehend it in such a measure as is possible, though there is a height, and breadth, and depth therein, which could not be measured. And this is it that is reuealed to the soules of men, the scaping of Hell and death, this free accesse to the Throne of Grace, which none [Page 4] before had; this liberty to be made sonnes of GOD, an heyres of heauen, yea, Kings and Priests to GOD, and making good of all pro­mises, and the entayling of them to our poste­rity, and making them Yea and Amen. All this, I say, is now reuealed, which before was not.

2. It is said to bee reuealed, (marke that) partly, because this of all other things was ne­uer written in the hearts of men. The Morall Law was written therein, but they had not the least inckling, the least creuice of light to see this; partly, because it is now opened in a larger measure then it was heretofore, in the times of the Prophets: the doore was a little open before, but now it is wide open, and no­thing is hid from the soules of men, that is ne­cessary for them to know.

Againe, it is reuealed not onely in regard of the Preachers that make it knowne, but likewise in regard of them that heare it: for there is a greater measure of the Spirit of Re­uelation dispensed vnder the Gospell. There­fore, Eph. 1.18.Eph. 1.1 [...]. the Apostle prayes that the eyes of their vnderstanding might be opened, that they might know what is the hope of their Calling, and the riches of his glorious inheritance in the Saints. For what is it to haue a light shining, if their eyes be shut to whom it shines? So the thing reuealed is the Righteousnesse of God. And lastly, it is that Righteousnesse, by which alone men can be saued.

[Page 5]This is the maine point, which that you may vnderstand,6. Questions about this righteousnes. I will open, by answering these 6. Questions.

  • 1. How this righteousnesse of GOD, or, which is accepted of GOD, saues.
  • 2. How it is offered to vs.
  • 3. To whom it is offered.
  • 4. Vpon what qualifications.
  • 5. How it is made ours.
  • And lastly, What is required of vs, when we haue it. These hang one on another, but for memory sake I haue thus distinguished them.

First: How doth it saue?1. Quest. How it saueth. I answer: 1. This righteousnes saues after the same manner that the vnrighteousnesse of Adam did condemne: let vs set these two together, and the thing will be plaine.

First,Ans. 1. as Adam was one man, yet the com­mon roote of all mankinde, of whom all that are guilty of death, and shall be damned, must be borne: so CHRIST, the second Adam, stands as a publike person, and the Root of all that shall be ingrafted into, and borne of him.

Secondly, as Adams first vnrighteousnes, the first sinne he committed, is communica­ted to men, and made theirs by imputation; and not so onely, but by inherencie also; (for it hath bred in them originall sinne:) After the same manner, and by the same equity, the righteousnesse that Christ wrought, is made ours by imputation, and this imputatiue righ­teousnesse of Christ worketh a righteousnesse [Page 6] which qualifies the person, and is inherent in vs. Lastly, as after this vnrighteousnes comes death, which rules and raignes in vs, bringing euery thing into subjection, so that all the comforts men possesse are ouercome in some degree, while we liue here; (all sicknesses, and troubles, and crosses, being as so many skir­mishes which Death hath with vs, before the maine Battell comes:) So in CHRIST life raignes ouer all, and brings all into subjection to him: that is, it brings all the troubles man sustaineth, all the enemies he hath, yea death and sinne into subjection, by degrees in this life, and after death perfectly. There is a com­parison made in Rom. 5.14.Rom. 5.14. which you shall finde more fully to expresse, and more largely to set this out then I haue done. The first A­dam was a figure of him that was to come, and 1 Cor. 15.45.1 Cor. 15.45. CHRIST is called the second Adam; now you doe see the miserable fruit of Adams fall, you see by lamentable expe­rience, what originall sinne is, and how much it hath corrupted vs; why then should you thinke it a strange thing, that the righteous­nesse of CHRIST should be imputed? A­gaine, Death, you see, raignes ouer all by one, Why then will not you beleeue that life shall reigne ouer all men, that is, bring e­uery enemy of ours into subjection by the o­ther? For the righteousnesse of one saues, as the vnrighteousnesse of the other condemnes.

Answ. 2.Another expression I finde in 2 Cor. 5.21.2 Cor. 5.21. [Page 7] As CHRIST was made sinne for vs, who knew no sinne, so are we made the righteousnesse of God in him. That is, though CHRIST was a man without sinne in himselfe, yet our sinne was imputed to him, and hee was by GOD recko­ned as a sinner; and then he kils him, put­ting our curse vpon him: so to vs that are free from righteousnesse, CHRIST is made righ­teousnesse, so that GOD lookes on vs as if wee had performed perfect righteousnesse, and when that is done, he saues vs. And so much for the first Question.

But now when we heare that this righteous­nesse saues,2. Quest. How we shall come by it. the Question is, How shall wee come by it? In that it saues, it is good and comfortable, but it may saue some men, and yet I haue no share nor part in saluation?

I answer,Ans. It is freely giuen to vs, euen as Fathers giue Lands and Inheritances to their children, and as Kings giue Pardons and Ti­tles, and Honours, and Riches, out of their clemencie, because they will, to shew their magnificence, and goodnesse to their Sub­jects; So doth GOD giue this righteousnesse. As you shall finde it expressed,Esay 9.6. Esay 9.6. To vs a Childe is borne, to vs a Sonne is giuen: a place worth your marking and obseruation. And Iohn 3.16.Ioh. 3.16. GOD so loued the World, that he gaue his onely begotten Sonne, Rom. 5.17. &c. And Rom. 5.17. it is called the Gift of Righteousnesse. That is, a thing which GOD freely, simply, voluntarily, and onely because hee will, [Page 8] bestowes on men, not looking on any worthi­nesse in them of the same: (as we say, nothing is so free as gift.) The passage is this: For, if through the offence of one, Death raigned in all, much more they which receiue abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousnes, shal raign in life by one Iesus Christ. So that GOD giues it freely out of his meere loue, without any other motiue or end, but to shew his magnificence, and to make manifest in the Ages to come, the vn­searchable riches of CHRIST, the great and exceeding glorious riches that he hath proui­ded for them that loue him.

Reasons why it is by gift.But what is the reason that God will haue it communicated to the sonnes of men no other way but by gift?Rom. 4.5. You shall see it, Rom. 4.5. that it is for these causes:

1 First, That no man might boast in himselfe, but that he that reioyceth may reioyce in the Lord. If any other bargaine or manner of conuey­ance had beene made, wee should haue had something to boast of, but comming meerely from God as a gift, we haue cause to glory in 2 God, and nothing else. Againe, it is a gift, that men may learne to depend vpon GOD for it: GOD will haue no man challenge it as due; for 3 it is a meere Grace. Lastly, it is a gift, that it may be sure to all the seede. If there had been any thing required at our hands, This doe, ful­fill this Law, and you shall haue this righte­ousnesse, it had not beene sure, nay none had beene saued: for by the Law is transgression [Page 9] and wrath, but being by gift, it is firme and sure to all the seed: for when a thing is freely giuen, and nothing expected, but taking it, and thanksgiuing for it, what is more sure?

But,3. Quest. To whom it is giuen. when you heare this righteousnesse is giuen, the next Question will be, To whom is it giuen? If it be onely giuen to some, what comfort is this to me?

But (which is the ground of all comfort) it is giuen to euery man,Ans. there is not a man ex­cepted; for which we haue the sure Word of GOD, which will not faile. When you haue the Charter of a King well confirmed, you rec­kon it of great moment. What is it then, when you haue the Charter of GOD himselfe? which you shall euidently see in these two places, Mark. Mark. 16.15. vlt. 15. Goe and preach the Gospell to euery creature vnder Heauen: What is that? Go and tell euery man without exception, that there is good newes for him, Christ is dead for him, and if he will take him, and accept of his righ­teousnesse, he shall haue it; restraine it not, but go and tel euery man vnder haeuen. The other Text is Reu. vlt. Whosoeuer will, Reu. 22.17. let him come, and take of the waters of life freely. There is a gui­cunque vult, whosoeuer will come, (none ex­cepted) may haue life, and it shall cost him no­thing. Many other places of Scripture there be, to proue the generality of the offer: and hauing a sure Word for it, consider it.

But if it be objected,Obiect. It is giuen only to the Elect, and therefore not to euery man.

[Page 10] Ans. 1.I answer, when we haue a sure word that it is giuen to euery man vnder Heauen, without any restraint at all, why should any except himselfe? Indeed when Christ was offered, freely to euery man, and one receiued him, another reiected him, then the Mystery of E­lection and reprobation was reuealed; the rea­son why some receiued him being, because GOD gaue them a heart, which to the rest hee gaue not; but, in point of offering of Christ, we must be general without hauing respect to Election. For otherwise the Elect of CHRIST should haue no ground for their faith, none knowing he is elected vntill he hath beleeued and repented.

But Christs righteousnesse being offered to men in state of vnregeneration, How shall I know it belongs to me? There is no other ground but this Syllogisme. This righteousnes belongs to euery man that beleeues: but I be­leeue, therefore it belongs to me. Therefore, though it be applyed onely to the beleeuers, yet it must be offered to euery man.

Answ. 2. Againe, we are bound to beleeue that the thing is true, before we can beleeue our share in it; we doe not therefore make it true be­cause we beleeue; but our beleeuing presup­poseth the object of our Faith, which is this, that CHRIST is giuen: now the very beleeuing doth not cause Christ to be giuen; but he is gi­uen, and therefore we beleeue. In all actions the object is in order of nature before the [Page 11] action it selfe; my beliefe makes not a thing true, but it is true in it selfe, and therefore I beleeue it. It being true that CHRIST is of­fered to all men, therefore I beleeue that I am reconciled and adopted, and that my sinnes are forgiuen.

Againe,Ans. 3. if he should not be offered to eue­ry man, we could not say to euery man, if thou dost beleeue thou shalt be saued; but this we may say to all, euen to Iudas, if thou beleeuest, Iudas, thou shalt be saued.

Againe,Ans. 4. if it were not offered to all, then wicked men should bee excluded as much as the Deuils; but Christ tooke their nature on him, therfore it is possible for them, if they beleeue, to be saued.

But how differs this from the doctrine of the Aduersaries;Obiect. for they also say that Christ is offered equally to all:

I answer,Ans. In 2 respects: (not to run through all) The first is this, We say, Though CHRIST be offered, and freely giuen to all, yet GOD in­tends him onely to the Elect. They say, His intention is the same to all, to Iudas as to Peter. The other is, They affirme, that as CHRIST is offered to all men, so all men haue sufficient grace to receiue him, there is an ability by that aswell as a freedom, and vniuersality in the offer. This we altogether deny. Though Christ be giuen to all, yet the gift of faith is a fruit of Election. God giues faith and repentance, and ability to receiue him, where hee pleaseth. [Page 12] The gate is open to all, we shut out none; but none will come in, but those whom GOD ina­bles. A Pardon may be offered to all, and yet none accept it, but those whose mindes GOD hath inclined. Therefore that he is offered to all it is without question. They that question it, doe it because they doe not vnderstand the Doctrine of our Diuines; for we propound it no otherwise in substance then they doe, only we differ in the method: but it will be your wisdome to looke to that which will be of vse, and yeeld comfort when you come to dye. As this you may build on, The Gospel is prea­ched to euery creature vnder heauen, & there­fore I haue my share in it. If a Pardon be of­fered to some, whose names alone are inserted therein, you cannot say on any good ground, I I am pardoned: but when the Pardon is gene­rall, and offered to all, then I can beleeue the Pardon belongs to me. Were it onely to the Elect, whose names are written in the pardon, we should first enquire whether we be elect or no, but that's not the method. Build you on the sure promise, they that are pardoned, shall take hold of it, they that take not hold of it, shall be excluded.

4. Quest.The next thing a man will desire to know, is this.Vpon what qualifications it is giuen. What qualifications are expected? Doth not GOD require to finde something in vs, if he giue it vs?

Ans.I answer, that it is offered to all, and no qualification at all is required as praeexistent [Page 13] to be found in vs, but any may come and take it. GOD requires no qualification as concer­ning our sinnes; he saith not, you shall be par­doned, so your sinnes be of such a number, or of such a nature, but though they be neuer so many, though of neuer so extraordinary a na­ture, though they may be aggrauated with all the circumstances that can be, yet there is no exception at all of you, the pardon runnes in generall termes, This is the Lambe of God that taketh away the sinnes of the world. And seeing it is in generall termes, why will you inter­line and restraine it? You see it runnes in ge­nerall, and so you may take it.

And as it is propounded generally, so is it generally executed: 1 Cor. 6.9.1 Cor. 6.9. you shall finde, the greatest sinnes that can bee named are there pardoned: Be not deceiued, you know how no fornicator, nor adulterer, nor vncleane person, &c. shall enter into the Kingdome of God, and such were some of you: but now you are iusti­fied, now you are sanctified, now you are washed. Though they had committed the greatest sinnes, you see, it is generally executed, with­out exception.

But there is another sort of qualification. Is there not something first to bee done? I know, that though I haue committed all the sinnes of the world, yet they shall not preju­dice my pardon; but I must doe something to qualifie mee for it. No, not any thing as antecedareous and precedent to the pardon; [Page 14] it is onely required of thee to come with the hand of faith, and receiue it in the middest of all thy vnworthinesse, whatsoeuer it be, lay hold on the pardon, and embrace it, and it shall be thine.

1. Obiect.But you will object, then to what end is the Doctrine of humiliation? to what end is the Law preached to be a Schoolmaster, if no qualification be required?

Ans. 1.I answer, humiliation is not required as a qualification; for no teares of ours can giue satisfaction. And againe, it hath beene found in a Reprobate; For Iudas had it. Neither is it any part of sanctification.

But how is it required then?

Ans. 2.As that without which we will not come to CHRIST. As for example, If wee say to a man, The Physician is ready to heale you; before you will be healed, you must haue a sense of your your sicknesse: this sence is not required by the Physician: (for the Physician is ready to heale him) but if hee be not sicke, and haue a sence of it, he will not come to the Physician. If at a generall Dole it be proclai­med, let all come hither that be hungry,Simile. a man is not excluded if hee be not hungry, but else he will not come: therefore we preach, that none receiue the Gospell but the poore, those that be humble, and touched with sence of sin and wrath; and we preach so, because indeed no man will come without it.

5. Quest.In the next place, the Question will bee, [Page 15] How this righteousnesse of CHRIST is made ours; or, What is to be done of him to whom it belongs.

To this I answer;Ans. though no precedent qua­lification be required, yet this must be taken, a man must not reflect on himselfe, and con­sider, Am I worthy of it? but he must take it as a Plaster, which if it be not applyed, will not heale;Simile. or as meate, which if it be not ea­ten, doth not nourish. As the Husband wooes his Spouse, and sayes thus, I require nothing at thy hands, no condition at all, I doe not ex­amine whether thou art wealthy, or no; whe­ther thou be faire, or no; whether thou bee out of debt, or well conditioned, it is no mat­ter what thou art, I require thee simply to take me for thy Husband. After this manner comes Christ to vs; we must not say, Am I worthy to make a Spouse for Christ? Am I fit to receiue so great mercies? Thou art only to take him. When we exclude all conditi­ons, wee exclude such a frame and habit of minde, which we thinke is necessarily requi­red to make vs worthy to take him.Simile. As if a Physician come and offer thee a Medicine, by which thou maist be heal'd, and say, I require nothing at your hands, onely to drinke it, for else it will doe you no good: So GOD offers the righteousnesse of Christ, which is that that heales the soules of men; GOD lookes for nothing at your hands, it matters not what your person is, onely you must take it. So you [Page 16] shall finde himselfe expressing it, Esay 55.1.Esay 55.1. where he compares this to the offer of Wine and Milke: Come buy Wine and Milke without money. Let him that is athirst come, and hee that hath no money. As if he had said, it is freely offered, you are onely to take it.

What this ta­king is.But, when you heare you must take it, the Question will be, What this taking is.

Ans.I answer, This taking is nothing else but that which we call Faith: and therefore that we may not erre in the maine, I will declare what Faith is.Faith, what. And it is nothing else but this, when these two things concurre, that God the Father will giue his Sonne, and freely offers righteousnesse, and we receiue this rghteous­nesse, taking Christ for our Husband, our King and Lord.Obiect.

But, you will say, Faith is more: for Fides est actus intellectus, It is an act of the vnder­standing, assenting to Truths for the Autho­rity of the Speaker; therefore the mind and will must concurre to make vp this Faith.Answ.

For the better vnderstanding of it, marke this word, the righteousnesse of God is reuealed; wherein is likewise implyed, (though it bee not expressed) that it is offered: for to what purpose, or what comfort is it to see that there is such a righteousnesse, if it be nothing to vs? but it is so reuealed, that it is also offered. Now being both reuealed, and offered, you must finde something in men answerable to both these: to the reuelation of it the vnder­standing [Page 17] assenting to it as a Truth, that CHRIST is come in the flesh, and offered to all men.

Againe, to answer to the matter of the of­fer, there is also an act of the will, whereby it comes in, and takes or embraceth this righte­ousnesse. Both these, 1 Tim. 1.15.1 Tim. 1.15. are put together, This is a faithfull saying, and worthy to be receiued, that Iesus Christ came into the world to saue sinners. It is true, saith the vnderstan­ding, and therefore that beleeues it; but it is worthy to be receiued, saith the will, therfore that comes in,Simile. takes and accepts it. As in mat­ter of marriage, If one come and tell a Wo­man, there is such a man in the world that is willing to bestow himselfe on you, if you will take him, and accept him for your husband: Now (marke what it is that makes vp the marriage on her part:) first she must beleeue that there is such a man, and that that man is willing to haue her, that this message is true, that it is brought from the man himselfe, and that it is nothing else but a true declaration of the mans minde. This is an act of her minde or vnderstanding: But will you take him, and accept of him for your Husband? now comes the will, and the concurrence of these two makes vp the match. So wee come and tell you, There is such a one, the Messiah, that is willing to bestow himselfe on you; If you be­leeue that we deliuer the message from Christ, and doe consequently embrace and take him, now are you iustified, this is the very transla­tion [Page 18] of you from death to life, at this very in­stant you are deliuered from Satan, possessed of a Kingdome, and saluation is come to your house.

Now because this taking of CHRIST is the maine point which makes CHRIST ours, and the want whereof is the cause that euery man is condemned,Three things must concurre in receiuing Christ. (it comming neerest to life and death) that you may know what it is, we must tell you that this is required therein:

  • First, there must not be Error personae, errour of the person.
  • Secondly, you must vnderstand aright what this taking is.
  • Thirdly, there must be a compleat delibe­rate will, which must concurre to this action of taking.

These three being declared, we shall not easily be deceiued in it.

1 First, when you heare of this righteousnes of CHRIST, and of its being made ours, you you must know, that first CHRIST himselfe is made ours, and then his righteousnesse, as first you must haue the Husband, and then the be­nefits that come by him. I say, take heede that there be not an errour of the person, that you mistake him not. And this excludes all ignorant men, that take not Christ indeed, but onely in their owne fancie. Therefore when you come to make this marriage, you must know that CHRIST is most holy, that he is also such a one as will bring persecution with [Page 19] him, as sayes of himselfe, that he knowes not where to lay his head, such a one as for whose sake you must part with euery thing; such a one as is hated in the World, and for whose sake you must be hated: some would haue the man, but they know not the man, and so many thousands are deceiued, that are wil­ling to take CHRIST, but they know not what they take, they vnderstand not Christ aright, there is an errour of the person, and so a misse of the match, and consequently of Justification: for, so as to make him their Lord, so as to be subiect to him, they take him not, they do not consider that he requires such and such things at their hands.

Secondly, If there be no mistake of the per­son, yet what is this taking? In marriage, there is a certaine forme to be obserued, and if that forme be mist of, there is a misse of the match. This taking therefore is nothing but this, So to take him, as to be diuorced from all other Louers; so to serue him, as you serue no other Master; so to bee subject to him, that you be subject to nothing in the World besides. This is properly to take CHRIST; and this excludes the greatest part of men, they being ready to take Christ, but then they will loue the World too: but GOD tels them, that if they loue the World, the loue of the Father nor the Sonne is not in them. You must haue your affections wea­ned from euery kinde of vanity. Goe thorow [Page 20] the whole Vniuerse, looke on all the things that are, Riches, and Pleasures, and Ho­nours, Wife, and Children, if your heart be not weaned from euery of them, you take him not as a Husband.

Againe, others will serue CHRIST and their riches too, their credit too, their owne praise with men too; but CHRIST tels them no man can serue both; you must serue him alone, and be obedient to none but him: if you doe so, you take him for your Lord in­deede. So many will be subject to him as a King, but they will bee subject to their lusts too; if their lusts command them, they can­not deny them, some they will reserue; and, you know, how many this excludes. There­fore you shall find that no man can take Christ and his wealth: you know, the young man was shut out, because he would not let goe his possessions, which he must part with, or else haue none of him. So, Ioh. 5.44.Ioh. 5.44. If you receiue the praise of men, how can you beleeue? That is, if you be not weaned and diuorced from all, you cannot beleeue. Though you be the off-scowring of men, though you bee mocked and scorned, it matters not; but if you seeke the praise of men, you cannot be­leeue.

Where, by the way, you may marke some­thing, and adde it to that I said before. What is the reason that the seeking praise of men should hinder from beleeuing? Certainely, [Page 21] if Faith were onely an Act of the vnderstan­ding, assenting to the truth for the Authori­ty of its Speaker, it would bee no hindrance or impediment to the act of the mind, in be­leeuing that such a thing is true; so that it must needs haue reference to the will. There­fore, saith CHRIST, While you seeke the praise of men, how can you beleeue? That is, take me for your GOD and LORD whom you will serue altogether? So that to take CHRIST with a iustifying faith, is nothing else but to receiue him, as it is expressed in many other places of Scripture: Ioh. 1.11.Ioh. 1.11.12. Hee came vnto his owne, and his owne receiued him not; but to as many as receiued him, he gaue power to become the sonnes of God, euen to them that beleeue on his Name. And so it is not (as the Papists say) a meere act of the vnderstanding, but a taking of him for your GOD, your Sauiour, to whom alone you will bee subject, and giue your selfe.

Last of all; When these two are done and 3 effected, so that there is no errour either in the person or in the forme, there is yet one thing more remaines behinde, and that is, to take and accept him with a compleate, a deliberate, and true will. For, euen as in other matches, put the case the person bee knowne, and the forme duely obserued, yet if there does not concurre a compleat will, it is not properly a match: and therefore those matches are vnlawfull, which are made be­fore [Page 22] yeeres of discretion, when a man hath not the vse of his will, or when a man is in a phren­zie, because there is then no compleat or deli­berate will;Three things required in the will in ta­king Christ. so in this spirituall Match, you shall see how many the want of such a will ex­cludes.

1 First, I say it must be compleat, which ex­cludes all wishers and woulders, that prize CHRIST a little, that could bee content to haue CHRIST, but it is rather an inclinati­on then a compleat will, that are in an Aequili­brio, that would haue CHRIST, but not yet; that would liue a little longer at ease, and haue a little more wealth, but are not come to a re­solute peremptory will, that haue onely a weake inclination, which is not enough: for in a match, the will must be compleate, and it's needfull it should be so, it being a thing that must continue all a mans life.

2 Againe, it must be a deliberate will; and this excludes all those that will take CHRIST in a good moode, on some sudden flash, when they are affected at a good Sermon, and haue some good motions cast into their mindes, that will (at such a time) be content to take CHRIST, to serue him and obey him, to for­sake their sinnes, and giue ouer their former lusts, but the will is not deliberate.

3 Last of all, as it must be compleat and de­liberate, so it must be a true will; that is, it must be free; and that excludes all them that meerely for seruile feare, at time of death, in [Page 23] the day of sicknesse and trouble, when Hell and Heauen are presented to them, will take CHRIST: Indeede you can scarce come to any, but, in such a case, hee will professe that he is now content to take CHRIST for his Lord and Sauionr; but this is done by con­straint, and so the will is not free. So I say, when all these concurre, the match is now made, and you are iustified.

But after the match is made,6. Quest. What is requi­red of vs when we haue it. something is required. Therefore there is one Question more: and that is, What is this that is requi­red after the making of the match?

I answer,Ans. It is required that you loue your Husband, Iesus Christ, that you forsake Fa­ther and Mother, and become one Spirit with him, as you are one flesh with your Wife: for you are now bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.

2. Againe, it is now required that you should repent. And that is the meaning of that place,Mat. 3.2. Repent, for the Kingdome of heauen is at hand. I tell you of a Kingdome, and a great Kingdome, but no man can come into that Kingdome, except hee repent: You must walke no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit: You must haue your flesh crucified, with all the affections and lusts of it.

Thirdly, You must part with euery thing for his sake, whether you haue riches, or ho­nours, or credit, or whatsoeuer, it is no mat­ter, you must be ready to let them all goe.

[Page 24]4. Againe, You must be ready to vnder­goe any thing for his sake: you must haue him for worse as well as for better: you must be content to bee hated of all men for his sake, you must take vp your crosse, and follow him.

5. Againe, You must doe much, aswell as as suffer much for him, he dyed to this end, that he might purchase to him a peculiar people, Tit. 2.14. zealous of good workes: you must respect him as a Wife doth her Husband, not as a seruant doth a hard Master; you must not looke on his Commandements as a hard taske, where­of you could willingly be excused, but as one that hath his heart inflamed to walke in them, as a louing Wife, that needes not to be bid­den to doe this or that, but i [...] the doing of it may aduantage her Husband, it will be a grea­ter griefe to her to let them lye vndone, then labour to doe them.

Obiect.But now men say, This is a hard condition, I little thought of it.

Ans.It is true, the condition is hard, and that is the reason that so few are willing to come in, when they vnderstand these after-clap condi­tions, that they must part with all, that they must be persecuted, that their wil must be per­fectly subject to the will of Christ, that they must be holy as he is holy, that the same mind must be in them that is in Christ Iesus that they must be of those peculiar people of GOD. And therefore haue wee told you that none will [Page 25] come in to take CHRIST for their Husband, till they haue beene bitten with the sense of their sinnes, till they be heauy laden, and haue felt the weight of Satans yoake, till then they will not come vnder the yoake of CHRIST; but those that be humble, that haue their hearts broken, that know what the wrath of GOD is, that haue their consciences awaked to see sinne, will come in, and be glad they haue CHRIST, though on these conditions; but the other will not. If you will haue CHRIST on these condition, you may: But we preach in vaine, all the world refuseth CHRIST, be­cause they will not leaue their couetousnesse, and idlenesse, and swearing, and their seuerall sports and pleasures, their liuing at liberty, and Company-keeping, they will not doe the things that CHRIST requires at their hands, and all because they are not humbled, they know not what sinnne meanes; whereas, should GOD shew it to them in its right co­lours, should they be but in Iudas his case, had they tasted of the Terrours of the Almightie, were their consciences enlightned, and did it set them on, they would take him with all their heart.

But an other Objection comes in,Obiect. I would come in, but how should I doe it, I want power and ability, I cannot mortifie the deedes of the body, could I doe that, I would not stand on the businesse.

[Page 26] Ans.To this I giue a speedy answer: If thou canst come with this resolution to take him, take no care for doing of it; for as soone as thou art his, he will giue thee another spirit he will enable thee to all things, Ioh. 1.16.Ioh. 1.12, 13. To as ma­ny as receiued him, to them he gaue power to be­come the sonnes of God: What is that? Is it an empty Title? No, he made them sonnes not borne of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. It is true, with thy owne heart thou art not able to doe it; but what if GOD giue thee a new heart and a new spirit? When the match is made, and concluded betweene him and vs, he sends his Spirit into our hearts, and this Spirit giues vs ability, making vs like CHRIST, chan­ging vs, and causing vs to delight in the duties of new obedience in the inner man. Therfore take not care for ability, onely labour for an honest heart, armed with this resolution; I am resolued to take Christ from henceforth, and you shall finde another Spirit to enable you exceedingly.

And now, that we may not let all this goe without some application, wee will heereof make two Vses.

Vse 1.First, this great Vse is to be made of it, To learne hence to see how great the sinne of men is, and how iust is their condemnation for the same, that when this righteousnesse of God is reuealed from heauen by this Gospell, which we now preach, they resist it, casting it at their heeles, not regarding it, but despising [Page 27] these glad tydings of saluation, which is so glorious a mysterie. This very thing that we preach to you, is it that was so many thou­sand yeeres agoe fore-told, and as long expe­cted, being the greatest worke that euer God did. This is it which Paul magnified so much, and stood so amazed at. Therefore, if you re­ject it, know that your sinne is exceeding great: we that preach the Gospell, are Mes­sengers sent from the Father, to inuite euery one of you to come to the Marriage of his Sonne: If you will not come, (as some of you are yong, and minde other things; others of you haue gone long in an old tract, and will not turne; some haue married a Wife, others haue other businesse, and therefore you will not come; or if you doe come, it is without your Wedding Garment, you come not with a conjugall affection) I say, if you refuse, the LORD will deale with you, as with them in the Gospell, hee will haue you brought and slaine before his face. And we come not from the Father onely, but we are also sent from the Sonne, hee is a Suitor to you, and hath dispatched vs as Ambassadours to wooe you, and to beseech you to be reconciled; if you will come, he hath made knowne his mind to you, you may haue him; if you will not come, you will make him angry; and you had neede to kisse the Sonne lest he be angry: though hee be so mercifull, as not to quench the smoaking Flax, nor to breake the bruised Reed, yet not­withstanding, [Page 28] that Sonne hath feete like bur­ning brasse, hee hath a two-edged Sword in his hand, and his eyes are like flames of fire: So you shall find him to be, if you refuse him. As he is a corner stone for some to build on, so he is a corner stone to grinde them to powder that refuse him. When the better is the suitor, and is rejected, what wrath, what indignation breedes it among men? And so take all the sinnes you haue committed, there is none like this, none shall be so much laid to your charge at the Day of Iudgement, as your rejecting of the Sonne, and of his righteousnesse reuealed, and freely offered to you. What Christ said,Mar. 16.16. (It shall be easier for Sodome and Gomorrah then for such a City) I may apply to euery one that's come to heare me this time; If you will not giue eare to my inuitation, it shal be easier for Iewes and Turkes, for the Saluages at the East-Indies, then for you. It had beene better for you that Christ had neuer come in the flesh, that his righteousnesse had neuer been offered to you. Therefore is that added, Mar. 16. He that beleeues not, is damned. Of such consequēce is the Gospell. When Moses was on Mount Ebal, he set before them a blessing and a curse, life and death: so doe I now; If you will not accept of CHRIST, you are cursed. There­fore, when you heare this offer, Let euery man examine himselfe how he stands affected vnto it. For all hearers are diuided into these 2 sorts, some are worthy, and some vnworthy. [Page 29] As when Christ sent away his Disciples, if a­ny were worthy, their peace was to rest vpon them, if they were not worthy, they were to shake off the dust of their feete against that Citie. I say, consider if you be worthy of this righteousnesse: for if you finde your hearts to long after it, if you find you prize it much, so that you can reckon all as drosse and dung in comparison of it, and will sell all to buy this Pearle, then are you worthy: But if, when you heare of it, you neglect it, and attend vnto it coldly, you are vnworthy, and against such we are to shake off the dust of our feete: that is, God shall shake you off as dust, when you come for saluation to him at the day of Iudgement.

If in examination you finde your selues vn­worthy, that this worke hath not bin wrought in you, (wherein it is your best way to deale plainely with your selues) then giue no rest to your selues, but enter into a serious considera­tion of your sinnes, attend on Gods Ordinan­ces, make vse of all that hath beene deliuered concerning humiliation, and giue not ouer vn­till you haue attained this eager desire after Christ. Indeed this is wrought by GOD him­selfe, but giue not you ouer. This is it S. Iohn cals drawing:Ioh. 6.44. none can come to me, except the Fa­ther draw him: and that is done when GOD giues another will; when, on the propounding of Christ, he giues agninam voluntatem, the na­ture of a Lambe, changing the heart, and wor­king such an inclination to Christ, as is in the [Page 30] Iron to follow the Load-stone, which neuer rests vntill it be attained.Cant. 3.

Thus it was with the Woman of Canaan, she would haue no denyall; and Cant. 3. with the Spouse, that would not be at quiet vntill she had found her Beloued, seeking him day and night; finding him not within shee en­quires of the Watchmen, and neuer giues o­uer till she hath found him whom her soule loued. As GOD puts an instinct in the crea­ture, such a violent, strong, impetuous disposi­tion and instigation is in them that shall be sa­ued, and belong to CHRIST, GOD puts into them such a disposition as was in Sampson, when he was athirst, giue me water or else I dye; so are they athirst after CHRIST, giue me CHRIST or else I dye. And this you must haue; for GOD will put you to it, he will try whether you be worthy commers or no. Com­monly, at the beginning, he is as a man that is in bed with his children, and loath to rise, but you must knocke and knocke againe; and as it was with the vniust Iudge, importunity must doe it; though your desire be strong, yet, for a time, in his ordinary course, he with­holds, and turnes a deafe eare, to try if thou hast an eager desire: for if it ceases quickly, he should haue lost his labour in bestowing Christ on thee. But if nothing will make thee giue ouer, if thou wilt beseech him, and giue him no rest, I'le assure thee, GOD cannot deny thee, and the longer he holdeth thee off, the [Page 31] better answer thou shalt haue at the end. And when thou hast CHRIST, thou hast that that cannot be expressed; for, with him, thou hast all things, When you haue him, you may goe to him for Justification, and say, LORD, giue me remission of sinnes, I haue CHRIST, and thou hast promised that all that are in CHRIST shall haue pardon, that they shall haue thy Spirit, and be made new creatures; now, LORD, fulfill these promises. If say, It is a condition beyond expression, next to that we shall haue in heauen, and farre aboue that which any Prince or Potentate in the World hath, farre beyond that which any man that swims in pleasures, and abundance of wealth hath; which, if it were knowne, would by all the World be sought after. Therefore, when you heare of such a condition offered, take heede of refusing it: for if you doe, your sinne is haynous,Vse. 2. and your condemnation will be iust.

The second Vse I will onely name: Con­sider what it is to refuse, yea what it is to de­ferre your acceptance of it. GOD may take your deferring for a denyall; you that thinke, Well, I will take it, but not yet, take heede lest you neuer haue such an opportunity a­gaine. I say, be exhorted, be moued, be be­sought to take it. This I speake to you, that be humble, to so many among you as haue broken hearts; others may take him if they will; but they will not, they mind not this [Page 32] Doctrine, they regard not things of this na­ture, they will when they lye a dying, but now they haue something else to doe. But you that mourne in Sion, you that haue broken hearts, that know the bitternesse of sinne, to such as you is this Word of Saluation sent: The others haue nothing to doe with it; and let them not thinke much to be excluded; for CHRIST excludes them:Mat. 11.28, 29. Come to me all ye that are heauy laden, and ye shall finde rest: Not but the others shall haue him, if they will come, but they will not take him on the pre­cedent conditions, named before. It may be, they would haue redemption, and freedome, and saluation by him, but they will not take him for their King. They that bee humble, that haue their hearts wounded with the sense of sinne, are willing to take him on his owne termes, to keepe his Commandements, and not thinke them grieuous; to beare his bur­den, and thinke it light; to take his yoke, and count it easie; to giue all they haue for him, and to thinke all too little; to suffer persecu­tion for his sake, and to reioyce in it; to bee content to be scoffed at, and hated of men; to doe, to suffer any thing for his sake; and when all this is done, to regard it as nothing, to rec­kon themselues vnprofitable seruants, to ac­count of all as not worthy of him. Therefore be not thou shye in taking of him: for you haue free liberty.

But, before I dismisse you, let me speake a [Page 33] word to you that be not yet humble,Three consi­derations to moue men to take Christ. let mee beseech you to consider 3. things to mooue you. First, the great danger that is in not ta­king of him. If you could be well without 1 him, you might sit still as you are; but you shall dye for want of him. If a Wife can liue without a Husband, she may stay vnmarried: But when a mans case is this, I see without CHRIST I must perish, I must lose my life, that is the penalty, such is the danger if I re­fuse him, me thinkes this should moue him.2

Secondly, as the danger of refusing him, so consider the benefit of taking him: if you will haue him, you shall with him haue a King­dome, you shall change for the better; for whatsoeuer you part withall, you shall haue an hundred fold in this life: if you forgoe any pleasure or lust, you shall haue for it the ioy of the Holy Ghost, farre exceeding them: If you part with riches, you shall be truely rich in an­other world; yea, you shall there haue a Trea­sure: If you lose friends, you shall haue GOD for your friend, and shall be a Fauourite in the Court of Heauen. In a word, you shall haue an hundred fold.

3. You shall bee sure to haue it, you shall 3 not be deceiued: for God hath put out his word, he hath declared that to be his will, and it stands now with his Iustice as well as with his mercie, to giue Christ: his Word is a corner stone, and you may build on it: Nay by 2. im­mutable things he hath confirm'd it, his Word [Page 34] and his Oath, and Heauen and Earth may passe, but they shall not passe, you may build on them, to haue Christ and saluation by him. When Paul had deliuered Gods minde, if an Angell from Heauen should tell them the foundation is sandy, nay if he himselfe should preach another doctrine, they were not to be­leeue him. Therefore if you will take him and haue him, trust perfectly in the grace that is reuealed by Iesus Christ, doe it not by halues; It may be I shall be saued, it may be not, thou maist build on it, thou maist venture thy life on it. All these things considered, the great­nesse of the danger in refusing, of the benefit in accepting; and if it be thus sure if wee will take him, then put it to venture, why doe you stand off? What can wee say more to per­swade you? If you will take him, and this righteousnesse, you may haue it. GOD hath committed this to vs, what we loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heauen. He hath giuen vs the Keyes of Heauen and Hell, and if we open the Gates of Heauen to any, they shall stand o­pen, but now in the preaching of the Word, the Gates of Heauen stand open to euery one of you. Therefore come in while it is called to day, before the Sunne set on you, as you know not how soone it may. Indeed, if wee had not made the offer, the danger had beene ours, and wee should haue perished for your sakes: but seeing we haue made manifest the whole Councell of GOD, wee are now free [Page 35] from the blood of euery one of you; for wee haue made knowne the will of GOD to the full; you know what is offered to you; and if you take him not, your blood shall be on your owne heads. Therefore consider whether you will take him or refuse him; that is the questi­on, Will you take him, or not take him? You that now refuse and slight this offer, the day may come, when you would be glad to haue it. You that are now in the height and flower of your youth, and you that are more ancient, liuing in health and wealth, and hauing your fill of pleasures, it may be, for the present, you haue other things to take vp your mindes, but the time will come when the Bridegroome shall enter in, and the doores shall bee shut, when your Houre-glasse shall be out, and your time spent, and then this relation of righ­teousnesse, and remission of sinnes, now offe­red, would be reckoned glad tydings: but take heede that it be not too late, beware lest you cry, and GOD refuses to heare: Not but that GOD will heare euery man, if his cry comes from vnfeigned faith and loue; but, it may be, GOD will not giue thee that vnfeigned faith and loue when you be come to that ex­tremity; seeing you would not come when he called, it may be he will not come when you call; it may be, he will not breathe the breath of life, nor giue such a spirit and disposition as he will accept of. Christ dyed to purchase to himselfe a peculiar people, zealous of good [Page 36] workes, and not onely to saue men. He dyed for this end, that men might doe him seruice; and if you will not come in now in time of strength and youth, when you are able to doe him seruice; I say, in his ordinary course, he will reject you now in your extremity, you may not then expect mercie at his hands. Therefore doe not say, I will follow my coue­tousnesse and idlenesse, my pleasures and bu­sinesse, my lusts and humours, and heere­after come in; for you are not to chuse your own time. If he call you, and you refuse to come, take heed lest in his wrath he sweare that you shall not en­ter into his rest.

FINIS.

OF FAITH. The second Sermon.

ROM. 1.17.

For by it the righteousnesse of God is reuealed from Faith to Faith: As it is written, The iust shall liue by Faith.

THe next point that these words affoord vs, is this; that,

Faith is that whereby the righteousnesse of God is made ours to saluation. Doct. 2.

The righteousnesse of GOD (saith the Apostle) is reuealed from faith to faith. That is, it is so reuealed and offered by GOD, that it is made ours by faith, we are made partakers of it by faith: you see it ari­seth cleerely from the words.

[Page 38]Now for the opening of this point to you, you must vnderstand that there are two waies or Couenants,Two Coue­nants. whereby GOD offereth salua­tion to men. One is the Couenant of workes, and that was that righteousnesse by which A­dam had beene saued if he had stood in his in­nocencie; for it was that way that GOD ap­pointed for him, Do [...] this, and liue: But A­dam performed not the condition of that Co­uenant, and therefore now there is another Couenant, that is, the Couenant of Grace, a Board giuen vs against Ship-wracke. Now this Couenant of Grace is double:

Either absolute and peculiar;

Or conditionall.

1. Absolute.Absolute, and peculiar onely to the Elect; so it is expressed, Ier. 31.Ier. 31. I will put my Lawe into your inward parts, and write it in your hearts, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. So likewise, in Ezek. 36.Ezek. 36. I will giue you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you, and I will take your stonie hearts out of your bodies. Heere the Couenant is expressed absolutely, and this is proper onely to the Elect.

2. Conditionall.But now beside this, there is a conditionall Couenant of Grace, which is common to all; and that is expressed in these termes, Christ hath prouided a righteousnesse and saluation, that is his worke that hee hath done already; Now if you will beleeue, and take him vpon those termes that he is offered, you shall bee saued: This, I say, belongs to all men, This [Page 39] you haue thus expressed in the Gospell in ma­ny places,Mar. 16. If you beleeue, you shall be saued, as it is, Mark. 16. Goe and preach the Gospell to eue­ry creature vnder Heauen; hee that will beleeue shall be saued, he that will not beleeue shall bee damned. It is the same with that Rom. 4.5.Rom. 4.5. To him which worketh not, but beleeueth in him which iustifieth the vngodly, his faith is accounted righteousnesse, Marke it: To him that belee­ueth on him that iustifieth the vngodly, that is, there is a certaine iustice or righteousnesse that CHRIST hath prepared or purchased for men, though they be vngodly, he requires nothing of them before-hand, though they be wicked and vngodly, yet this righteousnesse is prepared for them; that which is required of them, is onely that they take it. Now hee that will beleeue GOD that he hath prepared this for him, and will receiue it, it is enough to make him a righteous man in GODS ac­ceptation; so that this is the onely way now by which men shall be saued. The worke is already done on Christs part, there is a righte­ousnesse that GOD hath prepared, which is therefore called the righteousnesse of GOD; and there is nothing precedently required or looked for on our part, but taking and apply­ing of it.

But,Quest. you will say, Is there nothing else re­quired of vs? Must GOD doe all, and must we doe nothing but onely take that righteous­nesse that is prepared for vs?

[Page 40] Ans.I answer, it is true indeede, we must lead a holy life,Though holi­nesse be requi­red, it is Gods worke. a religious, sober, and righteous life, for, for this end hath the grace of God ap­peared, saith the Apostle: yet you must know withall, that we cannot worke in our selues this holinesse, this religious and sober con­uersation, that must be Gods worke altogether, we are onely to take this righteousnesse, and the other is but a consequent that followeth vpon it. To illustrate this vnto you by a simi­litude; A Wheele or a Bowle runneth,Simile. not that it may be made round, that is the busi­nesse of the workeman, who makes it round, that it may runne: So it is in this case, GOD doth not looke that we should bring holines and piety with vs, for we haue it not to bring: we are at the first onely to beleeue and accept this righteousnesse that is offered vs; when that is done, it is Gods part to frame vs, and to fit and fashion vs for a holy life: such a kinde of speech you haue it expressed in, Eph. 2.10.Eph. 2.10. We are Gods workmanship, fashioned in Christ Iesus to walke in good workes, which he hath ordained, &c. Marke it: it is not an acti­on of our owne, but GOD is the workeman, we are the materials, as the clay, and the wood, that he takes into his hands; when wee haue but taken this righteousnesse that is offered, it is Gods worke to cast vs into a new Mould, to giue vs a new heart, and to frame a new spirit within vs, that so we may walke in good workes before him: this is the great mystery [Page 41] of godlinesse: for we haue much adoe to per­swade men to beleeue that the righteousnesse prepared by CHRIST should be offered to them, and nothing be required but receiuing of it: this will not sinke into the hearts of men by nature, they thinke they must doe something precedently, or else this righteous­nesse is not offered them. But, my beloued, we must learne to belieue this, and know that it is the worke of GOD to sanctifie vs after hee hath iustified vs. I confesse, it is not so in o­ther things, there is still some action of our owne required to gaine this or that habit or a­bility, as you see in naturall things, there are some kinde of habits that we get by some pre­cedent actions of our owne,Habits. as the learning of Arts and Sciences, to learne to write well, &c. here there is some action of our owne re­quired to fit vs for it, and then we get the abi­lity to doe it.

But besides these, there are other habits, that are planted by nature in vs, as, an ability to heare, to see, to taste, &c. Now for these, we neede not any action of our owne for the attaining of them, because they are planted in vs by nature: So it is in these things that be­long to saluation: It is true indeede, we may get habits of morall Vertues by labour and paines of our owne, there are actions of our owne required to them; and in that the Phi­losopher said right, that we learne to be tempe­rate, and sober, and chaste, &c. But now for the [Page 42] Graces of the Spirit there it is not so, those habits that nature hath planted in vs, we ex­ercise them naturally, without doing any acti­on of our owne to attaine them; as we doe not by seeing oft learne to see, but it is a facul­ty naturally planted in vs: so it is in all the workes that we must doe, which are the way to saluation, GOD workes them in vs, he infu­seth those habits into vs. Therefore this con­clusion is good, that it is faith alone, by which this righteousnesse is made ours to saluation.

This is euident by the Apostle, Gal. 2. vlt. Saith he, it is not by the Law, If righteousnesse had beene by the workes of the Law, then Christ had dyed without a cause. As if he should haue said, saluation must needes be by one of these two.

Either by something that we doe our selues, some actions that we our selues haue wrought, or else it must be meerely by faith. Now if it had beene attainable by any worke of our owne, CHRIST dyed without a cause: as if he should say, CHRIST could haue giuen you ability to doe those workes without his dying; but for this very cause Christ came in­to the World, and dyed, that he might worke righteousnesse, and make satisfaction to God: so that you haue nothing to doe for the first attaining of it, but to receiue it by faith.

Why God will saue men by faith.And if you would know the reason, why GOD, that might haue found out many other wayes to leade men to saluation, yet hath cho­sen [Page 43] this way aboue all others to saue men, on­ly by faith, receiuing the righteousnesse of CHRIST, which he hath wrought for vs; you shall finde these foure reasons for it in the Scriptures. Two of them are set downe, Rom. 4.16. Therefore it is by faith, that it might come by grace. 1. Reason. Marke it: This is one reason why GOD will haue it by faith, that it might be of grace: For if any thing had beene wrought by vs, (as hee saith in the beginning of the Chapter) it must haue beene giuen as wages, and so it had beene receiued by debt, and not by fauour; but this was Gods end in it to make knowne the exceeding length and breadth of his loue, and how vnsearchable the riches of Christ are: his end was to haue his Grace magnified. Now if there had beene any acti­on of ours required, but meerely the receiuing of it by faith, it had not bin meerely of grace; for faith empties a man, it takes a man quite off his owne bottome; faith commeth as an empty hand, and receiueth all from GOD, and giues all to GOD. Now that it might be ac­knowledged to be free, and to be altogether of grace; for this cause GOD would haue sal­vation propounded to men, to be receiued by faith onely.

Secondly,2. Reason. as it is by faith, that it might come by grace, so also that it might be sure, that the promise might be sure; if it had been any other way, it had neuer beene sure: Put the case that GOD had put vs vpon the condi­tion [Page 44] of obedience, and had giuen vs grace and ability, as he did to Adam, yet the Law is strict, and the least fayling would haue bred feares and doubts, and would haue caused death. But now, when the righteousnesse that saueth vs is wrought already by GOD, and offered to vs by him, and offered freely, and that the ground of this offer is the sure Word of GOD, and it is not a conjecturall thing, now we may build infallibly vpon it: for vnlesse faith haue footing on the Word, wee cannot say it is sure, all things else are mutable, and subject to change: therefore when GOD hath once said it, we may firmely rest in it, and it is sure. And this is the second reason why it is onely by faith.

3. ReasonThirdly, it is by faith, that it might bee to all the seede, not onely to those that are of the Law, but also to them which were strangers to the Law. If it had beene by the Law, then saluation had beene shut vp within the com­passe of the Iewes; for the Gentiles were strangers to the Law of GOD, they were vn­cleane men, shut out from the Common­wealth of Israel; but when it is now freely pro­pounded in the Gospell, and nothing is re­quired but onely faith to lay hold vpon it, when there is no more looked for but belee­uing, and receiuing; hence it comes to be to all the seede: for Abraham himselfe, before he was circumcised, he was as a common man, the vaile was not then set vp; yet, euen then, [Page 45] his faith was imputed to him for righteous­nesse.

The last reason why it is of faith,4. Reason. is that no man might boast, that no flesh might reioyce in it selfe; for if it had beene by any other means, by any thing done in our selues, we had had cause to reioyce in our selues, but, for this cause, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 1.30.1 Cor. 1.30. Christ is made to vs wisdome, righteousnesse, sanctificati­on, and redemption, that he that reioyceth might reioyce in the Lord. As if he had said, if GOD had giuen vs a wisedome of our owne, wee had had cause to haue reioyced in our selues; but we are darknesse, Eph. 4.Eph 4. there is no­thing but foolishnesse and weaknesse in vs, to the end that no flesh might reioyce in his pre­sence.

Againe, if we had had grace put into our selues, (though it had beene but little) for which GOD might haue accepted vs, the flesh would haue boasted; therefore his righteous­nesse is made ours.

But, when this is done, yet, if after iusti­fication, it had beene in our power and abi­lity to haue performed the workes of sancti­fication by any power or strength of our own, we should yet haue beene ready to boast thereof, Christ is made sanctification too, so that we are not able to thinke a good thought, we are not able to doe the least good thing without him: It is I (saith the Lord) that doth sanctifie you: It is I that doth act euery Grace; it is I [Page 46] that doe put your hearts into a good frame: Christ is made sanctification to vs; so that take a holy man, after he is iustified, it is CHRIST that sanctifieth him, and that carries him tho­row his life in a holy and righteous conuersa­tion, and all this is done that no flesh should re­ioyce in it selfe.

And yet one thing more is added by the A­postle; for if a man could rid himselfe out of misery, if a man could helpe himselfe when he is vnder any crosse or trouble, hee would then be ready to boast in himselfe: therefore, saith he Christ is made to vs redemption also: so that take any euill, though it be but a small e­uill, a small disease, a little trouble, no man is able to helpe himselfe, in this case, it is Christ that redeemes vs from the least euils, as well as from hell it selfe: For you must know, that all the miseries that befall vs in the World, they are but so many degrees, so many de­scents and steps towards hell; now all the re­demption that we haue, it is from CHRIST; so that let vs looke into our liues, and see what euils we haue escaped, and see what troubles we haue gone thorow, see what afflictions we haue beene deliuered from, it is all through CHRIST, who is made redemption for vs.

It is true indeede, there are some generall workes of GODS prouidence, that all men taste of;Freedome from euill to the Saints, whence it is. but there is no euill that the Saints are freed from, but it is purchased by the Blood of CHRIST; and all this GOD hath done, [Page 47] that no flesh might reioyce in it selfe: and for this cause, saluation is propounded to be receiued onely by faith, there is no more required at our hands, but the taking of Christ by faith; and when we haue taken him, then hee is all this to vs.

So that now you see the point cleared, and the reasons why it is by faith onely, that the righteousnesse of CHRIST is made ours to saluation.

Now, in the next place, If to this that wee haue said, wee adde but one thing more to cleere the point, we shall then haue done e­nough to satisfie you in this point; and that is this, to shew you what this faith is: for, when wee speake so much of faith (as wee doe,) euery man will be inquisitiue to know what this faith is: therefore wee will endeuour to doe that at this time.

First, Faith, if we should take it in the ge­nerall, it is nothing else but this: ‘An act of the vnderstanding,Faith what in generall. assenting to some­thing.’

But now this assent is of three sorts.Assent of three sorts.

First, there is such an assent to a truth, as 1 that a man is in a great feare lest the contrary should be true; and this we call opinion, when we so assent to any proposition, as that that which is contrary, may be true, for ought we know.

There is a second kind of assent, which is 2 sure, but it is grounded vpon reasons and ar­guments; [Page 48] and that we call Science or know­ledge: that is, when we are sure of the thing we assent to, wee make no doubt of it; but wee are led vnto it by the force of reason.

3 Againe, there is a third kinde of assent, which is a sure assent too, but we are led to it by the authority of him that affirmeth it: and this is that which is properly called Faith: So that a generall definition of Faith is this:

It is (nothing else but) a firme assent giuen to the things contained in the holy Scriptures, for the authority of God that spake them.

This is properly Faith, or beleeuing, if wee take the word in the generall.

Iustifying faith.But if we speake of iustifying Faith, we shall finde that that is not commonly expressed in the word beleeuing only, but beleeuing in Christ, which is another thing; and therefore you shall finde that it differeth in two things from this common and generall faith.How it differs from generall faith.

First, in regard of the object, and indeede that is the maine difference: for whereas the other faith lookes vpon the whole Booke of GOD,In the obiect. and beleeues all that GOD hath reuea­led, because GOD hath reuealed it; This iusti­fying Faith pitcheth vpon CHRIST, and takes him, with his benefits and priuiledges: so that the difference lyeth not in the habit of Faith, but in the object; for with the same faith that we beleeue other things, we beleeue this; as with the same hand that a man takes other Writings with, he takes a Pardon; with [Page 49] the same eyes that the Israelites see other things, they looked vpon the brazen Serpent, the difference was not in the faculty, but in the object vpon which they looked, by which they were healed; so it is in this, betweene this [...]aith and the other, they differ not in the habit, but in the object.

There is a second difference, which is a maine difference too;In the act of the will. the other faith doth no more but beleeue the truth that is reuea­led, it beleeueth that all is true that is contai­ned in the Scriptures, and the Deuils may haue this faith, and wicked men may haue it; but iustifying faith goeth further, it takes CHRIST, and receiues him, so that there is an act of the Will added to that faith, as it is expressed, Heb. 11.13.Heb. 11.1 [...]. They saw the promises a­farre off, and embraced them thankfully: Others (it may be) see the promises, and beleeue them, but they take them not, they doe not embrace them. So that if I should define iu­stifying Faith vnto you, it may bee thus de­scribed:

It is a Grace or a habit infused into the soule by the Holy Ghost, Definition of iustifying faith. whereby we are enabled to beleeue, not onely that the Messias is offered to vs, but also to take and receiue him as a Lord and Sauiour.

That is, both to be saued by him,How faith ta­keth Christ. and to o­bey him (Marke it) I put them together, to take him as a Lord, and as a Sauiour: for you shall find that in the ordinary phrase of Scripture these two are put together, Iesus Christ [Page 50] our Lord and Sauiour. Therefore we must take heede of disjoyning those that GOD hath joy­ned together, we must take CHRIST aswell for a Lord as a Sauiour, let a man doe this, and he may be assured that his faith is a iusti­fying faith. Therefore marke it diligently, if a man will take CHRIST as a Sauiour onely, that will not serue the turne, CHRIST giueth not himselfe to any vpon that condition, only to saue him, but we must take him as a Lord too, to be subject to him, to obey him, and to square our actions according to his will in e­uery thing. For he is not onely a Sauiour, but also a Lord, and he will be a Sauiour to none but those to whom he is a Master. His seruants you are to whom you obey, saith the Apostle. If you will obey him, and be subiect vnto him in all things, if you make him your Lord, that he may haue the command ouer you, and that you will be subiect to him in euery thing, if you take him vpon these conditions, you shall haue him as a Sauiour also: For, as hee is a Priest, so you must know that he is a King that sits vpon the Throne of Dauid, and rules those that are to be saued by him: Therefore, I say, you must not onely take him as a Priest, to in­tercede for you, to petition for you, but to be your King also; you must suffer him to rule you in all things, you must be content to obey all his Commandements. It is not enough to take CHRIST as a head, onely to receiue in­fluence and comfort from him, but you must [Page 51] take him also as a head to be ruled by him, as the members are ruled by the head; you must not take one benefit alone of the members, to receiue influence from the head, but you must be content also to bee guided by him in all things, else you take him in vaine.

Againe,We must not only beleeue but receiue Christ. this must be marked, that I say, you must take or receiue him: you must not onely beleeue that he is the Messias, and that he is offered, but there is a taking and recei­uing that is necessary to make you partakers of that that is offered: those words Iohn 3.Ioh. 3. make it plaine; God so loued the World, that he GAVE his onely begotten Sonne, &c. Giuing is but a Relatiue, it implyes that there is a recei­uing or taking required: For when CHRIST is giuen, vnlesse he be taken by vs, he doth vs no good, he is not made ours. If a man be wil­ling to giue another any thing, vnlesse he take it, it is not his. It is true indeede, there is a sufficiency in CHRIST to saue all men, and hee is that great Physician that heales the soules of men, there is righteousnesse enough in him to iustifie all the World: But, my be­loued, vnlesse we take him, and apply him to our selues, we can haue no part in that righte­ousnesse: this is plainely expressed in Matth. 22. where it is said, the King sent foorth his seruants to bid men to the Marriage of his Sonne: And so in Eth. 5. the same similitude and comparison is vsed by the Apostle, where he setteth foorth the vnion that is betweene [Page 52] Christ and the Church, by that vnion there is betweene the Husband and the Wife: put the case that a Husband should offer himselfe to a woman to marry her, and she shou [...]d beleeue it, yet vnlesse there be a taking of him on her part, the match is not made; and so it is [...]ere, and in this thing the essence of faith consists, when CHRIST offereth himselfe vnto you, you must beleeue that there is such a thing, and that God intendeth it really, but it is the ta­king that consummates the marriage; and when the Wife hath taken the Husband, then all that is his is hers, she hath an interest in all his goods: so also it is here, there must be a be­leeuing that Christ is offered, that hee is the Messias and that there is a righteousnes in him to saue vs; but that is not enough, we must al­so take him, and when that is done, wee are iustified, then we are at peace with GOD.

But that you may more fully vnderstand what this faith is, I will adde these 4. things more.

  • Foure things touching faith.
    First, I will shew you the obiect of this faith.
  • Secondly, the subject or place where it is.
  • Thirdly, the manner how it iustifieth vs.
  • Fourthly, the actions of it.

The obiect of it.I say, that you may more fully vnderstand what this faith is, consider first the object of it, and that is CHRIST, (as I told you before) and herein this is to be marked, that a man must first take Christ himselfe, and after, the [Page 53] priuiledges that come by him. And this point I could wish were more prest by our Diuines, and that our hearers would more intend it. I say, first remember that you must first take CHRIST himselfe, and then other things that we haue by him, as the Apostle saith, Rom 8. If God haue giuen vs him, that is Christ, he wil [...] with him giue vs all things else: but first haue CHRIST himselfe, and then all things with him. And so, 2 Cor. 1.2 Cor. 1. All the promises IN HIM are Yea and Amen. That is, first we must haue CHRIST, and then looke to the promises; this must be still remembred, that we must first take his person, we must haue our eyes fixed vpon that: And so that place before-named, Ioh. 3.Ioh. 3. God so loued the World, that he gaue his onely begotten Sonne: hee giues his Sonne, as a Father giues his Sonne in marriage; the Father giues the Sonne, and the Sonne himselfe must bee taken: So that we must first take CHRIST, wee must fixe our eyes vpon him: For faith doth not leape ouer CHRIST, and pitch vpon the promi­ses of Justification, and Adoption, but it first takes CHRIST. The distinct and cleere vnderstand [...]ning of this will helpe vs much in apprehending and vnderstanding aright what iustifying faith is: wee must remem­ber to take CHRIST himselfe; for it is an adulterous affection for a Wife not to thinke of the person of her Husband,True loue lookes first to Christs person but to thinke onely what commodity she shall haue [Page 54] by him, what honours, what riches, what conueniences, as if that made the match, to be content onely to take those; will this, thinke you, make a match amongst men? Surely no, there must be a fixing of the eyes vpon the person, that must doe it: Doe you loue him? are you content to forsake all, that you may enioy him? It is true indeed, you shall haue all this into the bargaine, but first you must haue the person of your Husband: there­fore remember to fixe your eyes vpon Christ, take him for your Husband, consider his beau­ty and his excellencies, (which indeede are motiues to vs) as a Woman that takes a Hus­band, is encouraged by the benefits that shee shall haue by him: but still remember that he himselfe must bee taken. As it is in other things, if you would haue light, you must first haue the Sunne; if you would haue strength, you must first take meate and drinke, before you can haue that benefit by it: so you must first haue Christ himselfe, before you can par­take of those benefits by him: and that I take to be the meaning of that in Mar. 16. Go preach the Gospell to euery creature vnder heauen; Mar. 16. he that beleeues and is baptized, shall be saued: that is, he that will beleeue that Iesus Christ is come in the flesh, and that hee is offered to mankinde for a Sauiour, and will be baptized, that will giue vp himselfe to him,Baptizing, what meant by it in Mat. 16. that will take his marke vpon him: for in that place, by bapti­zing, is meant nothing else but the giuing vp [Page 55] of a mans selfe to CHRIST, and making a publike testimony of it, although there bee somthing more meant generally by baptizing; but heere it is meant, a iustification to all the world, that we haue taken CHRIST. Now euery one that will beleeue and be baptized, that is, euery one that will doe this, shall bee saued: so that a man must first take CHRIST himselfe, and then he may doe as the Wife, af­ter she hath her Husband, she may thinke of all the benefits she hath by him, and may take them, and vse them as her owne. This is the first thing.

The second thing that I promised,The subiect of faith. was to shew you the subiect of faith, and that is the whole heart of man; that is to say, (to name it distinctly) both the minde, and the will: Now to shew you that both these are the sub­ject of faith, you must know that these two things are required:

First,What requi­red in the vn­derstanding. on the part of the vnderstanding, it is required that it beleeue; that is, that it con­ceiue and apprehend what GOD hath reuealed in the Scriptures; and here an act of GOD must come in, putting a light into the vnder­standing: for, my beloued, Faith is but an ad­dition of a new light to reason, that whereas reason is purblinde, faith comes, and giues a new light, and makes vs see the things reuea­led by GOD, which reason cannot doe; by faith we apprehend these great and glorious My­steries, which otherwise wee could not appre­hend, [Page 56] as we see it expressed in 2 Cor. 4.2 Cor. 4. The god of this World hath blinded their eyes, that the light should not shine into their hearts, by which they should beleeue this glorious Gospell. So then there must be a light put into the minde, that a man may be able by that to eleuate and raise his reason to beleeue this: that is, to conceiue and to apprehend the things that are offered and tendered in the Gospell.

What required of the will.But this is not all, there is an act also of the will required, which is to take and re­ceiue Christ: for this taking is an act of the will; therefore there must be a consent as well as an assent. Now it is the act of the vnder­standing to assent to the truth, which is con­tained in the promises wherein Christ is offe­red: but that is not all, there is also an act of will requisite to consent vnto them, that is, to embrace them, to take them, and to lay hold vpon them, and to apply them to a mans selfe. This I will the rather cleere, because it is a thing controuerted. I say, there is a double act, an act of the mind, and an act of the will: to this purpose consider that in Rom. 5 17.Rom. 5.17. For if by the offence of one, death raigned by one, much more they which receiue abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousnesse, shall reigne in life by one, Iesus Christ. Marke it, you may see what faith is in those words; Those that receiue the gift of righteousnesse: righteousnesse is giuen and offered by God, and those that receiue that gift of righteousnesse, shall reigne in life: so that [Page 57] taking and receiuing being an act of the will, it must needs be that the will must come in to this worke as well as the vnderstanding. Like vnto this is that 1 Ioh. 12.Ioh. 1.12. To as many as recei­ued him, &c. That is, to as many as beleeued in his Name: for so the words afterwards ex­presse; that is, when wee are willing to take Christ, which is nothing else but the consent of the will, when the will is resolued to take him, being so apprehended as he hath beene described, as a Lord, and as a Sauiour, this is faith; this, I say, is an act of the will, because it is an act of receiuing. Io [...]. 5.44 it is euident, How can y [...] beleeue which receiue honour one of ano­ther &c? If beleeuing in Christ were only an act of the mind, as the Papists affirme, and some others besides; it beleeuing were nothing else but an assenting to the truth of GOD, which is an act of the vnderstanding, how could the praise of men be opposite to beleeuing? But the meaning is, How can you beleeue, & take me for your Husband, and yet seeke praise of men too? for that will come in competition with me, and then you will forsake me. I say, this makes it euident, that iusti [...]ying faith is not onely an act of the mind, but an act of the will also; because otherwise the seeking praise with men, could be no impediment to the act of beleeuing.

Now this also,This act of the will wrought by God. aswell as the former, must be wrought by God and God puts a new light into the vnderstanding, he raiseth it vp to see and [Page 58] beleeue these truths; so there is another act which GOD also workes on the will, and vn­lesse he worke it, it is not done: for come to any man that is in the state of nature, and aske him, Will you be content to take Christ? that is to say, to receiue him in that manner as he hath beene described? His answer would bee, No. Beloued, the liues of men expresse it, though they speake it not in so many words: Therefore till GOD come and drawe a man, and change his will the worke is not done. If you take a Bough, and offer it to a Swine or a Wolfe, they will refuse it, and trample it vnder their feete; but offer it to a Sheepe, and the Sheepe receiues it, and followes it: so when Christ is offered to men vpon these conditions that we haue named, men refuse him, they reject him, and slight him: but when GOD takes away these woluish and swi­nish hearts of ours, and turne our wils another way, (which is the drawing the Scripture speakes of) then we are willing to take Christ. If you take other metall then Iron, the Load­stone will not stirre it; but turne the metall into Iron, and it will follow the Load-stone: So, let the hearts of men continue in that con­dition wherein they are by nature, and they will neuer take CHRIST, they will neuer ac­cept him; but when GOD puts into them such a strong and impetuous instigation and dispo­sition as that of the Spouze in the Canticles, that had no rest till she had found her Belo­ued, [Page 59] then they will take CHRIST vpon his owne conditions. So the we see this Faith is an action both of the minde and the will, wrought by GOD, enlightning the mind, and changing the will; which is that which our Sauiour Christ cals drawing; none comes to me vnlesse the Father draw him: that is, except his will be set on worke, vnlesse GOD change him, and put such a disposition and instigation in­to him, that he can finde no rest till hee come to Christ.

Thirdly,How faith iustifieth. the thing wee are to speake of, is, How this Faith iustifieth.

Now for this, know that this faith is consi­dered two wayes; eyther

  • As it workes, or,
  • As it receiues:

Either as a quality, or as an instrument.

As a quality it workes; and in this sense it hath nothing to doe with Justification.

It iustifieth vs as it is an instrument,Faith altereth not the nature of sinne. and that not by altering the nature of sinne; that is, by making sinne to be no sinne, but by taking a­way the efficacy of sinne.Note. As, for example, when a man hath committed sinnes, Faith doth not make his sinnes to be no sinnes; in­deede, it scattereth them as a Cloud: You may consider it after this manner: First, it cannot be that that sinne that is once commit­ted, should be made to be no sinne; for what is once done, it cannot be vndone, GOD him­selfe [Page 60] cannot doe that, because it is a thing that cannot be; for when the sinnes are commit­ted, they doe remaine so: and therefore, I say, it cannot be that that which is sinne should be made to be no sinne; we cannot make A­dultery to be no adultery, for the nature and essence of the thing must remaine. Well now what doth faith? It doth this, though the sin be the same that it was, yet it takes away the sting and the guilt of sinne, by which it puts vs into the state of condemnation, and by which it bindes vs ouer to punishment. As the Lions to which Daniel was cast, they were the same as they were before, they had the same propensenesse, and disposition to de­uoure as they had before, they had the ordi­nary nature of Lions; but at that time, GOD tooke away from them that fiercenesse that was in them, so that they did not deuoure him, though they were there still: so it is with sinne, the nature of sinne is to condemne vs▪ but now when GOD shall take away this effi­cacie from it, it doth not condemne: and this is that that faith doth.

Euen as the Viper that was vpon Pauls hand, though the nature of it was to kill pre­sently, yet when GOD had charmed it, you see it hurt him not: so it is with sinne, though it be in vs, and though it hang vpon vs, yet the venome of it is taken away, it hurts vs not, it condemnes vs not: thus faith, by taking a­way the efficacie and power of sinne, it iusti­fies [Page 61] vs, as an instrument, as a hand that takes the Pardon.

The King, when he pardoneth a Traytor, he doth not make his Treason to be no Trea­son, for the act of the Treason remaines still; but the taking of the Pardon makes the Tray­tor not to be vnder condemnation: So, my belo [...]ed, faith is that act that takes the Par­don from GOD, so that though the sinne re­maine the same, and of its owne nature is of power to binde vs ouer to death, yet by this faith taking the Pardon from GOD, it comes to passe that it hurts vs not, wee are not con­demned for it.

You know, debts in a mans booke, the wri­ting remaines still, the lines are not blotted out, yet when they are once crossed, the cre­ditour cannot come and aske his debt any more, because it is crossed: So it is in this, our sinnes are the same after we are iustified, as they were before; but faith is that that crosseth the booke; faith, I say, by apprehen­ding the Pardon, and taking the acquittance at Gods hands that he offers.

I [...] a man haue anacquittance, although the debt remaine the same in the Booke, yet there can no more be required at the hands of him that hath taken the acquittance.

Thus, I say, faith iustifies vs as an instru­ment, by accepting, receiuing, and taking the acquittance that GOD hath giuen to vs through Christ.

[Page 62] The acts of faith.Let mee adde one word more of the next thing: which is, What are the acts of this faith?

They are these three:

  • First, To reconcile, or to iustifie.
  • Secondly, To pacifie the heart.
  • Thirdly, To purifie, or sanctifie.

To reconcile vs.The first thing that Faith doth, is to recon­cile: That is, (as I said before) by faith wee are pitched vpon CHRIST; wee take him first, and then wee take the priuiledges, they all follow vpon it, forgiuenesse, and adopti­on; this is the first act of Faith, to reconcile vs to CHRIST himselfe; and vpon this wee haue boldnesse to goe to CHRIST for for­giuenesse, to goe to CHRIST to make vs heyres of all things: For after this manner faith doth it; All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollo, &c. And why? Because you are CHRIST'S. (Marke it,) you must first bee CHRIST'S: that is, euen as the Wife is the Husband's, so you must be knit and vnited to CHRIST, and then all things are yours: so that Faith first makes vs Christ's, it recon­ciles vs to him, and makes vs one with him, and in him, one with GOD the Father; and then all things are giuen vnto vs, and made ours.

To pacifie the heart.The second act of faith is to quiet and pa­cifie the heart; to comfort vs, in assuring vs [Page 63] that our sinnes and transgressions are forgi­uen; and this is different from the former: There are two acts of faith:

The one is the direct act by which we ap­prehend and take CHRIST,Direct and re­flect act of faith. and the righte­ousnesse that is offered through him, by which we take forgiuenesse.

And the second is the reflect act by which we know that wee haue taken CHRIST, and haue taken out our pardon; and this act is ve­ry different from the former, we may haue the former without this.

Wee commonly thinke that wee are not iustified by CHRIST, vnlesse we haue assu­rance of it; and when we looke for that, and finde it not presently, all our hopes are gone, but it should not be so; It is one act of Faith to take CHRIST, and another act of faith to comfort and pacifie the heart; and that these are two distinct things, consider but this in a word.

The first act is constant,Difference be­tweene them▪ when a man hath once taken and accepted of CHRIST, hee is alwaies his; after wee once haue CHRIST, there is no diuorse: But the other act of assu­rance, whereby we know that wee haue taken him, that is a thing that may faile and deceiue a man.

Againe, the first act admits of no degrees; for when a man is once in CHRIST, hee is alwaies CHRIST'S, when he is once married to him: Marriage, you know, admits of no [Page 64] degrees; so Justification is equall to euery man, it admits of no degrees, it is alwaies the same; we are not now lesse iustified▪ and then more, but we are alway alike iustified, being once iustified: but the other act of faith, whereby I am assured that I haue taken CHRIST, that admits of degrees, a man may haue sometimes more comfort, some­times lesse; and therefore righteousnes is said heere to be reuealed from faith to faith.

Lastly, the first act of faith, whereby we take CHRIST, and those priuiledges by him, as the Wife takes the Husband, that is foun­ded vpon the sure Word of GOD, GOD hath tendered it to vs vpon his Word and pro­mise, and he must performe it, it cannot be altered nor changed; he that builds vpon it, builds vpon the corner-stone, that will not faile him: But now the second act, where­by I come to know that I haue done this, that is grounded vpon experience: Indeede, we are helped by the Holy Ghost to know it, but it is chiefly grounded vpon our owne experi­ence: for it is no more but the act of a mans owne heart, reflecting vpon what hee hath done, when hee considers, Haue I taken CHRIST, or no? as a Lord, and as a Sa­uiour▪ as a Priest, to saue me; as a King, to liue by his Lawes; this is a looking vpon an act of mine owne, therefore the vnderstan­ding and knowing of it must come from expe­rience.

[Page 65]The last act of faith is to purifie,To purifie th [...] heart. and to sanctifie. I cannot stand vpon it at this time, nor make Vse, and apply this as I desired: therefore I will breake off heere. So much for this time.

FINIS.

OF FAITH. The third Sermon.

ROM. 1.17.

For by it the righteousnesse of God is reuealed from Faith to Faith: As it is written, The iust shall liue by Faith.

THe last point that wee deli­uered out of these words, was this, that

Faith is that whereby we are made partakers of the righteousnesse of Christ.

Wee come now to the Vses of it.

And first of all,Vse 1. Not to be dis­couraged to come to God. if it be by faith onely by which we are made partakers of that righte­ousnesse that saueth vs, the first consectary that we will draw from hence is this, That [Page 68] wee should learne to come to CHRIST with an empty hand, and not to bee discouraged for any want that wee finde in our selues, nor for the greatnesse of our sinnes; wee should not bee discouraged for the want of a perfect degree of repentance and godly sorrow, or for the want of whatsoeuer good worke you thinke is requisite to saluation, for, my belo­ued, you must know that this is the nature of faith, that it doth its worke best alone; and faith is so farre from requiring any thing in the partie that shall haue CHRIST, that ne­cessarily he must let goe all things else, other­wise hee cannot beleeue: and this is a point necessarily to be considered: for euery man is apt to conceiue and thinke that it is impos­sible that GOD should accept him, vnlesse there bee something in him why GOD should regard him: If he finde himselfe to be excee­ding vngodly, he thinkes that CHRIST will neuer looke after him.

And againe, if hee haue nothing at all to giue, if he haue nothing to bring with him in his hand, hee thinkes that hee shall haue no pardon: But you see that faith requires nothing in the first apprehension of CHRIST, if a man bee neuer so vngodly, it is all one, the promise notwithstanding is made vnto him.

Againe, Why should you looke for righte­ousnesse in your selues? The worke of faith (and it hath nothing else to doe) is to take [Page 69] that righteousnesse of Christ, that is none of your owne: so that there is nothing else at all required; for all that faith hath to doe, is onely to take from Christ that righteousnesse that we want our selues: so that I say there is no reason why any man should bee discoura­ged in his first comming, for any want that he findes in himselfe, or for any condition that he is in, because faith onely is that that makes vs partakers of a righteousnesse to iustifie vs, because we our selues haue it not. I say, faith is so farre from requiring any thing to be ad­ded to it, to helpe it in the act of iustifying, that of necessity it excludes all things else: for faith hath this double quality, not onely to lay hold of Christ offered, but to empty a man of all things else whatsoeuer. As for example, Faith is not onely the beleeuing of a truth which is deliuered, from the authority of him that doth deliuer it; but it is a resting vpon Christ, a casting of our selues vpon him. Now when a man leanes vpon any other thing, hee stands not vpon his owne legges, hee stands not vpon his owne bottome; for if hee did, hee could not properly be said to leane. If a man trust and depend vpon another, he pro­uides not for himselfe, but he that so lookes to himselfe, that he prouide so as to make him selfe safe if another should faile him, so farre he trusts himselfe; so that, beloued, if you trust CHRIST, it is of necessity required that you must bee vnbottomed of your selues, you [Page 70] must altogether leane vpon him, you must cast your selues wholly vpon him: For faith hath such an attracting vertue in it, that it fils the heart with CHRIST. Now it can­not fill the heart with CHRIST, vnlesse the heart be emptyed first. Therefore I say, faith hath a double quality,A double qua­lity in faith. not onely to take, but to empty; and they are reciprocall, the one cannot be without the other.

Hence it is that we say, faith ingrafts a man, a man cannot be ingraft into a new stocke vn­lesse hee bee quite cut off from the former roote; therefore faith driues a man out of himselfe, and makes him nothing in himselfe, so that when he comes to lay hold on the pro­mise of GOD, he lookes at no quality or excel­lencie of his owne, he lookes at no fitnesse nor worthinesse in himselfe, but he comes with a hand and a heart altogether empty: So that when a man comes to beseech GOD to receiue him to mercie, and to grant him a Pardon of his sinnes, when he comes to take hold of the righteousnesse of CHRIST for his iustifica­tion, if he thinke that there is any little wor­thinesse in him, or that there be no fault in him at all, and from thence shall thinke that GOD will receiue him, this man is not fit to come to Christ, he must be wholly emptied of himselfe, and then God will speake peace vn­to him.

Quest.But you will aske, What is that that faith doth empty a man of?

[Page 71]Faith emptieth a man of two things:Ans.

  • First,
    Faith empti­eth a man of two things.
    of all opinion of righteousnesse in himselfe.
  • Secondly, of all opinion of strength and a­bility to helpe himselfe: for if either of these remaine in the heart, a man cannot receiue CHRIST.

First, I say, a man must be emptied of all 1 opinion of worthinesse in himselfe, of all con­ceipt that he hath the least righteousnesse in himselfe; therefore when the yong man came to CHRIST, and CHRIST told him that he must keepe the Law, and he said hee had done all those things from his youth, CHRIST knew that he was not yet fit, there­fore, saith he, Goe and sell all that thou hast: Christs end was nothing else but to discouer to him his owne vnworthinesse. If thou wilt be perfect, (saith CHRIST) take this tryall, Canst thou be content to let thy wealth goe, to follow me? Canst thou be content to suffer persecution? This shewed that hee was not perfect, but that hee was still a sinfull man; this was the way to prepare him for Christ, this course we see CHRIST alwaies tooke: we see it expressed in the Parable of the Pub­lican and of the Pharise, the Publican went a­way iustified, because he was wholly empty­ed of all conceipt and opinion of worth in himselfe.

But the Pharise was not iustified, (not be­cause he was not a iuster man then the Publi­can, [Page 72] for he was in outward performances bet­ter then he; but) because he had an opini­on of his owne righteousnesse, he was concei­ted of a worthinesse in himselfe, therefore he went home not iustified.

What was it that excluded the Iewes? was it not an opinion of something they had of their owne?

The Laodiceans, they thought they were rich and increased, and wanted nothing, therefore they neuer came to buy of CHRIST. That which a man thinkes he hath already of his owne, hee will neuer bee at the cost to buy; therefore that is the first thing that a man must doe, hee must thinke himselfe of no worth at all, he must be empty of all opinion and conceit of his owne excellency.

2 But this is not all, although a man be per­swaded of this, that he hath no worthinesse in himselfe, yet if he thinke hee is able to helpe himselfe, and can stand alone without GOD, he will not come to take CHRIST; and ther­fore this further is required, that a man see that he hath no ability to helpe himselfe, that all his redemption must come from CHRIST: for if you aske many men whether they haue any opinion of worth in themselues, they will be ready to answer, No. What then is the reason that they come not to CHRIST? It is because they are in health and prosperity, and they can doe it soone enough hereafter, they can yet for the present subsist without Christ; [Page 73] but when GOD shall shew a mans heart to himselfe, when GOD shewes a man his dan­ger, and shewes it him as a present, and how vnable he is to helpe himselfe out of danger, then a man will haue no rest till he haue Christ. Therefore you shall see both these required, 1 Cor. 1.30.1 Cor. 1.30. CHRIST must be to vs wisdome, righteousnesse, sanctification, and redemption too. First, if a man thinke that there is any thing in him, either wisdome, righteousnesse, or sancti­fication, that excludes him, for he will reioyce in himselfe: and that concernes the first con­dition required, to be empty of all opinion of worth.

But yet if a man thinke that hee is able to stand safe and secure for a time, that hee is a­ble to be a Buckler to himselfe, that hee hath somewhat wherevnto he may leane, and doth not see that CHRIST must be his redempti­on also, he will not come at CHRIST.

That which kept the Prodigall sonne away, it was not an opinion of any worth in him­selfe, but because he thought hee could liue without his father, hee had his portion in his owne hands, and at his owne disposing; and he would not come home to his Father, till he could liue of himselfe no longer: so that, though wee haue an opinion of no worth in our selues, yet if wee conceiue or thinke that we can liue without CHRIST, wee will not care for him.

This was the fault of those that were inui­ted [Page 74] to the marriage, they refused to come, not because they thought that themselues were of worth, but they were perswaded that they needed not those things to which they were inuited. Therefore, I say, these two things must be done, a man must be emptied of all opinion of worth in himselfe.

And secondly, of all ability in himselfe to helpe himselfe, and when faith hath done both these, then it brings a man to CHRIST, when a man seeth that there is nothing in him why GOD should regard him, and that he cannot stand longer, nor be in safety longer then CHRIST helps him, and speakes peace to him, now a man is fit to take hold vpon CHRIST: and therefore we must learne to come to CHRIST with an empty heart.

Many men complaine that they would be­leeue, but they want that sorrow that they should haue, they want that repentance that they would haue, they thinke they are not yet fit, therefore they dare not apply the promi­ses.

Double com­plaint in sense of want.To these we say now, that there is a double kinde of complaint.

One is, when a man lookes vpon these things, as vpon things that make him fit, which if he haue, he thinkes GOD will respect him; and if he haue not, he thinkes that GOD will not looke after him. If thy complaint be thus, it is sinfull; for in this thou seekest some­thing in thy selfe.

[Page 75]But if a mans complaint be this, that he is not yet awaked enough, that he is not yet sen­sible enough of his sinnes, the doctrine of the remission of his sinnes, and free Justification doth not affect him as it should. Indeed, here is iust cause of complaint; for these things are necessary before you can come to take CHRIST. Therefore that place in Mat. 10.11. will ex­plaine this, and answer an objection that may be made against it, when the Apostles were sent out to preach the Gospell, when they came to any house, they were bidden to En­quire who were worthy; If any man be worthy (saith CHRIST) your peace shall come vpon him: but if he be not worthy, shake off the dust, &c. A man would thinke by this that there were some worthinesse required in the partie that comes to CHRIST, and that before hee can apply the first promise of Justification.

To this we answer, the worthinesse that is required here is nothing else but an ability to prize CHRIST, to set him at a high rate, to long after him, to hunger and thirst after his righteousnesse, your peace shall come vpon such a man. That is, if there bee a broken-hearted man that lookes after CHRIST, whose heart yeranes after him, that he is able to prize him aright, he shall be accepted: but if they bee such men as will not receiue you, such as will not set meat before you, such as will giue you no respect, shake off the dust of your feete, &c. So that I say, such a complaint we may make, [Page 76] If we finde a want of desire after CHRIST; for that is required; but if we looke vpon any thing as a qualification in our selues, such a worthinesse is not required, we must be driuen out of all conceit of it, or else we cannot take Christ. So much for the Vse, that seeing it is onely faith whereby wee lay hold of Christs righteousnesse, that then we haue no reason to be discouraged, in respect of any want; nay, we must finde a want of all things, before wee can be made partakers of this righteousnesse.

Vse. 2. To reioyce in God.Againe, secondly, if it bee by faith onely, by which we are made partakers of this righ­teousnesse, and by which we are saued, then we should learne hence to reioyce onely in GOD, and not to reioyce in our selues; for this is the very end why GOD hath appointed this way of saluation: Eph. 1.6.Eph. 1.6. For he hath cho­sen vs to the praise of the glory of his grace, in his Beloued. That is, that he might haue the praise of the glory of his grace, as it is in Ephes. 2. Therefore it is of faith,Eph. 2. and not by workes, that no man should boast of himselfe: 1 Cor. 1.30.2 Cor. 1.30. Therefore CHRIST is made to vs wis­dome, righteousnesse, sanctification, and redemp­tion, that no flesh should reioyce in it selfe. Now if that be GODS end, if that be his aime, why he will haue vs saued by faith, let not vs disappoint him of his aime, let vs not take from him the glory of his grace; but let vs glory in the Lord.

This point we should especially looke to, [Page 77] not to reioyce in our selues, but in GOD: For, my beloued, wee are all naturally exceeding apt to reioyce in our selues, wee would faine finde some excellencie in our selues, euery man is apt to reflect vpon himselfe, and hee would faine see some worth there that hee might reioyce in; and if he be no body at all there, it is contrary to his nature to thinke that he shall be accepted: there is nothing in the world that we are so backward to as this. It was Adams fault in Paradise, whereas hee should haue trusted GOD, and haue beene wholly dependant vpon him for all, he would needes know good and euill, he would haue something of his owne; and this was it that lost him all, and brought the curse vp­on him, because hee would not bee depen­dant.

Now in the Gospell, GOD comes by a second meanes of sauing men, and in this the LORD would haue the creature to haue nothing in himselfe to glory in, but man is hardly brought to this, but exalts and lifts vp himselfe, and would faine haue some worth and excellencie of his owne; but as long as wee doe thus, wee cannot bee saued: that is the argument that is vsed Rom. 6.4.Rom. 6.4. why A­braham was iustified by faith; if there had beene any other way, Abraham had had wherein to reioyce in himselfe: but faith ex­cludes this reioycing, and onely faith, wee should, I say, learne to do this in good earnest, [Page 78] to see that there is no worth in our selues, to haue CHRIST to be to vs all in all: Col. 3.11. is an excellent place to this purpose, saith the Apostle there, (in the matter of saluation) There is neither Iew nor Gentile, bond nor free, but Christ is all in all. That is, when we come to be iustified before GOD, when wee come to the matter of saluation, God lookes at nothing in a man, he lookes at no difference betweene man and man; one man is vertuous, another man is wicked; one man is a Iew, and hath all those priuiledges; another man is a Gen­tile, an alien from the Common-wealth of Is­rael; one man is circumcised, another man is vncircumcised; but all this is nothing: Why? For CHRIST is all in all. Marke it: First, he is all; that is, there is nothing else required to iustifie: Indeede, if wee were something, and he were not all, we might then looke at something besides; but he is all.

Againe, he is all in all: that is, goe thorow all things that you may thinke will helpe you to saluation, in all those things CHRIST is onely to be respected, and nothing but Christ, whatsoeuer is done without Christ, GOD re­gards it not; If you will doe any worke of your owne to helpe your selues in saluation, if you will rest vpon any priuiledges, Christ is not all in all; but Christ must be all in all in euery thing: and if onely Christ be all, then we must come onely with faith; for it is faith onely that layes hold vpon Christ.

[Page 79]Now a naturall man, hee will not haue Christ to bee all, but himselfe will bee some­thing; or if Christ be all in some things, he will not haue Christ to be all in euery thing, to haue Christ to be his wisdome, his righte­ousnesse, his sanctification; to doe nothing but by Christ; to haue Christ to be his re­demption, not to be able to helpe himselfe without Christ, but that Christ must helpe him out of euery trouble, and bestowe vpon him euery comfort, this, I say, is contrary to the nature of man: therefore we must bee thorowly emptyed of our selues in this matter of reioycing, aswell as in the matter of taking: for in what measure any man sets any price vpon himselfe, so farre as he hath any opinion of himselfe that he is something, iust so farre he detracts from Christ: but when a man boasts not of himselfe at all, such a man re­ioyceth in GOD altogether, such a man will stand amazed at the height, and breadth, and length, and depth of the loue of GOD; such a man will be able to see that there are vnsear­chable riches in Christ; such a man will be a­ble to say with Paul, that he cares for nothing, he reckons all things dung, Phil. 3.Phil 3. I haue all the priuiledges (saith he) that other men haue; I am a Jew, I am a Pharise; but I reckon all these things as dung; that is, I care for none of them, if I had an hundred more: It is true, I haue beene as strict as any man; yea, I went beyond others: for I was zealous in [Page 80] that course wherein I was, yet I haue beene taught thus much, that all these things are no­thing, for GOD regards them not, he regards nothing but Christ and his righteousnes, there­fore I looke not after these things, but that I may be found in him, not hauing mine own righteousnesse, but that righteousnesse that GOD accepteth, which is through faith in him. Therefore, my brethren, learne thus to re­ioyce in CHRIST, and in GOD, and not in your selues; this is the most excellent worke that we can performe, it is the worke of the Saints and Angels in Heauen, wee should learne to come as neere them now as we can: In Reu. 7.11.Reu. 7.11. they cryed with a loud voyce, saying, Saluation commeth by our God, that sitteth vpon the Throne, and by the Lambe; and there­fore, praise, and wisdome, and glory be giuen to God for euermore; because saluation is from the Lord, and from the Lambe, and not from our selues at all: hence it is that they fell downe, and worshipped him; and for this cause they all cry, wisdome, and glory, and praise be to our GOD for euermore.

If saluation had beene from our selues, if wee had done any thing to helpe our selues therein, there had not been ground of giuing all praise and glory to GOD; and if this bee the worke of the Saints & Angels, we should labour to performe it as abundantly as we can now: and let vs doe it in good earnest: for if men could be brought to this, to reioyce in [Page 81] GOD alone, their mouthes would bee filled with praise exceedingly, they would regard nothing else, and in the course of their liues they would make it euident to the world, that they were such as made no account of the World, so they might haue CHRIST, they would be content with any condition: for Christ is all in all to them.

Thirdly,Vse. 3. To labour for faith aboue all if it be by faith onely by which we are made partakers of the righteousnesse by which we are saued, then it should teach vs to let other things goe, and principally to minde this matter, to labour to get faith, whatsoeuer become of other things; for it is that by which we haue saluation.

The Papists, they teach that workes are the maine, and many things they prescribe that men must doe: our Doctrine is, you see, that faith onely is required: Indeede, many things follow vpon faith, but faith is that you must onely labour for, and then the rest will follow vpon it.

This Doctrine of ours, you shall finde that it is deliuered cleerely in Gal. 5.5, 6.Gal. 5.5.6. We waite, through the Spirit, for the hope of righteousnesse, which is through faith. That is, we looke for nothing from the Law, we regard no workes at all in the matter of iustification; that which we looke for, is onely that righteousnes which is taken by faith: and why doe wee so? For, saith he, in Christ Iesus, neither circumcision is a­ny thing, nor vncircumcision, but faith, &c. As [Page 82] if he should say, there is good reason why we should expect saluation onely by faith, be­cause nothing else will helpe vs in that worke, circumcision is nothing, nor vncircumcision is no­thing: by those two hee meanes all other things, that is, the hauing of all the priuiled­ges in the world, the doing of all the workes that can be done, faith is all in all; but it must be such a faith as workes by loue; though it be by faith onely, yet it is not an idle faith: therefore you are especially to labour for faith.

Without faith God regards not morall vertues.There are many other excellencies that we are capable of, many morall vertues, such as Aristotle and Socrates haue described; but with­out faith, GOD regards none of these: take one that is a wicked man, and take another, let him be neuer so vertuous, as Socrates, and Seneca, that were the strictest in morality of all the Heathen; nay, take any man that liues in the Church, that liues the most strict and exact life, and yet is not iustified by faith, God makes no difference betweene these men, the one is as neere to heauen as the other, GOD lookes vpon them both with the same eye; for he regards nothing without faith. He that is the most prophane and vngodly, if he come with faith, he shall obtaine Christ; the other that hath all other morall Vertues in the most exact manner, without faith, they shall doe him no good: therefore we are to seeke for nothing in the matter of iustification, but how [Page 83] we may be enabled to beleeue, we are princi­pally to study this matter of faith.

Take such a one as Socrates, Difference be­tweene faith and morall vertues. and such a one as Saint Paul, it may be Socrates might bee outwardly as temperate, and as patient, and be indued with as many excellencies, hee might appeare in his carriage as strict as Saint Paul; but here is the great difference, The one doth what hee doth of himselfe, and through himselfe, and for himselfe; the o­ther doth what hee doth of CHRIST, and through CHRIST, and for CHRIST: there­fore faith mainely is requisite.

If we had all other excellencies, yet we shall finde this in them, that they doe alway giue something to the creature.

Againe, if you goe neuer so farre in them, yet you shall finde that there is some imper­fection in them.

But faith it emptieth the creature of all things, it leaueth nothing in a man, it makes him leane and rest only vpon CHRIST, and vpon his righteousnesse for saluation.

Againe, faith worketh in vs a loue to GOD: for, we hauing nothing in our selues, but all that we haue being from him, we cannot but loue him againe.

Againe, faith presenteth to God a perfect righteousnes, and therfore God only accepts it: for God must be iust, and nothing can satisfie the Justice of GOD, but a righteousnes that is perfect, nothing can attaine a righteousnesse [Page 84] that is perfect, but onely faith, labour there­fore to beleeue this, and to turne all your stu­dy and care how to get faith. My beloued, this is a thing that we are bound to preach to you; this is the summe of that Doctrine that CHRIST so often preached when he was vp­on the Earth, Beleeue, for the Kingdome of God is at hand: this is the summe of all the Do­ctrine of the Apostles, it was all they had to doe, to perswade men to beleeue: What was the summe of all Pauls Doctrine? We goe vp and downe, saith he, from place to place, witnes­sing both to Iewes and Gentiles, &c. So it is our part, when we come to preach to you, when we come to dispense to you that which is for the nourishment of your soules, we must doe as those Stewards that set bread and salt vpon the Table, whatsoeuer other dish there is; so we should alway preach Christ, and perswade you to beleeue in him, and stir you vp to turne the streame of your endeuours after the ob­taining of that faith that taketh this righte­ousnesse; the principall thing we are to look vnto, is, to see from what Fountaine that that we haue comes; if a man haue neuer so many vertues in him, if they arise not from this fountaine, if they spring not from this roote, they are nothing, GOD lookes vpon them without acceptance or delight.

Againe, this is that that you are to doe in hearing, that which you are chiefly to looke after, is, how to get faith; and therfore if men [Page 85] will employ their strength and their ende­uours, and busie themselues to attaine such and such vertues, it is but as the watering of the branches, and to let the roote alone; faith is the roote; that is, it is that that makes all ac­ceptable to GOD: for what is the difference betweene Christianity and Morality, and without this, what is our preaching? Wee may gather welneere as good instructions to resist vice, ouf of Plutarch, and out of Seneca, as out of Pauls Epistles, but this differenceth it, that we preach CHRIST, and from Christ wee deriue ability and strength to doe all things else, and that makes all else to be accep­table; so that this is it that you must looke af­ter, to haue CHRIST, to receiue all from him, to doe all for him; for these are reciprocall, vn­lesse you thinke you haue all from CHRIST, you will neuer doe all for him; when wee thinke CHRIST is alsufficient, we will be per­fect with him againe.

But,Difference be­tweene faith and shewes of holinesse. by the way, in this you see not onely the difference betweene morall vertues, and those in a true Christian, which is godlinesse, that they come from different fountaines, and looke to different ends; but you see also the difference betweene those shewes of strict­nesse that are among the Papists, and that sincerity of life that wee preach vnto you, which is an effect of this faith: for, if you marke it, you shall find that all that they doe, either is without Christ, or addes to Christ; [Page 86] they thinke they shall bee saued for doing such and such things, which prepare and fit them for saluation, they looke mainely to the workes of humbling the body, and doing many actions of mortification, but still Christ onely is not sought after in all this. But now looke to the Doctrine that we haue deliuered, it is CHRIST that we preach, it is faith that we preach vnto you. It is true, wee preach those things too, we lay the same necessity vp­on you of doing good workes, we stirre you vp to holinesse of life, and mortification; but here is the difference, wee deriue it all from Christ by faith, we say that faith doth all.

Indeed when you haue faith, if that faith be right, it will worke by loue: here then you see the difference, we doe the same things, but we deriue all from a iustifying faith, laying hold vpon CHRIST; and so loue to him, and all other graces doe arise from this.

Vse 4. To apply the promises with boldnesse.Againe, a fourth Vse of this point is this, If saluation be onely by faith, then we should learne hence to goe with boldnesse to GOD, to take the promises, and to reckon them sure to vs. If something else had beene requi­red on our part, wee should then haue gone with a great deale of doubting to GOD; but now, seeing there is nothing required, but on­ly to goe and take it, this should make vs to goe with boldnesse to the Throne of Grace, to come with assurance that we shall speed.

And therefore in the businesse of seeking to [Page 87] GOD for the remission of our sinnes, (which indeed is the greatest businesse that wee haue to doe) what greater comfort can there bee, then to haue this assurance, that if wee come to GOD for it, we shall not faile nor be decei­ued of it?

For the present occasion of receiuing the Sacrament: What is the end of the Sacra­ment, but to preach faith? The Sacrament preacheth that to your outward senses, that we doe to your vnderstandings; it presenteth to the eye, that which wee now preach to the eare: for what is the Couenant of GOD in the Gospell, but onely this? GOD offers Christ vnto you freely, as the Bread and Wine is giuen vnto you. To vs a Sonne is giuen, &c.

Againe, we take him, and binde our selues to obey him, and to loue him, to be to him a­lone, to marry him, to make him our Lord and our Husband. Now in the Sacrament both these are done: when the Bread and Wine are offered, they are but a resemblance of the offer of CHRIST. Indeed there is a blessing in it: for it is Gods Ordinance, it in­creaseth this grace of faith. And againe, there is a bond on our part, wherein wee tye our selues to obey CHRIST.

Now if any of you will offer to come, and yet haue not giuen vp your selues to GOD in good earnest, you receiue your own condem­nation, you are diuorsed from CHRIST, and married to the World; and this is to receiue [Page 88] the Sacrament vnworthily. The maine end of the Sacrament, is to increase faith, and sal­uation is ours by faith; therefore wee should come with boldnesse, and lay hold vpon the promises of it.

Gods free pro­mise should incourage vs to come with boldnesse.We should doe in this case as Ioab did, lay hold vpon the hornes of the Altar; that is, take hold vpon CHRIST, and remember that sure word of promise, To vs a Sonne is giuen, to vs a Child is borne. And, Let whosoeuer will, come and take of the waters of life freely. Goe thorow the whole Booke of GOD, all the pro­mises therein are as so many grounds for faith to build vpon; it is impossible that God should slay you, if you come and lay hold of the hornes of the Altar. If you will take Christ, and receiue these promises, and rest on them, it is impossible but that God should performe them, he hath bound himselfe to performe what he hath said, in 1 Ioh. 1.9.1 Ioh 1.9. If we acknow­ledge our sinnes, he is faithfull and iust to forgiue them: As if he were vniust and vnfaithfull if he should not doe it. His Oath is passed, hee hath added an Oath to his promise, that by 2. immutable witnesses it should stand firme.

We should doe in this case as Iacob did, af­ter he had once a promise from GOD, when he meetes his brother Esau, Lord, (saith hee) Thou hast promised to doe me good, therefore deli­uer me from the hand of my brother. So, when we haue a promise, and GOD hath said, Hee that will take CHRIST shall be saued, and [Page 89] CHRIST is freely giuen, and the pardon is generall, therefore what should hinder vs? Vrge GOD vpon his promise, wrastle with GOD, as Iacob did, and let him not goe with­out a blessing; wrastling implyes resisting, it is a signe GOD resisted him for a time: so, it may be, GOD will deny thee a great while, yet continue thou to seeke him, let him not goe, he cannot deny thee in the end, thou shalt haue the blessing at the last: we should learne thus to importune GOD; tell him, Lord, I haue a sure promise, and thou hast made the pardon gene­rall, and I am sure I come within the number of that Comission: Goe and preach the Gospell to euery creature, goe and tell euery man vnder heauen, that Christ is offered to him, he is free­ly giuen to him by GOD the Father, and there is nothing required of you, but that you mar­ry him, nothing but to accept of him; here is a word sure enough, if there were nothing else but this. Therfore learne to doe in this as the Woman of Canaan did, though Christ denyed her, yet she would not giue ouer: for she had this ground to build vpon, that he was Iesus, he was the Sonne of Dauid, he was mercifull, and shee had exceeding great neede of him, and therefore she would not giue ouer; so, I say, hauing this ground for your faith, goe to GOD with boldnesse, and neuer giue ouer; it is impossible (if you seeke him in good ear­nest, with all your heart) but that he should receiue you.

[Page 90]It is true indeed, hee giues to some sooner then he doth to others; with some he deales as he did with the Woman of Canan; to some he giues an answer quickly, some againe hee defers longer, and he will put vs to the tryall. CHRIST dealeth differently with his chil­dren, he doth with vs sometimes as the vniust Iudge, he turnes the deafe eare to vs, or like the man that was in bed with his children, and was vnwilling to rise; but what saith the Text? Luk. 11.6.Luk. 11.6.8. though he would not doe it for him as a friend, yet his importunity makes him rise and lend him: so thou thinkst (it may be) GOD is not thy friend, yet by thy importunity he will rise at the last; therefore, though thou finde GOD to be as an enemy, though he be neuer so backward to rise, yet giue not ouer, I can assure thee, as cer­tainely as there is any truth in the Booke of GOD, thou shalt be heard in the end, Heauen and Earth shall passe away before this sure Word shall perish. It is Gods manner to put men to the tryall, and it is his wisdome so to doe, o­therwise, he would haue many that would be forward at the first, that would fall off in the end.

It was Naomies wisdome to bid her Daugh­ter Ruth goe backe to her kindred, but shee would not, she stood it out: I will goe (saith she) where thou goest, and nothing but death shall part betweene me and thee. When Naomi saw that she was stedfastly minded, she tooke her [Page 91] along with her. So, if GOD should receiue men at the first, many men would come in, and take hold vpon Christ, and make a profes­sion of his Name, but they would not hold out to the end with him: But when CHRIST shall tell them, I haue not so much as a place to lay my head in, if thou wilt haue me, thou must deny thy selfe, and take vp thy Crosse, and thou shalt finde a great deale of trouble, and suffer persecution; If a man now, not­withstanding this, will not be beaten off from Christ, but, though Christ turne the deafe eare to him for the present, and present to him all manner of difficulties, yet if he will, notwith­standing all this, be constant still in importu­ning God to haue CHRIST, when GOD shall see that his mind is thus set, he will take him along with him, hee will be thine, and thou shalt be his, his people shall be thy people: this is it that knits the knot betweene you: My Beloued is mine, and I am his; his Word is passed for it, he hath promised his consent, now if we will giue ours, the match is made.

If it were doubtfull whether wee should haue his consent, it were another case; but we haue a sure Word for it, wee should learne therefore to importune him.

Now when we haue done this, when wee are come with this boldnesse, and haue laid hold vpon CHRIST, then let vs looke to the priuiledges, then let vs take the pardon of our sinnes, adoption, and reconciliation, and all [Page 92] things else, only remember that condition of after-obedience, that though wee may come freely, and come with this boldnesse, and though nothing be required, but that we take this Sonne of GOD that is offered, yet, I say, there is a condition of after-obedience, wee must resolue to serue him, and to loue him with all our heart, we must resolue to doe that that Ruth promiseth to Naomi, to liue with him, and to be with him, and that his people shall be our people, &c.

ObiectBut you will say, I am willing to doe this, to part from my lusts, and to be to CHRIST alone, but I am not able, my lusts are strong and preualent.

Answ.To this I answer, If thou bee but willing, Christ desires no more:Christ requi­reth but a wil­lingnesse to mortifie our lusts. I would but aske thee this, Suppose that thou wert able to ouer­come those lusts; take a man that is strongly giuen to good-fellowship, (as they call it) to company-keeping, that is giuen to fornicati­on, to swearing, or whatsoeuer the sinne bee, take any preualent lust that is in any man that now heareth me, I would aske him this Que­stion; Put the case thou wert able to get the victory ouer thy lust, wouldst thou be content to part with it, and to take CHRIST? If thou sayest, No, I had rather enioy the sweetnesse of my lusts still, Art thou not now worthy to be condemned? But if thou answer, I would, vpon condition I were able to ouercome my lusts; I assure thee, GOD will make thee able, [Page 93] GOD requires no more but a willingnesse to come, and take CHRIST, the other is Gods worke.

I,Obiect. but I haue tryed, and haue not found it so.

I answer,Answ. it cannot be, thou hast not yet solued to part with thy lusts, thou hast not yet set downe this peremptory conclusion in thy selfe, that thou wilt forsake euery thing that you may haue CHRIST: If any man say he is willing to take CHRIST, and to part with the sweetnesse, and the pleasantnesse, and the profitablenesse that his lust brings to him, if he could get the victory, if hee were freed from the sollicitations of them: Let me tell thee, thou must first resolue to take Christ vpon his owne conditions, and for the other, GOD hath promised to doe that himselfe: 1. Cor. 8.9.2 Cor. 8.9. God will confirme you, and keepe you blamelesse; for he is faithfull that hath called you to the fellowship of his Sonne. As if hee should haue said, Doe you thinke that GOD will call men to CHRIST, that he will beseech men to take his Sonne, will he call you to the fel­lowship of his Sonne, and will hee not keepe you blameles? he hath promised it, and sworn it, if he should not doe it, hee should be vn­faithfull; when GOD calleth you to come vnto Christ, he promiseth that the vertue of Christs death shall kill sinne in you, and that the ver­tue of Christs Resurrection shall raise you vp to newnesse of life; GOD hath promised [Page 94] that he will giue the Holy Ghost: for he neuer giues his Sonne to any, but he giues them the Spirit of his Sonne too. Now, Hee that hath called you is faithfull, and he will doe it. So that I say, if thou wilt come in, (that is) if thou wilt accept of CHRIST vpon his conditions, it is certaine GOD will receiue thee; and if thou find thy selfe troubled with the violence of any lust, or of any temptation, presse vpon GOD, vrge him with his Word and promise, that he would assist thee by his own strength, that he would enable thee to ouercome, that he would giue thee the Spirit of his Sonne, and resolue as Iob, Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him: for I haue a sure promise, Hea­uen and Earth shall passe, but not one tittle of his sure Word shall passe till it be fulfilled.

Now because this is a point of much mo­ment, this laying hold vpon the promises, and because it is a thing that is not easily done, therefore I will shew you these two things.Two things in laying hold on the promises.

The first is this, that the vnderstanding must be rightly informed, what ground a man hath to doe it; when a man comes to beleeue the forgiuenesse of his sinnes, let him not thinke, I haue a perswasion that my sinnes are forgi­uen, therefore they are forgiuen, but a man must labour to see the ground of it: for, a thing is not true because wee are perswaded it is so; but the thing is first true, and then we beleeue it: GOD hath first offered forgiue­nesse of sinnes to you, and then you looke vp­on [Page 95] his Word, and so beleeue it; But, I say, when a man is perswaded in a confused man­ner, without any iust ground, without a cleere knowledge of the progresse of faith, how it goeth along, this is not right, this keepeth many from assurance, because they are not cleerely instructed in it: For, to the end that faith may take hold of the promise, that it may be sure to vs,4. Things in the vnderstan­ding. we must conceiue of the right method, and that stands in these foure things.

First, we must see our owne condition, we 1 must be sicke before we can seeke to the Phy­sician, we must see our selues to be condem­ned men, that there is nothing in vs to helpe our selues; wee must be broken in heart in some measure, wee must see our selues to bee children of wrath, and then we will come and seeke for a remedy; and that is,

By looking into the Booke of GOD, (and 2 that is the second thing) and there I finde all the promises, CHRIST is there cleerely offe­red, onely with this condition required, that I must obey him, and serue him, and loue him; so that that is the second thing, CHRIST is offered in the Scriptures to euery one, and if you haue him, you shall haue a pardon of your sinnes with him; onely he is offered with condition of obedience: Well, when you see this cleerely, now you come to consider it, you begin to ponder this Word, whether it be so or no, a man begins to thinke, Is this a sure promise? and then he sees, that looke what [Page 96] certainety there is of the Scriptures in gene­rall, there is the same certainety in these par­ticular promises: so that with the same faith that a man is to beleeue the Word of GOD, with the same faith he is to beleeue this offer of CHRIST.

Quest.I, but is it sure to me?

Then a man lookes to the generality of the promise, that it is offered to all, none excep­ted, and therefore, saith hee, it is offered to me.

But will Christ doe to me as hee hath pro­mised, is he powerfull and willing to doe it? Then a man lookes into the Word, and finds that he is Almighty, that he is able to make him the Sonne of God, that whatsoeuer Christ hath by nature, he shall haue it by matching with him: Indeede Christ hath it immediate­ly as he is the Sonne of GOD, but wee haue it mediately, as the Wife hath the riches of her Husband. If a Woman marry the Kings Sonne, she hath the same priuiledges, and the same inheritance that he hath: so, whatsoeuer CHRIST hath becomes ours: Paul, and A­pollo, and all are CHRIST'S, the World is CHRIST'S, and all things present and to come are CHRIST'S, and they are all made ours. Now when this is well pondered, and we finde that wee haue a sure Word to con­firme this,

3 Then, in the third place, we come and take him, and this no man will doe indeed, till he [Page 97] haue well considered, as the saying is of mar­riage, that it is a bestowing of ones selfe vpon such a one, so it is in this; euery one therefore should consider before-hand, what it is to be­stow himselfe vpon CHRIST, and when this is done, that we haue made the match, and bestowed our selues vpon CHRIST, then,

In the next place, we come to see what we 4 shall haue by him, and then we come to make vse of all that CHRIST brings with him, re­conciliation, and pardon of sinne, and all things else that he hath, I haue with him, I am the sonne of God, and I shall be sanctified; (for together with him I haue his Spirit,) all my prayers shall be heard, all the promises in the Booke of GOD are mine; for In him they are all Yea and Amen: as all the World is his, so it is all the wealth of a Christian af­ter he hath taken CHRIST. Now when this is distinctly propounded to vs, and wee con­ceiue it aright, it makes the way much more easie to vs; but when we goe on in a confused manner, because the Gospell is not cleerely vnderstood by vs, hence it is that wee labour much, and yet the thing is not done: there­fore, my beloued, if you haue a perswasion of the forgiuenesse of your sinnes, if it bee but a meere perswasion, it will alter exceedingly, it will goe and come in the time of temptation; but when you haue a sure Word, when you haue built your selues vpon the Scriptures, it is not dependant vpon your perswasion, but it [Page 98] is the Word that you rest vpon: For fancie, and opinion, and perswasion, it will grow sometimes longer, and sometimes shorter, as the shaddow doth, whereas the body of the thing is the same; but when your eye is vpon the Word, when you rest vpon that, then your perswasion will continue the same as the Word continues. Indeed, your comfort may be sometimes more, sometimes lesse; but when it is pitched vpon the sure Word, that is it that will bring you comfort in the wor­king of it, to obserue the method and degrees of it. Indeed, my beloued, it is a point of an­other nature to beleeue then the world thinks of; therefore examine, and recall, and vnder­stand this Doctrine that we haue now taught you distinctly, it will be worth all your la­bour, for the present you shall haue a good conscience, and the assurance of Gods fauour, and when death comes, the right vnderstan­ding of it will be worth all the world besides.

It is said of the second ground, that they fell away, because they had no roote in themselues: they had some root, but their faith was pitch­ed vpon a generall Doctrine, vpon a generall perswasion, that hath a kinde of roote, but it hath no roote in it selfe: so many Christians goe farre, and they doe much, but they haue no roote in themselues, that is, they doe not vnderstand distinctly, and throughly, the grounds vpon which their faith is built, they see not a sure ground for it in the Word of [Page 99] GOD, they know not how faith is built vpon the [...]ure corner stone; for CHRIST is that sure corner stone, he that is built vpon him shall neuer be ashamed, wee should learne therefore not to giue ouer till wee be rooted and grounded. If a man should aske many peop [...]e, What is the reason that you are per­swaded that your sinnes are forgiuen? (for you ought to build that vpon an infallible ground) I [...] it be no more but because you are perswaded, it is nothing; but if you can say, My sinnes are forgiuen, because I haue Christ, and he that hath the Sonne hath life, I haue the sure Word of God for it, God cannot lye, he is Truth it selfe that hath said it, and he hath offered CHRIST to euery creature vnder Heauen; then is the ground good, thou maist take him boldly, being within that number.

So much for this time.

FINIS.

OF FAITH. The fourth Sermon.

ROM. 1.17.

For by it the righteousnesse of God is reuealed from Faith to Faith: As it is written, The iust shall liue by Faith.

THe next thing to bee done is this, to draw the will to take the promises; for, though the vnderstanding rightly apprehend all that is deliuered in the Word, yet except the will bee bowed, except we incline, and be willing to embrace these offers, and willingly take Christ vpon these conditions, the thing is not done; for, I say, iustifying faith is as well in the will as in the vnderstanding: for that which I de­liuer [Page 102] now, is built vpon that which I deliue­red before; and I speake chiefly to those that vnderstand the premises, or else you will not fully vnderstand that we are now about.

But seeing that the will hath a part in faith as well as the vnderstanding, the second thing is to draw the will: But how is that done? This is the worke of God, hee onely hath the soueraignety ouer the will and affections of a man, it is the great prerogatiue of GOD, when a businesse is to be done with the will and af­fections, GOD must perswade it, as in Noah's speech, God perswade Iapheth to dwell in the Tents of Sem: As if he should say, I may per­swade in vaine, except GOD put to his hand to the worke: So it is the property of the Spi­rit to conuince; as Ioh. 16.Ioh. 16. The Spirit shall con­uince the World of sinne and righteousnesse. That is, he shall shew men their sinnes, and their neede, and withall conuince them, and per­swade them to take Christs righteousnes. Thus I say, it is GOD that draweth the will, it is he that puts a strong instinct into the heart of man, it is he that must worke on the heart, as in Ioh. 6.44.Ioh. 6.44. None can come to me except the Father draw him. How shall that be done? If GOD doth once draw a man, hee will haue no rest till he haue Christ, hee will not bee at quiet till he haue gotten him: compare that place, None come to me except the Father draw him, with that Cant. 2.3.Cant. 2.3. Draw vs, and we will runne after thee, it is not such drawing as when [Page 103] a man is drawne by force, but it is a drawing which is done by changing the will and affe­ctions, when GOD alters the bent of the mind, when GOD iustifies a man, hee will affect a mans heart so, that hee shall bee so affected with Christ, as that he shall haue no rest till he haue him; when he doth see his neede of him, he shall not giue ouer, till he be assured that he is reconciled to him: Draw vs, and we will runne after thee: It is such a drawing as is called the teaching of GOD: Ioh. 6.45. Ye shall be taught of God: that is, when GOD comes to teach a thing, he boweth the will and affecti­ons to doe it. Wee heeretofore exemplified this by the similitude of the Ant, and the Bee, and other creatures, they are said to be taught of GOD, when GOD puts a strong instinct into them to doe such and such a thing, he teacheth them to doe this and this: So GOD teacheth men to come to Christ, that is, he puts a strong inclination into their hearts, and when that is there once, they can haue no rest; as the Iron cannot rest till it come to the Loadstone, and as the stone cannot rest till it come to the cen­ter, so the heart of man, when GOD draweth it, when hee hath changed the will, then hee findes such a disposition in him as was in the Spouse, Cant. 2. She fought him whom her soule loued, she sought him by night, and by day, she sought him in the street, and among the Watchmen, and neuer rested vntill shee had found him: So when GOD hath drawne [Page 104] a mans heart, when hee hath inclined a mans will to embrace Christ, hee is neuer satisfied vntill he haue found him.

But, you will say, GOD doth this by meanes, he vseth Arguments to draw the will.

It is true, The Question therefore is, How GOD doth this: we will propound 3. meanes by which GOD doth vsually doe it.

The will drawne by 3. meanes.First, the will is drawne, by being perswa­ded what the miserable condition of a man is that is not yet come to CHRIST, that hath not yet taken him, that hath not gotten the pardon and forgiuenesse of his sinnes, that hath not got assurance that Christ hath recei­ued him to mercy.

The second thing is, the good that he shall get by it.

The third thing is, that he shall not lose his labour if he doe attempt it.

1. Meanes.The first thing, I say, that drawes vs to CHRIST, is to consider how miserable wee are without him, if men were perswaded of this, they would more seeke him. It is true, if a man could liue alone he would not come to him: take Rebels, & Pyrates, if they were able to maintaine themselues abroad, if they could be as happy in rebellion as in receiuing mercie, they would neuer come in: So it is in this case, If we be brought to this exigent, that we see wee cannot hold out any longer, we are not stronger then he, as the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 10.1 Cor. 10. Are we stronger then he? when [Page 105] a man is perswaded of that, when a man seeth this necessity is laid vpon him, or else he pe­risheth, then he will come in: So take a ser­uant or a sonne, if he be able to liue from his Father, or Masters house, perhaps he will run at ryot still; but when he seeth he cannot haue so much as huskes, hee can haue nothing to sustaine him, that is it that will bring him home: So take a Wife, a Spouse, if one come to wooe her, if she be able to liue with­out him, it may be she will refuse him, but if the case be so that she cannot subsist, but the Creditors will come vpon her, she must needs haue a Husband to protect her, to be a barre and a couering vnto her, now she seeth a ne­cessity of it: Therefore we say the Law driues men vnto CHRIST, and the Law doth it by shewing a man his sinne, and the curse due to it, by shewing a man his vilenesse, and if this will not doe it, then it shewes him the curse; when a man sees the misery that the Law brings vpon him, and pronounceth against him, that he is condemned, that perswades him: Therefore the Law drawes a man, and the sence of his misery, shewing him that hee is out of CHRIST, this drawes him to consi­der that GOD is his enemy, that all the crea­tures are his enemies,: for if GOD bee thine enemy, then needes must all the creatures be so, because they turne with him to and fro, as an Armie turnes at the becke of the Generall. Now to haue GOD and the creatures to bee a [Page 106] mans enemy, to haue euery thing to worke to­gether for a mans hurt; prosperity slaies him, and aduersity is not a Plaster or Medicine, but a poyson to him, euery thing ioynes for his hurt; the Word, which is the sauour of life to others, is the sauour of death to him; the Sacraments, which are a meanes to conuey grace and assurance to others, it is a meanes to conuey Satan to his heart, it increaseth his condemnation and his iudgement, when the wrath of GOD abides vpon a man; t [...]at is, it shall be vpon him for eternity hereafter: for he that hath not the Sonne, hath not life, Ioh. 3. vlt. when a man seriously considers all this, when he seeth what case he is in, that he can­not liue without CHRIST, this will be one thing that boweth and inclineth the will to come in and take CHRIST: but this is not all.

2. Meanes.But in the second place, a man will know what good he shall haue by such a Husband; and indeed, if this were all, hee could neuer marry out of loue, and if he doe not, it can be no match: Therefore we must finde some good, some excellencie in CHRIST; and this is the second thing that drawes the will, If we take him, we shall haue all his wealth, and all his honour, all the ioy and pleasure he can afford, we shall haue all his wealth; that is, goe to the whole Vniuerse, and see what there is profitable or comfortable to the sons of men, and all that is ours, whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or [Page 107] death, or things present, or things to come, all is yours, you are Christs, and Christ is Gods, all this is yours. As for the things of the world, if we take him once, we haue all these: would not a man desire all these, Is not this a strong argument to moue a man to take Christ, that all the Angels in Heauen, all the excellent Ministers on the Earth, (that are next to An­gels) they are all his seruants; God hath be­stowed these gifts for his sake, they are set a­worke for the furthering of his saluation: and the Angels, you know, are ministring Spirits, sent forth for the good of the Elect; for the World, as the Apostle saith, that is, whatso­euer is in the World, all the good and all the euill in the world, euen that euill doth him seruice, the afflictions, and persecutions, and stormes, driue him to his hauen, aswell as faire gales; euery thing scoures him, doth him some good or other, all in the world is his, both life and death; that is, whatsoeuer belongs to this life or another, all is for his seruice; & not that only, but when death comes, that a man thinks is the greatest enemy; that there is no good in death, yet that doth him good, it heales our sins, it is a meanes of happines; in a word, when the Apostle could say no more, things present, or things to come; for a man should looke to both: as heauen will not content him without the things of this life, so the things of this life will not content him without Heauen; but when there is both, the minde is satisfied.

[Page 108]Now when a man considers what wealth he hath by Christ, and againe, that he shall haue all his honour; now looke what honour Christ hath, the same he hath by matching with him; hauing him wee haue all things: If a man could enter into a serious consideration of this, to thinke that he is a King, that he is an heyre of all things, that all the promises doe belong to him; doe but thinke with your selues, if any of you should be raised from a meane ordinary condition, to bee made an earthly Prince, how would you bee affected with it? would it not put other thoughts in­to you? Why should you not beleeue spiri­tuall priuiledges to be as reall? Why should you not reioyce more in them? they are more durable, they are more excellent, they haue all in them the other haue: Indeede they are things that are not seene with the eye, they are spirituall, they are things that are enioyed and reserued for afterward, but yet there is much for the present: Learne to consider this, and it would draw and moue you; but because these things are looked on with a generall eye, as matters of fancy and speculation, they are looked on as things that are rather talked of, we see no such thing, we haue no feeling of them, therefore wee doe not affect them: but we should labour to beleeue this: The Scripture often mentions and repeates this, Yee are a Royall Priesthood, Heyres with CHRIST. Labour to come to this disjuncti­on, [Page 109] if these things be not so, why doe you be­leeue them at all? if they be so, why doe you not reioyce in them, proportionable to these priuiledges? And so for Joy; at his right hand there are Joyes and pleasures for euermore. And as it is so for eternity, so the neerer wee draw to him in this life, the more pleasure we haue; for he is the God of all comfort, the nee­rer we are to him, the more comfort, all the wayes of wisdome are wayes of pleasure, be­cause they leade neerer to GOD who is the cause of all comfort, So that is the second thing to consider, the good you shall haue by CHRIST when once you see how miserable you are without him, and that you shall gaine so much by him.

Now in the third place,3. Meanes. there is one thing remaining, How shall I haue him? I may at­tempt it, and goe without him, I may seeke, and be denyed: and therefore, in the third place, you shall be sure to obtaine; that is a great meanes to encourage vs to come vnto him, when you see you shall not faile, there is nothing can hinder on your part, as you haue heard of in the precedent condition; there is required but an earnest hunger and thirst after him, he iustifies the vngodly, and therefore nothing can hinder on your parts: and therefore if any thing hinder it, it must be on GODS part. Now what is there on GODS part that hinders? He hath promised, and bound himselfe, and he will not goe from his [Page 110] Word, he will not deny himselfe: and there­fore when there is no hinderance on neither part, then why doe you not beleeue? If you will consider Christ, Arguments to perswade vs of Christs wil­lingnesse to rec [...]iue sin­ners. and see how he describes himselfe in the Word, if you looke vnto all those arguments that are propounded vnto vs therein, to perswade vs, you will make no question, but if you are willing to come, you are sure to receiue him, you shall haue remis­sion of all your sinnes:By expressi­ons in Scrip­ture. If you consider, first those speeches in E [...]kiel, I desire not the death of a sinner: and Why will ye dye, O ye house of Israel? such expostulations are very frequent; Oh that my people would returne: and How often would I haue gathered you, as the Henne gather­eth her Chickens: I say, these are the speeches of GOD, and GOD speakes as he meanes; you shall finde by the manner, and the fashion, and the figure of the speeches, that GOD de­sires it earnestly: Why will ye dye, O ye house of Israel? by way of interrogations: and, Oh that my people would doe thus and thus: Euen this GOD desires, that a sinner would returne. There is no action that God doth, but he doth it willingly, that he forgiues sinners, that hee receiues those men that will come home vnto him. You see in the Father of the Prodigall, that doth expresse the disposition of GOD, hee runnes to meete his Sonne, hee was the forwarder of the two, hee fals vpon him, and kisseth him, hee could not expresse his ioy for his comming home: such is the dispositi­on [Page 111] of GOD: I take no delight, as I [...]ue, saith the LORD, in the death of a sinner: but rather that he should liue. And therefore when GOD saith it, wee haue a surer Word, you should better thinke of it, vndoubtedly hee will receiue you to mercie.

Againe,By Christs practice when he was on Earth. consider how Christ did in the daies of his flesh, how he behaued himself then, was he not exceeding gentle to all that came vnto him, exceeding compassionate and pittifull, ready to heale euery one, ready to doe any thing that was requested of him, that he deny­ed not any that was importunate with him: do you thinke that he hath put off that dispositi­on; is he not the same still? as it is in the He­brewes, Is he not a mercifull High Priest still? and that the bowels of compassion in him melt ouer a straying sinner, and is ready to receiue him, his bowels yearne within him, and ther [...]fore doubt not but the Lord will receiue you.

Againe,Else Christs blood were shed in vaine. of necessity hee must receiue you, or else the blood of CHRIST were in vaine, his Crosse and death were of none effect: What now can make the death of CHRIST to be of none effect, but when it is not regar­ded, when his blood is trampled vnder feere and despised of men, when it doth no good, when it is not improued for the purpose it was shed for? Doe you thinke that GOD sent his onely Sonne from Heauen, to dye a cursed death, and would hee haue his blood shed in vaine? Now except hee should [Page 112] receiue poore sinners when they come, the death of CHRIST should be of none effect: And therefore it cannot be but GOD must be ready to receiue them. So that there is no difficulty in him, all the difficulty is in our selues, we are not willing to come.

By the exam­ple of others pardoned.Againe, if we consider what he hath done for others, how many hee hath receiued to mercie, when one sees such Rebels receiued to mercie, and considers with himselfe, and thinkes how he gaue pardon to Manasses of his sinnes, which were crying sinnes, and of an extraordinary nature, sinnes that were of long continuance; he forgaue Mary Magdalens sinnes, he forgaue these greater sinners, and why should he not forgiue me? If one should come to a Physician, of whom he hath heard a great fame, and if he should meet with hun­dreds by the way of his Patients, and all of them should tell him he hath cured them, and healed them, it would encourage a man to go on with confidence. Or if one should come to a Well of which he hath heard much, and should meete with hundreds of people by the way, and all of them should tell him, we haue beene at the Well, and it hath cured vs, and made vs whole, this would encourage a man to goe with confidence, because of the mul­titude that haue tryed the experience of it: so we should runne to CHRIST; when so many thousands haue beene forgiuen, why should not these perswade vs that he is ready to for­giue [Page 113] vs, as Paul saith, he hath shewed mercy to me, that others might beleeue in GOD, I am an example for them to trust in God: there­fore when we see he hath forgiuen others so many and so great sins, why should we doubt?

Againe, if CHRIST should not be ready to receiue vs, no flesh should be saued, nor there is no man that would feare him, or heare him; Psal. 130.3. there the same argument is vsed; If thou, Lord, shouldst marke iniquity, who should stand? but there is mercy with thee that thou maist be feared. That is, if GOD should not be pittifull to mankinde, and ready to re­ceiue them, notwithstanding their manifold failings, and infirmities, and rebellions they are subiect vnto, no flesh should be saued, but all the world should perish.

Againe,Else no flesh should be saued. not so onely, but GOD himselfe should not be worshipped, men would not re­gard him; men would not serue him: There­fore, I say, of necessity GOD must haue mercy vpon men, that they may feare him, and serue him, and that men may be willing to serue.

Take a hard Master, a cruell King, a man that shuts out men, and excludes them that haue no hope, there is none that will serue such a man, there is no man that will come in to him; but there is mercy with the Lord that he may be feared and worshipped, and men may come in and worship him: and therefore doubt not but Christ is willing to receiue you.

If all this will not perswade you, yet in Esay [Page 114] 55. there is one thing more,By the infi­nitenesse of Gods mercy. if it will not en­ter into your thoughts; If you thinke your condition be such, if you thinke your sinnes so circumstantiated, as I may say, that they are committed in such a manner, that you thinke, though others haue beene forgiuen, yet you cannot, it passeth your thoughts, you know not how to imagine it; yet know, his mercie is aboue all: a man must hold that conclusion still.

And if this alone will not perswade me, yet when all this is put together, when I see the misery of a man without CHRIST, when I see I shall be happy with him, when I see it is of necessity, and if I come I shall certaine­ly be receiued, he cannot refuse me, all this will helpe to perswade a man; this you should learne to presse vpon your own hearts, wee that are the Ministers of CHRIST are bound to doe it: and therefore he hath sent vs out to compell men to come in, that his House may be full: therefore he commands them to goe vnto the high-way, and vnto the hedges, and compell men to come in. (And what is that?) That is, be so importunate with them, promise them, threaten them, command them in the Name of Christ to con­sent and come in, GOD would faine haue his House filled, he hath killed his fatlings, hee would not haue his Table ready, and haue no guests; he would haue his House filled, that his Table might not be prepared in vaine▪ and [Page 115] that it may not be in vaine, we are to inuite you to this marriage, we are to inuite you to these fatlings, to this Wine and Milke; it is a banquet, and a banquet you know what it is; In a banquet there is as much as will cheere the body, a concourse of all pleasant things; Such things are in Christ, there is spirituall comfort, a concourse, a heape of all spirituall ioy and comfort, of all precious things you can finde; and if you will come and taste, you shall haue all his Jewels, all his Graces, to beautifie and to adorne you withall: let this perswade you to come in.

But some may object,Obiect If I come in, I must lose my right eye, or my right hand, I must part with my lusts, which are as deare to me as these members.

I will be briefe for t [...]is point,Ans. because I will finish the Text at this time, and will answer it euen as CHRIST doth, Matth. 5. It is true, we must doe so, but then remember we shall haue heauen for our labour: if Heauen be not worthy losing of a right eye, or a right hand, keepe thine eye still, if thou wilt needs keepe it, but thou shalt be sure to goe to hell: There needs no other answer, doe but serious­ly consider of this; If I will, I may keepe this lust, this fleshly desire, but certainely that will leade me to hell. Let that answer serue for this.

But it may bee further obiected,2. Obiect. If I doe thus, I must deny my selfe, and this is [Page 116] a difficult thing for a man to offer violence to himselfe, to crosse himselfe in all his desires, a man is able to doe much, he may be willing to take great paines, and to suffer much, but to crosse himselfe still of his most inward de­sires that he hath, those that are most rooted in the soule, that sticke neere and close vnto him, this is difficult.

Ans.I answer, CHRIST is worthy of all these, thou shalt prouide better for thy selfe by do­ing this,By denying our selues, we enioy our selues better. there is another life in the regene­rate part, and it perfects that, though you destroy the flesh, and offer violence vnto that, yet there is the inward man that is growing vp daily, though the outward man faile: It is true, violence must be offered to the flesh, you must be content to part with pleasures, and the outward man in that sense must suffer somewhat, but remember what you gaine, there is the inward man that so much the more prouides for it selfe; and if you will not then deny your selfe, you deny not your dis­ease that will slay you. If a man haue a dis­ease that cries hard to him to haue such and such things giuen it, it is wisdome for him to deny it, because he nourisheth that that would destroy him: so herein himselfe is his disease, and to giue to that, is his destruction: so that that which you call your selfe is your disease, and when you feed your selfe, you feed your disease: and therfore euery one is to bee ruled by the Physicians aduice, who teacheth to [Page 117] doe othewise, CHRIST teacheth vs another way, which is for our health and safety: I can­not stand to presse that.

But I shall endure persecution,Obiect. and losse of friends; nay, perhaps losse of life.

I,Ans. but thou shalt receiue an hundred fold, thou shalt haue no losse by that bargaine, thou shalt finde Christ worth all that thou giuest him. More I should adde, but I come to the last point.

The righteousnesse of CHRIST is reuea­led from faith to faith.

The first poynt yee haue heard; that,

Righteousnesse is reuealed and offered in the Gospell to as many as will take it.Doct. 1. As also,

The second,Doct. 2. That it is by faith by which we are made to partake of this righteousnesse, it is reuealed from faith to faith; that is, it is so reuealed as that it is taken by faith.

The third point, that we are now to han­dle, is this, that,

Faith admits degrees, Doct. 3. and wee ought euery Christian to grow from degree to degree. Faith admits degrees.

In this proposition faith admits of degrees, and that we ought to grow from one degree to another, I finde two parts:Two parts in the Doctrine.

  • First, that there are degrees of faith.
  • Secondly, that we ought to grow from de­gree to degree.

For the first, that I may run through them as briefely as I can,Faith admits of degrees in 4. respects. There are degrees in faith in these foure respects: as there are [Page 118] two acts of faith, one whereby we take Christ, and that we call a direct act, by which we tru­ly lay hold on him, & receiue him as our Lord and Sauiour. The second is that act of faith by which we know we haue receiued him, the reflect act which is assurance, both these re­ceiue degrees: The first receiues degrees in three respects: the last receiues degrees, I will name but one, and so make vp the fourth.

In perswasion.The first act by which we receiue and take Christ the Messias offered vnto vs, it admits this first degree, there is a great degree of per­swasion that Christ is offered, and that hee is ours, that he is giuen by GOD the Father; and though I find this proposed in the Word, that Christ is giuen to vs, yet there are degrees of the perswasion of the truth of this; and this we need not wonder at; for though it be faith, and though the perswasion be true, and good, and firme, yet notwithstanding it may admit of degrees, else any man might obiect;

ObiectIf a man be fully perswaded, what needes he more? If he be not fully perswaded, it is not faith; if he be fully perswaded, that makes it faith, and how can that admit degrees?

Ans.I answer, it may, because there are degrees in the very perswasion, though the perswasi­on be good and true, yet there are degrees in it: As for example, there is such a proposi­tion of Truth, which I am perswaded to be­leeue by arguments that ouercome me, I must needes yeeld to it, and yet there are more ar­guments [Page 119] and reasons that may bee brought, that may worke a greater perswasion, as wee say, that may be more immediate to perswade vs of that conclusion: as, a man may see a thing by a little glimmering light of a candle, he may see it certainely and firmely, but when there come more Candles or a Torch in, he may see more cleerely, although he saw it cer­tainely before: So the promises of God, we may behold them, and apply them to our selues to be sure and firme, and yet this may admit more degrees, when there is more light, and more arguments, when the Spirit of A­doption speakes more cleerely and fully to vs, there may be a greater degree of perswasion: and therefore that objection, that either it is not faith if there be doubting, or if it be firme in a man, he needes no more; I say, it is not so, for faith admits degrees, there is a full perswa­sion, Col. 2. which intimates there is a lesser faith then that: As, you know, a Ship may be carried with a gentle gale of wind as well as with a stronger gale, though it goe not so fast, but it may be moued, it may be put on with a gentle wind as well as with a strong gale.

So a Tree may be rooted, and rooted strong­ly and firmely, and yet may be more rooted afterward; The phrase of Scripture carries it so: Oh ye of little faith: there is a little faith, and therefore it implyes there is a strong faith, yet the least is accounted faith. So, Lord, I be­leeue, [Page 120] helpe my vnbeliefe: it was vnbeliefe, and yet it was reckoned for beliefe.

So our Sauiour said to Peter, Why doest thou doubt? Certainely Peter beleeued, or else hee could not cast himselfe vhon the wa­ter; and yet there was doubting indeede mingled with it: And indeede, if faith were not mixt with doubting, who should haue faith? Did not Dauid trust GOD much? and yet his faith was mixed with doubting: saith he, I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul, and yet he had faith: Therefore, I say, there may be faith, though we haue not so full a perswa­sion.

Obiect.But, you will say, how differs it from o­pinion?

Ans.Opinion is an assent to a truth, with a feare lest the contrary may be true:Wherein faith and opinion differ. it differs from opinion in the object: the object of opinion is something in its owne nature vncertaine, but Faith pitcheth vpon the Word of GOD, which is in its owne nature infallible, and can­not deceiue.

Againe, opinion is a matter of speculation and no more: faith is a matter of practice, but that is not all.

Opinion goeth no further, but stayes in a doubt, but faith proceedes to full assurance: And therfore it hath the denomination of full assent. As wee say of a Wall that is a little white, it is white, because it tends to full whitenesse: and as we say water is hot, that [Page 121] is a little hot; so faith that is but in a little degree, yet it may be true, firme and substan­tiall.

But what is the least degree of faith, the least assent, the least beliefe of the promi­ses, without which it cannot bee said to bee faith?

I answer, the least degree of faith is that which brings vs to CHRIST, which makes vs willing to take him. Marke this point, for it will be of much vse to you, when the pro­mises of GOD are preached to you, and made knowne vnto you, when the arguments that moue you to come to CHRIST are decla­red and made manifest: Now if a man stands and knowes not whether he were best to take him or no, this is not faith, such a man acteth nothing, hee is such a one as is spoken of in Iam. 1. for that I take to be the meaning of that place; a man that knowes not whether he should come to CHRIST or no, that stands in a doubt, and sometimes hee will goe, and sometimes he will not; hee is off and on, to and fro, such a man hath not faith; such a one CHRIST rejects: but now when there is so much waight as will cast the Bal­lance the right way, though there be some­thing left in the other end of the Ballance; that is, though there be some doubting, some feare, yet if I so farre beleeue the promises, and the Word of GOD, as that I am willing to take CHRIST for my Husband, I am wil­ling [Page 122] to rest on him, to pitch on him, to be­stow my selfe vpon him; this is faith, though it come not to the full degree.

As for example, if one be a spokesman for a Suitor, he comes and tels the Spouse to whom he is a Suitor, that such a man is of such pa­rentage, hath such honour, and such wealth, and is thus qualified; now, if she be but so farre perswaded as that she is willing to take him for her husband, that is enough to bring her to make the match, that perswasion will bring her to doe it; afterward shee may come to know the thing more fully, and to be better perswaded, but that addes to the degrees: So, if there be but so much assent, so much firmenesse of perswasion to bring vs to CHRIST, to make vs willing to come to take him for our Sauiour and for our LORD, that is the least degree of faith, and though there be doubting left, and though there bee some feares, yet, if there be but so much as will produce that, it is faith. Let mee exem­plifie it in some other thing: Take Hester, when she was to come to the King, she knew not what successe she should haue, shee was fearefull, as we may see by the manner of go­ing about the businesse, yet, seeing there was so much as drew her to the action, she comes and sayes, If I perish, I perish; as if she had doubted she might haue perished, yet she re­solued to doe it; this may be said to be an act of faith, that put her on the worke. Take a [Page 123] Martyr that comes to suffer, hee hath many doubts and feares, and yet if there be but so much perswasion as will produce the act in him, as that hee is moued to doe the thing, hee may properly bee said to doe it out of faith.

And so of all other actions. The three Children, GOD can deliuer vs, if he will, (say they) if hee doe not, wee will not wor­ship that Image that thou hast set vp. There might be some doubting in them, and yet, because there was so much trust in GOD as to bring them to doe the thing, here was faith enough to make them acceptable in the sight of GOD. So, I say, if there be so much faith as will bring vs to GOD and to CHRIST, that is the least degree, other degrees there are that may be added afterwards, but this is thy comfort, if thou haue but so much as will produce such an effect, thou maist be sure that thou hast faith.

Secondly,In respect of difficulties. Faith admits degrees in regard of the difficulty and hardnesse of the things that are to be beleeued.

As for example, Martha and Mary both beleeued in CHRIST when hee feasted with them, but when Lazarus was dead, and had beene in the graue foure dayes, that put them to a stand: Now if they had beene able to beleeue this, there had beene a greater de­gree of faith. And that was it that magnified Abrahams faith so, that when there was so [Page 124] great difficulty that he must goe and offer his sonne, the sonne in whom GOD had pro­mised that his seede should be blessed, who was called the sonne of the promise: Now here was a great degree of faith, because there was great difficulty.

Moses, we see, when he came to beleeue the promise of God, in Numbers 11.Numb. 11. that so many, euen sixe hundred thousand should be fed with flesh, and that they should be so fed a whole moneth together, it set Moses at a stand, he knew not what to say; Not one day, (saith he) not tenne dayes, not twen­ty dayes, but a whole moneth together, and sixe hundred thousand people! If all the Flockes and Heards should be killed, and all the Fishes in the Sea should be gathered to­gether, how should this be done? This was a great thing to beleeue: and therefore GOD pittyed Moses, GOD seeth when things are hard to be beleeued, and pitties man; GOD beares with Moses in that case, because the thing was difficult and high; there are some things which are aboue hope, and in such ca­ses GOD is willing that his people should aske him a signe, he knowes their strength, they had neede of something to confirme them. And therefore in such a case, when GOD comes in such manner, if they aske him a signe, GOD is willing to giue them a signe: Indeede, when men will aske a signe to tempt GOD: an adulterous generation askes a signe; [Page 125] that is, for tryall or temptation, not for loue of CHRIST, and to be perswaded he is fit for them, but an adulterous generation, they did it not out of loue: but, I say, when ey­ther the thing is high, or else when the means of perswasion is weake and slender, As, we know, CHRIST said vnto Nathaniel, Doest thou beleeue this? as if he should say, This shewes thy faith is great, that for so small a thing as this thou beleeuest; I said no more but I saw thee vnder the Fig-tree. And this shewed the weaknesse of Thomas his faith, that hee would not beleeue vnlesse hee might put his finger into the print of CHRIST'S wounds, and his hand into his side: so that when a man beleeues by slender meanes, or when he beleeues things of a higher nature, which is more aboue hope, when there is great difficulty, in this sense faith admits de­grees.

Thirdly,In regard of extent. Faith admits degrees in regard of the extent of it, when there is more things reuealed to them; and I take it, this place will carry, that the righteousnesse of GOD is reuealed from faith to faith; that is, the righ­teousnesse of CHRIST was reuealed in the time of the Law and the Prophets, it was re­uealed obscurely, and there was a little saith among them to beleeue, it was enough to saue them, but when the time drew neerer, there were greater reuelations, as we know, in the time of the Prophets, their faith was great, [Page 126] as there were more reuelations, so there was more faith: So, I say, it admits degrees in regard of the extent of reuelation; as the A­postles, when CHRIST was vpon the earth, they had a degree of faith, but when Christ ascended, then there was more reuelations, then they grew from faith to faith, because they grew from reuelation to reuelation, then the Spirit of God was sent into their hearts to reueale all things, and to leade them into all truth, you know they had abundance of reue­lations afterwards. So in this regard, in re­gard of the extent, faith receiues degrees, not because the habit is increased, but because the reuelations and objects are more: And therefore that is the comfort of poore Chri­stians, those that are yet ignorant, they may haue a true habit, and as true a grace in the heart; and though a man bee more conuer­sant in Scripture, and knowes more then they, he hath more reuelations, and in that sense, though he haue a greater faith then the other, yet the other hath a like precious faith with him, in regard of that grace.

So, wee see how faith receiues degrees in these three respects.

The reflect act of faith ad­mits degrees.Now, last of all, that faith that giues as­surance, that pacifieth and comforteth the heart, which is nothing but a reflect act, by which we know and are perswaded that wee haue taken CHRIST, and that our sinnes are forgiuen, this admits of degrees of proofe. [Page 127] And here, as the euidences of sanctification are more, so is the assurance; as the Apostle saith, the Spirit witnesseth to our spirit; he dis­couers good things to vs, wee had neede of the light of the Spirit, to iudge aright of the sincerity of the graces that wee haue, we shall goe amisse else, we shall not be able, except wee haue the Spirit to helpe and assist vs, and so wee grow from assurance to assurance.

Now for the second part, that wee must grow in all these.

First, as faith admits of degrees, so we must labour to grow in all these degrees.

First labour to grow to a more full and firme assent, by that meanes we shall draw neerer to CHRIST, and receiue him in a grea­ter measure: Marke, this very act of taking CHRIST, that immediately iustifies, but it is fed with assurance in the vnderstanding, it is that which doth increase, and strengthen, and supply this action of the will in taking CHRIST. So that, the more strong assent the minde and vnderstanding of a man giues to those truths which concerne iustification, deliuered in the Scripture, the stronger his will is in taking Christ: As in the Act of mar­riage, a Woman takes such a one to bee her husband, but yet there are degrees in the will, one may take him with greater greedinesse, with a more full perswasion that it is best for her, with more loue, and with more re­solution: So, the stronger the assent is that we [Page 128] giue to the promises of GOD, wherein he as­sures vs of the pardon of our sinnes, wherein CHRIST is offered freely vnto vs, the more we take CHRIST, and so the vnion is grea­ter betweene vs, wee are linkt and knit toge­ther, and married, as it were, in a greater degree.

Secondly, in regard of difficulty, which is the second thing wherein faith admits de­grees, when we beleeue hard things, or easie things propounded with slender arguments. Labour to grow in this: for this is very profi­table for you; I will giue you but these two instances.

You know what Moses lost, and what A­braham got; Moses lost Canaan, he lost the honour of carrying in the people, he lost the honour of concluding his worke, when hee had taken so much paines, and all because he did not beleeue when he strooke the Rocke, for want of faith. Abraham now, that belee­ued things that were of a high, of a difficult nature, you see what hee got by it; for this cause, saith the LORD, I will doe thus and thus, because thou hast not spared thine one­ly Sonne, which is repeated, Rom. 4. Abra­ham being strong in faith, gaue glory to GOD. And therefore, you see, Abraham is set a­boue all men, he is the Father of all the faith­full, he is the head, the top of those to whom GOD shewed mercie, he shewed mercie to all for Abrahams sake: Abraham, Isaac, [Page 119] and Iacob; Abraham is first, this did Abra­ham get for euer, because he beleeued in God in so great a matter; this you shall gaine, if you will beleeue, it will bring a great reward, yea it will not onely bring a reward, such as Abraham had, but it will bring increase of the same faith, God will reueale more to you, and giue you more of his Spirit, as he did to Na­thaniel: Beleeuest thou? for this saith Christ, thou shalt see greater things then these: If we beleeue in difficult cases, GOD will make vs with facility to beleeue them another time.

Thirdly, for the multitude of reuelations, for the extent of faith, that way we should la­bour to be filled full of faith, as Barnabas is said to be full of faith; And how is that? By studying the Word much, for therein will GOD reueale this: this is it that Paul magni­fies so much in 2 Cor. 12. that which he glo­ried in, he doth not name it in his owne per­son, but saith, I knew a man in CHRIST had such a reuelation: he glories not in this, that he had wealth, or honour, but in the multi­tude of reuelations; that of all other might haue exalted Paul, but he was wise, he knew what he did when he was so apt to be exal­ted, in that it seemes there was some extra­ordinary excellency in it.

Lastly, labour to get full assurance, the more assurance you haue, the more loue.

Againe, you shall doe the more worke when once we are assured that our labour shall not [Page 130] be in vaine in the Lord, as 1 Cor. 15. vlt. it will make vs abound in the workes of the Lord.

Againe, it stablisheth a man in well doing, he shall neuer hold out and be constant till he come to haue assurance that he shall not lose his reward. I cannot stand on this point: I will name the Vses, that so I may not leaue the point vnfinished.

Vse 1. To comfort.The first is a Vse of much comfort, if there be such degrees in faith, then let vs not be dis­couraged, though we come not to the high­est, if we haue but a little, yet since there are degrees, this is enough to make vs partakers of the righteousnesse of CHRIST, and of sal­uation. The end of this is to comfort those which are apt to be discouraged. A little grain of true Muske is able to sweeten a great deale; So if faith be true, a little true faith will per­fume all the heart and soule, it hath influence into euery thing, and it puts a good tincture vpon all that a man doth, though it be but lit­tle, yet the influence is great, Therfore though thou haue not a great measure of faith, if thou haue a little, comfort thy selfe with that; we know, the best bud drawes sap from the root, as well as the greatest branches, as truely; so they that budde, that are but yet in the begin­ning of faith, yet they are as truly grafted into CHRIST and receiue life from him, as those that are growne Christians. And therfore be no [...] discouraged because thou hast not, as yet, a great measure of Faith, say not, because I am [Page 131] not as strong as such, therfore I am no body, reason not so, if thou haue but as much as will bring thee within the doore, within the Coue­nant, within compasse once; it is true, when a man is within the doore, there are greater de­grees, he may goe farther into the house, or a little way in, but all is one when he is in once: So in faith, a little faith is enough to put a man within the Couenant, to put one within the Gate of Heauen, as it were; indeed when they are in, some goe further, and some goe not so farre: but if thou be in at all, comfort thy selfe with that, and thinke not that euery little in­firmity shall breake the Couenant when thou art in: No, that which makes a diuorse betwixt GOD and you, will doe it, but euery infirmity doth not that. Take heed therfore of robbing GOD of his glory, and your selues of comfort; you know what a Father he is, he is a tender, and a wife Father: we reckon it wisdome in parents, when they consider the infirmities of their children, GOD is wise, let vs goe to him, a Father will beare with his sonne and receiue him againe and againe, though he haue infir­mities: So GOD is thy Father, what though he see many failings in thee, what though he see wee haue little grace, or little faith, yet wee are sonnes, GOD will spare vs; and therefore cast not away your hope, but labour to know that though you be but as smoking Flax, yet there is fire there, as well as if it were all on a flame.

[Page 132]Now it is Satans end indeed to discourage, and remember but that, that the thing hee la­bours, is to perswade you that you haue no faith, and that a little will not serue the turne, and that because thou art not so strong as the strongest Christians, that therefore thou hast a false heart, and art no body at all; his end is to discourage, labour to resist him. And we that are Ministers of CHRIST, wee are in this case to comfort and encourage you, as Paul saith, we were gentle among you, as a Nurse among her children; wee should bee tender ouer you, and comfort and encourage you, wee are not Lords of your faith. And there [...]ore in Ezekiel 33. it was the fault of the Shepheards, they ruled all the people with rigour, but we are helpers of your ioy; for what haue we to doe, but what our Master hath set vs about to doe? as he did; how did he behaue himselfe? the smoking Flax, hee did not blow it with a tender breath to kindle it more, he dealt not roughly with it: So the Ministers of GOD should labour to build men vp, to draw them on; Indeede sometimes the Minister must be sharpe, to wake men when they sleepe, to discouer hypocrites, and temporizing professors, to teach those to know themselues, that haue a forme of godli­nesse, without the power thereof, here the Word preached must be a two-edged sword, that must pierce betweene the marrow and the ioynts; here the Word must be as the [Page 133] Thunder and Lightning, it must haue terrour in it: So Christ comes with his Fanne in his hand, and with his Axe in his hand, he will burne the chaffe with vnquenchable fire, and hew downe the vnfruitfull Trees; but this is to be vnderstood of those that are false-hear­ted, those that are not sound, that haue Christ offered them, but doe not receiue him. In­deede, to those our Ministery is sharpe, but for others it is not so: And therefore in Eze­kiel 34. we are to doe as the Shepheards doe there with their Flocks, some Sheepe are weake, and are not able to goe the pace of the rest; some are broken, some are lost, and some are gone astray, and some are great with yong; our businesse is to seeke those that are lost, to driue all according to the pace of the weakest, to binde vp the broken, to carry them in our armes; thus Christ did, and if we faile in this, CHRIST, who is the great Shepheard of the Flocke, he sees it, if we goe astray, he fetches vs in; if we be broken, and haue lost our wooll, and be not in right order, he bindes vs vp, he feedes vs, and tenders vs; thus Christ deales with you: And therefore be not dis­couraged, though thou be not so strong as the strongest, yet if thou be a Sheepe, if thou be in the fold, if thou hast the least degree of faith, it is able to make thee partaker of this righteousnesse, although thou haue not the highest degree, though thou haue not that ex­cellencie that others haue.

[Page 134] Vse 2. For exhortati­on.The second vse is, to exhort you to growe in faith, (and so I end) content not your selues with a little, a small measure of faith, though notwithstanding a little will serue to put you in the state of saluation, yet it should be your wisdome to get a great degree, as the Apostle saith, 2 Pet. 1.13.2 Pet. 1. 13. Trust perfectly in the grace brought in by the reuelation of CHRIST: (Marke it) for it is an excellent place for this purpose; study it, and thinke well of it, trust perfectly in the grace reuea­led; that is to say, doe it not by halues, let no [...] there be some odde reckonings betweene GOD and thee, stand not in distance from him, but trust vpon him perfectly, beleeue fully and assuredly that your sinnes are forgi­uen you, beleeue fully the grace that is giuen you through CHRIST, doe it perfectly, throughly, trust perfectly in the grace brought in by CHRIST, that is our fault that we doe it not in such a manner; hence it is that our Joy is weake, our grace is weake, trust per­fectly, that your Joy may be full, that you may haue full communion and fellowship with CHRIST, the benefit is exceeding great when we trust perfectly, and why will you not? why should you limit the holy one of Israel? It was their sinne and transgression to limit him in his power and alsufficiencie, as if he were not able to doe such and such things, and is it not as great a sinne to limit him in his mercie and goodnesse? Why can­not [Page 135] hee forgiue sinnes and transgressions, that in all circumstances are the greatest sinnes, in what nature soeuer? to thinke otherwise, is to limit the holy one of Israel; trust perfect­ly therefore.Motiues to grow in faith. It is not a little that will serue the turne, as the Apostle saith, 2 Pet. 3. vlt. grow in grace, there is neede of it; you shall finde, that as you wade further in the pro­fession of Christianity, so you shall haue neede of more strength, you shall haue grea­ter imployment, therefore you haue more neede of growth to goe forward, and perse­uere.

Againe, you shall meet with greater temp­tations and assaults, if you bee not more strong then at the first, you are not able to re­sist.

Againe, If you grow in faith, you shall growe likewise in Joy, and that is a thing which wee haue continuall vse of, that is of onely vse to comfort and strengthen vs, to make vs abound in the workes of the LORD, that helpes vs to goe thorow all variety of conditions, that enables vs to abound and to want, to passe thorow good report and euill report, to suffer and endure persecution, now the more you grow in faith, the more you grow in joy, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 15.13. The God of peace fulfill you with all ioy by beleeuing: So that the more wee beleeue, the more ioy, the more consolation wee haue.

[Page 136]Againe, the more you grow in faith, the more you shall gaine the fauour of GOD, the more you shall winne his loue; there is no­thing in the World doth so much winne the fauour of GOD, as a great degree of faith: and therefore, though thou mayest be saued with a lesse degree, yet that thou mayest be in a grea­ter degree of fauour, seeke more faith; and this, though it be reckoned a small matter to haue a great degree of GODS fauour, yet, it is the greatest dignity in the world; Looke vpon all the difference of men, it is their dif­ference in the fauour of God that makes them so. Why was Moses a man aboue all the rest? saith GOD I will haue compassion vpon whom I will haue compassion, and I will shew mer­cie to whom I will shew mercie; I haue cho­sen Moses: looke to what difference of men you will: looke into what estate, what con­dition thou wouldest haue, either thy soule or thy body, whatsoeuer it be, it is by the grace and fauour of GOD in CHRIST IE­sus, that all thy comfort and consolation in­creaseth.

What shall make me grow in the fauour of GOD?

I answer, there is nothing that causeth God to set so much by vs as faith: the woman of Cana­an, see what cause Christ had to giue her such a great commendation, great is thy faith, and because her faith was great, therefore hee set her at so high a rate. So the Centurion, saith [Page 137] CHRIST, I haue not found so great faith in Is­rael, and that is the thing that he set so great a price vpon. So Iacob, when hee got the name of Israel, when he preuailed with GOD, certainely it was the greatest blessing that e­uer he had: Why was that? Because hee shewed the greatest faith that euer he did, it was a strong faith that preuailed with GOD: And what set him at so high a rate in GODS Booke? It was the faith he had in GOD, ther­fore he is remembred in the whole Booke of GOD for his faith, Therefore the more faith you haue, the more GOD prizeth you, it is it that winnes his loue. I cannot stand vpon the arguments why we should grow in faith, they are many; The more faith we haue, the more powerfull are our prayers in preuailing with GOD, for faith giues strength to them.

Againe, the more faith you haue, the more you bring glory to GOD; if there bee much faith, there will bee much fruite, it is the roote of all grace, as, Iohn 15.8. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bring forth much fruit. Get much faith then if you will haue much fruit, that you may bring glory to GOD: as if he should say, If a man haue but some faith, he brings forth fruit, yet there shall be some­thing wanting: but when a man is eminent, when he is conspicuous, when he is as a great light that euery man turnes his eye to, when he is as a Tree that brings forth much fruite, which turnes the eyes of the beholders to it, [Page 138] So it is with Christians, herein, saith Christ, is my Father glorified, &c.

A Christian hath no such motiue as this, he shall glorifie GOD exceedingly, if he haue abundance of faith, he shall haue abundance of euery Grace, he shall grow rich in good workes; this is that which we should all labour for: I cannot stand to presse it further. So much for this time, and for this Text.

FINIS.

A TREATISE OF EFFECTVALL FAITH: Deliuered in sixe Sermons vpon 1 Thes. 1.3. By the late faithfull and worthy Minister of IESVS CHRIST, IOHN PRESTON, Dr. in Diuinity, Chaplaine in ordinary to His Maiestie; Master of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge; and sometime Preacher of Lincolnes-Inne.

The iust shall line by faith.

Hab. 2.4.

Who through faith subdued Kingdomes, wrought righteousnesse, obtained promises, &c.

Heb. 11.33, 34.

LONDON: Printed for Nicholas Bourne. 1630.

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OF EFFECTVALL FAITH. The first Sermon.

1. THESS. 1.3.

Remembring your effectuall Faith, &c.

IN the former Verses, the Apostle setteth down this generall, Wee giue thankes alwaies for you, making men­tion of you in our prayers, without ceasing. First, hee tels them that hee prayes for them; and then hee tels them more particularly, that his prayer was a thanksgiuing. And this giuing of thanks for them, hee expresseth by the continuance [Page 2] of it, he did it constantly, without ceasing, (not by fits) making mention of you in my prayers. Then he names the particulars for which he giues thankes, namely these three: For their

  • Effectuall Faith,
  • Diligent Loue,
  • Patient hope.

Now these three Graces he describeth and setteth forth three wayes:

First, from a certaine property or character which distinguisheth the true faith from the false faith, the true loue from the false loue, the true hope from false hope. I giue not thankes for euery faith, but for such a faith as is effectuall, (that is the property or character by which the truth of faith is discerned.) A­gaine, not for euery loue, but for such a loue as is laborious, (for so the word signifieth.) Thirdly, not for euery hope, but for such a hope as makes you patient; that is the chara­cter by which to know hope. And this is the first way whereby he describeth these Graces.

Secondly, he describeth them from the ob­ject vpon which these Graces are pitched, and that is Iesus Christ our Lord, that is to say, I giue thankes for the faith you haue in Christ, for the loue you haue towards him, for the hope you haue of what he will doe for you: I giue thankes for that faith, for that loue, for that hope, that hath Christ for the object of it.

[Page 3]Thirdly, he describeth these graces from the sincerity of them: I giue thankes for all these graces that you haue in the sight of God; that is to say, not in the sight of man onely; as if he should haue said, many make a profes­sion of faith, and goe for beleeuers in GOD, and for louers of GOD, and men iudge them so: but you haue it in the sight of God: that is, not only in the sight of men, not only in your owne fancie, apprehension, and opinion, but indeed, in good earnest, in sincerity.

Lastly, In the sight of God our Father: hee describes GOD by this property, hee is a Fa­ther. I need not say more for the opening of the words. We will come to that point for which wee haue chosen them, which is the first thing for which hee giues thankes.

Remembering your effectuall Faith.

This point wee will deliuer to you out of them, that

The Faith that saues vs must be effectuall.

Doct.

The faith that saues vs must be effectuall.

This Doctrine wee haue neede to adde to that which we formerly deliuered: for hauing said so much of faith, that faith is that that saueth men, and that there is no more requi­red of you, but to take the gift of righteousnesse, onely that you receiue CHRIST, onely that you beleeue in God that iustifieth the vngodly; that is, that you onely accept o [...] that iustification that God is ready to giue to [Page 4] euery man, be hee neuer so vngodly. Now (when we heare so much of faith, and that there is nothing at all required of vs, but a meere taking, left any man should bee decei­ued, and run away with a false opinion,Men are apt to deceiue them­selues. that if he haue but a naked apprehension, and no more, he shall doe well enough,) I haue cho­sen this Text, that you may know what kinde of faith it is that is required of vs, namely eff [...]ctuall faith. The faith that saues vs must be effectuall.

Now Saint Paul adding this word to it, (re­membering your effectuall faith,) he giues vs this intimation,That many men haue a false faith, pro­ued by instan­ces, both in the Old and New Testa­ment. that there is a faith which is not effectuall; there is a faith in the world, that goes for true faith, which, if it be examined, is not a faith that saues. We see, through the Scriptures, much mention made of a certaine faith which men had, which yet was not a sa­uing faith: we see, many came and beleeued in our Sauiour,Ioh. 2.23.24. but he would not commit himselfe to them: for he knew what was in their hearts. Here was a faith to beleeue in him: nay fur­ther, it was such a faith as had some effect too, (for it made them come to him) and yet, for all this, it was not such a faith as God accepts, it was not an effectuall faith.

So when Iohn Baptist came, before Christ, there were many hundreds that came to him, and reioyced in his light, Ioh. 5.35. but it was not effectu­all, but a counterfeit faith that they had, not­withstanding all that.

[Page 5]So there came many that were invited to the Wedding, Mat. 22.8, 9, 10, 11. opened. so that the house was full; but yet euery man had not a Wedding garment. There was a certaine faith which brought them to the House, but they had not true faith, they had not the Wedding garment; that is, they had not such a faith as could produce and bring forth in them a conjugall affection, which is the Wedding garment. So two of the foure grounds had faith,Mat. 13. they brought foorth some fruite, that faith strengthned and enabled them to doe so much as they did; but yet it was not true faith, it was not the faith which the fourth ground had.

And not onely in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament also, there is often mention made of such a faith, and of such a trust in GOD, as enabled men to doe much, but it was not an vnfained trust, it was not effectuall, but as it is Ieremie 3.10.Ier. 3.10. opened. Treacherous Iudah hath not turned to mee with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. Therefore certainely, saith the LORD, their turne of euill and misery shall come: they trusted in GOD, but not with their whole heart.

So likewise,Deut. 5.25. Deut. 5.25 the people there de­sire Moses to goe and receiue the Commande­ments from God for them, and whatsoeuer God should say to them, that they would doe: here was a faire profession; it is likely them­selues [Page 6] thought it to bee sound and good, yet Moses tels them they were deceiued in it: Oh (saith hee) that this people had a heart to doe this indeed.Verse 29. So, we see, there is a faith that is not effectuall, and therefore wee haue the more need to looke to it, because there is so much false faith in the World. As, when you that are Tradesmen,Simile. doe heare that there are so many counterfeit Drugges, or so many counterfeit Colours, or whatsoeuer you deale in, you will looke the more to it; so we should looke the better to our faith in this regard. Therefore to open this point a little, wee will doe these three things:

  • Three things opened.
    First, I will shew the cause why there is so much vneffectuall faith, why there is so much faith that is not sound and substantiall.
  • Secondly, I will shew wherein the efficacy of faith consists, what it is for faith to be ef­fectuall.
  • Thirdly, I will shew the reasons, why God will accept no other faith at our hands, why wee cannot bee saued, vnlesse we haue such a faith.

The Causes why the faith of many is vn­effectuall, which are fiue.For the first, namely the causes of vneffe­ctuall faith, the reasons why the faith of many is vneffectuall, that it workes not powerfully, that it is not substantiall, you shall finde them to be these fiue.

Cause 1. Taking Christ vpon mis-in­formation.First, the vanity or vneffectualnesse of faith ariseth vpon our taking of CHRIST vp­on mis-information, when wee know not [Page 7] who it is that we take, when there is an errour in the person we take,Instances. when wee vnderstand not aright what wee doe.The yong man that came to Christ. Many doe as the yong man that came running to CHRIST, he came hastily, he made account to bee his fol­lower, but CHRIST tels him that hee might mistake him, and therefore he lets him know what it was to follow him, what a Master he had betaken himselfe vnto: saith hee,Luk. 18. if thou wilt be my seruant, goe sell all that thou hast. As if he should haue said; Mistake me not, if thou wilt be mine, thou must be mine altogether, thou must take vp thy Crosse, thou must part with any thing. Now, if the yong man had gone away with this mistake, that he had not vnderstood CHRIST, he had become a Dis­ciple of CHRIST, as well as others, but it had beene vpon a mistake.

And so likewise that Scribe,The Scribe. Mat. 8.20. opened. to whom CHRIST said, The Sonne of Man hath not whereon to lay his head. As if hee should haue said, It may be thou lookest for ease, for Bed and Boord with me, thou lookest for a plea­sant life, but it will not be so; I leade not a pleasant life my selfe, I haue not whereon to lay my head; I am not in so good a condition as many Fowles are, as many Beasts are, I haue not a nest, I haue not a denne; that is, I haue not that which should bee in steade of these to me, and therefore know what thou doest before thou betake thy selfe to my ser­uice. Now men, not considering this, they [Page 8] put themselues vpon Christ, they take vpon them the profession of his Name, before they enter into a serious consideration, and this is it that causeth faith to be vneffectuall: as one speaking of false fortitude,Note. names this for one amongst the rest; Many (saith he) are valiant for want of experience: that is, they know not what the wars are, they know not what hard­nesse they must endure, and therefore when they come to feele it, when they come to see what paines they must take, and what they must endure, they shrinke: so it is in this; many men enter vpon the profession of Chri­stianity, vpon that warfare, (for so our pro­fession is called) I say, many enter vpon it out of mistake; they vnderstand not what it is, they haue not experience of it, they know not how many will come against them, they know not that the force of their enemies is so great, they know not that they haue so many thousands to meet them; therefore they vn­dertake the businesse, they goe about the en­terprize, and it comes to naught, because they considered not what they did. Therefore, saith Christ, let him that builds a House, set downe before what it will cost. That is to say, if a man consider not what CHRIST lookes for at his hands, if he consider not before-hand, that, if he will be Christs, he must cr [...]cifie the flesh, with the affections thereof, that hee must denie himself in those things that are dearest to him, hee must be content to be hated of all men, this is a [Page 9] thing that will goe hard. This is that, that a man can hardly indure to be scoffed at, to haue euerie man his enemie, to part with all his friends, to liue a despised man, to suffer per­secution, that the end of one persecution shou [...]d be the beginning of another, and the end of one suffering the beginning of another.

Againe, for a man to haue his inward lusts and desires so mortified, and so crucified, and so restrained, to bee so strait-laced in euery thing, I say, because men consider not this, what it is to take this profession on them, when the time comes, what doe they? They goe backe againe. Hence it is, that many, out of flashes, and in good moodes, will be ready to embrace Religion; but wee see by experi­ence, how soone there is an end of it. As the people, when Christ came to Ierusalem, how ready were they to receiue him, with blessed is he that commeth in the Name of the Lord, and Hosanna, &c? but how soone were they gone a­gaine? so many yong commers on, in this Ci­tie, and many, euen of our profession, in the be­ginning of their time, are ready to take vpon them the profession of Christ; but afterwards, when they come to see what must be done, whē they see that Christ and the world cannot stand together, that Christ & pleasures cannot stand, but they must be content to go another course, then they go back, and their faith proues vnef­fectuall: this, I say, is the first cause, when men are not throughly informed what they doe.

[Page 10] Cause 2. Taking Christ out of feare.A second cause of the vneffectualnesse of faith is, when men take Christ out of feare, when they are in some present distresse, and would haue ease, and vpon this they take Christ, not because of any true loue to him, but because they would be deliuered out of that present exigent which they are in; and this is as vsuall as the other. How many are there, that, when God affrights them a little with the terrours of the Law, when their consciences are troubled, when then begin to apprehend Hell▪ so long as they are in such a condition, they are willing to take Christ: but as soone as these stormes are ouer, and their hearts are at peace againe, when their consciences returne to some quiet, and when there is an end of those terrours, then there is an end of their re­ligion, and of their faith, so that their faith proues ineffectuall. So, many men, when they are in some great calamity; as, you know, Pharoah, when hee was in the present strait, then he would doe any thing: so many men vnder great crosses, afflictions, aud disgraces in the World, then they will bee religious, but let them haue peace and prosperity, let them abound in all things againe, and they will forget GOD. Such Isay complaines of, Isay 58.Isa. 58. opened they hang downe their heads for a day: That is, when the storme is on them, when they haue some affliction, for such a time, they will doe any thing; there is nothing more v­suall then this. When men come to haue [Page 11] sicknesse, and to apprehend death, what will not a man doe for his saluation at such a time? and therefore you finde by experience, that few of those that make such promises in their sicknesses,Note. when they apprehend death, doe keepe them afterward: for they come from feare, and therefore they last not.

Take any man, the most ambitious man in the world, when he comes to dye, the praise of men is then nothing to him, then he will part with any thing. Take a couetous man, to saue his life,Simile. what will not he doe? A Merchant that loues his goods neuer so well, yet when the Ship is ready to sinke, hee will cast them out, he is willing to lose them, rather then to lose his life: So when a man comes to such an exigent, when hee comes to stand in the gate of destruction, as it were, when hee sees Heauen and Hell before him, he is ready to doe any thing then, not because indeede hee loues Christ, or is willing to take him, but to saue himselfe; as the foolish Virgins, when the Gate was shut, then they cry, Lord, Lord, open to vs: They would faine haue had Christ then, not out of loue to Christ; for then they would haue taken him before: It was not out of any loue to the Bridegroome, but out of feare, and fence of their own misery that they had when they were shut out, and that made them cry, Lord, Lord, open to vs. And this is the second cause that makes the faith of men to be vneffectuall, when they take Christ out of feare.

[Page 12] Cause 3. Taking Christ for loue of the good things by him, and not for loue to his person.The third cause is, when men take Christ, not out of loue to his person, but out of loue to those commodities and aduantages they shall haue by him, when they looke not vpon him, when they fix not their eyes vpon his person, and the beauty that is in him: but they looke vpon the Kingdome, they looke vpon the wealth they shall haue, they looke to what they shall get by him. This faith proues vneffectuall;Note. because when other com­modities are presented, that are present, and sensible, and in their apprehension greater then these, then they let Christ goe againe. Men doe in this case,Simile. as those that marry for wealth; if that be their end, when they haue gotten the wealth that they would haue, when they haue that which they desire, they care for their Wiues no longer: so in this case; when men looke at nothing but simply at hea­uen, disjoyned from Christ; or, when they looke at some other aduantages, when they looke at an earthly Kingdome, (as many of the Disciples did) when they looke for great matters by Christ in this world, when they finde it quite otherwise, when they lose in the world, and all that they haue is in hope, it is in things spirituall, that are not seene with the eye, things that are not sensible, then they are ready to slip from Christ againe. So it is vsually among vs, many take Christ for ad­uantages, as Christ tels them plainely, Ioh. 6.Ioh. 6.26. opened. (saith he) you seeke me, not for the Miracles which [Page 13] I did, but for the loaues: That is to say, not out of loue to the worke, not because you iudge a­right of the things of the spirit, not because you loue grace, but because you loue some ad­uantage that you haue by religion, some pro­fit that it brings you for the present, and be­cause you would be freed from Hell for the future; such things as carnall men may see, and be affected with: but this will not hold out.

The manner of these men is to seeke mer­cie and not grace.Some men seeke mercy, and not grace. If they can be but assured that it shall goe well with them, that they shall be freed from the feares they might haue of Hell, that they may haue some hope of being in a better condition, this is that they looke for: but as for grace, for repayring the Image of GOD in their hearts, to be enabled to obey Christ in all things, this is a thing that they desire not, this is a thing they long not for: therefore the secret inquisition of their heart is, What good shall wee get by it? They enquire not, what excellencie, and what beauty there is in CHRIST, what manner of one hee is, that they may loue him; but what good shall wee get by him? what aduantage will it bee to vs? Contrarie to that in Cant. 5.12.Cant. 5.12. opened. when the Spouse is there asked what the reason was that she follo­wed her Beloued so much? and that shee magnified him so much? Shee doth not tell them, because I shall haue such [Page 14] things by him, or hee is thus wealthie, or I shall haue this honour by matching with him; but marke her answer; My beloued is white and ruddy, the chiefe among tenne thousand, his head is as the most fine Gold, his lookes are blacke as a Rauen, his eyes are as the eyes of Doues by the riuers of waters, washed with milke and fitly set: and so she goes along in a holy delectaction; This is my beloued, oh ye Daughters of Ierusalem. I say, so it is with those that take CHRIST in good earnest, that looke vpon the excel­lencies of CHRIST, as hee is considered in himselfe: not that the other is excluded: for we may looke at the aduantages,We may looke to our own ad­uantages by Christ. and commo­dities that we haue by him, but not vpon that alone; but, marke, in her answer shee descri­beth what a one he was, and therefore she lo­ued him. My Beloued is white and ruddy, the fairest of tenne thousand, such a one is my Beloued, therefore, Chap. 1. Vers. 2. she de­scribes him to be such a one as hee is; and (saith she) therefore the Virgins loue thee: as if shee had said, there is a Harlots loue, that lookes only what they shall haue by him: but none but Virgins, that is, those that haue chaste and good affections, those that haue holy and right affections, indeed the Virgins loue thee; but the others doe not: for they haue adulterous and Harlot-like affections, (as we may call them, when a man lookes not vnto GOD himselfe, but to his owne ad­uantage and profit.) And this is the third [Page 15] cause that makes faith prooue vneffectuall.

Fourthly,Cause 4. Want of hu­miliation. faith proues ineffectuall for want of preparation, and humiliation that should goe before it; because the heart is not cir­cumcised, the heart is not broken yet, it is not emptyed of those things that it must be emp­tyed of before a man can take CHRIST, and therefore in Deut. 30.6.Deut. 30.6. opened. saith Moses, The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts, and then you shall loue him with all your soule, and with all your strength. As if hee should haue said, It is impossible you should cleaue to GOD, to loue him indeed, to take him in good earnest, vnfeignedly, with all your hearts, except first your hearts be circumcised; therefore the Lord your God will circumcise your hearts; that is, hee will humble you, hee will breake your hearts, that your lusts shall be mortified in you; he will take away those strong, vio­lent, those carnall and sinfull desires, that a­bounded in your hearts before, and when that is done, then you shall loue the Lord in good earnest, not feignedly, but with all your hearts: Now, if a man come to take Christ before he be thus circumcised, he takes him in vaine, he takes him so, as that hee cannot hold him, nor continue with him.

Now this circumcision is done by a certaine worke of preparation or humiliation, by which these strong lusts are broken in vs: therefore, when men come to Christ, before the Law hath beene a sufficient Schoolmaster [Page 16] to them, before it hath indited them, before it haue put them in prison, and told them that they must pay euery farthing, (when a man comes to this, hee seeth that hee cannot doe it, then he goeth to Christ, and beseech­eth him to pay his debt,) before the Lawe haue done this, men care not for Christ, they take him negligently, and therefore they hold him not. And for this it was, that before Christ came into the World, he would make way before him: so, before he will come in­to a mans heart, the Mountaines must bee brought downe,The Spirit of Elias, what. the spirit of Elias must make way; that is, there must be a sharpe ministry to shew men their sinnes, that they may bee throughly humbled, and prepared, or else they will neuer take Christ so as to keepe close to him.

A man must be brought to haue a present apprehension of death, and of the wrath of GOD, and damnation, or else he will not lay hold on the Hornes of the Altar; as Ioab, when he saw that Salomon would slay him in­deed, and take away his life, then hee layes hold on the Hornes of the Altar, and would not let goe; so when a man sees present death, he will keepe close to Christ, Without sound humili­ation, sinne is not accounted the greatest euill, nor Christ the greatest good. and till this bee wrought, a man may take Christ, but his faith will be vneffectuall, because indeed, till a man be soundly humbled, he neuer accounts and reckons sinne to be the greatest euill; and till he doe that, he neuer accounts CHRIST to [Page 17] bee the greatest good, and if a man doe not reckon CHRIST to bee the chiefe good of all other, there will be somewhat propoun­ded, which will bee esteemed before him, and when that comes, he lets goe CHRIST. But when there is a sound humiliation, which makes a man prize CHRIST aboue all other things, then faith proues effectuall; that is, a man holds out, hee goes thorow with the worke, he cleaues so to Christ, as that he will not part with him: but for want of this, be­cause mens hearts are not circumcised, be­cause way is not made, because the Moun­taines are not brought downe, because the Ministrie is not sharpe enough to prepare them, hence it is that their faith is vaine, and comes to nothing.

Fiftly and lastly,Cause 5. Because faith is not groun­ded aright. the faith of men proues ineffectuall, because it is not well grounded, they take to themselues a perswasion of the remission of their sinnes, vpon an vncer­taine ground; they are not built vpon the Rocke, they take CHRIST, but they are not well bottomed: for there is a certaine false perswasion, which is nothing else but a strong fancie, which makes a man to thinke that his sinnes are forgiuen, and that hee is in a good estate: but when it comes to exa­mination, hee can giue no sound reason for it. When men take CHRIST on this man­ner, when they are perswaded their sinnes are remitted, and yet haue no good ground for [Page 18] this perswasion and peace, it holds not out, it continues not. Therefore to such as these Saint Paul speakes, Eph. 4.10.Eph. 4.10. opened. Bee not chil­dren (saith hee) in vnderstanding, to bee carried about with euery winde of doctrine. As if hee had said, Indeed you are such as haue em­braced CHRIST, but you must not doe as children doe, that beeing not able to vse their owne judgement, they see what other men doe, and they heare what they say: but, saith hee, you must learne to be men, that you may vse your owne vnderstanding, that you may see with your owne eyes, or else you will bee like a Ship tossed and carried about with euery wind. That is to say, it was a false perswasion that draue you to CHRIST, and another winde will driue you from him: therefore bee not children in vnderstanding. So, I say, when you haue a perswasion of the remission of your sinnes, of beleeuing in Christ, be not children in vnderstanding, see that it bee soundly grounded. That is a con­dition required by the Apostle, Colos. 1.23.Col. 1.23. opened. CHRIST hath reconciled vs to GOD the Father, to be blamelesse, and without fault. But (saith hee) I must put in this condition, If you continue grounded, and stablished in the faith, that you bee not moued from the hope of the Gospell. As if he should haue said, There is a certaine faith, by which you may take Christ, and so you may bee perswaded of re­conciliation; but, saith he, that will not doe, [Page 19] vnlesse you bee grounded and stablished in the faith. The word in the Originall signi­fieth, Except you bee so built as a house is built vpon a sure foundation, as a Tree that is soundly rooted, when you are so pitched vpon Christ, that when new objects come, new temptations come, things that you neuer thought on, yet nothing can moue you from the hope of the Gospell: If you be not groun­ded, you may take a hope to your selues of reconciliation, and of being without fault in the sight of GOD, but it will neuer hold out, vnlesse it be soundly grounded.Hope that is not wel groun­ded, holds not out. Hence you see therefore, that if a man bee not well roo­ted, if hee be not built vpon the Rocke, if this perswasion of the remission of his sinnes bee not well bottomed, that causeth him not to hold out, but to fall off againe. Whereas it is required of vs, that we keepe so close to God, in such a case our faith should be built on so sure a ground, that nothing in the World should moue vs, no not the most probable arguments that may bee brought in: as wee see, Deut. 13.Deut. 13.1, 2, 3. opened, saith Moses, If a Prophet, or a dreamer of dreames come, and give you signes and wonders, and the thing that he foretold come to passe, that you could not answer any thing, you can see no reason but that he should be a true Prophet, saith he, God will put you to such trials, to proue you to see if you be sound­ly grounded. All that are saued, hee will haue them so fixed, hee will haue them take [Page 20] their saluation vpon so good a ground, vpon such infallibility, that whatsoeuer shall bee brought against them, they shall keepe them close to GOD. This is that that wee should labour for, and for want of this, when men haue a confused perswasion that their sinnes are forgiuen, and thinke it enough, if their hearts bee quiet, if they haue rest in their consciences, that they be not troubled, and neuer examine what the grounds are: I say, for want of this it is, that in temptation they fall away; when other men come and preach other doctrines, then they are plucked away with the errour of the wicked, as Peter saith, 2 Pet. 3.17.2 Pet. 3.17. Bee not plucked away with the errour of the wicked, but grow in knowledge. As if hee should haue said, If you haue but some perswasion, but some good opinion that Christ is yours, and that it is best for you to cleaue to him, this will not hold, you will bee plucked away with those errours that o­ther men are plucked away with. This is the first thing which wee haue done with, to shew the causes of the ineffectualnesse of faith.

Wherein the efficacy of faith con­sisteth.In the next place, I am to declare vnto you what it is that maketh faith effectuall, where­in the effectualnesse of faith consists. In this we will shew you 3. things.Three things opened.

First, in what sence it is called effectuall faith: for the very opening of this word which the Apostle vseth, will open a Window [Page 21] to vs, it will open a creuice of light, to see in­to the nature of the thing it selfe.

Secondly; we will shew you particularly and distinctly, wherein this effectualnesse of faith consists.

Thirdly, wee will shew you how it is wrought, how this faith is made effectuall in vs; and when wee haue done these three, you will fully vnderstand what effectuall faith is.

First,In what sence faith is called effectu­all. Things are said to be ef­fectuall in 4. respects. for the opening of this very appel­lation, this name effectuall faith: you shall finde that a thing is said to bee effectuall in 4. respects.

First, we say a thing is effectuall, when it doth its office,When they doe their pro­per office. when it exerciseth that pro­per function that belongs to that quality, or that grace, or that gift, or that creature what­soeuer it is; and when it doth not that, then we say it is ineffectuall, when it doth not the thing that we looke for from it. In this sence, faith is said to be effectuall, when it doth the thing for which faith is, when it doth the thing that God expects of faith, that is the proper function of faith:The proper function of faith, what. and what that is, you heard before; namely to take Christ: If faith take Christ, it is effectuall faith.

Now, for the opening of this a little further to you, to shew you what this proper function of faith is. It is, when a man is so far peswa­ded of the truth of the Scriptures, of the truth of the promises, and doth so far appropriate [Page 22] them to himselfe, that hee is willing to take Christ, though there be some doubtings and wauerings in him, yet if there be so much faith as to doe the thing, this is properly effectuall faith, though it be not perfect faith: For you must know,Faith may bee effectuall, though it bee mingled with doubting. that there is a doubting mingled with the best faith: Therefore when wee say effectuall faith, we doe not meane that it is such a faith as is without doubtings, and without feares mingled with it: but, if it bee such a faith as doth the thing it selfe, for which faith is appointed, it is properly said to be effectu­all faith. It is a point necessary for you to vn­derstand; and if you compare this that wee haue said (concerning this description, of this first explication of effectuall faith) with that in Iam. 1.7, 8.Iam. 1.7, 8. opened. we shall see what the meaning is. Hee speakes there of doubting, and tels you, that those that doubt, they are like a waue of the Sea, tossed to and fro, and in the end they vanish away. Saith the Apostle, Let not such a man thinke to obtaine any thing at Gods hands: for he is a double-minded man, and is vnstable in all his wayes. The meaning is, that there is such a faith that makes a man doubt, when he knoweth not what he should doe, but is vnstable; as a waue of the Sea, that is tossed to and fro: hee is sometimes going towards GOD, sometimes from him againe, and in the end he goes quite away. (Saith he) such a man shall not receiue any thing. Why? Because hee is a double-minded man. Now, [Page 23] by a double-minded man,A double-min­ded man, who. is not meant a man that hath one thing in his face, and another in his heart, one that pretends one thing, and in­tends another, (though the word be somtimes so taken, yet in that place it is not so to be vn­derstood) but by a double-minded man this is meant, when the mind is diuided, between two objects, that it knowes not which to choose, but stands as one in Biuio, that hath two wayes before him, and knowes not whe­ther to goe this way, or that way; a man that is distracted in his owne minde, hee knowes not what to resolue on. Now when a mans faith comes to this, that he knowes not whe­ther to take CHRIST, or the World; hee doubts whether he should choose, GOD, or the World, there is an vncertainety in his minde, that it is diuided: sometimes hee thinkes it is best, and sometimes he thinkes it not best, aliud stans, aliud sedens, when he thus wauers, this is not effectuall faith. But now, if a man goe beyond this, and pitch vpon CHRIST resolutely, when he goeth so farre, as that he resolues to take him, although hee haue many pluck-backs, although there bee many things that may disswade him from it, though there be some reluctancie in his mind, some feare whether it be the best way or no, yet if he pitch on CHRIST, hee chooseth him rather then the World, though he haue some inclination to the World still, though there be somewhat offensiue in his his heart, [Page 24] though, as I said, there bee some doubts, some feares whether it be the best way or no, yet if faith come so farre as to pitch on Christ, to choose him, to take him, this is properly effectuall faith. Indeed, it is farre from per­fect faith, but it is effectuall faith, and such as shall saue you. Therefore you shall finde this rule among the Schoole-men, (I name them, because they were Papists, and their doctrine of faith is contrarie to this) they say, it is not faith, except it be a full perswasion; they speake not there of resting on CHRIST, that is not the thing, but of the full perswasi­on of the truth of the thing to bee beleeued; yet notwithstanding, you shall finde this rule among some of the Schoolemen,Papists tenent of doubting. Fides non excludit omnem dubitationem: faith doth not exclude all doubting,What doubt­ing it is that faith exclu­deth. but that doubting that ouercommeth, that doubting that casteth the ballance the contrary way: if it bee such a doubting as doth not ouercome, it may stand with true and sound faith. So, I say, if you would know now, what it is to pitch on Christ, and so to take him,How to try truth of doubting. though there be some re­luctancie, some doubt, some feare, you shall know it by this: if a man haue so taken him, that still hee is growing, still his faith is pre­uailing, still his faith is ouercomming those doubts and feares from day to day, hee is better and better resolued; I say, though his faith be not perfect at the first, yet if it bee still thus on the growing hand, it is sauing [Page 25] and effectuall faith. Whereas another man, that is not soundly rooted, that is diuided thus, he takes Christ, but it is not vpon any good ground, but as the Weather-cocke stands such a way, while the wind blowes that way,Simile. not because the Weather-cocke is fixed, (for for when the wind turnes, the Weather-cocke turneth too:Some men cleaue to Christ for wans of temp­tations.) so, such men cleaue to Christ, not because they haue any good ground, but because they want temptations to a con­trary way: let temptations from the World come, let there come reasons that they knew not before, let there come new objects, new al­lurements, which they knew not of before, they will forsake Christ againe, but when the heart is fixed, when there is an Anchor that holdes the soule though the ship wauer, when there is an anchor, to hold it fast though it be much tossed to and fro, though there be much doubting, thou maist be sure it is true and ef­fectuall faith.

This point you must marke; when I say it is effectuall it is no more but when it thus pitcheth on CHRIST,True faith not without doubtings and feares sometimes. though there bee some doubting: It is so farre from be­ing true that faith must bee without all doubting, that wee may boldly say, it is not faith, except it haue much doubting, vnlesse there bee some feares, vnlesse there bee some troubles within, that resist this faith, and striue against it; otherwise it is no faith: for certainely, there is no [Page 26] man that hath perfect faith, especially at the first, or afterward eyther, so as to set his heart fully at peace, and then if it bee not perfect faith, if there be no doubting, there must be perfect flesh, that is, there is nothing but flesh, and if there be some faith which is imperfect, alway in the beginning there must needes be doubting, because there is some flesh, and some spirit, there is fire and water, and there­fore there must needes be striuing. We may say of doubting,Simile. in this case, as wee say of Thistles; they are ill weeds, but the ground is fat and good where they grow: so doubting is a thing that resists faith, it is bad, but it is a signe the heart is good where it is.Doubting a signe of a good heart. So that, where there is all peace, where there is no questioning, where the heart is not perplexed and troubled, and complaines not, it is a signe that the strong man possesseth the House wholly; it is a signe there is nothing but flesh there. Therefore marke this point to your comfort, that if there be but so much faith as will produce this worke of taking CHRIST, though there bee some doubtings mingled with it, yet it is properly effectuall faith, be­cause it doth the thing, though not perfectly. That is the first acception of the word effectu­all, a thing is said to bee effectuall, when it doth the proper function of it, though it doe it not perfectly, and throughly, yet, if it doe it, it is said to bee effectuall: so faith, if it pitch vpon CHRIST, though not [Page 27] so perfectly as afterwards it may, it is effe­ctuall.

Secondly,A thing is ef­fectuall, in op­position to that which is vaine and empty. a thing is said to bee effectuall, as it is opposed to that which is vaine and empty, to that which is but a name, a shad­dow of it, but is not such a thing indeed. So faith is said to be effectuall, when it is true, reall, and substantiall, you know, there bee emptie clowds,Simile. we see the heauens many times full of clouds, but there is no rayne fol­loues, they are driuen away with the windes, they are emptie clouds, they are not clouds indeed: so there is a great shew of faith some­times, that makes a man shew like these clouds, and yet it is vaine and empty, no raine followes.Simile. A counterfeit Piece, although it shew to be good money, yet, when we find it counterfeit, when we finde it clipt, we cast it away: so true faith is said to bee effectuall, when it is opposed to vaine faith: in Iam. 2 the later end of the Chapter, the Apostle speakes to that purpose, to shew the diffe­rence betweene true faith,Iam. 2.17.20, 26. and dead faith, which is but the name of faith, but is not faith indeede.

Thirdly,A thing is said to be effectu­all, when it is operatiue. a thing is said to bee effectuall, when it lyeth not idle and still, but is doing something: As a Pylot in a Ship, hee sitteth not still there, if he doe sit still and doe no­thing, we may say he is an vneffectuall Pylot,Simile. he were as good not be there: so when faith lyes still in the heart, and is not stirred and [Page 28] moued, nor shewes it selfe in the fruites of it, this we say is ineffectuall faith; whereas faith should be in the soule, as the soule is in the body, which is neuer there in vaine, but still it is stirring, and shewing it selfe by motion, by action, by doing somewhat or other. And in this sence faith is said to be effectuall, when it is a stirring faith, when it is a liuely and fruitfull faith, that is doing somewhat in the soule of a man.

When it goes thorow with the worke in hand.Last of all, a thing is said to bee effectuall, when it goes thorow with the worke that it hath in hand: this differeth from that which I named first, therefore the Greeke word, that is rendred effectualnesse, signifieth perfect­nesse, to bring a thing to an end; so that faith is said to be effectuall, that goes thorow with the worke it vndertakes; that is, when it san­ctifieth the heart throughout, in respect of parts, and throughout in regard of time, when it brings a man to the end of his saluation, when it carries a man through all impedi­ments, when it leaps ouer all difficulties; so that a growing, preuailing, ouercomming faith, that is said to be an effectuall faith, such a faith as leaues not the worke halfe done; such a faith as leaues not the building in the beginning, in the rudiments, but sets it vp, and puts the roofe vpon it; such a faith, which, though it may sinke, as a Corke, for a time, yet it riseth againe: such a faith as o­uercomes, and perfects the worke of our sal­uation: [Page 29] in this sense faith must be effectuall, and this differs from the other three: so that in these foure sences faith is said to be effectu­all. And this is the first thing.

The second thing which wee vndertooke,wherein the efectualnesse of faith con­sists, in 4. things. was to shew you wherein the effectualnesse of faith consists. It consists in these foure things. That which we said before to you, when wee shewed you the causes of the in­effectualnesse of faith, will make good way to this.

The first thing wherein the effectualnesse 1 of it is seene, is in being well built; that is, when the preparation is sound, and full, that makes way for it.

The second is, when the vnderstanding is 2 cleare, and a man beleeueth the promise of GOD vpon sure and infallible grounds, when hee seeth them perspicuously and di­stinctly.

The third is, when the will takes Christ, 3 and takes him out of loue, not out of feare, not out of loue to the aduantage onely by him, not out of mistake:

The fourth is, when it turnes not onely the 4 will, but all the affections, when it turnes the whole man, when it shoots it selfe into life, and practice.

First,When the pre­paration is good. I say, faith is effectuall, when there is a good way made for it, when the rubbish and false earth is taken away where it should be built; that is, when the humiliation is [Page 30] sound and good, when the preparation is perfect, when it is such as makes a man fit for the Kingdome of GOD: For I finde that phrase vsed,Luk. 9.62. opened. He that puts his hand to the Plow, and lookes backe, is vnfit for the Kingdome of GOD: As if hee had said, there are cer­taine men, which come to the profession of Christianity, as many come to husbandrie, which is a hard employment; some there are which doe this, and goe backe againe. Why? because they are not fit for the Kingdome of God, that is, they are not throughly prepared for it: that is to say, when a man is not throughly humbled to know what sin is, and what the wrath of God is, he is not fit for the Kingdome of God; but if he do come to Christ, if he doe begin to beleeue, he will goe backe againe. So a man is properly said not to bee fit for the Kingdome of GOD,Sound humili­ation fits men for Christ. till hee bee throughly humbled, till hee haue tasted the bitternesse of sin, till hee haue felt what the Deuils yoake is.Instances. As it was with the Israelites, put the case they had beene carried out of E­gypt before the time that they were,In the Israelites. indeede they had not been fit for the Land of Canaan, because they would haue beene ready to haue turned backe in their hearts into Egypt, and though the LORD laid load on them, though their yoake were hard, though he caused them to wander vp and downe long, yet all was lit­tle enough, still they were lingering after E­gypt, and if they had been taken out of Egypt, [Page 31] before the tale of Brick was required of them, without giuing them straw, before the taske­masters had dealt hardly with them, what would they haue done? Might it not truely bee said of them, they would not haue beene fit for Canaan? So in this case, if a man will take CHRIST, it is a laborious worke, as la­borious as husbandrie, as laborious as putting the hand to the Plow, as taking the yoake. Now before a man haue felt how hard the yoake is that he hath already, (for there bee many that weare the yoake of Satan, and see no hardnesse in it, but goe in a faire course, their consciences are not wounded with the sense of their sinnes, they neuer had afflicti­ons wherein they tasted the wrath of GOD) alas, such men may come to put their hand to the Plow, but when they come to see what worke they haue in hand, they goe backe, they are not fit for the Kingdome of Heauen. Till a man bee weary, and heauie laden, with the burthen of Satan, till hee see Satans yoake to bee intolerable, hee will neuer continue vnder the yoake of CHRIST: therefore let vs consider whether wee be fitted or no: this fitnesse is first requi­red.

So againe,In the Prodi­gall. we may take example from the Prodigall sonne, he was in his Fathers house, but he would not continue there, when hee was there at the first, and liued as the o­ther sonne did, because hee had not beene [Page 32] abroad in the World, to finde the misery of being away from his Father, hee was neuer pinched with affliction, with want of meate, till hee was from his Father, hee neuer knew what it was to be at his Fathers finding, till hee had his stocke in his owne hand; hee was not fit, and, wee see, hee continued not there: So, take a man that is brought vp in his Fathers House, as it were, that hath tasted nothing but the sweetnesse of the promises, and all is well with him, hee hath drunke in the truth of the Gospell with his education,Men hold not without sound humiliation. you shall finde that this will not vsually hold out: because hee hath not found what misery it is to bee out of his Fathers House, therefore hee prizeth it not, such a one is not fit to continue, hee is vnfit for the Kingdome of GOD. Therefore the first thing that is required to make faith effectu­all, wherein the effectualnesse of faith con­sists, by way of preparation, to make way for it, is, when a man is soundly humbled and prepared, when it is such as will make them continue:Reu. 2.25. opened. you haue a phrase vsed, Reu. 2.25. Hold fast till I come that which thou hast already. As if he should say, Many haue hold of the Truth, they haue hold of CHRIST, they haue hold of the promises, but they hold them not fast, they hold them a while, but they hold them not fast till I come: To him that ouercometh, &c. and, him that continueth to the end, will I make ruler ouer the Nations, &c. [Page 33] So, I say, till a man be thus made fit, he may take hold for a while, but hee shall not hold fast till CHRIST come, but he will let goe his hold, because he is not prepared with hu­mility. This is that which is required in that place I formerly named, Matth. 10.6.Mat. 10. [...]. opened. If there be any worthy, (saith he) let your peace come vpon them. That is, if there bee any, when you come to preach the Gospell, that are so farre broken and humbled, if there be any that are so farre conuinced of their sinnes that they prize mee indeede, so that they hold mee, and will not let mee goe for any thing, but they are content to let all goe, rather then mee, such a man is worthie of me, such a man prizeth and esteemeth mee, and your peace shall come vpon him: That is, it shall come effectually vpon him, it shall abide with him, and saue his soule for euer. So, I say, when there is so much humiliation wrought in the heart, when the Spirit so farre convinceth a man of sinne, that hee comes thus to prize CHRIST, this is the first thing wherein effectuall faith consists: for though it bee not the very thing wherein beleeuing consists, yet it is that preparation, without which faith can neuer be found sound and effectuall.

Secondly,When the vn­derstanding is cleare. when this is done, this is not all, when there is such a preparation made, that a man is willing to take CHRIST vpon any conditions, yet now, if hee shall not bee [Page 34] well built, if hee see not iust ground to take him, if his vnderstanding shall not see the truth of the promise so clearely, that he can build on it, that hee can rest on it, that all the arguments in the World cannot draw him from it againe, his faith will not be effectu­all. Therefore the second thing wherein the effectualnesse of faith consists, is to haue it well built in the minde and vnderstanding of a man, when he cleerely seeth the truth of the promise, that he can build vpon it infalli­bly. For your better vnderstanding of this,When a man is said to be well built. you must know that then a man is said to bee well built, to bee rooted and grounded in faith, when he hath the first ground right, that so hee proceeds from one to another, that it is not a confused superficiall knowledge, to assent to the truth, and promises that are de­liuered in the Word, but when hee hath a sure ground, the first ground, and the next, and so he proceeds along.When he be­leeues the Scriptures in generall. As, for example, the first thing that a man must doe, is to be­leeue the Scriptures, to know that they are true and infallible, that they are the sure Word of GOD, when a man can say, this I know,The promises in particular. and this I build vpon. And besides that, then wee looke vpon the promises which the Scriptures containe, wherein CHRIST, and forgiuenesse of sinnes is offe­red. Now if the first ground faile you, that is the bottome vpon which the promises stands; therefore haue that sure: when that [Page 35] is sure, you must haue the promises sure, that is, you must consider the promises, and exa­mine them, and see if this be the sense of the Scriptures; If there be so much light in you, as to say, I finde it so, I finde the Scriptures true, I beleeue them, I finde these promises in the Scriptures,Application of the offer of Christ. I finde CHRIST offered to euery creature vnder heauen, I finde that I haue a warrant to take him; when a man, out of himselfe, out of an inward principle, out of his owne proper iudgement seeth this, and is conuinced of the truth of this, that the pro­mises are so, and that they belong vnto him, that he may justly, vpon good ground, appro­priate them to himselfe; so that when hee lookes round about him, and considers all the objections that may be made, yet he can an­swer all arguments; when he fals downe, and is fully conuinced, and perfectly perswaded in his own mind, when a man thus apprehends the promises, when his vnderstanding is roo­ted and grounded in the faith; that is the se­cond thing wherein the effectualnesse of faith consists: And we see that described Ephes. 2.Eph. 2.19, 20. opened. Saith the Apostle there, You are no longer strangers and forraigners, but Saints, of the house­hold of God, and are built vpon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Iesus Christ being the chiefe corner stone. Marke, (saith he) you are built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets; that is, you that are Saints, must consider what ground you haue to take that [Page 36] name to your selues: Saith he, you are built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Pro­phets; that is, you are not built vpon the foundation, vpon the word of a man, you are not built vpon this Doctrine that I teach, meerely because I teach it, but you are built vpon the foundation of the Prophets, and A­postles: that is, you see the Prophets and A­postles deliuer this Doctrine. I, but one may seeke a further ground then that: What foun­dation haue the Prophets and Apostles? Saith he, Christ is the chiefe corner stone on which they are built. So that when you haue this tract of consequence, I see the promise is sure, Why? Because it is built vpon the foun­dation of the Apostles and Prophets, they haue affirmed it. But how shall I know that they are sure?Note. Because Christ himselfe hath spoken by them, hee is the chiefe corner stone, when faith is thus grounded, then we are truely said to bee built, and rooted, and grounded in faith. Therefore, as the Samari­tanes said, Ioh. 4 44.Ioh. 4.44. We beleeue, not because thou told [...]st vs, not for thy words, but wee haue heard him our selues, and wee know that hee is the Messias, and Sauiour of the World. Now,Particular knowledge. if those Samaritanes had onely be­leeued because the Woman brought that relation, their faith might haue fayled them, but when they heard CHRIST themselues, vvhen they saw him vvith their owne eyes, when they could say, [Page 37] in good earnest, out of their owne know­ledge: wee know, that this is CHRIST, the Sauiour of the World, that is such a faith as will hold out. So, when a man doth onely take a perswasion out of the generall preaching of the Word, without a certaine ground, it prooues ineffectuall faith; but when men beleeue, because themselues haue seene, and out of that knowledge can say, they know CHRIST to bee the Messias, when they know CHRIST to bee theirs, when they know CHRIST to bee the Saui­our of the World; and so, by consequence, of them which are a part of the World, then they may be truely said to bee built, to bee rooted and grounded in faith. This is that that Saint Iohn saith, 1 Ioh. 1.19.1 Ioh. 1.19. opened. Wee know that wee are of GOD, and that all the World lyeth in wickednesse. Wee know that wee are of GOD; that is, it is not a thing that we are vncertainely perswaded of, but it is a thing that wee know as certainely as any man knowes a thing that is before his eyes, as a man knowes a thing of which hee doubts not; wee know that although all the World be against vs, though all the World runne another way, though all the World condemne vs for vaine men, idle men, for trusting in CHRIST crucified, yet we know that we are of GOD, and that all the World lyeth in wickednesse. I say, when a man holds out thus, when hee is put to the tryall, [Page 38] when a man knowes in his owne knowledge, that it is so, as Peter saith to CHRIST, Ioh. 6.68.Ioh. 6.68. opened. many had taken CHRIST, that went away againe. Saith CHRIST to his Disciples, Will you also goe away? Marke the answer that Peter giues: No: saith he, Whi­ther should wee goe? thou hast the words of eter­nall life. I know and beleeue that thou art Christ, the Sonne of the liuing GOD. As if he should say, It is impossible that I should goe away, for I know and beleeue; that is, I know vpon good ground, I haue another manner of ground then they had: If I had no more ground then the rest, I should goe away as well as they, but I know and beleeue that thou art CHRIST, the Sonne of the liuing GOD, therefore it is impossible that I should euer forsake thee, although all should forsake thee. This is to bee rooted and grounded in faith, in this second sense, when we see an infallible ground, a sure Rocke, vpon which our faith is built, and we are willing to aduenture our selues vpon it, to aduenture our goods, our name, our life, our liberty, that if a man bee brought to Martyrdome, hee can aduenture himselfe, and put all that hee hath vpon it. This ground will hold out, I say, when the vn­derstanding of a man is thus built vpon the Word, when a man is examined eue­ry way, when hee is able to answere all arguments, and all objections that may be [Page 39] brought against it. This is the second thing wherein the effectualnesse of faith con­sists. I should adde more, but I must deferre them till the afternoone.

FINIS.

OF EFFECTVALL FAITH. The Second Sermon.

1. THESS. 1.3.

Remembring your effectuall Faith, &c.

THe third thing,The third thing, wherein the efficacie of faith consists: to take Christ. wherein the efficacy of faith is seen, is when we take CHRIST; this is the action of the will; when wee take him in a right manner, when we take him so as to hold him, when we take him in such a manner, as that we are knit and vnited to him. That this is required:

First, I will shew it in the generall: it is a [Page 42] point that wee haue often mentioned here­tofore, but to all that I haue said, I will adde that in Heb. 10.22.Heb. 10.22. opened. Let vs draw neere with a true heart, and assurance of faith. Marke it, first there must be an assurance of faith, that is in the vnderstanding and minde of a man, and to that must be added drawing neere, and that is an act of the will: for when we are assured of the truth of the promises, and haue appro­priated them to our selues, then followes the act of the will;Vers. 38. therefore in vers. 38. of that Chap. it is said, The iust shall liue by faith: but if any man draw backe, my soule shall haue no plea­sure in him. That Antithesis, that opposition, that is made in that withdrawing of a mans selfe from God, is opposed to faith, to draw­ing neere to him; when a man not only belee­ueth the promises, but accepts and receiues them. Now to doe this in a right manner, is that wherein the efficacy of faith doth princi­pally consist. Now what is that? It is to take Christ, to draw neere to him in a right man­ner; and then it is done, when you so take him, that you bring Christ into your hearts, to dwell there, as it is expressed, Eph. 3.17.Eph. 3.17. that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. That is, when there is an vnion made betweene Christ and vs, when he comes into the heart, when he dwels in vs, and we in him; when Christ is so brought into our hearts, that hee liues there, and when wee are so vnited to him, that we liue in him; when he growes in vs, [Page 43] as the Vine in the branches; and we grow in him, as the branches in the Vine: when faith hath done this, then it is an effectuall faith, when it knits and vnites vs to CHRIST, as he saith,Reu. 3.2 [...]. I will come in, and sup with him. That is, I will continue with him, I will liue in him, and rule ouer him.

Now when Christ is in the heart, he is not there to no purpose;What taking of Christ is ef­fectuall. but, as Paul saith, I liue in Christ, and he in me. I say, when our taking of CHRIST shall proceede so far, as to make this vnion betwixt vs, therein this efficacie lyeth; when the heart is knit to him, as the soule of Ionathan was to Dauid, and when CHRIST shall be knit to vs againe, that we shall be content to leaue Father and Mother, and to become one spirit with him, as it is, Eph. 5.23.Eph. 5.23. opened. It is a similitude expressing the vnion betwixt Christ and the Church: A man shall forsake Father and Mother, and shall cleaue to his Wife. The word in the Originall, [...] signifieth to glew: if there bee any conjun­ction that is neerer then other, it is signified in that word: there is not a word in all the Greeke Language, that signifieth a neerer conjunction, then the word there vsed for cleauing, or glewing. When a man shall for­sake all, euen Father and Mother, the dearest things in the world, and shall cleaue to Christ, (it is a repetition of what is said Gen. 2.24.Gen. 2.24. concerning Adam and Eue,) when faith hath done this worke, it is an effectuall faith.

[Page 44]But yet adde this againe, a man may take Christ, and seeme to draw neere to him, when it may be, it is done out of feare, it may bee, out of loue to his, and not out of loue to him, it may be done out of mis-information, and mistake; but when wee draw neere to GOD, and doe it out of loue,We must draw neere out of loue to Christ. (put these two toge­ther) that we so take Christ, as that there is an vnion made betweene vs and him, and when it is done out of loue; as that conditi­on is put in, in 1 Tim, 1.5.1 Tim. 1.5. The end of the Commandement is loue out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith vnfeigned. As if hee should say, There is a double kinde of faith, a false faith, and a faith that is not hypocriti­call, that is the word vsed in the Originall. Now, saith hee, the end of the Commande­ment is loue, &c. That is, all that God lookes for, is such a loue as comes from a faith that is vnfeigned, that is not counterfeit. Herein is faith seene not to be counterfeit, if it beget loue, and out of that loue we cleaue to Christ. So that this is the third thing that makes faith effectuall.

Fourthly, faith is then said to be effectuall, when it hath not onely done all this,Thing wherin the efficacy of faith consists. when there is not onely a good preparation made for it, when it is well built in the vnderstan­ding, and when the will hath thus taken Christ, but there must bee a further act, and that is the turning of the whole soule,The turning of the whole soule. and a seconding of it in our whole liues & practice, [Page 45] a seconding of it in our executions, and doing the things that Christ commands, as in Gal. 5.Gal. 5. In Christ Iesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor vncircumcision, but faith that wor­keth by loue. Such a faith as workes, that is ef­fectuall faith. As if he should haue said, Ma­ny will be ready to beleeue in CHRIST, but will doe nothing for him, they will not worke. (Now working is in doing,Working in doing and suffering. or in suffering: for in suffering there is a worke as well as in do­ing, onely it is a worke with more difficulty, a worke with more impediments.) Againe, if they will doe any thing for Christ, it is not out of loue, but for other respects: perhaps out of some flash, or good moode, or some other re­spects; out to doe it as being rooted & groun­ded in loue, if faith haue this worke, it is effe­ctuall faith; and therfore when faith hath once taken Christ, it must shoot it selfe into all the affections: for when they are all set on worke, endeuour will follow. If the will bee so set on worke indeed, the rest will follow after it. Loue will follow, Desire after Christ will fol­low, Feare to offend him will follow, Repētance and turning from Satan will follow, bringing forth fruits worthy amendment of life, and o­bedience, &c. will follow.Why the pro­mises are made promis­cuously. Therefore you shall finde, that the promises are made promiscu­ously, sometimes to one thing, sometimes to another: sometimes, he that repenteth shall be saued: sometimes, he that beleeueth shall be sa­ued: somtimes, he that obeyeth shall be saued: [Page 46] you shall finde them promiscuously; because that when faith is effectuall, it hath all these with it, it purifieth the heart, and bringeth forth fruit worthy amendment of life. There­fore this must be added, to shew the efficacie of faith; and, if this be wanting, faith is not effectuall; not that it can be disjoyned from the other, but, that it is that wherein it con­sisteth with the rest.

And therefore it is GODS vsuall manner, when men seeme to take CHRIST, and to beleeue in him,God tryeth mens graces. he puts them to the tryall, to see what they will doe, whether their faith will worke or no. Thus he did with Abra­ham, when hee would proue him; hee was a faithfull man before, God had experience of him before, but yet he would proue Abra­ham by offering his sonne, and when he saw he did it, he concluded that he had faith: in­deede it was a strong faith, for it endured the tryall. I say, GOD will put men to it. So likewise those in Ioh. 12.42.Ioh. 12.42. Many of the chiefe Rulers beleeued in him, but they durst not confesse him, for feare of the Iewes, lest they should be cast out of the Synagogue. There was a faith in them, a taking of Christ, but when it came to the tryall, it held not out, they durst not confesse him, because they feared to bee cast out of the Synagogue: that is, when they came to suffer a little for Christs sake, when they came to such an action as confessing his Name, when they came to endure but such [Page 47] a thing as to bee cast out of the Synagogue, they forsooke him, which shewed that their beliefe was ineffectuall. So that, let a man seeme to haue all the other three, yet when the praise of men shall come in competition with any command of GOD, when God shall put him to doe any thing, to part with any thing that is deare to him, as he did Abra­ham, if his faith worke not, if his faith hold not out in the tryall, but start aside, like a broken Bow, it is not effectuall faith. So you see the things wherein the efficacie of faith con­sisteth.

First, in the soundnesse of the preparati­on.

Secondly, when the mind apprehends the promises, and sees good ground to pitch vp­on them.

Thirdly, when the will so takes Christ as to bring Christ into the heart, so that Christ liues in vs, and that out of loue.

And fourthly, when faith worketh, and that in the time of tryall, when God shall put vs to it. I say, when you finde these foure things, you may conclude that your faith is effectuall.

The last thing I propounded, is to shew how this is wrought,How effectu­all faith is wrought, how our faith is made effectuall. It is made effectuall by the Spirit of God, it is not in our owne power, we are not able to beleeue, nay, wee are so farre from it, that wee striue against it, the spirit [Page 48] in vs resists it; so that, if GOD himselfe put not his hand to the worke,It is not in mans power to beleeue. no man is able to beleeue.

You may thinke, when you see such gene­rall propositions as these, that Christ is offe­red to euery creature vnder heauen, and that whosoeuer beleeueth shall be saued, you may thinke, I say, that it is easie to bring this home in particular, to say, Surely this pardon be­longs to mee. My Brethren, it is another thing for a man indeed to beleeue, for him to take CHRIST so as to deny himselfe for him, to take him so, as to mortifie his lusts, so as to take vp his crosse, so as to obey CHRIST, to follow him in all things, this is a thing that no man is able to doe, vnlesse GOD enable him to it, with his almighty power. For the heart of euery man, by nature, is so shut vp against CHRIST, that it will giue no entrance to him, he may stand and knocke long enough; vnlesse GOD himselfe shake off the bolts, and open the gates, and breake open these euer­lasting doores, that the King of Glory may come in, we will not admit him, but keepe him out.

Euery man naturally hath a hard heart, that cannot repent, that cannot turne from sinne, he will bee content perhaps to take Christ for a Sauiour, but to take him so as to obey him, and feare him, so as to loue him: this no man will doe, or can doe, vnlesse the Holy Ghost enable him.

[Page 49]But,Quest. you will aske, How doth the Holy Ghost doe it?

The Holy Ghost doth it by these three acts.Answ. First,How the Holy Ghost wor­keth faith: by three things. by putting an efficacie into the Law, and making that powerfull, to worke on the heart, to make a man poore in spirit, that so he may be fit to receiue the Gospell.Putting an efficacy in the Law. For the Law, though it be fit to humble a man, yet it is no worke of sanctification. If a man were able to doe any thing, he were able to see the righteousnesse the Law requires, and how far he is from it, and to discerne the curse vpon the not doing of it,A man cannot see his sins to purpose with­out the spirit of bondage. and yet this he is not able to doe, without the spirit of bondage: the spirit of bondage must make the Law effectuall, as well as the spirit of Adoption doth the Gospell. That is, except the LORD himselfe presse the Law on our hearts, so as to cause it to make sinne appeare to vs, wee, that are the Ministers of GOD, may discouer your sinnes, we may shew you the rectitude required in the Law, we may shew you the danger, yet all will be to no purpose, vnlesse God awaken you: if he will set sinne vpon the conscience to worry a man, to plucke him downe, when GOD shall charge sinne on him, that he shall feele the weight and burthen of it, when he shall sharpen sinne, and cause it to vse its sting, this makes a man fit to receiue CHRIST: otherwise, if the sonnes of Thunder should speake to men, if we should come in the spi­rit and power of Eliah, nay, if GOD himselfe [Page 50] should thunder from heauen, all would not moue the heart of a man, all would not awa­ken him to see his sinnes, till God himselfe shake the heart.

Act. 16.To conuert the Ga [...]ler, in Acts 16. the foundation of the Prison was shaken; which was a resemblance of the shaking of his heart: wee may as well shake the Earth, as strike the heart of a sinner without the worke of GOD. For, though the Law be a sword, yet vnlesse GOD take that sword in­to his hand, and strike therewithall himselfe, it shall not be able to wound a sinner. There­fore the first worke of the Holy Ghost is to a­waken a sinner, to set sinne vpon him, that he may be fit to receiue CHRIST.

By shewing the excellency and the riches of Christ.Secondly, when this is done, that the heart is thus prepared by the Spirit, then the Holy Ghost shewes vs what we haue by CHRIST, he shewes the vnsearchable riches of CHRIST, what is the hope of our calling, Eph. 1.18.19. opened. and the glorious inheritance prepared for the Saints, and what is the exceeding greatnesse of his power in them that beleeue. I say, we neede the Spirit to shew these things.

Obiect.But, you will say, a man may see these things without the helpe of the Spirit.Ans.

No man can so see the riches of Christ, as to be affected with them, with [...]ut the helpe of the Spirit.It is true, in some manner you may, but not in such a manner as shall affect you. For there is a manner of seeing proper onely to the Saints, and that is the proper worke of the Spirit in them, when wee shall [Page 51] so see them, as to be affected with them. O­therwise, you may reade the Scriptures a thousand times ouer, you may vnderstand them, yet you shall not bee affected with them, till the Holy Ghost shew them vnto you. This is the secret of GOD, that he re­uealeth to those whom he meaneth to saue; that is, when hee presents these spirituall things prepared for vs in Christ, in such a man­ner, as that we shall loue them, and embrace them; when we shall not only see the truth of them, but the goodnesse of them, when GOD shall not onely shew vs the aduantages we haue by Christ, but the excellency of Christ, so that we shall be in loue with his person, as well as to be ready to receiue the priuiledges with him.

Now this is done by the Spirit:1 Cor. 2.12. opened. 1. Cor. 2.12. Wee haue receiued the Spirit of GOD, by which wee know the things that are giuen vs of GOD, and they are reuealed to vs by the Spi­rit. They are two or three times repeated in that Chapter; as if he should haue said, If you saw them no more then other men doe, then naturall men doe, you would bee no more affected with them, then they are: but when you haue the Spirit of GOD to shew you the things that are giuen you of GOD, that is the thing that workes vpon you, and affects you. And so in Ioh. 14.21.Ioh. 14.21. opened. saith CHRIST, I will come to him, and shew my selfe to him: When CHRIST sheweth [Page 52] himselfe to a man, it is another thing then when the Ministers shall shew him, or the Scriptures nakedly read doe shew him: for when Christ shall shew himselfe by his Spirit, that shewing draweth a mans heart to long after him, otherwise we may preach long e­nough, and shew you that these spirituall things, these priuiledges are prepared for you in Christ, but it is the Holy Ghost that must write them in your hearts; we can but write them in your heads: Therefore the Lord ta­keth that as peculiar to himselfe:Ier. 31 33. opened. I will write my Law in your hearts. That is, I will make you affected with the things that I shew you, and this is the teaching of GOD. There is a tea­ching by men, and a teaching by GOD, that is, when God shall enable a man to see things in good earnest; otherwise it will be but as a man that sees a thing, when his minde is vpon another matter: so, wee shall see, and not see: but when the Holy Ghost shall shew you these things, you shall see indeed, till then, you may heare oft enough of these things, but your hearts will bee minding o­ther matters; some about their profits, and some their pleasures, &c. but when the Holy Ghost shall shew you these things; that is, when he presents them to vs, that draweth the heart from minding other things, to seeke after CHRIST, to long af­ter him, and not to content your selues, till you be vnited to him.

[Page 53]But, besides this, there is a third act of the Holy Ghost,By assuring vs that these things are ours, by which hee workes it, and maketh this faith effectuall, and that is the testimonie that the Spirit giues to our spirits, telling vs that these things are ours: when the heart is prepared by the Law, and when these things are so shewed vnto vs, that wee prize them, and long after them, yet there must bee a third thing, that is, to take them to our selues, to beleeue that they be ours;This also must be wrought by the Spirit. and there needeth a worke of the Spirit for this too: for, though the promises be neuer so cleere, yet, hauing nothing but the promises, you will finde that you will ne­uer be able to apply them to your selues: but when the Holy Ghost shall say, Christ is thine, and these things belong to thee, and GOD is thy Father; when the Spirit shall beare wit­nesse with our spirits, by an immediate work of his owne, then we shall beleeue. This is necessarily required,The testimony of the Spirit wrought two waies. and without this wee shall not beleeue. It is true, the holiest man doth it two wayes.

One is by cleering of the promises,By clearing the promises. shi­ning into our hearts, by such a light as makes vs able to discerne them, and to beleeue them, and to assent to them.

But besides that,By an imme­diate voice. hee doth it by an im­mediate voice, by which he speaketh imme­diately to our spirits, that wee can say, as they said, Ioh. 16.Ioh. 16.29. Now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no parable, we vnderstand thee fully: [Page 54] so, till the Holy Ghost speake to vs, we are in a Cloud, GOD is hid from vs, wee cannot see him cleerely, but when we haue this Spirit of Adoption, to giue vs this witnesse, then wee beleeue plainely indeed.Isa. 57.19. opened. Therefore in Isay 57.19. saith the Lord, I create the fruit of the lips, Peace, &c. That is, the Ministers may speake peace to you, but vnlesse I goe and ioyne with the Minister, except I adde a po­wer of mine owne; that is, such an almighty power as I vsed in the Creation, it shall ne­uer bring peace to you. I create the fruit of the lips; that is, the words of the Minister to be peace, otherwise they would be ineffectuall. Therefore, I say, there must bee a worke of the Spirit to perswade a man in such a case. And you shall finde by experience, let a Mi­nister come to them that are in despaire, they will not apprehend the promises,All arguments without the Spirit preuaile not. though we vse neuer so cleere reasons, though we ar­gue with them neuer so long, and neuer so strongly, we shall finde that all will doe no­thing, it will be but labour spent in vaine, till GOD himselfe open the Clouds, till hee will smile on a man, and send his Spirit into the heart, to giue a secret witnesse to him, till there be a worke of his owne joyning with the promises, we finde by experience that our la­bour is lost.

It is true, we ought to doe this, and euery man is bound to looke to the Word: for, faith commeth by hearing; and to hearken to [Page 55] the Ministery; for it is Gods ordinance to breed faith in the heart, but yet till there be a worke of the Spirit, a man shall neuer be so perswaded, as to haue any sure and sound comfort by it.

Now all this is done by the Spirit, it is the wonderfull worke of GOD: for when CHRIST is propounded to men, when he is offered, (as we haue often offered him to you, we haue shewed you what accesse you haue to him, that no man is excluded, that he is of­fered to euery creature vnder heauen, we haue shewed you the generality of the promise, that it takes in all, that you are contained vn­der it, that you may apply it to your selues; I say, when all this is done) yet when a man comes to performe this, to apply it to him­selfe, he is no more able to doe it, then a dead man is able to stirre himselfe. Therefore the same power that raised CHRIST from the dead, is required to worke faith in our hearts, as it is in Eph. 1.19.Eph. 1.19. opened. According to his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when hee rai­sed him from the dead. So that it is as great a worke, to moue a mans heart to CHRIST, as to put life into a dead man; we are as vn­apt and backward to it, as a dead man is to receiue life. For what else is the reason, that when we preach CHRIST to you, when hee is offered to you, that there bee so few that are affected with him, that there be so few that take him? doth it not shew that you [Page 56] are dead? yea, so dead, that vnlesse GOD call you, and that there be a mighty worke of the Spirit, the hearts of men will neuer an­swer vnto vs. Therefore that is required as a condition in all them who will come,Act. 2.39. Act. 2. So many as the LORD our GOD shall call. That is, when wee preach, except there bee a secret voyce of the Spirit of CHRIST speaking to your hearts, as wee doe to your eares, and saying, Come and take CHRIST, no man will come. We see, CHRIST said to his Apostles, Follow mee, and presently they followed him; (for it was not the out­ward voice that did it, there was a secret voice within) so, when GOD shall call men to take CHRIST, then they doe it, but not before. That word that is vsed, Luk. 14.23.Luk. 14.23. opened. Goe and COMPELL them to come in, that my House may be full, it intimates a great backwardnesse in vs.That men are▪ compelled to come in, what it implies. When men are com­pelled, it shewes, that not onely the argu­ments are strong, and forcible, but that there is a great backwardnesse in men, that they must (as it were) be constrained, that they must be put on it by force, and against their will; such is the vnaptnesse that is in men.

What is im­plyed by drawing: Ioh. 6.44. opened.So, saith CHRIST, no man comes to me, except the Father draw him. That phrase of the Holy Ghost shewes, that there is an ex­treme backwardnesse, that, if they be not for­ced to come, (as it were) they will not doe [Page 57] it: not but that when a man is once wrought vpon by the Holy Ghost, hee commeth of himself; but that phrase is vsed only to shew that backwardnesse that is in man by nature. For, when the Holy Ghost hath wrought vp­on the will,How the Holy Ghost draw­eth. and hath turned that, then a man commeth vpon his owne legs, and is mo­ued from an inward principle of his owne; therefore men are so drawne, that withall, they runne after him, as it is, Cant. 1.Cant. 1.4. but it shewes this thing, for which I haue vsed it, that there is a wondrous backwardnesse in all of vs by nature, and that this must be done by a great worke of the Spirit.

Therefore the Apostle Paul, in Eph. 1.Eph. 1.18. in all the former part of the Chapter, to the 18. Verse, hauing declared the great Mysterie of saluation, he takes himselfe vpon the sudden, and beginnes to thinke with himselfe, though I shew you all this, it is to no purpose, if GOD send not the Spirit of reuelation, &c. Therefore hee lifts vp his heart to GOD, beseeching him to giue them the Spirit of revelation, to open the eyes of their vnderstanding, that they might see the hope of their Calling, and the riches of their inheritance with the Saints. So should Ministers learne to doe, to pray for the people, that GOD would infuse and send his Spirit into their hearts, that they may be able to perceiue these things effectually, with a right apprehension, [Page 58] to see the secrets of GOD in them, you also should goe to GOD, and beseech him to helpe you with his Spirit, that so you may be able to apprehend these things, and that they may be powerfull, to worke the same thing, for which we deliuer them to you: and so wee haue shewed you these three things; First, what effectuall faith is: namely, in shewing you why it is called effectuall faith.

Secondly, wherein the efficacie of faith consists, and Thirdly, how it is wrought.

Now, last of all, wee are to shew you the reason, why GOD accepts no faith, but that which is effectuall.Why God will accept no faith but that which is effe­ctuall.

And there is good reason why no faith should be accepted of GOD, but that which is effectuall.

First, because otherwise it is not faith at all, if it be not effectuall;Because else it is not faith, because it is dead. and if it be not faith, it is no wonder that he doth not accept of it. I say, it is no more faith, then a dead man is said to be a man: you giue the name of a man to him, yet he is not a man; no more is faith that is not effectuall, any faith; it hath only the name of faith, and there is no more in it: but as dead Drugges, which haue no efficacie in them, or as dead Plants, or dead Wine, which is turned to Vinegar,Similes. it ceaseth to be Wine, it is no longer Wine, but Vinegar; so it may be said of ineffectuall faith, it is not faith, it hath the name and the shaddow of faith onely, and therefore God accepts it not.

[Page 59]Againe,Because such faith hath no loue. Rom. 8.28. GOD will saue none, vnlesse they be reconciled to him, and be such as loue him, for that condition is euery where put in. All things shall worke together for good to them that loue him: and he hath prepared a Crowne for them that loue him. Now, if faith be not effectuall, there will be no loue; and if loue be necessarily required, GOD cannot accept that faith that is ineffectuall.

Againe,Because the Deuils haue such a faith. if GOD should accept of a faith that is ineffectuall, the Deuils haue such a faith, by which they apprehend the Word, and a faith that brings forth effects: for they feare and tremble; but this is not the faith that purifieth the heart, it is not an effectuall, it is not a purging, liuely faith.

Againe,Because it workes no mortification. CHRIST receiues none but them that deny themselues, and are willing to take vp their crosse and to follow him, that mortifie the deedes of the body by the Spirit. Now an ineffe­ctuall faith doth none of these, and therefore that faith that saueth, must bee a working faith, or else these things should not be neces­sarily required.

Againe,Because else Christ should lose the end of his comming into the world. it was Christs end in comming in­to the world, that he might destroy the workes of the Deuill, and for this end hath the grace of God appeared, that men should deny vngodlinesse and worldly lusts: and for this end did hee giue himselfe, to purifie to himselfe a people zealous of good workes, He comes to be a King, as well as a Sauiour, to rule among his people, to [Page 60] haue men obey him, which could not be, if faith were not effectuall, if it did not purifie the heart, and enable men to deny all world­ly lusts, and to liue soberly, righteously, and god­ly in this present world.

Good workes are the way to saluation. Eph. 2.10.And last of all, good workes are required of necessity, as the way to saluation; Eph. 2.10. We are Gods workmanship, created in Iesus Christ vnto good workes, which he hath ordained that we should walke in them. Good workes are re­quired of necessity, GOD judgeth vs accor­ding to our workes, Rom. 2.Rom. 2.6. and at the last day, the reward is pronounced, according to that which men haue done:Mat. 26.35, 39. When I was in prison, you visited me; when I was naked, you cloathed me, &c. And if they be required of necessity, then it is not a dead, liuelesse, workelesse faith, but a powerfull, energeticall faith, a faith that is stirring and actiue, a faith that is effectuall, which GOD requires, with­out which we cannot be saued.

We come now to make some Vse of what hath beene said.

Vse 1. To try our faith, whether it be sound.First, If GOD accept no faith, but that which is effectuall, it should teach vs not to be deceiued in a matter of so great moment; It should teach vs to looke to our faith, to consider whether it be a right faith or no. If a man haue Euidences, vpon which his lands, and whole estate dependeth, if one should come, and tell him that they were false Eui­dences, it would affect him; he would, at [Page 61] the least be ready to looke, and to examine them, and yet these are matters of lesse mo­ment.

If one be told that his Corne is blasted,Simile. that all the Trees in his Orchard are dead, that all his money is counterfeit, a man would looke euen to these things; a man would haue that which he hath to be sound, and not coun­terfeit: and shall not we then looke to the faith that we haue, vpon which the saluation of our soules depends? seeing God accepteth none vnlesse it be [...]ound, and seeing there is so much counterfeit faith in the world. It should teach vs to looke about vs, and consider what our faith is: For, as Iames saith, faith without workes cannot saue vs.Iam. 2.14. What auaileth it, my Brethren, if a man say he hath faith, and hath not workes, can his faith saue him? So I say to eue­ry man, in such a case, thou that thinkest thou hast faith, if there be not workes too, if it be not effectuall, if it be not a liuely faith, will such a faith saue thee? If a man should come and say to one that brags of the Balsome or Drugges which he hath, (that are dead, and haue lost their efficacie) Will such a Balsome heale thee?Simile. If a man haue a guilded Target, made of paper, a man may say to him, Will that Target defend thee? And so I say, when a man hath a counterfeit faith, Will such a faith as this saue thee? It will not saue you; you may please your selues in it, as a man is pleased with a false dreame, but, when you [Page 62] are awaked, you will finde that you are de­ceiued. Learne therefore to consider of your faith, to see if it be effectuall.

When the LORD proclaimed himselfe to be a mercifull God, Exod. 34.6.7. forgiuing iniquity, trans­gression, and sinne; yet it is added, he will not hold the wicked innocent. So, when we haue said so much of faith, and that faith saueth; yet know, that it must be a working faith that saueth vs: It must be such a faith as purifieth the heart, it must be such a faith that may shew it selfe in fruits worthy amendment of life. And therefore Saint Iames taketh so much paines in this case, as you shall finde in his first Chapter, and the beginning of the second; hee layeth downe rules, and tels them, that if they keepe the whole Law, and yet faile in one point, they are guilty of the whole.

Now hauing dealt so strictly, some might be ready to object:Obiect. GOD is mercifull, and I shall be saued through faith.

Ans.It is true, (saith hee) if you haue a right faith, you shall be saued by it; but yet know this, that vnlesse your faith be such a faith as enableth you to doe what I say, it is a faith that will doe you no good,Fiue argu­ments of Saint Iames against worklesse faith it will not saue you: for, though faith saueth you, yet it must be such a faith as worketh. And that he pro­ueth by many arguments; (it is a place worth the considering, and fit for this purpose) I say, hee vseth some arguments to proue, [Page 63] that that faith which is not effectuall will not saue vs.

As first, Saith he, if a man should say to 1 one, Be warmed, or, Be filled: as this is but vaine liberality, when as yet a man doth no­thing; so, for a man to professe that he be­leeueth in CHRIST, and yet doth nothing for him, it is a vaine faith.

Secondly, Some man might say, Thou 2 hast faith, and I haue workes, shew me thy faith by thy workes. That is, if a man haue faith, hee will shew it by his workes. As if hee should haue said,Note. If the Sunne be the greatest light, let it giue the greatest splendor; If the Load­stone be of such a vertue, let it shew it, by at­tracting the Iron to it: So, if thy faith be ef­fectuall, shew it by thy workes: that is, if thy faith be a true faith, it must bee a working faith, or else it is nothing, GOD will not ac­cept it.

Thirdly, vnlesse it be a working faith, an ef­fectuall 3 faith, the Diuels haue the same: thou beleeuest that there is one God; the Diuels doe the same, and tremble.

Fourthly, If any man could be justified by 4 faith without workes, Abraham might haue beene so justified; but Abraham was justified by his workes; that is, by such a faith as had workes joyned with it. And not Abraham onely, but Rahab, (that is another example: for it might be objected, Abraham indeed be­leeued, and was justified by workes, but Rahab [Page 64] had no workes, shee was a wicked woman, and therefore was justified by faith?

To this therfore he answereth, that) she had workes, or else she could not haue beene sa­ued, vnlesse she had such a worke as that in sending away the Messengers, her faith could not haue justified her. Indeede, that was a great worke; for she aduentured her life in it.

5 And lastly, saith he, as the body, without the soule, is a dead body, a stinking carrion, there is no preciousnesse, nor no excellency in it; so faith without workes is dead. Therefore looke to your faith; doe not thinke that a faith that meerely taketh Christ, and beleeueth in him, that it is a faith that shall justifie you. Let all these arguments perswade you, that if it bee not a working faith, it shall doe you no good. Therefore let this be the first Vse, to consider your faith, whether it be effectuall or no, by the working of it.

Vse. 2. To judge our conditions by the efficacy of▪ our faith.The second Vse that we may make of it, is this: Hence we should learne to iudge of our estates and conditions, by the efficacie of our faith: for, if no faith be receiued, but that which is effectuall, then it behooues vs to looke to the working of our faith.

Againe, if GOD accept no faith but that which is effectuall, hence we may learne also not to beleeue all that say they haue faith,Not to be­leeue all that say they haue faith, nor all that say they haue none. nor to beleeue all those that say they haue none. As for those that say they haue no faith, yet, if we see the fruites of faith in them, that they [Page 65] haue those things that faith brings forth: If you see a man that complaineth he beleeueth not, yet if he loue the Saints, if he endeuour to keepe GODS Commandements, if he con­tinue not in any knowne sinne, if hee doe not dare to omit holy duties, nor to sleight them, certainely, this man hath faith: for we finde the effects of it there: although he haue lost one act of his faith, which is the comfortable assurance of a good estate; yet if the first act, by which he resteth vpon Christ, Act of faith double. and by which he taketh Christ to himselfe, be there, we may conclude there is faith.Simile. When we see smoke, and feele heate, we say, there is fire, though we see no flame: so, when we see these fruits in a man, we may boldly say, he hath faith, though he hath not such a reflect act,A man may haue faith, though he want feeling. as to know in himselfe that he hath it, and so to haue a comfortable assurance of his condi­tion.

On the other side;Of those that say they haue faith, but haue not. if a man saith, he know­eth and is perswaded that his sinnes are for­giuen, his conscience is at rest, and yet for all this, we finde no workes, I say, this man hath not faith: for there wants the efficacie of it: So that as the two sonnes in the Gospell; one said he would goe into the Vineyard, and did not; the other said he would not goe, yet af­terwards he repented, and went: so it is with these two; the one saith he hath not faith, and yet for all that, we see, he doth the things that faith requireth, we see the efficacy of faith in [Page 66] him. Againe, the other saith hee hath faith, and yet doth not bring forth the fruites of faith, he doth not shew the efficacy of faith in his life; the one shall be justified, the o­ther shall be condemned.

Simile.As when we take two Drugges, or two Pearles, &c. the one hath lost his colour, see­meth withered and dead, so that to the out­ward view, it hath lost all, yet it hath its effi­cacie still, that such a thing should haue; the other looks very faire, and hath a right colour and smell, but it hath no efficacie in it; wee say, one is a liuely Drug, and a good one, and the other a counterfeit: so, when one man complaines that he hath no grace, that he is an hypocrite, and yet hee brings forth fruite worthy amendment of life, and wee see the working of his faith; I say, this is true faith: On the other side, hee that makes a shew of faith, and yet wants the efficacie of it, he hath no faith. Wee should learne thus to iudge, when men professe they haue faith, and wee finde it not by their workes. It should teach both ciuill men and hypocrites to know their estates: for it discouereth both. For when the ciuill man commeth, and seeth that hee doth much of the second Table, and little of the first; and the hypocrite againe, doth much of the first, and little of the second; let them consider that faith enableth a man to haue re­spect to all Gods Commandements: Psal. 119.7. it workes a generall change. And as this is true, for the [Page 67] substance, so it is also for degrees: for, if God accepts onely effectuall faith, then so much efficacie, and so much working as you finde in any man, so much faith there is. If there be no workes, there is no faith; if the workes be few, the faith is a languishing faith; if the workes be many, the faith is great and strong. That is the second Vse wee should make, to learne to judge aright of our selues and o­thers.

Thirdly,Vse 3. To iustifie the Doctrine of good workes against the Pa­pists slanders. if it be onely an effectuall faith, which GOD accepteth, then this justifieth our Doctrine against the Papists, that say, we teach that onely faith justifieth, and require no good workes. I say, we teach, that not a naked, but an effectuall faith doth it. So that all the difference betweene them and vs, is this; we agree both in this, that workes are necessarily required to saluation, that no man shall see GOD without them, without pure­nesse of heart, and integrity of life. We say, Except men mortifie the deedes of the body by the Spirit, they shall dye; and there is no condem­nation to them that walk not after the flesh, but af­ter the Spirit: That is, there is a necessity put vpon men to walke after the Spirit; in this we agree:Difference be­tweene vs and Papists in the Doctrine of iustification. but here is the difference: They say that faith and workes both are required to justifie; we say, that nothing is required but faith, and that workes follow faith: wee say, faith indeed is working, and produceth [...]uch effects; so that, whereas they say faith, and [Page 68] workes; we say faith only, but it must be an effectuall faith, a working faith.

Obiect.If they object that place of Iames, wee are not justified by faith, but by workes.

Ans.I answer, that there is a double justificati­on, there is a justification of the person;Iustification double. so was Abraham justified by faith, as Paul expres­seth it, Rom. 4.Rom. 4. But then there is a second ju­stification, a justification of the faith that A­braham had, he justified his faith by his works, he shewed that hee had not a dead faith, a liuelesse faith, a faith without workes, but that he had a liuely effectuall faith: for he ad­ded workes to his faith, his workes wrought together with his faith. So that, if the que­stion be, Whether Abraham was an hypo­crite? his workes justified him that hee was none. If the question be, Whether Abraham was a sinner? his faith justifieth him, and shewes that he was made righteous through faith.Note. So, there is a justification of the per­son, and a justification of the faith of the per­son: as when a man is said to justifie such an action,Simile. or such a cause, the meaning is not, that he will make that just which was vnjust before, but he will make it appeare to be just; so Abraham was declared to haue a justifying faith, by that power and efficacie it wrought in him, in offering vp his sonne.

Againe, it is objected out of that place, that by workes faith is made perfect; there­fore it seemes that faith is nothing alone, [Page 69] if workes bee not joyned with it.Answ.

I answer,Faith made perfect by works, what. that when it is said that faith is made perfect by workes, the meaning is, that faith is made good by workes; the perfection of faith is declared by workes. As one that professeth that he hath an Art,Simile. and that he is able to doe this and that; if he doe the worke wherein his Art is shewed, if he make any artificiall worke, by that he ma­keth good his Art. Or, as when we say, these Trees are good, because they haue sappe in them, they are not dead Trees. Now the Tree is made perfect by the fruit; so faith by workes is made perfect. Not that workes put life into faith; the sap must first be in the Tree, and then it bringeth forth fruit: so there must first be a life in faith, and then it bring­eth forth workes. So that, when we say that faith is made perfect by workes, the meaning is, that workes declare faith to be right, as the fruit doth declare the Tree to haue sap.

Againe,Obiect. if it be objected, (as it is by them) that workes, and loue, &c. are to faith, as the soule is to the body: for, as the body, with­out the soule is dead, so faith without workes is dead: Hence they gather, that faith is as the body, and that loue, and workes are as the soule: therefore faith justifieth not but workes.Ans.

To this I answer;What meant by these words Faith without workes is dead. They take the compa­rison amisse: For the scope of it is this; as a soulelesse body is nothing worth, it is [Page 70] dead, and no man regardeth it; so is a worke­lesse faith: The meaning is not, that workes are as the soule, and faith as the body; but, as a man, when he lookes vpon a carkasse, and seeth no life in it, no pulse, no motion, no sence, such a body is nothing worth; so when we see a faith without motion, that hath no pulses, that hath no expression of life in it, such a faith is of no worth.

Obiect.But, you will say, if we be not justified by workes, to what end are good workes requi­red?

Ans.I answer, there is end enough, there are motiues enow:Why good works are re­quired, seeing they iustifie not. Is not loue a ground strong enough to bring forth good workes? When this objection was made to Paul, Rom. 6. If Grace abound,Rom. 6.1, 2. why may wee not sinne the more; for Grace aboundeth, as sinne aboun­deth? he might easily haue answered,They euidence our right in Christ. Ex­cept you doe good workes, you cannot be sa­ued; but he saith, How can we, that are dead to sinne, liue any longer therein? That is, when a man is once in CHRIST, there will be such a change wrought in him, that hee shall finde CHRIST killing sinne in him, and hee shall be raised againe to newnesse of life, insomuch that he must of necessity doe it; there will be loue in his heart, that will set him aworke, that will constraine him: therefore, saith he, are you not baptized into Christs death? That is, when a man is in CHRIST, he is dead to sinne, as CHRIST dyed for him: so that, [Page 71] though there be no such motiue, as for a man to get Heauen by his workes; yet, vpon the taking of Christ, there is a loue planted in the heart, there is a change wrought in the heart, so that there is an aptnesse in it to doe good workes; so that now a man delighteth in the Law of God concerning his inward man, he de­sires nothing more then to be employed in it, it is his meate and drinke to doe the will of GOD. Is not this enough to moue vs?

Againe;God rewards according to our works. though good workes be not re­quired for justification, yet this may be a mo­tiue: GOD rewards vs, he chastens and af­flicts vs according to our workes: 1 Pet. 1.15.1 Pet. 1.15. We call him Father, that judgeth euery one accor­ding to his workes: That is, if our workes be good, he is ready to reward vs; if wee faile, he is ready to chastise vs, as a Father doth his children: therefore let vs passe the time of our dwelling here with feare. So that the Saints, after they are in the state of grace, they may contract a kinde of guiltinesse vnto them, so that they may make their Father an­gry, they may feele many effects of his dis­pleasure, though they shall not lose his fa­uour for euer: and the more our good works are, the greater is our reward.

Againe;Good workes necessary, though not to iustification. wee require good workes of ne­cessity, as well as the Papists: wee say, you must haue good workes, or else you cannot be saued; so that, except you haue repen­ted, except you haue loue as well as faith, [Page 72] except there be a change of heart, Christ is not in you.

Different rise of good works in Papists and vs.We require good workes with the same necessity; onely they haue a different rise, they rise from different grounds. When the Papists are asked what should moue a man to doe good workes? They say it is by way of merit, to get heauen; and that is it that ma­keth all their workes to be of no worth. For, take any naturall man, he that hath the most impure heart, may not he, to escape Hell, and to get Heauen, doe all the workes the Papists require, and for the same end that they require them? May he not giue Almes, &c.An hypocrite cannot doe things out of loue to God. But to doe it out of loue, that is a thing that no Hypocrite is able to reach vnto: And therefore we say, that the mea­nest worke, euen the giuing of a Cuppe of cold water, is a good worke, if it proceed from loue: whereas, take the fairest worke, that hath the greatest glory, and splendour, though it be Martyrdome; if it come not from loue,2 Cor. 13.2: if it be not a fruit of faith, if a man giue his body to be burned, and giue all that hee hath to feede the poore, if it come not from loue, GOD accepts it not. So much for the second Vse.

Vse. 3. To labour to grow in faith and assurance.The third Vse that wee should make of it, is this: If nothing be accepted, but that faith that is effectuall, we should learne hence, that, if we will grow in ability to worke, if we will grow in obedience, wee must grow [Page 73] in faith: for all efficacie must come from faith: for it is onely the effectualnesse of faith that GOD requires. That is, if there be any effectualnesse in man, that comes not from faith, GOD requires it not: for it is the efficacie of faith which GOD requires. Therefore, if wee will bee enabled to doe the duties of new obedience, labour to grow in faith, that must inable vs to doe what wee doe: if wee haue not the ground, all that we doe is in vaine.What course to take in weaknesse of grace. Therefore, when we finde any coldnesse, any weaknesse in the Graces wee haue, any languishing; in­crease faith, and all other Graces will grow. If you finde you cannot pray, when you find your hands weake, and your knees feeble, that you cannot runne the wayes of Gods Com­mandements, strengthen your faith, labour to increase your assurance.Simile. When the bran­ches are weake and withering, we vse to dung the root; so, in this case, labour to strengthen your faith: for that will inable you to doe much; it is all in all.

This will be of much vse to vs in many cases.Labouring to strengthen faith, of much vse. When a sinne is committed, we should labour now to recouer our selues out of that relapse.In getting as­surance of par­don after sin is committed. What is the way? By labouring to get assurance of the forgiuenesse of it. Goe to GOD to strengthen thy faith, that is the way to get out of sinne.

If there be a strong lust,In conflict with strong lusts. that thou art to grapple withall, and which thou canst not [Page 74] get the victory ouer, the way is to goe and increase faith, to increase assurance: for, the more faith is increased, the more loue, the more the heart is inclined to GOD: for faith turnes the bent of the heart from pleasures, and profits, from a desire of the praise of men, to GOD: so that, the more faith, the more ability there is to striue a­gainst the corruption that is in you.

In want of graces.Againe; if a man finde hee wants pati­ence, he wants thankfulnesse, the way is, not to looke on the Vertues, to reade morall Writers, but goe and strengthen thy faith, and that shall enable thee to doe wonders: otherwise we water the branches, and let the roote alone.

How Mini­sters should build.Thus should wee Ministers doe, lay this maine foundation, to build vp our hearers in this, and the rest will follow. This Paul did, that was the great Master-builder, hee layes downe in all his Epistles, the founda­tion of faith: in his Epistles to the Romanes, to the Ephesians, to the Colossians, to the Galatians; and after that hee deduceth par­ticulars, and buildeth on it: so your maine businesse is to consider whether you haue faith, to get assurance of that, and when you haue that, then striue against particular vices, and adorne your selues with particular graces: For, because you labour not to haue this maine grace, this roote and foun­dation of all the rest, I say, this is the reason [Page 75] why those good motions that you haue put into you by the Holy Ghost, those motions that you haue in the hearing of the Word, and the good purposes that you take to your selues, come to nothing, because they haue not faith for their ground.

That generall of Faith,Simile. must goe before these particulars: Though the Plants bee good, yet, if the ground bee not good, and connaturall, where they are planted, they will not grow. Therefore we finde it ordi­narily, that when men haue resolutions to giue ouer such and such sinnes, to leaue such and such vices, their wicked company, drin­king, gaming, and the like; it may be it holds for a day or two, yet this comes to no­thing; because the maine foundation is not laid, they goe to worke without faith: when the ground is flesh, and the worke spirituall, how can it liue?Simile. for euery thing liues in its owne element; and these motions in them, are as the Fish is out of the water: and as the fire, when it is out of its place, dyes and is extinguished; so these good purposes, when they are not particulars that arise from that generall of faith, they are in the heart as a thing out of its owne element, and there­fore they perish. Therefore, when you haue these purposes, know that they will come to nothing, if you take not the right course. Therefore labour to beleeue the promises, to bee assured of saluation, that you are transla­ted [Page 76] from death to life, by an effectuall faith: when this is done, you shall finde that your purposes will hold, and till then they are in vaine.

Vse 4. To looke to faith in our search.And so againe, this should teach vs, see­ing all depends vpon faith, when wee come to search, to consider what assurance wee haue, that so we may goe the right way to worke. For commonly, when wee consider our estates, we looke what fruites wee haue, what sincerity hath appeared in our life, and if we finde that weake, we commonly con­clude, that our faith is weake also, and so the weaknesse of our sanctification weakneth our assurance; but wee should goe another way to worke: When we finde a weaknesse, we should go to the promises, and strengthen our assurance: for there be two wayes to in­crease assurance.Two wayes to increase assu­rance.

One is by the promises, the sure Word, on which faith is built.

The second is by the fruites of sanctificati­on in our selues.

Now when we finde these languishing, we should goe to the first, and the other will be increased by it. Faith worketh in you sancti­fication, and maketh you to beleeue the pro­mise; as exercise begets health,Simile. and we are made fit by health for exercise: or as acts be­get habits, and habits are meanes to exercise those acts: So assurance, grounded vpon the promise, it enableth, and enlargeth, and in­creaseth [Page 77] sanctification, and sanctification in­creaseth assurance: but first see faith, and then the other as fruites of it. If you finde a weaknesse in sanctification, labour to strengthen your faith, and that will increase it: for that is the ground of all.

FINIS.

OF EFFECTVALL FAITH. The third Sermon.

1. THESS. 1.3.

Remembring your effectuall Faith, &c.

IN the fifth place;Vse. 5. To learne to iudge aright of our workes. If no­thing please GOD, if he accepts of nothing but what comes from effectu­all faith; then we should learne hence to iudge a­right of our workes: for what workes soeuer wee doe, they please GOD no further then hee seeth and findeth some faith in them. The Vse before shewed vs how to iudge aright of [Page 80] our faith; this teacheth you how to iudge a­right of all the workes you doe, that you doe not mistake in them. For men are very apt to iudge amisse of what they doe in this case.

There be many workes that haue a speci­ous and faire shew in the view of men, and perhaps in your owne opinion: But if there be not faith in those workes, GOD regards them not: as, Iames 2.22.Iames 2.22. when Abraham did that great worke, in offering his sonne, (which was the greatest worke that euer hee did, and the greatest worke that is recorded in all the Booke of GOD) yet, saith the A­postle there, Do ye not obserue how faith wrought with his workes? That is to say, If faith had not set him on worke to doe this, if faith had not beene the Spring to set this wheele on going, GOD had not accepted this. So, doe whatsoeuer you will,God accepts our workes no further then he findes faith in them. further then faith works with you in all that you doe, GOD regards it not.

Therefore you shall obserue in Christs an­swer to the Woman of Canaan, in her earnest prayer, in her comming to Christ, her figh­ting and striuing against the Diuell, her ten­dernesse to her Daughter, her holding out so long as she did; all this Christ lookes ouer: But when he comes to giue his censure of her worke, of her carriage, Oh Woman, great is thy faith, saith he. That was it that set a great price vpon her worke: Matth. 15.26, 27.Mat. 15.26, 27. [Page 81] So, take the most excellent, the greatest worke that can be performed, GOD sets them at no higher a price then hee findes faith in them; he weighes them by that: so much faith as is in them, so farre he accepts them, so farre he regards them. Looke in Heb. 11.Heb. 11. you shall finde many glorious workes set downe. All the great workes that Sampson did, all the workes that Dauid did, the works that Gedeon did, the workes that Baruc did, the workes that Moses did, and so along, you shall see there, that there was nothing in all these workes that was regarded, but their faith: all is imputed to faith. And therefore, when you goe about any thing, labour to see faith set you aworke; and know, that as much faith as there is in any worke, so much GOD regards it, and no further. Iacob had done many good things, that pleased GOD, yet GOD, when he would put a marke of his fa­uour vpon him, when he would call him Is­rael, when he would change his name, it was for that great worke of faith, when he prayed all night, when hee would not giue ouer, when he would not let him goe, when hee preuailed with God by faith; now, saith God, thy name shall be called Israel. (As if he should say) Now I will put a name of honour vpon thee. Why so? Not because there was more in that worke, simply considered, as it was a worke: but because there was more faith in it. And it must needes be so: for GOD doth [Page 82] not as men doe, who accept the giuer for the gift. (If a man come to you with a great gift, you will accept his person for it.) But GOD accepts the gift for the giuers sake:God accepts the gift for the giuer. though the gift be neuer so small, if the giuer be such as beleeues in him; if his affections be right, if he doe it out of a right ground; that is, if he doe it out of a ground of faith, he is accepted, whatsoeuer it be. Indeed, o­therwise, whatsoeuer we doe, we may call it by our owne name; we may say, he is a pa­tient man, or he is a temperate man, or these are workes of Justice, or workes of tempe­rance: But we can neuer call it godlinesse, except it rise from faith, except it come from this ground; because indeed it is not done to God. (Marke it) I say, further then a man doth a thing out of faith, hee doth it not to GOD. For, to doe a thing out of faith,To doe a thing by faith, what. is no­thing else, but when out of perswasion of GODS loue to me, I doe this thing: meerely for his sake whom I haue chosen, to whom I giue my selfe; one that I know loues mee; and therefore, though there were no reward for it, I would serue him. This is a worke of faith. Now, I say, this is properly godlines. And therfore, in 2 Pet. 1. when the Apostle had named Patience and Temperance, lest wee should mistake, (as if hee should say, There be many Vertues of this nature amongst men that belong not to GOD.) Therefore, saith he, Adde Godlinesse; that is, Let it be such [Page 83] as becomes a godly man to doe. Godlinesse is that which is done to GOD;Godlinesse what. such things and such qualities as haue an eye and respect to him, such things please him. What if a man should doe neuer so much, if it please not GOD, it is lost labour. It is said, Heb. 11.6.Heb. 11.6. that Henoch pleased God. Marke how the A­postle reasons: (saith hee) without faith it is impossible to please God: therefore, in that he is said to please GOD, it must needes be through faith. You know, it is said, Rom. 13.Rom. 13. whatso­euer a man doth, if it be not of faith, and loue, GOD lookes not to it; you know there can be no loue without faith.

Consider but how it is with your selues; If a man should doe any thing for you, you know, hee may haue many other ends, hee may doe you many a great good turne; yet, if you be perswaded this comes not out of loue to me, nor of true respect to me, you regard it not, whatsoeuer it bee. If it bee but a small thing, if it be done out of loue, you respect it. So it is with GOD; workes that come from faith and loue, (for those I reckon to be all one) those he respects wondrously. There­fore we should learne to iudge aright of our workes; it will helpe vs against that position of the Papists, and also against the common opinion of men.

Euery man thinkes that Almes-deeds, do­ing good to the poore, and doing glorious things, &c. that these are good workes, when [Page 84] as common actions they exclude,We must rec­kon common actions in our callings to be good workes. as if they were not good workes: But it is not so; we may doe the greatest workes of this nature, and yet they may haue no excellency in them at all.

Againe, the very ordinary workes of our Calling, ordinary things to men, ordinary seruice from day to day, if it come from faith, if it be done as to the Lord, he accepts them, and they are good workes indeed. This vse we ought to make of it: If GOD regard not any thing but faith, we should not be decei­ued in our workes which we doe.

Vse 6. To try if we haue faith.Againe, if faith be such a thing, that no workes are accepted without it, that no branch will grow except it come from this roote; if there be no saluation without it, if it be a thing that is most profitable for vs; If thou sayest now, How may I know whe­ther I haue faith or no? I may be deceiued in it. When we hang so much vpon this peg, we had neede be sure that it be strong, and that it will hold vs. I will therefore make this present Vse, in shewing what the signes of this faith, and what the characters of it are, that you may learne to iudge aright, whether that faith that sets all the price vpon your workes, be a right faith, or no: You may know it by this:

Triall. A se­cret perswasi­on of the Spirit.Where there is a true faith, there is a se­cret perswasion wrought in the heart, where­by GOD assures you that he is yours, and [Page 85] you are his; as you haue it, Reu. 2.17.Reu. 2 17. To him that ouercommeth, will I giue that hidden Mannah, and a white stone with a new name writ­ten in it, that hee onely knowes that receiues it: (That is) That is one thing by which ye shall know whether you haue true faith or no: Haue you euer had any of that hidden Man­nah? (that is) Haue you had such a secret perswasion, which hath beene as sweet as Mannah to you, which you haue fed on, as they fed on Mannah, Hidden Man­nah. which giues you life, as Mannah gaue life to them? Onely hee sayes it is a hidden Mannah, it lyes not abroad, others see it not, but it is Mannah that your hearts secretly feede on. So that, wouldst thou know whether thou haue faith? Hath GOD giuen thee such a stone with a new name written in it,White stone, what it signi­fieth. that is the stone of abso­lution? As the manner was among the A­thenians, among the old Grecians; that the sentence of absolution was giuen by white stones, as the sentence of condemnation was blacke stones: So (saith he) GOD will giue him such a secret testimony that he is acquit­ted, that when he is called in question, (as they were, that they knew not whether they should dye or liue; in that case, if they had the white stone, such a man was absolued: So, I say) Hath GOD giuen thee such a stone, with thy name vpon it? Hath he giuen you such a stone, as you know in the secret of your heart, such as none knowes, but God and your [Page 86] selfe? (that is) Hath hee euer opened the clouds? hath hee euer shewed himselfe to you? hath he cast a good looke vpon you? hath he made your hearts glad with the light of his countenance in his Beloued? (for such a secret worke there is of the Spirit, by which GOD cheereth and comforteth the heart of a man: that is his manner in working faith. After the Law hath beene a Schoolemaster to a man,Gods manner of working faith. after there hath beene such an indite­ment, that he hath beene brought in question of his life, when there hath beene a great storme, then he comes into the heart, as hee did into the Ship, and all is quiet. I say, that is his manner, he comes into the heart after such a manner, and speakes peace to a man.) Haue you euer found this worke in your selues, that after much trouble and disquiet within, GOD hath spoken peace to you, that he hath said to your soules, I am thy saluation? Not that that is absolutely required, that there should be such a trouble going before, For, although it be true, that he neuer speaks peace,Alike trouble of Spirit in conuersion not necessary to all, and why. but when there hath gone some trou­ble, but when there hath gone some conuin­cing of the spirit before, which conuinceth a man of sinne; yet this you must know, that still the promise is made to the comming, and not to the preparation. And therefore, if a man be at his journies end, it is no matter how he came there. If a man finde that he be in CHRIST, and hath had such a testimonie [Page 87] from his Spirit, though he haue not had such a worke of humiliation as perhaps he expects, yet know, that the promise is made to that. And if you haue that which the promise is made vnto, is not that sufficient? It is true, as I said, you must haue it really, you must haue it in good earnest, there must goe al­wayes a worke of humiliation before the te­stimony of the Spirit. But mistake not: that turbulent sorrow, that violent disquiet of the minde goes not alwaies before. For exam­ple; Take two men,Simile. the one is arrested, and condemned & brought to the poynt of death, he makes account of nothing else; A pardon comes to this man, and hee is saued; there was great trouble went before, and hee was wondrously affected when the pardon came: But now there is another man that is guilty of the same offence, and hee knowes certainly that he shall be called in question, and hee is sure to lose his life, vnlesse his peace be made. Now before this be acted, before that indeed he be put in prison, before that indeed he be condemned, and before his head be brought to the blocke, he is certified that a Pardon is come out for him. This man knowes his e­state as well as the other, and he knowes that he had perished without a Pardon, as well as the other; and he makes as much account of his Pardon as the other, and will not let it goe for his life as well as the other.

Now, both these are pardoned, both are [Page 88] sure of life: but there is a different manner of doing it. The one man was affected and much stirred before, he was put into a wondrous afright before: The other man is convinced of the danger, he is in as well as he, although he be not put to that extremity of sorrow, though he be not brought to so neere an exi­gent as the other: So, if a man be convinced of sinne, if a man know in good earnest, throughly, what the danger is, that he must perish, if he haue not this Pardon. Now, I say, if thou haue such a testimony, build vp­on it: For it is true, that GOD, before hee comes in the soft voice, he sends a Wind be­fore, that rends the Rockes downe, that brings downe the Mountaines there, so much as makes the way plaine, before hee can come within the soft voice. I say, if the Moun­taines be broken downe, (after what manner soeuer it be) that is enough; doe not stand on that; Be sure of this, that if there come a soft voice, thou hast reason to beleeue that, whatsoeuer preparations were before, which are diuers: for GOD workes sometimes after one manner, sometimes after another.

Soft voice, what.But now, what is this soft voice? that I may a little further come to explaine that: for cer­tainely, if he come in the soft voice, that is, the voice of the Gospel, you are sure. But what is it?

Part of the soft voice, a clearing of the promise.I take it to be this. One thing is, when there is a clearing of the promise, (for the voice is the very Gospell it selfe:) Now, when wee [Page 89] preach the Gospell to men, and open the pro­mises of saluation, and of life, if God doe not joyne with vs now, and cleare them to you, by kindling a light within, that you see the meaning of them; except he, I say, doe thus joyne with vs, you shall not be able to build vpon these promises. Therefore that is one thing that God must doe: For, though it bee true, the Word is neere you, that you neede not goe vp to heauen,Though the promises are neere, vnlesse God cleere them, we see them not. nor downe to hell to fetch it, (for saith Moses, the Word is neere you, the promises are neere, in your mouthes, in the midst of you) yet, except God doe shew them, as cleare as they be, you cānot see them. As when Iesus stood by Mary Magdalene, he was neere enough, but till her eyes were ope­ned, she saw him not. So Hagar, the Well was neere enough to her, but till her eies were opened, she could not see it. So, when wee preach these promises, when we lay them o­pen as neere as we can, as neere as may be, yet it must be the worke of the Spirit to see the promises,Luk. 24. to see them so as to beleeue them, and to rest on them. Therefore that is one part of this soft voice, to open the Gospell vnto you.Part of the soft voice, the immediate te­stimony of Gods Spirit. There is another, which is the im­mediate testimony of the Spirit, spoken of in Rom. 8. This Spirit beareth witnesse with our spirits: Rom. 8. when God comes, and by a secret testi­mony of the Spirit, worketh such a perswasi­on in the heart, that he is a Father, that he is a friend, that he is reconciled to vs.

[Page 90] Obiect.But, you will say, this may be a delusi­on?

Ans.Therefore you must haue both together: know that they are neuer disjoyned:How to know the testimony of the Spirit from a delusi­on. GOD neuer giues the secret witnesse of his Spirit, he neuer workes such a perswasion, such an immediate testimony, but it hath alwaies the testimony of the Word going with it; bee sure to joyne them, be sure thou doe not se­uer them one from the other. So that, if you would know now whether you haue faith or no, consider whether euer GOD hath spoken this to you, or no; whether euer hee hath wrought this worke in you.How faith is wrought. For faith, you must know, is wrought in this manner: The Spirit comes, and shewes CHRIST to you, and not onely shewes you his merits, not on­ly tels you that he will be a Sauiour, not only tels you of a Kingdome that you shall haue by him; but shewes you the beauty and excel­lencie of CHRIST; it shewes you what grace is, and makes you loue it, and then hee shewes you mercy: Out of this you come to long after CHRIST,Whence lon­ging after Christ comes. and to say, I would I had him; a man comes to loue him as the Spouse loues her Husband.

Now to this worke hee addes a second: CHRIST comes and tels a man, I will haue thee, he comes and shewes himselfe; he dis­couers himselfe to a man, and speakes plain­ly, (as in that place wee haue often mentio­ned, Iohn 19.Ioh. 19.) and saith to him, I am willing [Page 91] to marry thee. When this is done on the Holy Ghosts part, and we on our part come to resolue to take him, now the match is made betweene vs, and this is faith indeede; when this worke is done, a man may truely say, This day is saluation come to mee. Now thou art sure that all thy sinnes are forgiuen; now faith is wrought in thy heart.How to know whether faith be wrought in vs. Therefore if thou wouldest know whether thou haue faith or no, looke backe, reflect vpon thine owne heart, consider what actions haue pas­sed thorow there: for that is the next way to know what faith is, to looke what actions haue passed thorow a mans heart: a man may know what the actions of his soule are, for that is the benefit of a reasonable soule, that it is able to returne vpon it selfe, to see what it hath done,A beast cannot reflect vpon his actions, as a man can. which the soule of a beast can­not doe.

Now let a man consider whether such a thing haue passed or no; that is, (marke it) whether on Christs part there hath beene such a cleering of the promise, that thou art so built,How to know that the pro­mise is cleared to vs. that, if an Angell from Heauen should come and preach another Gospell, if Paul himselfe should be liuing on the earth, and should preach the contrary, thou wouldest not beleeue him. Dost thou see the Word so cleerely, art thou so set vpon the Rocke (as it were) that thou canst say in good earnest, as the Apostle said in Rom. 8.Rom. 8. I know that neither principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor [Page 92] things to come, nor any thing in the world, shall euer seperate me from the loue of God in Christ, and that because I haue his sure Word?

Againe, when thou hast such a secret im­pression of assurance from his Spirit, which will not faile thee, when thou findest this, on GODS part, and againe when thou fin­dest this act on thy owne part;The match be­tweene Christ and the soule reciprocall. when thou sayest, I haue resolued to take him, (for a man may know what he hath done) I haue resol­ued to take him for my husband, I haue re­solued to prefer him before all things in the world, to be diuorsed from all things in the world, and to cleaue to him: This I know, these acts haue passed on Gods part, and this I haue done on my part; when thou findest this wrought in thy selfe, be assured there is faith wrought in thee: when the Law hath beene a Schoolemaster to thee, and when CHRIST hath spoken peace, and when thou art built vpon him againe; consider if this hath beene wrought.

This is the first meanes to try thy faith: but, because this may bee an ambiguous meanes, a man may be deceiued in it; there­fore faith doth shew it selfe by many other effects. And therefore we will adde to this, (which is the very thing wherein faith con­sists) other signes;Fiue signes of effectuall faith. and they are fiue in number.

1 First, a man must know that there may be many delusions in this kinde: many Hypo­crites [Page 93] may haue great raptures, they may haue great ioy, as if they were lift vp into the third heauen, they may haue a great and strong perswasion that their estate is good. Satan is very apt to delude vs in this kinde, to put a counterfeit vpon vs in stead of true faith; Therefore wee will not content our selues with this, but giue other markes, that will not deceiue. At this time you are to consider, you that come to the Sacrament, Is it not a maine thing to consider whether you haue faith or no? What do you here else, you haue nothing to doe with Christ, you haue no inte­rest in him; and if you haue no interest in him, what doe you with the Elements which represent his body and his blood? And there­fore you haue cause to attend to it. First, ther­fore, if thou find such a worke in thy heart, (for if thou conclude that there is no such worke, thou needest not examine further, thou maist be sure that thou hast not faith, but if thou haue such a worke) if thou wouldst know whether it be really and truly, or whether it be a fancie or delusion, consider:

First,1. Signe. True faith purifieth the heart. if it be true, it purifies the heart: in Acts 15.9. saith the Apostle Peter there, God hath put no difference betweene vs and them, Acts 15.9. af­ter that by faith hee had purified their hearts. So in Acts 26.18.Acts 26.18. And thou shalt preach for­giuenesse of sinnes to those that are sanctified by faith. So that this you must take as a sure rule: If thy faith bee true, it purifies [Page 94] thy heart, it sanctifies thee. And therefore you see,Faith and re­pentance put together in the Scripture, why. faith and repentance are alwaies put together. Repent and beleeue: for they are neuer disjoyned. If thou find the worke of re­pentāce be not wrought throughly & sound­ly in thee,True faith hath repen­tance. if thou finde thy heart not purifi­ed, if thou be not sanctified, if there be not a sanctified disposition in thee, be sure it is a delusion, it is not faith: or, if faith be (as you heard heretofore) a taking of CHRIST, not as a Sauiour onely,Faith, what it is. but as a Priest; and not as a Priest onely, but as a King too, it must 2 needes be that there must be reall obedience, or else it is not faith,Obedience. thou hast not taken him: If there be nothing but a meere assent, as the Papists affirme in another case; For faith is a taking of Christ, and a giuing of our selues to him againe; so that there is a match, there is a bargaine, a Couenant betweene vs, as hee saith in Heb. 8.8.Heb. 8.8. I will make a New Couenant with them. A Couenant, what. Now a Couenant hath two parts: If GOD doe this for you, you must doe some­what on your part, you must loue him, and o­bey him. As in a Marriage, the Husband doth not onely take the Wife, but the Wife also takes the Husband. If faith bee such a thing as this, there must needes be a generall 3 reformation of the life, or else it is certaine thou hast not taken him.Generall reformation.

Therefore know, that as there is a liuely hope, so there is a liuely faith: And when it is said to be a liuely faith, it intimates that [Page 95] there is another, that is a dead faith; that is, There is a kinde of beleeuing, a kinde of ta­king Christ, a kinde of giuing a mans selfe to him: but yet, (marke it) saith he, it is such a one as breeds no life in thee. Marke, if thy faith be such a faith as hath brought Christ to dwell in thy heart,Christ dwels in the heart, as the soule in the body. so as the soule dwels in the body, if it be such a dwelling in thy heart that there be life in thee: for Christ, when he dwels in vs, he acts the soule, as the soule acts the body: As the body now, when the soule is there, is able to moue, is able to stirre, is a­ble to doe any thing: So the soule of a man, it fals to the duties of godlinesse, and new o­bedience, to all good workes; it is ready (as the Apostle saith) to euery good worke; it is nimble, and ready to goe about them, you are aliue to righteousnesse. Hath faith so brought Christ into thy heart, that he liues in thee, as he did in Paul, that thou canst finde and say truely,Gal. 2.20. I am dead to sinne, and liue to righteous­nesse? That thou hast mortified the deedes of the body by the Spirit, that thou findest another life working in thee; except thou canst finde this, it is not true faith: for true faith is such as brings Christ to dwell in thy heart, and he dwels there when he reviues thy spirit; as it is, Isay 57.13.14.Isay 57.13.18. opened. I dwell in the high Heauens, and with him also that is of a contrite spirit, to reviue the Spirit of the humble; that is, he neuer dwels, but he giues life. And, if thou finde not such a life in thy selfe, con­clude [Page 96] that thy faith is not good. And this you ought the more to marke, because many thousands seeme to take CHRIST, and to doe much, and yet for all this, they haue not life all the while.

Simile.Take two grafts, it may be there is incision made in both, both may be planted, as you often see in Plants, after they bee planted, if you would know whether the grafting bee true or no, if you come a while after, and see one of the grafts dead and withered, you say this grafting was not good, or the stocke was not good, somewhat was amisse: and if you finde it to bud, and that there be life in it, then you say it was grafted indeed, the graf­ting was good and right. So when a man comes and takes CHRIST, if thou see thou be grafted, if thou find thy life to be the same, if thou finde thou art no more able to pray,How to know if Christ dwell in the heart. nor no more able to doe any duty then thou wast before, that thou liuest in thy lusts as much as euer thou didst, thou hast not that new heart, that new spirit, and that new af­fection which the Scriptures speake of; bee sure then, that thou art not grafted: for if thou wert grafted aright by faith, (for it is that which grafteth) there would bee life.

When as the graft is taken out of the for­mer Tree, it beares no more that fruit, but it liues, and beares another fruite; Therefore consider if this be so or no: and that is the [Page 97] reason of that answer of Philip to the Eunuch, in the 8. of the Acts, Acts 8.37. opened. Vers. 37. The Eunuch professed to beleeue, and would haue beene baptized. Saith Philip, thou mayest, if thou beleeue with all thine heart. Thou mayest thinke it is nothing; but it is a resoluing from time to time to giue vp thy selfe to be Christs seruant, to take his yoake, to weare his Liue­ry and his Badge.Baptisme, what. Now Baptisme is but a seale to confirme and testifie this to thy selfe, and to the World, that thou hast giuen thy selfe to CHRIST: saith Philip, take heede to thy selfe: if it bee a false taking, thou maist not haue him, but if thou beleeue with all thy heart, thou mayest be baptized. So I say to men,Taking Christ deceitfully. there is a kinde of taking Christ, when a man takes him with some part of his heart, when he resolueth, I confesse it is good, I haue a present disposition to it, it will serue me for such a turne; I am afraid of Hell, it will deliuer me from that; in such an exi­gent, in such a crosse, in such a trouble, that will come vpon me, it will free mee from that: but this is not enough; but, if thou beleeue with all thy heart, that is, when thou hast summed and reckoned all toge­ther, all reasons, and all objections to and fro, thou resoluest altogether to take him in all respects.

Againe,To take Christ with the whole heart, what. when all thy heart shall come in, that is, when the vnderstanding of a man is fully perswaded of these promises, that they [Page 98] are true, and that it is best for him to take CHRIST, if the perswasion be good, and the will follow: for that you may take for a sure rule, there is no man that is fully perswa­ded, and convinced euery way that such a thing is best, but the will will follow. If the mind be right, the will will follow, and if the will follow, be sure the affections will follow. For, if a man wils a thing in good earnest, and resolue, I would haue it indeed, then his de­sires will come and be earnest; and if hee be in doubt, feare will come; and if any thing hinder, anger will come and thrust away the impediments: and if he get the thing, there will be reioycing; and so all the affections will follow; and then certainely, action and endeuour will follow. There is no man that desires a thing earnestly, but where the affe­ctions are strong and busie, action and ende­uour will be answerable. Now, if thou take CHRIST with all thy heart, that there is no reseruation, that it is not done by halues, then thou mayest haue him, and the fruites, and all the priuiledges by him, so as thou shalt be saued by him. Consider whether this be done, or no.

When we preach faith, you may see what it is in Acts 26.17, 18.Act. 2 [...].17, 18. Marke what the message was that CHRIST sends to Paul, nothing but to preach faith; but what was that? Saith hee, to turne men from the power of Satan, to God, to turne men from darknesse [Page 99] to light. That is, to cause them to forsake their former wayes of darknesse, that they haue beene ledde into by the Deuill, and to turne them to GOD, to seeke him. So that then a man is said truely to beleeue, when his heart is turned to GOD;To turne to God, what. that is, when a man before was giuen to this pleasure or to that pleasure and commodity, his heart was wed­ded to it, hee would haue an estate in this world, and hee would haue credit in the world, and he would haue place with men, and he would be some-body in the flesh; his heart was set on these things, he would follow them.

Now faith is nothing but this, wee come and tell you that Christ is offered; if you will be content to let all these things goe, and to turne your hearts to him that the whole bent of a mans minde is turned the contrary way, and set vpon Christ, this is faith indeede, when there is this generall turning of a mans minde from these things. Therefore know, that faith in CHRIST, and couetousnesse, cannot stand together. When thy mind go­eth a whoring after thy wealth, what hast thou to doe with CHRIST? That is not to take CHRIST. For, to take CHRIST, is to turne the minde from these things to seeke him.

Againe,Faith, and the desire of satis­fying lusts, cannot stand together. if thou wilt haue praise with men, thou canst not beleeue and haue that too; it is impossible. And so for any pleasure, for [Page 100] any lust: dost thou thinke to follow thy plea­sure, to seeke that, to satisfie thy flesh, and to haue CHRIST? No, it is another kinde of taking; and this is not done with that sleightnesse as they did, Ieremy 3.Ier. 3. You turned to me (saith the LORD) feignedly, and not with all your hearts: but it is to turne in good ear­nest, to turne to GOD vpon sound ground. therefore now let vs come to the examination of this.

Men deceiued in the definiti­on of faith.Now, if we were not mistaken in it, there would be no question of this: we thinke that faith is nothing but a perswasion that our sinnes are forgiuen, a perswasion that the promises are true, a perswasion that the Scrip­ture is true, a perswasion that CHRIST dy­ed for my sinnes: And thence it is, that men are apt to be deceiued in it: If they tooke faith as it is in it selfe, a marrying of our selues to CHRIST, with all our heart and affections, when hee hath giuen himselfe to vs, as in marriage, and we are giuen to him, in doing this wee should neuer bee decei­ued.

Try faith, as we doe other things.If thou wouldest know now if thy faith bee right, examine it as thou wouldest examine another thing.

Similes.If you take Wine, if you would know whether it be good Wine, if you finde it flat and dead, if you drinke it, and it heates you not, it warmes you not at the heart, it quic­kens you not, it reviues not your spirits; you [Page 101] will say, it is naught, if it were good Wine, it would doe this.

If you come to looke on Plants, if you find there no fruite, nor no leaues, you say, this Plant is dead.

So take a Iewell, and when it comes to the Touch-stone, or any way that you try it; you say, it is faire, but it is a counterfeit Iewell, it is a false Diamond, or whatsoeuer it be.

If you come to take a dramme of Physicke, if you take a Drugge, if it doe not worke: Take Leauen and put it into your Dough, if it sower not the lumpe, you say, it is dead Leauen, it is a counterfeit thing:

So I say, If thou finde not in faith this ef­fect, this operation vpon thy heart, that it workes not this generall change in thee, that it fires not thy soule with loue to CHRIST, if thou finde not life in it, and that it bring forth such fruites, if thou finde it not grow, that it put another taste vpon the whole soule, that it leauens it throughout; know that thou art deceiued, rest not in it, cast it away, get a right faith, such as will not deceiue thee. But I cannot stand vpon this. This is the first signe of effectuall faith.

Before I come to the second thing,Digression for application to the Sacra­ment. know this, (by the way) you that receiue the Sa­crament, That, if you be vnworthy receiuers, you cannot doe your selues a worse turne, then to offer to come to the Sacrament with­out [Page 102] faith, to prouoke GOD more, to eate and drinke your owne damnation. Now examine your selues by such rules as this:Rules of exa­mination be­fore and after the Sacrament If you haue changed your life; If you haue receiued it heretofore, and continue still in your sinnes; If you say, it is true, I haue done it, I haue re­turned againe to my gaming, I haue returned againe to my swearing, to my loosenesse, to my company-keeping; but yet I had a good meaning, I intended it at that time, well, that is not enough. If thou hadst faith, thou wouldest doe it indeed; doe not say, I had a good meaning: for, if thou hadst faith, it would not onely worke a good meaning in thee, but it would worke power in thee to doe this,Where Christ dwels indeed, he giues po­wer against sinne. that thou wouldest be able to mor­tifie these affections, it would worke a reall and an effectuall change in thee. Consider, how faith doth it: faith takes CHRIST; when you haue taken CHRIST, as soone as euer you haue him, he sends his Spirit into your hearts, and the Spirit is able to doe all this, and doth as Saint Paul saith, when hee had CHRIST once,Phil. 4.12. I am able to doe all things, through Christ that strengthens mee. So cer­tainely, when thou hast CHRIST, as thou commest to take the elements of Bread and Wine, if thou hadst taken him indeed, thou wouldst be strengthned to doe all things, thou wouldst finde thy heart able to doe this, thou shouldest finde a change in thy heart, that thou wouldst doe it without difficulty, thou [Page 103] wouldest finde thy selfe turned and changed, thou wouldst haue new affections, and a new life. And if thou doe not finde this, know that thou hast nothing to doe with the Sa­crament, know it before-hand, and know that thou hast had warning giuen thee, that thou receiuest vnworthily, and art guilty of the body and blood of CHRIST;To be guilty of the body & blood of Christ, what. that is, thou committest such a sinne as those did that kil­led CHRIST.

What was their sinne that killed him?Quest.

They despised him,Answ. they mocked him, they knew him not to be CHRIST, they made no account of him; their greatest worke in kil­ling him, was, they despised him, they moc­ked him: So thou commest and art bold with him here, it is a despising of CHRIST: If thou didst reuerence him, if thou didst feare him, if thou didst tremble at him, if thou didst know him to be such a one as he is, thou wouldst not be bold to doe it. And therfore, if thou wilt venture vpon small grounds to goe on in sinne, and yet come and receiue the Sacrament, the Apostle saith, thou art guilty of the body and blood of Christ: that is, thou committest a sinne of that nature, and there­fore looke to it.

Secondly,Signe. A Spirit of Prayer. if thou wouldst know whether thy faith be true or no, consider whether thou hast this consequent of it, the Spirit of Pray­er: for wheresoeuer there is a Spirit of faith, there is also a Spirit of prayer: that is, (marke [Page 104] it, and you shall see the reason why I deliuer this to be a signe of faith.) Faith, you know, is wrought in vs by the Spirit of Adoption. Now what is the Spirit of Adoption,Spirit of adop­tion, what. but the Spirit that tels you that ye are sonnes? as in Gal. 4.6.Gal. 4.6. So many as are sonnes, receiue the Spirit of sonnes. Now whensoeuer the Spirit tels a man he is a sonne; that is, workes faith in his heart, the second thing that the Spi­rit doth, it teacheth him to pray: and there­fore those words are added, that you cry Abba Father: that is, the Spirit neuer doth the one, but it doth the other; if it be the testi­mony of the Spirit. And therefore this is the second signe: If thou haue such a perswasi­on that the Spirit haue spoken to thee, if thou wouldest know whether this be a delusion or no, thou shalt know it by this: If thou haue the Spirit, it will make thee able to cry Ab­ba Father, The Spirit of adoption ma­keth vs, it will make thee able to doe two things.

Earnest in Prayer.First, it will make thee able to cry; that they shall be earnest prayers which thou ma­kest; thy prayers shall be feruent; they were cold before, thou camest to performe lip-la­bour, thou camest to doe the duty, to performe it, perhaps euery day; but alas, what prayer was it? This shall make thee cry.

Bold and con­fident.But againe, which is the maine, not onely so, but thou shalt speake to him, as to a Fa­ther: that is, thou shalt goe to GOD, and looke vpon him as one doth vpon a Father, [Page 105] as one lookes vpon one whose loue he is sure of, of whose fauour he doubts not, one that hee knowes is readie to heare his requests. It may bee thou hast prayed before, but not to him as to a Father all the while, that is the worke of the Spirit; if it euer giue thee testimony of thy sonneship, it will make thee pray feruently, and it will make thee pray to God as to a Father: that is to be made able to pray.

But,Obiect. you will say, euery body can pray: Is that such a signe, is that such a distinguish­ing marke and character, to bee able to pray?

My brethren,Ans. be not deceiued in it: you must know, that prayer is not a worke of the memory, or a worke of the wit. A man that hath a good wit, or a ready invention, or a voluble tongue, may make an excellent prai­er, in his owne esteeme, and in the esteeme of others,True Prayer, what. but this is not to pray. Prayer is the worke of a sanctified heart, it it the worke of GODS Spirit: There is a double prayer,Rom. 8. Rom. 8. there is one praier,Prayer double. which is the voice of our owne spirit; there is a second praier, which is the voice of Gods Spirit in vs:The voice of Gods Spirit in vs, what. that is, when the Holy Ghost hath so sanctified the heart, when hee hath put it into such a whole­frame of grace, that the heart comes to speake as it is quickned, as it is acted and moued from GODS Spirit. Now, saith the Text there, God knows the voice of his own Spirit: [Page 106] for that makes requests according to his will, he heares that prayer: But now the prayers which are made by the voice of our owne spi­rit, he knowes not the meaning of them: that is, he heares them not, he hearkens not to them. Consider whether thy prayer be such or no; consider whether thy prayer bee the voyce of Gods Spirit in thee.

Quest.But thou wilt say, How should I know that?

Ans.Thou shalt know it by this, as I said before, Dost thou come to him as to a Father?How to know the voyce of Gods Spirit in our prayers. Wicked men come to God as a stranger, the Saints, as to a friend. Ano­ther man prayes to GOD, it may be, all his life, but hee comes to him as to a stranger; yea, sometimes he may be very earnest, when it is no prayer, but when he is put to an exi­gent, he may be earnest, as a Thiefe is ear­nest with the Judge to spare him: there may be much earnestnesse, although this may bee farre off from prayer. But canst thou come to GOD as to a friend? Canst thou come to him as to one whose fauour thou art assured of? Canst thou come to him as to a Father? Except thou canst doe this, know that he re­gardeth not thy prayers.

And this, me thinkes now, when we consi­der, we should not deferre our repentance, and thinke with our selues, I will repent when I am sicke, I will goe to GOD in the time of extremity. Well, it may be thou maist doe it; but alas, canst thou come to speake to God now as to a friend, when as thou hast beene a [Page 107] stranger to him, and he to thee, all thy life? Certainely thou canst not. And when thou commest and prayest earnestly, when some great crosse is on thee, in some great exigent, in the day of death, in the time of thy sick­nesse; know, that though thou pray neuer so feruently, although thou adde fasting to quicken it, yet it is doubtfull whether it bee acceptable prayer at all in that exigent. The Scripture giues it another terme, in Hosea 7.14.Hosea 7.14. opened. Saith he, You prayed not to me with your hearts, but you howled vpon your beds: it came not out of any loue to mee, nor from any change of heart, it came not out of a holy dis­position in you. Therefore you praied not to mee, when you howled vpon your beds: that is, as if hee should say, they were no more but howlings. Will not a dogge, or a beast, or any other vnreasonable creature, when they are pinched, when they are in extreamity, will they not cry, will they not moane for helpe? Your prayers were no more, they were but howlings vpon your beds. And what were they for? They were to bee deliuered from the present affliction, they were to haue Wine and Oyle in that great dearth that was vpon them: And so in those cases, your ear­nest prayers are but howlings vpon your bed. And therefore thinke not that this is prayer, be not deceiued in it. And therfore it is the manner of the Saints, if you would know it, when they come to pray, they come boldly [Page 108] to GOD, they come boldly to the Throne of Grace, as the Apostle saith, Eph. 3 7.Eph 3.7. By faith we haue boldnesse, and entrance with confidence. Another man hee prayes earnestly, but exa­mine his heart, and he must needes say, In­deede, GOD is a stranger to mee, I cannot be confident; it may be he heares me, it may be he heares me not. Whereas we are required to lift vp pure hands in euery place, without wrath or doubting; we are required to come with boldnesse: And know this, that if o­therwise thou pray morning and night, if thou make neuer so many prayers, from day to day, if thou be neuer so constant in them, GOD regards them not, hee takes them by weight, and not by number, not by labour, not by earnestnesse, which is a thing that may come from the flesh. If thy prayer come from his Spirit, he accepts of it; if not, be sure it is no prayer, and if there be no prayer, there is no faith.

3. Signe of faith: Peace.Thirdly, if thou wouldest know whether thou hast faith or no, consider whether thou haue peace: for faith pacifies the heart aswell as purifies it, as the Apostle saith, Rom. 5.1.Rom. 5.1. Being justified by faith, wee haue peace with God. Now, if thou wouldest know whether thy faith which thou hast be right or no, consider if there be peace there: Hast thou that peace that passeth al vnderstanding? You know now, if a man were in debt, and were ready to bee cast into prison, and saw not how he should [Page 109] escape, and one should promise him an hun­dred pounds, which would deliuer him; if he beleeue this friend, he is full of peace and quiet: if thou beleeue thy pardon to be good, there will be peace.

But,Obiect. you will say to me, there is many a man hath peace, who hath no faith.

It is true:Ans. But I would aske this Question concerning this peace: Is it a peace that comes after Warre? Hast thou knowledge of that enmity betweene GOD and thee? Hast thou had the sense of it, and after this hast thou beene reconciled againe? Is it such a calme that followed after a storme going be­fore? As I said before, when it hath beene al­waies so with thee, when thou hast had peace, and there hath beene no difference with thee, certainely this is not peace, this is a blinde peace, when a man is at peace, not because he hath escaped the danger, but because he ne­uer saw the danger, because he saw not what danger there was. Hence it is, that many men, yea many thousands of men, liue peace­ably all their liues, and dye peaceably. Alas, the reason is, because they were neuer ac­quainted with the Doctrine of Iustification, and of Sanctification, they are strangers to it; and hence it is that they die with as much con­fidence as the best Christians, they haue no more trouble then holy men: for this is all one, to be sure that I am free from a danger, and not to know it; both breed alike confidence.

[Page 110]Againe, know that there may bee peace built on fancy, such contentments as a man may find in a pleasant dreame, he is as strong­ly perswaded as the waking man: So many hypocrites, that haue had some trouble be­fore, and come to haue some peace after, they thinke it sure, when it is built vpon a false ground, and not vpon the sure Word. There­fore consider whether it be such a peace as is well built, whether it be such a Peace indeed that casts out Satan, and thou findest some assaults made by him againe. For, be thou assured, if it be true peace, if Satan bee cast out, he will not let thee alone, thou shalt bee sure to haue thy peace troubled, he will make many rebellions against thee by the flesh and the world: And therefore if thou finde all quiet, that there are no such assaults in thee, that there are no troubles or attempts made on thee, be thou assured it is counterfeited peace: But still keepe this, that if there bee faith, there will be peace; that is, the heart will be at rest, it will be quiet, there will be a certaine security in GOD.

See it in other things. Take faith in any thing else, and you shall see, so much faith, so much quiet in you. For example, Hannah, in 1 Sam. 1.18. when her petition was granted, that she beleeued it, saith the Text, she went away, and tooke meate, and looked no more sad. That was an argument that she belee­ued, she tooke meate, and looked no more [Page 111] sad. Take Mose [...] at the Red Sea, Exod. 14.Exod. 14. you shall finde that the people were all trou­bled and disquieted, and that they knew not what to doe: But (marke how Mos [...]s carrieth himselfe) Moses was quiet, and stood still, he was not troubled: And why? Because he be­leeued, and they did not; if they had belee­ued as well as he, they would haue beene at rest as well as hee: (Marke what hee saith) Stand still, and see the sal [...]ation of the Lord: and the Lord will fight for you; and therfore feare not: As if he should say, If you did but be­leeue, you would be at quiet, you would stand sti [...]l, you would not feare, you would not haue your soules troubled. So, I say, so much faith, so much quiet. Looke vpon Dauid, in Psal. 3.Psal. 3. when he fled before Absolon, saith he, Thou art my Buckler, &c. And therefore I laid me downe to rest and sleepe: that is, I was as a man that sleepes quietly. One would thinke that that was a matter that would breake a mans sleepe, when he lay in that danger, that if A­chitophel's councell had taken effect, hee had beene destroyed: and yet now, saith he, I laid me downe and slept: as if he should say, This is an argument of my faith, my heart is at rest and quiet, so that I can sleepe quietly with­out stirring. And [...]o Paul, see how hee ac­compts it, how he behaued himselfe, when God told him that he should appeare at Rome before Cae [...]r he knew that he should be deli­uered from Ship-wracke: and though forty [Page 112] men had bound themselues with a curse, that they would destroy him, and hee was told of it, yet he made no great matter of it, but said, Goe and carry this young man to the Cap­taine. So, consider whether thy heart be qui­et, and rest vpon God or no: for so much faith, so much peace: as in particular, so in generall, for matter of assurance; know, that there is a double peace or assurance:A twofold peace. One peace that a­riseth from the confidence in the creature, when a man thinkes he is strong in his wealth, when he thinkes he is at rest. The other is from assurance in GOD; I know that he will be as good as his word; I know whom I haue trusted: Let security be built on this ground, and the more security, the more faith. Therfore examine thy faith by peace. I should adde somewhat more in this, and some other signes, which I must reserue vntill the next time.

FINIS.

OF EFFECTVALL FAITH. The fourth Sermon.

1. THESS. 1.3.

Remembring your effectuall Faith, &c.

THE third Character of Faith,The third marke of faith, it brings peace. which I named in the morning, but did not fully finish, is this; If we haue justifying faith, then we haue peace. In this we should take heede. As it is a great mercy to haue a true and sound peace; so to haue a peace not well bottomed is the greatest judgement in the world; when GOD giues vp a man, that he shall be secure [Page 104] and at rest, that he shall not haue his minde occupied about sinne, or about matters of sal­uation; I say, it is a signe that such a one God hates: if it continue so with him, it is a signe God will destroy him. But yet peace of con­science, vpon a good ground, is a signe of faith; as I shewed in Moses, Hannah, Da­uid, and the rest. So farre wee went in the morning.

Now you must know, that all those instan­ces that we brought you, that where there is faith, there is peace and quiet; they were not onely for resemblance, to shew you, that as it is in those other things wherein wee be­leeue, so it is in the maine; (as you doe not beleeue any particular promise, except you haue some quiet in your minde after it;) but likewise to shew you whether that peace bee good or no, whether that faith be sure or no. For if you beleeue the maine, certainely you will beleeue the lesse. Therefore consider with your selues, (wee will inlarge this signe so farre) If thou wouldest know whether thy faith be good or no, whether thou haue peace indeede concerning the maine; Consider with thy selfe, whether thou art able to be­leeue those promises which concerne those particular things which thou hast daily vse of. For there are many promises which thou hast vse of continually in thy course: thou hast e­uery day some occasion or other of trusting GOD: See in these how thou doest beleeue, [Page 105] whether thou hast peace, and know, that if thou haue not peace in these, it is a signe thou hast not peace in the maine. I will name but one place for it: Looke in Phil. 4.6.Phil. 4.6. opened. In no­thing be carefull, but in all things let your requests be made vnto God: And then, saith he, The peace of God which passeth all vnderstanding, shall preserue your hearts and mindes in Christ Iesus. Marke the opposition; saith he, In nothing be carefull, when matters of trouble come, when crosses come, when great businesses come, wherein thou knowest not which way to turne thee, (saith hee) in such a case be not thou carefull; doe the thing, thou must haue so much care as to set thy head aworke, as to deuise what to doe, and to set thy hand a­worke to act it; but let there be no sollicitude to disturbe and disquiet thy affections with­in. Let thy request be made knowne to GOD; then, the peace of GOD which passeth all vnder­standing, shall keepe thy heart and minde in Christ Iesus. As if hee should say, if thou be not able to doe this, it is an interruption of that peace, it is a contradiction to that peace, which passeth all vnderstanding, that keepes thy heart in communion with CHRIST: if thou be not able to cast thy care on him for other things, that peace belongs not to thee. Where there is a secret intimation, not but that men may haue this peace, and be inordinately carefull, but ordinarily it is not so. He speakes not of such infirmities as [Page 116] the Saints are subject vnto by distemper, but of an ordinary course.

Consider now, what thou dost for the things of this life: Saith CHRIST, Math. 6.Mat. 6. Oh you of little saith! Why so? What was the signe of a little faith? Saith CHRIST, Doest thou thinke that hee will cloathe the grasse of the field, which to day is, and to mor­row is cast into the Ouen? Doest thou thinke that he will prouide for the yong Rauens that call vpon him, and wilt thou not beleeue that he will doe so for thee? If thou doe not be­leeue this, thy faith is nothing. If thou be­leeue little, thy faith is little. Consider that, consider how you carry your selues for the things of this life: doe you thinke that GOD will doe the maine, and will not doe the lesse? Doe you thinke that he will giue you Christ, and will he not giue you other things? The same faith, that takes hold of the maine pro­mise, is it not ready to take hold of the lesse, and to depend vpon it? GOD is able to doe the greatest, and is hee not able to doe the lesse? Therefore, I say, in such a case, as CHRIST saith, Ioh. 3.12.Ioh. 3.12. to Nichodemus, [...] (saith hee) I come and tell you of earthly things, and you beleeue me not, how would you beleeue, if I should tell you of heauenly things? So I say, if you will not beleeue GOD con­cerning earthly things, when hee promiseth these, how will you beleeue him for the greatest matters of saluation? How will you [Page 117] beleeue in him for the giuing of CHRIST? How will you beleeue in him for the raising of you vp at the last day? Therefore, consi­der whether you be able to doe this or no: and know, that if there be faith, if you haue faith for the maine, you will haue faith in particular cases.

As for exmple, to giue you some instance, Gen. 24.7.Gen. 24.7. when Abraham had a particular occasion to send his seruant to get a Wife for Isaac; saith the seruant, Suppose the woman will not come with me: See now what Abra­hams answer was: That God which tooke me from my Fathers House, and hath made me ma­ny promises before, (that is; GOD, that hath done the greatest matters for me, that hath promised me the blessed seed, in which all the Nations of the World shall be blessed; doest thou thinke hee will not helpe mee in such a particular?) hee will send his Angell before thee, and will certainely giue thee good successe.

Consider what you doe in such cases as these: these are things which you haue continuall vse of; you are put many times to such exigents, that you shall haue somewhat to trust GOD for, and you will be tryed in it.

So likewise Peter, that trusted GOD for the maine, when it comes to the particular case, that hee is bid to lanch out into the deepe, when hee is commanded to draw [Page 118] out the Ship and to goe a fishing; although he had no hope to doe it, hee trusted in those particulars, that CHRIST would not faile him: when he bade him goe vpon the water, he trusted that he would support him. Take Dauid, see how he trusted in GOD, how many occasions had he to trust on him? As it is true for the maine; so for the particulars. So Paul, did not he trust GOD for his mainte­nance? See in his Epistles, how carelesse he was that way. So it is with all the Saints. Consider what you doe in these things: See whether your hearts bee at peace in these things; whether you trust in GOD, or no, so that your hearts are at rest, that you can sit still, and commit your care to GOD; if so, it is a good argument that you rest in him for the maine. So much for that.

4. Signe of effectual faith, To hold out in cleauing to Christ. To hold out implyeth 3. things.The fourth signe or Character of faith, is, To hold out: and that you shall see in these three branches.

First, when it shall cleaue to CHRIST constantly.

Secondly, when it will take no denyall.

To cleaue con­stantly to Christ. which no [...]e can doe, that take Christ,Thirdly, when it is content to waite in prayer, and not be weary and giue ouer.

I say, if you would know whether your faith be effectuall, you shall know it by your holding out, whether it cleaue constantly to Christ. If thy faith be ineffectuall, (as you haue heard the last day) it comes either from mis-informaton, (you know not what Christ [Page 119] is, nor what it is to take him; you looke for other things from him: when you see what it is, if your faith be not effectuall, you will goe backe:) or else you take him out of feare, or out of loue to his, and not to him; or else out of false and slender grounds. Now if you would know whether your faith bee such a faith or no, consider if it hold out, if it cleaue to him.

If thy faith come of mis-information,Out of mis-information. when thou hast experience of CHRIST, when thou seest what hee requires at thy hands, when thou considerest and vnderstandest what he puts thee to, there is an end, thou giuest ouer.

If thy faith come of feare;Out of feare as soone as the storme is ouer, as soone as those troubles in minde, those disquiets in conscience are past, there is an end, thy faith cleaues to CHRIST no longer.

If faith come out of loue to his,Out of loue to his, and not to him. of loue to a Kingdome, nothing but Hell and Heauen and some present commodities that moue thee; when better things are offered, that are more present commodities, there is an end of it.

Againe,Out of slen­der and slight grounds. if it be out of false, slender, and slight grounds; when stronger reasons and objections come, that faith ceaseth likewise. But now then, when thou findest that thy faith holds out, when all these are past, when all these are taken away, when the feare is [Page 120] gone, when such an offer is made, when all the objections are made that can be, this ar­gues that faith is sound and good. Consider therefore, whether thy faith cleaue fast, and constantly to CHRIST, or no; whether it hold out, when those flashes and good moodes will not; whether it ouercome, when it is assaulted by the Gates of Hell comming against it. That is, when a mans faith is good, it is built vpon the Rocke, vpon such a Rocke, that if the Deuill himselfe, and principalities and powers come, with all their strength, and all their wit, with all their temptations, and deuises, if faith be sound, it will hold out, the Gates of Hell shall not preuaile against it. The Woman of Canaan, she had a shrewd tryall, when CHRIST tels her she was a Dog, in plaine termes, and when it came from Christ himselfe; and yet when her faith was good indeed, she could not chuse but she must cleaue to him, she would not giue ouer, there was a strong faith, that did knit her heart secretly vnto CHRIST, there was the ground that she held out, notwithstanding all objections; although, it may be, she knew not how to answer them, yet she let not goe, and that was a signe her faith was good: So, consider whether thy faith hold out when thou art put to such tryals as these.

To take no denyall.gaine, consider whether thou wilt re­ceiue no denyall when thou commest and seekest to him; when thou commest to [Page 121] seeke fauour at GODS hands, when thou commest to seeke forgiuenesse of sinnes, consider whether thou art able to hold out, though hee deferre long before hee grant it. There is no grace that GOD giues, but hee hath tryals for it afterward: Hee giues thee the grace of Patience, he will put thee to it, thou shalt haue some crosse, some affliction or other.

If hee giue thee Loue, hee will doe as hee did with Dauid, hee will see whether thou wilt forsake him, or no; hee will make thee an offer of preferment, an offer of wealth, of praise, of somewhat or other, to see if thou wilt part with that for his sake, or no.

If he giues vs Faith, he often tryes vs in this case, he denyes vs long, hee wrestleth with vs, as he did with Iacob, he makes ma­ny shewes of going away. Thus, we know, he dealt with Daniel, as soone as hee beganne to pray, the answer comes, that his request was granted; but GOD would not let him know so much; hee lets him goe tho­row with the worke, hee lets him seeke ear­nestly, and then he reueales and makes it knowne vnto him. So, perhaps GOD intends thee good, but he will put thee to the tryall, consider therefore if thy faith hold out in such a case.

Againe,To be content to waite. when thou hast gotten an an­swer, perhaps, after thou hast gotten thine an­swers, [Page 122] thou must waite long before the thing it selfe be giuen thee: Therefore consider if thou be content to waite for it: for that is the property of faith, to be willing to waite, as Dauid often repeates it, I waited vpon the Lord. You know, Abraham, how GOD try­ed him that way, when hee made him a pro­mise of a seede, of a Sonne, you know how long he waited for the performance. So Isaac, he waited long, before hee had those two sonnes, Iacob and Esau. So GOD will put thee to it to waite, it may be, for matter of justifi­cation; that is, he will not shew himselfe, he will not speake peace vnto thee, he will not giue thee a good looke; but yet he giues thee a secret strength that thou shalt waite, thou shalt not giue ouer, thou shalt stay till hee speake pe [...]ce; that is, till [...] comfor­table assurance, till thou haue the full testi­mony of the Spirit, as thou hast a secret te­stimony at the first working of faith. And so for matter of sanctification; It may be, GOD will suffer some strong lust to wrestle with thee, to contend with thee, as hee suffered in Paul, he will put thee to waite, before he will giue thee victory ouer it. If thy faith bee good now, thou wilt consider that hee hath sworne, hee hath made an absolute promise, that he will giue the Holy Ghost to those that are in Christ, that no sinne shall ouercome them, or haue dominion ouer them. If once thou come vnder grace, if thou haue faith, [Page 123] thou wilt neuer giue ouer, but wilt be content to waite, and to continue still striuing and wrestling with it, thou wilt neuer lay downe the wasters, as a man that is ouercome, as a man that is discouraged, as a man that is wea­rie of the fight.

And so for matter of deliuerance, perhaps GOD will let a crosse lye longer vpon thee: if thou haue faith, thou wilt not make haste, thou wilt be content to waite: Habac. 2.Hab. 2. The vision is for an appointed time, it will not lye: Therefore, saith he, waite, it will come, it will not stay. That is, there is a certaine time that GOD hath appointed for thy deliuerance, be­fore he will giue thee such a particular mercy; consider whether thou be able to wait in such a case: for, if there be faith, (marke it) a man will be sure to waite, and not to giue ouer: as in Iam. 1.Iam. 1. it is giuen there as a signe that faith is vnsound; they had so much faith as to come to Christ; but that was a signe that their faith was faulty, and vnsound faith, that it was not able to waite to the end, but gaue ouer.

If a man were sure now, that such a man were in the house, that he must speake with­all, hee will waite till he come out, if hee be sure he be there. If thou be sure of GOD, if thy faith be sound, though he doe not answer thee presently, in many particulars, yet thou wilt be content to waite vpon him. There­fore this will shew that many a mans faith is [Page 124] vnsound, slight, and vneffectuall, that they haue so soone done, that they are ready to doe much in flashes, in some good moodes, on a Sacrament day, it may be, or in the time of sicknesse, or when they are affected with some Sermon, or vpon such an occasion; but, if thy faith were right, it would hold out, it would cleaue to CHRIST, it would goe tho­row with all tryals, thou wouldest receiue no denyall, it would continue waiting vpon him. This is the fourth signe.

5. Signe of ef­fectuall faith, the concomi­tants of it, which are 4.Last of all, you shall know faith by the concomitants of it; and they are foure; Loue, Hope, Joy, and Humility. If there bee Faith, if thy Faith be good, it will alwaies haue Loue joyned with it;Loue. as the Apostle Peter saith,2 Pet. 1.8. in 1 Pet. 1.8. Whom though you have not seene, yet you loue him. And you know the place in Galath. 5.Gal. 5. Faith which worketh by loue. That is, Faith which begets Loue, and such a Loue as sets a man on worke. But it is a thing that needeth no prouing: you cannot deny it: you know how they are joyned to­gether in the first to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 13. chap. 13. Faith, Hope, and Loue. And it must needes be so, that, if thy faith be good, it will haue Loue joyned with it. For, if thy faith bee right, thou lookest on GOD as vpon a friend, as vpon a Father; now thou lookest vpon CHRIST as on one that is married to thee; thou lookest on him as vpon one that loues thee, and hath giuen himselfe for thee. Now [Page 125] if thou see this, and art perswaded of this indeede, if thou thinke and art perswaded indeede that he loues thee, loue will beget loue, as fire begets fire. Therefore, if thou wouldst know whether thou hast taken Christ indeede, consider whether thou loue him or no.

But you will say you loue CHRIST.Obiect. I hope there is no great question of that.

Salomon saith,Ans. Euery man will make shew for fashions sake, of goodnesse, but where can you finde a faithfull man? So may I say of Loue: Euery man saith, hee loues, but where shall one finde one that doth loue in­deede? Therefore consider, doest thou loue in good earnest.

You will say,Quest. How shall I know it?

It is not a place now to stand to giue notes of Loue:Ans. we will only shew now, that Loue is a sure companion of Faith, and that Faith is not good, if Loue be not there, But yet I say, if thou loue him,Tryals of loue. thou shalt find that in thine owne heart, thou needest not goe far for a try­all of that.

Loue is the most sensible, the most quicke, and most active affection of all others. Consi­der, if thou loue any creature, or any thing, any man or woman, doest thou not feele thy affe­ction stirring in thee? doest thou not find thy heart thus longing after them whom thou affectest? thou delightest to be in their com­pany, in their presence, thou desireth to be with [Page 126] them. So that, if a strangenesse growe be­tween you at any time, thy heart is not at ease till all be right againe betweene you: So, doest thou loue the Lord Iesus? Doest thou keepe his Commandements? Doth a man professe to loue GOD, and cares not to vexe him, and anger him?

Againe, Doest thou hate sinne? Doest thou thinke to loue GOD, and not to hate that, which he hateth? If a man loue GOD, he is holy and pure, and there is no man that loues the one contrary, but he must needes hate the other. There is no man that loues light, but he must hate darknesse. If thou loue GOD, in his person, in his purity, in his holinesse, thou must hate sinne; and this hatred is generall; thou wilt hate all sinne, if thou hate any, and hatred will breede the destruction of a thing.

Againe, Doest thou loue GOD? art thou willing to doe any thing for his sake? Doest thou reckon matters of greatest difficulty easie to doe; as Iacob did make it a matter of ease because of loue?

Againe, Doest thou loue the Saints, those that are like him, those that are of such a dis­position as God is of? Shall a man say hee loues the purity and the holinesse of GOD, which hee hath not seene, which is hidden from his eyes, when he doth not loue the ho­linesse and the purity that hee sees in his Saints? For there it is taught in a visible [Page 127] manner in the creature, where you may see it more proportionable to you. It is a hundred times more easie to loue godlinesse in the Saints, then in GOD himselfe, because hee is remote farre from vs, and they are amongst vs, and are visibly seene. Therefore, except thou loue the Saints, which thou seest holi­nesse in; except thou seest thy heart inward­ly, to loue them with a naturall affection, as it were, that thou louest them whether thou wilt or no, thou doest but pretend.

Againe, Doest thou loue CHRIST? Art thou willing to part with any thing for his sake? Loue is bountifull: Thou sayest thou louest GOD: What if he will haue some of thy wealth? What if he will haue thy credit? What if he will haue thy liberty for his sake? If thou loue him, thou wilt be content to doe it. Therefore, consider if faith haue begot­ten such a loue in thee, so that thou canst tru­ly say, though thou hast not seene him, yet thou louest him.

The second concomitant of Faith, is Hope:Hope. If thou hast Faith, thou hast Hope. And this distinguisheth a Christians faith from the faith of Reprobates, from the faith of Deuils, from the temporary faith that others are capable of: you know, the Deuils beleeue and tremble: He saith not, The Deuils be­leeue and hope; for that they doe not, Hope is a property of Faith, where there is Faith there is Hope. Now you must know, that a [Page 128] man hath neuer faith to beleeue, but hee hath hope, which makes him expect what he beleeues. If a man haue a promise of so much money which he needes, he hopes for the performance of it, and quiets himselfe, when he casts his thoughts vpon it, hee is at rest: when a man beleeues it, hee hopes for it. Take an Heyre that hath such possessions, which is yet a Ward, and is yong, he hath not the Land in possession; but (marke) what hope he hath, it is not a vaine hope, but such a hope as puts other conceits in him then o­ther men haue, puts another fashion vpon his actions, it makes him neglect many good things he would doe; he will not be of such a calling, he will not be diligent: for hee hopes, he makes account of it: See how such things worke vpon a man, which he is not to haue in 7 or 8 yeeres after, perhaps. So thou hopest for Heauen, it is not a vaine hope, but it is a hope that will ma [...]e thee carry thy selfe after another fashion, it will make thee so minded, that thou wilt haue an eye to it, and euery man that lookes on [...]hee, may see that thou hast an eye to it: So that faith is ac­companied by Hope. But now you must not say, that if a man hope, therefore there is no feare mingled with it: for you must know, that a man may haue Hope that is true and good, and yet may haue feare mingled with it. For this you must know, that if there be nothing but hope, it is a signe that that Hope [Page 129] is not good. And therefore thou hast so little reason to be discouraged, because thou hast some feare mingled with thy hope, that thou hast the more cause to hope, and to thinke that thy hope is good, because there is feare mingled with it: for know, that there is a certaine sort of men, that haue neither faith, hope, nor feare; as Atheists, that haue some hope, but no feare; as Deuils and desperate men, that haue some feare, but no hope; as presumptuous men, which haue but a shad­dow of faith: But those that haue hope, and feare mingled with it; that is, those may ra­ther hope, that that hope which they haue, they may be so much the more confirmed in it, because they haue some feare mingled with it.

Therefore consider, whether thou haue hope or no: Consider in what manner it is joyned with faith. When thou beleeuest that CHRIST is thine, that Heauen is thine, that thy sinnes are forgiuen, and that thou art a sonne of GOD, but these things thou hast not yet, thou art as any other man, there is no difference betweene thee and them, thou hast no more in possession then other men, that walke with thee; now comes in Hope, and that expecteth that which is to come, that holds vp thy head, as it were, that, though you haue nothing at all for the pre­sent, yet that Hope will comfort you, that though you haue troubles, and crosses, and a [Page 130] thousand things more, to obscure and blot your faith, and the waues goe ouer your head, that you are ready to be drowned, this hope holds you aboue the water, and makes you expect with comfort that which is to come: and not so onely, but, I say, it is a liuely hope, a hope that sets a man aworke, a hope that purgeth him. For, you know, that that a man hopes for, he will endeuour to bring it to passe, it is such a hope as will not faile you, but will continue as well as Faith it selfe.

Ioy.Thirdly, the third concomitant of Faith is Joy: Romanes 15.13.Rom. 15.13. The GOD of hope fill you with joy, through beleeuing. If you haue beleeued, you haue Joy. So in the first of Peter, 1 Pet. 1.8. chap. 1. vers. 8. In whom you haue beleeued: (saith hee) Whom, though you haue not seene, yet you beleeue in him, and ioy with ioy vnspeakable and glorious. (As if hee should say) If you beleeue in him, you shall know it by this, Whether doe you reioyce in him, or no? Consider that, where there is Faith, there is Joy. And it must needes be so: As, you know, he that had the Pearle went away reioycing; and the Kingdome of GOD con­sisteth in Joy, and Peace, and Righteousnesse. And therefore, where there is Faith, there certainely is Joy. And therefore consider, and examine thine owne case: Hast thou this reioycing in CHRIST? this reioycing in the Doctrine of Justification, and forgiue­nesse [Page 131] of sins. If we should examine mens faith by this, we should finde that there is but a little Faith in the World. Examine your selues, you that now heare mee, that heare this Doctrine of Faith; it may bee it hath been burthensome vnto you; it may be it is a thing you care not for; To heare of Iusti­fication, and forgiuenesse of sinnes, they are things at the least, that, it may be, you take no great paines for; you doe not study them, you doe not prize them much: but, if you were forgiuen indeed, you would prefer it be­fore all other ioy, it would comfort you a­boue any thing. If you would say, what you would heare aboue all things else, you would heare of matter of forgiuenesse. A man now that hath knowne the bitternesse of sinne, and afterwards comes to the assu­rance of forgiuenesse, (that is) to haue Faith indeed, I say, he will reioyce in it aboue all things else: all worldly ioy would be nothing to it. Therefore consider whether thou haue such a Faith or no; if thou haue not, cer­tainely thou hast not Faith; and it is a sure signe that will not deceiue you; There is no man that hath it, that hath not Faith; and wheresoeuer there is Faith indeede, there is extraordinary great reioycing in CHRIST.

But,Obiect. you will say, Many a man may haue Ioy; the second ground receiued the Word with ioy: and those that followed Iohn the Baptist, [Page 132] reioyced in his light: and in Heb. 6.Heb. 6. the Apo­stle saith, they haue tasted of the good Word of God; they haue tasted with sweetnesse; that is, they haue had ioy in it.

Ans.It is true, we confesse there is a false ioy: and therefore, if thou wouldst know whether the ioy which thou hast be good or no,Tryals of ioy. consi­der these three things.

First, consider whether thy faith hold out in tribulation or no. Therefore the Apostle addes, Rom. 5.3.Rom. 5.3. not only so, but we reioyce also in tribulation. As if he should say, those that are hypocrites, those that haue a false faith, there may be much reioycing in them for a while, but we reioyce in tribulations; yea, we not onely reioyce in tribulation, but our ioy is in­creased by them, they are as fuell, they adde to our ioy: as in Act. 5. the Disciples went a­way reioycing, because they were accounted worthy to suffer for Christ. Wheras the second ground, when persecution comes, there is an end of their ioy. Therefore consider whether thy ioy will hold out or no.

Againe, consider the greatnesse thereof: you know those words are added, 1 Pet. 1.8.1 Pet. 1.8. reioycing with Ioy vnspeakable and glorious. If it bee right Joy, it will bee such a great Joy, it will exceede all other, it will be like to that ioy in Haruest, as Isay speakes, it will be a Joy vnspeakeable for the greatnesse of it; such a Joy, that at the least is so great, that whatsoeuer comes, yet it exceedes it. [Page 133] the other temporary Christian may haue joy, but it is not so great, but some other joy will come, and ouercome it, and drowne it, and put it out.

Therefore, in the second ground, as their humiliation was slight, so was their Faith, they had a little humiliation for their sinnes, and they tooke CHRIST in a more remisse manner. And as their Faith was, so was their joy, all slight. But now, when Faith is sound and good, that Joy is accordingly great; it is a great Joy, that, at the least, ouercomes all other; that, take what joy you will, if a man could haue an earthly Kingdome heere, if a man could haue as great pleasure here as mans nature is capable of, if he had neuer so much praise, and glory of men, (these things wee naturally rejoyce in) a right Christian, that hath Faith indeed, will not so rejoyce in these, but that he will rejoyce in CHRIST aboue them. If thy Joy therefore be so great, that it ouercome and exceede all other, be sure that Joy is good. But yet we must haue one thing more in Joy. In whom, though you haue not seene, yet you joy with Joy vnspeak­able and glorious. That is, if it be such a Joy as is right indeed, which is a testimony of faith, that it is a signe thou beleeuest, it is a Joy that is glorious, it is a Joy that is glorious and spiri­tuall. Now an hypocrite may rejoyce, he may rejoyce in Christ, he may rejoyce in the King­dome of GOD, and the assurance he hath of it, [Page 134] and he may reioyce in the hope that he hath that his sins are forgiuen; but all this while, he reioyceth after a carnall manner: as, you know, a man may reioyce in spirituall things after a carnall manner, as a man may reioyce in a carnall thing after a spirituall manner. Therefore the ioy of Hypocrites, when it is at the best, it is but a carnall ioy; there is something there that his flesh is able to re­ioyce in, it may be he had some feare and ter­rour in his conscience, and after this comes a perswasion perhaps that his sinnes are forgi­uen him, and that he is in a good estate, that same fleshly feare and griefe before, that worldly feare and griefe will haue a Joy an­swerable to it, a naturall ioy, and yet it may be great, it may be a great flash of ioy, that may be as a Land-flood,Simile. make a great shew, which because it hath no spring, is soone dry­ed vp, but it makes a great flash: and there­fore in that, Heb. 6.Heb. 6. opened. they tasted of the good Word of God, and of the powers of the world to come. I take this to be the meaning of it, (not as it is commonly interpreted, That an Hy­pocrite may taste of the good Word of God, and of spirituall priuiledges, he may taste of them, but not drinke deepe of them, but this is certainely the meaning of the place,) They tasted some things in the good Word of God, which was sweet to them. Now, in such men there is nothing but flesh. (Marke) If a tem­porary Christian beleeues for a time, he hath [Page 135] ineffectuall faith, in such a man there is no­thing but flesh. That conclusion must be set downe: and if there be nothing but flesh, there is nothing can taste but flesh; for there is nothing else to doe it, and the flesh tastes nothing but objects that sute with it selfe. What shall we say then? There is somewhat in him that pickes out, that in these spirituall comforts, in these spirituall blessings, in this good Word of GOD, he pickes out that which sutes with his flesh: That is, such a carnall man may be able to reioyce in the Word. Doe you not thinke that such a good Word of GOD may make carnall men reioyce in it? May he not taste such sweetnesse, as to take vpon him the profession of Religion, and to bring forth fruit, and to hold out long? No doubt there is. Are there not such things in that which wee propound in the Gospell? To tell men of a Kingdome of saluation, of the loue of GOD, of the precious promises, of an inheritance, of escaping of Hell; may not a fleshly man, a man vnregenerate, may he not see, and reioyce in these? He may; and hath such a taste as is there expressed.

Consider now therefore if thy Joy be right; If it be a signe of faith, if it be good and sound, if it be a Joy that is spirituall and vn­speakable; that is, if it be a Joy that is so great as that it exceedes all other joyes; if this Joy doe but hold out in tribulation, it is a certaine signe thy faith is good.

[Page 136] Humility.Now, last of all, the last concomitant of Faith is Humility. If thy Faith be right, it will bring that with it, to make thee humble and vile in thine owne eyes: For what is true faith? It is that which brings CHRIST into the heart, as you haue heard oftentimes; that which knits Christ and the soule together, it is that which causeth him to come and dwell with thee. Now wheresoeuer Christ comes to dwell, he comes with a light, hee shewes the creature his vilenesse, he makes a man see his sinne, he makes him see what creature he is; whereas another that hath great hope, and professeth that he hath much assurance, his heart is lifted vp, and not cast downe. Such are not men which thinke themselues vile, and naked, and miserable, but they thinke them­selues better then other men, they are forwar­der then others in any thing, they thinke o­ther men are not like them. And therefore they are ready to be more bold and venterous in any thing, they are ready to take vp opini­ons, they are ready to strike out this way or that way. But now a true Christian is hum­bled with it, because when Christ comes into the heart, he makes a man to see his vilenesse. As, you know, when GOD drew neere to Iob, when he came neere him indeed, then he ab­horred himselfe in dust and ashes, then hee saw what a one he was, he saw not before, he thought the contrary, but when GOD drew neere indeed, that made him manifest.

[Page 137]So it was with Isay, when he saw GOD vp­on his Throne, and the Angels about him, when he saw his holinesse,Isay. 6. then, Woe is me, I am vndone, because I am a man of polluted lips: He was so before, but when he drew neere to GOD, he saw it.

So Peter said, depart from me, I am a sinfull man, when he saw Christ, when Christ came neere him, when he manifested himselfe in his Diuinity, that he saw GOD in him; for so he did by that Miracle that amazed Peter, and cast him downe, and made him see what hee was. So Dauid, when GOD drew neere to him, and promised to build him an House, to giue him a House that should be eternall, to giue him the Messiah, whose Kingdome should neuer end, (for that is included in the giuing him a Kingdome for euer, and a House that should haue no end:) when God vouchsafed him so great a fauour, we see, Dauid was neuer so cast downe as then in the sight of his owne vilenes, he was neuer so little in his own eyes, he neuer said so much as he said then. Now, (saith he) what is Dauid? What am I, or what is my Fathers house, that thou shouldst regard me thus, that thou shouldst bring me hither­to? This is Gods manner, when he comes into a mans heart, when he speakes peace indeed, when Faith is a right Faith, that brings CHRIST to dwell there; I say, it makes a man exceeding humble. Therfore the spirit of Christians is a meeke spirit, they are humble, [Page 138] and gentle, they are little in their owne eyes. Consider whether thou hast such a dispositi­on bred in thee, or no: it is a signe thy faith is good, if there be; if there be not, it is a signe thy faith is not true. So much for the signes of faith. I make haste, because I haue one Vse more to adde.Vse.

To act and ex­ercise Faith, or to set it on Worke.If nothing be regarded of GOD but effectu­all faith; that is, if that be the vertue of faith to be effectuall, or else it is nothing worth, then we should learne hence, not to let that be wanting to our faith which is the excellen­cie of it, which is the vertue of it, which is the proper quality of it. As, if it be the vertue of a Horse to goe well; If it be the vertue of a Knife to cut well; If it be the vertue of a Soul­dier to fight well; or whatsoeuer you will in­stance in, whatsoeuer vertue it be, or whatso­euer thing, you labour to find that in it, what­soeuer be wanting; (for euery thing hath some proper excellency, some speciall vertue wherein the thing consists.) Now, to be ef­fectuall, to be working, to be operatiue, If this be the vertue of Faith, (as it were) if this be the character and excellency of faith; Let not this therefore be wanting in faith. What is that then thou shouldst doe? Vse thy faith, set faith aworke, liue by it.

Obiect.You will say, This is more then I can doe; this is Gods action, he must set faith aworke, and worke this in me.

Ans.I say, thou art able to doe this of thy selfe, [Page 139] when thou hast faith once. I speake to those that haue it, and this exhortation is to you. If you haue faith, vse it: many haue it, that doe not vse it. This is a thing that you are able to doe: For though God worke in you all the worke of faith, as it is receiued; yet know, he doth not worke in you onely, but by you; he makes you instruments: you are not as dead instruments, but as liuing instrumēts, to moue of your selues. It is true, that before you haue faith you are able to doe nothing; but when you haue it once, then you are able to vse it. Before a man hath life,Simile. he is not able to stir, but when he hath life once, then he is able to moue and stir himselfe, for there is life there. when the Lampe is once lighted,Simile. you know you may feede it with Oyle, and if you put more Oyle to it, you shall haue the greater flame: There is light, and you may increase it; indeed the difficulty is to light it; and that is Gods worke; he kindles the first fire, hee workes faith in the heart: But now, when thou hast it, learne to vse it. Dost thou thinke a ne­cessity lyes vpon vs to vse other Talents that GOD hath put into our hands, and will he not require that thou shouldst vse the Talent of Faith? Wilt thou wrap that in a Napkin, and let it lye dead by thee? Will not he call thee to an accompt for it? What folly is it, (my brethren) you haue faith, which is so ex­cellent a Grace, able to doe so great things as it is, and yet you will not vse it. There are [Page 140] many Christians that haue Faith indeed, and yet will not set it on worke. How great things would it doe, what a reward would it bring? As Aristotle saith of habits, That if a man haue no more but a habit, and vse it not, there is no difference betweene the wisest man and a foole; for what are habits for, but for action? what is the Tree for, but for fruit? The habit serues but for the act; and this is according to the iudgement of Scripture, in Rom. 2.Rom. 2. God rewards not men according to the habits they haue, but according to their workes. There­fore thinke not that thou shalt be rewarded according to thy habits of Faith which thou hast, though it be true that that sanctifies thee, but GOD doth reward vs according to the vse of our faith, according to the workes that our Faith doth bring forth, according to the efficacie of our faith. It is true, the taking of Christ is one worke of Faith, thou shouldst set it aworke to doe that; and besides that, all the workes of sanctification are all workes of Faith; all thy life long, euery houre thou hast somewhat for Faith to doe. Set thy faith aworke, and thy reward shall be accordingly.

And againe, if thou vse not Faith, thou shalt haue little enough of it; the vsing of it is that which strengthens Faith. It is Gods v­suall manner, when he giues Faith to a man, to giue him exercise, to keepe his Faith brea­thing, as it were; hee will be sure to haue somewhat wherein hee will put him to it, [Page 141] some tribulation, he will put fire to it, to clense it, And therefore we should learne to make vse of our Faith, to set it on worke.

It is a generall Rule in all things, and as true in this, If a man haue an estate, what is he the better to haue it, if he doe not vse it? To haue a friend, what is a man the better if he doe not vse him? Shall a man be a Fauou­rite of a Prince, and get nothing by it? Faith makes a man a Fauourite of GOD, a friend to GOD; and will you make no vse of GOD? It is that which he expects at your hands; will you haue GOD in vaine? Shall hee be your GOD, and will you make no vse of his power, of his wisdome, of his ability to hold you vp, to helpe you vpon all occasions? You should make vse of him; all that is his, is yours, if you make vse of it by faith.

Againe, shall men haue such priuiledges as we haue by faith, and shall not wee comfort our selues by them? What is it for a man to haue great estates, great Titles of Honor, and Houses, and Lands, if a man doe not thinke vpon them, that these considerations may cheere him? We should doe so with faith, this is the vse of faith.

Againe, if faith be vsed, it is able to doe much for vs, if it lye still, it will doe nothing. You know what they did, Heb. 11.Heb. 11. They ha­uing faith, it made them doe that, it was but the vse of their faith: So it is with vs; Looke how much thou vsest thy faith, so much thou [Page 142] shalt be able to doe. Therefore Christ saith, Be it according to thy faith: that is, not accor­ding to the habit of thy faith, that lyes dead, as a Talent wrapped vp there; but, be it vnto thee according to the vse of thy faith. If thou set faith on worke, it will be able to doe great things, it will be able to doe wonders, it will be able to ouercome the world, it is able to worke righteousnesse, it is able to preuaile with GOD and men, it is able to goe thorow the greatest matters.

Quest.But, you will say, How shall I vse it?

Ans.That is the thing indeed which I purposed now to haue shewed, how faith must be vsed,How to vse Faith. how we must liue by faith: I should haue shewed how you should vse it.

In comfor­ting our seluesFirst, in comforting of our selues; for that is one vse of Faith, thou shouldst set it aworke to fill thy heart with ioy, out of the assurance of the forgiuenesse of sinne, and of the priuiledges which thou hast by CHRIST. When a man hath faith, and finds his heart no more affected then other mens, he findes no reioy­cing there more then ordinary; Now set faith on work, learn to beleeue, and that throughly.

First set faith on worke to beleeue, to trust perfectly, as the Apostle speakes, Gal. 3.Gal. 3. opened. In the grace reuealed by Iesus Christ: trust perfectly; that is, thou shouldst beleeue the full forgiue­nesse of thy sinnes, thou must not beleeue it by halues, so that there should be a distance, as it were, betweene GOD and thee, some [Page 143] odde scores vnacquitted, vncrost; but thou shouldest beleeue so,Ioh. 16. that thy joy may be full, thou shouldest beleeue throughly, that thy sinnes are forgiuen, that all are acquitted, thou must not limit God in his mercie at all, as thou shouldest not limit him in his power. Thus a man should set faith on worke, that he may be able to say, My Beloued is mine, and I am his. I know there is a Match made betweene vs. For vnlesse you lay this ground, a man shall not reioyce. This is all, therfore now vse thy faith. If Satan now come, and tell thee of some sinnes, and of some circumstances of those sinnes, and of some wants in thy repen­tance and humiliation, what serues faith for now? What serues all this for that you haue learned heere concerning the Doctrine of Faith, but to teach you that these should be no scruples, you should beleeue, and that per­fectly? When this is done, that you see there is a Match, a Couenant made betweene GOD and you, now you must know, that all that Christ hath is yours; whatsoeuer hee hath by Nature, you haue it by Grace. If hee be a Sonne, ye are sonnes; If he be an Heire, yee are heires; and when ye haue done this, then consider all the particulars of the wealth of a Christian, that all is yours, whether it be Paul or Apollos, or the world, &c. These things wee haue often spoken of, you should runne through and consider of them: If a man will consider that he is a King, that the world is [Page 144] his, that whatsoeuer is in CHRIST belongs to him, and oweth him a good turne, and will doe it at one time or other; when he consi­ders all the precious promises.Simile. A man rec­kons his wealth not onely by his money which he hath lying in his Coffers, that he hath pre­sent, but by Bils, and Bonds, and Leases, &c. So, how many promises thou hast, there is not a promise in the Booke of GOD, but it is thine; set thy faith on worke to consider this, and to reioyce in it; set faith on worke so to see them that thou maiest reioyce in them, and weyne thee from the things of this world, not to regard them; for they are small things of no hold. Shall a King regard Cot­tages and trifles? No, if thou thinke in good earnest that thou art such a man, why doest thou regard trifles? Thou shouldst doe this; when other men reckon their Lands, and their Houses, and their friends, a Christian reckons he hath GOD, hee hath many good workes in store, hee hath so many precious promises laid vp in the Land of the Liuing. Set thy faith on worke thus, not onely to re­ioyce, but to bring in a holy magnanimitie, answerable to such a condition; and let not Faith giue ouer till it haue brought thee to this. Certainely, a man that beleeues he is a King, he will haue another spirit: for there is no other reason wherefore it is said Saul had another spirit, but that when he came to be a King, he had a spirit answerable. When thou [Page 145] beleeuest these priuiledges, when thou settest thy Faith on worke to beleeue indeed, to be­leeue them to be reall things, and not fancies, and notions, there will be bred a disposition answerable, a carriage and spirit suteable; thou wilt not admit of things that are vnfit for such a person, thou canst not doe it; but as one that is a Prince, that hath those hopes actually, he cannot admit of thoughts that o­ther men haue; no more can a Christian, when he is borne from aboue by the immor­tall seede, there is such a disposition wrought in him, that, if he will set his faith on worke to beleeue these things, he shall not be able to admit of those base things which hee did before, and which others doe.

Againe, if a man set his Faith aworke to beleeue these things, he would be able to vse the World as if he vsed it not, he would not care for losses & crosses, he would not grieue for them, as one that is not able to beare them. Thus we should learne to set faith on worke, in beleeuing these priuiledges, that we may be able to walke with God, as Henoch did, and as Paul, and Moses did; to walke with him in the vpper Region, aboue the stormes: There is much variety of weather when a man is below here, now it is faire, and then it is foule; if a man were aboue these, there is a continuall serenity; So a man that hath his heart in Heauen, a man that walkes with GOD, that hath his heart raised [Page 146] aboue others; if you would doe this, if you would vse Faith, if thou wouldest consider this, it would set thee aloft, aboue these things; thou wouldest soare aloft as the Ea­gle, thou wouldest care no more for these things, then the Eagle cares for the chirping of Sparrowes: they are trifles, thou wouldest ouerlooke them all. If we did consider this seriously, how would it alter our course? It would worke another disposition, another af­fection in vs. A man would consider, that if GOD be sure, what matter is it if a friend die? If I haue GOD, what is the losse of any crea­ture? And so, if a man suffer wrong in his name, what is it, if he haue praise of GOD? If thou beleeue, and see GOD in his greatnes, to haue praise of such a one as he, will make thee to contemne the rest. And so for wealth: What is pouerty? What account did Paul make of it? It is nothing to one that hath Treasure in Heauen, to one that beleeues in­deede, to one that seeth hee hath all GODS Treasures opened to him. Thou shouldest learne to doe this in good earnest. If a man would set this Faith aworke to beleeue it, his heart would be fixed, hee would bee afraid of no euill tydings, hee would say with him­selfe, if there bee no ill tydings from heauen, it is no matter from whence they come on earth. If a man would build, through faith, vpon the promise, and consider it really. This is the vse of Faith: thus a mans heart should [Page 147] be filled with ioy, a man would be able to goe through ill report and good report, through want and through abundance, without being much troubled with either; the one would not much puffe him vp, nor the other would not deject him, but he would goe as a Gyant, and march thorow the variety of conditions; he would passe through them, that neither the one hand nor the other, the good successe nor the ill successe should worke vpon him much. This is a strong man: and this Faith will make thee able to doe, if thou vse Faith, and set it aworke. But I am sorry the time hath cut me off: this is but an entrance, I giue you but a little taste: There are many things wherein Faith stands vs in much stead, wher­in if wee did vse Faith, how much seruice would it doe vs? But for that which remains in this Doctrine of Faith, I had thought to haue shut it vp at this time, to shew you how to vse it, how to make it effectuall, how to set it aworke, how to walke by it, how to hus­band and improue this Talent for Gods aduantage and your owne. But I cannot stand on it. So much for this time.

FINIS.

OF EFFECTVALL FAITH. The fifth Sermon.

1. THESS. 1.3.

Remembring your effectuall Faith, &c.

THE first thing wherein thou shouldest vse Faith,Considerati­ons to helpe Faith in com­forting the Soule. is to comfort thy selfe by it. Therefore consider, you that doubt of this, you that make question, (I speake to those that haue the work wrought, whom the Holy Ghost hath made to desire Christ aboue all things, I say) remember that God iustifieth the vngodly, and that you haue nothing to doe, but to take him.

[Page 150]2. Remember that CHRIST is made righ­teousnesse to vs, that no flesh might reioyce in his sight, but he that reioyceth might re­ioyce in the Lord.

3. Remember that the pardon is generall. Looke to the promises of the Gospell; you shall finde them without all exception. To vs a Sauiour is borne, to take away the sinnes of his people; he came to take away sinnes of all sorts. Now, when GOD hath made no ex­ception, why should we make any?

4. Consider that wee haue to doe with a GOD, who delights to shew mercie, it is a thing that he is not weary of, it is naturall to him: And therefore as the eye is not wearie of seeing, nor the eare of hearing, because it is naturall to them, no more is GOD weary of shewing mercie.Micha. 7.8. Nay, he delights in it, Mic. 7.8. Who is a God like vnto thee, taking away ini­quities, delighting to shew mercie, &c. Why so? Because mercy pleaseth him. That is, there is no worke that he is so much pleased in, as in shewing mercy.

5. Consider thou, that art in such a case, consider that his mercy is as large as any o­ther attribute. Euery man thinkes that this is no newes; what need you tell vs that GOD is infinite in mercy? I say, this is a thing that thou dost not consider: if thou diddest, thou wouldest not sticke vpon it as thou doest, If thou diddest beleeue that GOD were as mer­cifull as he is; but we scant GOD according [Page 151] to our measure; we square Gods mercy accor­ding to our own thoughts. Euery man mea­sures Gods mercy, according to that which he can conceiue. He thinkes with himselfe, if a man commit one sinne, it might be forgiuen, but when his sinnes exceede, when they grow out of measure sinfull, when they are sinnes so circumstantiated, as we say, that they are out of measure sinfull, here a man stands at a stay: What is the reason of this? Because we draw a scantling of Gods mercy, according to our owne conceits. Whereas, if we conside­red that his mercie were as large as any other attribute, then we would consider that it hath no limits: and if it haue no limits, then what­soeuer thy sinnes are, it is all one.

6. Dost thou thinke that Christ came from heauen, and tooke flesh, and suffered death, to forgiue small sinnes? No, it was to forgiue the greatest; the worke is large enough to match with the greatest sinnes. These, and such like reasons thou shouldest labour to bring to heart, that thou mayest beleeue per­fectly and throughly, and giue not ouer till thou haue done it. Let not thy faith trust in Christ by halues, but trust throughly. Thou shouldest come to this disjunction: If I bee out of the Couenant, why doe I beleeue at all? why doe I receiue any comfort? If I bee in the Couenant, why doe I not beleeue per­fectly? I say, giue not ouer till thou haue brought thy heart to a full assurance. Thus a [Page 152] man should doe that yet doubts whether his estate be good, whether CHRIST bee his, when he is his. For when a man is once in the Couenant, that the match is made be­tweene him and thee, why doest thou doubt? If thou be in the Couenant once, doubt not then that a sinne or two, or daily failings, shall breake the Couenant betweene GOD and thee, it is impossible. Thou must know that thou often breakest the Couenant; but except there be a quite turning backe, except thou altogether forsake GOD, except thou leaue GOD, and chuse thee a new Master, (this indeed breaketh the Couenant) other­wise, if it be but a failing, if it be but a sinne of infirmity, from day to day, when as yet thou keepest GOD in thy heart, thou cleauest fast to him, thou intendest to serue him, and not to forsake him and giue him ouer; thinke not that those sinnes, although they be great, breake the Couenant. And therefore, Psal. 41.7. said the People of GOD there:Psal. 41.7 Although these things be befalne vs, yet haue we not forgot­ten thee, nor dealt falsely concerning thy Couenant. Why; We haue not turned backe; although we haue failed, and done many things amisse, yet haue we not dealt falsely concerning thy Couenant. That is, we are not Hypocrites, our hearts are sincere.

Quest.How proue they that?

Ans.We haue not turned backe from thee, our feete haue not gone out of thy wayes. That [Page 153] is, we haue not quite giuen ouer, as many men doe that make their pleasure their God, when they make their profit their God, when they diuorse themselues from GOD, then they breake the Couenant; but else it is not a breaking of the Couenant. Know ther­fore for thy comfort, when thou considerest this, summe them vp together, and see now whether thou hast put thy seale to the truth of GOD, that he is true; that is, whether thou beleeue the promise, whether thou take and receiue CHRIST: for that is it to put thy seale to the truth of GOD: when thou canst conclude that thou hast done that, then see if GOD hath put his seale to thee. There is a double seale:

One is, thou art sealed by the Spirit; that is, there is a secret witnesse of the Spirit, the sealing of the Spirit to the day of Redempti­on; the hidden Mannah, the secret witnesse that GOD giues to euery mans heart, as a pri­uie Seale that GOD sets on thee,Eph. 4. Grieue not the Spirit, by which ye are sealed to the day of Re­demption. Now there is another seale, which is more manifest then this; as in 2 Tim. 2.19.2 Tim. 2.19. The foundation of GOD remai­neth sure, and hath this seale, The Lord know­eth who are his, and let euery one that calleth vp­on the Name of the Lord depart from iniquity. That is, there is another seale that GOD sets vpon you, whereby hee enables you to de­part from iniquity: This is a more open seale [Page 154] then the other. If thou finde that thou haue put thy seale to GOD, to his promise, and thou findest againe that he hath sealed thee by the inward witnesse of his Spirit, and hath sea­led thee likewise by the fruit of amendment of life, with enabling thee to depart from iniquity; now what shouldst thou doe then? Make no more question, take it for granted, that CHRIST belongs to thee, and thou to him; Trust perfectly to the grace reuealed through Iesus Christ: A place that I haue of­ten named,2 Pet. 1.13. 2 Pet. 1.13. Trust perfectly in the fauour; that is, in the free fauour, in the free promise reuealed through Iesus Christ; that is, Doe not mince the matter, and say, it may be GOD will forgiue me, or it may be he will not; but doe it perfectly, let nothing be wan­ting, doe it perfectly, that thy ioy may bee full; if thou doe it by halues, if thou doe it but in part, thou shalt haue but imperfect ioy.

The vse now that thou shouldest make of Faith, is to see thy ioy may be full: if thou be not certainely perswaded, thou doest not vse thy Faith as thou oughtest. When thou hast done this once, when thou hast settled vpon this conclusion, to say certainely CHRIST is mine, my sinnes are forgiuen; now come to the priuiledges, consider them, and go tho­row them all: (I haue named them heretofore vpon another occasion:) and labour to com­fort thy selfe with them; labour to haue thy [Page 155] heart filled with ioy; at the least, get so much comfort as may ouervalue any affliction in the World, that there may be a greater waight in the other Ballance, that though great affli­ctions doe befall thee, yet thou art not drow­ned, thou art not swallowed vp of affliction, that thy heart faints not; but set thy faith a­worke, that thou mayest haue so much ioy, as that thou mayest goe thorow it. And againe, get so much ioy, as at least may ouertoppe any prosperity outward, any comfort that thou mayest take in thy friends, or in thy wealth, or in those things that thou findest thy heart too much to cleaue vnto, that thou settest them at too high a rate; set thy Faith on worke, that thy joy may be full, that thou mayest not prize those so much, but that thou mayest looke vpon them as trifles, as matters of nothing, in comparison of the ioy that is prepared for thee in Heauen. Thus a man should vse faith; that is, in any affliction, that he doe not ouer-grieue; and that no outward comforts, whatsoeuer befall him, take not vp his ioy too much.

Thus our faith should passe through all conditions, to vse the World as if we vsed it not: So, I say, set thy Faith on worke. This is the first worke that faith should doe, to comfort a mans heart.

The second vse we should make of Faith,Vse of faith, to guide and order our liues. should be to guide and direct our liues; that is, we should vse Faith to be as the Rudder to [Page 156] the Ship, to turne our courses the right way vpon all occasions in our conuersation: For that is the office of Faith, to guide a mans life.Simile. For as it is in a way, so it is in our life; there are many turnings, it is not only a strait way, but there are many turnings, and when a man comes to a place where there are two wayes to turne to, that he knowes not which way to goe, now Faith comes and teacheth thee what thou shouldest doe. That is, there are many difficult cases wherein a man knows not what to doe, he is amazed at them; It may be GOD will lead thee through the way of the Philistims, through great persecutions, and troubles, which thou must wrestle with: Now set thy Faith aworke, fight the good fight of faith; that is, thou must now ouer­come, thou must not balke the way of Reli­gion, because of the troubles thou meetest withall, but passe thorow the troubles, that thou mayest keepe thy way.

Againe, it may bee GOD will leade thee through pleasant wayes, and not through the way of the Philistims, (as when the people came out of Egygt, the Lord led them not by the way of the Philistims.) If GOD giue thee peace and prosperity, now set Faith aworke, that this peace and prosperity that thou hast, that it soften not, that it loosen not the sinewes of thy minde, that it dissolue not thy strength: but keepe thy faith, and hold thy strength, that thou be not drawne to sinne a­gainst [Page 157] GOD by such a condition. In all the turnings of a mans life, to be kept straight, a man must set his faith on worke. It may be GOD will giue thee peace for a time, take heed thou sit not downe now and forget thy iourney. As thou must not turne to the left hand, so thou must not turne to the right hand, but passe through all, that thou mayest approue thy selfe the seruant of CHRIST in straites, in necessity, in tribulation, by the Armour of righteousnesse on the right hand and on the left; through honour and disho­nour, by ill report and good report. That is, set Faith on worke, in all the variety of con­ditions, to keepe thee in the right way, that thou turne not out of it. It is faith that must doe it: For example, put the case thou com­mest to Hesters condition; there was a tur­ning of her minde, she had peace before, but when it comes to that, that she must venter her life for the Church, here she had vse of faith. And so for Abraham, God bade him of­fer his sonne, he was at rest a great while be­fore, but now GOD tryes him what hee will doe; here is a turning of his life, here was an Exigent, here was vse for his faith, he did it, faith turned him this way; Another man would haue turned another way, that hath not faith. So when GOD cals Moses, hee was quiet before in Pharoahs Court: now he must goe to suffer affliction with the people of GOD, then what must he doe in such a case? [Page 158] The Text saith, he did it by faith; by faith he forsooke the glory of Pharoahs Court, and chose rather to suffer afflictions with the peo­ple of GOD, then to enioy the pleasure of sin for a season. There be many hundreds of such cases that befall continually. I say, thou shouldst vse thy faith now, that it should lead thee in the right way, in all these difficult ca­ses: for this is the vse of faith. See now ano­ther man that hath not faith, take a false-hear­ted man, and say what you will to him when any such exigent comes, you shall neuer draw him from his wealth, from his friends, from his worldly credit, because he makes that his maine, his heart secretly trusts in that, hee thinkes, if that be gone, he is as vndone; that is his God, therefore you shall neuer draw him from that, for he wants faith to make God his God. Come to another man, let him come into such an exigent, and you shall not pull him from God, hee is his trust, he is his hope, and if he loseth Gods fauour, he loseth life and all; and therefore that is the difference in all the passages of things in their conuersation. This then is the second thing we should make of faith, to guide and direct vs in our liues. But because this is generall,Instances of faith guiding a man in diffi­cult cases. it may be it will not bee enough: I will come a little to In­stances.

Instance.Suppose a man come to such a turning as those in Iohn 12.12.Ioh. 12.12. Many of the chiefe Rulers beleeued in him, but they durst not confesse him, [Page 159] lest they should be cast out of the Synagogue. Put the case, that thou be in such a case, as that thou art brought now to such a tryall: Now, if thy faith be such a faith as they had, that is a signe that thou wantest faith indeede. Take two men, the one will be content to be cast out, he will confesse Christ, come what wil of it. Another man, when it comes to such a competition, that either he must be cast out of the Synagogue, or deny Christ, he will rather leaue that then the other, he will rather part with Christ, he will rather forsake him, & the confession of him, then indure such trouble.

So again,Instance. come to a matter of praise of men, to a matter of credit, whē a man sees that this is his condition in the place he liues in, and considers, If I serue GOD indeede, if I goe through in my profession, I see I must be con­temned, I must be despised, I must be tramp­led vpon, I see, I must be hated of all men, as our Sauiour Christ saith, (for to be hated of some men, a man might beare it well enough) but to haue all mens hands against him, to be excluded of all good company, (as they say) such a thing a man shall haue much adoe to beare, to lose all his worldly credit, all his friends; but when it comes to such a case, one man is willing to beare these, be­cause he trusts in GOD: I know whom I haue trusted, saith Paul: Therefore he was willing to vndergoe all shame, to indure imprison­ment, to do any thing: another man doth not [Page 160] trust in God, and therefore he will not indure hee will leaue Religion, he will not doe the things that may breed this trouble, hee will mince the matter, he will leaue that, that he may secure himselfe, and keepe his credit, that he hath amongst men.

Instance.So againe, come to matter of commodity: Let matters of profit, or aduantage in the World for a mans estate be offered, see the different condition now of a man that hath faith, and of a man that wants faith. See Saul, when he saw the fat Cattell, he tooke them, his faith was nothing but a notion: If he had beleeued in GOD, he would not haue thought that the fat Cattell would haue made him more happy, but because he saw them, and thought they would be aduantage to him, he saw them present, that was the thing he felt, hee beleeued not the other, therefore he did that.

And so for Balaam; when the case comes, that eyther he must curse the people, or else forsake the wages of vnrighteousnesse, surely he wil haue respect to the wages of vnrighte­ousnesse: that is, though Balaam made a faire shew, he would doe any thing rather then to goe against Gods Commandements, and yet he had an eye to the other all the while, and GOD saw that he secretly looked to himselfe. So that, it may be, thou makest profession, thou makest a faire shew, thou wilt do much. Remember this, it may be, it is but a high [Page 161] flying: The Eagle, though she flye high, yet she hath an eye to the prey below all the while: So many men, although they doe much, yet they haue a secret eye to the prey; that is, they want faith, and therefore they regard these things too much. And when the time comes, that they must stoope to it, the time of tryall, when a man wants faith to magnifie other things, he ouervalueth those things, hauing nothing better to trust vnto. In such a case, Iudas his 30. pence was a great matter: Gehezi's change of rayment, and A­chans wedge of Gold. I neede name no more examples. But take a man that hath faith, and this is no difficulty to him, hee will not only let goe that wealth which he hath inor­dinately gotten, as Zacheus, but he will suffer the spoiling of his goods with joy, because he beleeues God, that hee hath in heauen a more induring substance. There is no Christian, no good man, but he would be content to gaine as well as thou; what is the reason hee takes it not? He beleues that by forsaking that, he shall haue a more enduring substance in Hea­uen. There is no man would forsake any thing but for the better, and that is the reason wee beleeue, and thou dost not.

And so come to matter of safety and dan­ger,Instance. and there you shall see what difference faith makes between men, how it turnes their course, when they come to such an exigent. See it in Saul, you know, he was commanded [Page 162] not to offer Sacrifice till Samuel came, GOD did put him to the tryall, The Philistims were vpon him, the day of Battell drew neere, hee saw the people shrinke away, Saul was put to it now, whether he would trust GOD for his safety or no: If Saul had had faith now, and had thought with himselfe, If I keepe the Commandement, is not GOD able to helpe me, what though the people shrinke away; cannot GOD doe as much with a few as with many? If he had beleeued, hee would haue done otherwise: But he did not beleeue, and therefore you see which way he turned.

Ier. 42.The like we see in Ioram, Ier. 42. This was his case, hee was the Captaine of t [...]ose that were left behinde in Captiuity; If hee had stayed in Ierusalem, he had had nothing to de­fend him, there was pouerty and want of all things; if hee went downe into Egypt, that was a safe Countrey, as farre as any one could see, it lay farre from all danger of War, there was plenty of all things, and he was a strong King, able to defend him; There comes Com­mandement from GOD, that he should keepe himselfe still in Ierusalem, and should not goe downe into Egypt: It is a place worth the rea­ding, Ier. 42 & 43. Ioram, Ier. 42. & 43. in this case, belee­ued not that God would keepe him safe where he saw no meanes of [...]afety. Therefore, in that turning, you see what choice he made, which was his vtter vndoing; he went downe into Egypt, and there the Sword and the Famine [Page 163] followed him, that GOD might make him know, that it was not any outward condition that could keepe him safe, and that he was a­ble to keepe him safe in another place, where there seemed to be more danger,

On the other side, take those that trust in God, in any such case, when they are brought to any such difficulty, they are willing to ven­ter to put themselues vpon GOD, to goe any whither, as Luther went to Wormes, they care not for any danger before them.

But some will say,Obiect. it is true, if I had a Pro­phet sent to me, to tell me in such a case that I should be safe, I should trust on him.

Certainely,Ans. if thou hast not, yet if the cause be good, if it be a thing that GOD sets thee a­worke on, if thou goe by a right rule, know, that in this case thou hast as true a promise of safety, that God will deale well with thee, as if thou haddest a Prophet sent immediately from God. Therfore I say to thee in such a case as Luther said to Melancton, which was a good reason when Melancton began to faint: Luther being afarre off, wrote a Letter vnto him, and tels him, saith he, if the Cause be not GODS, why doe not we giue ouer? why doe we not shrinke? why doe wee doe any thing? And If it be Gods Cause, why doe we shrinke? why go we not thorow? He needed no more but to know that it was Gods Cause: and after that, see how hee exposed himselfe from time to time: and as no man was bolder then hee, so [Page 164] no man had more comfort. It is with vs in this case as it was with Ieremiah, Ier. 26. Ier. 26. GOD bids him goe and speake his Word to the people, all his words, and tels him that the people would be ready to put him to death; and so they were, they said he should die, but yet he obeyed God, because the Lord sent him; and see what was the issue of it, GOD turned the matter, and saued him. This is faith, when a man comes in that case to set his faith a­worke, that it may set him the right way that he is to goe in, which way he is to turne.

Instance.And so, put the case that GOD brings thee to such a case, that thou art in danger of prison in danger of death, in danger of the greatest crosse, of the greatest persecution and trouble, now one man consults with flesh, the other consults with the spirit, he sets faith awork to worke his worke for him: you see what Ste­phen did in such a case, and the reason of it,Acts 6. Acts 6. He was a man full of faith, and therfore he feared not what they could doe to him. See what Paul did, in such a case; you see what danger he was exposed vnto, but he consul­ted not with flesh and blood, but what did he? He set faith on worke, that it might guide him in all the way that he went, in all the turnings of his life.

Instance.And so, on the other side, for pleasure, there are two men that haue pleasures propounded, the holiest man hath the same nature that others haue, they would take the same [Page 165] delight that others doe, as farre as they are naturall.

What is the reason then they doe not?Quest. why doe such men turne from all sinfull delights, and runne another course?

It is nothing but faith that enableth them to doe it.Ans. By faith Moses left Pharoahs Court, and the pleasures of sinne for a season, and chose aduersity with the people of GOD: that is, as if hee should say, If you would know why Moses did this, it was faith that enabled him: that is, he beleeued, that if hee had en­ioyed those pleasures of sinne, he should haue beene a loser by them, hee should haue fared the worse for them. Againe, he beleeued, that by his suffering aduersity with the people of God, he should gaine; it was onely faith that made him doe this. If thou haddest faith, thou wouldest forsake thy pleasures, and liue a more strict life, as the Saints doe. So that still you must keepe that conclusion, that you must set faith aworke in all the conclusions and passages of your life, for that is it that guides you in the right way.

Againe,Instance. Take two men that haue both children to prouide for, they haue posterity to care for; the one man he reasons thus with himselfe; If I leaue them not as good a stock as I would, yet I shall leaue them Gods bles­sing, which is able to make them prosper; and though I should leaue them abundance, yet all that, without Gods blessing, will not be [Page 166] able to doe it. Therefore such a man will be indifferent for matter of estate, he will leaue a conueniency for them, if he can, but he takes no great care, hee had rather lay vp faithfull prayers in heauen, he had rather see them brought vp in the feare of GOD, for hee trust GOD, and he thinkes that his blessing can do [...] it, without meanes; and he knows that great meanes, without Gods blessing, cannot doe it. But when another man is in this case, hee lookes to that which is represented to his eyes: and therefore he will not haue done till he haue prouided such a portion for such a childe, till he haue built him houses, till he haue made them firme on euery side, till he haue added house to house; this is out of want of faith, he beleeues not: hence it is that these two runne a different course.

Instance. So againe, one man lookes to his businesse, he will not spend time to examine his heart, he will not spend time in prayer from day to day; he saith, my businesse will goe at sixe and seuens, my businesse will not be done: when as another man, that hath chosen Maries portion, is content to lose somewhat, hee is content that many things should goe amisse, he is content to lose somewhat of his estate, he is content to let his businesse lye vndone, or not to be so well done, because he thinkes, to be busie in good workes, in prayer, and to haue the fauour of GOD, is greater aduantage, he thinkes hee hath chosen the better part. [Page 167] Now it is faith that workes this difference. What should I doe? Why should I name any more Instances? You may name more to your selues, as you haue faith, so it will guide you, it will turne you this way and that way in the turnings and passages of your life.

But now, because I am farre in the poynt, (and I see the time runnes fast away) before I leaue, I would not only shew you what faith is able to doe, but I would worke you to this a little.

You will say then,Quest. What is it to trust in GOD?Ans. For that is the reason of all the dif­ference, you see: Therefore, saith Paul, 1 Tim. 4.10. 1 Tim. 4.10. We labour, and suffer rebuke, what is the reason? If you would know the cause, why we leade such a life, why we runne another course then others, why wee liue a painefull life in labour from day to day; but if a man had good wages, he might well doe that, we labour and suffer, and are rebuked, and haue nothing but persecution for our paines; but, saith he, we doe it, because we trust in the liuing God: therefore we labour, and suffer, and are rebuked, because wee trust in the liuing GOD. I say, doe this, and thou shalt be able to doe the same that Moses did, thou shalt be able to doe the same that Paul did, the same that all the Saints haue done. If I could but perswade you now to trust in God, to set your faith aworke thus farre, There is no man that heares me this day, that is in any other course [Page 168] then in the wayes of Religion and godlinesse, but he would turne his course: and therefore I will labour in this a little.

Quest.You will aske me then what it is to trust GOD?

Ans.I will shew you a little what it is, because euery man is ready to say, I trust in GOD, but I am not able to doe this that you say, when I come to such a hard turning. Deceiue not thy selfe, this is to trust in God,To trust in GOD what. namely, to be vnbottomed of thy selfe, and of euery crea­ture, and so to leane vpon GOD, that, if hee faile thee, thou sinkest. There is many a man, that pretends he trusts in GOD; but hee so trusts GOD, that withall hee will prouide for himselfe: such a man saith, GODS blessing is a good addition, but to haue that for all, hee will not, he will be sure he will be strong, he will make his Mountaine strong about him, and he will haue the blessings of GOD too: for faith in the promises, hee makes them good notions; but for things to trust to, to rest on, it is a thing he will not be perswaded to. Now this is not to trust in GOD. But this is to trust in him, when thou doest so cast thy selfe on him, that, if he should faile thee, thou wert vndone by it.

To exemplifie it to you: There was an a­ction that Alexander the Great did, (I vse it, onely to expresse what I meane by trusting in GOD:) When hee was sicke, there comes a friend that was alwaies close with him, that [Page 169] was a Physician, and he prepared him a Po­tion; but before the same came to him, there was a Letter deliuered to him, to signifie to him, that that very Potion was poyson: when his friend came with his Potion in his hand, he takes the Letter that was sent to giue him notice of the Treason, and drinkes off the Cup with one hand, and reaches the Letter with the other, so he dranke off the Cup be­fore he shewed the Letter. Here Alexander trusted him, if he had failed him, he had lost his life; he did not first shew the Letter, and then heare his excuse for himselfe, but hee shewed that he trusted him. In such a case, if thou be able to trust GOD, if thou canst put thy selfe vpon him, if he faile the, thou art vn­done, in such a case; this is to trust in GOD.

To vse another expression, that you may know what it is.

There was a King of this Land, that sent his seruant, a Generall of his Army, to spare a Citie: he had command vnder the Broad Seale, from the Councell, and from the Kings owne hand, to doe it: and to disobey this Warrant was death: But withall, the King sent him a secret message that he should destroy the Citie, and to trust him to saue his life. The party did so: The Broad-Seale and Commission was to spare the City, to sor­beare it, The secret charge was to destroy it: This he did, and trusted the King for his life; if hee had fayled him, he had been destroyed. [Page 170] These similitudes shew what it is to trust in GOD: If thou be brought to such an exigent, if thou wilt trust GOD in such a case, as wher­in if he faile thee, thou art vndone; This is to trust GOD, not to seeke his blessing so as to make that an addition, but to put all vpon him. Therefore, that you may know that this is to trust in GOD, know, that except thou doe it thus, GOD is not ready to answer thee. Therfore commonly, he puts not forth his strength to deliuer men, or to bestow vpon them any great blessing, but when hee hath brought men to such an exigent. And be­cause men will not trust in him commonly, while other props are taken away, (For wee should trust in GOD in the middest of prospe­rity and happinesse, but because men will not doe it till then,) hee strips them of all, that they may doe it; he brings a man to such a case, that he shall haue nothing else to trust vnto.

Quest.What is the reason that Paul saith, 2 Cor. 1. 10.2 Cor. 1.10. opened. We receiued the sentence of death, that wee might learne not to trust in our selues, but in God that raiseth the dead?

Answ.GOD meant to deliuer him, when he saith he receiued the the sentence of death; that is, there was no helpe in the World, that he could see, in himselfe, or in any other creature; Now he was brought to trust in him, and then God answered him in his trust: so you shall finde,Zeph. 3.12. Zeph. 3.12. I will leaue among you men [Page 171] that are humble and poore people, and they shall trust in the Name of the Lord.

Why did not these trust in the Lord while they were rich?Quest.

Our nature is so backward, and so excee­ding deceitfull,Answ. that wee cannot till other helpes are gone. I will leaue among you a sort of poore people, and they shall trust in my Name. (As if he should say) When men are brought to that, that all other things are taken away, and till then they will not trust in him. In­deede, till then it is not trusting. And there­fore in 1 Tim. 1.5.1 Tim. 1.5. She that is a Widdow is left alone, and trusts in GOD. Till she be left alone, till the other props be taken away, a man cannot trust in GOD. Hence it is, that com­monly when men are brought to the lowest, they are nerest to GOD, they haue best accesse vnto him; because when they are brought to such an exigent, then a man will pray best; and when he prayes best, then hee speedes best, then faith is set on worke, and it workes best when it is alone, when it is stripped of all other helpes. And therefore you shall finde in the Booke of GOD, when men were lowest,2 Chro. 14.11. they had neerest accesse to GOD. [...]sa, when he was come against with many thou­sands, he trusted vpon GOD, though he went against them with halfe the number, and God deliuered him, because he prayed and sought to GOD, and saw that he was not able to doe any thing, he trusted in GOD. Another time, [Page 172] when Asa had forgotten GOD, when he was strong, when he thought himselfe more able, when hee was to deale with one that had a weaker Armie a great deale, the King of Isra­el, hee was ouerthrowne, and shut vp that he could not stirre, because hee sent to the King of Aram for helpe. It is GODS manner to de­fer sending of helpe till a man be brought to the Mount, as hee did with Abraham; hee might haue done it before; but, you know how he did with Abraham, he brought him to the last cast. And Dauid, he was brought to the very point of perishing by the hands of Saul, before he deliuered him. And so he did with Iacob, Esau comes against him with foure hundred men, (with a full resolution to destroy him) before hee would deliuer him. It is GODS manner to doe thus. And so hee did with Iob, and other seruants of his; his fashion is to doe so, to bring men vnto the very brow of the hill, till their feet be ready to slip, when they are euen going, and then hee delights to appeare and deliuer them. Therefore, in such cases, trust GOD, put all vpon GOD; that is, when GOD, in any tur­ning of thy life, brings thee to such an exi­gent, that thou seest all at the point to be lost, that thou art at the point to be vtterly vn­done, learne to trust in GOD in good earnest, and that shall guide thee, and turne thee the right way, when thy flesh is ready to goe an­other way.

[Page 173]What was the reason that CHRIST,Quest. when he was on earth, would doe nothing except they beleeued in him?

When thou hast any thing to doe,Ans. if thou beleeue in God, that will make him ready to helpe thee, because then it is an acknowled­ging, and an attributing to his power. If hee should doe it in another case, he should lose his labour, hee should lose his glory, men would not be built vp in him by that which he did. Therefore, make vse of faith, set faith on worke, as I said. I should come to this now, to moue you to trust in GOD in all cases. If I could perswade this, men would turne the courses of their liues, and would trust in him: for know, if thou trust in GOD, he neuer failes any that trust in him, as Dauid saith, in Psal. 37. I neuer saw the righteous for saken, &c. As if he should say, Aske all his seruants, aske all men that euer haue knowne him, all the men that haue liued with him, that haue finished their course with him; aske a seruant of GOD, when he comes to dye, how GOD hath dealt with him, whether hee hath fayled him all his life; I am perswaded that there is not a seruant of GOD, but will say that he neuer failed him; and, if he were to leaue an exhortation behinde him, he would exhort others, from experience of his trust; It cannot be that GOD should faile thee, if thou rest vpon him. Thinkest thou that GOD can faile thee, when he saith himselfe so often, [Page 174] he will neuer faile thee, nor those that trust in him? Will a man faile one that trusts in him? Wee vse to say, Oh I will not faile him, for hee trusts in mee; and doest thou thinke that GOD will faile thee in such a case? If GOD should faile men in such cases▪ there is no man that would seeke him. But, that men should bee encouraged to serue him, hee hath promised, not one­ly, not to faile thee, but hee is abundant in truth, hee will bee better then his word, hee doth what hee sayeth, and more too: If thou wouldest trust vpon him in such a case, thou shouldst finde that he will answer thee.

Obiect.But thou wilt say, I see not how he will doe it, the case is such a hard and difficult case.

Answ.Thou must know that there are strange passages in GODS prouidence, he is able to bring things to passe, though thou know not how it should be. See his prouidence 2 Kings 5.2 Kings 5. The Woman there, the Shunamite, shee beleeued the word that the Prophet had said, that there should bee seauen yeeres Famine, shee left her Land and Countrey, this was an act of Faith, that made her doe this; See how this Woman beleeued now: she followed the direction of the Prophet, she did that which GOD appointed her to doe: see how GOD brought it to passe, that the seruant of Eli­sha, [Page 175] Gehezi, should be there with the King, and that hee should be telling the King of Israel of the great act of Elisha, That there should be such a concurrence of all things, that shee should come iust at that time, and no other, when the man of GOD was there, yea, when hee was telling of that very story, that then she should come in, and so she got her Land; or else it is likely that the Wo­man, hauing liued away so many yeeres, it is likely shee had had a hard suite of it; but Gods prouidence brought these things to­gether.

So againe, looke on Mordecai: It is a strange case: It was concluded, that hee and all the Jewes should bee slaine: The Decree was gone out, there was nothing in the World, for ought hee saw, that could hinder it; the very night before Hester was to come to the King to make her request; if it had beene but a night longer, perhaps it had failed: but that there might be a con­currence of all this,Hester 6. it is said in Hester 6. The King hee could not sleepe that night, and when hee could not sleepe, he might haue called for another Booke then the Booke of the Chronicles; and when hee had the Booke brought, he might haue falne vpon another place, and not vpon that where Mordecai's act was record [...]d, but that there should bee a concurrence of all this in that very time. Is not GOD the same GOD? why should [Page 176] not wee bee ready to trust in him still? Doe wee not see the same daily? If his Workes were recorded and obserued in our remembrance, certainely we should trust in GOD.

Obiect.But, you will object, The LORD doth euery thing by meanes, hee doth not worke Wonders, hee workes not Mira­cles now a dayes: And, when I see no meanes, I hope you will not haue mee to expect Miracles at GODS hands, to tempt him.

Answ. 1.You must remember Ahaz his case, when GOD came to Ahaz, and told him by the Prophet Esay; Isay 7. Isai. chap. 7. That Aram and Remaliah's sonne, those two smoking Fire-brands, should not haue their wils, should bee disappointed, that he would fight for him against them: Saith the Prophet to him, Aske a signe of the Lord in the Heauen aboue, or in the Deepe below. No, saith hee, Ahaz will not tempt GOD. What is the meaning of that? That is, I will prouide for my selfe, I will not trust to his Word, I will looke vnto my selfe, I will prouide an Armie, I will not tempt GOD; That is, I will not goe about it without meanes, I will looke a­bout mee; And for such a signe as resting on that promise, If I should doe this, I should tempt GOD.

See heere is a faire excuse: Take heede of such excuses, say not, I shall tempt GOD. [Page 177] And know, that though there be not Mira­cles, yet GOD he workes wonders now a dayes, as well as then, his hand is not short­ned; now he is the same GOD, he is as pow­erfull as hee was. It is true now as it was in Dauids time, that wonderfull are thy workes. And CHRIST now in the time of the Gospell, his Name is wonderfull. In Isai. 9.Isay 9. The gouernment is vpon his shoul­ders, and his Name shall bee called wonder­full; that is, in the gouernment of his Church hee doth wonderfull things; that is, when a thing seemes to bee neuer so strong and well built, when the strength of the Enemy seemes to be neuer so great and inuincible, hee is wonderfull to disappoint them.

Againe, when the strength of the Church seemes to be little, he can make that effectu­all to doe great matters, it shall doe wonders: and therefore I say, GOD is able to doe won­derfull things now.

Now those very things which seeme won­ders to men, are not Miracles, though they may be great workes.

That Wonder that Elisha said, that the next day things should bee so cheape, you see, that was reckoned so great a matter, yet it was done after an ordinary manner: There was but a false feare scattered in the Armie, and it was done. Therefore, he that workes wonders, he can doe the same now.

[Page 178]That deliuerance which the Iewes had, it was a thing that may be done now.

So those wonders, those great acts which God did when men trusted in him, they are things which he doth daily now.

Therefore to answer punctually, because men doe deceiue themselues in that, when we exhort them to trust in GOD, they say still, we must vse the meanes, I will giue a three­fold answer to it.

Answ. 2.It is true that GOD vseth meanes, but they are meanes of his owne prouiding,Consisting of 3. parts. and 1 not the meanes, many times, that thou pitchest vpon. For thus farre it is true, GOD doth it not but by meanes; that is, he doth things by second causes, hee doth them not by an immediate hand of his owne, though hee be able to doe it: But now what those causes are, thou knowest not. Therefore this set downe, that GOD doth it by meanes of his owne, and not by those meanes thou seest. It may bee thou pitchest vpon some particular meanes, and thinkest, sure­ly it must be done by this: and because thou seest no other, thou thinkest, if that fayle, all is spoiled: But it is not so; GOD will not doe it by these, but GOD is so farre from doing it, that his vsuall course is, when men haue pitched vpon particular meanes, and thinke surely the businesse must bee brought to passe by this, or else all will faile; GOD many times vseth not that, [Page 179] but a meanes which thou neuer thoughtest of.

In such a case, it fares with vs as it did with Naaman the Assyrian; when he comes to the Prophet of GOD, hee thought be­fore-hand, that the Prophet would haue spo­ken some words, and haue healed him; but he bids him goe and wash, which was a thing that hee neuer thought of: So thou many times thinkest of these meanes, thou pre­conceiuest things in thine owne heart, thou thinkest thou art right, thou thinkest it must needes be done this way, thou seest no other meanes; but, it may be, GOD will not doe it this way, but he will doe it a way that thou thinkest not of.

So Ioseph, when hee was in fauour with Pharoah his Steward, one would thinke, that this should haue beene the meanes of Iosephs aduancement, and of bringing to passe that promise; but this was not the meanes that GOD vsed.

Againe, when that Pharoah his chiefe Butler was deliuered, one would thinke that that should haue beene the meanes to haue wrought his exaltation; but yet these were not, there fell a meanes that Ioseph thought not on▪ and so GOD doth daily.

Many times, the thing that we most trust vnto, and put most confidence in, doth faile and deceiue vs, GOD dasheth in pieces such meanes, and vseth other meanes to helpe, [Page 180] that neuer came into our hearts to thinke of. Doe we not see it oftentimes?

Againe, that meanes which wee thinke will not doe, oftentimes doth it. Therefore say not, I trust in GOD, that he will doe it by meanes; for GOD delighteth to doe it by meanes.

Men are ready to say, Oh, if had such a Physician, or if I had such ayre, or such meanes, I should doe well enough: How doest thou know that? It may be, GOD will not vse that.

So, those that are in distresse; Oh if I had such a man to comfort me! Why thou know­est not whether that be the meanes that GOD will vse, or no. Therefore say not, because I see not meanes, therefore I will not trust in GOD. I say, GOD will doe it by meanes, but he vseth meanes of his owne prouiding, and not of thy seeking. This is the first answer to it.

2 The second answer: If thou say, that GOD doth it by meanes; yet remember, that it is his blessing or his curse, which makes those meanes on which thou art fixed effectuall or ineffectuall. The greatest meanes, the fairest, the most specious, and most probable to bring things to passe; remember, that if GOD doe but say to that meanes, prosper not, (for that is the curse, when hee bids a thing wither) thou shalt not doe it.

Againe, If it be weaker, if GOD say to such [Page 181] a thing, goe and doe this businesse, it shall be able to bring it to passe: this is his blessing and his curse; you should learne to haue these words, not onely in your mouthes, but to know the meaning of them; and not onely so, but to come to the practice; to say with your selues, when things are faire and pro­bable, Except GOD bid this doe it, it shall not be effectuall, if he curse it, it shall wither.

Thirdly, remember this, That his blessing 3 is dispensed, not according to thy meanes, but according to the vprightnesse of thy heart, according to thy workes. One would thinke, when he hath riches, then he should bring it to passe: but, saith the Prophet, Psal. 62. Riches belong to the Lord, they come neither from the North nor from the South: And, when riches increase, set not your heart vpon them: Saith he, it is not riches that makes men hap­py; for that Objection will come in.

If I had riches,Obiect. I should be able to doe this or that, they are the meanes to make a man happy, though happinesse consists not in them?

No,Ans. (saith he) when riches increase, set not your hearts vpon them. (As if he should say) If wealth would doe you good, I would giue you leaue to set your hearts vpon it: but it is not in wealth or riches to make a man poore or rich, but that comes of the Lord. But now comes in the Objection.

[Page 182] Obiect.Yea, but GOD doth it by meanes, the Lord doth it by riches.

Answ.No, GOD rewards men according to their workes, not according to their wealth. So that, when thou trustest to the meanes, know that GOD blesseth thee according to thy workes, not according to the outward condition thou art in. Thus we should learne to doe, when we say GOD doth things by meanes, when a man sees the fairest meanes, yet, if thou find that thou hast not prayed, thou hast not sought to GOD, thou hast no secret assurance of his blessing, thinke not that such a businesse will be done.

Againe, when the meanes are low, meane, and weake, yet, if thou haue sought him ear­nestly, if thou hast had a secret assurance of him, that he will be with thee, let not thy heart be discouraged; doe in this case, as Da­uid did,Psal. 31. Psal. 31. (saith he) I heard the spea­king against of great men, they sate and con­spired against me, but I trusted in thee, I said, my times are in thy hands. (Marke:) When Dauid saw the greatest meanes vsed against him as might be, They were great men set against him, and many of them, they ioyned together, they tooke councell against him, he was not discouraged, but saith, my times are in thy hands. If my times were in their hands, they might make me miserable, I had reason to bee discouraged at that; but my times are in thy hands: See if thou canst say [Page 183] this on both sides. When great men ioyne for thy wealth, say not now, I shall bee made a great man in the World; but say, My time is in Gods hand, it is not in their power to doe it.

Againe, when great men seeke and consult against thee, say not now, I shall be mi­serable, but consider thy times are in GODS hands, it is not in their hands to doe it.

FINIS.

OF EFFECTVALL FAITH. The sixth Sermon.

1. THESS. 1.3.

Remembring your effectuall Faith, &c.

WEe haue already answe­red one Objection, that God workes by meanes; we shewed after what manner: Well, if this be so, (before we leaue the point) take heede you deceiue not your selues; you commonly say, GOD workes things by meanes: The saying is true, if thy heart be not false: for it is true, hee workes [Page 186] things by meanes; but if such meanes come in competition, (as GOD hath not appointed, that which is vnlawfull for thee to doe) if it come in competition with that which GOD hath set apart, in such a case thou must let such meanes goe, else thou mayest vse that meanes, but it is the meanes alone, thou shalt haue no encouragement in the vse of them. If thou hast meanes, encourage not thy selfe so much because of them, but because thou hast GOD for thy friend; Let not the rich man reioyce in his riches, nor the strong man glory in his strength, or the wise man ioy in his wise­dome, Ier. 10. but let him that glorieth and re­ioyceth, Ier. 10. reioyce in the Lord. If they could doe a man good, we might reioyce in them: The Lord requires nothing but that which is rea­sonable; I dare be bold to declare it, that if the confidence in the strength of a man were able to doe him good, he might reioyce in it. Therefore we see in that place, hee saith, it comes of the Lord. As if he should say, We see by experience, when GOD will vse them as instruments, it is otherwise, then they doe that which of themselues they cannot; they doe it no farther then GOD blesseth them, for else they hurt, and doe no good to a man. Take heede therefore thy heart bee not false, and deceiue not thy selfe, that thou mingle by-respects in the businesse; but vse the meanes, and depend and trust in God for the bringing it to passe; which thou shalt [Page 187] know by this, if thou draw neere to God; for that is a tryall, Ier. 17. Cursed is he that maketh flesh his arme: This drawes the heart from GOD;1 Tim. 1.6. you shall finde that noted in 1 Tim. 1.6. The Widdow that trusts in God prayeth day and night. Therefore when thou hast the best meanes, if thou be not slacke in prayer, it ar­gues thy trust in GOD; when thou goest to GOD, and striuest with him by prayer, and seekest not to the creature, to say thy wealth, or riches, or the like, shall helpe thee. So much for the answer to the first Objection.

Another thing that we are ready to object,Obiect. is, But what if such a thing should come to passe? what if the euill that I feare should fall vpon me? what if the businesse I goe a­bout proceed not, which is of that moment, I am vndone, if it be not done?

Herein the heart of a man must be quiet.Ans.

First, It may be thou art too hasty in this kinde; many times thou thinkest in such ca­ses, that thou art without helpe and without hope, when it is not so: Know therfore, that a man may be vnder water and rise againe, he may sinke twice or thrice before he be drow­ned; thou mayest receiue many foiles, many blowes, and yet not lose the victory. The best Saints haue beene vnder the cloud for a great while, but they were not destroyed, they pe­rished not: So was Ioseph, so was Dauid ▪ so were all. Therefore put the case that thou fall into the particular ill, that the euill which [Page 188] thou fearest, fall vpon thee, cast not away thy confidence, GOD may helpe thee, hee may come betweene the cup and the lip, as often it is seene. It is his vsuall manner to appeare in the Mount, and not before. It was a Pro­uerbe in Israel, The LORD will be seene in the Mount; not so much because it was a com­mon speech, but because it was commonly done, it was a thing that GOD vsed to doe. Therfore be not discouraged too soone, GOD may helpe thee, as low as thou art. Suppose this doe come to passe, as a mans heart will neuer be at rest, till he suppose that which he would not be content should be so: and hence comes disquiet in a mans heart, if it do come, he hath not resolution to beare the perplexi­ty. Therefore in such a case, if thou suppose it will be so, doe as Hester did; resolue, If I perish, I perish. The meaning is, If I perish, I shall not perish: when she saith, If I perish, I perish, she meanes not such a matter as we say in our common speech; but, if it will come to passe, let it come to passe: so Hester, If I perish, I perish: She knew it was a good worke that she went about, and she knew she should haue a reward for it. It is not such a thing to lose the life, as men thinke it is: If wee looke vpon it with the eye of faith, it is no such matter. And so the three Children, they care not what should become of them; They knew not whether GOD would deli­uer them, or no; but if hee would not, they [Page 189] resolued to beare it, and so should wee doe.

But,Obiect. you will say, a man is not able to doe this.

If thou diddest know the reason,Ans. it would moue thee. Therefore labour to worke thy heart to consider, that all these worst things that befall thee, may be good enough; and if thou haue not learned before, learne now: Marke what Paul saith, We are afflicted, but not ouercome; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast downe, but we perish not; euer dying, but yet behold we liue; sorry, and yet we re­ioyce. That is, there is somewhat that sustaines vs in the worst dangers, somewhat that keepes vs from sinking: And Paul, he is as good as his word; what he saith there, we see by his carriage; we see in what a manner he went thorow all, all was nothing, persecu­tion was nothing, but what he did in such a case, he had GOD stood actually by him, and said, Feare not, Paul, I haue much people there, when he sent him into Macedonia.

But thou sayest,Obiect. thou hast nothing to beare it.

Consider,Ans. whatsoeuer thy case bee, If the thing doe so fall out, thou shouldest be ready to say, this is not so desperate, but it may bee helped; it is not so heauy, but it may bee borne; it is not so miserable a case, but it may be happy; and lastly, it is not so bad, but it may be good for me.

First, There is no case so desperate, but it [Page 190] may be helped▪ Put the case thy name, which is so tender a thing, which is like vnto glasse, which if it be broke, cannot be made vp a­gaine; Suppose it be broken all in pieces in the World, GOD shall make it vp. Ioseph, his name could not be made vp againe, and he cleared as innocent of all; but GOD clea­red him. Dauid now by his great sinnes, hee brake his good name, so that now it was not an easie thing to heale Dauids name; yet God did it abundantly, and he dyed full of riches and honour: It was forgotten as a thing that had neuer beene; when he had gotten credit with GOD, he got credit with men.

And so for pouerty: It is not easie for a man to be rich, riches haue wings. It is true, riches haue wings to flye to a man, if God bid them come, as well as they haue wings to flye from a man, if GOD bid them leaue him.

Againe, what if such a man be thine ene­mie? There is no man that is such an enemy but GOD can soone make him a friend, as we see in Iacob and Esau. Let the case be what it will: you know Iobs case, there was all extre­mity of misery vpon him, that, if a man should looke vpon him, hee would thinke it impossible to helpe him, yet you see what GOD did.

Againe, I say, it is not so heauy but it may be borne: we see how Paul bore all his affli­ctions, (we see it in other instances, which before we reckoned vp:2 Cor. 11.) in 2 Cor. 11. See [Page 191] how he was stoned, how hee was scourged, and imprisoned, the troubles that hee had within him: the care of all the Churches was vpon him, and who was afflicted, and he did not burne? It was to him as a fire to a man, it scorched him; and yet you shall see, that he bore them in such a manner, that if a man were to chuse Pauls comforts with his afflictions, he should make a good choice to take the one with the other. Paul, in the pre­sence of Nero, is not daunted, who was a wic­ked Tyrant. So Dauid, hee was in a misera­ble case at Ziglag, he had lost his Wiues, and all that he had, he had no helpe, but [...] few (600.) men, and yet they would haue stoned him too: this was nothing to him, when God had setled his spirit with comfort, he com­forted himselfe in the LORD. So in any case, if God keepe a whole spirit in thee, it is no matter.

Take a Plaster that is sharpe,Simile. if you lay it to a sore place, it will smart and grieue it, but lay it to the whole flesh, it is nothing: So it is with afflictions, when thy soule is whole, it is like a whole shoulder; lay a hea­uie burthen vpon a whole shoulder, and it goes away with it well enough: But if the soule and spirit be broken, it is not fit to beare a crosse. If GOD enable a man, it is another thing; then, disease is nothing, imprison­ment is nothing, and disgrace is nothing; when GOD enables a man to beare it, it is no­thing: [Page 192] therefore it is not so heauy but it may be borne.

Againe, it is not so miserable, but thou mayest be happy in it. Why? The reason is in Rom. 8.Rom. 8. Because, whatsoeuer it be, it shall not separate vs from the loue of God in CHRIST: neither principalities, nor pow­ers, nor things present, nor things to come, neither men, nor deuils: In such a case, the Deuill, with all his forces set against thee, shall not be able to make thee miserable, thou art a happy man notwithstanding, hee shall not be able to hurt thee, GOD loues thee still, and loues thee tenderly, thou art deare to him at all times. Therefore whatsoeuer it is, it shall not separate thee from the loue of God in Christ: and when he could name no more, he names in generall; saith he, neither men, nor Deuils, nor any thing shall doe it.

Againe, it is not so bad, (I say) but it may be best for thee, it may doe thee good: for our nature is so rebellious, and so set vpon things of this world, that except God should take this course, to worke a wearinesse in the World, to mortifie our lusts, if GOD should not take such courses, our nature would bee ready to rebell: therefore GOD dealeth so with men. Sometimes he afflicts thee with sicknesse, sharpe sicknesse, which is irksome to thee; but know, that if that disease were taken from thee, thou knowest not what thy heart would doe. Some men bee afflicted [Page 193] with enmity of others; thou knowest not, if thou wert friends with all men, how thou shouldest be. Thou art afflicted in the world, in thy wife, in thy children, in thy neigh­bours, in thy name, in thy estate, and though thou thinke with thy selfe, If I were free from this, I should be happy, I should bee humble, I should serue GOD the better; I say vnto thee, thou knowest not what thou shoul­dest be: A mans minde doth not know what it would be in another estate, onely he knows the present. If thou haddest such and such circumstances, if thou haddest wealth, if thou haddest such crosses remoued, if all things should goe well with thee, Oh then thou wouldest be happy: but thou knowest not what thou shouldest be. You know what the Prophet said to Hazael: (saith he) Doest thou know what thou shalt be when thou art King of Aram? Thou knowest how thou art affe­cted now, but thou knowest not how thou shalt be then, when thou art a King, then thou wilt be answerable to thy state and condition. So much for the second Objection.

Thirdly,Obiect. it will be objected; It is true, if GOD did heare my prayers,Concerning Gods hearing our prayers. or if he did vsual­ly heare the Prayers that the Saints make, that it were no more but seeke and haue, we would trust in GOD in difficult cases: But I finde by experience, that I pray, and he doth not answer me: and it is not my experience onely, but it is the experience of others like­wise; [Page 194] they pray, and GOD doth not heare their prayers; what should sustaine me ther­fore now?

Ans.To this I answer; It is certaine that GOD alwayes heares thy prayers, there is no doubt to be made of that; he is a God hearing pray­ers, and hath made a promise, that when they come, hee will heare them: Be assured therefore that he heares. But now to answer thee.

First, there are many cases wherein GOD heares not:Why God heares not sometimes. as first, it may bee thou askest amisse.

Obiect.But thou wilt say, My heart is right; and therefore I hope I aske not amisse.

Ans.Yes, though thy heart be right, thou maiest aske amisse,When we aske amisse. out of mistake, out of want of iudgement; thou must not thinke with thy selfe, because thy affection is strong to such a thing, therefore it is lawfull for thee, and meete for thee to haue it. There are many things which a little childe asketh, which are not meete for him; a wise Father will not second his child in all that he affects and de­sires: thou must thinke that God will not doe it in these cases. And therefore learne in such a case when thou comest to GOD for outward things, or for the measure of grace, or for the present vse of grace (as you shall heare here­after) it may be hee answers thee not; yet thou must acknowledge GOD to bee onely wise. If we could remember that in 1 Tim. 1.19. [Page 195] To the King onely wise, be glory and immor­tality: we thinke our selues wise too, wee thinke that we haue some part of wisdome; but if we did beleeue that he were only wise, that is, if thou diddest beleeue that none were wise but he, thou wouldest be content toresigne thy selfe vnto him, let him doe with thee what he will, although thou see no rea­son, yet thou wouldest be content. Therefore when thou commest to aske at Gods hands, thou shouldest be ready to say thus; LORD, I see no reason why this should not be good, and yet I may be deceiued, I may be mista­ken: Therefore I will not aske it absolutely; It may be the want of it is better for me then the enioying of it; it may be, to be crossed in it, is better for me then to haue successe in it: thou art onely wise, I am not able to iudge: and therefore when wee come to aske any thing of GOD, thus wee should doe. Paul, when he comes to aske the mortification of his fleshly lusts,2 Cor. 12. 2 Cor. 12. one would thinke he might haue asked that absolutely, we can­not see how GOD should not heare that pray­er, and yet in that case Paul was mistaken, GOD saw it was best to suffer that lust to con­tinue vpon him, and to contend with him; thou shalt not be free from this strong temp­tation; for, saith he, by this I will humble thee, thou shalt haue a better grace then thou shouldest haue if that lust were taken away: when Paul saw that the continuance of that [Page 196] vpon him, it humbled him more, that it brought more glory to God, that it shewed Gods power in his weaknesse, he was content, hee saw that he was deceiued before: I say, in such a case a man may be deceiued, much more in outward things. You know, the Disciples, when they came to aske fire to come downe from Heauen, they thought it was a zealous request; but CHRIST tels them that they were deceiued, they knew not from what Spirit that request did come; If it had come from GODS Spirit, hee would haue heard it, but they were deceiued: So if thou woul­dest haue GOD heare thy prayer, know whe­ther they come from Gods Spirit, whether thy prayers be the voyce of thine owne spirit, or of Gods Spirit; if it be the voyce of GODS Spirit, he heares it alwaies, because it askes according to his will; our spirits may aske that which is good, but not that which is fit at this time.

When we are not fitted for mercies.Secondly, he will heare thee, but it may be, thou art not yet fit for the mercie, not be­cause he doth not heare thy prayer, and tender thee in that case thou art in, but thou ar [...] not yet fit, herein GOD deales with vs as the Phy­sician deales with his Patient; The Patient earnestly desires such and such things; The Physician wants not will to giue them him, but he resolues to giue them as soone as he is fit: and therefore he makes him stay till hee haue purged him, and made him fit for it, till hee [Page 197] be fit for such a Cordiall, for such a Medicine, that it may not hurt him: it may be GOD staies thee. So the men of Beniamin, they were fit­ted when they had fasted and prayed three times; when they had fasted once and twice, they aduentured, and preuailed not till the third time. So GOD defers long: What if thou fast and pray, and GOD doe not heare thee, yet conclude not with thy selfe, that thou art not yet fit. There is somewhat more that must be done. Dauid, a man would thinke that he had beene fitted for the Kingdome before that time, but GOD deferred it vntill Dauid was humbled enough, till he was broken enough, till GOD had prouided a Kingdome, as he pro­mised.

And so he did with Ioseph, and so with the people of Is [...]ael; they were kept long in bon­dage, they were long pressed, before they were fit to be deliuered: GOD tendred his people then, hee had no delight in their afflictions. And so we may see in the whole Booke of the Iudges, how God suffered his people to be affli­cted, to fit them for deliuerance. So thinke with thy selfe, thou art not fitted yet; & if thou wouldst go by a rule,1 Pet. 5.6. see the rule, 1 Pet. 5.6. Humble your selues vnder his mighty hand that he may exalt you in due time. (Marke, whensoeuer God layes any affliction vpon any man, his end is to humble him. And if the worke be done, he will performe that which he hath promised, assoone as thou art humbled, he will exalt thee: [Page 198] therefore that word is added, he will exalt you in due time, not when thou thinkest hee will before-hand, for GOD is wise, and will doe it in due time, if he should defer it beyond the time when thou art fitted, he should not doe it in due time, but beyond the time.

Againe, if he should send deliuerance be­fore thou art fit, it were not in due time, it would come too soone: But assure thy selfe, when thy heart is humbled and weakned from the world, when thy lusts are mortified, and when thou art made spirituall and heauenly-minded by such afflictions, be sure, GOD will not deferre one iot, he will come in the exact­nesse of time, that as it is said, in the fulnesse of time his Sonne came, so it is in the fulnesse of time before he will saue thee, in the fittest time. Therefore I would say to thee, whoso­euer thou art, that suest to GOD for pleasure, for honour, it may be, to be relieued in thy state, for health, for life, or for comfort; I say, GOD hath made a promise, and it is impossi­ble that he should faile in the performance of of it,Prou. 22.4. as Salomon saith, Prou. 22.4. Riches, and honour, and life shall he giue; but to to whom? to him that is humble, and that feareth the Lord. You must put in both the conditions. Many men feare the LORD, which are not humbled; and some men are humbled, but they haue some secret way of wickednesse, wherein they are induldent to themselues; but they must goe both together. Let a man be holy, that [Page 199] he may haue no way of wickednesse in him­selfe, and let him be humbled, or else GOD may bestow wealth on thee, but if thy heart be not holy, thou wilt forget GOD in it. And if he giue thee health, if thy heart be not hum­bled, thou wilt be ready to vse it intemperate­ly, thou knowest not thine owne heart: but be assured, when thou commest to God, he heares the requests that are made by his Spirit, that if thou be prepared, he will not deny thee, the promise is absolute, let the condition be fulfil­led: for those are the words, The reward of hu­mility, and the feare of God, is riches, and honour, and life: Except not these, when there is not the precedent preparation: for it is not best for thee.

Thirdly,To make vs pray feruently it may be GOD doth it not because there is a defect in thy prayer, hee will haue thee pray more feruently, that condition is put in,Iam. 5. Iam. 5. The prayer of the righteous auaileth much, if it be feruent. Indeede GOD might be­stow blessings vpon vs for the meere asking, if we did but make our requests knowne; yet he is pleased to require that condition that our prayers be feruent, and he defers the giuing of the blessing vntill we be quickned: and ther­fore he defers oft-times, to inhance, and to cause vs to prize his blessings, (lightly come, lightly gone, as we vse to say.) Things that come easily, we willingly part with, but GOD will haue vs prize them high: and therefore we must begge them earnestly, he holds them [Page 200] backe to affect our appetites, to make vs con­tend with him in prayer; or else why did hee deferre to grant the Woman of Canaans re­quest, why did he defer to giue Iacob deliue­rance from his brother Esau? if he had done it in the beginning, Iacob had not so wrastled, he had not done that excellent duty of prayer all night. When Hannah comes to aske a sonne of the Lord, he hath giuen to many with lesse adoe, but he would not grant it her till her spi­rit was troubled, till she prayed earnestly with contention and violence, that Ely thought she was drunke: No, said she, but I am a wo­man troubled in spirit: they must be earnest, those prayers that God will haue at thy hands; and if thou be not heard, goe and mend thy prayers that thou mayest mend thy speeding; quicken thy prayers, as thou labourest to make thy heart more righteous, that thou mayest be fit. The prayers of the righteous preuaile much, if they be feruent: so pray more feruently.

When it cros­seth Gods pro­uidence other­wise.Fourthly, it may be God heares thee, but it crosseth some other secret passage of his proui­dence. There are many things that GOD the great Gouernour of the world must bring to­gether; and though thou see no reason why he should not heare thee, yet it may be hee will discouer vnto thee, that the sum of all things being put together, thou shalt see that it is not best for thee to be heard. Dauid now, when he comes to aske a request at Gods hands, that he might build him a Temple, it was a thing that [Page 201] he desired, and he made no question but that it was according to Gods will▪ and Nathan was of that opinion too, Goe, saith hee, and doe all that is in thine heart: Dauid did not know what belonged to that businesse, because no man can iudge of those things that GOD hath appointed to bring to passe, a man can­not see round about all the corners of GODS prouidence, no man is able to see it: wee see not the concurrence of things, how one thing stands with another. And therefore we ought not to looke in such cases to be heard; as the Wisemen, they thought it fit to haue returned by the way they came, but God saw a reason to turne them another way. Therfore be not ha­sty in thy requests, but know that GOD is wise, and will worke all for the best, his glory must goe in all, and one thing must be done, that his end may be brought to passe in all.

Againe, it may be God will grant thy request; but for the manner, and the meanes by which he will doe it, and for the time, it is in his own power. But because these things are knowne, I will not stand to presse them farrher: but now I come to the last Objection.

Last of all,Obiect. you will be ready to say, It is true, I would trust in God, About the pro­sperity of wic­ked men, and the Saints afflictions. if he did alway shew mer­cie for my sake, If I saw the Saints alwaies bring their enterprizes to passe, If I did see it still well with them that trust in him, but I finde it contrary for the most part: It is ill with them that trust in the Lord, and euill [Page 200] men prosper; and therefore what encourage­ment haue I to trust in GOD in this manner as you exhort me to doe, when I am brought to such an exigent, to such a case that my life or my goods are in hazard, or my name, it is not my best way so to doe: I see by experience, that those that are wise men, politique men, and those that haue the greatest meanes, they prosper, when as other men that feare GOD, doe not bring thy deuices to passe.

I will answer this, and so will haue done with the point.

First, I answer, it is true, that ill men oft­times doe prosper, and that good men many times doe not succeede; I say, we will not de­ny it: for wee see the Scripture is plentifull, Psal. 37.Psal. 37. Feare not the man that bringeth his en­terprizes to passe: where it is supposed that they doe so.Ier. 12.1. In Ier. 12.1. Why doe the wicked prosper? where the Prophet sets out in parti­cular how they prosper; he saith, they grow and take roote, they spring, and bring forth fruit. And you know what Salomon saith, who was a wise man, and looked through many euents that fall out vnder the Sunne:Eccles. 8.14. Eccles. 8.14. I haue seene this venity, (saith he) that where should haue beene Iustice, there hath beene wickednesse, and it hath come vnto the iust as vnto the wicked: I haue seene the Battell hath not beene to the strong, nor bread to the wise. And so he goes along, as you know well. He sets out in that Booke plenti­fully, that euill men may prosper long, and [Page 201] may exceedingly bring their enterprizes to passe.

Againe, on the other side, the Saints may not prosper, and that in those things which they doe according to Gods will. When Christ sent his Disciples ouer the Water, and bade them goe to the other side, yet they rowed all night, there w [...]s a great storme, that they could doe no good, so that they were in great jeopardy and danger, and yet it was his owne appointment: So, I say, thou mayest goe a­bout a businesse, and yet finde such stormes, such contrary windes and waues, such streames running against thee, that thou mayest be ex­ceedingly hazarded, though GOD himselfe set thee on worke. When Paul went to Mace­donia, you see GOD called him from another place, and bade him goe thither: you shall not finde that Paul was the better vsed; nay, you shall finde, that for the time, he seemed to doe lesse good there of any place, there were few that beleeued in GOD. And Peter, when hee came to CHRIST on the water, he had a war­rant for it, he did that which was a fruit of his faith, yet for all that he sunke, he beganne to sinke, till CHRIST put forth his hand, and was saine to helpe him. Therefore I say, you may goe about Gods businesse, and yet it may not prosper. Therefore wee must set downe that conclusion; it is a great light to know that it is so. The Wiseman giues the reason of it, Eccles. 7.14.Eccles. 7.14. (Saith hee) Thou shalt finde great [Page 204] variety, thou shalt finde some times, good times: and in the day of wealth, when thou hast it, re­ioyce.

Againe, another time afflictions will come, know that GOD hath done this for some pur­pose: He hath made this contrary to that, that thou shouldst finde nothing after him. That is, that all the world may see that his wayes and his a­ctions are past finding out. If God should deale alwayes after this manner, you might know where to haue him in his wayes: If he should alwayes giue affliction to sinners, a man might say, surely GOD will doe this: but it is not so, hee hath made this contrary to the other; that is, he takes different courses with men, he hath made this contrary to that, that men should not finde the print of his footsteps: to say that GOD will certainely doe this another time. Therefore hee addeth those words, which doe immediately follow, that none might finde out any thing after him: I haue seene the iust perish in his Iustice, and I haue seene a wicked man goe on long in his malice. This God hath done, that men might know to feare be­fore him, that men might learne to cry out with Paul, Oh the depth of his wisdome, and vnderstanding, and his wayes are past finding out; that men might tremble before GOD, and acknowledge his wisdome. But I come now to a particular answer: for it is a point worthy the answering, it is a point that will stand vs in much stead, when wee meete [Page 205] with many such objections as mans heart will haue in that case. Therefore I answer particu­larly and briefely.

First,We must not iudge by Gods outward pro­ceedings. though GOD doe so, yet remember that thou must not iudge any thing, till thou see he haue finished the worke: thou wilt not iudge a mans worke till hee haue done it: If a man goe about to build, iudge not his worke till it bee done, because thou seest not for what end many things are framed and made, wilt thou therefore say that hee is an vnskilfull builder? it were folly to doe so, but stay till hee haue finished worke, and then see how one part answers with another, and in what proportion. So in all the workes of GOD, if thou see it goe well with those that are ill, and those that are good are afflicted, stay till thou see GOD haue finished his worke.

And therefore I say to thee in this case, as Saint Iames saith; Know ye not what end the Lord made with Iob? So marke what end the Lord makes, as with Iob, so with all the Saints; know what is their ends. And otherwise take all the euill men, as Ieroboam and Saul, and see what end the LORD made with them; their prosperity was as a pleasant Dreame, which was soone gone; as the flower of the grasse vpon the house top, which withereth: Looke to the end of things. I cannot stand on it.

Secondly, though the wicked prosper, yet their prosperity hurts them as much as afflicti­on [Page 206] and aduersity doth good to the godly, their prosperity slayeth them, whereas the afflicti­ons of the other benefits them: if thou finde this to be thy case, that thou prosper, and that thou seest thou goest on in sinne, thou hast no cause to reioyce in this; or if thou seest other men prosper, thinke them not happy for this, it is out of mistake, It is the miserablest con­dition in the world; you know what GOD did to Hophni and Phineas, he did not afflict them, he let them goe long, he sent them no disease, hee interrupted not their course: What was the reason? Hee had a purpose to destroy them.

So againe when thou dost not succeede in thy matters, but art crossed, yet so long as that will doe thee good, what needest thou care?

Obiect.But, you will obiect, My afflictions are great, and many, and therefore how shall I beare them?

Answ.I will instruct thee; I say thou hast neede of strong afflictions.We haue need of long and strong afflicti­ctions. Some Colts are so vnta­med, they must needs be broken so some cor­ruptions are so vnruly, that they will not be wrought out without great afflictions.

Againe, thou needest many afflictions, be­cause the corruptions of thy heart are of diuers sorts, and if there were but one affliction, it would not serue the turne.

Againe, thou hast neede that afflictions should continue long, because sinne is very na­turall; some are hidden, and long a breeding, [Page 207] and cannot easily be remoued. Therefore what though thy afflictions be so,Dan. 11.7. as is is said Dan. 11.7. They shall fall by the Sword, by the Famine, by Captiuity many dayes. These were men of vnderstanding, holy men, yet they had great afflictions of diuers sorts, Sword and Famine, such as Iames speakes of, and long afflictions for many dayes. Now all this was to doe them good, to try them, to purge them, to make them white. So when those afflictions are to doe thee good, and their prosperity for their hurt, let this satisfie thee.

Thirdly consider, that though they doe prosper, and godly men doe not so, yet their low estate, their imprisonment, their pouerty, their obscurity, the disgrace which they are vnder, this is better to them, then the honour, and the pompe, the titles and the riches that euill men haue. I can but name these things. Psal. 37. A little that the righteous hath, is bet­ter then the riches of many wicked. What is the meaning of that? That is, they haue more comfort in that little, then the other haue in their faire Pallaces, in their great states; thou mayest haue more comfort in a little, then they haue in their abundance; thou mayest haue more comfort in obscurity, as Paul saith, as not knowne, though a man be obscure, yet if he be knowne to GOD, and to mens consci­ences, he is of greater eminency then those that are in the highest place. So though thou haue poore possessions in outward things, though [Page 208] thou be melancholique, and alwayes sorry, yet that little, that very condition is better to thee then the outward condition is to the other.

Fourthly, in perillous times this is a great difference: for though a man haue prosperity, yet certainely, a hard time will come, a time of sicknesse, and of temptation, and of death will befall vs:Psal 37. Psal. 37. In perrilous times they shall be confounded: here is the difference: and they shall melt as fat: that is, In such a time their hearts shall faint, and such men haue nothing to sustaine them; they shall be confounded in such a time, they shall not know what to doe.

Quest.But now you will say, What perrilous time is that, when GOD will deale so with them, you will say, in those perrilous times, for ought we see, the Sword deuoures one as well as another; certainely, it sweepes away one as well as another: Sicknesse, when it comes, it sweepes away one as well as another: And therefore in the perrilous time, I see no difference between the godly and the wicked.

Answ. I answer, There is difference when the same affliction fals vpon both.Ier. 24. Difference be­tweene the Saints and o­thers in the same afflicti­ons. Looke in Ier. 24. you shall finde there, that both were carried away captiues, good men and bad men, the whole Chapter is spent in it; it is but a short Chap­ter: See there what is the difference there is in the same afflictions which fell to both: saith he, There were two Baskets, the one was full of good Figs, the other was full of bad, which [Page 209] could not be eaten for badnesse, looke in the Text, you shall finde that both were carried a­way captiue, but here is the difference, they were carried both in an indifferent manner, (saith he) you shall be carried captiue aswell as the other, the good Figs in the Basket, but I will know you, mine eyes shall be vpon you to doe you good, and I will bring you backe in due season, and I will plant you in captiuity, and you shall grow; and I will build you, and you shall not be destroyed; and I will giue you a heart to know me in that condition; and I will be your GOD, and you shall be my peo­ple: all this will I doe to you, although you be in the same affliction. And what will hee doe to the other? They shall be carried in a Basket into captiuity, but, saith the Lord, I will make you a reproach, I will make you a curse, I will make you a common talke, I will destroy you when you come into captiuity, with the Sword, with Famine, with Pestilence, mine eyes shall be on you for ill in such a case. So I say, the same Beesome of destruction may sweepe away both, the same Sword may de­uoure both, the same disease may seaze vpon both, there is no great difference outwardly in the same affliction; both may die, and is there not great difference in their death? both may be sicke, and is there not a great diffe­rence? In the one his heart is made glad and light in Gods countenance, in his Beloued; when as the other hath nothing to hold him [Page 210] vp: The one hath the consolation of the Spi­rit, the other wants it.

Againe, consider in affliction there is great difference, as you shall finde this difference betweene the condition of the Saints and o­thers, although their outward condition seeme to be alike; The euill man stands in slippery places, and his condition is vncertaine, and it is a great miserie to be vncertaine, for a mans condition to be ready to be blowne downe with such a winde, he knowes not how long he shall continue and stand; so they stand in slippery places. The other, those that are built on Christ, are like the house built on the Rocke, they are sure it shall be well with them.

Againe, afflictions that come to the wicked, they come suddenly. Therefore it is a thing proper to the wicked,Prou. 1.27. Prou. 1.27. Their desola­tion shall come suddenly, and their destruction as a whirlewind: Why, is it not so with the godly? doe not they often perish by sudden death? doth it not fall on them? doe not sudden chan­ges come to them as well as to the others? No: Things are sudden, not from their sud­dennesse, but from the want of the preparati­on of the person that they fall vpon: therefore GOD will not send affliction vpon his children till he haue prepared them; hee will prepare them, and then it is no matter if they come suddenly, it is no matter though he strike them suddenly before they be aware; when he hath fitted them, it comes not suddenly, Death [Page 211] comes not vpon them as a snare: that is to be taken in a snare properly, when the Beast is taken in a snare by the Huntsman, or by the Fowler, who meanes their destruction; so af­flictions come vpon euill men as a snare, when as they are taken in an euill Net, Satan takes them there to destroy them eternally.

Againe,Afflictions ea­sie to the god­ly. the afflictions of the godly are not so heauy to them, as the afflictions of the wic­ked are; GOD afflicts them in the branches, not in the roote; they drinke of the Cup, but not of the dregs; but as for the wicked, hee smites them so, as that hee smites them not the second time, that they roare for his wrath: Psal. 31.24.Psal. 21.34. The godly, though hee fall, yet shall he rise againe, he shall not be cast off, the Lord puts vnder his hand: That is, though the godly fall into affliction, yet he is not broken in the fall, GOD puts vnder his hand, hee fals soft, he fals not so as to breake his necke, to be vndone; so there is that difference. So that, though GOD doe the same act to both, yet he doth it to the one for loue, to the other he doth the same act for destruction.Simile. Like to a man that loppes Trees; there is a certaine season in the yeere, when if he loppe his Trees, they will be the better for it, if they be lopped in due season, they are the better; loppe them at another time, and they will wither: So God comes to the wicked man in the vnfittest time to him, a time when they looke not for him, a time that the wicked men feare least, then [Page 212] hee comes iust as a Thiefe doth in the worst, and most dangerous time of all for the owner of the house, then comes the Thiefe, he pickes out that time: So GOD comes vpon the wic­ked, and afflicts them when they are in peace and prosperity: take heede that he loppe thee not at that time when thou shalt wither to de­struction, when thou art not prepared. So the Scripture saith, sudden destruction comes vp­wicked men: So that suddennesse is when men are not prepared. And so when God saith, will free the godly from sudden death, his meaning is, he will prepare him, and fit him for death. Put all these together, That the wicked bring their enterprizes to passe, that the godly are crossed and afflicted, that GOD hath a speciall end in this, that death, afflicti­on, and sicknesse come suddenly vpon none but wicked men, and it will giue satisfaction to any man. I should come now to presse the point, but the time is past, I cannot doe it. So much shall serue for the second Vse, for the answering of the Objections.

Faith must be improued to increase san­ctification.The third thing to set faith on worke in, is to sanctifie you, to mortifie your lusts, to re­uiue and strengthen you in the inward man, and to make it quicke in euery good worke. This point I intended to handle at this time. Faith is exceeding effectuall to doe this. I will touch it but in one word, I will not hold you long. Set faith aworke to sanctifie thy heart.

Quest.You will aske me, How shall I doe it?

[Page 213]Faith doth it diuers wayes,Ans. I cannot goe thorow them:How Faith sanctifies the heart. Set faith a worke, to beleeue the forgiuenesse of thy sinnes, to beleeue the loue of GOD towards thee, to beleeue the pro­mises, and thou shalt finde that these will san­ctifie thy heart, this act of faith wil purifie thy-heart. But how can that be? Because this shall turne thy heart from thy sinnes, to GOD: for there is no way to mortifie lusts, and to quic­ken thy heart, but by causing thee to delight in GOD. No man can haue his heart weaned from sinne, diuorsed from sinne which he hath beene wedded to all his life, except he find an­other Husband, in whom hee may delight more. Now the more thou beleeuest that God is thine, the more thou beleeuest that thy sins are forgiuen, the more thou canst set faith on worke to doe this, the more victory thou shalt get ouer thy sinnes, that is the nature of mans disposition, that still it desires that object that is amiable and pleasant. Now if thou looke on GOD as a Iudge, that will turne thee away from him, that makes thee continue stil in sin; but when thou lookest vpon him as vpon one that loues thee, as one that fauoureth thee, as one that is thy frend, that accepts thee, this will winne thine heart, this will cause a mans heart to turne from sinne, to turne from darknes to light, it will make him to leaue the wayes wherein he delighted before, it will di­uorse a mans heart from the sinne wherein it hath taken pleasure a long time, so that [Page 214] it shall neuer get the victory ouer it. There­fore the best way in such a case, is to set faith aworke to beleeue the forgiuenesse of sinnes; remember the promises of GOD, those promi­ses you haue heard often, that God will forgiue thy sinnes, that he will pardon thee, take these promises, and apply them; see GOD ready to forgiue, this will turne thy heart from sinne, thou shalt finde sinne dye and wither in thee, and thy heart to growe and bee quickned in grace: you know, that to get a louing heart, is to beleeue that GOD loues vs, to beleeue that our sinnes are forgiuen. Now I say, there is nothing that weakneth sinne indeede, but to loue GOD; whatsoeuer sinne is weakned by other meanes then by loue to GOD, by turning the heart to him by repentance and mortifica­tion, that sinne lyeth hid, though it seeme no way to increase: this increaseth loue, when we beleeue the promise of GOD, that he is ready to forgiue, that is effectuall for this purpose. When CHRIST came to Peter, and said vnto him, Louest thou me? then, saith he, feede my Sheepe. So after this manner, when thou once beleeuest that GOD loues thee, and canst bring thy heart to loue him againe, if now CHRIST should come to thee, and say, Louest thou me, who loued thee, and gaue my selfe for thee? If thou doest loue me, disdaine such a thing which I hate, doe not such things as will grieue me; keepe my Commandements, keepe my Sabbaths; if thou louest me, let not thy con­uersation [Page 215] be in wantonnesse, in strife and en­uying; it thou loue me, labour to bring some glory to my Name, and to doe some good to mankinde; if thou loue me, be diligent in thy Calling; if thou loue mee, honour mee, doe good to others, doe good to thy selfe with it. Let a man goe thorow all the particulars of sinne, and he would abstaine from it, if hee would set faith on worke this way to sanctifie his heart.

Againe, faith doth it by ouercomming the World, that when a man is drawne, one of these two things drawes him, Either some of­fer of some great benefit, or some great euill which he is put in feare of: now when hee lookes, and seeth that GOD is able to keepe him when men doe their worst, and that hee can giue him a heauenly Kingdome, when he lookes to the promise, he is aboue the World.

Againe, he not onely ouercomes riches, but he makes aduantage of them; hee not onely loues them as a slaue, but he gets the victory ouer them, and hee gets seruice from them. And so when men can make their recreations to serue their turnes for better purposes, when a man not onely ouercomes them, gets the victory of them, but makes them seruiceable, so a man make aduantage of the World.

Againe, when thou wouldest haue thy san­ctification increased, increase thy faith. The more thou beleeuest, the more the Spirit of Christ is conueyed into thy heart. The stronger [Page 219] thy faith is, the more the winde of grace, the sappe shall flow from CHRIST into thy heart. As old Adams corruption, it is with the grace of CHRIST, when thou commest neere, thou art ingraft into the similitude of his death; that is, there comes a gift from him, he sends his Spirit into thy heart, that doth make thee ioy in him, that causeth thee to dye to sin, and to liue to righteousnesse. This I thought to haue opened: But so much shal serue for this time, and for this Text.

FINIS.

OF LOVE. THE FIRST SERMON.

GALLAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

IN the fourth verse of this chapter the Apostle affirmes, that there is no justification by the law; for, saith hee, If you be justified by the law, you are fallen from grace: that is, you cannot be partakers of that justification which is by grace: Because for to have it by the law, and to have it by grace are [Page 2] opposite. And he gives a reason for it, because, saith he, Through the Spirit we waite for the hope of that righteousnes which is by faith, and not by the law. When he had expressed himselfe so farre, which is the righteousnesse received by faith, that is, that righteousnesse which is freely given by God, of­fered to us, wrought by Christ, but taken by faith on our parts: Thus saith he, you must be justi­fied. Now to confirme this, he gives a reason in this verse that I have read; for, saith he, In Christ Iesus, (that is, to put a man into Christ Iesus, or to make him acceptable to God through Christ Iesus, to doe this) neither circumcision availeth any thing, or uncircumcision: (That is, neither the kee­ping of any part of the ceremoniall law, or the o­mission of it, nor the keeping of the morall law, or the breaking of it will helpe to ingraffe a man into Christ, or to make him acceptable to God through Christ: What will doe it then? nothing saith hee) but onely faith. Now lest we should be mistaken in this, as if he should require nothing at their hands but an empty idle faith, hee addeth further, it must be such a faith as is effectuall, as is working: And that is not enough, but it must be such a faith as workes by love. So that you have two parts in this Text: One is a removall or a ne­gation of that which doth not ingraffe us into Christ, or that makes us not acceptable to God through Christ; it is not being circumcised or uncircumcised, or any thing of that nature: The other is the affirmative part; What is it that doth it, that makes us in a glorious condition, that [Page 3] makes us sonnes of God? saith he, it is onely faith and love, it is such a faith as is accompanied with love and good workes; so that you see hee removes all workes of ours, all workes of the ce­remoniall law, circumcision is nothing, it is as good as if you were not circumcised, it is all one. And by the same reason that circumcision is ex­cluded, all other is. And not onely workes of the ceremoniall law, but all the workes of the morall law also considered as the meanes of justi­fication; because they are opposite to faith, they exclude faith, and faith excludes them, so as they are as well to be shut out as the workes of the ce­remoniall law. None of these saith the Apostle, will doe it. For you must know the way to sal­vation is contrary to that of damnation: Looke how you lost the kingdome of God, so you must get it, looke what gate you went out at, by the same gate (as it were) you must come in at. What was it that lost all mankind the kingdome of hea­ven? You know it was not our particular brea­ches of the morall law, but it was the fall of A­dam, and when the root was dead, you know, all the branches died with it. Well, what way is there then to regaine this losse? We must goe in againe into Paradise by the same way that wee went out, that is, by being borne of the second Adam, and by being made partakers of his righ­teousnesse: By being borne of him, or in­grafted into him. As you communicate of the sinne of the other, because you are his children, so you must partake of his righteousnesse. A­gaine, [Page 4] saith the Apostle, it is the Lords pleasure that you should be saved after this manner, be­cause he would have it to be of grace. If you should have beene saved by any workes of your owne, you would have imputed it to your selves, and to your owne strength: But the Lord would have it to be of grace, of his free will, and there­fore hee will have it meerely of faith, by taking the righteousnesse of the second Adam which he hath wrought for you. Againe, he would have it sure to all your seede: if it had beene by workes, it would never have beene sure unto you, you could never have kept the law so exactly: But since Christ hath wrought righteousnesse, and you have no more to doe but to take it, now it is sure, or else it would never have beene sure. Againe, if it had beene by workes, the flesh had had wherein to rejoyce, it might have something to boast of: But the Lord will have no man to rejoyce in the flesh; but let him that rejoyceth, re­joyce in the Lord. Now if it had been by works, if it had beene by any inherent righteousnesse, by any ornament of grace that the Lord had beautified us with, we had had rejoycing in our selves; but now that it is by the second Adam, by comming home to him, by taking him, by ap­plying his righteousnesse: Now no flesh can rejoyce in it selfe, but now whosoever re­joyceth, rejoyceth in the Lord. Therefore saith the Apostle, you must know this truth, you can never be saved by doing these actions, no nor you shall not lose salvation by omitting [Page 5] them, for this is not the way that the Lord hath appointed mankinde to be saved by: But the way by which mankinde must be saved, is by recei­ving Iesus Christ and his righteousnes. But you must remember that you must take him so as to love him. And it must be such a love as is fruit­full in good workes, and not an emptie and idle love, that is, a love in shew onely, but it must be a love in deede and in truth. Now in the handling of these words we will begin with the affirmative part, because though the other be put first, yet the affirmatiō you know in order of nature, is before the negation: therfore I wil begin with this, what it is that puts us into the happy estate of life and salvatiō, Faith. But it is faith that works by love.

This is enough to make this cleere to you, that these two great radicall vertues faith and love, are the two pillars, as it were, upon which our salvation is built. The first of them we have han­dled at large, Faith: and the efficacy of it in the Text we handled of effectuall faith: Now the o­ther remaines, of Love; whence wee will deliver this point to you; that,

Whosoever loves not,Doct. whatsoever else he find in himselfe, whosoever loves not the Lord Ie­sus, is not in Christ, and by consequent, in a cur­sed and damnable estate.

Because this is necessarily required that you have faith, and love, or else you can have no sal­vation; or else you are not in Christ, and cannot be acceptable of God through Christ. So our businesse will be to open unto you this grace of [Page 6] love, that you may know what it is. And that you may know it, we must first declare unto you a little in generall, what this affection of love is.

Love what.All affections, as you know, are nothing else but the diverse motions and turnings of the will, as the will turnes it selfe this way or that way, so a man is said to be affected to love or to hate, to grieve or to rejoyce. Now love is that act of the will, whereby it turnes it selfe to a thing, as ha­tred is that wherby it turnes it selfe from a thing: And that which is the object of this affection of love is something that is good; for that which is true, and that which is beautifull is not the pro­per object of love, that is the object of the intui­tive understanding: but it is no further the ob­ject of love than it is good. For this take for a generall rule, We love nothing but as it is good; And a thing is said to be good, when it is sutable, proportionable and agreeable to us, for that is the definition of a good thing. There may be ma­ny things that are excellent, that are not good to us, we say not that any thing is good, but that which sutes and is agreeable to us, and conve­nient for us. So that if you take the definition of this affection in generall of love, Love is nothing else but a disposition of the will, whereby it cleaves or makes forward to some good that is agreeable to it selfe: I say, it is a disposition of the will whereby it cleaves to, and makes forward to some good thing agreeable to it selfe, which you must marke, for we shall have use of all this in the sequel of this tract.

[Page 7]Now this love shewes it selfe by two effects: it would have the thing it loves to be preserved.

And secondly, a man that loves, would have it his, and therefore he drawes neere to it, or else he drawes the thing neere to him. For [...] take it not to be true that is commonly taken for granted, that love is a desire of union, for we doe not al­wayes desire, that the thing should be united to us that we love, (for a thing may be too neare us, as letters may be too neare the eye, as well as too farre off:) But wee would have things in such a distance as is most agreeable to us, as we love fire for our use, but it may be too neare us, and wee love a knife for our use, but it may be too neere: So by the way marke it, It is not alwayes a de­sire of union, but it is a desire to have the thing it loves in such a distance, as is most agreeable to us: but still remember this, that love shewes it selfe by these two effects: It desires the preserva­tion of the thing: Secondly, he would that what he loves might be his. As when a man loves an unreasonable creature, when hee loves a glasse, when he loves a horse, he preserves the glasse, he keepes the horse strong and faire, and if he can he would have them for his use. So a man that loves riches, or honour, or that loves a good name, he preserves them, he would have them his: that is, he would have them at his owne arbitrement, for his owne turne & service: So a man that loves his sonne or his friend, he desires the preservation of them, and withall he would have them his; that is, he would have them so sure united to him, as [Page 8] may stand with his conveniencie. This is the na­ture of love; one thing more know of it, it is a commanding affection: Love and hatred are as it were the great Lords and Masters that divide the rest of the affections betweene them, as when a man loves, he desires, he goes and makes for­ward towards the thing he loves; if he obtaine it, he rejoyceth in it; if he doe not obtaine it, yet if there be probability, then hee hopes, if there be no probability, then he despaires; if there be any inconvenience and impediment that hinders him in his prosecution, he is angry with it, and desires to remove it: thus these affections hang on love. Againe, on the other side, as love desires the pre­servation of the thing in a neerenesse and union of it: so hatred desires the destruction of the thing, and the separation from it. And upon this affe­ction likewise hang the others, when a man hates a thing, he flies from it; if it overtakes him, hee grieves; if it be likely it will overtake him, though it be not yet on him, he feares: if he thinke he is strong enough to resist it, hee is bolde and confident. So these two affections (I say) di­vide the rest. Now I will adde but this further, that I may declare to you the generall nature of this affection, that is, the kindes of love: And you shall finde these kindes of love. I will name them briefly.Five kindes of love.

1 First, there is a love of pitty, as when you love a thing, you know, you desire the preservation of it; when you finde any thing lye upon it that de­stroyes it, you pitty the thing you love, and de­sire [Page 9] to remove it: So a father pitties his sonne when hee is sicke, when hee is vicious and unto­ward, hee loves him now with a love of pitty, he desires to remove the thing that hurts it.

Secondly, there is a love of concupiscence,2 that is, when a man desires the thing that hee is said to love meerely for his use. As when you love an inanimate creature, or any other creature for your use, you are said to love it with a love of concupiscentiall desire: and this in common men is a sutablenesse between the object and the low­er faculties.

Thirdly, there is a love of complacency, when 3 a man is well pleased with the thing, that is, when the object is somewhat adaequate to the higher faculties of the will and understanding, that there is some agreeablenesse betweene the thing loved, and the frame of the soule, so that when he looks on it hee is well pleased with it: So the master loves his scholler that is every way towardly: so the father loves his sonne as one in whom hee is well pleased.

Fourthly, there is a love of friendshippe that 4 goes beyond this love of complacency, because in the love of friendship there is a reciprocation of affections, when a man both loves and is be­loved againe: So a man loves his friend, and is loved againe by his friend.

Lastly, there is a loue of dependance, when 5 one loues one upon whom all his good depends, so we are said to loue God, wee loue him as one upon whom all our good and happinesse, all our [Page 10] comfort and hope depends. Now, as you shall see after, with these three last loues, we are said to loue the Lord, wee loue him with the loue of complacence, because he is a full adequate object to the soule: & we loue him with a loue of friend­ship, because there is a mutuall loue, he loues us, and we loue him; as the spouse saith, My Beloved is mine, and I am his. Againe, we loue him with a love of dependance, for we hang and rely upon him for all our happinesse and comfort. Now this loue wherewith we loue any object that is suta­ble to us, it hath degrees, and that loue is stron­ger, as the object of that loue is more adequate and full. Againe, as it is more free from mixture; for all things that we loue in this world, we know there is some mixture of evill in them, and there­fore our loue is lesse.

Againe, as the thing we loue is more high and supernaturall; as wee hang and depend upon it more, so we loue it more; and these you shall finde in God. Now lay these generall principles, and we will make use of it afterwards: Onely this ob­serue more, before I passe frō the general descrip­tion of it,Three sorts of Love. That there is a naturall loue that God hath placed in the heart of every man, and that loue wherewith every man loues himselfe, such a loue as every man hath to his children, such a loue as wherewith a man loues his wealth, or a­ny thing by nature that is good to him.

Now this naturall loue hath two other loues hanging on both sides of it:

One is a vicious and sinfull loue, that carries [Page 11] it the wrong way to loue sinfull things.

The second is a spirituall loue, which sets li­mits to this naturall loue, that sets bankes, as it were, to the streame of naturall affection, that suf­fers it not to runne over, and not so onely, but gives a higher rise to this naturall loue, and pit­cheth it on higher ends, it elevates naturall loue, and makes it an holy loue. So that all naturall loue is to be subordinate to this, otherwise it is not good; for naturall loue is but given us to help us to goe that way that spirituall loue should carry us, even as the winde helpes the ship, where­as otherwise it should haue beene driven with oares: And therefore the Lord, to helpe us to loue our selues, and to loue our children, and to loue those things that are sutable and convenient to us, hee hath in mercie, and for a helpe to us, put a naturall affection into our hearts, which yet is to be guided by spirituall loue, that we are now to speake of.

So the next thing is to shew, what is this spiri­tuall loue, this loue of God, this loue of Christ Iesus.Love of God how wrought in the heart.

And first we will shew how it is wrought, and withall what it is. For you must know, that eve­ry man by nature hates God, by reason of that opposition and contrariety which is betweene God and every man by nature, for all loue comes from similitude and agreeablenesse: And there­fore where there are two of a contrary dispositi­on, there must needs be hatred. Now the pure nature of God is contrary to us, and therefore [Page 12] every man by nature hates God. And therefore that love may be wrought in the heart of man to­wards God, this sinfull nature of ours must bee broken in peeces, and subdued. And againe, it must be new molded and framed before that can ever be fit to loue God. Therefore, if you would know how this loue of God is wrought in us, it is done by these two things:

First, by breaking our nature in peeces as it were, that is, by humiliation, and by the law.

Againe, by moulding it anew, which is done by faith and by the Gospell: For when we come and propound Christ to men to be taken, and to be received and loved by them, what is the an­swer wee have from them? Most men, either minde him not, or regard not at all this invitation to come to Christ, but they deale with us as those that were invited to the marriage, saith the Text, they made light of it, they cared not for the invitation, it was a thing they looked not af­ter: or againe, if they doe, yet they minde them uot enough, because they doe not prize Christ enough. Therefore the first thing the Lord doth to prepare mens hearts to loue him, is to send the law to humble them, to discover to men what neede they are in, to make an impression on their hearts of that bond of damnation that they are subject unto when the law is broken, that mens eyes may be opened to see their sins; then a man begins to looke toward Christ, to looke on him as the captiue lookes on his Redeemer, as a con­demned man lookes on him that brings him a [Page 13] pardon, as a widdow that is miserable and poore, indebted and undone, lookes upon her husband that will make her rich and honourable, that will pay all her debts, I say, when a mans heart is thus humbled and broken by the law, by sound humiliation, then he begins to looke towards Ie­sus Christ. But I say men doe faile, partly that they haue no sense of their sinnes, or else they haue a sense of their sinnes, but not enough to bring them home to Christ, for that was the fault of the second and third ground; there was im­pression made in them, that they prized Christ, but there was not so deepe a preparation as to loue Christ indeede, so as to preferre him aboue all things, so as to cleaue to him, so as they will let him goe for nothing. And therefore this is re­quired that our natures be broken all in peeces, that is, that the humiliation be deepe enough, not a little light impression, a little hanging down of the head, a little sense of sinne, but so farre as it may be to purpose, that he lookes to Christ as to the greatest good in the world, that he will ra­ther undergoe any thing than misse of him, that hee will rather part with all his pleasure than hee will goe without him. That is the first thing that must be done to prepare our hearts, for this loue our hearts must be humbled by the law.

Now when this is done, they must be made up againe, as I tolde you, they must be moulded a­new, and that is done by the Gospell and by faith: For when the heart is thus prepared, now let the Gospell come and welcome: Now a mans [Page 14] heart is fit to be wrought on: Why? what doeth the Gospell? The Gospell comes and tells you, that the Lord Iesus is willing to be your Redee­mer, is willing to be your Lord, he is content to be yours.

If you will take him, you shall have him and all his.

Now when a mans heart is broken, you can­not bring him better newes; Indeede till then you may goe and preach the Gospell long e­nough, you may propound Christ to men, they will not take him: But when we propound him thus to a heart prepared, thus to him that is poore in spirit, to him that hath his heart wounded in the sense of his sinnes and of Gods wrath, now I I say hee is willing to come in, hee is willing to take Christ as a Lord, as a husband: when that is done, that Christ hath discovered his will to take them, and they resolve to take him, then there ariseth a holy, a constant conjugall loue wherein they are rooted and grounded. This is the love we are now to speake of. So that to pre­pare us to love Christ, wee must come to looke on him as upon that which is sutable and agreea­ble to us. And againe, as one that is willing to re­ceiue us: And that you must marke diligently. Therefore wee will give you this definition of loue out of that which hath been said:The loue of Christ what. It is an holy disposition of the heart rising from faith, whereby wee cleave to the Lord with a purpose of heart to serve him and to please him in all things.

When these two things are joyned, that a man [Page 15] is humbled, and lookes on Christ as one that is now fit for him: And secondly hee is perswaded that Christ is willing to take him, when this is done, a man receiues Christ by faith: And from this faith this loue issues. Whence this is speci­ally to be marked, and it is a matter of much mo­ment, That to loue the Lord, it is not onely re­quired that you be perswaded that he is well af­fected to you, that he is willing to receive you, (for that men may haue, which say that Christ is mercifull and ready to forgiue, and so they think; but yet they loue him not: Therefore I say, it is not onely required that you looke on Christ as upon one that is well affected and propitious to you) but also that you looke on him as one that is sutable and agreeable to you, for both these must concurre to incline your hearts to loue him: you must, I say, both looke on him as one that is fit for you, as a good that is agreeable to you: And also you must be perswaded that he is willing to receiue you. Now the first indeed is the maine. This second, that Christ is willing to forgiue you, and to receiue you, though it be weake, it may be such as is a true faith, and may beget loue: when a man lookes on any other men that he loues, if he see so much excellency in them, as that he longs after them and desires them, though he thinks there be a backwardnes in them to love him, yet if there be some probability that they are likely to loue him, he may come so farre as to embrace them in his affections, and haue a desire to them, though it be true, as that perswasion [Page 16] is stronger, so their loue is more neere, for faith and love grow together: Indeede if there were an utter aversnesse, if there were enmity, as it were impossible to remoue it, then we could not loue, but hate even as Cain and Iudas did. But, I say, that is a thing you must especially marke, that faith doth not consist in being perswaded that Christ, or God through Christ is willing to forgiue you your sinnes, or to receiue you to mercy, but in this your judgement must be recti­fied, that is, to know that you are to looke on Christ as one that is sutable and agreeable to you, as one to whom you haue an inward incli­nation, as one that is fit for you. This is the maine thing, the other easily followes, to be per­swaded that he is willing to forgiue us, and that he is willing to loue us: therefore whereas, it may be, you haue thought, that to beleeue that God is willing to forgiue you your sinnes, is faith: I dare be bold to say, it is not full faith, you may haue it, and yet not savingly beleeue, you may haue it, and yet not be true beleevers. This I make cleare by this argument: That which be­gets no loue, is not faith. But you may be perswa­ded that Christ is willing to forgiue you your sinnes, and yet not love him, as a prisoner may be perswaded that the Iudge is willing to pardon him, and yet for all this hee may not love the Iudge; for loue as I tolde you comes from some sutablenesse, some agreablenesse betweene the party that loues, and the party that is loved. A­gaine, you shall finde this by experience. A man [Page 17] may be perswaded that he is in a good estate, that he shall be saved, and that his sinnes are forgiven him, and yet for all this, he may be an unregene­rate man, he may be a man that hath no life of grace in him: I say, we see oft in experience, ma­ny men applaud themselves in their good persua­sion, and they die peaceably and quietly, and all is well, they thinke God hath forgiven them; and yet we finde there is no loue in them, nor no fruite of loue. Againe, on the other side, a man that hath his heart broken with the sense of his sinnes, may hunger after righteousnesse and after Christ, he may long after the Lord himselfe, that he desires him more than any thing in the world; and yet there is but a weake perswasion that the Lord will receiue him, and forgiue him his sins: I say, this man may be a true beleever, though he be not yet so fully perswaded that Christ will forgiue him, when the other is no true beleever, as I said to you before. As when one loues ano­ther man or woman, if hee looke on him as one that is sutable to him, if hee thinke it be but by good probability and likelihood, I shall obtaine their loue, though I haue not yet a full assurance of it; I say, there may be an affection of loue. And thence I confirme that which I said to you, that faith that hath beene joyned with it is true; and that faith that is disjoyned from loue is not true. So I say, such a disposition of heart as lookes on Christ as one whom he longs after, he lookes on him as on a husband, as one whom he is willing to match with, that he can say truely, This is the [Page 18] best husband for me in all the world, though yet I have not wooed him, though yet I have not a full assurance of his affection to mee, as I would have; I say, this will certifie your judgement, and withall it will comfort you, that though your faith be weake, yet he belongs to you, it is a true faith. Againe, it shuttes out those that have false hearts; although thou thinkest thy perswasi­on be full, that Christ belongs to thee, yet if thy heart be not thus prepared to seeke him, and to esteeme him, thy faith is not true. I can stay no longer in the opening of this, so much shall serve to shew you what this love is: You see what love is in generall, and this love to the Lord, this love to Christ.

Now I come to prosecute the point, having gone thus farre in the explication of it; I say, this love is so necessary to salvation, as that hee that hath it not is in a cursed and damnable conditi­on; he is not in Christ, if he doe not love, that as the Apostle saith, hee that beleeves not shall be damned: we may say as well of love, for there is a tye betweene all these, faith, repentance and love. And therefore wee finde these words put promiscuously, sometimes he that beleeves not shall not be saved, sometimes he that repents not shall not be saved, sometimes he that obeyes not, sometimes hee that loves not shall not be saved: and therefore the Scripture is cleere in it, and there is good reason for it.

Reas. 1First, because if a man love not, there is a curse, there is a woe due to him, for wheresoever there [Page 19] is not love, a man is an hypocrite, as our Saviour saith to the Scribes and Pharises, Wo be to you Scribes and Pharises hypocrites, that is because you are hy­pocrites. Now wheresoever love is not, there is nothing but hypocrisie in such a mans heart. For what is hypocrisie?Hypocrisie vvhat. Hypocrisie is nothing but to doe the outward action without the inward sinceritie; as we say it is counterfeit golde, when it hath the forme and colour of golde, but in the inside is base: as we say he is a false Hector, when he acts the part of Hector, but is not so indeede: So hypocrisie is to doe the outward act without the inward sincerity. Now to doe them without inward sincerity is to doe them without love; for to doe a thing in love is to doe it in sincerity. And indeed there is no other definition of since­rity, that is the best way to know it by: A man that doeth much to God, and not out of love, all that he doth is out of hypocrisie, he is an hypo­crite, and there is a woe belongs to him. So that as we deale with counterfeit wares, wee breake them in peeces, or we set markes upon them, as we doe with counterfeit peeces of golde and sil­ver, we bore holes in them, as condemned pee­ces; so the Lord proposeth a woe to such as love him not, for in that hypocrisie consists, when a man doth much, and doth it not out of love.

Againe,Reas. 2. hee that breakes the law, you know there is a curse belongs to him: Now there is a double keeping of the law, a strict and exact kee­ping of it, and there is an Evangelicall keeping of it, that is, when you desire and endeavour to ful­fill [Page 20] the law in all things: and accordingly there is a double curse, there is a curse that followes the breach of the morall law that belongs to all man­kinde, till they be in Christ; there is besides an Evangelicall curse that followes upon the Evan­gelicall breach of the law. Now when a man loves not, he breakes the whole law: for as love is the keeping of the whole law, so the want of love is the breach of the whole law; because though hee may doe many things of the law, though he may keepe the sabboth, though he may deale justly, though he may heare the word, and doe many things, yet because it is not out of love he breakes the whole law. When he breakes the law thus, there is a curse belongs to him, and it is the curse of the Gospell that cannot be repealed, it is more terrible than the curse of the law. And therefore he that loves not, is in a cursed and dam­nable condition.

Reas. 3Againe, you know, in the law of God an A­dulterer ought to die, as in the law of triall, when the woman was to drinke the cursed water, if shee were an Adulteresse, it was a curse to her, the Lord appointed it to be death to her. Now hee that loves not the Lord is an Adulterer, that is, hee is false to the Lord that should be his hus­band. And when he loves not the Lord, he doth love somewhat else: And doth it not deserve a curse to preferre their pelfe before the Lord? that he should love pleasures more than God? that he should love the praise of men more thā the praise of God? And this is the case of every man that [Page 21] loves not the Lord, hee loves the world: and hee that loves the world is an Adulterer and an A­dulteresse, saith St. Iames.

Lastly,Reas. 4 when the Lord shall be a suiter to us, when God shall offer his owne Sonne to us in marriage, and we refuse him; when Christ shall come from heaven to shew us the way to salvati­on, and to guide our feete into the way of peace, and we shall either be carelesse or resist it, doe you not thinke the Lord will be filled with in­dignation against such a man? will hee not be an­gry with such a man? Is not the Sonne angry when he is not received? Kisse the Sonne lest he be angry: Will he not lay the axe to the roote of the tree, and cut off such a man, as men doe briers and thornes, whose end is damnation? This is the case of all those that love not, when they reject the Lord, and the Lord shall come to be a suiter to them, and they will have none of him. This is enough to cleare this to you, That whosoever loves not, is in an evill condition, in a state of damnation, he is not in Christ, he is a man with­out the Covenant. We come to make some use of this.

If it be of such moment to love the Lord,Vse. then let every man looke to himselfe, and consider whether hee have in his heart this love to the Lord Iesus; for as it is with men, although you may doe them many kindnesses, yet if it proceed not from love, they regard it not: so it is with the Lord, whatsoever you doe, though you may doe much, though you pray never so constantly, [Page 22] though you sanctifie the Sabboth never so dili­gently, doe what you will, yet if you love him not, he regards it not: Neither circumscision is a­ny thing, nor uncircumcision is any thing, but love. Indeede, when a man doth love him, the Lord beares with much, as you see hee did with David, because he was one that loved him. But when you love him not, performe never so much, he rejects all, he heedes it not: As you see it was with Amaziah, you know how much he did, yet it was not accepted, hee did it not with a perfect heart, that is, he did it not out of love. And there­fore the Lord doth with us as we doe with men, when men have false hearts, we see they love us not, we say they doe but complement. So the Lord Iesus doth. This should helpe us to disco­ver our selves, there is no way to discover hy­pocrisie, none so sure a signe of it, as where love is not.

And therefore learne by this to know your selves, and to judge of your condition: It may be, when we confesse our sinnes, wee have not thought of this, that we love not Christ, or at the least, we have not considered what a sinne it is, but you may know what a sinne it is by the punishment of it: 1 Cor. 16.22. Let him be accursed that loves not the Lord Iesus. 1 Cor. 16.22. You may know the greatnesse of the sinne by the greatnesse of the punishment; for the punishment is the measure of the sinne, and (marke it) he doth not say, if you beleeve not in the Lord Iesus, or if you doe nor obey him; but if you love not the Lord Iesus: [Page 23] That is, if there be an omission but of this one thing, that you love not, let such a man be accur­sed, yea let him be had in execration to the death. Therefore consider this, how great a sinne it is, not to love the Lord. And when you consider your sinnes, and make a catalogue of them, looke on this, as that which discovers to us the vile­nesse of our natures, as Paul saith of lust, I knew not that it was sinne, but by the law: but when sinne began to live, he died: So I may say of this, it may be men take not this into consideration, this sinne, that they have not loved the Lord; and therefore learne to know it. When we consider this, that he is accursed who loves not Christ, it may open a crevise of light unto us, to see what condition wee are in, how cursed our nature is, how hainous this sinne is, when a man sees that there is a cursed man, a man whom the Lord sets himselfe against, a man whom the Lord is an e­nemie to, whom he puts all the strength and po­wer he hath to confound, when hee sees there is a man whom the Gospell curseth, which is more terrible than the Law, because the curse of the Law may be repealed, there is a remedie for that in the Gospell: But the Gospell, if that curse a man, there is no remedie: This should humble us; for the Gospell should humble us as well as the Law. And there are sinnes against the Gos­pell as well as against the Law, and whatsoever is sinne should humble us, yea the sinnes against the Gospell are greater than the sinnes against the Law: And therefore in this sense the Gospell is [Page 24] fitter to humble us. Now when a man comes to consider his sinne, it may be possibly, he lookes to sinnes especially against the morall Law; but you must learne to doe more than that: Begin to thinke, Have I received the Lord Iesus? Have I beleeved in Christ? These are great sins against the Gospell: and these sinnes should chiefly hum­ble us. If you thinke I presse this too hard, con­sider the words of the Apostle I named, Let him be accursed that loves not the Lord Iesus: Let these words be sounding in your eares, compare your hearts to them, sometimes cast your eye on the one, and sometimes on the other, and see if it be not absolutely required to love the Lord. And againe, reflect on your hearts, and see if you be in the number of those that doe love him.

And take heede herein that you deceive not your selves, for it is the manner, when we presse the love of Christ upon them, they are rea­dy to say, I hope I love the Lord, I hope I am not such a miscreant as not to love him; yea but consider whether thou doe or no: it is true, thou maist deceive me or another man when thou pro­fessest love to God, but in this thou canst not de­ceive thy selfe; for a man knowes what he loves, love is a very sensible and quick affection.Tryall of love by the af­fections. When a man loves any thing, when hee loves his wife, loves his friend, loves his sonne, loves his sport, his recreation, he knowes he loves it, he hath the sense of that love in himselfe. Therefore consider with thy selfe whether thou hast any such stirring affection towards the Lord Iesus or no; doest [Page 25] thou feele thy heart so possessed with him?By griese. art thou sicke of love, as the Spouse saith in the Can­ticles, I am sicke of love? That is, are you grieved when he is absent? are you glad when you have him? when you can get into his presence? for there is a kinde of painfulnesse in love: and all painfulnesse is of a quicke sense. When it is said, the Church was sicke of love, sicknesse is pain­full: And therefore when you want the Lord, when there is a distance betweene him and you, when he doth not looke on you as he was wont, there will be painfulnesse in it and griefe.

Againe,By ioy. there will be much joy and gladnesse when you have him. Therefore let it be one way to examine your selves, if you feele such a love towards him or no.

Besides that,Tryall, by walking with the Lord. let mee aske thee if thou walke with the Lord, if thou converse with him, if thou be perfect in his presence, if thou doe as Enoch did, walke with the Lord from day to day; as it is an argument of an evill man, that he walkes not with the Lord, that he restraines prayer from the Almighty, that is, that he doth not converse with him: So is it a great argument of love to desire Gods company, to desire to be with him, to walke with God: (to use that phrase.) You will say, What is that to walke with him?To walke with God what? To walke with him is to observe the Lords dealing with you, and to observe your carriage and dealing to him againe, that there may be continuall com­merce and intercourse every day, that continual­ly every houre, every moment, you would con­sider [Page 26] and thinke what the Lord doth to you, what his carriage is to you, what passages of his providence concerne you. Againe consider what you doe to him, what carriage there is betweene you: I say this conversing is an argument of love. Sh [...]ll a wife professe love to her husband, and ne­never come where he is, never be within dores, and never be in his companie? So, will you say you love Christ, and not be frequent in prayer, or neglect and slight that duty, seldome converse with him, and seldome speake of him? When you love your friend, you are with him as much as you can, you love to speake with him, and to speake of him: So it is with the Lord, if you love him, certainly you will love his company, you will love his presence.

Tryall, by the diligence of love.Besides, if you love the Lord, you know love is a diligent thing: and therefore it is called d [...]li­gent love, 1 Thess. 1.4.1 Thess. 1.4. Effectuall faith, and dili­gent love: that is, when a man loves a thing, he is diligent to obtaine, he spares no laboure, no cost, he cares not what he doth so he may get it; much labour seemes little to him, many yeares seeme a few dayes, hee cares not what he doth so hee ob­taine it, he is diligent and laborious. Doe you take this paines to draw neere to God, to get grace, to excell in it? Are you willing to put your selves to it, to denie your selves in your ease, to take some time from other businesses, and to be­stow it this way? are you content to put your selves to a harder taske, to forbeare things that are pleasant according to the flesh, to take paines [Page 27] for the Lord? If you love God, it will make you diligent. A man will take paines to get the thing he loves.

Besides,Tryall, desire of present en­ioyment of the thing beloved. love is an affection that would enjoy presently the thing it loves, it cannot endure de­ferring. And therefore when a man professeth he loves the Lord, and yet will deferre to come in, saying, I wil serve the Lord perfectly, but not yet, not till my youth be a little more over, not till things be thus and thus with me, then I will; it is certain thou lovest him not: for it is true of every affection, that which is a true and right affection, that which is an hearty affection, it is present. If a man desire any thing, he would have it present­ly, hope would be presently satisfied: and there­fore hope deferred is griefe, and love deferred is a great griefe: So that if you finde a disposition to put it off in your selves, I will doe it, but not yet; certainly you love not the Lord. It may be, if you were sure to die within a week or a month, what men would you be? how perfectly would you walke with God? how would you have your hearts weaned from the world more than they be? Well, if you love the Lord, you will doe as much presently, though much of your life re­maine; for love is a present affection, it cannot endure deferring, but it would have full commu­nion, and that speedily and presently: so is it with that affection where you finde it.

Againe,Tryall of loye, it is its owne wages. if you examine your selves further, if you have this love in you, you may know it by this, Love is a thing th [...]t is well pleased with it [Page 28] selfe, as we say, Love desires no wages, that is, it carries meate in the mouth of it, it is wages e­nough to it selfe, it hath sweetnesse enough in it selfe, it desires no addition: So it is when a man loves, Love payes it selfe, I say, it is its owne wa­ges. And therefore if you love the Lord, you shall know it by this; you serve him, and serve him with all your might, with all your strength, though he should give you no wages. Iacob, as you know, served for Rachel, the very having her was wages enough: So if you love the Lord, the very enjoying of the Lord, the very having communion with the Lord, the very having the assurance of his favour, that you might say, My Beloved is mine, and I am my Beloveds: this is wages enough to a man that loves indeed, to such a man, though there were not heaven to follow, though there were not a present reward, nor a future, yet he would love the Lord; and if he loue him, there will be a delight to serve him: and enough to him is the Lords favour, as Christ saith, It is my meate and drinke to doe my Fathers will: that is, though there were no other meate and drinke, though there were no other wages, yet this was as plea­sant to him as eating and drinking. Aske thine owne breast, whether in any thing thou lovest, if the very enjoying of that, though there were no other wages superadded, if that were not motiue enough, if it were not comfort enough, and wa­ges enough to you to doe it?

Tryal of love by its constrai­ning us to please God.But besides all this, to name one more, if you loue the Lord, it will make you, it will constraine [Page 29] you to please him, it will put such necessity upon you to obey him in all things, to doe what he re­quires, whatsoever is for his advantage, that you cannot chuse but doe it; as the Apostle saith, 2 Cor. 5.2 Cor▪ 5. The Love of Christ constraines us: What is the meaning of that? That is, I cannot choose but doe it, it makes a man doe it whether he will or no; it is like fire in his breast, he cares for no shame, it makes him goe through thicke and thin, the loue of Christ constraines us. It is true, I confesse, I may lose my reputation, you may rec­kon me a mad man, some men doe thinke me so, but that is all one, I must doe it, the loue of Christ constraines me. So that where loue is, it is such a strong impulsiue in the heart, it carries one on to serue and please the Lord in all things, that he cannot choose but doe it. As a man that is carried in a strong streame, or as one that is car­ried in a crowde, or as one that is carried in the hands of a strong man, so a man is carried with this affection that hee cannot choose.Object. You will say, this is strange that loue should compell, it doth nothing lesse.Answ. It is true: You must know, when the Apostle saith, The love of Christ con­straines me, it is a Metonomy from the effect, that is, loue makes me doe it in that manner as a man that is compelled, that is the meaning of it: so it hath the same effect that compulsion hath, though there be nothing more different from compulsion than loue. And therefore know that of loue, that it is such a change as drawes one to [Page 30] serue the Lord out of an inward attractiue, thence I take that note of loue, such a thing as puts it on, such a thing as riseth from an inward inclination of the mind, frō an inward principle, so that there is no other spurre, no other attractiue, but the a­miablenesse of the object.

Now when a man shall finde this in him­selfe, that hee hath all these, hee findes that hee hath such a sensible loue, that hee knowes hee loves the Lord Iesus: Againe, hee findes an earnest desire to be in company with him, to walke with the Lord from day to day: Againe, hee is exceeding laborious and diligent to get this love, to get this assurance of fa­vour, and to excell in that grace, without which he knowes he cannot please him: Againe, when the affection is present, you would haue com­munion with the Lord, and you would not haue it deferred: Againe, when a man shall be well pleased with that hee doth, it is enough that hee hath the Lord himselfe, though there were no other wages: And when hee findes such a strong impulsiue in him, in his owne heart, that carries him on to serue the Lord, that hee cannot choose but doe it; then you loue the Lord: And if you loue the Lord, you are in Christ. But if these things be not in you, you doe not loue him: and then, what is your con­dition? You know what the Apostle saith, Hee that loves not, let him bee accursed, let him bee had in execration to the death. I should prose­cute [Page 31] it further, and shew the reasons why wee should loue the Lord, as there is great reason: But that I must deferre till the afternoone.

FINIS.

THE SECOND SERMON.

GALLAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

THE last tryall of our love to Christ was its constraining vertue, love will constraine you to serve him, you cannot choose but doe it, it so constraines a man, as the weight of a stone compelleth it to goe to the center, as the lightnesse of the fire compells it to ascend up: for such a thing is love, a strong inclination of the heart, when the soule puts it selfe on any thing from an inward principle, from a bottome of its owne, when it is carried on with no other motive but the amiablenes of the object.

[Page 33]Now to conclude this, wee must beseech you to consider your owne condition, and examine your selves by these rules, that you may be able to say as Peter said, Lord thou knowest I love thee: that is, to have such an assurance, that your hearts may be well affected towards Christ Iesus, that you may love him, that you may be able to say to God, who knowes our hearts, searcheth our reines, that knowes all the windings and turnings of your soules, Lord thou knowest that I love thee. Since it is a matter of such moment, wee should be carefull to examine, if we finde that we have not yet this love: for we must know, that all that we have, all that we doe, it will nothing availe us, but faith which worketh by love. And if you object, why doe ye preach damnation to us? doe you tell us we are in an evill condition for want of this love? I answere, it is profitable for you, while you are in such a condition, to have it preached, it is good for you to speake this dam­nation to your selves, that while yet there is hope you may seek to be healed, that you may be trans­lated into another condition, that you may not perish in the evill day, when there shalbe neither hope nor helpe for you. For you must know, that when wee deliver you these signes of examining your selves, our end is not to grieue you, this do­ctrine tends not to destruction, but to discover to you your owne hearts, that you may know your owne condition, that if you want it, you may seek after it. If therefore you finde a want of this love, that we will doe next, shall be to shew you what [Page 34] reason you have to love the Lord Iesus: for there is no better way to get it in you, than to describe him to you, to shew you what cause there is of loving him: if wee were able to present him to you as he is, we should effect this thing, but that must be the worke of the holy Ghost; notwith­standing we will briefly open to you such rea­sons as we finde used in the Scriptures.Motives to love Christ.

1 And first, let this moue you to loue him, that he is worthy to be beloved, as David speakes, Psal. 18.3. The Lord is worthy to be praised: so wee may say, the Lord is worthy to be loved: for what is it that makes any thing worthy of loue, it is the excellency that we finde there. Now in the Lord there is all kinde of excellency: whatso­ever there is that is amiable under the Sunne, all that you shall finde in him more abundantly: If ever you see any thing in any creature, any thing amiable in man, if ever you saw any beauty, any vertue, any excellency, all these must be more a­bundant in him that made these creatures. And therefore if you haue a loue, as there is no man without some loue or other, some creature seemes beautifull to you, thinke with your selues, this is more in the Lord. If ever you see excellency in any man, if ever you see any noblenesse, any ho­linesse, any excellency of disposition, know that it is more abundant in the Lord Iesus: Let these rivers leade you to that Ocean, to that abundance of excellency that is in the Lord. And if you loue any creature, let it be with a little loue, let your affection be proportionable to the object; as it [Page 35] exceedes in the Lord, so let your loue exceede to­wards him, to loue him with all your soule and all your strength: And know this, that hee hath not onely that in an omnipotent manner, that is but sprinkled among the creatures, they haue but a sparke, but a drop of it; but also there is this in the Lord, that there is nothing in him but that which is amiable: every creature hath some im­perfection in it, there is somewhat in it may cause aversation in you, there is no man but hath some weaknesse, but hath some infirmity, there is no creature but it hath some want, some defect in it: but in the Lord there is no want, there is nothing to put you off; but as the Church saith, Cant. 5. He is wholly delectable: that is, there is nothing in him but that which is amiable. That would be a very profitable thing for us in this case often to thinke on the Lord Iesus, to present him to our selues in our thoughts, as the Spouse doth, Cant. 5. shee considers her wellbeloved is the fairest of ten thousand: so wee should beholde the person of our husband. You know it is but a harlottry loue to consider what wee haue by our husband, to consider what riches he brings, what honour, and not often to contemplate upon his person, and upon his vertue and excellency: wee should learne to doe this with the Lord, that wee may loue him. Therefore that wee may helpe you a little in this contemplation, wee will shew you how the Lord hath described himselfe: Exod. 34.4. when the Lord describes himselfe to Mo­ses, thus he declares his owne name, The Lord Ie­hovah, [Page 36] strong, mercifull, gracious, long-suffering, a­bundant in kindnesse and in truth, reserving mercies for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sinne, &c. Wee will a little open to you this de­scription that the Lord giues us of himselfe, that so you may learne to know what hee is; for the way to loue the Lord is to know him: and indeed therefore we loue him not, because we know him not; there is no other reason, why in heaven, when we shall come to be present with him, wee shall loue him so abundantly, but because wee shall know him face to face; that is the reason the Angels and the Saints loue most: And of e­very man amongst the Saints hee that knowes most loues most. Therefore it should be your la­bour to know the Lord. But to open, as I say, this description unto you,

First, he is Iehovah, that is, hee is a constant friend to whomsoever he is a friend, he is alway the same; for that is another name, by which the Lord describes himselfe to Moses, when he sends him to Aegypt, I am that I am, saith hee, say, I am hath sent me: I take this word, that it comes from the same roote, Iehovah is described by that I am, and by that it is best understood, when the Lord calls himselfe I am, whereas every man may say, I was, and I shall be, this every creature may say; but the Lord saith, I am: that is, whatsoever the Lord was from eternity, the same he is to eterni­ty, there is no change in him: And that is a great excellency in him that may moue us exceeding­ly to loue him. You know when we meete with [Page 37] a friend that is constant, that hath no alteration in him, that is a sure friend, haue him once and haue him for ever, it sets a higher price on him. When we can consider what the Lord is, that he hath dealt thus and thus with us, that he hath lo­ved us; and when we consider he is constant in it, that he embraceth them with the sure mercies of David, as they are called; that is, his compassions faile not, but when hee hath once begun to loue, hee loues for ever: it is not so with men, if they loue us at one time, they forget us againe, as the Butler forgot Ios [...]ph; when they are in prosperity they forget us, but the Lord knowes us in all our conditions; thou hast knowne my soule in adver­sitie. When we are in a strait, friends oft times are backward to helpe us, but the Lord in such an exigent he is the same; he appeares in the Mount when there is no helpe in man; I say, this con­stancy, that God is alway the same to us, that his mercies are sure, for they are called the sure mer­cies of David. He shewed mercies to Saul too, but they were another kinde of mercies; Saul was not one that he had chosen to himselfe, and therefore his mercies continued not, for indeed hee never loved Saul with that unchangeable loue: But when he loues any man as he loved David, his mercies are sure as they were to David. David was ready to step aside often as well as Saul, hee let Saul goe, but he carried David along, they were sure mercies: and such hee shewes to all those that he hath begun to loue. That is the first, I am, or Iehovah.

[Page 38]Secondly, he is strong, Iehovah, strong, mercifull and gracious, &c. that is, Almighty. What is the meaning of that, that he is almighty? The mea­ning of it is this, that the Lord hath all the excel­lencies; those which we call graces and vertues, and qualities in men, all these abound in the Lord; for what serues any vertue for, or any quality that you haue, but to enable you to doe something: if a man haue any science or art, that is but to enable him to doe that which without it he cannot doe: if a man hath the art of Arithme­tique, he is able to number, or if he haue the art of Logicke, he is able to dispute: come to all mo­rall vertues, What is temperance, but that which enableth us to doe such and such things up­pon such and such occasions? What is pa­tience, but that which enableth us to endure af­flictions? So all that is excellent in man, all those amiable, those beautifull qualities wherewith the soule is adorned, are but so farre good as they enable a man to doe this or that. Now when the Lord is said to be almighty, the meaning is, hee hath all excellency in him, and hee hath it in the highest degree, for in this sense God is able to doe more than any man, in regard of excellency; whatsoever a man is able to doe, you know how infinitely the Lord hath it beyond him, he is able to doe so much more as he is beyond any man: For that power, that attribute, that quality that is in man, it is not a quality in him, he hath it be­yond any man. Againe, when a man is able to doe one thing, yet he is not able to doe another, one creature is able to doe this, another that: But [Page 39] the Lord is Almightie, therefore he is able to doe all things. And therefore this is a kind of ex­cellencie, that is the second description, he is Ie­hovah, and he is Almightie.

But now when you heare that the Lord is thus constant, and thus exceeding in excellencie, a man will be ready to say, what is this to me? I am a sinfull man, there is nothing in me but that which may turne away the Lord from me, and cause him to abhorre me: Well saith he, to comfort you, know that I am mercifull, exceeding pittifull, ex­ceeding ready to forgiue, though your sinnes bee exceeding many, though they bee exceeding great, yet the Lord he is mercifull: he is ready to passe by all those infirmities. And that is ano­ther of his excellencies. You know we reckon it a very amiable thing in a man when we see him pittifull. This doth more abound in the Lord, than in any creature, there is no man in the world so ready to forgive as God. If he were not God, if he were as man, my brethren, could hee beare with us as he doth? Let us doe to a man injuries, and injuries againe and againe, and never give o­ver, what man can beare it, doth he not in the end withdrawe himselfe, and will no more be recon­ciled? But it is not so with the Lord, when wee have done all, Yet returne to me, saith the Lord, Ier. 3.2. Well, but if we haue such sinnes in us, sup­pose the Lord is mercifull and ready to forgive, but yet there is no goodnes in us, wee haue no­thing in us why he should regard us, and why he should looke after us: To that it is answered, the [Page 40] Lord is gracious, that is, though there bee no worth found in you, yet he is ready to doe you good: as grace you know is proper to a Prince or a great man, that is sayd to be gracious to his sub­ject, or to one that is very inferiour, because hee can doe nothing to deserue it, it is called grace, for grace you knowe is nothing but freenes, and to be gracious is to doe things freely, when there is no motiue, no wages, when there is nothing to winne him, but of free grace he doth it. So the Lord doth what he doth of his free grace, he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, that is, when all men did stand before him alike, though there were nothing, when there was no cause why the Lord should regard them more than an other, yet He will haue mercy on whome he will haue mercy, that is, he is gracious, though there be nothing in us to winne that love at his hands. Well, but yet wee may be readie to object, it is true, the Lord hath been thus to me, he hath ben very merciful to for­giue me my sinnes, he hath beene very gracious to me to shew me favour when I never deserved it, but after, I was put into such a condition, I provoked him to anger by relapsing into sinne againe and againe after I have been in a good e­state, I have broken the covenant with him, I continued not in that good estate that out of his mercy he hath put me into.

To this he answers, He is long suffering, that is, though you provoke him out of measure, though you have done it againe and againe, he continues patient, you cannot wearie him out, but his mer­cy [Page 41] indures for ever: you know that if there were an end of his mercy, that on your sinning, hee should give over to be mercifull, his mercy did not indure for ever, therefore it is said, He is long suffering, because though your sinnes be often re­peated, yet the Lord as often repeates his mercy, therefore there is a multitude of mercyes in him, as there is a multitude of sinnes in you, there is a spring of mercy in him, that is renued every day, he opens a spring for Iudah & Ierusalem to wash in, it is not a Cesterne but a Spring, that is renewed as much as your sinnes, that as you are defiled daily, so the Lords mercy is renewed to wash away those sinnes, he is long suffering. But besides all this he goes yet one step further; he is abundant in kindnes and in truth, that is, if you would know the Lord yet further, whereas you may thinke He is a terrible God, because of his great Majestie, and power, and therefore that those disharten you, as wheresoever you find terriblenesse, that (you know) puts off, it is contrary to love: and there­fore the Lord to winne us the more, tells us: that though he be so great a God as he is, yet he is a­bundant in kindnesse, that is, He is exceeding ready to beare with us, that looke what you finde in a kinde Husband, in a kinde Father, or in a kinde friend, that you shall find in the Lord, he is exceeding kinde to you, he is not harsh, he is not stiffe, he is not ready to obserue all that you doe amisse, if you will aske any thing at his hands, if you want it, (as therein kindnes doth consist) he is ready to doe it, whatsoever it is, he is a God hearing pray­er, [Page 42] he saith, whatsoever you aske at his hands he will doe it, can you have a greater kindnesse than this? if kindnesse be an attractive to winne love, hee is kinde, and hee is abundant in it. If you will not beleeve this assertion, this af­firmation, this description of himselfe, hee tells you he hath promised, and he will be as good as his word, he is abundant in truth, that is as if hee should say, I am not onely of such a nature and disposition as I have described my selfe to be, but besides this I am engaged to you, you have many promises I have made you, I have sworne I will doe thus and thus: Therefore I will adde this to this disposition, I am abundant in truth, that is, you shall finde me as good as my word; and not so onely, but I will be better than my word: I am abundant in truth: that is, his performances exceede, they runne over, whatsoever hee hath said, he will surely doe it. Consider this, consi­der how many precious promises you have, con­sider what the Lord hath said hee will doe for you, how full is the Scripture of promises every where; remember this, the Lord is abundant in truth, he will doe them and overdoe them, hee will fulfill every word that hee hath said. And that he may give you a proofe of it, he addes, that he reserves mercy for thousands, that shewes hee is abundant in kindnesse and in truth: as if hee should say, when any of you doe mee ser­vice, when you are faithfull as Abraham my ser­vant was, I am bound no more but to reward your selves, but I am abundant in mercy and for­givenesse, [Page 43] reserving mercy for thousands: The Lord cannot content himselfe to doe good to a mans owne person, but to his children, to his ge­neration. As David when he loved Barzillay and Ionathan, it extended to their posterity, when his love was abundant: so the Lord reserves mercie for thousands.

Lastly, because the objection still comes in when you have such a description of the Lord: I but my sinnes are still repeated; hee addes in the conclusion, he is a God still forgiving iniquitie, transgression and sinne. Why are those three words put in? That you may know that hee forgives sinnes of all sorts; for every man is ready to finde some peculiarity in his sinnes, hee thinkes such and such sinnes cannot be forgiven, sinnes that I have committed thus and thus: Nay, saith the Lord, what sinnes soever they are, of what na­ture soever, he forgives iniquity, he forgives na­turall corruption, he forgives lesse infirmities, he forgives greater rebellions; and he is still doing it, for so the word signifieth, hee is still and still forgiving iniquity, transgression and sinne. So we have shewed you what the Lord is, that you may learn to know him: therfore we wil conclude this first, and say to you as the Spouse saith, Cant. 5. Such a one is the Lord, and such a one is our wellbeloved, oh you daughters of Ierusalem, that is, he is wholly delectable: if we were able to shew him to you, it must be your labour to consider him, that you may learne to know him, and to love him.

[Page 44] 2 Mot.Secondly, when you know this and consider what the Lord is, and what excellency is in him, consider in the next place the greatnesse of the Lord, and know that this great God is suiter to you for your love, that is, he that makes towards you: If a great King, or if your potent neighbour should sue to you for love, would not that move you? You know the weaker should seeke to the stronger, men of meaner condition should seeke to him of higher place; when the great God be­seecheth us to be reconciled to him, when hee desires to be at peace with us, and to be friends with us, I say, the greatnesse of God is a great argument to move us to love him: as you have that Deut. 10.17. when the Lord reasons there with the people to perswade them to love him, saith hee, I am the God of Gods, the Lord of Lords, mighty and terrible: as if he should say; this great God hath done all this for you: and this he re­quires at thy hands, that thou shouldest love him, when he shall desire but this, refuse it not. If one that we contemne, one that is beneath us should seeke our love, we are not so ready to returne love againe, for we say he is below: But when we consider God in his majesty and greatnesse, that he should seeke to be reconciled to us, that should move us, that should win our hearts to him

3 Mot.Besides, consider what the Lord might have required of you; you know you are his creatures, you know what a distance there is betweene the Lord and you, if he had put you on a harder task, you ought to have done it, if he had said to us, [Page 45] you shall offer your children to me in sacrifice, you shall give your owne bodies to be burned, you shall be my slaves, who could have said any thing to that, for he is the Lord, the great God, our soveraigne Creatour: But now when the Lord comes and askes no more at our hands but this, you shall love mee, will you deny it him? This is effectually urged in the same Chapter, Deut. 10.14. where Moses (marke the manner of urging it) had described to them what the Lord had done for them, that hee had brought them into that good land, &c. And now, saith he, what doth the Lord require of thee for all this, but onely this, that thou love the Lord thy God? As if hee should say, the Lord might aske much more at thy hands; if he had, thou hadst no reason to de­ny it; but all that hee requires is that thou love him: and wilt thou denie this unto him?

Besides,4 Mot. consider who it is that hath planted this loue in the heart, is it not the Lord that giues thee this very affection? And when he calls for this love againe at thy hands, doth hee call for more than his owne? Shall hee not gather the grapes of his owne Vineyard? and shall he not eate the fruite of his owne Orchard? Hath not hee planted in us these affections? and ought they not to be returned to him, to serve him and to pitch on him?

Besides consider,5 Mot. you are engaged to love the Lord, and that should be a great motive to us: in Iosh. 24.12.Iosh. 24. You are witnesses that you have chosen the Lord this day to serve him: And they said, we are [Page 46] witnesses: that is Iosuahs speach to the people: As if hee should say to them, you are not now to choose, you are now engaged, you cannot goe backe, you have professed you have chosen the Lord to serve him, therefore you are witnesses a­gainst your selves. So I may say to every man that heares mee, you are engaged to love the Lord: Why? Because you have chosen him for your husband, you are baptized in his name, you have taken him for your Master, and for your Fa­ther, therefore he may challenge it at your hands as right, for he is your Father: and where is his honour then? He is your Master, and where is his feare then? That is, you are engaged, he may challenge it justly, you are his, hee hath bought you, yea he hath overbought you, hee hath paid a price more worth than we, hee hath bought us with his blood: And what hath hee bought us for but to be his, that is, to love him? Therefore when we love him not, wee robbe God of our selves, we doe an unnaturall thing, it is treache­ry and injustice in us. As you know, it is one thing in a woman that is free from an husband to neglect a man that is a friend, but when she hath engaged her selfe, and the match is made, now it is adultery: So every one of us that loves not the Lord, sinnes the more, because he is engaged to him: Deut. 32.13,Deut. 32.13. Thou forsookest the strong God of thy salvation, thou forsakest him to whom thou art engaged, he is the strong God of thy salvati­on, he hath done thus and thus for thee. There­fore consider this, for seeing you have such an [Page 47] affection as love is, you must bestow it some­where, somewhat you must love: and you must know againe it is the best thing you have to be­stow, for that commands all in you; and where will you bestow it? Can you finde any creature upon whom to bestow it rather than the Lord? Will you bestow it upon any man? The Lord exceedes them, as David saith, Who among the gods is like thee? That is, take the most excellent among them, that therefore are reckoned as gods, yet who among them is like unto thee? or whom will you bestow your love upon, your wealth, or your pleasures or your phantasies? You must thinke the Lord will take this exceeding evill at your hands, that you should bestow this affection elsewhere than on him whom you are engaged unto, to whom you are bound so much, who hath done so much for you.

But that which moves us most is particulars,6 Mot. if a man consider what the Lord hath done for him in particular, remember what passage hath beene betweene the Lord and you from the be­ginning of your youth. Ier. 2.Ier: 2. Neither said they where is the Lord that brought you out of the land of Egypt through the wildernesse: I remember thee from the land of Egypt, &c. That is, let a man consider Gods particular dealing with him, for when the Lord would stirre up David, and melt his heart, and bring it to a kindly sorrow for his sinnes, he takes that course: 2 Sam. 12.7.2 Sam. 12.7. it is Nathans speech to him, saith he, Did not the Lord doe thus and thus? Did hee not make thee King of Iudah and [Page 48] Israel? Did not he give thy Masters wives and thy Masters houses into thy bosome? And if that had not been enough, he would have done thus and thus. So let every man recount the particular kindnes­ses and mercies he hath received from the Lord; and when we consider that it is he that doth all, that it is he that feedes us, that it is he that clothes us, we have not a nights sleepe but he gives it to us, we have not a blessing but it is from his hand, there is not a judgement that wee escape but it is through his providence: I say the consideration of these particulars should be as so many sparkes, to breede in us a flame of love towards the Lord, to thinke with your selves when you have done all, how unreasonable a thing it is, how unequall a thing that you should forget this God, that you should never thinke on him, that you should not love him, hee that hath done thus much for you.

7 Mot.And last of all consider, that the Lord loves you, for that is the greatest motive to winne us to love him; for as fire begets fire, so love begets love. This was the cause that Paul loved the Lord, Gal. 2.20.Gal. 2.10. He that loved mee, and gaue him­selfe for me, saith he, I will not live any more to my selfe, but to him, he hath loved me, and gave himselfe for me, he hath loved me: and there was that testimony of his love, hee gave himselfe. I say consider this love of the Lord, and let this beget in you a reciprocall affection towards him: Put all together, and consider the Lord is wor­thy to be beloved, that he that is so great sues to you for your love, that he that is God, that plan­ted [Page 49] that love in your hearts, and therefore hee doth but call for his owne, that hee that hath done you so many kindnesses, that you are so en­gaged to him, that you are now bound unto, you are not now to chuse; at the least come to this, to say hee is worthy to be beloved, bring your hearts to this, to desire to love him.

You will say,Obiect. we may desire long enough, but how shall we be able to doe it?

I will tell you in a word,Answ. and so conclude. First,Meanes to en­able us to love God. you must pray for it, it is a lovely suite, when we come to the Lord and tell him, that we desire to love him, that we would faine doe it if 1 we could,Prayer. and beseech him not to deny us that request, that we know is according to his will: doe you thinke that the Lord will refuse you in that case, especially if you begge it importunate­ly at his hands?

For if you object and say,Object. we have prayed and have not obtained it;Answ. know, that to love the Lord is a precious thing: and therefore the Apostle reckons it so.

You will say,Obiect. How doth this prayer doe it? I say that it doth it partly by obtaining at Gods hands;Answ. Prayer workes love 4 wayes. for when you crie earnestly, hee cannot denie you: But as he did with the lame and the blinde when they were importunate, hee never neglected any but healed them. When you crie to the Lord, and say, I would faine love thee, but I cannot, will hee not be as willing to heale thy soule, to give thee legges to runne after him, and eyes to see him, as he was to heale the lame [Page 50] and the blinde, certainly he will not denie thee.

2 But besides that, prayer doth it, because it brings us to converse and to have communion with him; by prayer wee are familiar with God, by that meanes love growes betweene us: as you know when you converse with men, it is a means to get love.

3 Againe, prayer doth it, because when wee are much in calling upon God, the Lord delights to shew himselfe to such a man, yea at such a time, for the most part, as hee shewed himselfe to Christ when he was praying, as he did to Moses, and to Cornelius and others.

4 And againe, prayer it exerciseth this love, it blowes up the sparke of this love, and makes a flame of it; therefore much prayer begets much love: If you would be abundant in love, be fer­vent and frequent in this dutie of prayer, pray much and you shall finde this effect of it, it will beget love in you: You will say prayer is a gene­rall meanes for other things:Object. Why doe you put it as a peculiar meanes to get love?

Answ.The reason is, because love in an especi­all manner is a gift of the Spirit, a fruite of the holie Ghost; and it is true, it must be a peculiar worke of the Spirit to beget love. It is true, faith comes by hearing, and hearing begets faith, it is done likewise by the Spirit; but love is more pe­culiarly than other graces, the gift of the holie Ghost. And therefore 2 Thess. 4.2 Thess. 4. saith the Apo­stle, You are taught of God to love one another: That is, it is such a thing as God teacheth, or else our [Page 51] teaching will never doe it: that which he saith of love to the brethren, we may say of the love of God; the Lord hath put love into man, man loves many times, and knowes not why, many times he hath reason that he should love, and yet he cannot, because it is a peculiar gift of God. That naturall affection for a man to love his chil­dren, all the world cannot doe it, all the argu­ments in the world cannot perswade a man: for if arguments could doe it, we might perswade o­thers to doe so; but none can love so as the father doth his childe: and why? but because the Lord workes that in men. So the love of God is a pe­culiar worke of the holy Ghost, none are able to love Iesus, but hee in whom the Lord hath wrought it, in whom the holy Ghost hath plan­ted this affection: Therefore the way to get it is earnestly to pray, to acknowledge the power of the holy Ghost, to goe to him, and say, Lord I am not able to doe it: this acknowledgement of the power of the holy Ghost is the way to pre­vaile. Besides, you know the power of God is so transcendent beyond the pitch of our nature, that except the holy Ghost worke more than nature, we shall never be brought together in agreeable­nesse and sutablenesse, wee are no more able to love the Lord, than colde water is able to heate it selfe: there must be somewhat to breede heate in that water, so the holy Ghost must breed that fire of love in us, it must be kindled from heaven, or else we shall never have it.

Secondly, another speciall meanes to enable [Page 52] you to love the Lord,meanes to consider our sinnes. is to consider your owne condition, to consider your sinnes, what you are, what hearts you have, and what lives you have lead?

Object.You will say, how doth this beget love?

Answ.Yes, this is a great meanes: Mary loved much, because much was forgiven her, that is, Mary Magdalen had great sense of her sinnes, the Lord had opened her eyes to see what a one shee had beene, what sinnes she had committed: And be­cause she had that sense of her sinnes, her eyes were open to see her owne vilenesse: thence it is, saith he, she loved much. For when we are hum­ble and poore in spirit, when we are little in our owne eyes, then the Lord will come and shew mercy on us; when a man shall see his sinne, and shall thinke with himselfe, I am worthy to be de­stroyed, I can expect nothing but death, then the Lord shall come sodainly as it were, and shall tell us you shall live, and shall reconcile himselfe to us, this will command love. We shall never re­ceive the Gospell as to love Christ, till we come to poverty of spirit, till we be thus humbled: as in the first of Luke, it is the speech of Mary, My soule doth magnifie the Lord: and why? because he had respect to the poore estate of his handmaiden: When she was little in her owne eyes, and made no account of her selfe, and thought not her selfe worthy to be looked after, the Lord comes and takes her, and vouchsafes her such an honour as to cause his owne Sonne to be borne of her: now she could not holde, but that was it that enflamed [Page 53] her heart with love to the Lord, my soule doth magnifie the Lord, because he had respect to the poore estate of his handmaid: So wee see in Da­vid, you never finde a greater expression of love in David, than at that time when hee was most humbled, when the Prophet came to him and tolde him what the Lord would doe for him, that he would build him and house; David begins to consider what he was, what is David, saith he, What am I, or what is my fathers house? That is, I am but a poore miserable man, I am but thus borne, what have I done that the Lord should re­spect me so farre? If David had not beene so little and so vile in his owne eyes, those great mercies had never so wrought on his heart. And therefore I say, the way to make us abundant in love is to consider our sinnes, to be humbled, to consider what wee are, and to conceive from thence the kindnesse of the Lord: you know how it affected Saul when hee came into the hands of David, that he had power to kill him, he conside­red what he had done to Dauid, how he had used himselfe to him, and he saw Dauids kindnesse a­gaine to him, but unexpected and undeserved it was, it melted his heart, it dissolved him into teares. So the love of the Lord, when we consi­der how we have behaved our selves to him, and yet he hath offered us peace, and yet he saith, Re­turne and I will forgive you, I say, this would worke on the hardest heart: And therefore con­sider your sinnes, it is not enough to say I am a sinner, perhaps you are ready to doe so: But come [Page 54] to particular sinnes, consider wherein you have offended the Lord, say you have done thus and thus, as Paul reasons with himselfe, I was a blas­phemer, I was a persecuter, an oppressour, and yet the Lord had mercy on mee: so be ready to say, I have committed such and such sinnes, it may be un­cleannesse, it may be Sabbath-breaking and swea­ring, &c. yet the Lord hath beene mercifull or willing to receive me to mercy: as that place, Ier. 3.1.Ier. 3.1. If a mans wife play the harlot, will hee returne to her? No, he will put her away, and give her a Bill of Divorcement: but you have done it, and done it oft, and with many lovers; and yet re­turne againe to mee, saith the Lord: So I say, when Christ shall come to you, when you have committed such and such sinnes, and the Lord shall say to you, though you have done this, though you have done it often, yet returne again to me, and I will receive you to mercie: I say, this should melt our hearts, and cause us to love the Lord. I should come to the third, that is, to beseech the Lord to shew his owne selfe to you:Meanes to beseech the Lord to shew himselfe to us. for indeede wee shall never come to love him till the Lord shew himselfe to us. It is one thing when we preach him to you, and it is ano­ther when the Lord shewes himselfe: For as the Sunne is not seene but by his owne light, there is no way in the world to see the Sunne, all the candles, all the torches cannot doe it, except the Sunne shew it selfe: So I say of the Lord, all the Preachers in the world, though they should speake with the tongues of Angels, they were [Page 55] not able to shew the Lord Christ Iesus what hee is: but if the Lord shew his owne selfe to you, if he open the cloud and shew you his glory, and the light of his countenance, then you shall know the Lord after another manner than we can shew him to you, with another knowledge more effe­ctually: And when you have seene him thus, you shall love him, without this you shall not love him. And therefore pray the Lord to shew himselfe to you, as it was Moses prayer, Exod. 33,Exod. 33. Shew me thy glory. What is that? That is, Lord shew me thy excellency which is exceeding glo­rious: You must thinke Moses asked not this in vaine, it was for some purpose, hee asked not meerely to satisfie his fancie, for the Lord would not then have heard him: But what did he aske it for? Surely that he might love the Lord the more, by knowing him better. And when Moses came to aske it at the hands of the Lord, he did assent, he proclaimed, that is, hee revealed him­selfe more than ever he did before. So I say to every one of you, if you be earnest with the Lord, desire him to shew you his excellencie, that you might love him more, serve him more, and feare him more, he could deny you no more than he did Moses: for you must thinke, that this is no extraordinary thing for the Lord to shew himselfe. That which hee did miraculously to Stephen, when he opened the heavens, and shew­ed himselfe to the outward view, that hee doth ordinarily to the Saints, hee shewes himselfe to their mindes and inward affections. When wee [Page 56] preach at any time, except the Lord shew him­selfe to you at that time, then our preaching is in vaine: for the word that we speake is but a dead letter, it will worke no more upon you, than a dead thing that hath no efficacy. But when the Spirit goes with the word, and hee openeth to you the thing that we speake, then it is effectuall. Therefore Paul to the Ephesians, when he had o­pened those great mysteries, hee concludes with this: The Lord give you the Spirit of wisedome and revelation, to enlighten the eyes of your understan­ding, that you may know what the hope of your calling is, and what is the glorious inheritance of the Saints, &c. As if he should say, when I have said all this, it is nothing, it will not doe it; but he be­seecheth the Lord to give them the Spirit of re­velation, and then it is done. And so to conclude all, when we have said all we can to move you to love the Lord, it is all nothing except the Lord give you that Spirit of wisedome and revelation to open your eyes to see what is the exceeding greatnesse and ex­cellency of his power.

FINIS.

THE THIRD SERMON.

GALLAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

OVT of these words we have for­merly delivered this point to you, that, ‘Wh [...] soever loveth not is not in Christ.’

The last thing (in the prosecu­tion of this point) was the meanes whereby this love is wrought in our hearts, which we did not then finish, notwithstanding we will not proceed in it at this time, but rather al [...]r the matter, and doe that which I did not then intend; because there are many this day that are to receive the [Page 58] Sacrament, and you know when we come to re­ceive the Sacrament, our chiefe businesse is to examine our selves. Let every man examine him­selfe, and so let him eate of this bread and drinke of this cup.

We have often pressed to you the necessitie of these two things:

The Sacrament of the Lords Supper is not to be omitted.First, that you may not omit the Sacrament when it is administred in the Congregation whereof you are members: for if they were to be cut off from the people that neglected the Passe­over,Reasons. 1 why should not this be accounted a greater sinne, and to deserve a greater punishment, to neglect the receiving of the Lords Supper, which is come in the place of the Passeover, and is farre beyond it?

The Lords Supper beyond the Passeover in two respectsFirst, because it is more cleare, and it is more cleare because the doctrine is more cleare; for it doth more lively represent Christ now exhibited 1 in the flesh, than that which onely represented Christ which was then to come.

2 And secondly, because the mercie that you are now to remember is your redemption from sinne and from hell, a greater mercie than that which they were to remember in the Passeover, which was their deliverance out of Egypt, (though that was not all) therefore the neglecting of this must neeedes be a greater sinne than the neglecting of that.

Now you see how strictly God layeth a charge upon them, that no man should omit the Passeover, unlesse sicknesse or a journey hindred [Page 59] him. Now consider this you that have beene negligent in comming to this holy Sacrament, for it is a great sinne, and provokes God to anger when he shall see that this ordinance which him­selfe hath instituted, and which he hath laid such a charge upon you to doe is neglected?

Besides, doe you thinke it is a sinne to neglect 2 comming to the word? and is it not as much to neglect this ordinance?

Besides, doe we not neede all helpes of grace?3 and is not this among the maine helpes.

Againe,Men ought not to come negligently to it. as you ought not to omit it, so to come negligently to it, to come without examination, to come without a more solemne and extraordi­nary renewing of your repentance is to receive the Sacrament unworthily, to eate and drinke judgement and damnation to your selves.Two sorts re­ceive the Sa­cramentun [...] worthily. Now there are two sorts that receive the Sacrament unworthily.

First, those that are not yet in Christ.1

Secondly, those that are within the covenant,2 but yet come remissely and negligently, and take not that care they should in examining their hearts: for though you ought to renew your re­pentance every day, yet in a more especiall man­ner you ought to doe it upon such an occasion. As women doe in scowring their vessells, they make them cleane every day, but yet there are some certaine times wherein they scowre them more: so we should scoure our hearts in a more speciall manner upon this occasion. Now be­cause this is the businesse that wee haue to doe [Page 60] this day, we will therefore handle that more ful­ly that we touched lightly before, which is this examination, whether we love the Lord Iesus or no: for if you love not the Lord Iesus, you are not in him; for whatsoever you doe availeth not, if you haue not faith and love. Therefore if you finde that you have not this love to Christ, that you are not rooted and grounded in love, you haue nothing to doe with Christ, and if you have no­thing to doe with him, you have nothing to doe with the Sacrament. And therefore we will shew you what properties of love we finde in the holy Scriptures.Properties of love.

It is boun­tifull. 1 Cor. 13.This is one property of love set downe in 1 Cor. 13. Love is bountifull, and seeketh not its owne things: that is, it is the nature of love to bestow readily and freely any thing a man hath to the party whom he loveth. We see, Ioseph that loved Benjamin, as his love was more to him than to all the rest of his brethren, so he gave him a greater portion than the rest. It is the nature of love to be bountifull, what a man loveth, hee cares not what he parts with to obtaine it. Herod cared not to have parted with halfe his kingdome, to please that inordinate affection of his. The Converts in the Apostles time, how bountifull were they, laying all their goods at the Apostles feete? Zac­cheus, when hee was converted, and his heart was inflamed with love to Christ, he would give halfe his goods to the poore. But in generall, it is a thing that you all know, that love is of a bounti­full disposition. If you would know then whe­ther [Page 61] you have this love to the Lord Iesus or no, consider whether you be ready to bestow any thing upon him, whether you be ready to part with any thing for his sake. David, when hee a­bounded with love to the Lord, you see how he expressed it in his provision for the Temple, you see how he exceeded in it, An hundred thousand shekels of golde, and a thousand thousand talents of silver: this, saith he, I have done according to my poverty: As if he had said, if I had beene a­ble to doe more I would have done more, but this was as much as I could reach unto: herein hee shewed the greatnesse of his love to God in the greatnes of his bounty. Take it in the love which we have one to another: where a man loveth, he denieth nothing. Sampson, when he loved the har­lot, he denied her nothing that she asked of him. If you love the Lord Iesus, examine your selves by this, are you ready to bestow any thing for his advantage? are you ready to take all oppor­tunities to doe somewhat for his glory? consider how many opportunities you have had, and might have had, wherein you might have expres­sed and manifested this love to the Lord Iesus. Might you not have done much to the setting of a powerfull Minister here and there? have you not had ability to doe it? would it not much ad­vantage the glory of Iesus Christ to make brid­ges (as it were) for men to goe to heaven by, and to make the high way that leadeth thither? A greater worke of mercy than these externall workes that appeare so glorious in the eyes of [Page 62] men: to have blessed opportunities, and not to use them, because wee have straight hands and narrow hearts, is a signe we want love to Christ.

In the passages of your life there is many a case, that if you were of a bountifull disposition, you might doe much good in. You know what Paul saith, which was a great testimony of his love, Acts 20.24.Acts 20.24. My life (saith he) is not deare unto me, so I may doe any thing for Iesus Christ, so I may fulfill the course of my Ministery. So examine your selves whether you can say thus upon any occasion; so that I may doe any good, so that I may help forward any good cause that may tend to the glory of God, my life is not deare unto mee, my liberty is not deare, my estate is not deare, my friends are not deare to me. You that have to doe in government, many cases there are, wherein if you will doe any speciall good, you must part with something of your owne; God lookes to you and sees what you doe, and how your hearts stand affected in all these passages, aske your selves now whether these things be not deare to you: if there were love in you, it will cause you to doe more than you doe. It was Da­vids great wisedome, when water was brought to him that was purchased at so deare a rate, when so high a price was set upon it, hee would not drinke it himselfe, but powred it forth to the Lord; and therein hee shewed the greatnesse of his love, that he was willing to part with that which he so exceedingly longed for, which was bought at such a rate.

[Page 63]The like he did when he bought the threshing floore of Araunah the Iebusite, hee might have had it given him for nothing; No, saith he, I will not offer to the Lord of that which cost me nothing: As if hee had said, I shall shew no love to the Lord then, and if I shew no love to him, what is my sa­crifice worth? For David knew well enough that God observed what hee did, hee observed what it cost him. The Lord observeth all that you doe: Beloved, he knoweth your hearts, and seeth what motions you have, and prizeth your acti­ons accordingly. If you doe any action for him, that costs you something, he observeth that like­wise. In Rev. 2.Revel. 2. I know thy workes and thy patience: so doth the Lord say of every man, I know what such a service cost thee, I know what losse thou sufferedst, when thou didst part with such a thing for my sake. Therefore if you would shew your love to the Lord, and would have a testimonie in your hearts, that you have this love wrought in you, be not backward to bestow any thing upon Christ. The woman that brake the boxe of pre­cious oyntment, you see how the Lord accepted that worke of hers so much, that he puts it down that it should never be forgotten. For love where­soever it is, will open the heart, and open the hand, and bestow any thing upon Iesus Christ, that is in our power.

Now if we examine whether love be amongst men by this signe, wee shall finde but little love, and we may justly take up the complaint of the Apostle, Every man seekes his owne things, and not [Page 64] the things of Iesus Christ: that is, when any thing is to be done, men are ready to enquire thus, it is the secret inquisition of their hearts; What is this to mee? what profit will it bring mee? wherein will it be to mine advantage? And if they finde it is a thing that will cost them something, and a thing that they shall get nothing by, how colde and backward are men to doe it? It is from this, that men seeke their owne things.

Object.But here every man will be ready to professe, and say that he is not so strait handed, but hee is readie to doe manie things for Christ, that hee is bountifull, and seekes not his owne things?

Answ.My Beloved, let us trie this now a little: thou thinkest thou art so bountifull for the Lord, I would aske thee this; Doest thou doe it purely for the Lord in such a case, when there is no pro­fit nor praise with men, nor advantage redoun­ding to thy selfe? art thou as forward then as when there are all those respects? art thou as a­bundant in it, as diligent, and as ready to doe it? This discovers the falshood of mens hearts for the most part.

And besides, take it in the case of selfe-love, consider what thou doest when thine owne selfe-love shall come in competition with this love to the Lord: for in that we shall know our love to the Lord, when wee denie our selves, when wee crosse our selfe-love, and reject and refuse it: for otherwise it is no thanke to us, when there is no inward crossing in us, no contrary affections drawing us another way. Therfore if you would [Page 65] know whether you love the Lord or no, trie what you doe in the things that are dearest to you, consider what you doe in those things that of all others you are most unwilling to part with: for indeed herein is the tryall, as the Lord said to Abraham, when hee would have offered up his sonne, Now Abraham I know that thou lovest mee: As if he had said, this is a sure testimony that thou lovest me, because thy sonne is not deare to thee. So I say, when you are to part with some­thing that is deare to you, consider what you doe in such a case, consider whether you can say ge­nerally, I account all things but as losse and dung for Christ. It may be thou art willing to part with something that thou carest not much for, but this is nothing. Some man will not lose his credit, that is deare to him; Examine thy selfe now, if thy credit be deare to thee, art thou content to lose the praise of men for Christ? when thou art put to a hazard art thou content to suffer the losse of thy estate?

Every man hath some particular temptation, young men for the most part are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, and olde men are lovers of their owne wealth more than of God. There­fore consider what you will doe now in your se­verall cases. Christ, you know, requires this at every mans hands, that his wife and children, that his father and mother, and whatsoever is dearest to him, that hee should neglect it all for his sake; and herein a mans love is seene.

And when you have done all this, I will adde [Page 66] that further, though you doe bring your hearts to doe it, yet are you willing to doe it? doe you doe it chearfully and readily? for why doth the Lord require that as a necessarie condition, that whatsoever is done to him might be done chear­fully and willingly? For no other reason than this, but because hee regards nothing but that which commeth from love, and if it come from love, we know, we doe it cheerefully. Therefore consider whether thou art willing to doe this chearfully, and with a full hand, not nigardly and pinchingly; and by this you shall know whether you have this love to the Lord Iesus or no, whe­ther you be bountifull, whether you seeke the things of the Lord, and not your owne things.

It is content with nothing but love again.In the second place, you shall finde this to be one propertie of love (by which you may trie your selves) it will be content with nothing but with love againe from the party whom wee love. If one love another, let him doe never so much, let him be never so kinde in his actions towards him, let him be never so bountifull to him, yet except he have love againe, hee is content with nothing. Indeede when we doe not love a man, we can be content to receive profit from him, and it is no matter though his heart goe another way so we enjoy it; but it is the nature of true love to desire to be paid in its owne coyne. Now if thou love the Lord Iesus, if thou mightest haue all the blessings that he could bestow upon thee, if hee should open his hand wide, and compasse thee about with abundance, yet if thou louest the [Page 67] Lord, thou wouldest not be content with this, but thou wouldest have assurance of his love, thy heart would be at no rest else.

And this you may see in David, Psal. 51. Psal. 51. David, you know, was well enough, hee had health and wealth, and abundance of all things, yet you see how miserably he complained, because he wan­ted that joy that hee was wont to have, because he was not in those termes with the Lord that he was wont to be; and till hee had that, his bones were broken with sorrow, and hee tooke it so to heart, that nothing in the world could content him, till he was assured of Gods favour: And it is certaine, that if thou love the Lord, nothing will satisfie thy soule, but the assurance of his lo­ving countenance to thee againe. Therefore that which Absolom did we may make use of, upon this occasion, hee had that wit, to make a right pre­tence, whatsoever his intent was: when hee was called from banishment where hee lived well e­nough, and enjoyed all things, hee wanted no­thing, but had as much as hee could desire, yet, saith he, what doth all this availe me, so long as I may not see the Kings face? It was but his crafti­nesse: Yet thus much we may observe out of it, that this is the property of love, that till a man see the face of God, that is, till he enjoy a neare and close communion with God, untill he can have the love of God witnessed to his soule, hee cares for nothing in the world besides: As you have it in 2 Chron. 7.14. you have that condition put in:2 Chron. 7.14. If my people (saith he) when they are in distresse, shall [Page 68] humble themselves, and seeke my face, then I will doe thus and thus. As if he should say, it may be they may seeke libertie, when they are in captivitie; it may be they may seeke health, when they are in sicknesse; it may be they may seeke deliverance from enemies, under whom they are enthralled; but that is not the condition that I put them up­on, but if they humble themselves, and seeke my face, then I will heare in heaven, &c. So I say now, if you will trie whether you love the Lord Iesus or no, consider whether you seeke his face, that is, whether you seeke grace or no, whether nothing in the world can content you but his favour. For it is the property of one that is truly sanctified, mercie alone will not content him, but hee will have grace as well as mercy: Another man that loveth not the Lord, it is true, it may be hee is pinched with the sense of his sinnes, but let him have mercy, it is enough hee thinkes; but now take a man that hath his heart right towards God, except he have grace, it contents him not; for that is the property and nature of true love, that it careth for no wages, all that it desires is the love of the party, that what it doth may be acknowledged and accepted; and there is a great difference in that: You know, a nurse doth much unto the childe, as well as the mother, and it may be more, but notwithstanding the nurse never doth it but when she is hired; but the mother doth it for nothing, and she doth it more abundantly, because she doth it out of love, and it is wages e­nough to her that she hath done it, because shee [Page 69] loves her childe: So I say, if you love the Lord Iesus, it is not wages that you seeke, but if you may have the light of his countenance to shine on you, if you may have his favour, if you may have opportunitie to doe him service in your place, it is enough for you, you care not for the present wages, nor for future. Therefore herein you may know the nature of your love, the rightnesse and ingenuity of it, if it be so that all that you doe is out of love to the Lord, and if you can content your selves with love againe from God, it is a signe that you love the Lord Iesus.

Againe,It desires the second com­ming of Christ 2 Tim. 4.8. (to proceed) if you love the Lord Ie­sus, you will also love his appearance: as you have it in 2 Tim. 4.8. A crowne of righteousnesse is laid up for me, and as many as love the appearance of Iesus Christ: Heb. 9. ult. and in Heb. 9. ult. Hee was offered for the sinnes of many, and shall appeare the second time to such as looke for him, &c. For whom was he offe­red? and to whom shall he appeare? To as many as looke for his comming againe. So in 2 Pet. 3.13. What manner of men (saith the Apostle) ought we to be in all godlinesse & holy conversation,2 Pet. 3.13.looking for and hasting to the appearance of Christ? &c. So that it is certaine, every man that loveth the Lord Iesus, hee loves his appearance, hee hasteneth to the comming of the Lord, he lookes for his com­ming againe: and it must needes be so in reason. For if you love any, you know, you must needes love their presence; will you professe that you are louing to any, that when you heare of their comming towards you, there is no newes more [Page 72] unacceptable to you? If a woman had a husband in the East Indies, and report of his comming home should be the worst newes that shee could heare, shall wee thinke that such a woman loues her husband? So if you did loue the Lord Iesus, you would be glad to haue his appearance.

And (Beloved) seeing the Apostle hath chosen out this note, why should not we presse it in our examination of our selues, whereby wee may know whether wee loue the Lord Iesus or no? whether wee desire to be with the Lord? whe­ther we can say, as the Apostle Paul, Wee desire to be at home, and to be with the Lord? If we examine the loue of men by this rule, wee shall finde that there is exceeding little loue to the Lord Iesus, men are so exceeding backward in desiring to be at home, and to be with him; and we may know that by our backwardnesse to be in the Lords presence upon earth: Shall wee thinke that men are desirous to be in his presence in heauen, and yet are so unwilling to draw neare to him upon earth? But you will object,

Object.Many of those that loue the Lord, that are men truly sanctified, yet are afraid of death, and the newes of death is terrible to them: and therefore surely this is a rare signe, euen in those that haue faith and loue to desire the appearance of Iesus Christ?

Answ. 1.I answer, it is true, there may be a backward­nesse even in the Saints, but you must know upon what ground it is. A spouse that is to marrie a husband, no question but shee would be glad to [Page 73] be handsome, and to be prepared for his com­ming, and though shee may desire his companie exceedingly, yet because things are not so readie as she would have them, or for feare that he may finde that which may divert and turne away his eyes from delighting in her, perhaps shee desires not his comming at that time. There is a certaine negligence and unpreparednesse in mens hearts, which breedes an unwillingnesse in them some­times, and makes them afraid of seeing the Lord, and yet there may be a true and inward love af­ter him.

Besides, you know, there is flesh as well as spi­rit,2 and the spirituall part desires, as Paul did, to be at home, and to be with the Lord, and to en­joy his presence, but that flesh that is in us is al­wayes backward to it. Therefore in Revel. 14.13.Revel. 14.13. Blessed are those that die in the Lord, so saith the Spi­rit, but so saith not the flesh; the voice of the flesh is contrary to it, but it is the voice of the spirit and the regenerate part that is in us. So that this I may boldly say to you, that every man that hath this faith and love wrought in him by the Spirit of God, hee hath that in him which doth earnestly desire communion with Christ to live with him for ever, to be in his presence continu­ally, although there may be some reluctancie by reason of the flesh that is there.Simile. Take a man that hath sore eyes, you ynow, to the eye the light is exceeding pleasant, but look how much sorenesse and defect there is in the eye, so much the light is burdensome to it; but so farre as the eye is right, [Page 72] so farre as it is perfect, so farre is the light plea­sing and delightfull to it; so it is with the heart of the regenerate man, looke how much faith, looke how much spirit there is, so much desire there is of the presence of Christ, and it is most pleasing and acceptable to him, as the light of the Sunne is to the eye; but looke how much sore­nesse, that is, looke how much flesh there is in him, so much reluctancie, so much unwillingnes there is in him: and that hee must strive against: But still the rule holdeth good, that wheresoever the heart is right, there is alwayes an earnest de­sire and longing to be with Christ. And indeede this is only found in the Saints; for evil mē, if they knew what heaven were, they would never desire it: for they desire heaven in another notion, they would be well, they would be freed from misery and discontent which they mette with in the world, they would have whatsoever the flesh desireth, and that is it they looke after; but to de­sire heaven as it is, that is, to desire an excellency in grace, to be alway praising God, to be conti­nually in his presence, to be freed from the pra­ctise of sinne, this is a thing that if men aske their owne hearts, they doe not desire in this manner; for they desire it not here upon earth, when they are in the communion of Saints. When they are in places where there are holy speeches, and holy exercises, it is burthensome to them, they are out of their element, they are as men that are not up­on their proper center; these men desire to be in heaven, but they desire another kinde of happi­nesse [Page 73] than there is in heaven; the felicity there is presented unto them under another Idea, they de­sire no more than the flesh desires: but to desire heaven indeed, as it is heaven, to desire God there in his purenesse and holinesse, to desire it so as thereby to be sequestred from all worldly, carnall and sensuall delights, this a carnall man desires not. Therefore this is a distinguishing note and signe, that he that loves the Lord will love his appea­rance.

Fourthly,It delighteth to speake of the party be­loved. you shall finde this to be the pro­perty of love, hee that loveth is very readie to speake of the party loved; love is full of loqua­citie, it is readie to fall into the praises of the par­ty beloved, and to keepe no measure in it, to a­bound in it, that is the disposition of every man that loveth. So is it in this love to the Lord Iesus: You may see it in David, as he abounded in love to the Lord, so hee could never satisfie himselfe in praising the Lord: in Psal. 105.Psal. 105. which is re­peated 2 Chron. 15.2 Chron. 15. you shall finde that hee hath never done with it, but is alwayes singing praises to the Lord: Sing praise to the Lord, and be alway talking of his wondrous workes. And againe, Re­member his marva [...]lous workes that hee hath done of olde, and all the wonders, &c. As if he should say, if you love the Lord, shew it in praising of him. Doe you professe to love the Lord, and yet ne­ver delight to speake of him? nor delight to heare others speake of him? My Beloved, this back­wardnesse that is amongst us to holie and graci­ous speech, to speeches that tend to the setting [Page 76] forth of the Lords praise, shewes that love to the Lord Iesus is wanting among us.

You know, it is naturall for every man to a­bound in the speeches of the things they love, of what nature soever they be. Mariners are deligh­ted to talke of their voyages, and souldiers of their battells, and huntsmen of their games. If you delight in the Lord, certainly your tongues will be much in speaking of him, you will be rea­dy to doe it upon all occasions. Out of the abun­dance of the heart the mouth speaketh: and if love to the Lord doe abound in your hearts, this love will be expressed in your tongues, upon all oc­casions: and therefore, at the least, you may judge of the measure of your love by this. Hee that speakes much of loving God, and yet hath his speeches, empty, vaine, and unprofitable, surely we may guesse that he loves him not at all: and this is a marke that will not deceive us.

And now what will you say for your selves, that you speake no more upon those severall oc­casions that you meete withall in the world? is it because you are ashamed, because you are bash­full, and fearefull to expresse your selves, and to make an open profession of that holinesse that is in your hearts? Certainly it is a signe that you love not the Lord Iesus: for hee that loveth, is never ashamed; because, whom a man loveth, he magnifieth, hee prizeth much, hee hath a high e­steeme of: and therefore that bashfulnesse and fearfulnesse that you object, will not keepe you backe, if you did love the Lord in truth and sin­cerity. [Page 77] Or else, why is it that you speake of him no more? is it because you cannot speake? is it because your understandings are weake and dull? because you are not able to doe it as well as o­thers, and therefore you are loath to expresse your selves?

You know, when you love any, that love will teach you to speake, it will quicken the dullest wit and invention; love sharpeneth, and maketh the rudest tongue eloquent. It is the nature of love to set the heart on worke, and when the heart is set on worke, the tongue will be as the pen of a ready writer. You know how the Apostle setts it forth, Our heart is enlarged to you: love openeth the heart wide, and the heart openeth the tongue wide: therefore if you love the Lord much, you will bee much in speaking of him. Consider therefore what your speeches are concerning God, whether you your selues are ready to speak much, and to delight to heare others speake also? whether you be glad of any occasion, as those that love are glad to heare those that they love to be spoken of?

Fifthly,It will doe much and suf­fer much for the party be­loved. love will doe much and suffer much for the party loved: Paul, as he was abundant in love, so he was abundant in labour likewise; who­soever aboundeth in love will abound in workes also. Therefore see what you doe for the Lord Iesus, see what you suffer for his sake. When Christ came to Peter, and asked him that questi­on, Peter l [...]vest thou me? hee puts him upon the try [...]ll by this fruit of his love, Feede my Lambes: [Page 76] As if he should say, Peter, if thou wilt shew that thou lovest me, expresse it in doing something for my sake, Feede my Lambes: herein thy love shall be discerned; doe not say thou lovest mee, and yet art negligent in doing for mee, Feede my Lambes. We shall not need to presse this much in this Congregation, because it belongs to the Mi­nistery: Although you haue somewhat to doe in it for the Magistracie also, whereby they may expresse their love to the Lord Iesus, to helpe the feeding of Christ Lambes.

It is true, wee are as the vines that bring forth the grapes, but you are as the elmes that holde up those vines: the Magistrates feede the people as well as the Ministers: therefore that phrase is applied to David, hee was a Shepheard. There­fore in your severall occasions, when you meete with that which may tend to the feeding of the people of God, when you shall labour so farre as may lie within your compasse, that the Gospell may have a free passage, that there may be more faithfull and laborious Ministers set up in the se­verall places of the kingdome, the more you doe this, the more you feede Christs lambes. And if you will shew that love you have to the Lord, shew it by feeding his people, that is, by doing that which lyes in your power tending to that end, by doing of it zealously, with all your might. And as that was the worke that Christ put Peter upon for the tryall of his love, so I may say to e­very one of you, If you will shew that you love the Lord Iesus, doe the worke that belongs to [Page 77] your particular place; for every calling hath a particular worke in it: if you love the Lord, be diligent in that way, in that calling which Christ hath given you to doe him service in: and here­in you shall shew your love, as it was Christs owne speech, I have glorified thy Name, that is, in that particular worke, in that charge which thou gavest me to performe: so you must shew your love to God in doing the actions of your particu­lar callings diligently. You know, when that womans heart abounded in love to Christ, how it found out a way wherein it would shew it selfe presently in breaking the boxe of oyntment, &c.

As it is said of faith, It is dead without workes, so love is dead without workes, the Lord regards it not, it is a dead carkasse, without motion. Wee know it is the nature of love to be diligent: if you doe love Christ, it will make you diligent.

And as you will be ready to doe much, so you will be ready to suffer much also: these two I put together, because suffering is a kinde of do­ing, onely it is a doing of things, when there is difficultie and hardnesse. Now if you love the Lord Iesus, see what you will suffer for his sake; those that we love, wee are exceeding readie to suffer for. A husband that loves his spouse, is exceeding readie to suffer any thing to enjoy her love, he is willing to suffer any displeasure of pa­rents, of friends, to suffer the losse of his estate, he cares not for discredit in the world, hee is ready to breake through thicke and thinne, and to doe [Page 78] any thing, so he may obtaine her love at the last: So if you love the Lord Iesus, you will suffer a­ny thing for his sake. It was an excellent testi­mony of Davids love, in 2 Sam. 6.21.2 Sam. 6.21. when Da­vid there dancing before the Arke was scoffed at by Michal his wife, see what an answere hee gives her, It is, saith he, before the Lord: as if hee should say, I am willing to beare this at thy hands, for it is to the Lord who hath chosen me rather than thy father and all his house: As if he should say, seeing it is the Lord, for whose sake I endure this rebuke at thy hands, I care not for it, I am willing to doe it, yea I will doe it more, and be more vile in mine owne eyes, and expose my selfe yet to more scorne and derision, since it is to the Lord who hath chosen mee rather than thy fa­thers house; so I say, when any thing comes to be suffered for any good action, for any good cause, (as indeede commonly such actions have sufferings joyned with them) if you love the Lord, you will be ready to goe through it, and that with cheerfulnesse, because it is to the Lord who hath chosen you, and passed by so many thousands. And therefore it was the commenda­tion of those in Heb. 10.Heb. 10. it was an argument of their sincerity, that they suffered the spoyl [...]ng of their goods with joy. Whence came this, but from their love to the Lord? they were so farre from being backward to suffer, as that they were glad to have the opportunitie to suffer somewhat for his sake.

Object.But you will say, I am readie to doe much for [Page 79] the Lord, and I hope I am not backward to suffer for him.

It is well if it be so,Answ. but let mee adde this to all that I have said, In what manner doest thou doe that thou doest? You know the caution that the Apostle puts in, in 1 Iohn 5.3. Herein is love ma­nifested, that we keepe his commandements, 1 Iohn 5 3. o­pened. and his commandements are not grievous. Indeed herein is the reality of love seene, that we keepe the com­mandements of God. It is true, a man may doe much for Christ, and yet not love him; an hy­pocrite may goe farre in performances, and yet though he doth much, hee may not love much: therefore you must examine your selves by that, in what manner you doe that which you doe. Therefore it is added, if wee keepe his commande­ments, and they be not grievous: as if he should say, the manner of your doing is all in all, you must both doe much, and suffer much; but they must both be done willingly. You know, the wife and the servant, they both serve the husband, and doe much for him, both are alike diligent, yet not­withstandi [...]g there is this difference, the wife doth it out of love, shee doth it in another man­ner, proceeding from another affection, aiming at another end than the servant doth. So two men may be diligent in keeping the same commande­ment of the Lord; the one doth it as one that loves the Lord earnestly, being desirous to please him, as one that delights in the Lord, no­thing doth more content him, that when he is in an opportunity wherein he may expresse his love [Page 80] to the Lord, all his commandements are not grievous to him, it is not respect to the reward, it is not an eye to the punishment that mooves him.

A man indeed may doe much for the Lord, when it is the respects that he hath to hell and to judgement, to heaven and the reward that moves him: Not but that these may be motives; but yet you must remember this, that if these be the principall, and if these onely moove you, you doe it not out of love, you take but an aime from your selves. When a man hath a businesse of his owne to doe, you know how carefull he is in it, and with what diligence hee doth it, how often and how seriously he is devising with himselfe to bring his matters to passe. Now if you love the Lord, the actions that you doe, you will not doe them as those that are his slaves and servants, that doe things for other regards; And indeede such is the love for the most part that is among us now adayes, there is much formality in our a­ctions, wee have a forme of godlinesse without the power of it: even as in our love towards men, there are many complements, and much profession of love one to another, but wee finde that there is little true love: So wee may take up a complaint against men in their love to God, there is much formality, men are much in outward perfor­mances, which is well, I confesse, but alas, the power is wanting; it is all but complemen­ting with God, as it were, when you come and do these duties of Gods worship, when you keepe [Page 81] the Sabbath, and present your selves at prayers and at Sermons, it is well you doe so; but yet when your hearts are going after your covetous­nesse, and after your pleasures, after this or that particular humour, the Lord lookes upon this as upon a formall performance: it is another kinde of doing that the Lord requires at your hands. It may be you doe duties in secret and private, and it is a good propertie that you doe so, but yet that is not enough; you may doe them as a taske, that you are glad when the businesse is done, and it is well that is o­ver; but when you will doe things out of love, you must know that you must doe it in another manner, not in this formality. If you will serve the Lord out of love, it is not the pray­ing to him morning and evening that will con­tent you, but it is the working upon your hearts, it is the beating upon your affections till you have brought them to a good frame of grace, till you have wrought upon your selves a sound and thorow renewing of your repen­tance, you will never give over till your hearts be quickened in prayer, till you have found that God hath answered you, till you have had ex­perience of his mercy and loving kindnesse to­wards you.

So when you come to heare, is this all, (thinke you) that God requires of you, to sit here, and lend us your eares for a little time? No, my Beloved, unlesse you doe it from love, unlesse you be mooved to it from an in­ward [Page 82] principle, from an entire and holy affe­ction to God, it is nothing. You must labour to have the word wrought upon your hearts, you must observe how you practise, and how you bring forth into action that which you heare; for you doe not learne a thing here, when you come to heare the word, till you practise it, till your hearts bee transformed into it: Doe not thinke that you have done the worke, when you have sate here and heard us, when you have gone home and repeated the Sermon, and un­derstand it: To heare as God would have you heare is another thing: it is like your lessons in musicke, you say you have never learned them, till you be able to practise them; so you ne­ver have learned the word of God aright, till you have an abilitie in you to practise it.

To shew you what love is, and what faith is, and what patience is, to make you understand and conceive of it, it is nothing; but to have faith, to have patience, to have love, to have your affections inflamed to the Lord, this is the right hearing. As it is in physicke, the under­standing of the Physitians bill is nothing, it is the taking and applying of that which is there written that doth good to your bodies; so is it with the doctrine that wee preach, you may understand it, and apprehend it, and con­ceive of it aright; but except you bring it forth into your lives and actions, you learne it not. Therefore this slight and overly performance is not a true testimonie of your loue to the Lord [Page 83] Iesus, but the doing of it to purpose, so that God who searcheth the heart may accept of it; the doing of it thorowly that your hearts may be wrought upon, this is a signe that your do­ing and suffering comes from Love.

FINIS.

THE FOVRTH SERMON.

GALLAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

THE last thing that wee did was to shew you what were the properties of true love, that by them you might try your selves whether you love the Lord Iesus or no: we went through five in the morning, we now proceede.

Property of love, it is like fire in 4 thingsAnother property of love is this, it is full of heate: therefore in Cant. 8. it is compared to coales of juniper: Cant 8. and that phrase is used in Mat. 24.5.Mat: 24, 5. Iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall waxe colde. That antithesis shewes that love is a [Page 85] hot thing, hot as fire. Therefore if you would know whether you love the Lord Iesus or no, consider what heat and what fire there is in you.

Now what are the properties of fire? where­in doth love and that agree?

Fire, you know, is the most active of all the 1 elements; colde benummes a man, and is the greatest enemie to action: if thou love the Lord Iesus, thou shalt finde thy love will have that property of fire to set all on worke on thee; it will set thy tongue on fire, and thy hands on fire, and thy head and heart on fire, every thing that is within thee will be working, and doing some service or other to the Lord. When a man wan­teth love, hee is as a man benummed, as a man frozen in his dreggs, not apt to any thing: the more a thing is like to fire, the more aptnesse, and the more activenesse; so the more love, the more aptnesse and readinesse to every good worke: where there is no love, there men are reprobate to every good worke.

Besides, love as it is very active, so it is very 2 quicke, as fire is of a quicke nature. Therefore we say that love hates nothing so much as de­layes, and it is in this like to fire, which is the quickest of all the elements. Consider of this therefore; Art thou speedy in thy executions? if thou love the Lord, thou wilt not deferre and put off from day to day any thing that is to bee done, thou wilt not say with thy self, I wil change my course of life, but not yet: no, if thou love the Lord, thou wilt doe it presently.

[Page 86] 3 Besides love agrees with fire in this, that it is earnest and vehement: and indeede I take it, that in that regard it is chiefly compared to fire. For fire, as it is of a quicke, so it is of a vehement na­ture, and so is love. Looke what a man loves, upon that he bestowes the top of all his affecti­ons, and the maine strength of his intentions run that way. Examine by this therefore whether thou love the Lord or no. If thou love the Lord Iesus, thou wilt look upon other things, as things that thou regardest not much, thou wilt grieve for them as if thou grievedst not, and rejoyce as if thou rejoycedst not, thou wilt use the world as if thou usedst it not, thy heart will be taken up about Christ, and about the things that belong to the kingdome of God, thy intentions will be set upon the things that belong to the service of God, and thy owne salvation. This is a thing by which you may plainly discerne the truth of your love: examine therefore what it is upon which you bestow the maine and the top of your inten­tions. Indeed, my brethren, the greatest things that the world hath are not worthy of the toppe and strength of our affections; for they are but trifles. Therefore if you love the Lord Iesus, if you prize him aright, and be righ [...]ly affected to­wards him, you will esteeme nothing great, but the enjoying of his favour, and nothing of worse consequent than the losse of it, nothing will be of any great moment to you, but onely sinne, and grace; sinne that displeaseth him, and grace that brings you into favour with him: as for other [Page 87] things, you will looke upon them as trifles, you will not put the strength of your mindes to any thing else; this is the nature of love, it is vehe­ment toward the thing that it loveth.

Moreover, it hath also this property of fire,4 that it is still aspiring, it is still enlarging it selfe, still growing on, assimulating, and turning every thing into its owne nature, it is overcomming and is not ready to be overcome: Which proper­tie of fire is noted in that place I spake of in the morning, Much water cannot quench it, it is as strong as death: Now death, you know, overcomes all; so will love, it will breake through all impedi­ments. Consider whether you finde this dispo­sition in your selves, that your hearts are still drawing nearer and nearer the Lord, that they are still aspiring up towards heaven, that you are still going onward and thriving in the worke of grace.

But that which of all other things will mani­fest most to us this affection of love,Property of love, it com­mandeth the affections, es­pecially anger and feare. it is those af­fections which depend on it; you shall know it, I say, by the affections that hang upon it. It is true that all the affections depend upon love, but, for this time, I will instance but in two, namely,

  • Anger, and
  • Feare.

Looke whatsoever it is that a man loveth, where he findes any impediment in the prosecu­tion of it, hee is angry, hee desires with as much earnestnesse to remoove that impediment, as hee loves the thing.

[Page 88]Take any man even of the mildest disposition, if in any thing that hee loveth much, and inten­deth much, there be an intercurrent impediment that shall interrupt him, he is angry, though o­therwise he be of a most meeke disposition. For anger is but earnestnesse to remove the thing out of the way that hinders us: whatsoever a man loveth, hee is angry with the impediments that hinder him in it. Come now and examine your love to the Lord by your anger: that anger that proceedes from love to the Lord, we call zeale: will you professe that you love the Lord, and yet your hearts are not moved when he is disho­noured? Thinke with thy selfe when thou art wronged in thy name, or some body miscalleth thee, misreports of thee, and prosecutes thee with evill speeches and revilings, is not thy wrath kindled in thee against such a one? Well, if thou love the Lord Iesus as thy selfe, as thou oughtest to love him above thy selfe, why are not thy affections stirred in thee, when thou hea­rest him dishonoured, when thou knowest that his Name is ill spoken of? If a man should take from thee thy wealth, or any thing that is deare to thee; if a man should come and violate thee with ill tearmes, thou wouldest be angry with him, and be ready to flie in the face of such an one. If you be thus affected to the Lord, and to his glory, why doe you not doe the like for him? You know, David did the same: Mine eyes gush out (saith he) with rivers of water because men keepe not thy Law. Therefore know that, if you finde [Page 89] not your hearts affected with the things that be­long to God, that there is no anger stirred up, it is a sure argument that you love him not. It is observable that is said of olde Ely, 1 Sam. 4.3.1 Sam. 4.3. when newes was brought him that the Israelites were fled, that moved him not so much when it was tolde him; morever that there was a great slaughter among the people, that stirred him not neither; when it was tolde him yet that his two sonnes Hophni and Phineas were slaine, yet this did not so much affect him; but when it was tolde him that the Arke of the Lord was taken, the text noteth something more than ordinary, that hee was so stirred with it, that he fell from his seate, & it cost him his life. Can you find this affection in your selves, that you are not moved with the death of childrē so much, or for the losse of your goods, or for your owne particular discontents, as when you shall heare that the glory is depar­ted from Israel, that religion suffers any eclipse in any place, that the Gospell of Iesus Christ is hindred? This is a thing that will try your love to the Lord. If you finde that you can heare of the desolation of the Churches, and of the in­crease and growing of Poperie, and yet you doe not take it to heart to be affected with it, you doe not grieve for it, it is a signe that you want love to the Lord. You know what is noted of them in Ierem. 36.24. when the King had done an abominable action,Ier. 36.24. that hee had cut the roll in­sunder that Ieremiah gave him, and cast it into the fire that was upon the hearth before him, it is [Page 90] sayd that those that were about him, did not rent their clothes, nor petition to him &c. As if hee should say; in this they discovered a wonderfull want of love to the Lord, and to his cause, that they were not moved with this dishonour, that was offered to God, and to his servant, and to the cause of Religion at that time. You know what disposition Paul had in this case Act. 17. He ob­served that the place,Act. 17. where he was, was given to Idolatry, the text saith, His spirit was stirred in him, his zeale and his anger was kindled in his breast. Therefore consider what your affections to the Lord are by this holy anger that is in you. Mo­ses you know, was the meekest man vpon the earth, and yet you know how he was mooved, how his zeale was kindled in his breast, when he saw the idolatry of the people.

In the next place consider your feare: For if you love the Lord, it will cause you to feare and tremble at his word, and at his judgements, for whom a man loves much, he regards much, and when a man regards another much, he is much af­fected with what he doth; Now when the Lord shall shew some tokens of his wrath, those that love him, and esteeme of him, those that prize him, cannot but be affected. Shall the Lyon roare, and shall not the beasts of the field tremble? Consi­der, how you are affected therefore,These sermons were preached in the time of the great pesti­lence. 1625. when the Lord shall discover any expression of his wrath, and what doth hee else in this stroake, which is now vpon this place; is there not wrath gone out from the Lord? You know the plague is [Page 91] more particularly Gods hand, then any other affliction: Therefore David saith when he chose the plague, that he would choose to fall into the hands of God, intimating that, in that buysinesse, God was in a more peculiar manner the doer of it. As the thunder is sayd to be the voyce of the Lord, so the plague may properly be sayd to be the stroake of the Lord, more peculiarly than a­ny other affliction. Consider therfore what your affections are in this case: for my beloved, let it not be in vayne to you, that the Lord stretcheth forth his hand as hee doth now at this time a­mong vs. It is but yet in the beginning, and what is the Lords meaning in it? Is it not as a messenger sent vpon an errand? If it had its an­swer, if that were done, for which the Lord had sent it, would he not remoue it againe? Would he not bid the destroying Angell to put up his sword into his sheath? Doubtlesse he would, if you would doe that at the beginning of this sick­nesse that must be done before the Lord will re­moove it from you.

You will say,Quest. what shall we doe then? I be­seech you consider what commonly is the cause of a plague among vs.Answ. Consider what hath ben the cause of the plague in former times.Causes of the plague. You shal finde in Numb: 25.Numb. 25. two causes of the plague. One was the superstition and Idolatrie of the people, they begann to be yokt with Idolatrie, They joyned themselues to Baal Peor. I confesse that sinne was not yet growne to any great height, it was but yet in the beginning, in the seedes, and [Page 92] yet you know how the Lord was offended with them.

And the second was fornication, the sinne of 2 vncleanes that was cōmitted. It is not likely that all the people fell into that sinne of Idolatry, or in­to the sinne of Fornication, but yet the Lord was offended with the whole Congregation for those that did it, as the manner is to be. So here you see two causes of a plague, Idolatry which was but beginning, and the very admitting it into the Campe; and the Fornication of the people.

3 Another cause of the plague you shall find in Davids numbring the people, it was their securi­tie and pride, and trusting to themselves, and the creatures: for surely it was not Davids sinne only (who had somewhat forgotten God, and trusted to his mountaine, & thought that that was strong enough) but it was the sinne of the people.

It is good (my beloved) to be secure out of confidence vpon God, and therein, the more se­curitie the better; but to be secure for any out­ward help, either in the number of men or ships, or strength or policie, or because we are compas­sed about with the walls of the Sea, or whatsoe­ever it is wherein wee thinke our safetie consist­eth, the more confidence in this the worse. The Lord smott the people for this security in Dauids time.

4 Another cause is, the unworthy receiving of the Sacrament. Many are sicke among you (saith the Apostle) and many are dead, because you re­ceive the Sacrament unworthily. The Lord is [Page 93] pleased to punish that particular sinne of recei­ving the Sacrament unworthily, with some sick­nesse or other, whether the plague or no, we can­not say, but this we may be sure of, that this was the cause why so many were sicke and dead. You know that passage in the booke of Chronicles concerning Ezekias, when the people had not prepared themselves aright as they ought, hee prayed to the Lord, and it is said, The Lord healed the people: we cannot say what the Lord healed them of, but yet it makes it evident that the Lord had some way smitten thē. Moses for the omissi­on of the Sacrament the Lord would have slaine him, that is, he would have sent something upon him, whether some disease, as is most probable, or some other thing which should have taken a­way his life in the end. The omission and negli­gent receiving of the Sacrament I put together, which mooveth God to anger, and to inflict plagues upon a people.

I will name yet one more besides these, and 5 that is the coldnesse and deadnesse of their hearts who belong to the Lord, from whom he expects better things, and more zeale, which I gather hence: What was the reason that the zeale of Phineas stayed the plague? Numb. 25.Numb. 25. Because his love was hot, and his anger was kindled in a holy manner against that Israelitish man, and the Mid [...]anitish woman, that had committed fornica­tion among the people. If the zeale of Phineas was the cause of staying that plague, and of with­holding the Lords hands, then surely the coldnes [Page 94] of those from whom the Lord lookes for much heate, for much fervency of spirit, whom God expects should stand in the gappe, I say, that is the cause that the Lord goes on in punishing.

Quest.But what should we doe now to remove it?

Answ.Amend the things that are amisse, repent and amend, and he will turne from his fierce wrath, which he not onely intendeth against us, but is also already upon us; Labour to cleanse your hands from idolatry and superstition, and cleanse the land from the crying sinne of uncleannesse and fornication, and every man labour to cleanse his owne heart.

And againe, to turne to the Lord, to take heede of security, which is a forerunner of a ru­ine, as a great calme is a forerunner of an earth­quake.

Againe, take heed of receiving the Sacrament unworthily, many of you this day have received; therefore I should speake something particularly to them, but in truth this concernes all among us; but chiefly let me speake to those a little that are able to pray, that have some fire in them, that have had the worke of grace in their hearts wrought by the Spirit of God, that have some sparkes if they were blowne up, that are men fit to stand in the gap; It belongs to you, my bre­thren to doe something that the Lord may stay his hand: and remember that when the Lord be­gins to send forth tokens of his wrath and dis­pleasure against a Nation, it is a time wherein he expects and lookes for humiliation and repen­tance: [Page 85] Therefore take heede of neglecting that in Isay 22.Isay 22. In that day (saith the Lord) when I cal­led for humiliation, beholde killing of fatlings and oxen, &c. Therefore know what your dutie is, and learne now to see what belongs to you to doe, shew your love to the Lord in trembling at his judgements, in being zealous for his Names sake: as indeed where there is abundance of love there is alwayes exceeding much zeale: So it was with Paul, so it was with Elias, so it was with Moses, so it hath beene with all the Saints. And so much for this.

Another property of love is this,Property of love, it doth things freely. that it doth not play the huckster with the Lord (as wee say) it doth not bring things to an exact account, but when a man loveth, hee is willling to doe what offices of love and friendship he can, and he doth not stand to looke for an exact recompence; (for that is to play the huckster, to make a bargaine with God) but the nature of love and true friend­ship, wheresoever it is found, is this, to be free in doing that it doth, and not to stand to examine how much they shall doe, and how much they shall receive for doing of it; but to doe it with liberty and with freedome. And so it will be if your love be right to the Lord, you will not stand halfepeny-worthing, you will not stand considering what you are bound to doe of ne­cessitie, whether you are bound to pray in your families or no, whether you are bound to keepe the Sabboth so exactly and precisely as is com­manded; whether you are bound from giving [Page 96] so much liberty to your selves in vaine speeches, &c. but love will rather say, what shall I doe to recompence the Lord? It will be devising what to doe, it will be glad of any occasion of doing any thing that may be acceptable to God. When you set limits to your selves, and are afraid of going too farre, and doing too much, it is a signe that what you doe commeth not from love to the Lord, but from some naturall principle, it comes from your selves, and not from the spirit. For if you love the Lord Iesus aright, why doe you not labour to exceed in the duties of obedi­ence? why doe you blame those that goe fur­ther than your selves are willing to doe? why doe you quarrell with that exactnesse and pre­cisenesse, and strictnesse which is required in walking in the wayes of God? Love is abun­dant in the worke it doth, and if you love the Lord, you will not set limits to your selves, you will not have such thoughts as these, I will doe as much as may bring mee to heaven, and no more, I will take so much paines as that I may not be damned, but to exceede, and doe more than needes, this I hope may be spared, and I may goe to heaven notwithstanding well enough, though I goe not so fast as other men. No, Be­loved, if there be love in you, you will strive to doe the utmost of your power, it is the nature of love so to doe.

Againe, you will not be so exact, nor indent with the Lord what hee will doe to you; but though the Lord be slow and slacke in rewarding [Page 97] you, though he stay long, and suffer you to goe on without taking any notice of you, as it were, nay perhaps hee gives you many afflictions and persecutions, poverty, trouble, sicknesse, &c. though the Lord doth not doe what you expect, yet your love will be free, it will goe on, you will be ready to say as Paul did, I know whom I have trusted: that is, he was resolved to serve the Lord, to doe his utmost, though the Lord did reserve himselfe and the recompence of reward to a further time, yet he was content. Such a dis­position will be found in those that love the Lord Iesus.

Again you may judge of your love to the Lord Iesus by another property of love,Property of love, hatred of sinne. which is a hatred of sinne, by your hatred of that which is contrary to him; for love is not better knowne by any thing than by hatred; for all hatred is properly rooted in love: for you hate nothing but because you love the contrary; therefore if you love the Lord Iesus, you will hate sinne. Examine your selves by this, for it is a sure rule, if you love the Lord, you will hate that which is evill.

You will say,Object. I hope I doe that.

It is well if you doe,Answ. but let us consider that: it may be you may be angry with sinne, but doe you hate sinne? That was the commendations that the Lord gives the Church, in Rev. 2. Thou hatest the works of the Nicholaitans which I also hate. Rev. 2. Therefore, if you would know whether you love the Lord Iesus, try it by this, doe you hate sin?

[Page 98]You will say, How shall wee know whether we hate it or no?

Answ.In these three things you shall finde wherein hatred differs from anger,Three differen­ces betweene hatred and anger. and thereby you may examine your selves.

First, hatred is more of generalls; a man hates 1 all drunkards, if he hate drunkennesse: hee hates all toads and all serpents, if hee hate poyson. A man is angry with this or that particular, but ha­tred is of all. I would aske thee, doest thou hate all sinne, every thing that is called sinne, all that belongs to sinne? If it be this or that sinne that you make against, you are but angry with sinne, you doe not hate sin: for hatred fals alwaies upon the generall. Examine therefore if you finde this disposition in your hearts, that you hate every sinne, that your hearts rise against every thing that is sinfull, whatsoever is contrary to the Lord, whatsoever you apprehend under the no­tion of sin, that you hate, and resist, and strive a­gainst; this is a signe that you love the Lord.

2 Secondly, hatred desires the utter destruction of the thing it hates, anger doth not so, anger desires but a revenge proportionable to the inju­rie: therefore we say there is a kinde of justice in anger, it would not have the party that it is angry with to be destroyed, but it would have him sen­sible of its displeasure, it would have something done that might answer the injurie that is offered; but hatred desires the destruction of a thing ut­terly. Now doe you doe so with your sinnes? doe you desire to have them wholly extirpate [Page 99] and rooted out of you? to have your lusts tho­rowly and perfectly mortified? are you willing to have sinne so cleane taken away, that you may have any no libertie to have dalliance with it in any kind? do you hate it so as that you cannot en­dure to come neere it, nor to have it within your sight? It is a signe you hate it indeed.

Lastly, hatred differeth from anger in this,3 that it is implacable: hatred comes from judge­ment, and it continues, and therefore hatred is not a passion, but we call it an affection; it is a beautie, and disposition, and frame of the will; anger is a passion that dies, and flittes away after a time; but hatred continues. Is your dispositi­on such to your sinnes? examine your selves; no­thing is more frequent, my brethren, than to be humbled for some sinne, which amazeth you for the present, but doth your hatred continue? If not, you doe but fall out with your sinnes onely, and grow friends with them againe. If you did hate them, as you should, you would never re­turne to amity with them more.

Many a man takes resolutions to himselfe, I will be drunke no more, I will be a gamester no more, I will not commit such, and such grosse sinnes, as I have done any more; perhaps some shame, or some feare hath followed him, some deepe apprehension of wrath and judgement, which set him vpon this resolution for the pre­sent; but if the heart be right that thou hatest sin as thou shouldest, thou wilt continue hating of it. Therefore consider, whether you love the Lord [Page 100] Iesus by this triall, whether your hearts hate sin, in your constant resolution or no. This was the disposition that was in Lot, His righteous soule was vexed with the unclean conversation of the Sodomits, that is, he did not onely abstaine from the actes that they did, but his soule wrought against them, he was vexed with them, as a man is vexed with a thing that is contrary to his disposition.

So it is sayd of Moses, he stood in the doore of the Tabernacle, and he wept as he stood, his heart was mooved in him. It is not enough to abstaine from sinne, but to hate sinne, and that is an argu­ment of our love to the Lord Iesus: take this therefore for an other triall of your love.

Againe, there is one more which wee cannot leave out,Property, it loveth the Saints. though it be a thing knowne unto you, yet because the Scripture gives it as a peculiar signe by which we may judge of our love to the Lord, it must not be passed by, and that is our love to the Saints; and there is good reason given of it, if we consider it well, 1 Ioh. 4.20. Wilt thou say thou lovest God whom thou hast not seene, 1 Iohn 4.20, opened. and yet lovest not thy brother whom thou hast seene? The meaning is this, for a man to love the Lord who is immortall, invisible, who dwelleth in light in­accessible, is a more difficult thing than to love thy brother whom thou seest. For why doe wee love the Lord, but because we conceive him un­der such a notion? we thinke of him as such a God having such and such attributes: Now, saith the Apostle, whatsoever thou conceivest of God, that very image and disposition is stamped [Page 101] on man like thy selfe, thou shalt see the very same disposition in a holy man that is in the Lord him­selfe. Indeed it differeth in the degree exceeding­ly, there is but a glimpse of it, yet why is it said that the Image of God is renewed, but that there is in holy men a disposition like the nature of God? Now this is in a more remisse degree in man, and therefore more sutable to our weak­nesse; as you know, difficulty comes from dispro­portion, it is a harder thing to love the Lord than a man like our selves. If therefore wee doe not love men like our selves, in whom is stamped a disposition like the nature of God, and his I­mage, in some degree, surely we cannot love the Lord who is so farre above us.

Againe, a man like our selves is visible, we see his actions, we heare him speake, we know more plainly the frame of his disposition; and therefore it is more easie to love a holy man than to love the Lord: For so is the Apostles argument. Doe not thinke that thou lovest the Lord whom thou never sawest, when thou doest not love thy bro­ther whom thou seest daily. Therefore wee may conclude thus much, if we love not the Saints and holy men, it is certaine we love not the Lord.

I confesse every man is ready to say (in this case) he loves holy men.

I would put you to this tryall,Tryalls of our love to holy men. and aske you but this question; you shall know it by this: Doe you love all the Saints? You shall finde that the 1 Apostle Paul still in his Epistles puts in that cau­tion, Love to all the Saints. If thou love grace and [Page 201] holinesse, thou wilt love it wheresoever it is. Ma­ny men will love some particular grace, especi­ally when it suteth with their disposition, and is agreeable to them, and to their constitution, but to love all grace, to love all holinesse in all the Saints wheresoever it is found, it is an infallible signe that thou lovest the Lord Iesus.

2 Againe, doest thou love none but them; that, where grace is, thou lovest, and where it is not, thou withdrawest thy love?

But, you will say, would you have us to love none but the Saints? I answer, it is true, wee ought to love all others with a love of pitty, wee should shew abundance of this love to all man­kinde; but then there is a love of complacencie and delight, and with this love we ought to love none but the Saints.

3 Againe, thirdly, doe you love them as they excell in holinesse? many men can love one that hath but some degree of grace; but if it be one that hath more exactnes than ordinarie, that hath proceeded higher in holinesse than he thinkes re­quisite, here his heart is readie to quarrell, and to rise against him.

4 Lastly, doe you manifest your loue by deligh­ting in their companie, and by the fruites of love towards them? You may professe much, and say much, but of all other things companie is the worst dissembled. Will you professe that you loue the Saints, and that you delight in them, and yet desire to be in any company rather than in theirs? that when you are among them, you are [Page 103] as if you were out of your element, you move as if you were out of your owne center? It is im­possible but that those that are moved by the same spirit should be best pleased when they are in one and the same society. Put all these things together, and by these you may judge whether you love the Saints or no.

You will object,Object. I doe love the Saints, but who are they? I love not hypocrites, and so it is made a notable excuse.

I will not wish thee to love hypocrites,Answ. onely take heede thou suffer not the impes and instru­ments of the Divell to paint out the true Saints unto thee in the colours of hypocrites: thou must consider that it hath beene the usuall manner to cast that aspersion upon all the Saints, upon all holy men in all ages, as the Apostle saith in 2 Cor. We are as deceivers though true: 2 Cor. 6. that is the com­mon esteeme that the world hath of the Saints, they judge them to be deceivers, and to be men that professe themselves to be otherwise than they are. You know what was said of Iesus Christ, some said of him he was a good man, o­thers said nay, he was a deceiver of the people. You know what was said of David, that he was a subtle man, one that went about to deceive o­thers. Paul, you know, was reckoned the great impostor of the world; this was alwayes laid up­on the Saints: therefore let not the Divells in­struments deceive thee in that.

Besides, why are they hypocrites? Is it be­cause there are some shewes of holinesse in them? [Page 104] Surely that is not argument enough.

Thou wilt say, because they doe not answer that which in their profession they make shew to be?

If that be the reason, why doest thou not pitch thy hatred upon those that are found to be so? And to conclude this, you must know, that no man speakes against religion or hates religion, un­der its owne notions, under its owne name, but something else must be put upon it, the name of hypocrisie, or the like.

And it is the common condition of men whose hearts are not upright, that they are not able to judge aright of the wayes of God; a man that hath not grace himselfe cannot possibly judge a­right of grace in others: but I hasten. I must now proceede in the point I formerly began to insist on, namely, in shewing you the meanes of get­ting this love, and of increasing it.

I shewed formerly somes meanes to get this love and to increase it.

As first prayer, for it is the gift of the Spirit.

Secondly, to beseech the Lord to shew him­selfe to you.

We will add but one now at this time, to shew you the way more fully to obtaine this love.

If you would love the Lord,Two impedi­ments of the love of Christ. remove the im­pediments.

What are those?

They are two.

Strangenes, and uncircumcision of heart, or worldly mindednesse.

[Page 105]First,Strangenes. strangenesse is agreat impediment to love. It is an observation that the Philosophers hath, that strangenes when we doe not salute, and con­verse one with another, is a meanes of dissolving friendship; so in this case, when there growes a strangenesse betweene God and vs, it unties and loosens that love and communion that should be betweene us. Therefore, if you would preserve your love to the Lord, suffer not your hearts to sit loose from him, suffer not a strangenes to grow betweene God and you. For strangenesse breeds fearfulnesse, and fearefulnesse looseneth love, as boldnesse is the parent and nurse of love, and that which increaseth it.

Besides, when there growes a strangenesse be­tweene God and us, wee begin not to know the Lord, there growes an ignorance, and so there is an intermission of those reciprocall offices of love betweene us; that even as it is among the Saints, the forsaking of their fellowship loosen­eth their love, and so stoppeth the intercourse of good duties that should be among them: so it is with the Lord. And therefore if you would maintaine love with the Lord, draw neare to him, and he will draw neare to you.

How shall we doe that?Quest.

By speaking much to him,Answ. by hearing him speake to us, by retiring to him upon all occasi­ons for consolation and comfort.

If thou receive any injurie from men, wran­gle not with them, but doe as David did, betake thy selfe to prayer, take heede of sinne, for that [Page 106] of all other things will breede a strangenesse be­tweene God and thee; and if you doe fall out, seeke to be reconciled againe as soone as may be, labour to entertaine a continuall commerce be­tweene God and thy selfe, observe constantly his dealing with thee, and observe againe thy carriage towards hm, this will breede a familia­rity betweene God and thee.

And above all, be much in prayer; for that in a speciall manner maintaines and increaseth this communion and familiaritie betweene the Lord and thee.

Vncircumci­sion of heart.Againe, the other thing that hinders is uncir­cumcision of heart, or worldly-mindednesse: in Deut. 30.6.Deut. 30.6. I will circumcise your hearts, and you shall love me with all your soules, and with all your hearts. As if he should say, that which keepes you from loving me, from delighting in mee, is the uncircumcision of your hearts, that is, your worldly lusts, and worldly cares, and worldly desires, when these abound in our hearts, they keepe us from loving the Lord: Therefore in 1 Iohn 2.1 Iohn 2. If you love the world, the love of the Fa­ther is not in you. Come to any particular, and you shall finde it so; if you love wealth, you can­not love the Lord, if you love pleasures, if you love praise with men, if you love honours, &c. you cannot love the Lord; the love of God, and vaine glorie, the love of God and covetousnesse will not stand together. Therefore if you will love the Lord, you must have your hearts cir­cumcised, that is, you must have these sinfull [Page 107] lusts cut off; for nothing quencheth love so much as these. You know, the love of an adul­terer quencheth the conjugall love of the wife to the husband: your love of the world is adulterie, the Scripture calls it so; therefore if you love that, it will quench your love to the Lord.

You will say,Quest. May we not love the things of the world?

Yes, my brethren,Answ. onely take heede that it be not an adulterous love.

How shall we know that?Quest.

You shall know it by this,Answ. if it doe lessen your love to God:When love to the creature is adulterous. You may know whether your love to any creature, to any sport or recreation be adulterous or no. A chast wife may love ma­ny men besides her husband; but if it once begin to lessen her love to her husband, that is an adul­terous love: Therefore if you would love the Lord aright, be sure to cut off this, for it breedes a distance betweene God and you. As it is said of Absolom, when the hearts of the people went with Absolom, they fell from David the King; so when our hearts are stollen away with the love of earthlie things, our love to the Lord is lessened with it. Therefore I say, if you will love the Lord aright, you must be carefull to re­move this: for the cares of the world, the lusts and diverse pleasures, these choake the love of the Lord, they are the greatest quench-coales of any other.

Loue, you know, is of an uniting qualitie, when any thing lieth betweene God and us,Note. that, [Page 108] you may be sure, will hinder our love. Now there are many things that lye betweene God and us.

Some things lie in our understandings, temp­tations to atheisme, temptations to thinke that the Scriptures are not true, temptations to judge amisse of God in any thing, temptations to doubt of the favour of God; These lie in the under­standing betweene God and us, and are contrary to love: for love uniteth.

But in the will there lyeth much more, some­times vaine hopes, sometimes vaine feares, some­times one thing, sometimes another. If there be any inordinate lust after any creature, after any thing in the world, it lieth betweene God and us, and makes a separation betweene us; and till that be removed, God and we cannot come to­gether, till there be an union wee cannot fully love. Therefore if you would love the Lord, have your hearts circumcised, that is, have those things removed out of your understanding, and out of your will. Take away those obstacles that lie betweene God and you: And if you cannot doe it your selves, goe to Christ, it is he that cir­cumciseth us with the circumcision made without hands.

Knowledge of God especiall helpe to make us love him.Againe, when you have done this, that you may grow in love to the Lord, learne to know the Lord; for the more you know him, the more you will love him. What is the reason that the Angels in heaven so love him? Because they know him. What is the reason that we shall love [Page 109] him more in heaven than wee doe now, but be­cause we shall know him more? Therefore when you reade the Scriptures, and observe the works of Gods providence in every particular, learne by this to know God: as you know a man by his actions and carriage, learne to have such an Idea of God, as he hath described himselfe in his word, that hee is true of his word, that hee is full of goodnesse, that he is abundant in long-suffering and patience, that hee is exceeding mercifull be­yond measure, &c. labour to see his wisdome, his goodnesse, and his mercie, labour to know God: for when you come to know him aright, by that we come to love him. Why doe wee love one man more than another, but because wee con­ceive him under such a notion, wee conceive his heart to be of such and such a frame, wee thinke him to be a man of such and such a condition? when we thus conceive the Lord, it will teach us to love him more. Therefore this you must know, that for you onely to looke upon things that are beneficiall to you, as forgivenesse of sins, and adoption, and an inheritance in heaven, that is not love to the Lord. It is true, you should doe all this, but that which you are principally to doe, is to looke to the essence of God, to see such excellencies in him, that thereby you may be led home to him: and therefore that you may know him the better, you must be taught of him. Againe, you must not onely know him, but you must likewise have assurance of his love to you: for when you know the excellencies of the Lord, [Page 110] unlesse you have assurance of his love to you, it is not sufficient. Take a man of the highest place, and of the most excellent quality; if thou con­ceive that he hath a hollow heart towards thee, thou canst not possibly love him: thou must be perswaded of the love of the Lord to thee. Therefore in the Text it is said to be faith which worketh by love. The increase of the assurance of Gods love therefore is the meanes to increase thy love to him.

So much for this time.

FINIS.

THE FIFTH SERMON.

GALAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

THE last thing wee did was to give you the properties of love to the Lord Iesus.

Now that which remaines to doe at this time, is to apply that which hath beene said, that is, to bring your hearts and the rule together, and to exhort you, that what you have heard in this, it may not passe like airy notions, and never be brought home to your par­ticular practise. For, my beloved, the word that we deliuer to you, should be like nailes, driven [Page 112] home to the head, fastened by the masters of the as­semblie, as the Wiseman speakes, that they may sticke and abide in the soule, as forked arrowes doe in the bodie, that they may not easily fall out againe. Therefore the maine businesse that wee have to doe in preaching the word, is to fasten these words thus upon your hearts. That which we will doe therefore at this time shall be to ex­hort you to question your owne hearts, and to examine them upon your beds, whether these characters and properties of love which have beene delivered doe agree to you or no. For, as the Apostle saith, Vnlesse you be in Christ, that is, unlesse you be knit to Christ in love, you are reprobates: it concernes every man therefore that heares me at this time, to examine this strictly with himselfe.

We will expostulate the matter a while with you at this time, and you must expostulate the matter betweene God and your owne conscien­ces, whether this love be in you or no. And al­though indeede this needeth not any distinct di­viding into branches, yet that wee may helpe your memories wee will put it into a num­ber.

Vse, Exa­mination.And first we will make this expostulation, you that professe you love the Lord, (as who will not be ready to doe that, to say he loveth Christ; but yet as the Apostle Iohn speaketh of love to the brethren, that men love them in shew, and not in truth; so it is with most men, they love the Lord in word, and in profession, but they love [Page 113] him not in deed, and in truth) therefore first let me aske you this.

You that professe you love the Lord,1. Tryall. doe you not grieve him, and vexe him from day to day, and provoke him by your words, and by your workes? If this be your case, it is certaine you love him not indeede. Some there are that professe much love to the Lord Iesus, but yet spend their time idly, are diligent in no calling, but waste their precious opportunities in sports, in idle visitations, in gaming, in doing nothing that is profitable either to themselves or others, but eate and drinke, and rise up to play: It is the case of many of our young Gentlemen; a shame­full thing before men, and abominable in the sight of God, that men should live like beasts, & make their soules like the soules of swine, serving for nothing but to keepe their bodies from putri­faction, doing so much the lesse worke, because they have the more wages; burying so many precious talents, whereof their time is the chiefe, because it helpeth to improove all the rest; of which they shall give an exact account at that day, When God shall judge the secrets of mens hearts according to our Gospell. Doe you professe that you love the Lord Iesus, and doe you neglect him thus?

Besides this mocking of the Lord, and dissem­bling with him, you deale most foolishly with your selves: for all the comfort that you shall e­ver finde in this life, it will be from working, from being serviceable to God, and profitable to [Page 114] men; empty lives cause but empty joy. There­fore if any man shall finde this to be his case, exa­mine it, it is but a false profession of love. And as I speake to those that are young, that spend their time, Nihil agendo: so I may say the same to those that are of more yeares, that waste their lives in doing something indeede, but it is not that which they should doe, or in doing it in an­other manner than they ought; those that are so drowned in businesse, so overwhelmed with im­ployment, so occupied with outward things a­broad, that they have no vacancie to feede their soules within, to cloathe them with graces. For you must know, my brethren, that your soules have neede to be trimmed every morning, as well as the body, they have neede of breakfast, and dinner, and exercise, as well as the body; and as you faile in giving this due respect to the soule daily, so you shall finde that proportionably in that degree the inward man will languish, and grow faint. But to speake a word unto you like­wise: Doe you thinke that you love the Lord Iesus in good earnest, and yet have scarse leisure to thinke of him from morning to night, that you cannot take time to speake to him, to seeke him, nor to prepare your hearts for him?

Besides this generall, come to particular sinnes, sabbath-breaking, neglecting of private prayer, vaine speeches, concupiscence and sinfull lusts, secret courses of uncleannesse, swearing, if not by greater, yet by lesser oathes, which indeede in this exceede the greater; because in the other [Page 115] you sweare by the Creatour, in these by the creature. You that doe these things, will you say you love the Lord? You must know that it is a contradiction, it is impossible: For, if you love me, keepe my commandements: if you keep not the commandements of God, certainly you love him not.

But,Object. it may be, you will say that your mea­ning is good, that you are well affected to Christ, and therefore surely you doe not hate him.

My brethren,Answ. you are deceived in this, thy meaning is not good; for while you cast the com­mandements of God behinde you, you cast him away: and let me say to you in this case, as you have it in Ier. 3.4. You professe well in saying,Ier. 3.4. Thou art my Father, and the guide of my youth, but you doe evill more and more. So I say, when you professe you love the Lord, and that you reckon him your Father, and your Husband, thus you say indeede, but you doe evill more and more; and that is a certaine argument you love not the Lord. Therefore examine your selves by this rule: For, if you love the Lord, you will reve­rence him: You know, whom we love, we reve­rence, and whom we reverence, we dare not doe any thing unmeete in their sight. Take any one whom we love, whose good opinion wee seeke for, wee had rather that all the world should see us doe an unseemely thing, than that he should; and certainly if you love the Lord, you would not dare to provoke him to anger. Therefore [Page 116] this carelesnesse in serving of him is a certaine signe of want of love to the Lord Iesus, this fearefulnesse, and carelesnesse, when you dare not shew your courage for him, when you ac­count it a small matter to commit a sinne against God, this ariseth from the defect of your love.

2. Tryall.In the second place, as you may try your love by your taking care not to offend God, so like­wise you may try it by your sorrow and griefe after you have offended him: For you must know this, that love, as it hath the greatest joy of any thing else, when it obtaines that which it would have, so it is attended with the most exquisite griefe, when it is disappointed. As when one lo­veth another earnestly, if any breach fall out that shall make a separation betweene them, if any strangenesse grow betweene them, if they love, they will never be at rest, it will trouble and dis­quiet them; but as the Scripture speakes, they are sicke of love, that is, they cannot be quiet while there is such a condition, while there is a­ny alienation, while there are breaches and of­fences betweene them. for you know that no­thing is so sweete as love; as you have it in Cant. 1.Cant 1. Psal. 63.3. Love is better than wine: and as David expres­seth it, Psal. 63.3. Thy loving kindnesse is better than life. So sweete (I say) is love, as sweete as wine, and better than life. Now, by the rule of con­traries, then, to have a breach made, to have a barre, and an interruption in this loving kind­nesse of the Lord towards us, or in our love to­wards him, it is bitter as wormewood, and sharpe [Page 117] as death. Therfore you may examine your selves by the offences you offer to God, when they are past; if you love him, it is certaine they will trouble you exceedingly; for so much sorrow for sinne, so much love. And you may take it for a sure rule, in what measure any man desires to please the Lord, in that measure hee will be grieved that he hath displeased him. Therefore examine thy selfe, Hast thou sinned against him many times, and doest thou looke backe upon those sinnes in a carelesse manner, be sure that thou lovest him not. Examine this by that which passeth betweene man and man: When a father or a husband hath any thing committed against them by a childe or a wife, if they shall withdraw themselves, and professe themselves displeased, and yet the childe or the wife, in the meane time, be never troubled at this, but be at rest, well e­nough content it should be so, and are not disqui­eted for it; will not the parent or husband take this exceeding ill at their hands, when hee seeth his displeasure slighted? For this is much grea­ter than the offence it selfe. So I may say, what­soever the sinne be that you have committed, this hardnesse of heart, this negligence after the sinne is committed, when you are not disquieted for it, when your hearts are not troubled for it, it is a greater signe of want of love to the Lord, it is a greater signe of an evill and untoward disposi­tion, than the sinne it selfe. Therefore this want of sorrow for sinne, is a sure argument that you love not the Lord. You may take that for one [Page 118] signe of want of love, that we commit sinnes a­gainst God from day to day. For, doe but goe to your neighbours, and professe your love to them, and yet you injure them againe and againe, you care not what wrong you doe them; will they thinke that such a profession as you make is true? and will the Lord regard, when you say that you love him, if you provoke him to anger, and renew your sinnes, and relapse into them a­gaine and againe, and when you have sinned, take it not to heart? No, my brethren, if you doe love him,Zach. 12. you will doe as it is said, Zach. 12. when you have sinned, you will mourne as he that mourneth for his onely sonne, your hearts will melt, as Iosiahs did; your hearts will smite you, as Da­vids did him: thus it is with all that love him in deede and in truth.Levit 16.29. & 23.27. Therefore in Levit. 16.29, and likewise Levit. 23.27. (they are both one and the same) the Lord appoints a feast and a mee­ting together for cleansing of sinnes, it was the feast of atonement; saith hee, In that day when you come together to offer sacrifice unto me, and to make an attonement, you shall humble your soules, and whosoever doth not afflict his soule on that day, he shall be cut off from his people. As if he should say, At that day you come to reconcile your selves to the Lord, you make profession of your love to him, and of the desire you have to bee friends with him: Now, if you come and make this profession, and doe not humble your selves, nor afflict your soules on that day for those brea­ches that have beene betweene God and you, all [Page 119] your professions are but dissimulation; and such a man as will thus dissemble with the Lord, shall be cut off from his people. So I say, when you professe that you love the Lord, and yet have hard hearts, that there is no softnesse there, that your hearts doe not melt towards him, but when you have sinned, you can looke backe upon your sinnes without any disturbance at all, know that it is but dissembling with the Lord, and you are worthy to be cut off from his people.

I come to a third tryall:3. Tryall. If you love the Lord Iesus, have you your hearts after his owne heart? that is the disposition of all those that love him. Acts 13.22. the Lord saith of David,. I have found a man after my owne heart, Acts 13.22. that will doe what­soever I will: That is, looke how the Lord him­selfe was affected in any businesse, so was Davids heart affected, and so it is with all those that love the Lord: (for this is proper to the Saints) If you love the Lord, you will be of one heart with him; if we have hearts after his heart, as every Christian must have in his measure, (though per­haps he reach not Davids measure) in all the tur­nings of our lives, upon all occasions, in the di­verse disposition of our wills, we will be confor­mable to the Lords will, we will be like God, af­fected in every thing as he is affected.

But,Quest. you will say, this is a hard thing, how shall we discerne it?

You shall discerne it by these two things:Answ. If you be affected as he is, you will doe whatsoever he will; as those words are added concerning [Page 120] David, I have found a man after mine owne heart, for he will doe whatsoever I will. You may examine your selves by that; doe you doe whatsoever he will? are your affections aright, that you love what he loves, and hate what he hates? For your actions are the immediate fruites and effects of your affections, and as every man is affected so he doth.

And besides, as that is one way to discerne it, so this is another which you shall likewise finde in David, that hee loved those that feared the Lord; and those that love vaine inventions, doe I not hate them, saith hee? &c. And that you may discerne this, consider whether you love all those that feare the Lord, and hate all those that are enemies to the Lord. For while there is no­thing but nature in a man, so long those that are of good natures, that are faire in their carriages, and kinde and loving to us, those wee love, and those that are contrary we hate and dislike; but when you love the Lord, and are after his heart, and have another nature in you, it raiseth you a­bove this nature of your owne, and then you will love those that are like the Lord, whosoever they are, though perhaps they are not so socia­ble, not of so faire a naturall disposition: but if you have a new nature, and are become new creatures, now you have common friends, and common enemies.

Object.Doe not object now, that you are willing to doe so, if they were sincere and upright, but they are hypocrites.

[Page 121]I say,Answ. doe not deceive your selves in this: for as they rejected Christ under the person of a counterfeit, and of a wine-bibber, so thou maist persecute Christ under the person of an hypo­crite. Paul; you know, hee thought hee did God good service in persecuting those whom he per­secuted, yet though hee did it ignorantly, he con­fessed of himselfe that he was a blasphemer, and a persecuter: So I say, though you doe it igno­rantly, under the person of an hypocrite, yet that is the judgement, and the censure that will be up­on you, that in so doing you are persecuters.

And if you shall say,Obiect. 2 that if the Lord himselfe lived amongst us, if Iesus Christ were here, I hope I should shew that I doe not hate him.

You shall see what the Lord himselfe saith,Answ. In that you have done it to these, you have done it to mee. As he speakes there in the matter of giving, so may I say to you concerning this case, in that you have despised those that feare his name, in that you have spoken against such as are his, you have done it against the Lord: in this thing you have shewed your hatred against him. Examine your hearts therefore seriously by this marke.

Againe,4. Tryall. fourthly, wee will bring you to that expostulation which is grounded on 1 Ioh. 2.15.1 Iohn 2.15. Love not the world, nor [...]he things of the world; for if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. Now question with your own hearts about this, whether you love the world, and the things of the world; for if you doe, the words are cleare, The Love of the Father is not in you.

[Page 122] Quest.You will say, how shall we know this?

Answ.You shall know it by these three things.

Three tryalls of our love to the world.First, by your delight in the things of the world, and your griefe and sorrow for the losse 1 of them after you have enjoyed them; for if you finde that you are much affected about them, it is certaine that you love the world, and the things of the world: Intemperate and excessive griefe, and complaint for worldly losses and crosses, is a sure argument and evidence that you love the world.

Whereas when you love the Lord, you will be indifferent in those things; if a worldly losse befall you, you will grieve as if you grieved not; if any worldly advantage happeneth, you will enjoy it as if you enjoyed it not: A man will be thus affected, If I have God sure, I reckon him onely my portion, all other things are by acci­dent, he onely is essentiall to my happinesse.

We doe not denie that a man may grieve up­on such occasions, but it is a lighter kinde of griefe; and therefore it is expressed well by the former phrase, As if he grieved not: He knoweth all this while the maine is sure, and so long his heart is stedfast within him: but when a man shall fall into excessive griefe, when the affection shall be exceedingly stirred about worldly things, it is a signe that you reckon not God, and the assu­rance of his favour to be the maine thing in your happinesse: you should be affected to the world with a remisse affection. Now when your affe­ctions are so much taken up about them, it is a [Page 123] signe you love the world, and the things of the world. It is true, you may doe the things of the world, and enjoy them, and follow after them, but in a remisse manner; but when your affecti­ons are so much stirred about them, when you come to excessive love in the having them, and excessive griefe in the losing of them, it is a signe that you love the world, and the things of the world.

Secondly, you shall know it by this, when 2 worldly things shall come into competition with those that belong to a good conscience, and the service of God, you shall finde this one way whereby you may discerne your love to the world. When Christ would make a triall of the young man, whether hee loved the world or no, he puts him to it by this, Goe, (saith he) and sell all that thou hast, and come and follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. When it came in com­petition once, whether hee were best to follow Christ, and sell all that he had, and that he must either forsake Christ, or forsake his riches, he went away sorrowfull, and would not doe it. So we shall finde it in Iohn 12.42. when the matter came there into competition,Ioh. 12.42. that if they confes­sed Christ they should be cast out of the syna­gogue; saith the text, though they beleeved, They confessed him not, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Their carriage there towards Christ, when their confessing of him came in competition with their applause and honour among men, it was an argument that they [Page 124] loved the world, and the things of the world.

You shall see in Abrahams case, when the Lord would put him to the triall, and bidds him come from his kindred and from his fathers house,Heb. 11. and from his Country, this in Heb. 11 is taken as an argument of his love, that when hee was put to doe either the one or the other, hee made his choise to obey the Lord, though it stood with the losse of Countrie and friends. So I say, consider with your selves, and you shall finde many cases wherein your conscience will dictate to you, this you must doe, this you ought to performe, this you ought not to doe. Perhaps it shall be said unto you againe, if you doe it, you shall lose such a friend, you shall lose such credit, you shall suffer such losse in your estate, you shall expose your selfe to such and such danger, you shall incurre such and such inconveniences to your selfe; consider what you doe in such a case: Many businesses fall out everie day, wherein the like case is offered to you, many times you thinke it were best to doe so, and if it were not for the losse of some thing, or for the discredit, you would doe it. By this you may examine your hearts whether you love the world or no.

Lastly, you shall know whether you love the world, and the things of this world by your acti­ons; for where your love is, there your tongue, and your hand will be, and all your endeavours: Now trie your selves by this, Are you occupied so abour the world, and the things of it, that all your endeavours and all your actions are taken [Page 125] up about them? some about matter of pleasure, in hunting and hawking, in gaming and sporting, your thoughts are there, and your speeches there; others againe in seeking wealth, and worldlie greatnesse: Are you taken up about these? I say, the actions of a man are a sure signe, for the Lord judgeth us by our actions; therefore wee may judge our selves by them. Consider in what e­lement you live, if you be so busied about world­ly things, that you are never well but when you are there, and as for heavenly things, you doe them but by the by, and when you are doing them you are wearie; this is an argument that you love the world, when a man shall turne the streame of his endeavours all that way, when he shall turne all his projects, all his actions, all his labours into that. As when the bodie hath a wen or a wolfe in it, all the nourishment is drawne to that, and in the meane time the bodie is leane and poore: so is it when a mans heart is taken up with the world, it eates up and devoures all the thoughts, all the intentions of the minde; all his care, and endeavour, and striving runnes this way; & the hidden man of the heart, in the meane time, is left starved and pined within: This is a signe that you love the world, this so much in­tending the things of the world, as Christ speaks, The lusts of your Father will you doe, Iohn 8.Iohn 8. What is the meaning of that? That is, looke to your actions, to your doings, to your executions and performances, and you shall finde that they are according to the lusts of your father the Divell; [Page 126] those actions they did were a signe that they did affect those things that the Divell affected.

But you will object, the holiest man, hee that is most regenerate,Object. yet is inordinately affected to the world, is too readie to grieve, and to re­joice inordinately, it too readie to faile when these things come in competition with God. Therefore how should wee examine our hearts by this?

Answ.I answere in a word, that it is true in the Saints, there is something in their hearts that doth all this that I have spoken; but it is not they that doe it: as the Apostle speakes, It is not I, but sinne that dwells in me: We cannot denie but that there is flesh and worldlie-mindednesse even in them; but yet this they doe, these worldly lusts and desires they are still checking them, and restrai­ning them, and keeping them downe, so that though they be there, yet they doe not walke after the vanitie of their mindes, they are not led by it, but they are led by the Spirit, and walke by the Spi­rit. Indeede sometimes they fall, when they are transported with temptations, and through inco­gitancie, and infirmitie, yet their constant wal­king is not after the vanitie of their minde, for that is proper to those that feare not God. There­fore know thus much (my brethren) that though the Saints doe these things sometimes, yet their purpose, and their desire and care is to crosse and resist them as much as they can, that though they have these inordinate worldly desires in them, yet they are not midwives to themselves, to [Page 127] bring forth fruite to the flesh, they are not stewards to provide for these before-hand,Rom. 13. as it is in Rom. 13. Put ye on the Lord Iesus, and take no care for the flesh, to make provision for it: I say, they are not stewards for their lusts, but they resist them, and strive against them. But to conclude this also, examine your selves by this rule, whether you love the world, and the things of the world.

And if we take an examination of men by this, how few are there that love the Lord? We may trulie say as the Apostle saith, The love of God is not in them, for men seeke themselves, and their owne things, and not the things of Iesus Christ. One fol­lowes this particular, another that, everie man fitting and plotting a garment to himselfe com­posed of such vices as doe suite everie mans hu­mour. This is a signe that you love not the Lord, when you minde the world, and goe with the world, and let your whole bodie and soule fol­low it, with all the actions, and all the strength and indeavour thereof. The love of many shall waxe colde, because iniquitie shall abound. What is the meaning of that? That is, because the men of the world, those that are in place, because they shall countenance iniquitie, because the streame of the times shall goe that way; for this cause the love of many shall waxe colde: that is, because they mind the world, wheras if they did not love the world, and the things of it, though iniquitie did abound, yet their love would waxe hotter. When things are so that iniquitie abounds, some will not take the paines, they love their ease, and contentment; [Page 128] others want courage to doe it, they are faint-hearted, and dare not adventure. Now whence doth this come but from the love of the world? for no man is fearefull, but because there is some­thing that he is in love with, and is loath to part with. If a man did not love the things of the world, he would have courage for the truth. This is therefore an argument that men doe love the world, and consequently the love of the Father is not in them.

Tryall.Let us come yet to another expostulation. In the first place therefore, if you love the Lord, you will finde in your selves a readinesse to please him in all things, you will doe it naturallie: As the Apostle speakes of Timothy, I know no man like minded, who will naturally care for your matters. So if you love the Lord aright, you will doe it with a naturall affection, you will love him naturally: For what is this love to the Lord, if it be right, but that which himselfe hath planted in us? wee are taught of him to love him. It is like the natu­rall affection which parents have to their chil­dren, such a kinde of affection will it be if you love the Lord, you will doe that which is good in his sight with a kinde of naturalnesse and rea­dinesse, you will be carried to the duties of his service as the fire is carried upwards, and not as stones are carried upwards with the force of an­other, but you will doe them readilie, and chear­fullie; you will not doe good duties as being ha­led to them, and put on to doe them, but you will be zealous of good workes, that is, you will [Page 129] have a burning desire in your hearts, longing af­ter them, you shall not neede to have them for­ced upon you, but you will be forward to doe them, you will be affected to good workes as you are out of selfe-love to your owne businesse. You know when a man naturallie loveth him­selfe, when he is to doe something that concernes his owne good, how solicitous is he about it, and how provident forecasting how to bring it to passe, and if any rubbe be in the way it troubleth him, if there be any faire passage, and likelihood of atchieving it, he rejoyceth. Now, if you love the Lord naturallie and trulie, you will goe about his businesse as you goe about your owne, if there be any businesse to be done: Magistrates in their place, Ministers in their place, and everie man indeede shall finde some businesse to doe, wherein he may bring glorie to Gods name, and advantage to his cause. Consider now how you are stirred about it, doe you goe about this busi­nesse, are you so industrious and laborious, doe you project it, doe you minde it as your owne? you will not stand expostulating the matter, to say must I doe it? and is it of necessitie? But if it be a thing that tends to the advancing of the glo­rie of God, you will doe it with all readinesse, you will not so much stand upon this, what wa­ges shall I have? and what profit shall I gaine? But as a loving womā to her husband, she is glad to doe any thing for her husbands good, she is satisfied with this, that she hath an opportunitie to doe something; so it will be with you, if your [Page 130] hearts be rightly affected, you will then doe things after this manner.

Quest.You will say, How shall wee know this love? this is a nice and curious point to love the Lord thus naturallie.

Answ.You shall know it by these two things:

Naturalnesse of love to the Lord is known by two things.First, by the evennesse of your carriage to­wards the Lord; for what a man doth naturallie, he doth with a kinde of equalitie, with a kinde 1 of evennesse: so that, as we say, an uneven pulse is a signe of a deadlie and dangerous distemper within; so I say, when you finde an unevennesse in your carriages to the Lord, that you are off and on with him, that sometimes you doe a thing for him, and anon you will doe for your lusts, this is a signe that you love not naturally; feig­ned things are for the most part unequall: be­cause when a man doth not doe a thing natural­lie, he cannot holde out; a man cannot dissemble so well, but at one time or other hee will dis­cover himselfe; what a man doth naturally, and heartily, he is like himselfe in it still. Therefore when there is such an unevennesse in your waies, (some will be verie forward in a good cause, now in a good moode, and then out of it againe) it is a signe you love not the Lord thus naturallie, for then you would be eaven in your carriage to­wards him.

2 Adde to this the continuance of it; for if you love the Lord with a naturall affection, you will holde out, and be constant in it. The second and third ground went farre in their profession, but [Page 131] their inconstancie shewed that they loved not the Lord with a naturall love, this disconti­nuing is a signe that your love is not true. I be­seech you examine your selves by these things whether you love the Lord; remember what I said the last day, doe you desire that your sinnes should be utterlie destroyed? doe you not dallie with sinne? would you not have some remain­ders within you? nay, I will goe a step further with you, doe you not hate the Lord?

You will say,Object. God forbid that we should doe so, I hope we are not in that condition.

My brethren,Answ. first you must know that there are manie that doe hate the Lord:Rom. 1. in Rom. 1. a­mongst others those are reckoned up, Haters of God: Therefore it is certaine that there are ma­nie, and many of those that come to Church, manie that thinke well of themselves, and that others thinke well of too, that yet are haters of the Lord.Quest. You will say, how shall we know that?

I will aske you but this (to bring this likewise into examination,Answ. and so to conclude) I say,Foure signes of hatred of God. exa­mine your selves by this:

Doe you not desire that there were no God?1 examine your hearts whether if this newes were brought, that you might live at libertie, that you might doe what you would, that you might sa­tisfie your lusts in all things, that there were no God to call you to account, to reward you ac­cording to your doings, whether it would not be acceptable newes to many of you? Now it is [Page 132] certaine, if you would not have the Lord to be, you hate him; for whomsoever you would have taken out of the way, such a man you hate.

2 And besides this, consider whether you doe not looke upon the Lord as upon a judge, whe­ther you doe not all that you doe to him as one that lookes upon a judge: If you feare the Lord in this manner, it is certaine you hate him: for those whom you thus feare you hate, and that you shall finde in 1 Ioh. 4.1 Iohn 4. If you feare, saith hee, you love not; for perfect love casts out feare: when you look upon God as upon a strict judge, and that is it that puts you on to doe all that you doe, that is it that makes you keepe a good con­science in secret: for this you may doe, and yet looke upon God as a judge, to feare with this kinde of feare is a signe you hate the Lord; for whom you feare, you hate.

3 Besides this, Doe you not looke upon God and upon his wayes as contrary to your hearts? that your hearts, and the wayes of God are in an opposition, your hearts, and sanctifying the Sab­both will not agree; the Lord would have your speeches to be good and holy, he would have you not onely abstaine from evill, but to hate it, to have your hearts rise up against it: Are not these commandements contrary to you? Consider but that holinesse that is expressed in the booke of God, and that is expressed also in the lives of the Saints, who carry his Image stamped on them, and is there not a kinde of contrariety be­tweene your wayes and theirs, betweene your [Page 133] hearts and them? If there be, it is a certaine signe of hatred: for wheresoever there is contrariety, there is hatred. Examine your selves by this, and see whether you doe not hate the Lord.

And yet, to come to one more, if you love 4 pleasures more than God, and wealth more than God, you hate God: For so you have it, Mat. 6.Mat. 6. No man can serve two Masters, but either hee must hate the one and love the other, &c. That is, when you love other things, though you thinke you doe not hate the Lord, yet, I say, in that you love pleasures, and love the world, and the things of the world, in that you love your lusts, and the objects of them; in doing this, you hate the Lord. Now if this be your case, if upon these expostulations that I have propounded, if upon these rules of examining your selves, you finde that you doe not love the Lord, if this be your condition, (as it is your wisedome to deale strict­ly with your selves; for hence it is, brethren, that the soules of men perish, because they will not see and search into their estates, they will not come to this examination of themselves, it is a painfull thing to them, men are backward to exa­mine themselves in private; what is the reason of that phrase in the Psalme, Examine your selves upon your beds, but because examination should be when a man is most retired? I say, if you finde it to be so, as it is the case of many) then it should open a window to you, to see what you have de­served at the Lords hands, how just it were that the Lord should cast you off: For when you are [Page 134] enemies to the Lord, can you thinke much at it? My brethren, what a condition is that man in, that hath the great God of heaven and earth to be his enemie?

And besides this, have you not reason to ju­stifie God in his just judgements upon others, when you shall see God sharply plaguing them? It may seeme to you that it is a hard thing that men should be so punished; but when wee con­sider that they are haters of God, that they are enemies to him, you may justifie God in that hee doth.

But, to conclude, you ought to humble your selves, if upon these tryalls you finde your selves to be lovers of the world, and not lovers of God. And you that are young, and put off repentance, it should move you to come in betimes: For if this be required of you to love the Lord, and you shall not be exempted from death when it comes, though you be never so able, and never so strong and lustly; what condition doe you thinke you will be in, if you die enemies to God, and haters of him, as you needes must be, if you love him not. And if you thinke you have time enough. hereafter to settle your affections; Consider, is it in your owne power, though you have war­ning before death, to have this affection of love? You may doe many good duties, you may be sorry and repent for your sinnes; but though you doe this, and a thousand times more, yet if you have not this love-wrought in you by God, if it come not from heaven, if it be not the fruite [Page 135] of his owne Spirit, all your repentance, and all your forsaking of sinne, all your doing of duties, the change of your courses is nothing, the Lord regards it not, unlesse you have this naturalnesse of love. I have stood therefore the longer upon it, and upon this part concerning examination, because it is a matter of great moment. Wee should have come to the next part concer­ning exhortation, which wee would not disjoyne, because it is very usefull and profitable; but we cannot doe it now, but reserve it for the after­noone.

FINIS.

THE SIXTH SERMON.

GALAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

AND before we leave this poynt, one thing I must add For what reason doe we put you vpon this disposition, vpon this examinati­on, whether the love of God be in your hearts or no? The reason is not that you should be discouraged, that (you should be put off from comming to God, that you should be greived with the sight of the want of your love, but the end of it is to stirre you up to gett it, if you want it. You know, we have formerly [Page 137] delivered some meanes of getting it, onely there is one which we will commend unto you,The last helpe of the love of God consisting of three bran­ches. which we gave a little touch on but could not handle it, and it consists of these Three branches; if you would love the Lord:

First you must know him, for otherwise you 1 cannot love him.The knowledg of God. As it is in naturall loue that is bred between man and man, you say love ariseth from sight, they must see before they can love; so you must know the Lord, there must be a sight of God by faith, before you can love him. And every man that sees him and knowes him as he is will love him, he cannot chuse, for that is the Lords worke to all the Saints. Ierem. 31, You shall he taught of me, and you shall know mee from the greatest to the least. It may be in some manner they knew God before, but although a man have ne­ver so exact knowledge of him, yet till he be a regenerate man, he never knowes him indeede it is an other kind of knowledge that hee hath, when a man is regenerate; whē God teaches him to know him, he lookes on God with an other eye, every thing is presented to him after an o­ther manner, he sees now an other beautie in God than ever he saw before, hee sees an other excel­lencie in him: for that knowledge he had of him before bredd not love. But when a man is once within the Covenant, the Lord will teach him such a knowledge of himselfe, as withall will worke the love of him. Such a knowledge you must have of the Lord, and you may help your selves to love him by reasoning, if ever you saw [Page 138] any excellencie in any man, or in any creature, it did help you to love that creature. Thinke with your selves there is more in God that made that creature. He that made the eye shall hee not see? So he that wrought that excellency, shall not he have it in himselfe in a greater measure? Besides, you may consider how the Lord hath described himselfe, that hee is most wise, most mercifull, and full of kindness, and gentlenes, and abundant in truth, as you know that description in Exod. 34.

Go through all the vertues, and excellencyes that are amiable, if you looke in the Scripture, you shall find them to be in the Lord. This seri­ous consideration will help you, to increase your knowledge of the Lord, and by consequent your love of him. So that, if you would come to loue a man, what is it that causeth you to love him, but because by his speech, and by his carriage and behaviour, you come to have such an apprehen­sion of his disposition, he hath a minde thus fra­med, thus qualified, thus beautified? When you conceiue such an Idea of him, you love him. So, when you apprehend the Lord aright, when you observe him as he is described in his word, when you observe his doings, when you consider his workes, and learne from all these together a right apprehension of him, I say, when you have such an Idea of him, such an opinion of him, then the will followes the understanding, and the affecti­ons then followes, then you come to love him, and to delight in him. Therefore learne to know the Lord by his former carriage towardes your [Page 139] selves, how kinde he hath beene, how exceeding patient, how exceeding readie to forgiue, how much kindnesse he hath shewed, how hath he in mercy remembred you, though you have for­gotten him; how you haue recompenced him e­vill for good, yet hee hath not broaken off the course of his mercie towards you. Consider his dealing with you, and learne by this to know the Lord, and this will be a meanes to encrease in you the love of the Lord.

This is not all,A looking up­on God as one sutable to us. there is another thing, which is the second branch that I tolde you of; that is, to looke upon God as one sutable to you, and to your disposition. For if you should finde never so much excellencie in him, if he be not agreea­ble to you, you love him not. A woman may see a man that she thinkes is very excellent, in ma­ny respects, yet he is not a fit husband for her. It is the sutablenesse and agreeablenesse betweene God and our owne condition, that causeth us to love him. Therefore when you put these two to­gether, consider the Lords mercie, and see that, and looke on your selves as sinfull men needing that mercie; when you see the Lord exceeding powerfull, and looke on your selves as very weake, needing that power; when you looke on him as the Lord of life, and see your selves subject to death, and needing that life; when you see your owne folly, and his wisedome, (go through all in him, and then againe looke upon the con­trary weaknesse in your selves) this is that which will make you apprehend God as one that is suta­ble, [Page 140] as one that is agreeable to you; and till you come to this, you shall never love him, and long after him, till the heart namely is thus framed, till a man is humbled, till he comes to the sight of himselfe: for as you must know God, so you must know your selves before you can love him. I say, when a man comes to that, hee begins to looke on God as upon one agreeable to him: As, take a man, who is touched with the feare of his sinnes, whose heart is broken, who hath an ap­prehension of Gods wrath, and of his owne un­worthinesse, such a man now will be satisfied with nothing in the world, but the assurance of Gods love and his favour. As you see in natu­rall things, let a man be very weary, the daintiest meate in the world, whatsoever you give him, will not heale him; but he must have that which is fit for that particular defect, nothing will helpe him but rest. Againe, let a man be hungry, and faint for want of meate; all the musicke, the best ayre, or whatsoever you can give him will doe him no good, it must be meate that must helpe him. If a man have a disease, it is not sleepe, it is not meate and drinke, it must be a medicine that is fit for his disease. So it is with the heart of man, when his heart is so broken, so humbled and touched with the sense of his sinnes, that hee longs after nothing but remission, nothing but the assurance of Gods favour, the assurance of his love and kindnesse, nothing will satisfie him but that: it is so in naturall defects, and so it is in the soule, when the heart of a man is so fashioned, [Page 141] that it lookes upon God as one agreeable to him, and there is nothing else sutable but onely the Lord, and his favour, and his love, that is requi­red, to breede this love in you towards him. What is the reason else, that it is said, Hosea 5. ult. When they are afflicted they will seeke mee diligently. But because afflictions teach a man to know him­selfe, it teacheth him to know his owne weak­nesse, to see his owne sinne, his owne impotency, his owne unworthinesse; and when he hath done this, then he lookes upon God as one who onely is fit for him, as one who is onely able to helpe him. Affliction doth but discover what was there before: For man is a weake and impotent crea­ture, made for the Lord, he is nothing without the Lord, it is the conjunction with God that makes him up, onely he knowes not this, he un­derstands not this. Therefore when God opens a mans eyes either by the immediate worke of his Spirit, to teach him to know himselfe, or by affliction, then he comes to seeke after the Lord, when they are afflicted, they will seeke me dili­gently. If thou shouldest have such an offer as was made to those, Acts 2. Peter tells them there, they should have remission of sinnes, they should receive the gift of the holy Ghost; if this had beene offered to them before they knew them­selves, before they had beene humbled and pric­ked at the heart, as it is said they were, would they have regarded such an offer as this? No they would not, although they had understood that offer never so well. So I say, though you [Page 142] know his name and his excellent attributes never so perfectly, yet till you come to know your selves too, you will never love him, you will never desire him, you will never long after him: for both these must goe together, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of our selves, to teach you to love him. The knowledge of God, with­out the knowledge of your selves, is a fruitlesse speculation: And againe the knowledge of your selves, and your owne miserie, without the know­ledge of him and his mercy, is a miserable vexa­tion. The knowledge of God, without know­ledge of your selves, is, as if a man should know a medicine, but should not know what defect it were fit to supply: And to know your selves and your owne case, without him, is to have the dis­ease discovered, and not to know how to helpe it. And therefore learne to know both God and your selves: If you will love him, then you must learne to studie those two. We say schollers stu­die bookes, and Politicians studie men; but a Christian should studie God and himselfe, to learne to know God and himselfe better, by this meanes he comes to know the Lord: as where­soever you finde any love to the Lord expressed, you shall finde these two going together, as Da­vid oft, Psal. 18. and Psal. 116. I love the Lord, &c. Why? For I was in distresse, I was in griefe, the grave overtooke mee, and I was compassed about with death, and I cried to the Lord, and he healed me, and set mee at libertie, hee is my for­tresse, &c. That is, when David saw himselfe to [Page 143] stand in neede, he saw his weaknesse, and looked on God againe, as one that would helpe him, and heale him, as one that could set him at liberty; this caused him to say, I love the Lord dearely. So Paul, when he saw these two, I was a blasphe­mer, I was a persecuter, and looked on Christ, who had beene mercifull to him, with faith, this was that which caused Paul so to abound in love to­wards Christ. And so Mary, Luke 1. My soule doth magnifie the Lord: And why? For he had re­spect to the low estate of his handmaid: I was poore and meane, and loe hee hath raised mee to a high degree. This sutablenesse, this knowledge of God and of our selves is that which breedes in us a love of him. But is this enough now to know God and our selves? This is a faire step to beget in you this love of him; for as you heard before, love is an inclination of the heart to some good thing agreeable to us:

But yet you must have a third,Assurance of the Lords love to us. or else this will not doe, that is, assurance of the Lords love to you: for if you long after him never so much, if you thinke him worthy to be desired; on the other side, yet if for all this you are not perswa­ded of the Lords love to you, you cannot be af­fected towards him. Wee cannot love any man whom we conceive to be ill affected to us: And therefore you shall see in the course of the Scrip­tures, love proceedes from faith, faith must be­get love, that is, the assurance of Gods love must goe in: This is the third ingredient to make it up.

[Page 144] Object.You will say to mee, wee doubt not of this, but if wee be perswaded of Gods love, wee shall love him; but how shall wee come to this per­swasion, how shall wee assure our selves of his love?

Answ.Those to whom I should speake now are of two sorts; either such as are out of the Cove­nant, or such as are already within it. For you that are without,Meanes where­by men may be assured of Gods love to them. to you I say, you may, if you will consider it, come to the assurance of his love towards you.

Such as are without.For first, the Lord hath made knowne his owne willingnesse to take you to marriage. There are but two that are to give their consent, the Fa­ther to give his Sonne, and the Sonne to give his owne consent: The Father, you know, hath given his consent,Isay. 9.6. Isay 9.6. A Sonne is given: He so loved the world, that he gave his Sonne. There­fore certainely you have the Fathers consent, he hath given Christ, as a father gives his sonne in marriage. But now whether we have the Sonnes consent or no, of that wee make question; saith the Apostle, Hee loved us, and gave himselfe to us, and for us; yea hee not onely gives his con­sent, for his part, but he hath purchased his wife with his owne blood. And therefore you can­not doubt but that hee is willing to marrie with you, to take you, and to receive you if you will come in. Why then, what is required now? No­thing at all but thy consent, if thou give thy con­sent to the Lord, thou needest not to question his favour, thou maist assure thy selfe of his un­changeable [Page 145] love in Iesus Christ; for he hath re­vealed it on his part, in his word, you have his sure word for that, heaven and earth shall passe rather than that word. This is the sound consola­tion that will not faile you, when you come to examination, and thinke with your selves, upon what ground am I assured of Gods affection to­wards mee, that hee loves mee: I have his word for it, he hath said it, and he cannot recall it, yea he hath added his oath, that by two immutable witnesses you might have strong consolation; that is, that you might have the greatest degree of assurance that can be. Why, now, why doest not thou give thy consent? why doest thou no more rest on it? You will say, alas I am willing to giue my consent, if that would doe it.

But first,Obiect. 1. I am unfit to marry the Lord, I am not prepared for such a match as that is, my heart is too bad, and my life hath beene too sinfull to thinke of such preferment and advancement.

Take thou no care for that,Answ. the Lord knew thy unfitnesse, when he made that promise to thee, when hee gave his Son; and the Sonne gave him­selfe to thee, he was well enough acquainted with thee, and with thy nature, he had an intenti­on to marry a blackmoore, he justifieth the wick­ed, he knowes thou art so, and yet he will doe it, he will put a fairenesse, he will put a beautie upon thee, when thou art his wife; therefore let not that hinder thy unfitnesse.

You will say againe,Obiect. 2. it may belong to such and such, it doth not belong to me; my case is such, I [Page 146] have provoked him in this manner, my sinnes are of such a nature.

Answ.This shall not shut thee out neither. For why shouldst thou make exceptions where the Lord makes none. Goe, Preach the Gospell to every creature under heaven. What is the meaning of that? That is, goe tell every man, without exception, what­soever his sinnes be, whatsoever his rebellions be, go tell him this glad tidings; that is to preach the Gospell to him, that if he will come in, I will accept him, he shall be saved, his sinnes shall bee forgiven him, if he doe no more but come in, and take me and receive me. Therefore to con­clude this, doubt not thou that that shall be a hin­derance on Gods part. And for thy owne part, there is no more requyred of thee but sinceritie, that thou take him, sincerely resolving to thy selfe I will serve him for the future, I will be content­ed to be divorced from all my former loves, from all the sinnes that I have delighted in be­fore, I am willing now to take him, and to serve him, and to love him, and to give my selfe whol­ly to him; I say, this sinceritie of resolution is enough, there can be no hindrance if this be found in thee. Therefore doe not thinke with thy selfe, I want sorrow for my sinnes, such a degree of sorrow, my heart is not broken enough, and therefore I am not fit: for thou must know thus much, that the promise is made to the comming, and not to the preparations. If thou canst come, and take the Lord, it is enough, if a man have so much sorrow, so much heart-breaking as brings [Page 147] him home to Christ, as makes him willing to match with the Lord: if hee have that wrought in him, doubt he not of the other.

But now I come to the other,Such as are within the Co­venant. those that are already within the Covenant, to you I say, you may much more easily and fully come to this assurance, because ye have the fruits of the Spirit in you, which are the seales of his love; you have cause to trust perfectly through the grace that is revealed in Iesus Christ: you know that exhortation, Trust perfectly to the grace revea­led, &c. that is, in the free offer to every man by Christ; trust not in that by halves, remissive­ly, and unperfectly, and weakly, but trust per­fectly, be confident in that, that the Lord will thus receive you, trust perfectly in the grace re­vealed.

But,Object. you will say, I commit many sinnes from day to day, I am negligent in many duties, I find much unevennesse in my life, many distempers in my affections, &c?

What if you finde all this in your selves?Answ. yet so long as your hearts are sincere, you must know this, that every breach, every offence doth not breake the band of wedlocke betweene the Lord and you, you must not thinke there is a breach of covenant betweene God and you upon every [...]inne that is committed, but know that the Covenant holds good, till you come to choose another husband, the Lord continues your hus­band still. Therefore when thou art married to the Lord, it is not for thee to thinke then of que­stioning [Page 148] the match, but studie to please thy hus­band, and to doe thy dutie. You know, there may be many offences, and many slight breaches be­tweene a man and his wife, but the bond holds good, there is no bill of divorcement except it be in case of adultery, that shee choose an other hus­band: so thinke, in such a case, the bond is not broken upon every offence, and every sinne that is committed. Learne to know this for thy com­fort, for it is a great matter to have this assu­rance full.

Answ.And besides consider this, thinke not with thy selfe, because I have not attained such a degree of holinesse as another hath, therefore I have none at all, that is an evill reason that discourageth the Saints, discourageth many times those that should be incouraged, that are already within the Cove­nant; he lookes on another, and sees he cannot reach him, he propounds to himselfe such a mea­sure of grace and of holinesse, and of mortifica­tion of his lusts, and hee cannot come neere it; and hee thinkes, because I cannot doe this, I have no sincerity in mee. Not so, there are degrees, when a man is within the doore, hee may goe further and further, and though all may be with­in, yet one may be further in than another.

Answ.Besides all this, know that the Lord is faith­full, he cannot denie himselfe, though thou faile on thy part, yet hee continues the same, and re­newes his mercy to thee, as thou renewest thy repentance. But, to conclude this, if you would love the Lord, labour to doe these three things:

[Page 149]Labour to know him more:

Labour to know your selves more, that so you may long after him as after one that you neede.

And thirdly, labour to get this assurance, for it is this assurance that breedes the love, that seales it up; when a man shall looke on God as one who may hate him for any thing he knowes, who may be an enemie to him one day, hee can never love him heartily: When a man hath no ground to set his foote on, he will doe it tender­ly and nearely; but when he lookes upon God as one whom he may trust, whose love he is sure of, that he builds on that as a rocke, this is that which makes his heart perfect to him, when hee can say, as Paul, I know whom I have trusted. If a man have never so much excellency in him, if you conceive him to be hollow-hearted to you, your affections are not perfect towards him; so is it, if you looke on God as one that may be your enemie As wee say, friendship with Prin­ces, it is like that familiarity that those men have with Lyons, that keepe them. A Lyon, you know, will suffer a man to play with him as long as he lists, and when he lists, he will rise and de­voure him, and rend him in peeces; so I say, the love of a Prince may be, and the love of men may be: But the love of the Lord is not such, when he loves, he loves perfectly. It is true, hee hath the strength of a Lyon, he is able to doe it, you are weake creatures subject to him, but hee hath that constancie in him, that when hee loves once, [Page 150] it is alwayes perfect, and unchangeable. Let all these be well considered and wrought on your hearts, and it will be a meanes to beget this love in you: Even as fire begets fire, so this will be­get love in your hearts towards him againe. So much for this.

The second point, which I intend to handle at this time is this; another consectary, another use we are to draw from this doctrine, Hee that loves not, is not in Christ.

The next use is to exhort you to come in, if it be a thing of that moment, now our businesse is to exhort to love the Lord Iesus. And is there not much reason to move you to it? if you had this love in your hearts, would it not be a ground of much comfort to you? for if you were able to beleeve in Iesus Christ, and love him, you should have your salvation sure, if once you could finde this disposition in your selves, as it must be in you, if ever you be saved, that your hearts long after him, still you are growing towards him, hanging that way, as a stone to the center, as the iron to the loadstone, there is such a lingring af­ter him, the heart makes towards him, and will have no deniall; but, as the woman of Canaan, it breakes through all impediments, no barre can keep it frō him: as those that love, they are not ea­sily put off, but are importunate til they have ob­tained reciprocal affections of the party beloved.

I say, if thou finde this disposition in thy heart, it is the greatest consolation that thou canst have in this world:Mot. for if this be thy case, thou maist [Page 151] boldly looke that the gates of hell shall not pre­vaile against thee; and if thou love the Lord in this manner, heaven and earth shall passe rather than thy salvation shall be hindred: it is impos­sible, because then thou hast a good ground of hope, and hope will make thee not ashamed, but be assured that God is thine, and all that hee can doe, and all that is his is thine; as Paul tells us, his power, and his wisdome, and all is thine: He is a Sunne and a shield to thee, thou shalt want nothing that is good, nothing that is evill shall hurt thee, the Lord brings all with him: this is your case if that you doe love him, this is your consolation, this is that which may inflame your hearts with a desire of this affection. For know this, that there is scarcely any thing else that we can instance in, but an hypocrite may goe cheeke by jowle with a good Christian, in that he may doe all outward duties, he may abstaine from sinnes, there may be a great change in him, (you know how farre the third ground went, and those Heb. 6.) but this they cannot counterfeit, to love the Lord. Therefore, if thou finde that thou love the Lord, thou hast this consolation, that thou art now sure, and indeede thou art never till then sure. And as reason differenceth a man from a beast, so love makes the great difference be­tweene a Christian and an other. Indeede we say it is faith, but you know that faith is differenced by love, that is, such a faith that breedes love, and so love is it that breedes that great consola­tion. And therefore this is thy comfort, if thou [Page 152] canst once bring thy heart to love the Lord, hee will beare with any thing, hee will beare with many infirmities, as, you know, he did with Dauid when he saw that he loved him. David had many great infirmities, as wee see in the whole story, the whole relation of his life, yet because hee lo­ved the Lord, the Lord passed by all, and in the end he gave him this testimonie, that hee was a man after his owne heart. So I say, love the Lord once, and he will beare with much in thee. On the other side, if thou doe not love him, doe what thou wilt, the Lord accepts it not. As wee see in the case of Amaziah, it is said that Amaziah walked in all the wayes of his father David, and of the good Kings, hee did as much as they, hee was as great an enemie to idolatry, hee did all the duties of religion, onely this was wanting, he did it not with an upright heart, that is, he did it not out of love, and therefore the Lord regar­ded it not. And therefore let this move you to get this affection; there is much, if I could stand to presse it, that might inflame your hearts with a desire of it: onely it is this love that sets a price on all that you doe, that makes all that you doe currant; as this stampe is set on your actions more or lesse, so they are more or lesse accepta­ble. This was that which set a price on the wid­dowes mite, that set a price on a cup of colde wa­ter; this set a price upon Abels offering, and made it more acceptable than his brothers: the meanest service when it hath this stampe on it is currant and good in Gods sight, hee accepts it: [Page 153] againe, the greatest performance without it, is nothing. And if thou give thy body to be bur­ned, if thou suffer martyrdome, if thou give all thy goods to the poore; doe what thou wilt with­out love, it is nothing, thy labour is lost: this love sets a price on all that thou doest.

Besides this,Mot. consider, this is that that must stirre you up aboue all other arguments, that if thou love the Lord, thou shalt be no looser by it, in all other love a man seemes to be a looser, for, when you loue an other, as you know it is no love except it bee fruitfull and actiue, when you be­stowe on an other your time, and your paines, and your money, you know, you have so much the lesse your selfe: And therefore it is that men are so full of selfe love, because that ingrosseth all, a man in that keepes all to himselfe, when hee comes to love an other, and partes with some­thing of his owne. And thence it is that men are so backward to love, in truth and in good earnest. They love in shew and in complement, that is ea­sie, but to love indeed is difficult, because it takes somewhat from them. But in loving the Lord, it is not so, there is a difference betweene that and other loves when you give the Lord your hearts, and bestowe them on him, he will giue you them every [...]ot againe, and reserue not any for himself. You will aske me, what is the meaning of this? My meaning is this, whatsoever you bestowe on the Lord, all the loue that you give to him, it re­flectes and redoundes to your advantage, you gaine by it all:Isa. 48.17. as we see, Isai 48.17. I am the Lord [Page 154] that teacheth thee to Profite for if thou keepe my com­mandements, thy reward, thy prosperitie should be as a flood, and thy reioycing as the waves of the Sea. Marke it well, as if he should say to them, when I command you to serue me, and to loue me with all your soule, and with all your strength, know, that all this is for your owne profit, it shall all re­dound to you. For, if you keep my commande­ments, your prosperitie shall be as a floud, that is, it shall runne over the bankes, it shall be so large, and so great, and your righteousnes, that is, the reward of your righteousnes, as the waues of the sea, that is, one reward should follow upon the neck of an other, as one billow followes upon the neck of an other. This should be your case, saith he, if you loue me and keep my commande­ments, and serue me: And therefore saith hee, when I require your love and your service, herein there is a difference betweene that, & that which any man requires at your hands; all this is for your owne profite, it redounds to your selues, your selves fare the better for it: as it is said of the Saboth, so I may say of this commandement, and all the rest, it was made for man, and not man for this, that is, for the profit of man, for the advanc­ment of man, thy louing the Lord is for thy ad­vantage, thou gainest by it; as it is, Deut: 5.29. Oh, Deut. 5.19. saith he, that there were a heart in this people, to love me, and to feare me, as they have promised, then it should goe wellwith them, and their children after them. Not that I might be a gainer, and you lose, but that it might goe well with you and your [Page 155] children for ever. So, if you love the Lord, when you thinke with your selves, I shall be a loser by it, I shall lose much libertie, and much content­ment and delight, I shall lose the giving satisfa­ction to many of my desires and lusts: No, thou shalt lose none of this, though a man seeme to lose this when he gives his heart to the Lord, but thou gainest all this, that is, the Lord gives thee thy heart againe, and gives thee leave to dispose of it, he gives thee leave to love thy friends, to love thy wife and thy children, and even to love thy recreations; he gives thee leave to dispense and to distribute thy heart to this or to that, as long as thou doest it lawfully, onely thou must doe it at his command.

Yea, when we give our hearts to the Lord, hee giues us not them againe onely, but hee giues them much better than hee receiued them, new painted, new beautified and new furnished, hee giues them in a farre better condition: there is no man that loseth by giuing his heart to the Lord, but he giues it him againe much better. As we say of vapours that arise out of the earth, the heavens returne them againe in pure water, much better than they receiued them, so will the Lord: if thy heart ascend to him, thy impure, thy sin­full heart, the Lord will give it thee better. As we say of earth, when the earth receives the sea water, and puddle water, it giues it better than it received it in the springs and fountaines; for it straines the water and purifies it, that whereas when it came into the bowells of the earth, it was [Page 156] muddy, salt, and brinish, it returnes pure, and cleane, and fresh, as, you know, the waters of the springs and fountaines are: so the Lord doth with us; if thou wouldest give thy hearts desire, thy affections to him, thou shouldest have all againe, onely with this difference, thy affections should be more pure, thy thoughts, all the faculties of thy soule should be renewed, and cleansed, and beautified, he would restore them better to thee, but yet thou shouldest have them; let it be thy comfort. So that here is all the difference, take a man now that loves himselfe, and that thinkes with himselfe, Well, say what you will, I will goe mine owne wayes, I will provide for mine owne contentment in this life, I know not what I shall have after, I will looke to mine owne pro­fit: I say, compare this man with another, that resolves this with himselfe, Well, from hence I will deny my selfe, and crosse my selfe, and will seeke no more my owne contentment, nor to satisfie my owne desires and lusts, but I will give my heart wholly to the Lord. The question now is, which of these are gainers? I say, the latter hath as much liberty and as much power of his owne heart, he shall have as much use of all that is within him, as the other hath, that [...]akes it to himse [...]fe: all the difference is, the one [...]s an unjust owner, the second the Lord hath made the steward of his owne heart; so that the Lord hath thy heart, and yet it is thy owne heart, [...]hou maist dispose of it as a steward under thy Master, thou hast it as before, onely now thou [Page 157] doest it by his appointment, before it was at thine owne. Let all this therefore stirre you up to love the Lord.

You will say,Object. indeede this is enough to per­swade us to come in, to love the Lord, and wee are contented to doe so; that is the answer which wee shall have from most men. But now what kinde of love is it that wee shall have at their hands?

My brethren,Answ. we must add this for a conclusi­on, that it is not every kind of love that the Lord accepts: but your love must have these two con­ditions in it.Two Requi­sites in the love of God. I will breefely name them and so conclude.

First,It must be with all the heart. you must love him with all your hearts, and with all your soule, you know that is every where requyred in the Scriptures. That is, the Lord will have the whole streame of your affe­ctions, and desires, and intentions, and your en­deavours to runne to him; there must not any ri­veret runne out of it, it must not be drained a­way, but the whole streame must all be bestow­ed upon him, there must be no division there, you must not say here, as he saith, My Countrie, and my father, and my children, and my friends have a part in my love, but the Lord must have all, and there is good reason for it, because he bestowed all on you. It is in this love as it is in marriage, in that there is no corrivall admitted, but there must be all in all: for the husband must bestowe himselfe wholly on his wife, and the wife on the husband; so if you love the Lord, if the match [Page 158] be made betweene you, there is all in that equa­litie; if the Lord bestowe all on you, and you should bestowe but halfe on him, there would be no equalitie, there would be an unennesse. But when you bestowe all on him, when you loue him with all your heart, and with all your soule, that makes the match betweene you.

Object.You will say, the Lord doth not bestowe him­selfe wholly on me, he bestowes himselfe on ma­ny others, on many thousands besides me, and why should not I bestow my selfe on an other?

Answ.I answer, it is not so, the Lord bestowes him­selfe wholly on thee.Hosea 3.3. Hos. 3, 3. it is a borrowed speech, I will be to thee alone, & I will have thee to be so to me; so the Lord saith to every man, I will be alone to thee, and thou shalt be alone to me. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine. This is the match that must bee betweene you. And when you say the Lord is not wholly yours, I say, he is, though he bestowe himselfe on many thou­sands besides. You will aske, how can that be? I say, that may be by reason of his infinitenesse; for that which is infinite hath not parts, and ther­fore he bestowes not himselfe partly on one, and partly on an other, but he bestowes all upon eve­ry one: for he is infinite, and hath no parts. To expresse my selfe by a similitude,Simile. a point hath no parts, it is one indivisible, let a thousand lines come to one point, every one hath the whole, and yet there is but one that answers all, because it is indivisible, and every one hath all: So it is with the Lord, though there be many thousands that [Page 159] God loves, yet every one hath the Lord wholly, he is to them alone, and he lookes for and expects this at thy hands, that thou shouldest be to him a­lone, that thou bestowe thy selfe wholly on him; thereupon all those words are put in, Thou shalt love thy Lord with all thy minde, with all thy heart, with all thy soule. The meaning is this, when all that is in a man is sett a worke to serve the Lord, when he looks to the Lord, when he inclines to­wards the Lord, that is, when the minde is set on worke to thinke on him, to remember his glori­ous workes, to have a right knowledge and opi­nion of him: againe, when the memory is set on worke to remember him, and not to forget his benefits, his statutes and his ordinances, and so the rest of his faculties. And therefore if we love the Lord, wee will not doe this with our selves, to thinke I love him, and yet I will suffer my minde, in the meane time, to be exercised in con­templating of fornication; not to thinke, I loue the Lord, and yet will suffer my memorie, in the meane time, to be recollecting injuries and bree­ding of them, and recalling my pleasant sinnes that are formerly past, that I should abhorre, thou canst not loue him and doe this. Againe, thou must not say, I love him, and yet let thy af­fections runne after this and that, but thy whole heart must be bestowed on him: Thou must not thinke to loue him, and to reserue thy affecti­ons for this or that particular thing that thou lo­vest inordinately, but thou must bestow all these on the Lord.

[Page 160] Requisite in love, it must be with all your night.The second thing required in this love, where­with I will end, is this, that you love the Lord with all your might. You will say, what is the meaning of that,Object. to love the Lord with all my might,Answ. and with all my strength? For the understanding of this, you must know that God hath given different might and different strength to men; as a rich man hath more might than an­other: for he can rule more, and sway more, and command more than a poore man can. Againe, a Magistrate, he can restraine by his power, and encourage men by his authority, and winne them, yea compell them by his example. Againe, a learned man, that is of great parts, that is of a stronger wit than another, hee hath more might than another, he is able to doe more than a man of weaker parts. Now to love the Lord with all our might, is to improve all the meanes we have, all the strength, all the ability that wee have a­bove others, to improve it so, that we may serve the Lord with it more than others, that even as thou exceedest any in these abilities, so thou maist goe beyond them in serving the Lord: This is to love the Lord with all thy might, that is, to love him so much more than a poore man, to be­stow more on him, to doe more for him, as thy riches make thee more able, and more strong than another. For thee to love him now as ano­ther man doth that hath lesse might, the Lord will not take this love at thy hands; but will say to thee as Landlords say to their Tenants, when they bring them lesse rent than they should, lesse [Page 161] than is due, they will receive none; for they say, so much is due. The Lord will require this, that you love him with all your might. If thou be a rich man, if thou be a Magistrate, if thou be a man of such and such opportunities to serve the Lord, and doe but a little, hee will not accept it at all: thou must love the Lord with all thy might, for God requires this at thy hands, hee leaves it not arbitrary. He saith, To whom much is given, of him much shall be required. Hee saith not, I leave it to him, to doe more or lesse, but I require it, that is, I will exact it according to the mea­sure he hath received. Therefore consider with thy selfe, what meanes thou hast, what power God hath put into thy hands, what ability thou hast more than others. When you send a servant to market, as you give him a greater price, as you put more money into his hands, so you ex­pect hee should bring home more than another that hath a lesse price put into his hands: So the Lord doth with men, hee sends men into the world, as men are sent to a market, hee gives a larger price to some, to some hee gives five ta­lents, to some three, to some two, the Lord ex­pects that they should bring home according to the price they have in their hands, that is, accor­ding to the might, according to the strength and opportunity he hath given them. For, you must know, that the Lord observes an exact difference betweene man and man. It may be, thou livest under better meanes than another, thou hast had better education than another, thou hast more [Page 162] knowledge in the wayes of God than another, the Lord hath helped thee more by the inward suggestions of his Spirit than another, he lookes that thou shouldest bring forth more fruite than another. And so againe for all other abilities and advantages: the Lord expects at our hands that we love him with all our might, otherwise, saith he, you might have given my money to the ex­changers, and they would have made use of it. Marke that in the Parable of the Talents; for a man will be ready to say, if I bestow some love on the Lord, why should he exact & require the ut­most, why doth he require so much at my hands? Yes, saith he, if another had this might, if ano­ther had this strength, and this opportunity that thou hast, hee would have done as exchangers doe, hee would have brought it in with profit; so if that ability were given to another, he would make use of it: And therefore thinke not much, if he require it at thy hands, for there is losse if he should not. Therefore know that the Lord requires this at thy hands, it may be thou art more composed, and more disposed than ano­ther, it is nothing for thee to abstaine from drin­king, to abstaine from swearing, because thou art framed this way by naturall ingenuity, and na­turall temper that God hath given thee, it is not that the Lord requires no more, but that thou live soberly, free from grosse sinnes: No, God lookes for more, he requires of every man ac­cording to his strength and ability. As, you know, a childe may runne, and another man may [Page 163] walke, the childe takes more paines, the man lesse; it the reward were to be given according to the endeavour, the child should have it, though he that walkes come to the goale before him.

A man that is weake may not doe so much as another that is strong, and able to doe ten times as much worke as another man that is weake; though thou doe more worke than he, this is not accepted, because hee lookes that every man should doe his utmost, he requires that you should love him, and serve him, and set your selves to improve all your ability according to the might, according to the Talent, ac­cording to the price hee hath distributed and measu­red to you.

So much for this time.

FINIS.

THE SEVENTH SERMON.

GALAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

THE last thing that wee entred upon was the conditions that God re­quires in our love to him, we went through two of them the last time, wee come now to that which re­maines.

Requisite, to love him above all.Thirdly, you shall finde this to be another condition in our love to the Lord, to love him above all, that is, incomparably above all: For, my brethren, wee may love many things in the world, wee may love our selves, wee are com­manded [Page 165] to loue our brethen as our selves; but this is peculiarly required to the love of God, if it be right in us, and such as the Lord expects at our hands, that we loue him aboue all, for other­wise 1 we doe not loue him as God, wee loue him as a creature:Else wee love him not as God. for to say we loue him as God, and yet not to loue him aboue all, is a contradicti­on.

Besides, if wee should not reckon him as the 2 chiefe good,Else we should not love him constantly. and so prise him aboue all, some thing would offer it selfe one time or another to us, and draw our affections to it, and then wee should leaue the Lord, and take that: Therefore I say, it is required that we loue the Lord aboue all. For every kinde of loue is not sufficient, as we see it in other things; that loue that will serue a servant, or a common friend, will not serue for a wife, it is another kinde of loue; that loue that will serue for one will not serue for another: A Parent, a King, and a Master, as they haue diffe­rent relations, so they must be love with diffe­rent kindes of loue. Now then consider what loue it is that belongs to the Lord, he must haue all, he must haue a loue that answers him: other­wise if thou come with a little pittance of loue, and say, Lord, I am willing to bestow this upon thee, the Lord will refuse it, hee will answer, I will take none of these things at your hands: E­ven as landlords doe with their tenants,Simile. when they bring not all their rent, they refuse it and re­ject it, because it is not that which they require, and which is due. Even so the Lord deales with [Page 166] us, as he did with the young man in the Gospell, saith hee, Goe and sell all that thou hast: My bre­thren, it was not the act of selling, but it was the affection that was required. Therefore Christ did but try his affection by it; and it was perfor­med by the wise Merchant that solde all, this the Lord requires that we loue him aboue all.

Why wee must love the Lord above all.And there is good reason for it, for hee is most excellent and most amiable of all.

Besides, I am sure hee hath done for us more than all, as Paul speakes, Was Paul crucified for you? hath not Christ bought you, hath not hee redee­med you, hath not he deserved more than all, and should he not therfore be loved aboue all?

Againe, is he not the uttermost end, are not all natures else subordinate? God as hee is aboue all, so should wee haue a loue answerable unto him.

Object.But you will object, What, to loue God aboue my selfe, how can I doe that?

Answ.Yes my brethren, and there is good reason for that too,Why we must love God a­bove our selves beeause in so doing we provide best for our selues; it is not so with the creature, if you set your loue upon it, if you loue any crea­ture aboue your selves, it may be the destruction of your selves: But the Lord can provide for you and repaire you againe when the creature is destroyed for the Lords sake, when a man is a loser for any thing that he doth for the Lord, he is a great gainer by it; for it is the rule that God hath appointed the creature, and the perfe­ction of every creature is in comming neere to [Page 167] the rule. Now when the Lord hath appointed this to loue him aboue our selues, in so doing we cannot chuse but provide best for our selues, be­cause therein lies our excellencie and perfection. This is therefore another property of this loue, we must loue God aboue all, aboue all riches, a­boue all profits, aboue all honour and credit, a­boue all learning and delight, aboue our selues and our lusts: Therefore you shall finde it in the phrase of Scripture how it runnes, those that loue pleasures more than God, those that love the praise of men more than God, those that loue wealth more than God, you see how they are excluded.

You shall see what it is,Not to love pleasures more than God, what. not to loue the praise of men more than God, it is this, when they come together at some times in competition, as they will ever and anon, still to preferre God before them. As for example, the Lord hath comman­ded you to sanctifie the Sabboth, to pray conti­nually, the least thou canst doe is to doe it evening and morning, and to doe it diligently. Now when thy profits and thy businesse, or thy ease shall come and thrust thee off from such a duty, now they come together, and here they meete upon a narrow bridge as it were; if thou shalt now preferre thy profits and thy businesse before the service of the Lord, thou art a lover of thy wealth more than of him. You may bring it to many such examples.

So againe the Lord hath commanded to be di­ligent in your callings, to improue the time to the best advantage, for you shall giue an account [Page 168] for it is one of the most precious talents you have: Now if pleasures and sports, and recrea­tions shall come in and allure you, and call you, to draw you away to spend time amisse, now they come in competition; if ye doe this ordina­rily, you are lovers of pleasures more than lo­vers of God.

So againe, God hath commanded thee that thou shouldest not commit adultery, that thou shalt not kill, that thou shalt forbeare to revenge, and the like: Now if any lust shall come and stand in opposition to such a command, if thou preferre this before it, thou art a lover of thy selfe and of thy lusts before God.

In a word, goe through any such thing, where­in God and thy lusts, thy pleasure or thy profits come in competition, when thou shalt in thy or­dinary course be ready to preferre that before him, thou lovest that before him, thou lovest that before the Lord; and though thou thinke that thou lovest God, yet notwithstanding know this, that that is not sufficient, thou must loue him aboue all.

Quest.And if you say, who is able to performe this? who is it that doth not at some times preferre his pleasures and profits before the obedience to a command?

Answ.I answer, it is a thing that hath beene done and is done by all the Saints: Therefore if you looke into Deut. 30.6. saith the Lord,Deut. 30.6. I will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seede, and thou shalt love me with all thy heart: He speakes it there of [Page 169] a thing that is acted indeede, of a thing that is to be done by those that are regenerate, I will cir­cumcise you, and then you shall doe it. And, my brethren, a man that hath the least measure of grace, if he be once in Christ, hee loves God a­bove all; that is, let a man be himselfe at any time, let not his lusts get the upper ground of him, as sometimes it doth, when hee is in passion and transported; indeede then feare may prevaile as it did with Peter, and lusts may prevaile as it did with David: But the meaning is, let a man be himselfe in his ordinary course, and still hee preferres the Lord before any thing in all his actions.

You will say,Object. this is a thing that no man can doe to love God above all.

Yes,Answ. my beloved, therefore you must under­stand it thus, that comparatively you may reach it; all those that are sanctified doe love him a­bove all, although there be many degrees of love you cannot reach unto, yet you love him above all: Even as it is in marriage, a man may love his wife with such a degree of Iove as is meete for her, yet there may be a greater degree of loue, continuance of time may increase that love upon further knowledge, &c. So wee may love the Lord above all, and yet come short of that de­gree that we may have after longer communion, and greater familiarity. So much for this third condition,Requisite, to be rooted and grounded in love. to love him above all.

But yet this is not enough, we finde another condition required in this love in the Eph: Eph. 3.17 3.17. [Page 170] That ye be rooted and grounded in love, that is, that as ye must not love the Lord by halues, so ye must not love him by fits and by starts, it must be a fixed love, a permanent love, you must bee rooted and grounded in it, otherwise as it is said of him that is unstabe in the faith, as Iam. 1.12.Iam▪ 1.12. He is as a wave of the Sea, tossed too and froe, the same may be said of him that wavers in his love, he is tossed too & fro, that is some times he com­meth with great purposes, with aboundance of promises and resolutions, that seeme as bigg as mountaines, but stay a while and they come to nothing, they vanish away. Suppose it were thy owne case, that a man should come to thee, with an expression of as much love, as that there could be no more for a day or two, but presently after­ward, he is as strange as if he had never seene thee, wouldest thou regard such a loue as this? No surely, but as wee use to doe with franticke men, though that they be sober for a while, yet we reckon them franticke, because they are more constantly franticke, such account doth the Lord make of such, as doe love him by fitts and by flashes.

Our love to God not al­wayes in the same degree.But you will say, who is there that is alwayes at the same stay? It is true my brethren, I deny not but that the best of the Saints have their loue some times in the full tide, and some times in the lowest ebb; but you must knowe that there is a great deale of difference betweene these degrees, and that loue, that is as the morning dew & pre­sently dryed up againe, therefore you must al­wayes [Page 171] remember, that this must be added to that that formerly hath been spoken, that ye must be rooted and grounded in loue.

You will say how shall we doe that?How to bee rooted in love.

Remember but these two things. Labour to be rooted and grounded in Faith, and then you shall be rooted and grounded in love,To be rooted in faith. as in that place I named before in Ephes. 3.17. he prayeth that Christ may dwell in their hearts by Faith, that so being rooted and grounded in love, they may compre­hend &c. Let a man consider well upon what ground he hath perswaded himselfe of the Lords favour and loue to him, let him not build upon a hollowe sandie foundation, but let him build the assurance of his salvation upon a rock, that is, let him examine his grounds to the bottome, let him search it well, let him consider all the objections that may be made against his assurance, and not giue over till he be fully convinced, that the Lord his heart is perfect with him, and when he is thus rooted and grounded in faith, he will likewise be rooted and grounded in loue.

Againe, remember to pitch your loue upon the person;Pitch your love on his person. not to loue him for by-respects for o­ther matters, but set your eye upon the very per­son of Christ, to behold him in his glory, in his purenesse, in his attributes, in all his excellencies, and so to loue him, for that will continue; for if you loue the Lord because he deals wel with you, because you haue hope he will saue you, because you have escaped such and such judgements through his providence, if any of these bee the [Page 172] ground of your love, these are mutable; but if you love him for himselfe, because of that amia­blenesse that is in him; for my brethren, hee is the same, there is no shadow of change in him. There­fore if you love him thus, your love will be con­stant; this was the case of Iob, his love was right, he loved the very person of God, therefore hee was willing to take good and evill at the hand of God, and yet his love remained sure: take ano­ther man that hath not knowne God, that is not acquainted with him, it may be when the Lord hath brought him into prosperity, he will for­get the Lord, as Demas embraced the present world, the prosperity of such a man drawes him from God. Another man, when persecutions and tri­alls come, he forsakes the Lord, because indeede he pitched not his love upon his person, there­fore hee loves him not constantly. But to goe on.

Requisite, it must be dili­gent.The next is that property ye shall finde in the 1 Thess 1.3. Diligent loue: that is the last which I will name to you,1 Thess. 1.3. I say, it must be a diligent love wherewith you love the Lord, and not an idle and negligent love, not a love that is in shew onely, but a love that is operative, for that God requires.

You will say, wherein should our love be di­ligent.

Wherein our love should be diligent.I answer, you must be diligent in preparing for the Lords comming, that you may receive the King of glorie, In preparing for Christs comming that he may enter into your hearts, for there is a diligence of love in that; to doe as [Page 173] Iohn Baptist came to doe, to prepare the way of the Lord, what was that? To bring downe the moun­taines, and to raise up the valleyes, that is, those high thoughts, those high lusts that stand in op­position against the Lord, that barre the doore against him, that will not let him enter into your hearts, bring downe those mountaines: againe, the valleyes must be raised up, that God may come and dwell in your hearts; the diligence of love is shewed in opening to the Lord when hee knockes, that when a thing shall be suggested to you, it is for the Lords advantage to embrace it, for it is the nature of true love, it enlargeth and wideneth the heart.

Againe, love is diligent in adorning it selfe,In adorning the soule. and beautifying the soule for the approach of the lover, such is this love that wee speake of, it will make you make your selves new creatures; expresse your diligence therefore in labouring to adorne your hearts with graces that the Lord may take a delight to dwell in you; be diligent also in cleansing your selves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, that when the Lord commeth hee may finde no sluttish corner within you, for the Lord hateth these: As the Israelites were to goe with a paddle, and cover every filthy thing, be­cause, saith the text, The Lord walketh among you, so must we doe, keepe our hearts cleane if wee will have the Lord delight to dwell with us, we must be diligent to remove out of his sight what­soever he hateth.In keeping his commande­ments.

Lastly, wee must be diligent in keeping his com­mands; [Page 174] wilt thou say thou lovest God, and yet doest disobey him and rebellest against him from day to day? The Lord careth for no such love, for indeede love cannot be otherwise judged of than in obeying: to say thou lovest him, and kee­pest not his commands, it is but a dead love, and a picture of love, it is not love indeede, it is but as the Apostle saith, to doe it in word, and not in truth; for when you love him in deede, you doe the things he would have you to doe: Therefore so much diligence in keeping his commands, so much love, he that doeth most loveth most. And so you see the conditions that are required in this love, what a kinde of love it is that God will have at your hands, or else he will not take it of you.

Now my brethren, there remaines but one thing more, wherewith wee will conclude this point, that is, now I have beene so large in shew­ing you what this love is, wherein you cannot blame us if we presse you to it, because it is one of the greatest and most radicall vertues, faith and love, therefore we have beene the larger in describing it to you; I say now you have heard what it is, what remains but this, to shew you the great danger in not loving? and that we wil make to be the last consectary that we will draw from this doctrine:

I say, consider how dangerous a thing it is to neglect it; the Lord you see requires it upon paine of damnation, whatsoever you have, yet notwith­standing if you have not this love, you are not in [Page 175] Christ,God dealeth not hardly with us in re­quiring love: because and so you shall be excluded. Let no man thinke that this is exaction, that it is a hard thing that the Lord requires it with this exaction: for what is it that he requires? If hee had required of you to offer sacrifice, as he did in the olde law, then the poore man might have objected, he had not where withall; if he had required us to fight battells,It is that which every one may give. the weake man might have said he could not doe it, he was not able: but now young and olde, rich and poore, all can love.

Besides if we consider who it is that requires this love,Hee that re­quires this, might have required har­der things. is it not the great God of heaven and earth? is it not the Sonne? If hee had comman­ded thee the hardest thing in the world, if he had said, thou shalt cast thy selfe into the fire, thou shalt sacrifice children to me, you are his crea­tures, and you must obey him: But when he re­quires this onely at thy hands, to love him, is it not equall?

Besides,It is for our owne benefit. when he requires this, it is for your benefit, for when you have given the Lord your hearts, the Lord gives you them againe; even as the earth, the water it receives from the sea, it returnes it better back againe in springs and foun­taines, and pure streames; so doth the Lord give you your hearts backe againe, when you have bestowed them upon him, and withall he gives you leave to b [...]stow them upon other things, to love all things that you may and ought to love, and which is good for you to love; therefore the Lord may require it upon this penalty, for he askes but his owne, and what hee hath deserved [Page 176] at thy hands, therefore it is a most reasonable and equall request. For what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, saith Moses, but onely that you love the Lord your God? So I say to you, what else doth the Lord your God require of you?

The danger of not loving the Lord.But againe know this, that as it is a command full of equity and reasonablenes, so the danger is the greater if you doe it it not; and what that is I will shew you but by one place, that is, 1 Cor. 16.22.1 Cor. 16.22. Cursed is hee that loves not the Lord Iesus, yea let him be had in execration to the death: That is the place I would have you consider, that now when you have beene acquainted with this whole doctrine of love, you might know the danger of not performing and doing it; whosoever loues not the Lord Iesus, let him be Anathema Maran­atha, he curseth him in two languages, to shew that it is a peremptory curse.

But what is that to be cursed?

To be cursed what.My brethren, to be cursed is to be separated, to be set apart or appointed unto evill, so that all that love not the Lord Iesus, they are men sepa­rated and set apart to evill, so that no man may meddle with them, no man may touch them to doe them good, as the Saints and those that love the Lord they are set apart that no man may touch them for hurt; so it is here, when a man is cursed, the meaning is this, he is set apart, se­cluded from all good things, that none are to meddle with him, hee is set apart for evill, all things shall concurre together to doe him hurt; this is when the Lord curseth any man, and this [Page 177] is the case of every man that loves not the Lord Iesus.

Our businesse when we preach the Gospell is but to offer the Lord Iesus to you, that is all that we have to doe; and all that you have to doe that heare us, is to take Iesus Christ, to beleeve in him, to love him: Now saith the Lord, if you will not doe this, if you will not love him, every such one let him be accursed. Now when the Lord shall curse a man, as Isaac said, I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed: So whom the Lord curseth, he shall be cursed, and it is a fearefull thing if you consider it; and therefore wee will a little open it, and shew you wherein this curse consists:

Which I urge the more, because it is an usuall thing among men, when they come to consider their sinnes in particular, wherewith they have provoked God to anger, they looke upon this or that grosse sinne, but this defect and omission of love they scarce put into the number of their sinnes. But that you may know now what it is not to love him, you may consider by the great­nesse of the punishment, and that you see here is a curse:The curse of God in foure things. Now that you may know what this curse is, know that it consists in these foure things.

First it consists in this,Separate from grace. hee shall be separated from grace and goodnesse, from holinesse; and this is the curse upon his soule in this respect, in regard of exclusion from grace, which is to the soule as an obstruction in the liver is to the body, as a theefe in the candle is to the candle, which [Page 178] causeth it to waste and consume, and weare away; so it is in this curse, when God shall lay it upon the soule of any man, he shall not thrive in grace, his inward man shall not prosper at all, he shall be still in the wearing hand, & the Lord shall take away from him that which hee seemes to have; when the Lord shall say to thee as to the figtree, Never fruit grow more on thee, that is a fearefull curse, when the Lord shall curse, and say to a man, though thou hast some leaves upon thee, there are some things that seeme to be good in thee, yet because thou hast not love, never fruite shall grow upon thee more. What a curse is it thinke you that shall make the soule of a man to wither, as the figtree withered after the speech of Christ, that is, when every thing shall drive a man off from that which is good, and carry him on to destruction; whatsoever befalleth him in poverty, in prosperity, riches, and friends or e­nemies, every thing shall breed his hurt: hee shall have riches when he is most ready to abuse them, he shall have adversity then when it is worst for him to be in adversity, that shall be to him as the lopping of trees out of season; hee shall be as an unthrifty sonne, set him to a trade in the Citty, there he goes downe the winde, put him to hus­bandry in the Country, that thrives not with him; such is the case of every one that loves not Christ. So my brethren, when Christ is preached to you, when you will not receive the doctrine, but refuse it, you see the doome here, saith the Apostle, let him be accursed; this cau­seth [Page 179] men to goe away from the Lord, Because they receive not the love of the truth, therefore he gives them up to beleeve lies, because that men receive not Christ in the love of the Gospell, hee gives them up to a reprobate sense, from one degree to another, till there be no remedy. We see by ex­perience, are there not many that are given up to the sinne of drinking and idlenesse, and compa­ny-keeping, and others, to other sinnes; you see many plod on in an olde tracke of sinne, some lying a long time in a dead sottish course, so as the most powerfull ministery in the world will not stirre them, which is an evidence that the Lord hath cursed such, therefore the ministry can doe them no good. And this is the first curse upon men that love not the Lord Iesus.

But perhaps thou regardest not this curse be­cause thou regardest not grace and holinesse from which it sequestreth thee,Separation from the pre­sence of God. but yet there is ano­ther branch of it, thou shalt be separated from the presence of the Lord, that is, from the joy, from the influence, from the protection of God; and this is a very fearfull curse. You know what it was to Cain in the fourth of Genesis, Gen. 4. when the Lord had cursed him, saith he, I am hid from thy face: that was the great curse that was laid upon him, of which he was most sensible that he was separated from the presence of the Lord. And my brethren, this is no small thing, because God is the God of all comfort, and to be separated from his presence is the worst thing that can befall us in this life: It was Sauls case, when the Lord had [Page 180] once cast him off, he was separate from the pre­sence of God, so that when he came to aske coun­sell, the Lord would answer him no more, hee would have no more to doe with him: you know how fearefull and how bitter this was to Saul. On the other side, see how much Moses magni­fies this presence of God; Lord, saith he, if thou goe not with us, carry us not hence: as if the pre­sence of God were the greatest comfort in the world, as indeede it is. This is another thing wherein ye shall be cursed.

A curse on the outward estateAgaine, there is yet another branch of it, yee shall not onely be separated from grace, and from the presence of the Lord, but there shall be a curse upon your outward estate. It is said of Cain in the same chapter, Thou shalt be cursed from the earth: it may be many that heare of being cur­sed from grace, and of separation from the pre­sence of the Lord, are of that minde that they care not for it, that they regard it not; it may be you care not to be cursed from heaven: but to be cursed from the earth is that which goes neere to you, and that is a thing which the most earthly-minded man in the world is sensible of. Now you must know that whosoever loves not the Lord Iesus shall be cursed from the earth, that is, there shall be a curse upon you in all earthly things, in all things that belong to this present life whatsoever they are.

Object.But you will say, wee see it quite otherwise, we see such men as they, described to be men that abound in outward wealth, in outward blessings.

[Page 181]It may be so in outward shew,Answ. but yet there is a curse upon them notwithstanding.A man may be cursed in out­ward things in the midst of plentie. Abimelech had the kingdome, yet there was a curse that ne­ver ceased till hee was rooted out of the king­dome: The Israelites had the quailes, but yet there was a curse with them: Ahab had the vine­yard, but it was a curse to him. So all these things that are of themselves blessings and mercies in their owne nature, yet if the Lord will mingle them with a curse, yee shall finde no ease from them at all: and this is a thing that is well knowne by experience, if the hearts of men will speake what they know. This is the case of those that love not the Lord, The earth shall not give her in­crease, you shall not have that sound comfort, that sweetnesse, that influence of comfort from earth­ly blessings, though you have the creatures a­bout you which naturally have blessings in them, yet they shall not give downe that milke for your comfort, you shall not be satisfied with them, you shall see a constant emptinesse in them, they shall be to you as the shell without the kernell; and so much more shall ye be miserable, because ye shall finde the least comfort in them when you most expect it: the Lord meetes thus with those that love him not in earthly blessings.

But last of all,The eternall curse at the day of iudgement. there is one branch of this curse which exceedes all the rest, that is the eternall curse that shall be upon men for ever: while yee live here in this life there is a certaine shew, a certaine twilight of comfort that the Lord some­times affords even to evill men; but then there [Page 182] shall be a perfect midnight, then the Sunne of comfort shall set upon you altogether and rise no more: in that day, saith the Apostle, it shall be the day of the manifestation of the just wrath of God: in that day when the Lord shall open the trea­sures of his wrath, those which have beene so long time a gathering. While wee live here the clouds of Gods indignation are but gathering, then they shall grow thicke and blacke, and fasten upon you to the uttermost, then all the great deepes shall be broken up, then the flood-gates of Gods judgements shall prevaile and overflow you; that case shall be yours at that time, and this is a time which is to be considered by you now: in Eccles. 1.7.Eccles. 1.7. Remember the dayes of dark­nesse, for they are many. My brethren, eternity is an other thing than wee consider it to be while wee live in this world. In Psal. 78.38. The Lord called backe his wrath, Psal. 78.38. and stirred not up all his indignation, but at that time the Lord shall stirre up all his wrath; yee doe here but sippe of this cup, but then yee shall drinke up the dreggs of it for ever. This shall be the case of those that love not the Lord.

But you will say, this is afarre off, and there­fore the lesse terrible, it is not neere at hand.

Men may be cursed though the curse be not executed.Well, though this curse in which wee have shewed these foure branches, be not presently executed, yet remember this, that when we preach the Gospell to you, as we doe from day to day, and are still offering you Christ, beseeching you to come in, and take him and love him, but yet [Page 183] you will not, know that there is a thunderbolt alwayes following this lightening: when Iohn Baptist came and preached the Gospell, hee tells them presently of the curse that ws to follow: You doe not know the time when the Lord will execute this curse; Cain was cursed many yeares before he died: and so Saul, when the Lord had rejected him, and had made a separation between God and him, (for a curse is but a separation, when a man is cast aside and set apart for such a purpose, so Saul was set apart for evill) yet hee reigned many yeares after, notwithstanding hee was under the curse. So those that the Lord sware in his wrath they should not enter into his rest, there was a curse upon them, yet they lived many yeares in the wildernesse: Therefore though the execution be not presently, and though thou be in prosperity for the present, yet it is but Cains prosperity, though he had his life continued, yet the curse lay upon him notwithstanding; there­fore I say take heede of refusing and deferring, lest he sweare in his wrath that ye shall not enter into his rest; it is a dangerous thing to refuse the Lord Iesus when hee is offered the first, second, third and fourth time, and still you will not come in, take heede and remember that speech of the Apostle that we named to you, Whosoever loveth not the Lord Iesus let him be accursed. When the Apostle looked upon the men to whom hee had preached and written, you Corinthians to whom the Gospell hath beene plentifully preached and [Page 184] made knowne, those among you that have heard me, and have beene made acquainted with this doctrine of the freenesse of Gods offering grace to you, if you will not take Christ in good ear­nest, if you will not love him, let such a man be accursed: and brethren S. Paul was stirred up by the Spirit of God to pronounce this curse. So I say, let these words continue in your mindes, that whosoever loves not the Lord Iesus let him be Anathema Maranatha; and he that hath eares to heare let him heare what the Spirit saith: for happy and blessed are those that love the Lord Iesus, but miserable and cursed are those that doe not love him.

FINIS.

THE EIGHTH SERMON.

GALAT. 5.6.

For in Iesus Christ, neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but Faith which worketh by Love.

HAVING spoken of faith and love, it remaines that we adde to them good workes, for which wee will goe no further than this Text, wee cannot have a fitter; for, saith the Apostle, when you come to have to doe with Christ Iesus, to be ingrafted into him, to make your selves first acceptable to God through him, all the workes you can doe are nothing, they are no [Page 186] more than the omission of them, circumcision is the same with uncircumcision: But what is of moment then? Faith (saith hee:) But what faith must that be? Such a faith as begets love: And what love must that be? Such a love as sets you on worke: so that you have a chaine here con­sisting of these three linkes; faith which when it is right will beget love, and love when it is right will set you on worke; faith which workes by love. So the point we will deliver to you out of these words shall be this: Doct.That we are to be judged not onely by our faith and love,Wee are to be iudged not on­ly by our faith and love, but by our workes. but also by our workes, that no man hath faith and love, that none are new creatures, that none have sincerity, but workes will fol­low.’

this is a point which I doe not meane to han­dle at large as we have done the other, but will endeavour to finish it at this time, and it is a very necessary point, because men are ready to applaud themselves in their knowledge in their good meaning, in their honest desires, and in the meane time they faile in their lives and actions: there­fore as those are the radicall ver [...]ues which in­deede make up the new creature, Faith and Love, so you must know that good workes are never disjoyned from them, wheresoever there is sin­ceritie, and a new creature, good workes will follow.

The Scripture you know is evident in this, A good tree bringeth forth good fruite, Matth. 7.Mat. 7. that is, it cannot be that a m [...]n shall have a new heart, [Page 187] it cannot be that a man should be regenerate, but that his workes will be also new; looke how farre the heart of any man is holy, looke how farre his heart is put into a new frame of grace, in that measure his workes will be good, and his life sanctified. In Acts 14.22.Acts 14.22. speaking of David, I have found a man after m [...]ne owne heart, who will doe whatsoever I will: and in Mat. 23.26.Mat. 23.26. Make the inside cleane that the outside may be cleane also: As if he should say, if the inside be right, if the heart be set right within, if that be well moulded, the outside will bee cleane, they cannot bee disjoy­ned.

If a man have a treasure within, there will be silver in his speeches and actions; but if his heart be nothing worth, his words and actions will be but meere drosse:Prov. 10.20. It is the scope of that, Prov. 10.20. The words of the righteous are as fined sil­ver, but the heart of the wicked is nothing worth: That is, when his heart is nothing worth, his speeches and actions are nothing worth too; but the good man that hath his treasure in his heart, there is silver and golde in his speeches and actions, that is, they are likewise precious. Therefore let no man say he hath faith and love, and as good a heart as the best, though his actions be not so good, though he be not so strict in his carriage; for it cannot be my brethren.

For first of all,Reas. 1 Because every Christian hath the spirit, and that is strong. 2 Tim. 1.6. if a mans heart be good, hee hath the spirit of God dwelling there: now, saith the Apostle, 2 Tim▪ 1.6. The spirit is not a spirit of feare, or a spirit of weaknesse, a spirit that onely [Page 188] makes attempts, and is not able to bring things to passe; but it is a spirit of power, a spirit of a sound minde: That is, doe not thou pretend thou mea­nest well and desirest well, and thinke it is suffici­ent, but stirre up the gift that is in thee, set thy selfe on worke, doe the actions that belong to thee in thy place, and doe not say I am not able to doe it; for wee have not received a spirit that is weake, but a spirit of power: the same I may say to every Christian, If ye be in Christ, yee have the spirit, which is a spirit of power. So you have it likewise, Gal. 5.25.Gal. 5.25. If you live in the spirit, walke in the spirit: that is, if you have so much of the spirit as to make you living men, shew it by wal­king in the spirit, by following the spirit, by do­ing that which the spirit guides you to; there­fore it is impossible that a man should have a right minde, but that his workes also will be good, be­cause grace is strong: in 2 Tim. 2.1.2 Tim 2.1. And thou my sonne be strong in the grace received, &c. As if hee should say, grace is a strong thing, it strengthens every man that hath received it; if thou professe thou hast received the grace of Christ to regene­rate thee, to change thee, and to make thee a new creature, let that appeare by shewing thy selfe strong in thy actions, able and ready to doe e­very thing that belongs to thee in thy place. In­deede flesh is weake, so much flesh, so much weaknesse, for that is weake and fading, and wi­thering, and mutable; it is grasse, and all the pur­poses of it and the desires of it are no better: but the spirit is strong, and grace is strong, quite con­trary [Page 189] to the flesh; as the Prophet speakes, Isa. 31.3.Isay 31.3. Yee are men and not Gods, flesh and not spirit: when he would shew their weaknesse, as if weak­nesse were a concomitant of the flesh, and strength a concomitant of the spirit: Therefore if you have the spirit of Christ in you, there will be strength to goe through good workes, not onely to intend them, and purpose them, and resolve on them, but you will put those resolutions and purposes in execution.

Secondly,Reas. 2. Inward recti­tude and good workes alway goe together. it must needes be so, because there is a chaine betweene good workes and the inward rectitude of the heart, a chaine that cannot be dis­joyned; for ye shall finde that these three things alwayes goe together.

First, as that indeede is the beginning of every mans renewing, there must be a knowledge, a man must be enlightened, hee must be renewed in the spirit of his minde, as the Apostle saith. Now if the knowledge bee right, if it bee a convicting knowledge, a sanctifying knowledge, a know­ledge to purpose, it will draw on affections, it cannot chuse, they are never separated: you are never truly enlightened by Gods spirit, but affe­ctions follow necessarily, and then if the affe­ctions be right, if knowledge draw on holy affe­ctions, love, and feare, and desires, &c. affecti­ons are the immediate principles of actions, there is no man that hath right affections, but good workes will follow: so that these three are never disjoyned, sanctified knowledge draweth on holy affections, and holy affections draw on [Page 190] good actions:Mat 13.5. as yee have it in Matth. 13.5. Their hearts are waxed fat, and their eares are dull of hearing, and why? you shall see the chaine there, lest seeing with their eyes they should understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I should heale them: Marke it, if they should see with their eyes, the Lord hath given them up to judge a­misse of things, that seeing they doe not see, that is, they see not to purpose, they are not convin­ced, they doe not judge; for if they did see with their eyes, that is, if they did see indeede, they would have understood with their hearts, their affections would follow in their hearts, and if they were set aright, then they would be conver­ted, that is, their lives would be turned to God; and if these three were done he must needes heale them: but saith God, I am resolved not to heale them: therefore they shall see as if they did not see, for these will draw on one the other. So I say, if the heart were right, if there were faith and love, good workes would follow: therefore let no man say hee hath grace, hee hath love and faith, except his life also be holy and good.

Reas. 3. Because there is a new nature.Lastly, wheresoever there is faith and love, there is a change of nature; for you know that wheresoever they come, faith that is effectuall, and love that followeth from faith it makes a man a new creature, they are the very things wherein a new ereature consists: Now when a mans na­ture is changed, it must needes be active, for that which is naturall to a man, he doth without un­evennesse, there is no inequality in his doing it, he [Page 191] doth it constantly, where there are naturall prin­ciples of actions, the actions flow like water from a spring: indeede where the nature of a man is not changed, that is, where there is onely good purposes and good desires, and no alteration of nature, there actions doe not come as water from a spring, but as water from a pompe that is for­ced and extorted; but where there is a change of nature, there is no difficultie, a man doth it with facility and with desire, it is his meate and drinke to doe the will of God. Therefore I say good workes will follow, there will be the same degree of ho­linesse, of rectitude in your lives, in your actions, as there is of grace, as there is of faith and love in your hearts. And this is enough to make the point plaine to you, the maine businesse will be to make use of it, and to apply it to your selves.

And first let us make this use of it,Vse 1. Not to be con­tent onely with good meanings not to con­tent our selves with good meanings onely, as it is the fashion of men to say, my heart is as good as yours, and my meaning is as good as yours, though I be subject to infirmities, though I can­not make such a shew, though I cannot doe so much as others doe; this is the common obje­ction, and though men say it not constantly, yet they thinke it, otherwise they would not con­tent themselves in such a condition as they doe. But I say, deceive not your selves in this, for, my brethren, you must know that you may have good purposes and good meanings, we will not deny you that you may have these, and yet have no true grace; for you must know th [...]t good purpo­ses [Page 192] and desires may arise from these two things,Good purposes whenee they arise. which every unregenerate man is capable of.

Knowledge.There may be knowledge, as you know an e­vill man may have knowledge of all the myste­ries of salvation as well as the most holy; I doe not say he hath the sanctified knowledge, but the law of God is partly written in his heart, the Lord hath taught every man somewhat.

Approbation of that which is good.Secondly, in an evill and unregenerate man there may be not onely knowledge, but an appro­bation of that which is good, they can approove that which is good, so farre they may goe; I doe not say they can delight in it, for that is another thing, they doe not love and delight in it, that is not sutable to them, yet they may approove it. Now from these two principles, to know that which is good, and to approove it, they may goe so farre as to purpose and desire to serve God, they may have good meanings, but yet if actions follow not, if there be not reformation in their lives, if a man deny not himselfe in his beloved sinne, if hee come not to that outward profession of holinesse that is required in Scripture, and is seene in the lives of the Saints, he hath nothing to comfort himselfe withall; these good meanings will not serve the turne.

For know this, though it be true as wee see there may be actions where there is no sound heart, as the second and third ground brought forth a kinde of fruite when there was neither of them right; hypocrites you know may goe farre, they may make a blaze as your commets doe [Page 193] more than the true starres:Though there may bee good workes where the heart is un­sound, yet wherever the heart is sound there is good workes. though this be true, that there may be abundance of good workes where there is no rightnesse and soundnesse, no sincerity, no purenesse within; yet againe also on the other side, wheresoever there is sincerity there are good workes, and though many times the outside be cleane when the inside is not, yet the inside is never cleane but the outside is cleane too: And that is the thing we must examine our selves by; though it be not a good rule to say I have good workes, therefore my heart is right, yet it is a good rule to say on the other side, I want good works, therefore my heart is not right; except there be a generall reformation in your lives, except things be reformed that you know to be amisse. Indeede when it is not revealed to you, then there is something for you to say, but when you know that such a duty is to be done, that your speeches should be holy, that they should be seasoned with salt, that you ought to abstaine from sinnes of all kindes, from all appea­rance, that you ought not to admit any kinde of dalliance, not the least touch of any sinne; now not to set your selves with all your might to re­forme this, this is a sure argument you are not right; for if the generall frame of the heart be good, there will be a generall reformation of the life. Therefore let no man say I purpose well, but in this particular infirmity I must be spared, to such a thing my nature is prone, and I am given to it, I cannot tell how to refraine it, and I hope it is not so great a matter; say not so, for if the [Page 194] heart be right, the actions will be right and un­blameable.

Simile.For though you see sometimes a man may have a good colour from flushing and painting, when the constitution of the body within is but crasie and unsound; yet againe it is true there is never any that hath a sound and haile constitution, there is never a healthfull body but the complection is good; the heart is never right, but you shall see it without, though you have leaves without fruit, yet you never have fruite but there are leaves, there are actions appearing. Therefore learne to judge aright of your selves, content not your selves with good purposes, onely you see the complaint of the Scripture of the lacke of this in people. What is the reason the Lord calls for obedience rather than sacrifice? because that is the touchstone that every man is tryed by; I am weary, saith he, of your fat of rammes, I am burdened with your sacrifices, Esay 1.Isay 1. The thing that I de­sire is that you cease to doe evill, and learne to doe well, that is the thing that the Lord lookes for at every mans hand, these outward performances are good, they must be done, and these good meanings must be had, but yet that is not enough, you are not to judge your selves by that.

Object.But it will be objected, that the best men have their failings, those that have a good heart, yet doe wee not finde them subject to infirmities as well as other men? and if this be the rule we are to be judged by, who shall be saved?

Answ,To this I answer first, it is true that the most [Page 195] holy men may many times doe that which is ill,Holy men have failings, but it is by accident, it is when they are trans­ported, when they are carried besides their pur­pose:When they are suddenly trans­ported. As a man that is bound for such a place, sayling such a way, his compasse stands stil right, he alters not that,Simile. though the wind carry him vio­lently another way, yet he lookes still to the right way, that is his intent still; and it is knowne by this, when the winde is over, and the gust is past, he returnes againe and saileth to the haven he in­tended to goe to at the first: So it is with all the Saints, they saile by a right compasse, their intents are still good, whensoever they doe otherwise it is by accident, it is when they are overborne by some temptation, by some passion, when they are not perfectly themselves.

Againe,Holy men have flesh in them as well as spirit you must know this, that every holy man as hee hath grace in him, and a principle of holy actions, so he hath also flesh in him, and a principle of evill actions; now that principle may sometimes prevaile and get ground of him, yea it may prevaile mightily sometimes, and make him doe as evill actions as the worst man: For that is a true rule, a man that excelleth in grace may sometimes excell in ill doing; you must take me aright, that is, a man that hath a more impetu­ous spirit than another, so that none excelleth such a spirit when it is set aright, he may be as impetu­ous in evill-doing for a fit, for a time, when that evill principle within him shall get the better. Therefore though you see a good man sometime unlike himselfe for a fit, yet it is at that time when [Page 196] the flesh prevailes; for now grace though it be there, yet sometimes it is laid asleepe, it is not alwayes acted: As the Philosopher was wont to say, It is one thing to have knowledge, and ano­ther thing to use it alway; so it is with grace, sometimes the Saints doe not use that grace and holinesse, and hence it is that they are subject to great failings; but I say it is by fits and by acci­dent, the constant course of their life is right, because the constant frame of their heart is right.

Object.But againe there is another objection on the o­ther side, that evill men sometimes doe well as well as good men doe sometimes ill.

Answ.To this I answer, that it is true they doe so, but yet we must know that it is not they that doe it,The good that evill men doe it cannot bee said that they doe it. but the good that dwelleth in them, as the Apo­stle speakes in Rom. 7. which may be implyed on the contrary; when any regenerate man fin­neth, it is not he that doth it,Rom. 7. but the sinne that is there; that is, it is not the master of the house, but a rebell that is crept in by accident: so I say of euery evill man that doth that which is good and right, it is not he that doth it, but some good that is there. For it is one thing for a man to have good things in him,A man may do good, and not be good. and another thing to be a good man, hee may doe some things sometimes for a fit that are good, Gods Spirit may be there to helpe him to doe much; I say not that the Spirit dwells there, but he may take up his lod­ging for a time, and from him he may have com­mon assistance, common gifts that may enable him to doe much: Therefore I denie not but those [Page 197] may have many good flashings of lightning that may enable them to doe much; onely this wee say, The Day-spring from on high never visited them, that is, the morning never riseth upon them, to guide their feete in the way of peace, for that is proper to the Saints; they never have any constant light that leadeth them so farre as to bring them in: they have some lightenings in­deede that guide them in this or that particular, to helpe them in a step or two, to enable them to doe many good actions by fits, but not to bring them to perfection.

Secondly,Vse 2. Christians bet­ter taught than great learned men without grace. if this be so that we are to be judged by our actions, then this will follow from it, that poore Christians are better taught than the grea­test Clerkes, they are better taught I say, because they doe more, therefore indeede they know more; for all the knowledge wee have, all the sinceritie, whatsoever is right within us, if it be to be judged by the actions, then he that doth most hee knowes most; for no man knoweth more than hee practiseth, because what know­ledge soever a man hath that hee practiseth not, marke it, it is a dead knowledge, it is an ineffica­cious knowledge. When things are dead and in­efficacious, wee say they are not; as leaven that doth not leaven the dough, it hath but the name of leaven and no more, the thing it selfe is wan­ting; it is not knowledge if it bring not forth pra­ctise. As we say of of drugges, they are not true when they doe not worke, but they are false and counterfeit. Every man is to be judged by what [Page 198] he doth: Therefore I say those that doe most, those are knowing men, Those that seeme to know, as the Apostle saith, know nothing as they ought: a man may know much, a man may have a large extent of knowledge, yet this is true of him, if his life be barren, if he bring forth nothing into action all the while, hee knoweth nothing as hee ought to know, though he know much: On the other side, the other sort though their extent be never so small, yet what they know they know as they ought. Therefore when you looke upon men in the world, when you would make a judge­ment of them, I say those that know most they are not the best, you must not put them in the highest degree, when you come to matters of re­ligion, but men are to be judged by their actions; when men have knowledge onely to know, as they have money to account with, and not to buy and sell with it, it is but dead, a man hath no good by it, that money makes him not the richer; so men that have knowledge onely to know with, not to make them more usefull in their lives, more serviceable to God, and profitable to man, it is unprofitable knowledge: therefore those are the wisest men, let them seeme never such fooles, though they are not able to speake so much as others, yet they know most that practise most. For there is that difference betweene art and wis­dome; indeed it is true in matter of art, hee that omitteth wilfully may be the best artist, because there is no more required of him but skill, and it is but some errour in him, it is the commendation [Page 199] of his art that hee erreth willingly: But now in matter of holinesse and sanctity, there hee that knoweth and doth not is the greatest foole: For wisedome consists most in that.Wisedome in three things. Wisedome com­prehends indeed these three:

  • First, to invent, to see, to know and under­stand things.
  • Secondly, to judge aright of things you know.
  • Thirdly, to put in practise that which you have concluded to be the best, and this latter is the greatest part of prudence: Therefore those men that know, that can dispute well, that have cleare understanding, and yet doe nothing, they are the unwisest; againe, those that can speake little, and perhaps have not such a treasure of knowledge as others, and yet can doe more, they know more than the wisest. Therefore let us not misesteeme those that are good Christians, and holy men, and set too high a price upon others; for there is an errour under that, and it hath an ill consequent to judge of religion by the opinion of those that are onely knowing men in religion: No, beloved, religion is the art of holy men,
    Religion an art of holymen not of learned men.
    and not of learned men, and it was the custome of former times to judge of heresies not so much by disputes, as by the lives of those that have beene the professours of them: and that Christ directs us to, You shall know them by their fruites: and what are those fruites? their fruites are their actions.

We learne at schooles what to say in such a controversie, how to dispute rather than how to live: and that is the complaint wee may take up [Page 200] in these knowing times, where knowledge (I con­fesse) abounds as water in the sea, but practise is thinne and rare, like grasse upon the house top, of which the mower cannot fill his hand: and that is the bur­den of us that are Ministers, that we teach much, and see little fruite, wee see no amendement of mens lives, men doe the same things that they were wont to doe, the duties they were wont to be defective in, they are defective in still. Alas my brethren, the end of our preaching is not that you should know, but that you should doe and practise: as it is not the desire of the shepheard that his sheepe should returne their meate in hay againe, but hee would have it in their milke and fleece; so it is not our desire that you should on­ly know, though indeede many come short of that, but that you should shew it in your fleece and milke, shew it in your lives, that all the world may see it there. It is not enough for him that desires to write, to see the coppy, and to know it, and the fashion of the letters, but then hee hath learned it when he can write after it: so you must know sciences are of two sorts,Sciences of two sorts. indeede some there are the end of which is onely contemplation and knowledge, but some there are the end wher­of is action, and they are no further good than we practise them. What is musicke, but the pra­ctise of it? what is physicke? the knowledge of all will not heale a man, but the taking of it: so it is with Divinity, the knowledge that we teach is nothing worth, if you know as much as could be knowne, it were all nothing worth without [Page 201] practise, practise is all in all; so much as ye pra­ctise, so much you know. It is a great matter to have your judgement true in this case, for when men shall applaud themselves meerely in this, that they know and have right purposes and ho­nest desires, and shall esteeme their estates by this, it causeth men to content themselves with a loose and a negligent life; but wee must know that God judgeth us by our actions, and that is our best rule to judge by too, therefore we should learne thus to judge our selves.

If you object,Object. but it is a rule that wee have heard often, that the will is often taken for the deed, and if the will be present with us, though the action doe not follow, yet wee are accepted according the will.

To this I answer in briefe,Answ. first, it holdeth on­ly then where there is some impediment which you cannot remove:The will taken for the deed: as for example, a man hath a desire to doe good to such poore people,When the im­pediment can­not be remo­ved. hee hath a compassionate heart, hee is willing to be bountifull, but he wants meanes to doe it, in this case the Lord accepts the will for the deed; for upon that occasion is this delivered in this place by S. Paul: so it is in every thing else, when you have a desire, and there commeth some impedi­ment that it is not in your power to remove, then the will is accepted for the deed. As when a man hath a desire to move his hands, his legges or armes, but because of a palsie that hangs upon him, he is not able to stirre them, here the will is for the deed, he is not able to doe it, though the [Page 202] minde be right and the desire good; so when you come to such duties that are not in your power to doe, when there are some impediments that you are not able to remove, here the will is accepted for the deed.

When a man is ignorant of somethings, and yet his de­sires are right.Sometimes a man is ignorant of some particu­lars, and hee hath a desire to obey God in all things, here the will is accepted for the deede, though he be not come to that degree of perfecti­on as others are: but as men apply it commonly it is amisse, for when a man thinkes I have a good purpose to doe this, but I cannot pray, I cannot be so strict in looking to my actions and spee­ches, here the complaint is not right: for if yee stirre up your selves, and doe the utmost you can doe, the deede will follow the will, there is no such impediment here but that you may remove. Therefore our answer is, that the reason why you cannot doe, is not because of such impediments that you cannot remove, but because your will is not yet right, which the Schoolemen call an im­perfect will; it is but such a will as the Wiseman speakes of concerning the sluggard, hee willeth and lusteth, and hath not: and what's the reason? If it were a full, a compleate and perfect will, it would draw action with it, hee would not be a sluggard any longer, but hee would draw forth his hands to doe somewhat to bring his desires to passe, but indeede he hath but light wishings and no more. And so it is with men in christianity, they are as Salomons sluggard, they wish they had such sinnes mortified, that they had such graces, [Page 203] they wish they could attaine such a measure of faith & love, but they take no paines:No man hath a great measure of grace with­out paines. no man hath height of grace without paines; doe you thinke to get the greatest excellency in the world without paines? It is true, the Lord must doe it, but yet he doth it by your selves, you are agents in the businesse: Therefore doe not say I wish well and desire well, for if you would doe your uttermost that you ought to doe, if your will were full and compleate, and desires right and strong, you would doe more, you would excell more in grace, you would amend your lives more, you would have your lusts more mortified: therefore let not this deceive you. I should presse this further, but wee will come to the last thing, because I would conclude this point with this time, and that is,

To exhort you to be doers,Vse 3. An exhortation to doing. that your faith may be effectuall faith, and that your love may be diligent love: This is the great businesse which we have to doe, and the thing which for the most part wee all faile in, that there is no doing, no acting, no working of our faith; be exhorted now therefore to adde to your faith diligent love, especially you that professe your selves to be growne Christians, looke you to it, and know that as in nature every thing when it is ripe brings seede and fruite, if not it is but a dead thing, a dead plant that keepeth the roome idle; if there be that ripenesse and maturity in you,Motives to be workers. shew it by bringing forth seede and fruite, shew it by doing something. For, my brethren, we are called into the Lords vineyard for the same purpose; it is not [Page 204] for you now to stand idle, the time of your stan­ding still is past, it is for you now to worke, for ye are now come into the day. That exhortation is excellent,1 Thess. 5.6, 7, 8. 1 Thess. 5.6, 7, 8. Let not us sleepe (saith he) as doe others, we are come out of the night: those that are still in the night, it better beseemes them to sleepe, and to sit still and doe nothing, but let not us sleepe as doe others, for we are of the day; let it not be so with you as with others, to be much in speech onely, but labour to be much in acti­ons. As it was said of Gideon, Vp and be doing, and the Lord shall be with thee, so I say to every one, up and be doing, and the Lord shall be with you; that is, though perhaps you doe not finde that vigour, that fervencie and liveliness of spirit, yet be doing notwithstanding, it is your wisest way, for that doing will increase the grace within you: exercise increaseth health, as well as health ena­bles to exercise,The use of grace increa­seth it. so the use of grace will increase grace and other abilities; motion causeth heate, as well as all motion commeth from heate, so every good action proceedeth from grace, and good actions intend grace: and therefore be still acting, and judge of your selves by that, for what is grace, what is that you call Christianity else, but to doe that which another man cannot doe? Therefore if there be such a difference betweene you and others as you professe there is, shew it by doing that which another man cannot doe, by exposing your selves to that danger, to those losses for any good cause, which another would not doe; by spending more time in prayer, by [Page 205] taking more paines with your hearts from day to day than others doe, by keeping the sabbath bet­ter than others doe, by being more exact in loo­king to your wayes, that you may be holy in all manner of conversation, that other men will not doe: I say shew your grace, shew your regene­ration, by being new creatures, by doing more than others, this is that which wil make the world beleeve that you are Christians in good earnest, and not in shew onely, that your profession is in deed and in truth: and truely there is no other way, this doing is that which makes a man ex­cellent. You heare men complaine of the bar­rennesse of their grounds many times, wee may likewise justly take up the complaint against the barrennesse of the lives of men.

How goodly a sight is it when a man looks in­to the husbandry, to see the vine full of clusters, to see the furrowes full of corne, to see the trees laden with fruite; when we looke upon men,A goodly sight when mens lives abound with good workes. it is the goodliest sight we can behold in Gods hus­bandry, to see men full of actions and good workes; I beseech you consider of it seriously, and now set upon the doing of it while there is sand in the houre-glasse, your life will not last long, the day doth not continue alwayes, the night will come when no man can worke. When a candle is put out, you may kindle it againe, when the Sunne is set, it riseth againe; but when our life is past, when the glasse is runne, it ariseth no more, it is turned no more, It is appointed to all men once to die: if ye might die twice or thrice, it [Page 206] were another case; but now it is your wisedome therefore while it is time, while this short day, lasts, to doe that you have to doe concerning your salvation with all your might, because the time is short.

A true property of wisedome.There is nothing that is a truer property of wisedome than for a man to take holde of oppor­tunities, not to lose the day, nay not an houre in the day;Simile. for time is most precious, it is like golde of which every shred is worth somewhat: it is your wisedome therefore to be oft sowing seede to the spirit, there is none of those good workes, not the least of them but will doe you good in the latter end; for alas what are your lives but your actions? so much as you doe, so much you live, your lives are short of themselves, why doe you make them shorter by doing nothing? for as wee have said heretofore, one man may live more in a day than another in twenty, because hee doth more, you live more as you act more.

Pleasure and contentment is in action.Besides, what is it a man serves for in all his labour under the Sunne? what is it that hee de­sires but pleasure, comfort and contentment? Now, my brethren, this consists in doing, in working, for all pleasure followeth upon opera­tion, and further than there is working there is no delight. Therefore it was a wise saying in that Philosopher, that the happinesse and comfort that a man hath in this life consists not in abun­dance of wealth, in swimming in delights, but it consists in doing the actions of a living man, which is the greatest comfort you can finde here [Page 207] in this life: Doe the exercises and actions of ho­linesse, and the more yee doe, the more comfort yee shall have; for even as light followeth the flame, so pleasure and contentment followeth action.

And besides (my brethren) what doe you live for,The end of our life. is it not to glorifie God?To glorifie God. You professe so much, and how is it done? Not by your desires or good meanings, but by your actions, those are the things that men see and feele, and glorifie your heavenly Father: for when your actions shine before men, Herein is my Father glorified, saith Christ, that ye bring forth much fruite: the doing of much is that which brings glory to God, the more you doe this, the more glory you bring to him.

Againe,To doe good to men. another end of your life is to doe good to mankinde; shall they be able to fare the better for your purposes, for your good resolutions? no, they fare the better onely for that you doe for them and to them, it is your actions that be­nefit men.

Lastly for your selves, what is it that helpeth you and doth you good? onely your good deeds and your actions, it is that which furthers your reckoning and account: That place is much to this purpose, Phil. 4.17.Phil. 4.17. I care not for a gift, but I de­sire fruite, because it will further your account: marke the phrase, the meaning is this, every good worke that a holy man doth from the time of his rege­neration, (for till then no actions are spiritually good) it is put upon his score, it stands upon his [Page 208] reckoning, there is not a penny nor a halfe penny lost, that is, the least good worke is not done to no purpose, but the Lord will repay him againe euery pennie and farthing: this (saith hee) will further your account. And when will the Lord pay? Not onely in the day of judgement, then indeede you shall be paid to the uttermost, but you shall be paid even in this life; marke that too, You shall have an hundredfold here, saith Christ, They that forsake father, or mother, or wife, or chil­dren, shall have an hundredfold in this life. There­fore brethren if there bee any wisedome in the world, this is the onely wisedome, to be still do­ing, to be much in actions; Why doe you trifle out your time therefore to no purpose? Why sit ye idle here? why doe you not rise up and bestirre your selves? why doe you not fill your lives with many actions? You have good purposes in you, why doe you not stirre them up? It is true indeede we are becalmed many times because the Spirit doth not blow upon us, but yet notwith­standing if we would pray for the Spirit, the Lord would quicken us.

Object.But you will say, alas what shall wee doe, it may be our callings give us no opportunity to doe that which other mens callings doe: if we might be Preachers, and have such and such businesse wherein wee might onely minde the things that belong to salvation, then it were easie.

Answ.My brethren, you must know that you shall finde continuall occasions of doing good actions every day,In every calling men have oc­casion of do­ng good. whatsoever your callings are. It is an [Page 209] errour among the Papists, to thinke that to give almes, to crucifie the flesh and to use that hardly, to fast, and the like, that these are the onely and the most glorious actions: they are exceeding wide;Good actions, what. good actions are nothing else but to doe the will of the Lord, and to bring forth fruite; the fruite of every tree in the orchard is but as the actions of every man; and then are the trees good to the husbandman, when they are full of fruite. Every action that you doe is that fruite which God lookes for, now that fruite is good workes, that is pleasing to the gardener, to the husband­man: Therefore to doe the Lords will is to doe a good worke. Now by this you may see what a large field you have for good workes, in what calling soever you are set, though it be never so meane a place you have.

To suffer imprisonment and disgraces for good causes,Good workes. In suffering. this is a good worke, for it is a great worke to suffer, and in that you doe the will of the Lord.In sicknesse. When a man is sicke, and lieth in his cham­ber upon his bedde, sicke of a consumption or a feaver, that he is not able to stirre; yet to doe this with obedience, to submit then to the will of the Lord, is a good worke: for to beare a burden is a worke, to beare sicknesse and calamity after this manner, is a worke, to thinke the Lord hath put me into this condition; he might have given mee strength to goe abroad as others doe, but he hath laid sicknesse upon mee, I say the right bearing this burden is a good worke.

Againe,In mastering our lusts. to take paines with our hearts, to ma­ster [Page 210] our unruly lusts and affections is a good worke. Doe not you reckon it a worke to breake horses, to master coltes? It is the trade of some men to doe so: and is it not a good worke for you to get victory over your lusts, to tame your unbridled natures, to curbe your unruly hearts and affections in all the variety of occasions that ye passe through? It is a worke to behave our selves as becomes Christians decently and come­ly, and holily, in poverty, in riches, in honour, and disgraces; to behave our selves under these things in a right manner, to carry our selves pati­ently and holily through them as becomes good Christians, this is a good worke, and this be­longs to every one, though his calling be never so meane.

When Paul stood at the barre, and Festus re­viled him, and said he was a mad fellow, the suffe­ring of this was a worke in Paul: Marke his man­ner of carriage in it, I am not mad most noble Festus: there was a work in that. So I may instance in the things wherein you may seeme to doe the least; the standing still in some cases is a worke the A­postle makes among the great workes that are to be done by Christians, this to be the chiefe, To keep our selues pure and unspotted of the world, to passe through all occasions, & to be never the worse for them, to go through all defilements of this present life, & not be tainted: and if this be a worke, how much more is it then to be still doing, to be in act and operation alwaies? Therfore doe not say you want when you shall alwayes have occasion e­nough of that.

[Page 211]But you will say,Quest. these generalls are good to exhort us to be doing, but yet in particular what would you have us to doe now?

I will instance in some few things,Answ. there are certaine times of working;Our workes must be sutable to the season. as husbandmen, some times they have times of harvest, and some times they have seed times, wherein it is requyred, that they worke more then at other times: so the Church of God hath times and seasons, and the common wealth hath some seasons and times when men should be set aworke to doe more then ordinary, to doe more then at other times; and you all know this is such a season, wherein there should be working of every one in their severall places, I say it is time now for men to bee work­ing more then ordinarie.

But you will say,Quest. what is it you would have us to doe?

My brethren,Answ. Contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints, Duties suting the present times. marke it, the worke must be to con­tend for it, you must be men of contention, let the world say what they will of you,Contend for the faith. it is a dutie that lies on you, it is that which the Spirit calls for from you, that ye be men that should contend; you must not doe it coldly, and remissely, but earnestly to strive for it, let not pretence of indis­cretion hinder you,Discretion. for discretiō when it is right, teacheth a man not to doe lesse but more, and bet­ter then an other man, discretion we say doth not take mettall from Horses, but guides those hor­ses and puts them in a righter way, disc [...]etion makes no man lesse actiue, but it giues his actions a better tincture.

[Page 212]So againe, let us not say we must be moderate, for what is that moderation? Indeed the mode­ration that keepeth from actions,Moderation. wherein is ex­cesse, is good; but if you meane by modera­tion to goe a slow and easie pace in the wayes of God, that is coldnes, idlenesse, carelesnesse, there is no excesse in any good way. Therefore that is your worke now to contend for the Faith, that is, for all the points of faith, for every jott of that is precious:The faith once delivered. saith the Apostle Iude, it is but once deli­vered to the Saints, as if he should say, it is too pre­cious a treasure oft to bee despenced, it was but once delivered to the world: if Christ did meane to come againe, and renewe the Articles of our faith, we might be more remisse and negligent, for if we did loose them he might restore them a­gaine, but they are but once delivered, therefore your care must be to keepe them the better.

Besides, it is the common faith, therefore eve­ry man hath interest in it;Common faith do not say therefore, what haue I to doe, it belongs to these and these men to looke after it: it is the common faith, and every man hath part in it, and should contend ac­cording to his place and power, and within his spheere; and remember it is a matter of much mo­ment, for every part of the fath or little matter of faith (I speake now of the whole doctrine of faith) that you should be exceeding exact in kee­ping of it, that it receive no detriment, especi­ally in matter of opinion.Errour in opi­nion worse then errours in practise. For my brethren, you must know, that it were better there should bee great offences committed in the land, great and [Page 213] notorious crimes, then that there should be any losse in the matter of faith, because where the o­pinions of men are sett wrong, that is a principle that carries them still on. Great finnes come from great passions, and men are able to see them, and when the passion is gone over,These sermons were preached in the Parlia­ment time in 1625. where diverse of the Parliament were present. Opportunities not to be slip­ped. they are easily re­called againe; but errours in opinion are matters of great moment, therefore it belongs to every one to looke to it, to us that are Preachers in our places, to Magistrates in their places, to every man to contend for the common Faith: and know this my brethren, that their are certaine opportu­nities which the Lord giues you, and you must take heed of neglecting them, it may be to let a thing goe some times, it will never be recovered againe. Therefore looke that you be diligent in it, stirr up your selves to doe it, while there is oc­casion offered. In other things, men are apt to be men of action, they would have imployment, and worke that they may bee some body in the world, and it is very well, there is something in that, it is a noblenesse of disposition so to doe; but alas, what poore and weake reward haue you for that? it may be a little vaineglory, it may be some applause from Princes or people, it may be some emptie airie preferment. To doe the will of the Lord, the worke he hath given you to doe, it is no matter what it is for, a servant must not chuse his worke; I say whatsoever it is, though in never so meane a thing, the greatest excellencie is to do his will that makes us Kings and Princes to him that makes us partakers of the Royall bloud, as [Page 214] Christ saith, These are my brothers, and Sister, and Mother, that doe the will of my Father. It is this do­ing of his will, this action that puts you into a high condition: I see not that Paule was ambiti­ous of any thing but of this, that he might be do­ing, that he might liue a usefull, a profitable life, in the 15. Rom. 20.Rom. 15.20. I was ambitious saith Paule, to Preach the Gospell, even where it had never been prea­ched, this is all my ambition to put my selfe upon the hardest taskes: so it should be your ambition to doe some thing for the Church. When you reade the storie of Moses, that He was mightie in word and deede; of David, of the Iudges, and the Worthies of the Church, they should be so ma­ny incentives to you, to stirre you up to be doing in your place.

Duty, Fast and pray.But this is not all that we would commend to you at this time, to be men of action, and to ob­serve the opportunities, but there is an other thing, and that is this, that likewise the season cō ­mends to you, that is, to fast and pray: as in hus­bandry, so in the Church, there are certaine sea­sons of actions, and those seasons must not be o­mitted. Marke what the course of the Scripture was in every calamitie, in Ioel when there was a famine begune, Sanctifie a fast, saith the Lord, call a solemne Assemblie: when their is a plague com­ming, when there are great enterprises in hand, when there is any thing plotting for the advance­ment of the good of the Church, doe you not think now, that the omission of opportunities are sinnes, for you to neglect this dutie, doe you not [Page 215] thinke the Lord will require it? It is true indeed, it is a businesse that is not ordinary, it is extraor­dinary: but doe not extraordinary times and oc­casions call for it?

Againe, is it not evill in such extraordinary ca­ses to omit such an extraordinary duty? As wee finde in Scripture, when the Lord would call for fasting, and they did it not: Indeed to turne it to jollity and feasting is another thing, a sinne of a greater nature; but now the very standing still and omitting of this duty is disobedience to the Lord, and to be guilty of the judgements that are upon a people, I say the standing still and not ha­stening to the gappe: What shall we say then of those that resist this course, and thrust men out of the gappe? Consider it therefore seriously, this is a speciall duty required, the season lookes for it that we should humble our selves before God.

Againe, there is one thing more that wee will speake of,Duty, Renew our Covenants but in a word; that is, that every man for his owne particular renew his speciall Cove­nant with God concerning the amendment of his life in particular: for I finde that in all times when the Lord hath stretched forth his hand against a Church and Nation, that this hath beene requi­red, that they should come and enter into a Co­venant with God: You shall finde that Asa did it,2 Chron. 16. 2 Chron. 16. that Nehemiah did it, that it was done in Ieremiahs time, when they had warres in hand: Wee have many examples of it in Scrip­ture, every man did it; and because every man could not come to doe it personally, the head did [Page 216] it for the rest. I say the Lord lookes for this from every