• I. A Remedy against Covetousnesse.
  • II. An elegant and lively Description of Spirituall Death and Life.
  • III. The Doctrine of Selfe-deniall.
  • IV. Vpon the Sacrament of the Lords Supper.

DELIVERED In sundry Sermons, by that late famous Prea­cher, and worthy instrument of Gods glory, IOHN PRESTON, Doctor of Divinitie, Chaplaine in Or­dinarie to his Majestie; Master of Emanuel Col­ledge, and sometime Preacher of Lincolnes Inne.

The third Edition.

Printed at London by T. C. for Michael Sparke, and are to be sold at the blue Bible in Greene Arbor. 1633.

A Summe of the chie­fest points, contained in the Remedy against Co­vetousnesse.

COvetousnesse defined, and plainely shewed what it is.
page 1, and 30
Idolatry consisteth in three things.
p. 1
In what sence, covetousnesse is called idolatry.
p. 2·
To seeke▪ helpe and comfort from riches or any creature, and not from God alone, is vaine and sinfull.
Covetousnesse which is idolatry, is to be mortifi­ed.
p. 3 and 46
The uncertainety of riches.
p. 4, 5
Reasons why riches are uncertaine and vaine.
p. 6, 7
Men spend so much time in seeking after riches, and tryfles, that they have no time to serve God.
p. 8
The rich man, may not glory in his riches and wealth.
p. 9
God can give us comfort without riches.
p. 10
[Page]Having the creature onely, without the love and favour of the Creator, wee have the huske with [...]out the graine, the shell without the kernell▪
All our sinnes proceede from overvaluing of the Creature.
p. 11
They that seeke their happinesse in riches and in worldly things, seeke it the wrong way.
p. 13
Happinesse sought and placed in God (with whom is no change) must needs be perpetuall.
p. 15
Whatsoever men can leave their children, without Gods blessing, is nothing worth.
p. 16
Blessings considered without thankfull reference to God, they cease to be blessings.
p. 17
Those that have but a small Cottage, are many times more happy than many rich men.
p. 19
Wee must judge of outward things not by sence and feeling, but by faith and rectified reason.
p. 20.21
The creature cannot yeeld us comfort without God.
p. 22
Riches come not alwayes by labour, nor comfort by riches.
p. 24
Though all causes concurre and meete together, yet (without God) the effect followes not.
p. 25
Future spirituall and eternall things, are not un­certaine,
p. 26
Every one is guilty of this sinne of Covetousnesse, more or lesse,
p. 27
To love or joy in riches, i [...] adulterous love and joy.
p. 28
[Page]Signes to know whether our love to the creature, be right or no.
Our affection or desire to riches, is inordinate in foure respects.
If we be soundly humbled, we confesse our selves, not onely unworthy the least of Gods mercies, but wor­thy to be destroyed.
Riches and wealth may not be sought for by unlaw­full meanes.
Our end and scope in seeking to get riches, must be, not to serve our selves, or our owne lusts, but to glorifie God withall.
Seeking for riches in a wrong manner, is inordinate in five particulars.
In what respects, riches are a blessing.
Men may lawfully desire riches, referring and sub­mitting their wils to God.
There is a threefold necessity, wherein men may de­sire that which is necessary.
Reasons against desire of superfluity and excesse.
The end of mens callings is not to scrape and rake for riches and wealth.
Men may lawfully take care to increase their estate, observing the right rules in doing it.
When a man is to be accounted and holden for a co­vetous man.
Exhortation to mortifie this earthly member, Co­vetousnesse.
Effectuall meanes to roote Covetousnesse out of our hearts.

A Summe of the principall mat­ters contained in the second Treatise.

CHrist proves himselfe to be the Sonne of God, in that he can quicken the dead.
pag. 51
What our estate is, being out of Christ.
p. 53
What spirituall death is.
p. 54, and 57
The cause of life,
p. 56
Three kinds of spirituall death.
p. 57
The signes of death, foure.
p. 58
The degrees of spirituall death.
p. 60
Great difference betweene spirituall and naturall dead.
p. 62
Spirituall death voluntary.
p. 63
A twofold image of God in man.
Why the Law is given to men that are spiritually death.
p. 66
Difference betweene externall bodily binding, and the bands of sinne.
p. 67
The great Quaere or question that every man is to make concerning himselfe.
p. 68
Two hindrances of this search.
p. 69
The new spirituall life worketh a change in men.
p. 70
[Page]How Christ should be the end and scope of all our actions.
p. 72
[...]he charracters and markes of men spiritually dead.
p. 73, and 79
Repentance makes a dead man to be a living man; and therefore not to be delayed.
p. 83
Naturall men are but dead men, what excellencies soever they have.
p. 84
How to value the Ordinances of God.
p. 85
That all who are in Christ, are in a state of life.
p. 88
From whom, and with what, this life is hidden from naturall men.
p. 89
The Saints misreported and evill spoken of.
p. 90
Men are hardly perswaded, that there is such a new spirituall life of grace.
p. 91, and 94
Proofes of it, besides or without the Scriptures,
The effects and experience of a new spirituall life.
p. 92
Differences betweene superstition and the morrall life; and this new spirituall life of grace.
p. 93, &c.
Common and true Grace, wherein they differ.
p. 95
Signes to know the spirituall life of grace by; and the comparing it with the naturall life.
p. 96, and 59
What is expected and required of them, to whom this talent of the new life of grace is commit­ted.
p. 98
[Page]They that spend their time in idle sports and vani­ties, are yet dead.
10 [...]
The happy estate of being in Christ, and to be par [...]takers of this spirituall life, is to be knowne and prized accordingly.
How and in what sort, we must minde worldly things.
All other things vaine and deceivable, in compa­rison of this spirituall new life.
This is a prevailing life.
This new life is farre more excellent than the com­mon life.
The union betweene Christ and us.
The life of grace brings liberty to them that have it.
Which should make those that have it not, to seeke it; and those that have it, carefull to retaine and keepe it.
Though the best may sometimes be foyled, yet they recover themselves, and maintaine a warre still against their corruptions.
How to know whether we walke in the Spirit, or no.
How to know, whether our workes be living workes, or dead workes.
114. &c.
Motives to make us desire this blessed spirituall life.
120. &c.
All men seeke happinesse, yet never finde it without seeking God.
Repentance puts a new life into men.
Meanes to get this spirituall life.
[Page]Knowledge, the first meanes, ib.
131, &c.
The second meanes to get this life, is to be much in doing.
The third meanes to get this life, is to get faith,
The fourth meanes to get and increase this life, is the communion of Saints,
The fift and last meanes to get and increase this life, is the hearing of the voyce of the Sonne of man,
14 [...]
The hearing of this voyce, is the onely meanes to translate men from death to life,
144.145. &c.
What the voyce of the Sonne of God is,
This effectuall voyce consists in two things,
Three degrees of working this light of life, by the Spirit.
A double voyce of the Sonne of man▪
149. &c.
Those that heare (viz. obey) the voyce of the Sonne of man, have experimentall knowledge.
Effectuall knowledge bred by this voyce, makes men approve, justifie, and relish the wayes of God.
A right knowledge breeds holy affections.
Lively knowledge brings forth action.
Wee must examine our selves, whether we have heard the voyce of the Son of God, or no.
Which wee shall know by our lives and actions,
The first impediment hindring men from hearing Christ voyce, is selfe-wisedome, or selfe concei­tednesse.
[Page]The second hinderance or let, is long custome.
p. 162
The third let is similitude, which like false wares deceives men.
p. 163
The fourth impediment, is false experiments, in some workes of God, that should draw us nearer to him.
p. 164
The fift impediment is ignorance.
The sixt impediments, is inconsideration.
p. 166
The seventh impediment, is a certaine stiffenesse and obstinacie of will or minde.
p. 167
Meanes how to heare profitably.
ib. &c.
To practise a little, is the way to get more.
p. 168
Fearefull judgements on them that receive not the love of the truth,
p. 169
God curseth barren and unfruitfull bearers.
p. 170
Disobedience to the Gospell, grievously punished,
p. 171
Meanes to heare the preaching of Gods word pro­fitably for our conversion, and building of us up in our most holy faith.
p. 172
The second meanes.
The third meanes,
p. 174
The fourth meanes.
p. 175
The fift meanes,
p. 176
The sixt meanes,
p. 180
A Caveat or warning both to Ministers and people.
p· 181
Vaine excuses will not serve before God,
p. 182

The Summe of the chiefe points contained in the Treatise of Selfe-deniall.

OVt of Christ, we are dead men,
By Christ we gaine life eternall,
What we must do for Christ, viz, Deny our selves, take up our crosse, &c.
Whosoever will have benefit by Christ, must follow him.
Two maine impediments that hinder men from fol­lowing Christ.
Whosoever will be saved by Christ, must deny him­selfe.
p. 187
What it is to deny our selves,
p. 188
What our selfe is,
Why corruption of nature is reckoned a mans selfe.
p. 189
In every man there are two selfes,
Reasons of Selfe-deniall,
p. 190
God will not binde us to that which is simply unpos­sible.
p. 191
A man may lawfully love himselfe,
p. 192
To deny our selves, is to deny every sinne, stocke and branch,
p. 193
[Page]We cannot follow God and the world both.
No happinesse to be found out of God.
Great equity in denying our selves.
The fruites of the flesh, and of the Spirit.
How prone our nature is to do evill.
And how we may know it.
How to try, whether we have interest in Christ, or no.
How to know whether we deny our selves.
Meanes to deny our selves.
God multiplyes comforts to them that deny them­selves.
In cleaving to God, wee must leave the care and custody of other things unto him.
The right knowledge of Christ, makes us deny our selves.
The manner how we should deny our selves.
The wayes of God are full of Crosses.
And the reasons thereof.
The wayes of God have much difficulty in them, and the reasons thereof.
Yet the wayes of God are pleasant to any man that is upright.
Reasons why difficulty in Gods wayes, should not discourage any man therefrom.
We must make account before hand, and prepare for troubles before they come.
It is not the way to heaven that most men go.
What causeth persecution to follow the Gospel.
If wee suffer not in Gods cause for well doing, wee [Page] shall suffer of God for evill doing,
p. 227
Answer to them who say, they can doe no good in Gods cause,
p. 230
Against discouragement by being a lone,
p. 231
Many thousands lose their soules, because they thinke lesse will serve the turne in Gods service, than indeed is required of them.
p. 232
Satans wiles in deceiving men,
Cold, slight, and customary performance of holy du­ties, does no good at all,
p. 233
We must go through, fighting, till we have the vi­ctory,
p. 236
It is hard to bring our soules to good duties.
The crosses and difficulties that are in Gods wayes, are an argument to prove, that the doctrine came from heaven.
p. 239
The cause that the wayes of God are so hard and difficult.
p. 240
The difficulty in Gods wayes, ought to be a meanes to humble us,
p. 241
All that looke to have benefit by Christ, must follow him.
p. 242
Christ is to us an example of the rule (viz.) of the Law.
p. 243, &c.
Though Christ himselfe be absent in the body, yet he hath left guides to leade us, in his stead.
p. 243
The Saints that lived before us, and went in one path of truth, are our guides.
p. 244
We have the word, the Spirit, and the Saints, for our guides.
[Page]What it is to follow Christ.
p. 245
And how to follow him.
p. 246
We must follow Christ at all times,
p. 247
We must follow Christ all manner of wayes inward [...]ly and outwardly.
p. 248
The obiect and example which wee must follow, is Christ.
p. 249
And not his example onely, but his precepts also and commandements must we follow,
p. 252
False boasting Christians refuted,
p. 253
Difference betwixt the wicked and the godly, in sinning.
p. 254
Many follow Christ for worldly respects.
p. 256
Difference betwixt the falls of good and evill men.
p. 257
We must be content to forsake all for Christ.
p. 258
And to beare all things for his sake,
We ought to have the same mind in us that was in Christ.
p. 259
Against false, unconstant, double minded men,
p. 260
We must not stand still at a stay, but grow in grace, and endeavour (what we can) towards perfe­ction,
p, 261
We must not presume to goe before Christ, but let our minds and desires yeeld to his will.
p. 262
Five things required of them, that will truely and sincerely follow Christ.
p. 264

The Contents of the three Sermons on the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper.

THe maine and principall priviledge that wee have by Iesus Christ, is Eternall life.
p. 265
The drift of S. Iohns writing is, that beleevers might know, they have Eternall life.
p. 266
Another great priviledge that we have by Christ, is, an assurance to be heard in our prayers,
p. 267
Vnlesse a man be in Christ, he may not apply unto himselfe any of these two priviledges.
Except we be in Christ, we have nothing to doe to meddle with those holy mysteries, or Symbols of the love and favour of God in Christ.
p. 267
Every one that comes to the Lords Table, ought to examine himselfe concerning two things.
p. 268
Rules to examine our selves, and finde whether wee be in Christ or no.
A double act must passe in those that are in Christ; one on our part, another on Christs.
p. 269
Foure things to be considered, in the act on our part.
Every man naturally seekes some excellency or other
p. 270, 271.
[Page]To excell in grace and holinesse; to have our sinfull lusts mortified, is that excellent thing Christia [...]s should and ought to desire, & labour for.
272, 273
To keepe God's Lawes and commandements, is the wisedome of Gods people.
How a man may know, whether hee reckon Christ his chiefe treasure.
275, 276
The creatures that were once exceeding good, are now through mans sinne, become all vanity and vexation of spirit.
A man should be at any cost, and rather part with any thing, than with Christ Iesus, who should be our cheefe treasure.
What answer our hearts ought to make to Sathans temptations, and the worlds allurements.
To finde whether Christ be our life, and cheefest joy, we must consider what it is our thoughts feede upon and delight in.
280, 281
How to know whether Christ be our cheefe refuge, to flie unto.
282, 283
A carnall man in his distresse, knowes not whither to goe.
The wicked in their troubles flie unto men for their refuge.
284, 285
The Christian in his distresse is wont to betake him-himselfe to Christ.
ibid. & 287
How a man may know whom he sets up for his cheefe commander,
287, 288
There are three great commanders in the world. that divide all mankind (almost) betweene themy
289 [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...]
COLLOS. 3.5. And Cov …

COLLOS. 3.5. And Covetousnesse which is Ido­latrie.

COvetousnesse which is Idolatrie, that must be mortified as well as the other earthly members. Now this Covetousnesse is no­thing else; but an in­ordinate and sinfull de­sire of getting or keeping Wealth or Money. The inordinate lusting after Honours, that is stiled Ambition; too much affecting of Beautie, is called Lustfulnesse; and Lust is an inordi­nate affection, which when it propoundeth Riches for its object, is called Covetous­nes, which is Idolatry. Now Idolatry consisteth in one of these three things: First, in worship­ping the true GOD in a wrong manner, appre­hending him as a Creature, giving that to him that agreeth not with him. Secondly, when [Page 2] as wee make the creature a God; that is, by conceiving it under the notion of a God: so did they which worshipped Iove, Mars, and those Heathens that worship the Creatures as Gods. Thirdly, when as wee attribute that unto it, which belongeth unto GOD: as to trust in it, to delight in it, to put all our trust and confidence in it: when as we thinke, that it can performe that unto us which God only can, this thought is Idolatry. Now that Co­vetousnesse is Idolatry, is meant onely in this sence when as wee thinke that riches can doe that for us which God onely can; as that they can doe us good or evill. Esay, 41 23. If they are Gods, saith God, let them doe good or evill. God onely doth good and evill, therefore hee is distinguished from Idols because they can­not doe it. Affections follow opinions, and practise followes affections. Therefore Heb. 11 6. He that will come to God must beleeve that he is, & that he is a rewarder of all those that seeke him. None will worship God, unlesse they be­leeve that God can comfort and releeve them in all their distresses; So no men will earnest­ly seeke after wealth or riches till they have an opinion, that riches and wealth will yeeld them comfort, or be a strong tower of defence to free them from inconveniences; this makes them to trust in them, and this thought is Ido­latry. There are two Points of Doctrine that arise from these words: The first, is this.

[Page 3] That to seeke helpe and comfort from any crea­ture, or from riches, and not from God alone, Doct. 1. is vaine and sinfull.

The second is this.

That covetousnesse which is Idolatry, Doct. 2. is to bee mortified.

1 For the first; That to seeke helpe and com­fort from any creature and not from God a­lone, is vaine and sinfull: It must needs bee so, because it is Idolatry. Now in Idolatry there are two things. First, Vanity and emp­tinesse, 1. Corinth. 8.4. An Idoll is nothing in the world; here it is Vanitie. Secondly, Sin­fulnesse, there is no greater sinne than it. It is extremely vaine, because we attribute that to it that doth only belong to God; To think, that if I am well, if I am strong in friends, have a well bottomed estate, that then my mountaine is strong on every side, I shall not be removed, this is sinfull and vaine; yee shall not live a jot the better or happier for it; A strange Para­doxe, contrary to the opinion and practice of most men. If wee consult with our treasures, doe not we thinke that if we have such wealth and such friends, that wee should live more comfortably and happily? There is no man but will answer that hee thinketh so: But yet my brethren yee are deceived, it is not so: It belongs to God onely to dispense of his Pre­rogatives, good or evill.Psal. 33.17. A Horse is but a vaine thing, saith the Psalmist, to get a victorie: [Page 4] That is, though it be as fit a thing as can bee in it selfe, yet if it bee left to its selfe without God, it is but vaine and can doe nothing. So I may say of Riches and other outward things; riches are vaine, and honours and friends are vaine to procure happinesse of themselves. So Physicke of its selfe is vaine to procure health; without God they are nothing worth: hee that thinkes otherwise erreth. Luk. 12.19. It was the folly of the rich man that hee thought so; and therefore sang a Requiem to his soule, Eate drinke and be merry, O my Soule, thou hast goods laid up for thee for many yeares: hee did not thinke himselfe happie, because he had an in­terest in God and his favour, but because hee had abundance of outward riches; And there­fore you see the end of all his happinesse, Thou foole, this night shall thy soule be taken from thee, and then what is become of all his hap­pinesse? Yet such is our folly, that most of us reflect on the meanes and on the creatures, and expect happinesse from them. But Christ tels us, they will not doe the deede; this night shall they take away thy soule, and then all thy happi­nesse is gone. The rich man thought before that he had beene secure as long as his wealth con­tinued with him, that he needed not to expect any calamity; but now hee sees that he built upon a sandy foundation. David though an holy man, being established in his kingdome, having subdued all his enemies, and fur­nished [Page 5] himselfe with wealth and treasure, hee thought that his mountaine was then made so strong that it could never bee moved; that to morrow shall bee as yesterday and much more a­bundant; but, no sooner did God hide his face, from him, but he was troubled, Psal. 30.7. To shew, that it was not his riches and outward prosperity that made him happy, but God onely: So Daniel, 5.23. Be [...]shazzar when as he thought himselfe happy, being environed with his Wives, Princes, and Servants; when as hee praised the gods of silver and the gods of gold, abounded with all outward prosperity and reposed his happinesse in it, is counted but a foole by Daniel for it; Because hee glorified not God, in whose hands his breath and all his wayes were; and therefore he was destroyed.

These things of themselves will not con­tinue with us, nor yet make us happy. Wee take not a step to prosperity or adversity, but Gods hand doth leade it. My brethren that heare mee this day, that have heretofore thought, that if ye had such an estate, such learning, such ornaments, and such friends, that then yee were happy; to perswade you that it is not so, it would change your hopes and feares, your griefes and joyes, and make you labour to bee rich in faith and in good workes. It will be very hard to perswade you to this, yet we will doe what we can, and adde certaine reasons which may perswade you to [Page 6] beleve it to bee so, if God shall adde a blessing to them, and joyne the operation of his Spirit with them to perswade you.

Reason. 1.First, this must needs be so, in regard of Gods All-sufficiencie; hee alone is able to comfort without the creatures helpe: else there were an insufficiencie and narrownesse in him, and so hee should not bee God. If hee could not fill our desires every way, hee were not All-sufficient; Even as the Sunne should bee defective, if it needed the helpe of torches to give light. God is blessed not one­ly in himselfe, but makes us also blessed; it is the ground of all other Commandements; Thou shalt love and worship the Lord thy God, and him onely shalt thou feare: Deut. 6.13. Matth. 4.10. Deut. 6.5. Wee must love him with all our hearts, with all our soules; let not the creature have one jot of them, because all comfort is from God. Gen. 17.1. I am God all-sufficient, walke before me, and be perfect: that is, love me altogether, set your affections on none but me, yee neede not goe unto the creature, all is in me. If the creature could doe any thing for to make us happy and not God, then wee might step out to it; but the creature can adde nothing to it, God onely is all-sufficient to make you perfect every way; though the creature be used by God as an in­strument, yet it is onely God that makes you happy and gives you comfort, and not the creature.

[Page 7]Secondly, it must needs bee so because of the vanitie and emptinesse of the creature: It can doe nothing but as it is commanded by God; he is the Lord of Hoasts, Psal. 59.5. who comman­deth all the creatures, as the Generall doth his army. A man having the creatures to helpe him, it is by vertue of Gods command. It is the vanitie of the creature that it can doe no­thing of it selfe, except there be an influence from God. Looke not then to the creature it selfe, but to the influence, action and applica­tion that it hath from Gods secret concurrance with it. What it is to have this secret concur­rance and influence from God unto the crea­ture, you may see it expressed by this simili­tude; Take the hand, it moves because there is an imperceptible influence from the wil that stirres it: So the creature moving and giving comfort to us, it is Gods will it should doe it, and so it is applied to this or that action. The Artificer using a hatchet to make a stoole or the like, there is an influence from his Art that guides his hand and it: so the creatures wor­king is by a secret concourse from God, doing thus and thus. And to know that it is from God, yee finde a mutability in the creature, it works not alwayes one way▪ Physicke and all other things are inconstant; somtimes it helps, sometimes not, yea many times when as yee have all the meanes yet they faile; to shew that there is an influence from God, and that the [Page 8] creatures are vanishing, perishing and uncon­stant of themselues.

Thirdly, It must be so, because it is sinfull to looke comfort from any thing but from God: because by this wee attribute that to the creature, which onely belongs to God; which is Idolatry. The creature steales away the heart in an imperceptible manner,2 Sam. 15.6. as Abso­lom stole away the peoples hearts from David; or as the adulterer steales away the love of the wife from her husband. This makes you serve the creatures: this makes you settle your af­fections on the creatures: if they faile, yee sorrow; if they come, yee joy: and yee doe this with all joy, with all delight and pleasure, and desire; This is a great sinne, nay it is the greatest sinne: as adultery is the greatest sinne, because it severs and dissolves the mar­riage; so is this the greater, because it severs us from God, and makes us cleave to the creature.

The maine Consectarie and use from this, is;Vse. 1. To keepe you from hasting after worldly things: men are never weary of seeking them, but spend their whole time in getting of them; and this is the reason, why the things that be­long to salvation are so much neglected: men spend so much time in a thousand other things and trifles, that they have no time at all to serve God in: they are busie about riches, honours, credit, or the things whereon their pleasures [Page 9] doe pitch: but if this be digested, it will teach you to seeke all from God, who disposeth all things, and to whom the issues of life and death, Psal. 68.20. of good or evill▪ doe belong. Consider with your selves and you shall finde; that the rea­son wherefore yee seeke for outward content and comfort, is because you thinke it will doe you good if you have it, or hurt if you have it not. But herein you erre, giving that to the creature which onely belongs to God. Esay, 41.23. If the Idols bee God, saith the Lord, let them doe good or evill; The scope of this place, is to cut off the whorish and adulterish affecti­on of those, who have an eager and unweaned desire after earthly things, by shewing, that they can doe us neither good nor hurt. There­fore God punished David exceedingly for numbring the people;2 Sam. 24. because he thought that they could strengthen him against his ene­mies without Gods helpe. Wherefore, Iere­mie, 9.23.24. Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisedome, neither let the mightie man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches, but let him that glo­rieth, glory in this; that hee understandeth and knoweth that I am the Lord, which execute loving kindnesse, Iudgement and Righteousnesse in the earth. As if hee should have said: If these things could doe you good or hurt, there were some reason that you might seeke them: but there is nothing in them that you should desire [Page 10] them; For it is I onely that execute Mercy and Iudgement, all good and evill is from mee. Therefore Psalme, 62. we have this caveat gi­ven us. If riches increase set not your hearts vpon them, magnifie not your selves in them or for them, for all good and comfort is onely from God; else you might set your hearts on them; but now all power and kindnesse is from him, therefore your wealth can never doe it.

Obiect.But it may bee objected: That God doth comfort us and make us happie in this life by meanes, and riches are the meanes; Where­fore then may we not seeke to them to get this comfort?

Answ.To this I answer; That God doth reward e­very man according to his workes, not according to his wealth. Yea hee can comfort us with­out these; For he is the God of all Consolation: 2. Cor. 1.3. and that both Inclusive and Exclu­sive; all comfort is in him, and from him, none without him. If wee thinke to have it from honours, wealth or friends, we deceive our selves, for they are vaine and profit not, 1 Sam 12.21.22. Turne yee not aside, for then shall yee goe after vaine things which cannot pro­fit nor deliver, for they are vaine. All these things without GOD, will profit you no­thing.

Obiect.But will not health, wealth and friends pro­fit us?

Answ.No, not all, they are vanitie, they are empty [Page 11] in themselves, they cannot doe it: they are in themselves but vanitie; having the creature yee have but the huske without the graine, the shell without the kernell. The creature is but empty of it selfe; except God put into it a fitnesse to comfort you, all is vanity and no­thing worth, and this vanity is nothing but emptinesse. And this serves to correct the thoughts of men, who thinke that if they had such an estate, all their debts paid, if they had such and such friends, then all would bee well with them: and who is it that thinks not thus? But let those that entertaine such thoughts, consider the vanitie of the creature: all our sinnes proceed from the over-valuing of the creature; for sinne is nothing but an aversion of the soule from the immutable God to the creature. Labour then to conceive of the crea­ture aright, to see that it is vaine: this will keepe you right, and hinder you from going from God and cleaving to the creature.

To presse this further, consider these foure things first.

1 First, if ye goe another way to worke, be­leeve all ye see, and seeke comfort in the crea­ture; consider yee shall loose your labour. It is not in the power of the creature to yeeld yee any comfort; if yee busie your selves in seeking any comfort from it, ye walke in a vaine shadow: Psal. 39.6. Surely every man walketh in a vaine shadow, surely they are all disquieted [Page 12] in vaine: Hee heapeth up riches and knoweth not who shall gather them: If we looke comfort from riches, wee looke it but from a shadow, all our labour is in vaine. There is a shadow of the Almightie in which some men walke,Psal. 91.1. where they shall be sure to finde this comfort: Others there are that walke in the shadow of the creature, in the vanity of their mindes, seeking comfort from it; those who thus walke shall be deceived. A shadow though it seeme to be something, yet it is no­thing; it may seeme to have the lineaments of a man or some other body, yet it is nothing: So these outward things may seeme to have something in them, but yet indeed they have nothing; those who seeke for comfort in them commit two evills, Ierem. 2.13. They forsake God the fountaine of living waters, and digge unto themselves pits which will hold no water. God having all comforts in him, comforts ne­ver failing; because there is a spring of com­fort in him, yet wee forsake him, and dig to our selves pits, which if they have any water it is but borrowed, and not continuing; and that water which they have is none of the best, it is muddy and will not alwayes continue▪ wherefore pitch your affections on the tru [...] substantiall good, not on vanities: If wee see a man come to an orchard full of goodly fruits and hee should catch onely at the shadow of them, netling his hands, and spending his la­bour [Page 13] in vaine, wee would account him either a foole or a mad-man; yet wee in the cleare Sunne-shine of the Gospell, (such is our mad­nesse) doe catch and seeke after shadowes with trouble of minde and sorrow of heart, negle­cting the substance.

2 Secondly, Consider that you seeke your happinesse, the wrong way, in that you seeke it in worldly things, they are not able to helpe or make you happy; because they reach not to the inward man: The body is but the sheath and case, our happinesse lies not in it: so in the creatures, their happinesse consisteth not in themselves, but in something else: It lies in observing the rule that God hath appointed to them: the fire, observing the rule that God hath given it, is sure; so is it of water, so of all creatures animate and inanimate, their happinesse consists in observing the rule that God hath prescribed to them. The Law of God is the rule that we must walke by, fol­lowing it as a rule we are happy: hee that kee­peth the Commandements shall live in them: hee that departeth from them is dead. Eve­rie motion of the Fish out of the water is to death, but every motion of it in the water is to life: So let a mans motions bee towards God, then they are motions to life, but let him move after outward things, and it is a motion to death and misery; therefore, if yee seeke this comfort from outward things, [Page 14] yee goe the wrong way to get it.

3 Thirdly, Consider that you make a wrong choise, yee seeke not that which will doe it. If you seeke for this comfort from God, all is in one place, but if yee seeke for it in the crea­tures, yee must have a multitude of them to comfort you; yee must have health, wealth, honours, friends, and many other things; but one thing will doe it if yee goe the right way: yee shall finde it onely in God.Luk. 10.41.42. Martha▪ shee was troubled about many things, when as one thing onely was necessary. If yee seeke comfort in earthly things, ye must have a thousand things to helpe it, but godlinesse which hath the pro­mise of this life and of the life to come doth yeeld this comfort of its selfe, if that yee seeke it in it. It is a great advantage for us to have all comforts in one thing: Godlinesse onely hath all these comforts, therefore seeke them in it.

4 Fourthly, Consider, that that comfort and happinesse which you have from the crea­ture, is but a dependent felicity, and it is so much the worse; because it depends on the creature, which is mutable and uncertaine: how much better is it to depend on God, in whom is no shadow of variety or change. Iames 1.17. Every creature is weaker by how much it hath more dependency on another creature: and so are yee weaker by how much more yee de­pend on outward things. If yee depend on [Page 15] friends, they may change their affections, and become your enemies, or death may take them away, and then your happinesse is gone: If yee depend on riches, Prov. 23.5. Wilt thou set thine eye on that which is not? For riches cer­tainely make themselves wings, and flie away like an Eagle towards heaven; and then your happi­nesse is gone: But if yee seeke and place your happinesse in God, in whom is no change nor alteration, then it is perpetuall. A dependancy on things that are mutable will yeeld no com­fort, because God will have all to depend on himselfe: therefore, 1 Cor. 1.30. Christ of God is made unto us, Wisedome, and Righteous­nesse, and Sanctification, and Redemption. That no flesh might reioyce in its selfe, but that he that glorieth, might glory in the Lord. For this end, God conveied Christ unto us; that hee might make us beleeve, that we fare not the better for any creature, that so wee might rejoyce onely in the Lord: therefore hee hath made Christ redemption from all evill, that hee might furnish us with all good: Christ hath redeemed us from hell and misery, from want of good things: seeke not then a dependancy on the creature, thinke not that it will better you, and this will make you to depend on Christ. Therefore for these regards correct your opinion of worldly and outward things, and judge of them with righteous Iudgement: depend onely on God if you will have him to [Page 16] be your portion, as hee was the Levites: Re­fuse him not as the Israelites did, depend on him in good earnest. A little you say, with Gods blessing will doe much. Labour not therefore, neither toile yee to leave great por­tions to your children (the common pretence that men have for their covetousnesse) though you leave them never so much, if Gods bles­sing bee not on it, it is nothing, it can yeeld them no comfort; yea many times it is an oc­casion of their hurt. If then Gods blessing be all in all, if that onely can administer comfort and make us happy, I would aske you this question? What if ye did leave your children onely Gods blessing, would it not be sufficient though you leave them little or nothing else? Yee thinke not so: and yet whatsoever ye can leave them without Gods blessing, is nothing worth. Preachers labour much in this, to draw you from worldly things, and all to little pur­pose: It must be Gods teaching that perswades within, that must effect it: yee must therefore take paines with your hearts, the generality of the disease shewes that it is hard to be cured; Labour therefore to finde out the deceipts which do hinder your practise of these things; which are these.

One Deceipt that deceives men is, that they are ready to say,Deceipt. 1. that these things are the bles­sings of God. Why then should not wee re­joyce in them? As for afflictions they are [Page 17] crosses, and therefore wee grieve for them: if these then did not adde to our blessednesse, why count wee them blessings, and account Povertie as a crosse?

To this I answer, that if yee take them as blessings yee may rejoyce in them, as the in­struments by which God doth you good. Blessings are relative wordes, they have refe­rence unto God: if yee consider them with­out reference unto him, they cease to be bles­sings: therefore if yee consider them meerely as blessings, yee may rejoyce in them. Now yee receive them as blessings:

1 First, if yee depend on God for the dispo­sing, continuing, and want of them, if yee thinke yee shall enjoy them no longer than God will. If yee thinke this with your selves, wee have Wives, Children, Friends, and Ri­ches, 'tis true we have them, but yet they shall not continue with us an houre or minute lon­ger than God will: If ye thinke so in good earnest, then yee rejoyce in them as blessings. A man that is relieved when he is in danger, lookes more to the will than to the hand of him that helpes him: wee looke more to the good will of our friends, than to their gifts: so we should looke more to Gods Will and pleasure, than to the benefits which he be­stowes on us. The consideration of these things as blessings, must raise up your thoughts to heavenly thinge, to consider that whatsoever [Page 18] is done in earth, is first acted in heaven; the Sunne is first eclipsed there, and then here: so your estates are first eclipsed there, before that they are here. Looke therefore on GOD, and on these as meerely depending on Gods will, and then you enjoy them meerely as bles­sings.

2 Secondly, yee looke on them as blessings, if yee looke on them so, as to know, that yee may have them in aboundance without any comfort. Instruments have nothing of them­selves; whatsoever they have is put into them. A man may have wealth, friends, and all other outward things, his mountaine may seeme to be strong, yet without Gods blessing on them, he may want comfort in them. When as yee thinke thus, that yee may have these things without comfort, it is a signe that your eye is on God, that yee looke on them onely as the Vehiculaes or Conduit pipes, to con­vay comfort. The aire yeelds light as an In­strument, though it hath no light of its owne: the water may heat, but not of its selfe, but by that heate which is infused into it by the fire: So if a man drinke a Potion in beere, the beere of its selfe doth not worke, but the Potion worketh by the beere: So it is with all out­ward blessings, they of themselves can yeeld you no comfort at all, but if they yeeld you a­ny, it is by reason of that comfort which God puts into them.

[Page 19] 3 Thirdly, yee doe then enjoy them as bles­sings, if you thinke that you may have com­fort without them: the ebbing and flowing of outward things doth not augment your comfort or diminish it: Those that have not any outward blessings, may have more gladnesse and comfort in their hearts, than those whose corne and wine are increased, Psalm. 4.7. Those who have but a small Cottage and a bed in it, are many times more happie, more healthy, and sleepe more quietly, than those rich men, whose wealth will not suffer them to sleepe: Ec­cles. 5.12. Many there are, that seeme to want outward things and comforts, yet are full of inward comforts and delights: Many there are, who like Paul and the Apostles,2 Cor. 6.10. Seeme to have nothing, and ye [...] possesse all things: As it is all one with God to helpe with few as with many;1 Sam 14.6. 2 Chr. 14.11. So he can comfort with few friends and exter­nall blessings, as well as with many: Yea hee can make a little that the righteous have, Psal. 37.16. more comfortable than all the revenues of the vngodly, be they never so great. That which hath been said of blessings, the like also may bee said of crosses; yee may grieve for them if yee take them as crosses: but withall take heed, that you account not those things crosses which in­deed are no crosses. Want was no crosse to Paul, nor yet Imprisonment:Phil. 4.12. Acts 16.25. for in the one he abounded, in the other hee sung: It is ad­vantage unto us many times to have outward [Page 20] blessings taken from us. It is advantage to us to have bloud taken away in a Pleurisie: it is good sometimes to lop trees, that so they may bring forth more fruit; so it is good many times for us to have crosses to humble us, and to bring us nearer to God: yet yee may sorrow for the losse of these things, and take it as a crosse, if yee can say this from your hearts, that yee are not afflicted, because ye are made poore, because your wealth is taken from you but because it is Gods pleasure to take it from you, either for the abuse of it, or else to pu­nish you for some other sinne. So if that yee are cast into some sicknesse, ye may not grieve for it as a crosse meerely, as it is a sicknesse, but as you conceive the hand of God in it, laying it on you as a punishment for your sinne.

Deceipt. 2.The second Let and Deceipt is, the present sence and feeling that we have of the comfort that comes from aboundance.

Men are ready to say, that they feele com­fort from aboundance of outward things; therefore whatsoever you say to the contrary, is but speculations and fancies. Men are gui­ded by sence, which cannot be deceived; we find and feele comfort in these things by ex­perience, we see a reality in these things, and therefore whatsoever you say to the contrary, is but vaine, and to no purpose.

Answ.To this I answer, you must not judge of [Page 21] things according to sence, for sence was never made a Iudge by God, to judge of these things; but judge of them according to faith and recti­fied reason, which judgeth of things that are to come, that are past & present all together, and so can best judge of these things as they are.

Now for to helpe your judgements in these things.

1 First, consider what the Scripture doth say of them: what it doth say of pleasure, friends, and riches: the Scripture presents things as they are, and that tels you that they are but Vanity of vanities, and that all is vanity. Eccles. 1.2.

2 Secondly, consider the Iudgements of o­thers, concerning them who have beene on the stage of afflictions, and have abounded with good workes whilst they lived, but are now gone.

3 Thirdly, consider what yee will judge of them at the day of death; then men are awa­ked, they see these things as they are indeed, and then they be foole themselves that they have spent so much time in seeking after those things which will not profit them, and spent so little time in seeking after salvation.

4 Fourthly, Iudge not of them as you finde them for the present, but likewise as you shall finde them for the time to come, judge of all together.

Now for Sence: you must understand that there is a double sence.

[Page 22] 1 First, there is a sence and feeling of the com­fort of the creature, as a man that is benum­med with cold, is refreshed with fire: or a man that is faintie and feeble in heart, is re­freshed with wine.

2 Secondly, There is a supereminent comfort proceeding from an inward apprehension of Gods fauour towards us, in giving these bles­sings to us.

There may be an inward distemper, which may make our joyes to bee hollow and coun­terfeit: there may be sadnesse of heart, when as there is outward joy; because there is an inward and supereminent sence which affects the heart another way: and therefore, Eccles. 2.2. Externall Ioy, is called mad Ioy; because wee minde it not: It is the joy of joyes, and life of comfort that is from within, that pro­ceeds from the inward man. As the soule is stronger, and the more it is in health, so it findes more comfort, both externall and su­pereminent comfort: Graces are to the soule as health is to the body; the more and greater they are, the more comfort they administer.

Obiect.But yee may object that the creature can administer its owne comfort, and of its selfe.

Answ.To this I answer; That there is an aptnesse and fitnesse in the creature for to comfort us, but yet it can yeeld us no comfort without God: Wherefore keepe your affections in [Page 23] square, have so much joy and delight in the creature, as the creature requires, and no more; if your affections hold a right propor­tion with their objects, they are right; there­fore thus farre yee may joy in the creature, and no further.

1 First, Yee may joy in it with a remisse joy, and yee may also sorrow for it with a re­misse sorrow,1 Cor. 7.30. yee may joy in it as if yee ioyed not, and sorrow in it as if yee sorrowed not.

2 Secondly, Ye may joy in them with a loose joy and affection; as they set loose to you, so yee may set loose to them, 1 Cor. Brethren the time is short, it remaineth there­fore that those who have wives, be as though they had none; that those that weepe, be as though they wept not; that those that reioyce, as though they reioyced not; and those that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it, That is, let your affections be loose to these things: Take any of these outward things, yee may cast your affections on them in a loose manner: goe no further than this; For the fashion of the world passeth away; Yee may bee taken away from it, and it from you; therefore affect it no otherwise, than a transi­torie thing, and with a loose and transient affection, willing to depart from it, when­soever it shall please GOD to take it from you.

3 Thirdly, yee may love them with a depen­dent [Page 24] affection; they are things of a dependent nature, they have no bottome of their owne to stand on, they onely depend on God, and so yee may love them as depending on him: eyeing the Fountaine, and not the Cesterne from whence they flow▪ take not the light from the aire onely, but looke to the Sunne from whence it comes.

Deceipt. 3.The third Deceipt, is false reasoning: We finde it otherwise by experience: we see that a diligent hand maketh rich, and bringeth comfort: we see that labour bringeth learning; and for the labour which we take to get it, in recompence of it, it makes us happy.

Answ.To this I answer, That this chaine doth not alwayes hold: God breakes it many times; riches come not alwayes by labour, nor com­fort by riches; except God bee with the labour, the labour profits nothing. Psal. 127.1. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vaine that build it: Except the Lord keepe the Citie, the Watchmen watch but in vaine. It is in vaine to rise up earely, to goe to bed late, to eate the bread of carefulnesse: Yee shall not reape the fruit yee expect, unlesse God bee with your labour. If Christ bee absent the Dis­ciples may labour all night and catch nothing;Luke 5.5. &c but if he be present with them, then their la­bour prospereth, then they inclose a multitude of Fishes: So when as wee labour and take paines, and thinke to be strong in our owne [Page 25] strength without Gods helpe, wee goe to worke with a strong key which will not open; but if Gods hand bee in the businesse, wee doe that with greater facilitie and ease which God hath appointed wee should doe. You may see this in Ioseph, God purposed to make him a great man, see with what facilitie he was made the Governour of Egypt next to Pharaoh without his owne seeking, and beyond his expectation: So it was with Mordecai; so with David: God appointed to make them great, and therefore they became great notwithstanding all oppo­sitions. On the contrary, let man goe on in his owne strength, and he shall labour without any profit at all: Hence it is, that many times we see a concurrencie of all causes, so that we would thinke that the effect must needs fol­low, and yet it followes not, and if it doth fol­low, we have no comfort in it.

1 First, because God makes an insutable­nesse, a disproportion betwixt the man, & the blessing; as betweene Iudas and his Apostle­ship. A man may have tables well furnished, Riches in aboundance, a Wife fit for him, and yet have no comfort in them, because God puts a secret disproportion betwixt him and them.

2 Secondly, though there bee a concurren­cie of things, yet God may hinder the effect; sometimes for good, sometimes for evill: As Elisha his servant was ready in the nicke, when [Page 26] the Shunamite came to beg her possessions and Land of the King, 2. King. 8.5.6. He was then telling the King how Elisha had restored her sonne to life, which furthered her suite: So on the o­ther side, Abraham, When hee was to offer up his sonne Isaac: in the instant God sent the Ramme tied in the Bush, Gen. 22.13. So Saul when as he had purposed to kill David, God calls him away to fight with the Philistims: and as God hinders the effect for good, so hee doth for evill.

3 Thirdly, God doth it sometimes by de­nying successe unto the causes.E [...]cles. 9.11. The battell is not alwayes to the strong: when there are cau­ses and the effect followes not, it is because God doth dispose of things at his pleasure, and can turne them a contrary way: health and comfort, joy and delight, follow not outward blessings, except God puts it into them.

The fourth Deceipt is this: These things are certaine and present,Deceipt. 4. but other things are doubtfull and uncertaine, we know not whe­ther we shall have them or no.

Answ.To this I answer, it is not so: Future, spi­rituall, and eternall things, are not uncertaine▪ but those things which wee enjoy here, are; those things which we here enjoy, as also wee our selves, are subject to changes and alterati­ons: we are as men on the sea, having stormes as well as calmes. Wealth and all outward blessings are but transitory things: but faith [Page 27] and spirituall things are certaine and endure for ever: we have an Almighty and unchange­able God,1 P [...]. 1.4. an immortall incorruptible inheri­tance: that fadeth not away, reserved for us in the highest heavens. In temporall things, who knowes what shall bee to morrow; in them thou canst not boast of to morrow:Prou. 27.1. but as for spi­rituall things they are certaine, there is no am­biguity in them. But the maine answer that I give is, that here we must use our faith; con­sider the grounds on which faith relies, and then the conclusions and consequences that a­rise from them, take heed to them and be not deceived. If ye beleeve God to be the Rewar­der of all those that trust in him, as you say he is,Heb. 11.6. why rest you not on him? Why are yee not contented with him for your portion? Why thinke yee not him sufficient? If the creature be God, then follow it; but if God, be God, then follow him, and be satisfied with him: Labour therefore for faith unfained, and walke according to it.

If then it be vaine and sinfull to seeke helpe and comfort from any creature,Vse. 2. or from ri­ches, and to thinke that they can make us live more comfortably; hence then consider the sinfulnesse of it, and put it into the Catalogue of your other sinnes, that formerly yee have had such thoughts. Every one is guilty of this sinne more or lesse, and this is a sin not small, but of a high nature; It is Idolatry: In the [Page 28] times of ignorance, Sathan drew many men to grosse Idolatry, to worship stockes and stones; but now he drawes them to another Idolatrie lesse perceptible, and yet as dangerous in Gods sight as the other, who is a spirit, and can discerne and pry into it. Io [...]. 4.24. Let us therefore exa­mine our hearts, and consider how much wee have loved and trusted the creature: let vs con­demne our selues, and rectifie our Iudge­ments, and judge of things as they are: Let us not thinke our selues happy for that we enjoy the creatures; let us not thinke ourselves bles­sed in them, but onely in Christ, because it is not in their power to make us happy. If wee have so joyed in these, or loved them so as to love God lesse, it is adulterous love and joy. We have no better rule to judge of adulterous love than this, when as our love to the creature, doth lessen our love towards God.

Now least we bee deceived in our love to the creature, I will give you these foure signes to know, whether your love to it bee right or no.

First, see if your affections to the creature cause you to withdraw your hearts from God. Ier. 17.5. Cursed bee the man that ma­keth flesh his arme, and whose heart departeth from the LORD: It is a signe wee make flesh, our arme, when as wee withdraw our hearts from God; we make the creature our [Page 29] aime, when as it withdrawes us from God. 1 Tim. 5.5. She that is a Widdow indeed, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications night and day: This is a signe that they trusted in God, not in the creature, because they pray unto him. Consider what your conversation is, whether it bee in heaven or no: Phil. 3.20. Our conversation is in heaven: the neglecting and not minding of earthly things in the for­mer verse, shewed him not to be of an earthly conversation. The more our hearts are drawne from God, the more are they fixed and set on earthly things.

2 Secondly, consider what choise yee make when as these things come in competiti­on with God and spirituall things: what Bils of Exchange doe you make?Luke 16.9. Doe ye make yee friends of the unrighteous Mammon, not caring for these things when they come in competi­tion with a good conscience, or doe yee for­sake GOD, and sticke to them?

3 Thirdly, consider what your obedience is to GOD, whether his feare be alwayes before your eyes; or whether riches set you on worke or no: what mans obedience is, such is his trust; if yee obey God, then yee trust in him, if yee obey riches, then yee trust in them, and not in God.

4 Fourthly, consider what your affections are: nothing troubles a holy man but sinne, which makes him seeke helpe at Gods hands, and not [Page 30] in these: on the contrary, nothing troubles a worldly man, but losses and crosses, sinne troubles him not at all: By this judge of your love to Riches, whether it be right or no.

Thus much of the first generall Doctrine; we come now to the second, which is this.

Doct. 2. That Covetousnesse is to be mortified.

That Covetousnesse is unlawfull, all know it: the things therefore that will be usefull in the handling of this point, will be to shew you what Covetousnesse is; and why it is to bee mortified.

Now to shew you what it is.

Covetousnesse may be defined, to be a sinfull desire of getting or keeping money or wealth inor­dinately.

1 First, it is a sinfull desire, because it is a lust, as lusting after pleasure is called Volup­tuousnesse; it is also inordinate, the principle being amisse, and likewise the Object: The principle is amisse, when as wee over-value Riches, set a greater beauty on them than they have, and seeing them with a wrong eye, we lust after them, by reason that we over-value them; And thus to over-value them, thus to lust after them, and to thinke that they can make us happy, is Idolatry. The object of it is as bad as the principle, when as the end of getting riches, is either to raise us to a higher condition,Luke 16.19. or to fare deliciously every day; or [Page 31] else to spend them on some lust, Iam. 4.3. as well as to keepe them.

Secondly, it is, of getting or keeping mony; of getting it inordinately, when as wee seeke it by wrong meeanes; or of keeping it inordinately; and that in two cases. First, in not bestowing it on our selves, as wee ought. There is tenacity of this sort among men, Eccles. 4.13. There is a great evill under the Sun; namely, Riches kept by the owners thereof to their hurt: When as it is comely and good for a man to eate and drinke, and to enioy the good of all his la­bour that he taketh under the Sunne, all the dayes of his life which God giveth him, for this is his portion: And thus to take his Portion and to re­ioyce in his labour is the gift of God. Eccles. 5.18.19. Then secondly, in not giving to others, be­ing too straight handed, having goods and seeing othrrs to want.

3 The last and chiefe thing in the definition is, Inordinately, that is, besides the rule of Gods Word. A thing is said to be inordinate, when as it is besides the square, and in doing thus, we doe amisse.

Now this affection of seeking money is said to be inordinate, in these foure respects.

1 First, when as we seeke it by measure, more than we should.

2 Secondly, when we seeke it by meanes, that we should not.

3 Thirdly, when we seeke it for wrong ends.

[Page 32] 4 Fourthly, when we seeke it in a wrong man­ner.

1 For the first, we offend in the measure, when as we seeke for more than God gives us: that which God gives every man, that is his Portion here, Eccles. 5.18. And hee that desireth and with-holdeth more than his portion, is hee that offendeth in the measure, Prov. 11.24.

But how shall I know Gods Will, and what my portion is?

Answ.I answer, by the event: see in what estate and condition God hath set you, see what e­state he hath given you, this is your Portion, and with it you must bee contented. GOD hath a Soveraigntie over us, wee are but his subjects, and must be contented with what he gives us: you are contented with that which your Father or your Prince gives you; there­fore you must receive that which God be­stowes upon you, with all humility and thank­fulnesse. If we be soundly humbled, wee con­fesse our selves worthy to be destroyed, Ezech. 36.32. We confesse with Iacob, Gen. 32.10. That we are unworthy of the least of Gods mercies; that the least Portion is more than we deserve. The Prodigall being humbled, was contented with the lowest place in his fathers house, to bee as one of his Fathers houshold servants:Luke 15.19. and so wee ought to be content with that Portion which God hath given us, be it never so small, because it is more than we deserve; and if we [Page 33] desire or seeke for more, this desire is sinne­full.

Secondly, as we ought not to seeke wealth more than is our due; so we ought not to seeke it by unlawfull meanes; not by vsury, gaming, oppression, fraud, deceipt, or any other un­lawfull meanes. I adde this of gaming, because it is unlawfull (though it be little considered:) for it is no meanes that God hath appointed or sanctified for to get money; because it is neither a gift nor a bargaine. I dispute not now; whether playing for trifles, to put life in­to the game be lawfull, but of gaming with an intent to get and gaine money or wealth; this I say is an unlawfull meanes, and such as have gotten money by these unlawfull meanes, are bound to restitution.

3 Thirdly, when the end of our seeking after money is wrong, then our affection is sinfull, as if wee seeke it onely for its selfe, that wee may be rich; or to bestow it on our lusts. If we make this our end, to bestow it on our lust, and not on necessaries onely, not contenting our selves with so much as shall serve our turnes; if wee seeke it thus, wee seeke it in ex­cesse. He that desirs, money for a journey, de­sires no more than will serve to defray the costs and expences in his journey; so if a man desires money for any other end, he desires as much as will serve him for that purpose, and no more. So in other things: hee that is sicke, [Page 34] desires as much Physicke as will cure him, and no more: so wee ought to desire as much as will serve our necessities, and no more. But if we desire it for ambition, pleasures, or any other by-respect, this desire is sinful and inor­dinate.

4 Lastly, it is inordinate, when as we seeke it in a wrong manner, which consisteth in these 5. particulars.

1 First, when as wee seeke it out of love unto it; and this manner of seeking it, is spirituall adultery. Iames 4.4. Yee Adulterers and Adul­teresses, know yee not that the friendship of the world, is an enmity with God, and whosoever is a friend of the world, is an enemy to God? If wee be in love with it for its owne beauty, it is sin­full, it is spirituall adultery.

2 Secondly, when as we seeke it to trust in it; when as we thinke we shall be the safer for it, and make it our strong Tower. Yet hee that trusteth in Riches shall fall, Prov. 11.28. And therefore, if we have food and raiment we ought therewith to be contented, 1. Tim. 6.8. And not to trust in vncertaine riches.

3 Thirdly, when as wee are high minded and thinke our selves the better men for our wealth; when as it makes us looke bigger than we did; as commonly those that are rich doe; therefore 1 Tim. 6.17. Paul bids Timothy, Charge those that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded.

[Page 35] 4 Fourthly, when as we seeke it to glory in it; as David, hee would number the people to glory and trust in them: this is sinfull; For he that glorieth, must glory in the Lord not in them: 1 Cor. 1.31.

5 Fiftly, when as we seeke it with too much haste and eagernesse, when as all our dayes are sorrowes, our travell griefe, and our hearts take no rest in the night. Eccles. 2.23. When as wee seeke it, not staying Gods leisure; such a de­sire is inordinate, importunate, and sinfull: therefore, 1 Tim. 6.9.10. Those that will be rich, (that is, such who make too much haste to bee rich,) fall into temptation and a snare; and into many foolish and hurtfull lusts which drowne men in perdition and destruction, and pierce them through with many sorrowes.

But now you will object,Quest. that riches are blessings; and demand of me whether you may not desire riches as they are blessings?

Answ.I answer, that it is true, that they are bles­sings, and the reward of the feare of GOD. Prov. 22.4. By humility and the feare of the Lord, are Riches and Honour. Therefore it is said of David, that Hee died full of Riches. 1 Chro. 29.28 A­brahams servant reckoned them as a bles­sing. Gen. 24.35. The Lord hath blessed my Ma­ster greatly and he is become great, and hee hath given him Flockes, and Heards, and Silver, and Gold, and Men-servants, and Maid-servants, and Camels and Asses: Iacob counted them as [Page 36] blessings, Gen. 32.10. And Christ him­selfe saith,Acts 20.35. That it is more blessed to lend than to borrow, to give than to receive; may wee not then desire them? To answer this, yee must know, that there is a twofold will and desire. First, a remisse will, which is rather an inclina­tion than a will. Secondly, there is a peremp­tory will, which is mature ripe and peremp­tory: with this latter will wee may not desire them, but with the former we may; for in the 1 Tim. 6.8. If we have food and rayment, let us therewith be content: If any man have a desire to be rich; yet having food and rayment let him not so desire more riches; but that hee may be content with it; yea having, or having them not, ye must be content. Now there is a double content; the first is, as when a man is sicke (to expresse it by a similitude) yet he may pray for health, and use meanes to get it with a full and perfect will, yet with a depen­ding on Gods will: so we being in want may desire riches and wealth with a full will, sit­ting in the meane time under Gods hand, and referring and submitting our wills to his will. Secondly, there is a content, whereby having sufficient for food and rayment wee suffer not our wills actually to desire more, nor to goe beyond the limits which God hath set us. God hath promised outward blessings as a reward of his service, and propoundeth them to us, as so many arguments and motives to stirre us [Page 37] up to feare him: and therefore wee may de­sire them as his blessings, with such a re­misse and subordinate desire as this; when as we set bounds and limits to the sea of our own desires which are in themselves turbulent, and submit our selves wholly to Gods will. Christ being to die had a will to live, yet not a full and resolute will, but a will subordinate to Gods Will. Father if thou wilt, Mat. 26.39. let this Cup passe from me, yet not my Will but thine be done: his will was but an inclination, and not a will; so we may wish riches with a remisse will and inclination, but not with a perfect will; that is, wee may not goe about to get them with a full desire and resolution.

But how farre may a man desire wealth?Quest. Where must hee set limits to his desires? where must they be restrained?

Answ.I answer, that hee may desire food and ray­ment, he may desire that which is necessary for nature, without which he cannot live & subsist: as a man may desire a ship to passe over the sea from one countrey to another, because he can­not passe over without it: so a man may desire foode and rayment in the sea of this life, be­cause without it hee cannot finish his course which God hath prescribed unto him.

Now there is a threefold necessitie.

First, there is a necessitie of expedience, as if a man hath a a journey to goe, 'its true, hee may goe it on foote, yet he may desire a horse [Page 38] ride on, because it will be more expedient for him: so you may desire with a remisse desire, so much as is expedient for your vocation and calling, so much as it requires.

2 Secondly, there is a necessitie in respect of your condition and place; as men in higher ranke and calling neede more than men of an inferiour degree, to maintaine their place and dignity; so may they desire to have more than they; so as they desire no more than will bee sufficient to maintaine them in that ranke and degree wherein they are placed.

3 Thirdly, there is a necessitie of refreshment, and you may desire as much as is needfull for your necessarie refreshment, as much as hospi­talitie requires, so that you doe not goe be­yond it. And in these three respects, you may desire God to give you as much as shall bee expedient for you, because it is no more than nature requires.

Now besides this desire of things necessarie, there is a desire of superfluitie and excesse: this desire proceeds not from nature but from lust; because we desire such a degree of wealth, ei­ther to raise our estates, or that we may be­stow it on our lusts and pleasures; that like the rich Glutton, Luke, 16. We may be well clad and fare deliciously every day. Many mens lives are nothing else but playing and eating, eating and playing, and are led alwayes in this cir­cuit: To desire wealth to this or any other [Page 39] superfluous end is very sinfull, and it must needs be so for many reasons.

First,Reason. 1. because mans life stands not in abun­dance & excesse: therefore Luke, 12.13, 14, 15. verses. When as a certaine man spake to Christ to speake to his brother to divide the inheritance with him: he said unto him, Man who made mee a Iudge or devider [...]ver you; and then bids the multitude to beware of Covetousnesse; be­cause that a mans life consisteth not in the abun­dance of the things that hee possesseth: That is, though yee have never so much wealth, yet ye shall not live the longer for it; your life con­sists not in it, no more doth your comfort: for they will but please the sight of your eye, they will not make you more happier than you are; seeke not therefore superfluitie, for your life consists not in abundance: He is but a foole, that thinkes that these things will make him happy, that these will make him rich: all they that are not rich in God, Luke 12.21. are poore; and if they thinke themselves happy and rich in these things, they are but fooles.

2 Secondly, the desire of superfluitie is sin­full, because it proceeds from an evill roote: the fruit cannot bee good that proceedeth from an evill and bitter roote; but this desire proceeds from such a roote; That is, from lust; it comes not from Gods spirit, which bid­deth every man to be content with food and ray­ment: Nor yet from nature,1 Tim. 6.8. which seekes not [Page 40] superfluities; therefore proceeding from lust it must needs be sinfull.

3 Thirdly, what yee may not pray for, that ye may not desire to seeke after: but we may not pray for superfluities. Prov. 30.8. Give me neither Poverty nor Riches, feed me with food convenient for me, not with superfluities: And in the Lords Prayer we are taught not to pray for superfluities,Mat. 6.11. but, Give vs this day our daily bread, that is, as much as is necessarie for us, and no more: therefore we may not desire it. The seeking of more than is necessary doth hinder us, and not further us; a shooe that is too big, doth hinder a traveller, as well as one that is too little.

4 Fourthly, it is dangerous, for it doth choake the word, and drowne men in perdition: therefore it is Agurs Prayer, Prov. 30.8.9. Give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with food convenient for mee; least I be full and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Fulnesse and excesse is alwayes dangerous: full tables doe cause surfeits, full cups make a strong braine giddy. The strongest Saints hath beene sha­ken with prosperity and excesse, as Dauid, Hezekiah, Salomon; they sinned by reason of excesse in outward things. It is dange­rous to bee rich, therefore it is Davids coun­sell, Psal. 62.10. If riches increase, set not your hearts upon them. Mar. 10.23.24, 25. A rich man cannot enter into the Kingdome of Heaven: It is easier for a [Page 41] Camell to goe through the eye of a needle, than for him to enter into Heaven: For if a man be rich, it is a thousand to one, but that hee trusteth in his riches, and it is impossible that hee who trusteth in his Riches, should enter into heaven.

5 Lastly, to desire superfluity must needs be [...] sinfull, because wee have an expresse com­mand to the contrary. 1 Tim. 6.8. If wee have food and raiment, let vs therewith be con­tent. This is the bound that God hath set us, we must not goe beyond it. If it were lawfull for any man to desire and have abundance, then it were lawfull for Kings; yet God hath set limits to them. Deut: [...]7.17. Hee shall not multiply Horses nor Wives to himselfe, that his heart turne not away: neither shall he greatly mul­tiply to himselfe silver and gold, that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren: God hath set us downe limits and bounds how farre wee should goe, therefore to passe beyond them is sinfull, but we passe beyond them, when as we desire superfluity, therefore the desire of superfluity is sinfull.

But may not a man use his calling to increase his wealth?Quest.

Answ.I answer, that the end of mens callings is not to gather riches, if men make this their end, it is a wrong end; but the end of our calling is to serve God and man. The ground of which is this. Every man is a member of the Com­mon wealth, every man hath some gifts or o­ther, [Page 42] which must not lie idle: every man hath some Talents, and must use them to his Ma­sters advantage; and how can that be, except hee doe good to men? Every one is a Ser­vant to Christ, and must doe Gods worke: no man is free; every one is Christs servant, and must bee diligent to serve Christ, and to doe good to men.Rom. He that hath an office must be diligent in it, and attend on it: every man must attend his calling, and bee diligent in it. If riches come in by our calling, that is the wages, not the end of our calling, for it lookes onely to God: wee must not make gaine the end of our callings; there are many that make gaine their godlinesse, and the end of their pro­fessions:Rom. 16.18. Some preach onely for gaine: others use all other callings onely for gaine: but if any man wil make gaine the end of his calling, though he may conceale and hide his end from men, yet let him be sure that hee shall answer God, the searcher of the hearts for it: on the other side, if a man by diligence in his calling have Riches following him, hee may take them as a blessing of God bestowed on him,Pro. 10.4. and as a reward of his calling. The di­ligent hand maketh rich; that is, GOD will sure­ly reward it; not that we must eye riches and make them our end:Pro. 10.22. GOD makes a man rich, and man makes himselfe rich. God makes us rich, by being diligent in our callings; using them to his glory and mans good, he doth cast [Page 43] riches on us: Man makes himselfe rich, when as he makes riches the end of his calling, and doth not expect them as a reward that comes from God. I shall expresse it by Iacob. Iacob he serves Laban faithfully, Gen. 30.43. and God blessed him so that hee did grow rich: hee went not out of his Compasse and Spheare, hee tooke the wages that was given him, and because Gods end was to make him rich, God enri­ched him by his wages, as a reward of his ser­vice. The more diligent a man is in his calling the more sincere and upright, the more God doth blesse him, and increase his riches. God makes men rich, Pro. 10.22. when as hee gives them riches without sorrowes, and troubles, when as they come in with ease, without expectation and disquiet: Man makes himselfe rich, when as there is great trouble in getting, keeping, and enjoying them: when as he useth his calling to get riches, or when as hee useth unlawfull meanes. The method that God useth to inrich men, is this; He first bids us seeke the kingdome of heaven, and the righteousnesse thereof, Mat. 6.33. and then all these things shall bee administred unto us as wages: we must looke to our duty, and let God alone to provide and pay us our wages: he that takes a servant, bids him onely to looke to his duty, and let him alone to provide him meate, drinke and wages. We are all but ser­vants, God is our Master, let us looke to our duty, and leave the wages to him.

[Page 44] Quest.But whether may not a man take care to get wealth? Is not a man to take care for his e­state, to in [...]rease it and fit it?

Answ.I answer, hee may lawfully take care of it, observing the right rules in doing it, which are these.

1 First hee must not goe out of his compasse, but walke within his owne pale: he must not step out of his owne calling into other mens; and in his owne calling hee must not trouble himselfe with so much businesse as may hin­der him in his private service unto God: if hee doth fill himselfe with too much businesse in his owne calling▪ or step into other callings, this is sinfull and inordinate. If a man in his owne calling, fill himselfe with so much busi­nesse that hee cannot intend the things of sal­uation, that hee is so much tired with them that he hath no spare time to search his owne heart, and doe the particular duties necessary to salvation, he then failes in this, and sinnes in his calling.

2 Secondly, his end must not be amisse, hee must not aime at riches. Abraham was poore and so was Iacob, yet God made them rich and mighty: they were diligent in their cal­lings, and God brought in wealth. God calls not a man to trust in himselfe, to make riches his aime and end, to seek excesse, superfluitie, and aboundance; to live deliciously, to satisfie his lusts and pleasures; Our aime must bee [Page 45] Gods glory and the publique good, and then GOD will cast riches upon us as our wages.

Thirdly, let it be a right care, and not an in­ordinate care: There is an inordinate care which choakes the Word;Mat. 13.22. yee may know whe­ther your care be such a care or not, by these three signes.

1 First, if ye be troubled in the businesse you goe about, which trouble consisteth either in desire, feare, or griefe: when as either we de­sire such a blessing exceedingly, or feare that we shall not have it; or grieve much for the losse of it.

2 Secondly, when as wee feare that wee shall not bring our enterprises to passe, or attaine to that which we desire.

·3 Thirdly, when as we are troubled at it, if it bee not accomplished, and grieve when as wee fore-see any thing that may prevent it: Care being aright, sets head and hand a worke, but the affections are calme and right, there is no tumult or turbulency in them, the issue of all being left to God.

But when is a man a covetous man?Quest.

Answ.I answer, that then a man is a covetous man, when he hath desires arising within him, which are contrary to the former rules, and he resists them not; or else resists them so weakely and feebly, that he gets no ground of them: hee sees no reason why hee should resist them, [Page 46] and therefore gives way unto them. A man is not a covetous man, nor yet an ambitious man, which hath covetous and ambitious thoughts; for these the holiest men have; but hee that hath such thoughts, and strives not at all against them, or else strives but weakely, hee is a covetous or ambitious man. A godly man may have these thoughts and desires, but he strives strongly against them, gets ground of them, and gives them a deaths wound: but the covetous man he yeelds unto them, the godly man he gets the victory over them.

2 1 Now this Covetousnesse is evill in its selfe, and therefore it must be mortified. For first of all, it is Idolatry, and Spirituall Adulterie: and then it is a bitter root having many stalkes on it: he that doth any thing to hold corre­spondency with it, hee that doth belong unto it, to him it is the root of all evill. Luke 16. It keepes a man from salvation, it choakes the good seed of the Word sowne in mens hearts.Mat. 13.22. Se­condly, it must be mortified; for the vanity of the object is not worth the seeking: therefore, Luke 16.9. Earthly treasure is set downe in a comparison with the true treasure, and expres­sed in these foure circumstances.

1 First, it is called, the Mammon of unrighte­ousnesse and wicked riches, because it makes men wicked; it being opposed to spirituall blessings, which are best.

2 Secondly, It is least, because it doth least [Page 47] good, preserves us not from evill, doth the soule no good.

3 Thirdly, It is but false treasure, it hath but the shadow of the true, it shines as if it were true, but yet it is false and counterfeit.

4 Lastly, it is not our owne, it is anothers mans; Riches are the goods of others, not our owne, Luke 16.12. and Luke 10.41.42. There are foure attributes given to riches. First, They are many things, and require much labour; Mar­tha was troubled about many things. Secondly, they are unnecessary, one thing is necessary. Thirdly, they will bee taken away from vs. Fourthly, they are not the best: and therefore our desire after them should be mortified.

From hence therefore be exhorted to mor­tifie this earthly member, Covetousnesse, Vse. which is Idolatry; a sinne to which all men are sub­ject. Young men though they want experi­ence of Riches, are notwithstanding subject to this vice; but old men are most subject to it, though they have least cause and reason for it. Professors of Religion are subject to it, ma­ny times it growes up with the Corne and choakes it; therefore use effectuall meanes to root it out of your hearts.

1 First of all, pray to God, not to incline your hearts to Covetousnesse, it is impossible for man,Psal. 119.36. but easie for God to doe it.

2 Secondly, be humbled for sinne: wee are so covetous and desirous of money, because [Page 48] wee are never humbled for sinne, so much as wee should bee; and this is the reason why many would rather let Christ goe than their wealth and riches.

3 Thirdly, use them to better purpose than formerly yee have done; make friends with them, find some thing better than them to set your hearts upon: except yee have a better treasure▪ yee will not vilifie and depart with these. Labour therefore for true Godlinesse with content, which is great gaine, 1 Tim. 6.6. This will heale the malady, and take away the false pretence of gathering, having, and af­fecting riches.



DELIVERED In divers Sermons in Lincolnes-Inne, November the M.DCXXIII. vpon Iohn, 5.25.

BY I. P. then Batchellor of Divinitie, and Chaplaine in Ordinarie to the Prince his Highnesse.

Ignatius Epistola 15. ad Romanos.

Mors est vita sine Christo.

LONDON, Printed by Thomas Cotes for Michael Sparke, at the blue Bible in Greene-Arbor. 1632.

AN Elegant and lively description, of Spirituall DEATH and LIFE.

IOHN 5.25.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that the houre is comming and now is, when the dead shall heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, and they that heare shall live.

THE Occasion of these words was this: when as Christ had affirmed to the Iewes, that God was his Fa­ther, and the Iewes went a­bout to kil him for it, ve. 18. He proves what he had said by this argument: He that is able to give life to the dead is God, or the Sonne of God; But I am able to give life to the dead; (The houre is comming and now is, when the dead shall heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, and those that heare it shall live;) Therefore I am the Sonne of God. In briefe, these words shew Christs Divinity by the effects of it, that he can quicken the dead.

[Page 52]In these words we may consider these parts.

2 1 First, the subject on which Christ doth ex­ercise his Divinitie; and that is, on dead men; The dead shall heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, and shall live. Secondly, the instrument by which he doth it, and that is, by his Word; which is not meant onely the bare preaching and hearing of the Word; but such an inward, commanding, powerfull, operative word, that makes men doe that which is commanded them: Such a word was spoken to Lazarus be­ing dead, Lazarus come forth; and he did it. This word commands men, and makes them to obey it.

3 Thirdly, the time when he will exercise his divinity; the houre is comming, and now is; that is, the time shall come when as it shall bee a­bundantly revealed, the fruit of the Gospell shall appeare more plentifully and fully here­after, but yet it is now beginning to appeare; there is now some small fruit of it. 4 Lastly, It is affirmed with an asseveration or oath; Verily Verily I say unto you: And these are the parts of this Text.

Out of these words I purpose to shew you these three things.

1 First, What the estate of all men is out of Christ.

2 Secondly, what we gaine by Christ.

3 Thirdly, What we must doe for Christ.

1 First, we will shew you what your state is [Page 53] out of Christ, for this will make you to prize him more. And the point for this is,

That every man out of Christ is in a state of death, or dead man: that is,Doct. 1. All men how ever they are borne living, yet they are still dead men: without the living Spirit the root is dead. Hence are these places of Scripture, Gen. 2.17. The day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death. Mat. 8.22. Let the dead bury their dead. Ephes. 2.1. You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sinnes. Eph. 5.14. Awake thou that sleepest, stand up from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. The meaning is, that all men are spiritually dead. This will be of some moment, to shew you that you are dead without Christ. Yee account it a gastly sight to see many dead men lie together, it af­fects you much: but to see a multitude of dead men walke and stand before us, that affects us not. The naturall death is but a picture or sha­dow of death, but this spirituall death, is death indeed: As it is said spiritually of Christs flesh, Ioh. 6.55. That it is meate indeed. Now that you may know what this death is, I will shew you,

1 First of all, what this death is.

2 Secondly, how many kinds of this death there are.

3 Thirdly, the symptomes and signes of this death.

4 Fourthly, the degrees of this death.What this spi­rituall death is

For the first; what this death is; it consists 1 [Page 54] in two things. First, in death there is a priva­tion of life: then a man is dead, when as the soule is separated from the body: so a man is spiritually dead, when as the soule is separa­ted from the quickning spirit of Grace, and righteousnesse:Rom. 7.1 [...]. This is all our cases, In us there dwels no good, there is no Spirit of life within us: the Soule is so out of order, that the spi­rit is weary of it and forsakes it. When the body growes distempered and unfit for the Soule to use, then the Soule leaves it. Even as when the instrument is quite out of tune, a man layes it aside; whiles it is in tune he plaies on it: So a man dwels in a house as long as it is habitable and fit to dwell in, but when it be­comes unhabitable he departs: so, as long as the body is a fit organ for the soule, it keepes it; when it becomes unfit, it leaves it. Even so the holy Ghost lives in the soule of man, as long as it is in good temper, but being di­stempered by sinne, the holy Ghost removes. You may see it in Adam ▪ as soone as hee did eate of the forbidden fruite, the holy Ghost left him, and he lost his Originall righteounes.

1 Secondly, in this death as there is a privation, so there is also a positive evill quality wrought in the soule, whereby it is not onely void of goodnesse, but made ill. In the naturall death when a man dyes, there is another forme left in the body; so in this spirituall death, there is an evill habit, left in [Page 55] the soules of men: This you may see Heb. 9.14. where the workes you doe before regeneration, are called, Dead workes: there would be a contradiction in calling them dead workes, if there were not another posi­tive evill forme in man, beside the absence of the quickning Spirit,Rom. 7.18. Chap. 8.1.4. to 10. which forme is called Flesh in the Scriptures.

Obiect.But it may be objected, that sinne is a meere privation of good, that it is a Non-ens; there­fore flesh cannot bee said to be an operative qualitie and forme of sinne.

Answ.To this I answer, that though all sinne be a meere privation, yet it is in an operative sub­ject, and thence it comes to passe that sinne is fruitfull in evill workes. As for example, take an Horse and put out his eyes, as long as hee stands still there is no error; but if he begins to runne once, he runnes amisse, and the longer hee runnes, the further hee is out of the way wherein he should goe; and all this because he wants his eyes, which should direct him: So it is with sinne, though in its selfe it be but a meere privation, yet it is seated in the soule, which is alwayes active: Anima nunquam otio­sa; The goodnesse that should inlighten it is taken away, and there is a positive evill quali­tie put into it, that leades us on to evill.

Consider farther whence this death pro­ceeds, the originall of it, is the understanding & mind of man, which is primū vivens, & ulti­mum [Page 56] moriens. That which lives first and dies last. The cause of life is the understanding in­lightened to see the truth; when the affections are right, and the understanding straight, then we live; when it is darkened, all goes out of or­der. Ioh. 1.4. speaking of Christ, it is said, that in him there was life, and the life was the light of men: he was life because hee was light, he did inliven men, because he did inlighten them. therefore Ephe. 5.4. the Apostle speakes thus to men; Awake thou that sleepest, stand up from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light: because light is the beginning of spirituall life. There­fore it is said, Iames 1.18. Of his owne will begot he them, by the word of truth: that is, the word rectifies the understanding and opinion, which is the first thing in this spirituall birth: and Ephe 4.22.24. Put off the old man which is corrupt, according to the deceitfull lusts thereof; and put on the new man, which after God is crea­ted in holinesse, and perfect righteousnesse. The old man is corrupt according to the deceitfull lusts: that which is here called deceitfull lusts, &c. in the Originall, signifies, lusts proceeding from error, and holinesse proceeding from truth; Lust proceeds from error, in mistaking things; for lust is nothing else but affection misplaced, proceeding from error: and that holinesse in which God delighteth, in which his Image consists, comes from truth. When Adam was alive, hee judged aright, because [Page 57] then the wheeles and affections of his soule were right: Being dead by reason of his fall, he lost his sight, hee saw no beauty in the wayes of God; and this is the case of all unregenerate men: but when the Spirit recti­fies the judgement and convinceth men of sinn [...] and righteousnesse, then they beginne to revive. To be dead is to have the understan­ding darkned, the judgement erronious: to be alive is to have the understanding inlightened, and the judgement rectified; And thus much for the first, what this death is.

We come now to the kindes of this death,The kindes of Spirituall death. which are three.

1 First, there is a death of guiltinesse: one that is guiltie of any offence that is death by the Law, is said to be but a dead man. So every one by nature is a dead man, bound over to death though he be not executed.

2 Secondly, there is a death in sinne that is opposite to the life of sanctification, Ephe. 2.1. You hath he quickned, who were dead in trespasses and sinnes: and there is a death for sinne that is contrary to the life of Glory.

3 Thirdly, there is a death that is opposite to the life of joy: in hell there is a life, man is not quite extinguished, but yet men in hell are said to be dead, because they have no joy. This death consists in the separating of God from the soule; when God is separated from the soule; then man dies this death of sorrow. [Page 58] God joynes himselfe to the soules of good and bad: to those that are not sanctified, he joynes himselfe in a common manner, and thence it is, they have common joy, common comfort, common civility; to the godly he joynes him­selfe in an extraordinary manner, by which they have extraordinary joy: now when God is separated from the soule, then comes a per­fect death; see it in the separation of God from Christs humanity. God withdrawing himselfe from him but for a time,Mat. 27.46. he crieth out, My God my God, why hast thou forsaken mee; As God withdrawes himselfe more or lesse, so is our joy, our sorrow more or lesse. Thus much for the kinds of this death.

The symp­tomes of Spi­rituall death.Wee proceed now to the Symptomes or signes of this death, and they are foure.

The first is this; men are said to bee dead when they understand nothing, when as there is no reason exstant in them, when they see no more than dead men. The life is nought else but the soule acted: then a man is said to live when the understanding part is acted. So man is spiritually dead when as his understanding is darkened, when as hee sees or understands nothing of Gods wayes,1 Cor. 2.14. because they are spiri­tuall▪ and he carnall.

Obiect.But it may bee objected: men understand things belonging to faith and repentance, carnall men not yet sanctified have some un­derstanding of these.

[Page 59] Answ.I answer, that they may understand the ma­terials belonging to godlinesse as well as o­thers, but yet they relish them not, they see them not with a spirituall eye. Tit. 1.16. They are to every good worke reprobate; they cannot judge aright of any good workes, as to like, approve and love them, to see a beauty in them as they are good: Rom. 8.7. the wisdome of the flesh is enmitie with God, for it is not sub­iect to the Law of God, the Greeke word is [...]; the meaning is not that they un­derstand it not, but they like it not, they relish it not, they tast it not; they thinke of Gods wayes, that they are but folly, 1 Cor. 2.14. They are at enmity with them, they count them drosse.

2 The second symptome of death is, want of motion: where there is no motion, there is death. All men naturally want this motion, they cannot judge or doe any good thing by nature: they may doe the opus operatum, but they cannot doe it in an holy manner; their prayers, their hearing, receiving of the Sacra­ment, and the like, are dead workes without faith the principall of life, how ever they may be faire in other mens eyes.

3 The third signe of a naturall death, is sence­lesnesse; so men are spiritually dead, when they are not affected with Gods judgements, when they have hard hearts which cannot repent, Rom. 2.5. when they have hearts as hard as a stone, Ezek. 36.27. or when they are affected with [Page 60] them onely as naturall men apprehend evill; not from a quickning Spirit, but from a selfe-love.

4 Lastly, in naturall death, there is a losse of that vigor, that beauty in the face and counte­nance, which is in living men: So in men that are spiritually dead, there is no beauty, no vi­gor, they have death in their faces: they may have painted beauty, which may be like the li­ving, (as he said: pictum putavi esse verum, & verum putavi esse pictum:) they may be much alike, yet they haue not that livelinesse and beauty as living men have,Psal. 96.6. Psal. 110.3. Gods beauty (the beauty of holinesse) is not found in them.

Obiect.But it may bee objected, they have many excellencies in them, they know much, they excell in morall vertues.

Answ.I answer, they may have excellencies, as a dead man may have Iewels and chaines about him, yet they are dead: they have them, but yet they are as Iewels of gold in a Swines snoute;Prov 11.2 [...]. 2 Pet. 2.22. they are as Swine, their good things make them not men; they are beautifull, yet they are but dead men; as the evill workes of good men make them not bad men: so the good workes of evill men, make them not good. Thus much for the signes of this Death.

1 The degrees of Spirituall death. 4 We come now to the degrees of this death, in all these deathes there are degrees: First in the death of guilt, if you have had more meanes, the guilt is greater, if you make no [Page 61] use of them.Rom. 2.12.13, 14, 15, 16 The Gentiles they shall onely be con­demned for breaking the Law of nature, because they knew no other Law; The Iewes they shall be condemned for sinning against the Law of na­ture, and the Law of Moses, they had a double Law, and shall be condemned for the breach of it; Christians having a treble Law, the Gospell, the Law of nature, the morrall Law, shall be condemned for all three,; and among all Christians, such as have had more meanes, and better education, the greater shall their punishment be.

2 Secondly, in the death opposite to the life of sanctification, there are degrees. Now yee must know that there are no degrees in the privative part of death, but they are onely in the positive. The lowest step in this second death is to have enmity to the wayes of God, Rom. 1.30. Heb. 10.29. Acts 5.39. be­ing fighters against God, and enemies to the Saints; this is the lowest step. The second de­gree is, when as men are not so active that way, but yet are dead in pleasures, ambition,1 Tim. 5.6. covetousnesse, and the like. There is a gene­ration of men which trouble not themselves to oppose God and the Saints, but give them­selves to pleasures, and like those Widowes, 1 Tim. 5.6. are dead in pleasures, while they are alive. The last step in this death, is the death of Civility. Civill men come nearer the Saints of God than others, they come within a step or two of heaven, and yet are shut out;Mar. 12.34. they are [Page 62] not farre from them the kingdome of Heaven, as Christ said to the young man; yet they misse of it as well as others.

3 Thirdly, for the death that is opposite to the life of joy, the degrees of it are more sen­sible: Some have legall terrors, the begin­nings of eternall death;Rom. 14.17. others have peace of conscience, and ioy in the holy Ghost, the begin­ning of eternall life. And thus much for the degrees of these deaths.

Obiect.Now hearing that all are dead in trespasses and sinnes, yee may object; If wee bee dead, why doe you preach unto us? If we be dead, we understand not, wee move not, we are not capable of what you say.

Answ. 1.To this I answer, First, there is a great dif­ference betweene this spirituall death, and na­turall death.

1 For first, those who are naturally dead, un­derstand nothing at all; but in those who are spiritually dead, there is a life of understan­ding, by which they themselves may know that they are dead; men who are naturally dead, cannot know they are dead.

2 Secondly, those who are spiritually dead, may understand the wayes of life: though they relish them not, yet they may heare and re­ceive them, which those who are naturally dead cannot doe.

3 Thirdly, those who are spiritually dead, may come to the meanes, to the poole in [Page 63] which the Spirit breathes the breath of life; whereas naturally dead men cannot come to the meanes of life.

Answ. 2.Secondly I answer, that though yee are dead, yet hearing may breed life, the word can doe it. There was an end why Christ spake to Lazarus, that was dead, Lazarus come forth, because his word wrought life;Ioh. 11.43.44. there­fore though yee are dead, yet because the word can worke life in you, our preaching is not in vaine.

3 Lastly, this death is a voluntary death. Men who are naturally dead cannot put life into themselves; no more can those who are spiri­tually dead when they have made themselves dead. Men die this death in a free manner; I cannot better expresse it, than by this simili­tude. A man that is about to commit the act of murther or treason, his friends perswade him not to doe it, for if hee doth, hee is but a dead man; yet notwithstanding he will do it; we say of such a one that hee is a dead man willingly. So wee tell men, if they doe thus and thus, that they goe downe to the Cham­bers of death, yet they will doe it. Hence is that Ezek. 18.31. Why will ye die, O ye house of Israel? implying that this spirituall death in sinne, is a voluntary death.

Obiect.But ye will object, men are not quite dead, there are some reliques of Gods Image still left in them; how are they then dead?

[Page 64] Answ.To this I answer, that there is a double Image of God; first a naturall, standing in the naturall frame of the soule, as to be immor­tall, immateriall; So there is understanding, will and reason, and some sparkes of life left in us, as the remainder of a stately building that is ruinated: but yet there are no sparkes of the living Image of God left in us the spi­rituall Image of God consisting in holinesse and true righteousnesse, Ephes. 4.24. remaines not; the Papists indeed deny it, but how will they answer the rule of the Fathers: that Supernaturalia dona sunt penitus ablata, naturalia quassata; that su­pernaturall gifts are utterly taken away, no sparkes of them remaine.

Obiect.But it will be objected, that though men by nature have nothing left, yet there is now an universall ability and grace, an universall sufficiency given unto them.

Answ. 1 To this I answer, that that which they call universall grace, is the same thing that nature is, but they put another tearme upon it; it is found in nature, and common to all wherever it is, therefore it cannot be grace. For in grace there is alwayes something that is peculiar.

2 Secondly, if there should bee an universall grace, the Saints would be no more beholding to God, than other men; if God give all alike to all, it should not bee God, but themselves that put the difference.

3 Thirdly, if there were that generall suffici­ency, [Page 65] it would take away all election: there might then be prescience, but no election, no predestination to death or life.

4 Fourthly, if there were a generall grace, what is the reason that Paul made it such mat­ter of difficulty to answer that question of election, Rom. 9. If Aristotle and other Hea­then, if every one have such a generall suf­ficiency, Paul would not have made such a scrupulous answer,Rom. 11.33. and have cried out of the depth.

5 Fithly, there is no such universall ability, be­cause that which is borne of flesh is flesh, Ioh. 3.5.6. and that which is borne of the Spirit is Spirit; we are all borne of the flesh, and cannot therefore have this spirituall sufficiency.

Obiect.But yet there are some spirituall gifts in men.

Answ.I answer, that we cannot have these spiritu­all gifts if we are not borne of the Spirit; that which is borne of the flesh is flesh. Not Bellarmine himselfe, nor any man else will say that all are borne of the Spirit. It is our Saviours owne speech. Iohn 15.2. Every branch in me not bea­ring fruite, he taketh away, and it is cast out, and withered; that is, as the branch not being in the root, bringeth forth no fruit, so men as long as they are not ingrafted into Christ, bring forth no buds, no fruite at all; they may heare the word, but they cannot make use of it, they cannot doe it without the Spirit, and [Page 66] that is free: it breatheth where it listeth: cōpare Iohn 3.8. the Spirit breatheth where it listeth, with Iohn 6.44. No man can come unto mee un­lesse the Father draw him, that is, not as a sheepe is lead with a bough; for Christ doth not say, no man will come, but, no man can come except the Father draw him; compell him as it were by force, not perswade him by intreatie: that is, unlesse he changeth, and taketh away his wolvish will.

Obiect.But it will be objected, that God drawes every man.

Answ.I answer, that the context concludes against this. For Christ doth bring this in, to shew the reason, why many did not receive his Doctrine; and hee concludes with this, that men therefore doe not receive it, because God doth not draw them: None can come unto me except the Father draw him.

Obiect.I will answer one objection more and so conclude: If we are dead, to what end is the Law given, why are wee commanded to doe thus and thus, if we be dead?

Answ.To this I answer, that the Law is given to this end, to shew us our weaknesse, and to leade us unto Christ: it is not giuen us to keepe exactly, for that is impossible: it was impossible to keepe it through the weaknesse of the flesh, Rom. 8.3. the Law was therefore given that wee might know our weaknesse; not that we should keepe it, but that Christs righteousnesse might bee ful­filled [Page 67] in us by faith. Gal. 3.24. the Law is our schoolemasted to bring us to Christ, that we might be iustified through faith, that is the end of [...]he Law.

Obiect.But it will be objected: that in as much as we are commanded to doe things impossible, mans nature is destroyed, for man is a free creature. Secondly, the command implies an absurdity, an impossibility, to bid a man doe that which hee cannot doe; to bid a man that is in a deepe Well, bound hand and foote, to come out himselfe is foolish; yee may blame him for falling in, it is absurd to bid him come out.

Answ.To this I answer, that there is a difference betweene the externall binding, and the bonds wherewith a man is fettered by sinne; There is an externall impediment, which a man can­not remove, as when he is fettered in the well; but there is no externall impediment, when as men are bound in the chaines of sin. When wee command you to doe thus and thus, all the businesse is with the wil, we rather say men will not, than they cannot come. There is liber­ty when as a man hath eligibile or non eligibile; when hee hath a thing in his owne choise, when there is no impediment, when hee may argue both wayes: If a man out of the pervers­nesse of his nature doth it not, it is not com­pulsory, but free; a beasts action is not free because hee cannot reason on both sides, but [Page 68] man when hee considers arguments on both sides, when hee can say, doe not doe such a thing, but doe such a thing; when he can con­ceive arguments on both sides, he is free; there is no such externall impediment in him, as to bid one in darkensse, to doe a thing of the light, or one bound hand and foote in a pit, to come out; since the chiefe impediment here, is in the depraved wils of men, which God doth rectifie and change by his grace and Spi­rit, through the use of meanes.

If then every man out of Christ bee in an estate of death,Vse 1. let every man examine him­selfe, and consider whether he be a dead man or no; this is the great quere or question in this mutability and incertaintie of things. Let us make the life to come sure; our life is uncer­taine here; but have we this spirituall life, are we living men? then wee are happy: but are we dead? then he that is not partaker of the first resurrection, shall not be partaker of the second. It is too late to begin to live, when we are dying, certainely the time of our naturall death is a time of spending, not of getting or inquiring after life: If yee deferre this search while yee are in health, when ye lie on your deaths bed, when ye shall see heaven and hell immediately presented unto you, this que­stion will hold you solicitous, and then you shall see that this spirituall life, is the life indeed. The time of this naturall life, is [Page 69] not long; the candle burnes not long if it burne out; yet it is oftner blowne out than burnt out; men oftner fall downe than come down from the tree of life: this Tabernacle is often throwne downe before it fals downe, therefore in this short life make your selves sure of eternall life.

Now there are two things which hinder this search and inquirie after spirituall life.

1 The first is a false opinion; men thinke themselves in the wayes of life, being in the wayes of death; they thinke there is a greater latitude in the Gospell than there is.

2 The second is, men are not at leasure; there are millions of businesses in their heads, so that they cannot hearken to the whisperings of conscience; they have no spare time to be wise unto salvation; It will be our wisdome therefore to consider our end, Deut. 32.29. To helpe you therefore in this Quere, whether you are dead or alive? 1 Consider first, if ever you have beene dead. 2 Secondly, if ye have beene dead, whether yee are made alive.

1 First, I say, consider whether yee have beene dead or no; I meane, whether sin hath beene made alive in you, that you might die▪ Rom. 7.9.10 I was alive without the Law once, but when the Commandement came, sinne re­vived, and I died; that is, the Commande­ment awakens my sinnes, and they being a­alive I died; sinne when it affrights not a [Page 70] mans conscience, then hee is dead; when it wounds the conscience, then hee is alive. The Law being brought to the soule by the Spirit, yee see the rectitude of the Comman­dement, and your owne obliquity and croo­kednesse; then sinne is alive and ye die. Peter preaching to the Iewes, Acts 2. recites to them their sinne in crucifying the Lord of glory, which sinne was made alive, and pricked them at their hearts. Sinne was dead in David, till Nathan and the Law came unto him, afterward hee lived and was humbled. Luke 5. Peter seeing Christs Divinitie by the draught of Fishes, cries out, Depart from mee Lord, for I am a sinfull man; hee had sinnes in him before, but they were dead; then they were made alive. Paul, hee had sinnes that were dead in him, but when the outward light (which was but a tipe of his light with­in) did shine about him, then he dies, and his sinnes were made alive: So Iosephs brethren had sinnes, but they were not made alive till they were put in prison, Gen. 42.21.22. then their sinne in selling their brother Ioseph lived, and they died. Hath sinne ever beene alive in you by the com­mandement to slay you? that is, hath it bred such an apprehension in you, as of death; (not a sigh or two for a day, that is no slaying of you, but ye must apprehend sinne as death, as one that is to bee executed forthwith apprehends death, so must you apprehend sinne) then [Page 71] it is a signe, that there is life within you.

2 Secondly, are yee made alive againe? Is there such a change in you as if yee were other creatures, as if yee lived an other life? Where this life is, it works an alteration and a change, gives us another being, makes us to bee no more the same men; Who ever is in Christ, 2 Cor. 5.17. is a new creature; it works a generall change from death to life; it makes all our actions to bee vigorous, like the actions of living men, Old things passe away, all things become new, it makes men lead a new life: If old acquaintance and lusts would draw us away, we answer that we are dead, that we live no moe to these, that now we have not our owne wills: Christ lives in us and workes in us, Gal. 2.20. It is not I that live, but Christ lives in me. The same mind will bee in us that was in Christ Iesus, Phil. 2.5. Now if ye desire to know whether Christ live in you or no, or whether you are in an estate of death; you must see whether you have these two things which are in every one in whom Christ liveth: first see whether you live to him: He died that we should not live to our selve, 2 Cor. 5.15. but to him alone. In morall things the end and prin­ciple are all one. Before Christ lived in you, all you did was from your selves, ye were your owne principle and end: but Christ living in you, there is another end; ye eye Christ, ye looke to him, all that ye doe is done in sinceri­tie, it is done for him and from him.

[Page 72] Quest.But how can Christ be the end of our cal­lings, eating, drinking, and recreations?

Answ.I answer, that of every action Christ must be the end, yee must doe as a man in a journey; though every step he treades he thinkes not of his journeies end, yet the generall aime of every step must be for that end, and that cau­seth every step: so in all yee doe, the generall end must be Christ.

2 Secondly, if Christ live in you, your hearts cleave to him, as to the Principle of life, as the child to the dug, or the element to its natu­rall place. What ever our life is, we cleave to it: Some place their life in their credit, take a­way it, and they die: others in riches; take a­way them, and they perish. What ever is your god, if it be taken away, you perish. Therefore Iohn. 6.68. When Christ demanded of the twelve, whether they would likewise goe away; Peter makes this answer; Lord, whither shall we goe? thou hast the words of eternall life.

3 Thirdly, ye may know, what life ye liue, by the food that feedes it. Oyle feeds the Lampe, fuel the fire. If your life be fed with the duties of obedience, then yee live. If ye keepe my Commandements, yee shall live in them, saith Christ: you shall live in them as in your pro­per element, as the Fish in the water; every motion out of it, is to death. There are two sorts of men to whom this triall doth be­long.

[Page 73]The first are those, who have a name they live and yet are dead, like the Church of Sardis, Rev. 3.1.

2 The second to whom this belongeth, are those who are dead indeed.

1 The first of these, are like the Angels that take bodies, and doe actions; they are not truly living men, though they appeare to be. Now the signes that Characterise these dead men from those that are truly living, are five, taken from the signes of the fained life, in the Spirits that have bodies but onely in appea­rance whereby they are distinguished from bodies that truly live.

1 First, Angels that take assumed bodies, eate and drinke, and are not nourished:The characters of thos [...] that are spiritually dead. as the Angels that came to Lot, and Abraham, and had created bodies. So these dead men doe all the actions that living men doe; they heare, they pray, they reade, but they turne it not into flesh and bloud, because there is no life in them: they are not the stronger for hearing, or any thing they doe; they thrive not, as those that have the Boulimia, they eate and drinke yet they grow not, because there is an Atrophy in their bo­dies. We preach to men, yet they are the same this yeare as they were the last: they have a name to live and yet they live not, they turne not the meanes to flesh and nourishment; it is a signe of a living man that he growes. That which is said of a good wit, that it makes use [Page 74] of every thing, may be said of grace; it turnes all the passages of Gods providence into nou­rishment; stormes as well as faire gales, helpe a living man to the haven. Affliction, prospe­rity, all put him on and helpe him forwards. Take one not having this life, doe what yee will, hee thrives not; as an unthrift, put him to what trade you will, he thrives not, hee is still on the losing hand; so these men, prospe­rity, adversitie, helpe them not: put any thing to a dead man to doe, he doth it not; so these men, the Word and Sacrament helpes them not, because they are dead.

2 Secondly, the motion of the Spirits that take assumed bodies, is not from any inward principall, nor from the motion of life with­in: so the actions of men that are not alive, are not from the principles of life, they are not vitall motions; but as in other actions, the Wheeles goe as long as the spring is up that moves them: so the actions of men that are dead, as long as the springs are up and the in­fluence continues, they move. When they are sicke and apprehend death, then they will doe many things; but these being gone their good­nesse is ended: whilst they deepely appre­hend some accident, they will be good, that being gone and forgotten, their goodnesse ends· Many whiles they have good acquain­tance, and are in good company, will be good, but when they are gone, their goodnesse cea­seth. [Page 75] These men have golden outsides, they seeme to have the Kings stampe upon their actions, yet they are but counterfeit; they pay God in counterfeit coine, not in currant mony; their actions have a forme of religion, 2 Tim. 3.5. but yet the power is wanting; all they doe is but a meere formality; their Prayers, their Sabbath kee­ping are but in shew; those actions and duties that have most power and life in them, they doe least of all relish, they tast them not, be­cause they have no life in them. In generall, all the actions that men wanting life doe, they are but dead workes, they may bee deceived with them for a time, but when death comes, they shall finde them to be but dead. Remigius a Iudge of Loraigne tells this story, that the divell in those parts did use to give money to Witches, which did appeare to be good coine, seemed to be currant money at first; but being laid up a while, it then appeared to be nothing but dried leaves: so the divell deceives men now, he makes them to doe outward actions, which have a faire shew, but when they need them, they then appeare as they are, to be no­thing but dead leaves, because the principle of life is wanting.

A third propertie of assumed bodies is this, that they are taken up onely for a time, and then are laid downe againe, as the Spirits that take them listed: so in these men which seeme to live, there is an inconstancy and mu­tability [Page 76] in their lives, they lay downe their re­ligion as occasion serves. If that they did was done in respect to God, it would bee al­wayes the same, their company and occasions would not alter it; but because it is not done in respect to God, therefore as their compa­ny and occasions are mutable, so is their re­ligion.Iude 12. They are as inconstant as Clouds without raine, that are quickly scattered; like wandring Stars,Hosea 6.4. or like the morning dew, that is soone dried up. The Saints have an inequalitie in their lives, yet they never die againe; they may be sickly,2 Iude 12. but these men are twice dead, trees plucked up by the rootes, that never grow againe: The Saints may bee as sheepe soyled with a fall, but they can never become Wolves a­gaine, but these men they turne Wolves a­gaine, so did Pharoah and Saul. The Saints have their Turbida intervalla, their ebbing and flowing, their full and their waine; but yet all these cloudings doe but obscure their graces not extinguish them: the darkenesse of the night extinguisheth not the light of the Stars, but covers it; so doe these cloudings but only cover the graces of the Saints. All the good­nesse of other men that seeme to live, are but Lucida intervlla, they are good but by fits, when as those that live are bad but by fits, Nullum fictum est diuturnum, their goodnes is but counterfeit, therefore it lasts not, it holds not out.

[Page 77] 4 Another distinguisher of these walking Ghosts from living, is this: the actions they doe, they doe them not as living men do, they make apparitions onely and vanish. Those men that have nothing but civility, it quickly vanisheth, they are like the Church of Sardis, Reve. 3.1. that had a name shee lived, and yet was dead: their workes are not perfect throughout, they were but linsey-wolsey, they were not thorow paced in the wayes of God, but shuffell; they graspe at both, and compre­hend neither; they doe many things, but not all. As the young man that came to Christ, Christ looked on him, and loved him; what di­stinguished him? one thing was wanting,Mar. 10.21. his workes were not perfect, his heart was set up­on his wealth, he would doe any thing else, his heart was not weaned or divorced from it. Saul had a name to live, but yet his workes were not perfect, when Samuel came not, 1 Sam. then hee was discovered; that was but his triall, he would not rest in God. Herod did many things, yet he was not perfect,Mar. 6.20. hee would not leave his incest; so all that have but a forme of re­ligion they are Wolves though they have a sheepish outside, they are not perfect, ye shall know them by their workes.

But what workes are those that we cannot see them doe?Quest.

Answ.I answer, they may be exact in the first, yet faile in the second Table, and those that pra­ctise [Page 78] the duties of the second Table, faile in the duties of the first. If men be exact in the duties of both Tables, their religion is pure and undefiled, Iam. 1.27. If they faile in the duties of one table, to make their religion pure, is to mend in the other. These civill men wrong no man, yet they content themselves with a bare formalitie; this is not pure Religion: we say this is pure Religion, if yee bee fervent in prayer, and content not your selves with formality of Religion without the power.

5 Lastly, these walking ghosts, doe but shew themselves to men, they company not with them; yee see them and heare no more of them. Ye shall know living men▪ by their com­panying and loving of the Saints; as sheepe and doves they are never out of company, and keepe no other company but their owne. Yee shall finde in others these diffe­rences.

1 First, either they delight not in all the Saints; We must love all the Saints, this par­ticle all, is put in all Pauls Epistles; these love not all the Saints.Ephe. 1.15. Col. 1.4. 2 Thes. 1.3.

2 Secondly, if they love all the Saints, yet they love not the Saints onely, yee must love none but the Saints. If yee love the Saints because they are Saints, then those who are not Saints, ye doe not love; that is, yee love none with the love of friendship, and intimate [Page 79] familiaritie but the Saints; yet love them with a love of pitty, and we all faile in this love.

3 Thirdly, they doe not love those that excell in vertue. If your hearts be not right,Psal. 16. [...]. ye dis­like all those that goe beyond you in holinesse, and practise.

4 Lastly, though they make a shew, they love them, yet they doe not shew the effects of their loves to them. And thus much for the helpes and discovery of the first sort of men, that have a name they live, and yet are dead.

2 The second sort of men to whom this use is directed, are those who are quite dead;The markes and signes of those wh [...] are spiritually dead. yee shall know them by these markes or Symp­tomes.

1 First, yee shall finde coldnes [...] in them; in death there is no heate: so their prayers and performances are cold, they are dead, wanting fervency.

Obiect.But the Saints want heate as well as others, they also are cold.

Answ.I answer, though sometimes they want it, yet they are quickly made hot againe, because there is life in them; as Charcole is quickly kindled, because it hath beene in the fire, so the Saints are soone kindled, brcause they had fire in thē before. Others are as greene wood, or rather as matter that is not combustible, as the Adamant, that will not bee made hot with fire; Living men, admonitions and the [Page 80] fire of good company will heate againe, so wil it not the others.

Secondly, ye shall know them by their stif­nesse and hardnesse. It is a signe of death to be inflexible: Wicked men are as hard as flint to Gods commandes, but as soft as waxe to that which humors them. Are yee tractable? Do you delight in your owne wayes, and yet continue the same men, keepe the same com­pany? Doe yee abide still in the same place, or goe on in the same tract? then ye are dead: In many things you may be tractable, but the maine is, whether yee are flexible in those things that are connaturall unto you. These deale with us as Iohanan did with Ieremiah, Ier. 42. He said he would goe downe into Egypt, hee would doe any thing, that God should hid him, whether it were good or bad; but when Iere­my had told him and the people that they must not goe downe into Egypt, then they say that he spake falsely, God did not send him with such a message: If Gods will had suted with his, hee would have done what hee would have had him to doe: your triall is when you must of­fer up your Isaacke, when you must part with those things that are most sweete unto you.

3 Thirdly, dead men are sencelesse, like Idols that the Psalmist speakes of: they have eyes and see not, Psal. 115.4.5. Psal. 135.15.16. eares and heare not, mouthes and speake not, feet and walke not, they have sences to di­scerne, but there is yet an inward eye, they [Page 81] want; they see no beauty in the wayes of God; therefore they thinke there is no such matter, because they have eyes and see it not, they have mouthes and taste it not, they relish it not, they smell no sweet savour from the gra­ces of the Saints, when as the graces of the Saints have a sweet savour, like an ointment powred out, Cant. 1.2. So for feeling, they feele not, they are not sencible of the judgements or threatnings; the Law nor the Gospell move them not, they have hard and insensible hearts; the more insencible they are, it is a signe, they are more dead: the more sencible wee are of the threatnings or promises, the more life is in us.

Lastly, dead men are speechlesse;Mat. 12.34. there is no breath in them. Out of the aboundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The drie and empty channell drives not the mill, but a full streame sets it on worke. If the heart bee full of life, the tongue is full of good speeches, Prov. 10. The words of the righteous are as fined silver, be­cause there is a treasure within them; but the words of the wicked are nothing worth, because their hearts are evill. As it is said of evill men, that their tongues are set on fire of hell; so the tongues of the righteous are set on fire by heaven. Esay 19.18. they speake the language of Canaan. In hypocrites there is loquacity as bla­sing meteors, and in Saints there is sometimes an indisposition by reason of some sinnes, [Page 82] which make them like to springs that are dammed up with stones and mudde. Yet judge not of them by such fits, but take them as they are in their ordinary course; the mouth speaketh out of the abundance of the heart. Every man is delighted in some genious operations, in things that are sutable to him; if there be aboundance of life, aboundance of grace within a man, he delights to speake of it: as all men are severally disposed, such are their speeches. Now all these are privative signes of death, I will adde one more that is positive.

5 Fiftly, looke what life a man lives, he drawes to him the things that nourish it, and ex­pelleth that which hinders it. If a man bee alive to sinne, he drawes that which is sinfull, but holinesse and the meanes of grace, he ex­pels as contrary to him: What doth satisfie his lusts, that he doth; he may doe good for a time, but he is quickly sicke of it.

Obiect.But I doe much good, I abstaine from much evill, may some men say.

Answ.To this I answer, that if one member lives, it is a signe the whole body lives; so if one mortall sinne live in you, it is a signe you are dead. Truth of grace cannot stand with one mortall sinne unrepented, unsubdued: one disease kils a man as well as an hundred; so one living lust kils you: Doth any lust live and reigne in you, it kils you.

Obiect.But what is it to live and to reigne?

[Page 83] Answ.I answer, when a man ceaseth to maintaine warre with his lust, and resists it not; when a man layes downe the weapons, when he seeth his lust is naturall to him, and therefore yeelds unto it, then it reignes in him. There is no man that lives the life of grace, but hee hath this propertie, that hee strives against all sinne to the utmost, not in shew, but in since­ritie; he strives against the occasions of sinne though they foile him; hee still maintaines warre against them, and so they live, and reigne not in him.

2. If every man out of Christ be in an estate of death, let us not deferre repentance,Vse 2. but doe it whilst wee may. Repentance makes a dead man to be a living man: What is it that makes you deferre repentance? Yee thinke yee can change your courses, and sorrow when you list, therefore ye deferre it. If men be dead, and repentance puts as it were a new soule into them, makes them to passe from death to life, then it is not so easie a thing. Suppose yee had Ezekiahs warning, Esay 38.1. is it in your power to make your selves live? No, it is beyond your power; God onely can doe it. Every man lies be­fore God, as that clod of earth, out of which Adam was made. God must breathe life into him, else hee continues dead. God doth not breathe life into all, He quickens whom hee will. Ioh. 5.21. It is your wisdome therefore to waite on him in his Ordinances: if ye have good mo­tions [Page 84] begun in you, presse them forwards, they are ofsprings of life. Thinke seriously, am I dead or alive? If dead, why then say, its not in my power to quicken me, its onely in God to doe it, and he doth this but in few, those whom he quickneth are but as grapes after the Vintage, Ier. 3.14. Esay 17.6. or as the Olives after the beating; how then shall I bee in the number? Give your selves no rest; know that it is God that brea­theth, and then depend on him. Make that use of the doctrine of election, with care and more solicitude to looke to your selves. God workes both the will and the deede of his good pleasure, Phil. 2.13. worke out therefore your salvation with feare and trembling. If repentance bee a passage from death to life, if it bee such a change, then labour for to get it. The Spirit doth not alwayes strive with men;Gen. 6.3. yee are not alwayes the same, yee will sticke in the sand, grow worse and worse, if yee grow not better and better. No more power have you to change your selves, than the Blackmore hath to change his skinne, Ier. 13.23. or the Leopard his spots; the time will come, when you shall say as Spira did: O how doe I desire faith, would God I had but one drop of it; and for ought wee know he had it not.

Thirdly, learne from hence to judge aright of naturall men;Vse 3. for all the excellency they have, yet they are but dead men; If a man be dead, wee doe not regard his beauty; all [Page 85] excellencies in naturall men, are but dead. It is a hinderance in the wayes of God, to over-valew outward excellencies, and to despise others that want these trappings: let us say, for all these excellencies, yet he is but a dead man, wee know none after the flesh any more, 2 Cor. 5.16. Againe for your delight in them, know that this death differs from naturall death, for these dead men are active, and ready to corrupt others, they have an influence, that doth dead those, who are conversant with them, sinne communicates as well as grace. Nothing so great a quench-cole, as the com­pany of bad men: there is an operative vertue in them to quench mens zeale, as the drop­pings of water will quench the fire, though they cannot wholly extinguish it being once kindled.

Fourthly, if all out of Christ are dead,Vse 4. learne to judge of the Ordinances of God, and the meanes of salvation, let us not un­dervalue nor over-value them; the Ordinan­ces cannot bring life of themselves, no, not the Word, nor Sacraments; If yee are sicke and send for the Minister, hee cannot quicken you; the Ordinance is but a creature, and cannot give life. If we speake to the eare, and Christ speake not to the heart, it is nothing: Let your eyes therfore be fixed on Christ, be­seech him to put life into you, and pray to God for a blessing on the meanes: the Ordi­nances [Page 86] are but dead Trunkes, as Pens without Inke, or Conduit-pipes without water. Learne then that God doth convey life by the Ordi­nances, that they themselves cannot give life, therefore doe not over-valew them. Yet know withall, that God doth not worke but by his Ordinances; the spirit breathes not in Taverns or Play-houses, but in the Church assemblies. Act. 10.44. whiles Peter was preaching to Corne­lius, and his family, the Spirit fell upon them: so the Spirit fell on others by laying the Apostles hands on them; the ordinances are the Vehiculum of the Spirit; give what is just to them, and no more; give them neither too little nor too much, do not over-value them, but yet neglect them not: neglect not the Sacrament, ye know not what ye do when ye neglect to receive it, ye think that yee ate and drink your own damnati­on, 1 Cor. 11.29. if ye receive it unreverently; Absence from it is a sinne as well as the remisse and negli­gent receiving of it. Sicknesse and death yee feare, why then doe you neglect the Sacra­ment, why doe you receive it unworthily? Whence are those Epidemicall diseases a­mongst us? the cause of them is from hence, that yee neglect the Sacrament, that yee receive it unworthily. 1 Cor. 11.30. For this cause many are weake and sicke among you, and many sleepe. Consider the danger of neglecting the Sacrament,Levit. 23.29.30. he that came not to the Passeover, must bee cut off from the children of Israel; the [Page 87] same Equitie remaines still in the Sacra­ment; the cause of that was, because he was to come up with the rest, to remember the death of the first borne of Egypt, and the re­demption from their bondage, hee being pas­sed over thereby: It is now the same sinne to neglect the Sacrament, the Equity still re­maines. Are yee so strong in faith as ye need it not? To bee absent from the Word, yee thinke it a sinne: so it is to be absent from the Sacrament; nothing can excuse you. If a master bid his servant do a thing, and he goes and is drunken, so that he cannot doe it, will it excuse him? If you have made your selves unfit to receive the Sacrament by commiting any grosse sinnes; the unfitnesse will not ex­cuse you. If a man hath an occasion to ride a journey, if he misse one day, hee will take the next: so ye if ye misse the Sacrament once, be sure to take it the next time▪ It is The Sacra­ment is admi­nistred twice every Terme, and sometimes thrice. devided here, that so if ye misse once, yee may receive it the next time; take heed therefore how yee neglect it. The end of the Sacrament is to worship God, to set forth Christs death, it is the chiefest part of God worship; therefore give it the chiefest respect. Now from hence see the necessitie of this life of grace: how can yee come to the Sacrament, if yee are dead men? Labour therefore for this life of grace. And thus much for the first point, that all men out of Christ are in a state of death.

[Page 88]We come now to the second, which is this.

That all in Christ, are in a state of life. Our scope is, to shew you what you are out of Christ, and what benefits ye receive by being in Christ; we cannot goe throughout all par­ticulars, but we will take the greatest, life and death; the one the greatest good, the other the greatest evill. All in Christ are living men; this is the greatest benefit, because death is the greatest evill: therefore by the rule of contraries, life must be the greatest good. Far­ther, men prize nothing so much as life; this experience sheweth, and Sathan himselfe could tell, that skinne for skinne, and all that a man hath, he will give for his life, Iob 2.4. Beyond experience, God himselfe threatens death to Adam, as the greatest evill; The day that thou eatest of it, thou shalt die the death. Gen. 3.3. Now all that live this life are living men, and have all things pertaining to life, 2 Pet. 1.2. they have all that pertaines to life and godlinesse, that is, all things necessary for the nourishing and che­rishing of them, life were else unhappy; take beasts and plants, they having all belonging to their life, are happy, and they are said to live: take any naturall life, when as a man hath food, and rayment, and recreation, he is said to live. A man lives when he hath life, and all that appertaines unto it. I will divide this Doctrine into two parts, and I will shew you two things.

[Page 89] 1 First, that there is such a life as this.

2 Secondly, what this life is.

First, that there is such a life, as this; It is needfull to shew you, that there is such a life,That there is a spirituall life. Matth. 13 55. because it is a hidden life. God hides these spirituall things, as he hid Christ under a Car­penters sonne: so he hides the glorious myste­ries of the Sacrament,1 Cor. 10. & 11. under the base elements of Bread and Wine; he hides the wisdome of God, under the foolishnesse of preaching:1 Cor. 1.21. he hides those whom the world is not worthy of, under sheepes Skinnes, and Goates Skinnes, Heb. 11. yea, Col. 3.3. Our lives are hid with Christ in God.

But from whom is this life hidden?Quest.

Answ.I, answer, that it is hidden from naturall men as colours from a blind man; they are there, and he sees them not.

But with what is it hidden?

Answ.I answer, that it is hidden: First,Quest. with this naturall life, wee see it not because wee have this life, it is hid, as the Sap in the roote, or water in the spring.

2 Secondly, it is hidden with a base outside, 2. Cor. 6.10. The Saints are as poore, as despised, as having nothing; Christ had a base outside (there was no forme or beauty in him that wee should desire him:Eay 53.2. and so have the Saints being conformable to him; they are like other men for their outsides.

3 Thirdly, it is hidden with mis-reports, thus Christ himselfe was hidden; he was counted [Page 90] a wine-bibber, Luke 7.34. Matth. 9.34. a friend of Publicans and sinners; one casting out divels by Belzebub: and there­fore he became a stumbling blocke unto many.Esay 8.14. The Saints are likewise mis-represented, they are evill spoken of, they are presented to mens understanding otherwise than they are. There are a generation of men, that pervert the strait wayes of God, Act. 13.10. that is, they make them seeme crooked, though they are straight, notwithstanding, they pervert them, as a crooked, or false glasse, perverts a face that is beautifull, representing it in another shape; or as a sticke that is halfe in the water, and halfe out, seemes to be crooked, and yet is straight in it selfe.

Quest.But in what is it hidden?

Answ.I answer, that it is hidden in Christ, as in the fountaine,Col. 3.3. as in the heart and soule, as in the subject wherein it dwels. Men what ever they professe, beleeve not this, that there is such a life, because it is a hidden life; what course then shall wee take to make you beleeve it? The Scriptures you will not deny, yet you will be as hard to beleeve them, as you will be to beleeve that there is such a life; Wee will therefore say something, without the Scrip­tures, to perswade you that there is such a life as this.

First, there is a life which the foule and spi­rits lives; as the Angels they move, act, and understand; though they eate not; there [Page 91] is therefore a life, besides this common life.

2 Secondly, consider the matter of the soule, then yee shall see, that the soule lives such a life, as Angels doe; The soules of good men, leade such a life as good Angels doe; the soules of bad men, such a life as bad Angels. The life of beasts depends on the compacture, and Temperature of the substance, as the Harmo­ny doth upon the true extent of every string. With the soule of man it is otherwise; the soule lives first, and then causeth the body to live; it is otherwise in beasts, their soules and bodies live together. Besides it is cer­taine, that the soule shall live, when as the body is laid aside; then it lives another life from the body: therefore it lives another life in the body. The higher faculties of the soule, the Vnderstanding and Will, are not placed or seated in the body, as other faculties are: the visive facultie must have an eye to see, the hearing facultie must have an eare to heare, and so the rest of the faculties must have their organs; but the Vnderstanding hath no such organ, it onely useth those things that are presented to it by the phansie. Our sight, feeling, and hearing perish, when their organs perish; but the superior faculties of the soule, weare not away, but the elder the body is, the younger they are. The soule lives now in the object, now in the subject: it lives in the things it is occupied about: As the Angels [Page 92] are said to be, where they worke, because they haue no bodies as we have, to make them bee locally there: so the soule it also lives, where it is occupied; as if it be occupied about hea­venly things,Phil. 3.20. then wee are said, to have our conversation in heaven. Take the understan­ding and faculties of reason, they sway not men; but the Ideaes, truthes and opinions that dwell in the understanding, sway men. There are three lives in man, there is the life of plants, of beasts or sence, and the life of rea­son; I may adde a fourth, and that is this spi­rituall life, which is an higher life of the soule; Where there is an evill life, there is death, but where there is a good life, there is this spiri­tuall life: See it in the effects, for these are but speculations.

1 First, yee see by experience, that there is a generation of men, that live not a common life, delight not in vaine pleasures, sports and honors (there is no life without some delights) their delights and life is not in outward things abroad; therefore they have a retired and in­ward life at home.

2 Secondly, there are no Acts, but for some end, there are men who make not themselves their end, if they did, they might then take other courses, going with the streame. If then they make not themselves their end, then they make God their end, they live not to themselves, but to the Lord, 1. Thes. 3.8.

[Page 93] 3 Thirdly, they care not what they lose to get advantage to God; they are content to be despised, contemned, to suffer Torments, Heb 11.37. imprisonments and death; they are content to doe that which is the ruine of their lives, which they would not doe, had they not a more speciall-life within them. 2. Cor. 4.11. We which live are alwayes given up to death for Iesus sake, that the life also of Iesus, might bee made manifest in our mortall flesh: That is, for this cause God suffered his children, to be in danger, that men might know, that they live an other life, and have other comforts: this appeares by our readinesse to bee exposed to death; all which shewes, that there are some that leade an other life.

Obiect.But it will be objected, that the superstiti­ous, and those of another religion, will suffer death as well as the Saints: and morall phi­losophers are retired as well as the Saints: and those who have but common graces, live this life as well as the Saints: therefore these experiences proue not the point sufficient­ly.

Answ.I answer, that it is true, that superstition doth worke much like Religion, morall vertue doth many things, like true holinesse; and Common grace, doth much like true grace; yet it is no good argument to say, that be­cause a dreaming man dreames that he sees, therefore a living man that doth see, doth but [Page 94] as hee: A picture is like a living man, yet it followes not that a living man is dead, because the picture is dead; it is no Argument to say, that because morrall vertue doth many things like true holynesse, therefore true holinesse doth them not: They may be like in many things, yet not in all things; the cause of all deceit is, because we cannot discerne of things alike, therefore I will shew you how these differ.

1 First, superstition makes men suffer much, as well as true Religion, yet they doe it out of a false opinion, the other from faith: the one doe it being helped by the holy Ghost, the other have a supernaturall helpe from Sathan that extendeth nature beyond his spheare; the one doth it from grace, the other from delu­sion: the outward acts are alike, but the in­ward principles differ.

2 Secondly, morrall vertue and Christian ho­linesse differ in working, the last is done of a sudden. A man is made a living man sud­dainely, though there are some previous dis­positions, yet the soule is suddenly infused; af­ter this manner the Saints passe from death to life. Others have their habits by frequent acts and education, they are moulded to it by little and little.

3 Thirdly, in morrall men the change is never generall, there is no new birth in them; but in the Saints, All things are new, 2. Cor. 5.17.18.

[Page 95] 4 Fourthly, morallitie doth never change na­ture, but grace doth: the most wilde man in a country, the unlikeliest man of all others, Re­ligion makes him a Lambe of a Lion, though it were unprobable.

5 Fifthly, what did mortall men? they went by divers wayes, to the same center; them­selves were their end; Epicures thought one way the best, the Stoicks another; but the Saints seeke a happinesse, in denying them­selves, which helpes to perfect them.

6 Lastly, common and true grace, have ma­ny things alike, yet they differ in this; true grace doth things as a man doth naturall li­ving actions; as a man eates and drinkes with willingnesse and propensivenesse, con­naturally, and readily; so doth not the other. Those who have onely common grace, doe all from respects and by-ends, their holinesse is but by flashes and by fits, it continues not; they are like violent motions, quicke in the beginning, and slower in the end; the higher they goe the weaker they are; but the moti­ons and actions of the godly, are as a stone falling downewards, which moves faster and faster, till it falles to the Center, where it would be.

Now we have done all this, there is not yet sufficient said, to make it sufficiently appeare, that there is such a life of grace; these and an hundred other Arguments and reasons, will [Page 96] not make naturall men beleeve, that many men live other lives than they. But when they see the life of holinesse blase in their eyes, they say it is but guilded over, it is but hypocrisie. These reasons may prepare and confirme, but they cannot perswade; we must therefore be­leeve that there is such a life. Iohn 3, Christ treates of this, that there is such a life; he tels Nicodemus, that hee must live it, and be borne againe; He wonders at it, how it can be, Christ therefore concludes in the 12. verse: If I have told you earthly things and yee beleeve not, how shall yee beleeve if I tell you of heavenly things? that is, it must be beleeved, that there is such a life: sense beleeves it not, yet it is easier to beleeve it, because it is wrought on earth; others things are harder than this to beleeve, because they are wrought in heaven; though this be wrought on earth, yet it is hard to be­leeve, and must be beleeved. And thus much for the first part of the doctrine; that there is such a life.

2 For the second, what this life is; yee may know one Contrary by another;What spiritu­all life is. wee have shewed already what death that is contrary to it, is, by which yee may partly perceive, what this life is; yet wee will give you some other signes how to know it. This life is a re­all life, as reall as the other, though it con­sist not in eating and drinking, as the o­ther doth; it is a life of faith, it is not [Page 97] seene, yet it is as reall as the common life, as will appeare by comparing it with the com­mon life.

1 First, in this common life of nature there must be temper of body, disposition of instru­ments: so in this life of grace; there is a frame of heart, a composition of soule, on which it doth depend; there are humors and ingredients of this life, and they are the things yee know: there is a realitie in this life as well as in the naturall life.

2 Secondly, as the naturall life hath a temper of body, hath divers mixtures, so it abhorrs things that are hurtfull to it, and desires things that chearish it: so in this life of grace, there in an appetite; those that live it, they are car­ried to the things that helpe them, they hunger after the Word, and that which build [...] them up; they abhorre sinne and lust that would de­stroy them.

3 Thirdly, as in the naturall life, so in this, there is a taste, a palate, that helps this appe­tite. Rom. 12.2. Be yee changed by the renewing of your minde, that yee may prove what is that good and perfect, and acceptable will of God, that is, that yee may bee able to discerne of it, as the touchstone discernes of gold, or the taste and palate of meates.

4 Fourthly, as in the other life there is hunger and thirst, so is there in this; men who live it are sensible of paines, and refreshings, they [Page 98] are sensible of sinne, judgements and threat­nings, which others are not, being hard and dead.

5 Fiftly, as the other life is fed with food, so is this: the food which a man eats is not present­ly turned into flesh and bloud that nourisheth; but there is a nutritive facultie, that nourisheth and turnes all we eate into nourishment: So the Saints who live this life have a nutritive fa­cultie, they assimulate, and turne all things to a good use, there is a living and vitall faculty, in them that sets them forwards, Ephe. 4.16. They being knit to Christ, according to the eflectu­all power, working in every part, increase, and edifie themselves in love.

6 Lastly, as this common life hath beside o­ther things that maintaine it, some other in­dowm [...]nts to helpe it out, as company, recre­ation, riches, and the like: so hath this spiri­tuall life, it hath riches, and friends, it hath its heritage,Psal. 91.9. company, habitation, (God is our ha­bitation from everlasting) with the same reali­tie, though not with the same visibility, and so exposed to sence as the other. The cause of this life is the holy Ghost, Ioh. 6.63. who is to the soule, as the soule is to the body; hee is the cause of it: the end of it,Rom. 11.36. is the Lord; all is done to God; No other life is so, this life is of God, through God, and for God: when you finde such a re­alitie in your actions tending to God, when he is your aime, then ye live this life.

[Page 99]If this bee the condition of all that are in Christ, to live and bee quickned,Vse 1. see what is expected from you to whom this talent is committed; every excellency is a talent, it must not lie dead, but bee improved for our masters use: the sinne is great if ye doe it not: the neglect being of a greater thing, the sinne is greater. God sets a proportionable account On his benefits, and expects a severe account from us, if wee use them not. Bee exhorted then to live this life: some live much in a short time; some never live this life at all; one man may live more in one day, than an­other man in an hundred: for to live is no­thing, but to be stirring and doing. 1. Tim. 5.6. Those who live in pleasures are dead whilst they live: so hee that is occupied about riches or honours, is dead: all that time that men are occupied about riches and their estates, about credit, honours, and the like, making them their end, is a time of death: yee have lived no longer than yee have acted duties of new obedience. If you summe up your lives ac­cording to this computation, to how short a reckoning will they come? A wise man speakes more in a few words, than a foole doth in a multitude: one peece of gold hath more worth than a hundred peeces of brasse; as we say of an empty oration, that there is a flood of words, but a drop of matter; so if you consider your lives, and see how long yee [Page 100] have lived in death, bungling out your time; you will see that yee have lived but little in a long time; therfore now be doing something; redeeme the time;Ephes. 5.16. bee busie in doing or recei­ving good, be still devising to doe something for God, and to put it in execution: spend your fat and sweetnesse for God and man; weare out, not rust out; flame out, not smo­ther out; burne out, bee not blowne out. So did Christ, so did Moses, so did Paul, making the Gospell to abound from Ierusalem to Illyricum:Exod. 3. &c. Rom. 15.19.20. Act. 13.36. so did David, the text saith, that he served his time; hee did not idle it out, that is, hee lived not as his owne master, but hee did doe all to God, as to a master: All the worthies of the Church have lived thus: and not onely they, but poore Christians likewise are still doing, they serve God and men, they are usefull, they are the men that live. Those who spend their time in sports, in gaming, in businesse, in serving wealth and honour, in morall discour­ses, in Histories, in hearing and telling of newes,Act. 17.21. as the Athenians did: these are dead men, they doe not live: As we say of Trees, that if they bring not forth fruit, they are dead; so what ever men doe if they bring not forth fruit, if they glorifie not God, they are dead. See what a price is put into your hands, see what yee have done, and mend whiles yee may; bestow not your price amisse. There are many Talents, yet none like this of life: [Page 101] take therefore the Apostles exhortation, Gal. 6. While yee have time doe good: life is but an acting, yee then live when ye are doing good▪ We see how many men fall from the Tree of life, as leaves in Autumne; the candle of this life is quickly blowne out: have therefore a better life in store, bee not alwayes building, never inhabiting, alwayes beginning, never fi­nishing; Stultitiae semper incipit vivere; folly alwayes beginns to live: It is the fault of most men, they are alwayes beginning, and neuer goe on. L [...]t us take therefore the Apostles counsell, 1 Pet. 4.3. Thinke it sufficient that we have walked formerly, as we have done; the time which remaines, let us reckon it pre­cious, and bestow it to better purpose.

Secondly, if every one that is in Christ,Vse 2. be in an happy estate of life; then let men from hence know their state and condition, let them often reflect on their priviledges, beha­ving themselves as men, that prize them, and bestowing their time as well as may bee; let as few rivulets runne out of this streame as you can. Wee pray,Matth. 6.10. that wee may doe Gods Will on earth, as perfect as the Angels doe it in heaven; wee should therefore practise this as we pray for: their life is without interruption, they are in communion with God; let us then be alwayes doing, having our thoughts above; let not cares and businesse call us off; but let us comfort our selves in God, acting that [Page 102] which is for his glory: wherefore prize this life, esteeme it much, know what ye have by Christ, and consider the excellency of this life above all others. That yee may know the ex­cellency of this life, consider it comparatively with this other life, that we live: It hath three properties wherein it differs from, and excells this common life which we all live.

1 Answ.First, it is an eternall life. Ioh. 6. Your fathers did eate Manna and died, but hee that eateth of this bread, shall die no more, but he shall live for ever: that is, this is the advantage that yee have, by the life that I shall give you: those that did eate Manna, the food of Angels, died, and Ioh. 4. Those that drinke of this water shall thirst againe, that is, those that live another life than this, shall die and thirst; but those that live this life, shall never die. To live this life is when the soule lives in the object; there is a living in the subject, yet this spirituall life is when the soule lives in the object, when as it is set on God. Take men that live other lives, yee shall see that their lives are short; A man living in honour, that being the thing he mindes and intends, it is in potestate hono­rantis, there is no constancy in it, it is brickle. If a man lives in wealth, sets his minde on it: Why riches take their wings and fly away, Pro. 23. and then their life is ended. So if a man lives in pleasure and musicke, they passe away, and then he is dead; those who live in these things [Page 103] suffer many sicknesses and many deaths, as their hearts are more intent upon them.Quest. But it may be wee may not minde these things? Yes, as if we minded thē not, as a man that hears a tale, and hath his mind elsewhere,1 Cor. 7.29.30. or as a man that baits at an Inne, his minde being some­where else; If yee mind them, ye die in them; he that minds the best things, never dies, be­cause there is no change in them. God is al­wayes the same; his favour and love is con­stant; see therefore that yee prize them. As a time that is infinitely long, exceeds that which is a but a span long in quantity, so doth this life exceed the naturall life, in perpetuity, and excelles all other lives in excellencie.

2 Secondly, this life is a life indeed; as that that feeds it is meate indeed; the other is not so:Ioh. 6.55. looke upon all the comforts of this present life, they are not such indeed; take wealth, pleasures, honours and the like; wealth is but a false treasure: Luke 16.11. it is called the un­righteous Mammon, the false treasure; (Et falsus Hector non est Hector:) in comparison of the true treasure it is nothing. Therefore Salomon, Pro. 23.5. speaking of riches saith; Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? these riches are nothing: So for honours, all praise among men is nothing, it is but vaine-glory, and vaine because it is empty and hath no­thing in it: so the pleasures of this life are but sad pleasures, the heart is sad at the bottome: [Page 104] the riches the comforts of this life, and onely these are riches and comforts indeed: the actions of this life, are actions indeed. In ea­ting and drinking there is sweetnesse, but when we feed on the promises by faith, then we taste sweetnesse indeed in them. One that is weary, being refreshed with sleepe finds sweet­nesse and ease; but it is another refreshing, that those finde who have beene weary and hea­vie laden with sinne, Matth. 11.28. and are n [...]w refreshed, this brings comfort to the soule. So to thinke of houses, wife, children, and lands; to consider all the actions that wee have done under the Sunne, and all that we have passed thorow, is pleasant: but to thinke of the priviledges we have in Christ, that we are Sonnes of God, and heires of Heaven, Rom. [...].16. 1 Ioh. this is comfort indeed: espe­cially to thinke of the good workes wee have done; what good prayers wee have made, what good duties wee have performed, these are actions indeed, and bring comfort indeed. All the actions of this life are actions indeed, this life is a life indeed; in death you shall finde it so, that Christs body and bloud are meate and drinke indeed; that remission of sinnes, and peace of conscience, are comforts indeed, peace indeed; they are such now, though ye thinke not so; yee shall then know, that this life is life indeed.

Thirdly, this life of grace is a prevailing life, swallowing up the other 2 Cor. 5.4. the Apo­stle [Page 105] desired death: not to be uncloathed, but to be cloathed upon, that mortality might be swal­lowed up of life; that is, desiring death, I de­sire not to be deprived of the comforts of this life; then I were unwise: I would not put off my cloathes, but to be cloathed with a better suite; I desire a life to swallow up this life; not as a Gulfe swallowes that which is cast into it, or as fire swallowes up the wood, by consu­ming it, but a life that swallowes it up, as per­fection swallowes up imperfection, as the per­fecting of a picture swallowes up the rude draught, as perfect skill swallowes up bung­ling, or as manhood swallowes up childhood, not extinguishing it, but drowning or rather perfecting it that it is not seene. The life of grace being perfect, swallowes up imperfecti­on; he that lives the life of grace, hath the im­perfections of this naturall life swallowed up: For example; before wee live this life▪ we mag­nifie riches, honours, and Gugaes; but the list of grace comming, wee have other kindes of comforts then: as a man that is to be made a Prince, contemnes the things hee before ad­mired. The weakenesses we are subject to, are swallowed up in this life: al sicknesse and trou­ble ar swallowed up in this: so are all our frail­ties, and imperfections. This should teach us to set a high prize upon this life of grace; that we dye no more if we live it; that it is a life indeed, that it swallowes up this other life; compare it [Page 106] with other lives, it far excels thē all: this there­fore should move us to desire and seeke it.

Secondly, this life of grace must needes be more excellent than the common life, because it makes a man a better man, much better than he was, this puts man into a better condition: elevates and puts him into a condition equall to the Angels, and beyond in some respects. That yee may understand this, yee must know that every thing is made better, by mingling it with things that are better than it selfe, as Silver being mixed with Gold, Water with Wine, are made better than they were before. There are two things required to make a thing better. First, that that thing with which it is mixed, be of a better nature than the thing it selfe. Secondly, that there be a good union. Nothing puts so high a degree of ex­cellency into us as this, that we are united unto God; this uniting to God is the chiefest good. Secondly, this union betwixt God and us is a perfect union. There are many unions; as first there is a relative union, such as is be­tweene man and wife. Secondly there are ar­tificiall and natural unions, as when two peeces of bords are put together, so that one touch the other: so when graine, and graine of another sort are mixed together; there is a nearer uni­on than this, when as water and water are mixed together: nearer than this, is the union that is betwixt the soule and the body, Such a [Page 107] union as this, is there betweene us and Christ: we are in him, as the branches in the vine, Ioh. 15.1.2. wee are incorporated and knit to him, this puts us into an higher degree of excellency: silver mix­ed with gold is better▪ yet if we could take the spirits out of gold, and make silver take the na­ture and quality of it, it would be much better. Wee put on the Spirit and quality of Christ, when as we live this life▪ Lusts which are most contrary to this life, puts us below men, and makes us worse than Beasts; this life puts us be­yond men, and makes us equall with Angels. All men desire some excellency which is done by adding something to them; some desire wealth, some learning, some honour. Consider then if yee live this life, yee goe beyond all others: nothing beyond Gods Image; no­thing better to be united to than God: let this set the life of grace at a high rate in your affe­ctions; men do it not, and therefore they despise religion in its selfe, and in those in whom it ap­peares.

3 Thirdly, yee have this advantage in this life of grace, it addes liberty to you, it makes you to doe those things that otherwise yee could not doe: it makes yee to pray, to repent, to beleeve, and to doe those things without which there is no salvation: looke on Christ. There are but few that can doe this: there are few that can delight in God, relish the word in its purity, take pleasure in the company [Page 108] of the Saints: comfort themselves in the Lord their God; this life gives liberty, which is an addition of some perfection: it makes us to do things, that we could not doe before, and to doe them in another manner. A man having gotten an Art, hath liberty to doe those things which before he could not: as one that hath gotten the Art of logicke or geometry, can doe that which before he could not doe: as one in health hath liberty to doe that which he could not doe being sicke: water being hot, hath li­berty to hea [...]e, which it could not before. There is no liberty to doe holy actions, but this liberty of the life of Grace: the Spirit of life addes liberty to doe the actions of life. 2 Cor. 3.17. Where the Spirit of God is, there is li­berty, to doe things which before we could not; as one having an Art can doe things that hee could not doe before: This, though you prise it not, whiles your mountaine is strong, yet the time will come when yee will need liberty to pray, repent, and trust in God; and then ye will find the preciousnesse of it: this then sets a price upon this life of Grace, and should make you to desire it.

Vse. 3.Thirdly, if it be a happy condition, and the priviledge of those who are in Christ, that there is such a life for them; let this [...]each men to seeke, to live this life of grace, to get it if they have it not; to confirme it if they have it; to abstaine from lust, the sicknesse [Page 109] of the soule, and the meanes to quench this life: take heede of estranging your selves from God, who is the principle of this life, take heed of dejections of mind, the cloudings that damp this life. This life is to be active, to act much in the wayes of God; when a man is cheerefull and vigorous, he lives a life of na­ture; so he that hath a quicke and nimble sence, and is forward and busy in good workes, lives most this life of grace: He that rejoyceth most in God, hath most comforts, most life; Take heed of the contraries. Idlenesse, sence­lessenesse, and barrennesse are contrary to life; take heed of them; take heed of sadnesse that rusts the wheeles of the soule, whereas joy doth oyle them. Doe all to further this life; a­void all that hinders it. Labour now to bee translated from death to life; that which hin­ders us, is, that we thinke we are in a state of life, when we are not. Now yee may know whether ye are alive or no, by seeing whether yee are dead or no; But because yee may be certaine whether ye are alive or not; I will give you some positive signes of life to know it.

1 First, ye are translated from death to life, yee are living men if ye love the Brethren, 1 Ioh. 3.14. If a man be a living man, he lives in ano­ther element than he did before; Every living man converseth with those of the same kind,Signes of spi­rituall life. as every creature doth; Sheepe with Sheepe, Lyons with Lyons, Doves with Doves; so [Page 110] living men will converse with living men. Not loving the brethren, wee are in a state of death. Every creature must have an element to live in; a new life must have a new ele­ment: evill men out of their companies are as Fish out of the water. Every life hath likewise a taste and appetite; a new life hath a new taste and judgement. Pro. 29.27. An unjuste man is an abomination to the just: and he that is up­right in the way, is an abomination to the wicked: that is, one hates the thing that the other loves: he that is alive, the things which before he lo­ved, he now hates: he abhors the things, that evill men delight in. That which is a dogs meate, is a sheepes poyson, as the proverb is: so that which wicked men delight in, is as odious as poyson to the just. To judge this life by; see what your company and delights are, no­thing can be lesse dissembled than company. In his company man doth speake out of the a­bundance of the heart, he then bewrayes him­selfe what he is: there is no dead man, no living man but he is inward with the like: no signe so much poynted at in the Scripture, as this, Yee are translated from death to life, if yee love the brethren, 1 Ioh. 3.14. and Ioh. 13.35. By this shall all men know that yee are my disciples, if yee love one another: this rule will not deceive you.

2 Secondly, yee may know whether yee live this life, if ye contend for it: that life which [Page 111] a man lives, for it he will contend; he will let any thing goe rather than it. If yee live this life of grace, yee will maintaine it: and yee can doe no otherwise: 1 Iohn. 3.9. Hee that is borne of God cannot sinne: to be borne of God, is to leade a new life; he that lives a new life, admits not the things which tend to the de­struction of it: Compare this with the 1. Pet. 2.11. Abstaine from fleshly lusts, which fight a­gainst the soule: hee that is borne of God sinnes not; that is, hee yeelds not to sinne with his good will, but struggles against it; as one in health strives against sickenesse, re­sists the disease, and maintaines a warre against it.

Object.But yet the best are foyled:

Answ.Tis true, yet they strive, they never yeeld; they maintaine a warre: and this they doe not onely by discourse, but there is a naturall in­stinct that puts them forwards: they may be cast backe, yet they returne againe: they may have a sickenesse, that takes away sence: they may swound and be astonished for a time, yet after they contend for life: Every evill man contends for his life: he leades his life in some lust or other, from which if he be drawne hee returnes againe; as a thing that is lifted from the earth, will fall downe to it againe: he reckons the wayes of God hard, and oppo­site to him: The wisedome of the Spirit is enmity to the flesh: neyther can it be subiect to the Law [Page 112] of God, Rom. 8. it cannot but resists it. Eve­ry creature labours to mainetaine its being: so evill men continuing in sinne, strive naturally against all that would bring them out of this life of sinne: So the Saints they live a life of grace, and labour to maintaine it. Iohn. 6.68▪ Christ asking his Disciples whether they also would goe away? Peter made this answer, Lord whi­ther shall wee goe? thou hast the words of eternall life; that is, whiles we conceive thee to be the principle and fountaine of this life, we cannot depart from thee. The Saints wil let go friends and life, and all for this life. Count therefore of others and judge of your selves, by conte­sting for this life: strive to mainetaine it, let all goe rather than it.

Thirdly, yee may know whether yee have this life in you or not, by the fruites of it, as the tree is knowne by its fruites. If the word turne the flocke into its owne nature, ye know it by the fruites. Gal. 5.25. If ye live in the Spirit, ye will also walke in the Spirit; that is, if ye professe your selves holy men, shew it by walking in the Spirit: holy men will bee doing that which is good. This is the surest triall, our workes will not deceive us: other things which consist in imagination may. 1 Ioh. 3.10. In this the Children of God are manifest and the children of the Divill: who doth not righteous­nes is not of God, he that is of God doth not unrigh­teousnesse. Consider then what your walke and [Page 113] your actions are, and by them ye shall know this life.

Obiect.But how shall we know whether we walke in the Spirit or no?

Answ.I answere first, that there are many by-walkes, and if ye walke but in one of them, yee walke in the flesh, and not in the Spirit. Iam. 1.26. If any man seeme to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his owne heart, this mans religion is vaine: that is, hee that makes this sinne his trade, and walkes ordinarily in it, his religion is vaine. Second­ly, yee may know it by the guides yee follow. Evill men they follow three guides. Ephe. 2.3. they follow first the world, secondly, the Di­vill, thirdly, the flesh. Holy men have three contrary guides, first, the renewed part with­in: secondly, the holy Ghost; thirdly, the course of the Saints. Goe ye the broad way? oportet Sanctos vadere per diverticula, the Saints doe not so: Follow yee the streame? fulfill yee the will of flesh, or of the Spirit? what are your actions? Ephe. 4.17. I charge you that you henceforth walke not as the Gentiles doe in the vanity of their mindes: that is, holy men may have vanity in their mindes, yet they walke not in it as others doe: evill men may have other thoughts; yet they walke in the vanity of their mindes; and albeit that evill men walke not in all the waies of sin, yet they are dead: there is but one way to hit the marke, [Page 114] but there are a thousand by-wayes: a holy man may stumble in the wayes of God, and have some foyles, but he leades not his life in sinne, he strives against it: hee that leades his life in any knowne sinne, not resisting it, and will doe it, and not crosse himselfe in it, is dead; his religion is vaine.

Obiect.But what actions are there, that holy men doe, but that wicked men and others doe them?

Answ.I answere; that there is no good actions we doe but they may be dead workes: as men may pray, and keepe the Sabbath, yet they may be but dead workes: they may doe them for a shew, yet they are dead. A shaddow hath all the liniaments of a body, yet it wants life; so the workes of hypocrites, they want life; consider therefore, whether your workes are living workes; you may know it by these three signes.

1 First, if they proceed from the fountaine of life, they are not dead workes; compare Gal. 5.6. In Christ neither circumcision avai­leth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love, with Gal. 6.15. In Christ Iesus neither Circumcision availes any thing, nei­ther uncircumcision, but a new creature: all that proceeds not from a new heart, and from faith which worketh by love, is nothing: this is the roote of all, when all our actions come from faith, which workes by love: else though they [Page 115] are never so specious, they are but dead works. It is no matter whether ye pray or not, whe­ther ye receive the Sacrament, keepe the Sab­baths or not, they helpe not a jot unlesse they come from the principle of life, a new crea­ture.

2 Secondly, consider the manner of their wor­king: they will bee done with quicknesse and vivacity: Men doe them as living actions, with all propensnesse and readinesse; with much connaturalnesse, with much fervency and zeale; when they are done in a perfunctory manner, they are dead workes.

3 Thirdly, ye may know them by their end; looke ye to Christ? doe yee all in sincerity to him or no, or to your selves? if yee doe, then they are gracious workes, and proceed from grace; they are living actions, and not dead: they issue from a right principle ayming at God, and not at your selves. Hosea, 10.1, Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruite to him­selfe. If ye bring forth fruites to your selves and not to God, ye are but empty Vines, God accepts you not.

4 Fourthly, this life is discovered by your behaviour to the meanes of life, when they are brought unto you: when there is no sound, no voyce, there is no distinction twixt a deafe, and a hearing man: where there is no light▪ there is no difference twixt a seeing man, and a blind: but the light differs them. So [Page 116] when as the sound and light of the Gospel comes,Act. 17.30. then men are tryed: In times of igno­rance, God regards not men so much, but now in the time of the Gospell, see if it be power­full, and whether you set your selves about holy duties. Matth. 3.10. Now is the Axe laide to the roote of the tree: that is, since Iohns comming there is a distinguishment twixt li­ving and dead trees: A tree is not discovered to be dead, till it withers▪ no man will cut downe a tree in winter, because hee knowes not then whether it be dead or no; the Spring distin­guisheth the dead and living trees, in the win­ter they are all alike▪ The Spring is the pow­erfull preaching of the word; if men spring not then, if they come not in, they are dead. Those whose education hath beene good; those who live under a powerfull Ministry, now is the Axe laide to the roote of the tree with them; it is a signe they are dead, if they profit not by it.

1 5 Fiftly, yee may know whether yee have this life by the food it is fed with; severall lives are fed with severall foode. Now the foode of this new life of grace is double▪ first, the word; secondly, good workes. First, the word, 1 Pet. 2.2.5. As new borne babes, desire the sincere milke of the word that yee may grow thereby, if so bee that you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: that is, if ye are alive as you [Page 117] professe your selves to be, you shall know it by your behaviour to that which doth nourish your life. First, ye will long after the word, as the Child doth after the Teate. If the Child be hungry, neither apples, nor rattles, nor a­ny thing else can quiet him but the Teate: So nothing can quiet these but the Word. O­thers may have excuses; they will have none; Either they will live where the word is, or they will bring the word home to them; they will bring themselves to it, or it to them. 2 Se­condly, they desire the sincere milke of the word; many things may be mingled with the word, that doe please the wit, yet those who live the life of grace, desire the sincere word, the pure word, without any mixture. 3 Thirdly, they desire it, that they may grow thereby: many desire it to know it onely: if ye desire it as new borne babes, it will make you better and bet­ter; you will grow by it: Many heare, but as men having an Atrophy in their bodies, they grow not, no fruite comes thereby. 4 Fourth­ly, they taste a sweeenesse in the word above others:Matth. 13.20. Mark [...]. 6.20. the second ground received the word with joy; and Herod heard Iohn Baptist with gladnesse; but where there is true grace, they goe far­ther; they delight in the word, it is sweeter to them than the hony: few can say so in good ear­nest,Psal. 19.10. that the pure word is sweeter to them than Hony or the Hony Combe. Iob he esteemed the word more than his appointed food, Iob. 23.12. [Page 118] The second food of this life i [...] good works, Ioh. 4.32, 33.34, is the place out of which I collect this, where Christ being asked of his Disciples to eate: said, that he had other meate that they knew not of; then said they, hath any man brought him ought to eate? Hee saith unto them, My meate is to doe the will of him that sent me, and to finish his worke. Doe you good workes with such a desire as men eate and drinke? doe you hunger and thirst after them, desiring for to doe them? Then ye are alive. Hypocrites may doe much, but it is not their meate and drinke to doe it; examine therefore your selves by these signes, whether you are alive or dead. This is the prea­ching of the law, to shew you the narrow dif­ferences of life and death. The first step to life is to know▪ that ye are in a state of death: the Law must goe before the Gospel, to prepare its way, Math. 3.2. as Iohn Baptist was before Christ: ye must be brought to their case in the 2 Act. 37. Who were pricked at the heart; ye must be brought unto the case of the Iayl [...], Act. 16. Luk▪ 15.16.17. and of Paule: to the case of the Prodigall, that you may know your estate: then yee will come home and not before. Our end is to preach life and comfort to you, not dam­nation. Rom. 15.4. All Scripture is written for our comfort: now there are many things in the Scripture that tend to discomfort and terror, yet their end is comfort; as Physicke is sharpe for the time, yet the end is health. Wee de­sire not to exclude any, but to bring you in [Page 119] whilst you have time: the market is then hard to make, when yee lye on your death beds, labour to know it in time: your death is a time of spending not of getting; it was too late for the foolish Virgins to buy oyle, when they were to attend the Bride groome. Math. 25. We desire not to affright you with false feares, but to admo­nish you, that you be not deceived. I finde this sentence, Be not deceived, prefixed before many places of Scripture, where Gods judge­ments are denounced, as 1 Cor. 6.9. Be not de­ceived; neither fornicators, Idolaters, Adulterers, &c. shall inherit the Kingdome of God; and Eph. 5.6. Be not deceived with vaine words, for be­cause of these things commeth the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience; to shew, that men are apt to deceive themselves, in such cases as these, thinking themselves to be in be [...]ter estate than they are. Consider your sinnes and apply them. Consider your par­ticular sinnes, actio est singularium. Consider your particular sinnes, your particular acti­ons, these will worke upon you. This course Peter tooke with the Iewes, Act. 2. yee have crucified the Lord of life; so Christ told Paul, that he was a persecutor, Act. 9. so Iohn. 4, he told the woman of Samaria her particular sinne: he that shee now lived with, was not her hus­band; so God told Adam, thou hast eaten of the forbidden fruite, Gen. 3. If yee are guilty of any grosse sinnes, as drunkennesse, covetousnesse [Page 120] pride, ambition, and the like, consider them. Consider your other sinnes, minoris infami [...], not minoris culp [...] ▪ as neglecting of holy duties, misspending the time, inordinate gaming, over­ly performing of holy duties, unprofitable hea­ring, keeping of bad company, profaning of the Sabbath, and the like. Consider then the terrors of God and hell, know with what a God you have to deale, and what a burthen sin is; if God charge these on your consciences yee cannot [...]eare them. I desire not by this to burthen you, but to unburthen you of your corruptions.

Now seeing this life is so excellent, I will adde certaine motives to make you to desire it.Motiues to stirre men up to desire and seeke this life.

First, it is a happy life; and it must needes be so, because it is the life of God and Angels: it is that life which wee shall live hereafter; ye may live this natural life, and want happinesse. This life of grace and the life of glory differ onely in degrees, not in kinde; the competent judges of this are the Saints, who have tryed both. Heb. 11.15.16. If they had beene mindfull of that countrey from which they came, they had liberty to have returned; but now they desire a bet­ter contrey, that is, an heavenly. In a Heard of Swine, if some stray away from the rest, and returne not againe, it is a signe they have found a better pasture: so when men leave their com­panions, and returne no more, it is a signe, [Page 121] they have found some better things. Con­ceive not then of this life as many doe; to be onely a privation, or a melancholy thing, no­thing but a meere mortification; this is a life, which hath its comforts, eating, recrea­tions, and delights; yee loose not your plea­sures if yee live it, but change them for advan­tage: he that leades this life, dies as the corne doth; from a seede it growes up into many stalkes, hee gaines by this bargaine. Christ doth make an hard bargaine with none, he that deales with him, gaines a hundred fold. Mark. 10.30. If yee part with temporall wealth, yee have spirituall treasures for it: if you part with your worldly pleasures, ye have joy in the holy Ghost: have yee crosses, yee are sanctified in that which is better; loose yee this life, yee have eternall life.

2 Secondly, this life of grace hath that which every man seekes, it hath much pleasure. Prov. 3.17. All her wayes are wayes of pleasure. Those who walke in the waies of God are full of pleasure; this life brings a double pleasure; first, the reward of it, secondly, the comfort in performing the actions of it. Every good worke as the Hebrew proverbe is, hath meate in its mouth; the living of this life, hath a re­ward sufficient in its selfe, as appeares by this. All pleasures follow some actions, and there­fore men desire life, because it is a continu­ance of action: so men delight in new things [Page 122] because as long as they are new, the intention remaines: The actions of this present life are full of change; and therefore of discomfort: but the actions of this spirituall life are constant and perfect; and those actions that are perfect, there is pleasure following them, as beauty fol­lowes a good constitution, or as flame the fire. The actions of this life are perfect actions, & the perfectest actions have the most perfect delight; the actions of this life are most perfect acti­ons, therefore they have most perfect delight, because they are the actions of the best faculty, about the best object. All actions have the de­nomination of their perfection from their ob­jects: these are actions of the soule, they are oc­cupied about God, therefore they are the best and highest actions. He that lives about the best object, greatest content doth follow: hee that lives this life, lives about the best object; therefore he hath greatest content, all the waies of it, are waies of pleasure. There is more com­fort and Assiduity of consolation in this life, than in any other. In other lives, every one ac­cording to his humour hath his delights, but yet they are not permanent, because hee de­lighteth in transitory things; but hee that lives the life of grace, delights in things that are truly delightfull at all times: other delights are but delights at some times, in some places, they are not alwaies so: but he that lives the life of grace, pitcheth on those that are al­wayes [Page 123] so. Prov. 14.15. A good conscience is a continuall feast. Other comforts may faile; a man may fall into affliction; riches and plea­sures may be taken away, then the dayes are evill; but a good conscience is a continuall feast, that is, be a mans case what it will, his comfort is never interrupted. All other com­forts are about sence, or things of this life, which are subiect to alteration; but this life and the comforts of it, admit no change. A man being sicke, hee cannot doe actions of health, they are restrained: so one in prison is not at liberty to doe what he would▪ but the actions of this life are assiduous, they cannot be interrupted: ye may pray continually, rejoyce evermore, 1 Thes. 5.16.17. yee may alwayes have communion with God.

3 Thirdly, this life is a life that is least indi­gent of all others: it needeth least. Take a man that leades any other life, hee needs many things. Luk. 10.41.41. this is shadowed in that of Martha, and Mary: Martha busies her selfe about many things, she wanted many; but Ma­ry had one thing that was profitable for all things, that removes all evills, brings all happinesse; and that is Godlinesse which is profitable for all things, 1 Tim. 4.8.

4 Fourthly, the comforts of this life are pure comforts, Psal. 18.26. I walke purely with those that walke purely. This is not onely to be under­stood of the consolations of grace, but also of [Page 124] common blessings, being the fruites of this life: there is no sorrow with them, there is a pure comfort without any mixture of sor­row. God giving these blessings in mercy, they are free from mixture of discomfort; but being not the fruites of this life of grace, be­ing reached by sinne and sinfull meanes, or God giving them in his providence, not in his mercy, there is sorrow in them: yee may have riches, honours, friends, and all outward things, and yet they are not pure blessings, because Gods blessing is not mingled with them.

5 Lastly, it is a life most capacious of com­forts: yee may give all the faculties of the soule comfort. Every creature according as his life is, feeles more or lesse comfort. Plants as they feele no hurt, so they feele no sweet­nesse: beasts that have a sensible soule, feele more evill and good: a man that lives a natu­rall life, not knowing the life of grace, is sen­sible of more good and evill, than sensible beasts; hee apprehends Heaven and Hell: but a man that lives the life of grace, is more capacious of comfort: here you may suffer your facultyes to runne out to the utmost. If ye desire wealth or pleasures, your affections must not runne out, yee must hold them in; else they drowne you into perdition, 1 Tim. 6.10. and pierce you thorow with many sorrowes. If ye affect hea­venly Treasures, if yee affect praise with [Page 125] God, yee may be as covetous of them as you will.

3 Thirdly, let this move you to seeke this life of grace, because it is the most excellent thing of all other. All other things are subordinate to it; the utmost end is still most excellent: the end of warre is for peace, therefore peace is better than it; yee plow for harvest, there­fore harvest is best: the end of all actions is for this life of grace. Why labour yee for foode, but to maintaine life? Why live ye but to serve your soules? Prudence is a steward to this ho­ly life: as the steward provides for the family, that the master be not troubled with those meaner things; so prudence is a steward, that the soule may be occupied about things that are agreeable to it;Phil. 3.20. that it may have its conversa­tion in heaven, and with God. Pervert this or­der, it destroyes the creature. Beasts living the life of sence, it doth perfect them, for that is their utmost end: man having reason, living as a beast, destroyes himselfe, because that is not his end; he that perfects himselfe as a beast, destroyes himselfe as a man: perfectio mentis est perfectio hominis. Let this stirre us up, to live this life: it is the utmost end of all. To be Lawyers, Physitions, and other callings, helpe us in the living of this life, yet they are subor­dinate to it: drowne not your selves in subor­dinate things; if ye doe, it is your destruction: therefo [...] pitch on the principall:

[Page 126] 4 Fourthly, that which is best in the end, (I take end now in another sence) is to be chosen above all things else. That is well which ends well. In this life of grace, yee have this ad­vantage which yee have no where else. Eccles. 7.4. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, that is, this life disposeth us to thinke of death the end of all, which to doe is wisedome, Deut. 32.29, O that they were wise, then would they consider their latter end. In other things the beginning is good, the end is bitter; but the actions of the life of grace are sweet, yee fare the better for them; the very remembrance of them is pleasant, and the reward of them comes not long after: All o­ther things are called perishing meates, Iohn 6.27. There is a parable in it: that is, they are as perishing meats, that are sweete in the palate, yet they passe away; but this endures unto eternall life, it continues. The worst thing in this life yee never repent of: as it is said of sor­row for sinnes;2 Cor. 7.10. that it is sorrow never to be re­pented of: but the best things that yee doe in the other life, ye repe [...]t of. All other things that yee doe they may be sweet for the pre­sent; yet as it is said of drunkennesse, Prov. 23.32. so may it be said of them, that they bite like a Serpent, and sting like an Adder, though they seeme sweet. The strange wo­man is sweet: yet Prov. 5.4. her end is bitter as wormewood, sharpe as a two-edged sword. Goods [Page 127] evill gotten are sweet for the present, yet their mouthes shall be filled with gravell, that got them. But on the other side,Prou. 20.17. the end of all the actions of this life is good: as it is said of Iob, that his latter end was more than his beginning, Iob 42.12. So may it be said of all those who live this life: Psal. 37.37. Marke the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. If a man being to die, and having ended his daies, should put all his honours, wealth, and plea­sures into one ballance, and his good workes, all his faithfull prayers, all the actions of the life of grace into another, he would find them to be best. The bad man doth as the Silkeworme doth, winding up himselfe into his ill workes, he perisheth; the other winding up himselfe in his gracious actions, enters into salvation.

5 Fiftly, choose this life before all others, because God is pleased with it, it being like himselfe;Ioh. 4.24. as the creature is pleased with that which is like it. God is a Spirit and will bee worshipped in Spirit, and truth; he is a living God, and doth delight in a living man: wee our selves delight not in dead men, no more doth God: therefore Rom. 12.1. We are exhorted to give up our soules and bodyes a li­ving sacrifice to God. God regards not dead bodyes; bee yee living sacrifices, which is the act of your will, acting the duties of this life. This is called walking with God;Gen. 5.22. which [Page 128] is to be in his presence, to goe his way, and to maintaine communion with him: this is when as men doe, audire et reddere voces: when there is naturall delight: when as they are in presence one with another; and therefore walking with God, and pleasing of God, are used promiscuously for one and the same thing: For, Gen. 5.22. it is said of Enoch, that he walked with God, and Heb. 11.5. It is said, that he pleased God.

Object.But you will say, what benefit is this?

Answ.I answer, that is it great. God disposeth of all things in the world; is it not wisedome then to have him your friend? Gen. 28.9. Iacob being to take his journey, Isaacke said unto him, God all-sufficient be with thee. God is all-suffici­ent; if yee have him, yee have all: In the creatures there is no such thing, there is no­thing but vanity in them, they are but as can­dles, or as Starres to the Sunne. God is all-suf­ficient: all the happinesse of the creature, makes not men happy: All men seeke happi­nesse, yet they never finde it, without ha­ving God: All happinesse is in Gods favour; In outward happinesse you must have other compounded things. Christ rebuked them that counted her happy in the creatures, saying; Blessed is the wombe that bare thee, Luk. 11.27. and the Paps that gave thee sucke; No, saith Christ, these will not make a man happy; but blessed are they which heare the word of God, and keepe it; [Page 129] having God ye have all things; God disposeth all things, and giveth the comfortable fruition of them. Ye may have all outward things, and yet want comfort; Gods curse makes all mise­rable, though yee have all that the creature af­fords; therefore give your selves no rest, till yee have got this life, without which God de­lights not in you.

Adam losing Gods Image was not happy, because God was gone from him; yet hee had all the creatures which he had before. This life of grace brings us to that state, that Adam was in at first; this restores us to it; seeke not then your happinesse where it is not to be found. We all doe as the Prodigall did, Luk. 15.13. to 20. we get our portion into our owne hands, and goe from our Fathers house, and seeke for our happi­nesse elsewhere; but yee shall finde at last, that all else is but huskes: Thus the Saints have found it. This life of grace gives rest to the soule, all else in the creature is but vanity and vexation of spirit. Vanity is nothing else,Eccles. 1.14. but an insufficiency in the creature to give that content that wee looked for in it: as when we looke for water in an empty well, seeke for that in the creature that is not in it; wee see its vanity in the absence of the good wee looke for, and presence of the evill wee loo­ked not for. In God yee finde rest and tran­quility, such a tranquility as is in the Sea, when it is without waves; as is in the upper region [Page 130] of the ayre, where no tempests are. Looke on the lives of men, who are taken up with tri­fles when they are young, when they come to a riper age, greater things move them; when men are wiser, they feele the apprehension of higher things; when ye lift up your soules and keepe them on the wing, yee are freed from troubles and cares. Paul had a greater measure of this life than other men, his Epistles which doe transcribere animam, transcribe as it were his soule, declare as much: and hence was it that in all his troubles and afflictions he was full of constancy and comfort: the more con­stantly we live this life, the greater gainers shall we be.

6 Lastly, till yee live this life, yee have no assurance that yee are in the number of the elect. Repentance puts a new life into men; till yee finde this in you, yee know not whe­ther God is yours, whether God will worke this life in you; This should make us tremble and feare, and never to leave till wee had got this life. This life is a fruite of election; wee know not whether wee are in Iacobs or Esau his case, till we know we have it: make haste therefore to get it. It lies not in your power;Ioh. 3, 7.8 The Spirit breatheth when and where it listeth; ye may feare that God will not give it you, if you spend your life in vanity. Take one who neglects you all the time that hee is able to doe you service; if hee seekes unto [Page 131] you in his extremity for his owne ends, what answere doe you give him, but this? Seeing he hath neglected you when he was able to doe you service, you may justly refuse him now, he is able to doe you none. So if ye neglect God whilst ye are able for to serve him, and seeke to him in your extremity, take heede that yee receive not that answer from him, as the Israelites did in their extremity,Iud. 10.13.14. Ier. 7.16. c. 11.14. c. 19.11. Goe to your Idols, and let them helpe you: nay, hee for­bids Ieremiah to pray for them. Consider this, and make haste to live this life of grace; ye can­not get it of your selves, God must put it into you.

Now if these motives move you to seeke this life, and after examination of your selves,The meanes. to get this spi­rituall life. ye finde it not to be in you, then use these meanes to get it.

1 The first meanes to get and mainetaine this life, which is all one, (for that which begets it doth likewise nourish it) is knowledge: a­bound in knowledge, get much light; this life consists in light, when a man judgeth aright. The understanding enlightened is the primum vivens, the first living part: and therefore ye shall finde, that life and light are put one for the other, Ephes. 5.14. Stand up from the dead, and Christ shall give you light: and Ioh. 1.4. Christ was that light, and that light was the life of men; this life stands in inlightning the mind: adde to this light, yee adde to life. The reason why [Page 132] men are dead, is, because there is a darkenesse in their soules, they see not the wayes of God: therefore they act not, they step not forwards, because they are in the darke: All shining is from light, as ye increase light, so ye increase life. Ephe. 4.18, it is said of the Gentiles, that they were strangers from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them. The knowledge of God, brings men nearer to the life of God. Ephe. 4.24. Holinesse is said to proceede from truth, the words are; put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousnesse and holines, which proceeds from truth.

Obiect.But you will object, that there are many who abound in knowledge, who have life little enough: that ignorant men live this life most: that none live it lesse, than those that know most.

Answ.To this I answer, that there is a double knowledge: First, there is a meere inlighte­ning and informing knowledge: Secondly, there is an operative knowledg: yee may have enough of the first, and be never the neere: but it is the last that helps and gets this life: and this knowledge is the gift of the sanctifying Spirit, this is the operation of God: we doe but informe and teach men, wee cannot make them doe any thing: wee cannot make them practise. Gods teaching makes this know­ledge operative; perswades every way, works every way. Secondly, there is a knowledge [Page 133] in the habit, and a knowledge in the act, which produceth actions: these are set downe ob­scurely. In the. 2 Pet. 1.12.13. the Apostle there saith, that hee would not be negligent to put thē alwaies in remembrance of those things, though they knew them, and were established in the present truth: yea I thinke it meete as long as I am in this Tabernacle, to stirre you up by putting you in re­membrance: Peter did not write unto them that they might know those things habitually; for so they knew them before; but that they might know them actively, and might presently act them: for that end he wrote. The first knowledge is as sparkes raked up in ashes, the other as sparkes blowne up: the first is as the sap in the roote; the later like the sap that fills the branches with leaves and fruite: the first is a generall knowledge gotten by contemplation; the last is a practicall and actiue knowledge, a knowledge to practise. The Scripture exhorts to doe things that intend this knowledge Deut. 4.1. and Deut. 6. the Israelites were exhorted to heare and know the statutes of the Lord, that they might doe them; to speake of Gods word and works, which actes their knowledge, puts them in remem­brance of Gods mercies, and stirres up their minds. Iosh. 1.8. he is commanded to reade the Law, and to meditate in it day and night; he must reade it not to know it, for at that time, there was little written; but hee was to reade it, that he might doe it.

[Page 134] Obiect.But if we doe this so much, it will hinder and interrupt our businesses, so that we shall faile of our other enterprises.

Answ.To this I answer; that this will not hinder them, but they shall be done the better, as oyling of the wheeles makes them goe the better. Psal: 1.2. hee is said to be blessed, that doth meditate in the Law of God day and night. Your knowledge being brought to action helpes you much; often hearing of the word, which puts you in remembrance, addes to your life, though it hinders you in other things. Those who have not the word to heare, live not under preaching Ministers, who will not be at the cost to get them, or live where they are not, are much to blame, and live not this life.Act. 8.18. to 25. Simon Magus sinned, in thinking that the holy Ghost might be bought with mony; doe not they also sinne, who doe lesse than hee? that will not give mony for to have the Gospel brought unto them? There is the like fault, when as men may have the word, and come not to it. If they come to it, though it addeth not to their knowledge, yet it helpeth their acting and life. Those who neglect the con­stant reading of the word, who are not con­stant in private prayer, those who neglect the speaking and talking of good things, they neg­lect this life. That Arabian proverbe, Shut up the five windowes, that the house may bee full of light, will be of good use here: that is, [Page 135] the five senses being shut up, the fuller of light shall wee be: the not stopping up of them, makes men ignorant, cares and businesses pos­sessing mens mindes, there is no roome left for better things. Let your minds be still plod­ding on that which may further you in grace and truth. It is ignorance that makes men stran­gers from the life of God, Ephe. 4.18. and this is not an ignorance that proceedeth from want of knowledge, but from the badnesse of your hearts; Hard hearts make men ignorant: why doe men heare and yet are ignorant, but because their hearts are hardened? Heb. 3.7.8. they regard not the word, and so they grow not in know­ledge.

2 The second meanes to get this life is to bee much in doing: be much in doing, in acting the duties of new obedience; the more yee are occupied the more ye live; else deadnesse will possesse you: be therefore still praying and me­ditating, these will revive you: these are the coales that keepe the heart warme; this life like water is apt to grow cold, unlesse it be acted and stirred up.

Object. 2.But I must be full of life ere I can doe acti­ons.

Answ.I answer that one begets the other; action begets life, and life begets action; as health produceth exercises, and exercise procureth health.

Obiect. 3.But I am indisposed and unfit for such acti­ons.

[Page 136] Answ.I answer, that if ye are indisposed, the more need you have to be doing, else you are more unexcusable; the way to get heate is to bee acting: as motion doth bring life to a benum­med member, so doth it to the soule: be awa­ked, be stirring, this will revive you againe, Christians hearts are awaked when as they them­selves sleepe;Cant. 5.2. if they stirre them up, there will be more life in them, Rom. 2.13. when Christi­ans begin to languish, their medicine is to rise up and be doing, whence Saint Paul admonish­eth the Galatians, Gal. 5.16, To walke in the Spirit, those who have the Spirit stand not still, as one that cannot stirre, but they are still acting and walking: this acting helpes this spirituall life; first by inlarging and intending this life. Se­condly, by preventing that which increaseth death: the more we walke in the wayes of life, the more we prevent the way that leades to the Chambers of death: Be doing therefore, if not one duty yet another. In the steppings out of your callings, be doing; be reading and pray­ing; Conferring and talking of good things; the neglect of this is the cause why there are so many dwarfes in grace. Men content them­selves with morning and evening duties, and it is well if they doe them▪ but doe you the actions of life more constantly and abundant­ly. It is the corruption of our nature that wee are not doing: life is maintained by the acti­ons of life▪ habits are mainetained by actions [Page 137] that are sutable to them; We live in the com­mandements by well doing, as the creature doth by food: Good actions mainetaine life, it receives strength from well-doing: Set there­fore your selves to pray, to doe holy duties, be still praying, doing more and more; the more ye doe, the more life increaseth.

3 The third meanes to get this life is to get faith. Faith helps this life; it is a life of faith, and it makes us to live this life by three several waies.

1 First, it gives a reality to the priviledges of life, and makes you see they are priviledges in­deed: therefore is it that yee act the duties of this life, because ye beleeve that God is such a God, that ye have such priviledges, that yee are heirs of all things. If yee thinke that God is such a one as he is, in wisedome, power, and mercy; if ye intend, and minde the priviledges of this life, then will you live the life of grace: If ye doubt, and question with Atheists, whe­ther these things be but dreames, then ye intend them not and live not this life. He that beleeves saith, let me have God sure: the other saith, let me have that I touch and feele; but the ima­ginary things consisting in faith and hope I care not for. The more ye beleeve these things, the more ye are occupied about them.

2 Secondly, faith drawes you on to action: and this life is but the acting of the duties of new obedience. Faith and perswasion fur­ther other things: as if one be perswaded that [Page 138] such a thing will hurt him, it produceth an acti­on of the will, abstinence: if a man be perswa­ded that he shall dye without the Physition, he sends for him. So in all other actions, perswasi­on is that which sets a man on worke. So in spi­rituall actions, if we are perswaded that such a sinne committed wil not make our bodies sicke but our soules, we will not doe it; if we are per­swaded our soules shall fare the better if wee doe such a thing, this make us to doe it: being perswaded wee shall have a recompence of re­ward, it produceth action, and the more action the more life.

3 Thirdly, faith doth it by fitting us for Christ, from whom our life comes: 1 Ioh. 5.12. he that hath the Sonne hath life. First, the Sonne of God infuseth life into him, to whom he is con­joyned; the conjunction betwixt Christ and us is but relative: as betweene the King and the subject; when the subjects resolve to take such an one for their king, they are conjoy­ned to him; so when a woman resolves to take such a man for her husband, shee is conjoy­ned to him. The action of taking Christ, is to take him as a Lord, to serve him, as a Sa­viour, to have all comfort by him: hee that hath the Sonne in the relative union, shall have him in the reall union: the Sonne will quic­ken you, as the soule doth the body. A Christi­an hath the life of the Sonne of God. Gal. 2.21. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me: all [Page 139] that I doe, Christ doth it in me: all that the bo­dy doth, the soule doth it: the body lives not, but the soule lives in it. After that manner Christ lives in us: not a good thought or af­fection, nor any resolution or motion of the soule, but comes from Christ: being united to Christ by faith he lives in us. Ioh. 6.43. he that eates my flesh, and drinkes my blood, shall live. As flesh gives life to the body, so the Sonne gives it to the soule; To eate the flesh of Christ, is to prize him, to desire and long after him, which is after the spirit of bondage; to eate him, is to take him, to come to him, to have him for your God: In these two things stands the eating of Christ, First in prising him exceedingly, so as to part with any thing for him; and to take up his Crosse with all losses. Secondly, in beleving him to be yours, and you his: this eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ, ex­presseth our relative union with him, and then followes our reall union: the Spirit immediate­ly gives this: he that doth the first, shall have the second.

Obiect.But how shall we doe to beleeve this?

I answer, yee see the old Adam communica­ted corruption to all his posterity, because they were borne of him; so those who are borne of the new Adam, that is, those who take him and beleeve in him, have grace communica­ted to them by him:1 Cor. 15.45. to 50. this new birth makes you as capable of Christ, as the other doth of the first [Page 140] Adam: why then shall not the second Adam communicate grace as well as the other doth corruption? The phylosophers were all de­ceived in this poynt, from whence corrup­tion should come; but wee know that it came from Adam;Ioh. 1.16.17. and so doth grace come from Christ. To get this life, let us seeke it in him, let us be­leeve more, let us be humbled more, repent more, and take Christ more: take him on any condition, prize him, set him at the highest rate, hold him fast. As in the actions of mari­age, those who are to marry will not part upon any condition; they take one another for ri­cher, for poorer, for better for worse: after this manner must wee take Christ, the more yee take Christ thus, the more yee have the Sonne, and so yee live more the life of grace. All grant that this life comes by the Spirit; and there is no way to get the Spirit but by the Sonne. Yee must first eate ere yee can bee nourished; yee must fixe your eyes on his pas­sion, as the wife doth fixe her eyes or her hus­band: yee must seeke this life from the Spirit ultimately, but yee must first have the Sonne, and then yee have life: He must have the Sonne that will have this life; he must be in­graf [...]ed into Christ as the branches are into the roote:Ioh. get Christ, and then this life shall abound in you.

4 The fourth meanes to get and increase this life, is the communion of Saints. The mouth of [Page 141] the righteous is a well spring of life, Prov. 10.20. they put life into those that have it not, and in­crease it in those in whom it is, Ephe. 4.24. Their speeches minister grace to the hearers; they edifie them: hearing of the word of life, and talking of the fountaine of life, puts life into men. The life of the body doth not commu­nicate it selfe to others; it is otherwise in the life of the soule; the life of it makes others to live more: as Iron sharpens Iron, so one holy man doth another. See it by the contrary. In evill men who are dead there is an aptnesse to dead others, their words are as continuall drop­pings to put out this life; their tongues are set on fire of hell, Iames. 3.6. The tongue of good men is a cole fetched from the Altar, they have fire within them. When two lie together they keepe one another warme; there is action and redaction; which ingender heate: so it is in the communion of Saints; it is a powerfull meanes to get and increase this life. The tongue, the example and communion of the righteous is full of life, it is powerfull to make men live. Gal. 2.14. Paul speaking to Peter, saith, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live after the manner of the Iewes? he used not outward compulsion, his ex­ample and life was a compulsion. The com­pany which wee keepe, compells us to doe as they doe: Evill company are the Divels snares, they doe as brambles, keepe us in, and fetter us: the sutablenesse of evill companions [Page 142] drawes out our secret corruption: He that re­solves to live this life, must resolve to withdraw himselfe from evill company, who are a strong temptation unto evill, and betake himselfe to the communion of Saints.

There is a difference betweene leading our selves into temptation, and being led into it: when you leade your selves into temptation, (as you doe when as you rush into evill compa­ny) you are out of the pale of Gods protecti­on: If you touch pitch yee cannot but bee defiled with it, wherefore make your company good: this is an effectuall and powerfull meanes to beget this life in you.1 Sam. Saul being among the Pro­phets, changed his spirit, and became a Prophet: one that goeth fast, makes those that goe with him to mend their pace. Act. 11.23.24. it is said of Barnabas, being a good man and full of the holy Ghost, and of faith, that he added much people unto the Lord. Which manner of speaking shewes, that the speeches of those who are full of faith, helpes to breed faith: that if men be full of the Spirit, they quicken the Spirit. Evill company deads men: they are the trunkes through which the Divell speakes: and this deading is done in an insensible manner, and then most of all where it is least perceived. Evill company poysons men; a man turning his opiaion (which company can doe,) is most of all poysoned, when as he thinks that he hath least hurt.

[Page 143] 5 The last meanes to get and increase this life, is that which is mentioned in the text; and that is, the hearing of the voyce of the Sonne of God: this will beget and increase this life: that is, if when wee speake to your eares, hee speake to your hearts, then ye live. Ye have two teachers, the one is he that speakes to you, the other is Christ. Heb. 8.1 [...]. They shall no more teach one another, for they shall all be taught of God. There are two sheapheards, the one is hee that feeds you, the other is the great sheapheard of the sheepe: Ther are two great voices,Heb. 13.20. the one speaking out­wardly to the eare, the other when as Christ speakes effectually to the heart.

When Christ speakes inwardly to the heart, then men live and not before. This is such a speech as Christ spake to Lazarus, Ioh. 11.43.44. Lazarus come forth, and he came: his speaking puts life into us. Now what is this inward speaking of life to the heart? It is nothing else but to perswade fully, and every way to convince us, that it is best to take Christ, to set to an holy course, to leade a new life. There is a speaking that comes neare this life, and is not it: that is, when as men heare and understand the way, and apprehend the things of God, but practise them not. Here is a proximity to this life, yet it is not this life. Let a man come so neare as that he thinkes he acts it, yet he is dead if he act it not: when he acts it, then he is made a li­ving man; and then hee thinkes and beleeves, [Page 144] that the wayes of sinne are evill, and that they are evill to him. When God doth convince us that such a thing is evill, and that it is evill to us, then we live and not before. A man having a businesse to doe, if all be done but one thing, the not doing of this one thing crosseth all the rest; but that being done, his busines is brought to passe: so in this life of grace; if a man have many offers of grace which doe not fully per­swade him, this is not enough, if Gods helpe be absent: but when once he speakes, he doth fully convince and perswade us, and makes us to continew. As Sathan having leave, from God never gives over vexing man; so the Spirit of God doth never cease to keepe us in good things; and where there is this life, there the Spirit dwels.

Quest.But after what manner is this effectuall per­swasion wrought?

Answ.I answer, when as God gives an eare, and speakes a voyce for it to heare: He that hath an eare to heare, saith Christ, let him heare. Wee then heare,Matth. 11.15. when as there is a listning and yeelding disposition wrought within us: When as wee preach, there are many that have hard hearts, and nothing for to sof­ten them; therefore the word falls from them as raine from a stone: but if there be a man that God will chuse, he fits his heart, and so he is perswaded. This is called the opening of [Page 145] the understanding, Luk. 24.45. Hee opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. When we speake to men, we sow as it were upon fallow ground which will beare no Corne unlesse God plow it. Those that saw the miracles of the Loaves, esteemed them not, Ioh. 6.26. because their hearts were hardned. Ephe. 4.18. They are alienated from the life of God, thorow the ignorance that is in them, because of the blind­nesse of their hearts, that is, they are not sen­sible of sinne, and death, the word or the threatnings: when God takes away this hard­nesse, they are fit to harken; then comes light the beginning of life, which is the informing of the understanding, to judge righteous judgement. Those who have the life of Christ, if hee speakes, it quickens them. It is the in­ward voyce that quickens: seeke therefore to God earnestly; that Christ would speake to your hearts: yee heare and are not quickned, because he speakes not. And thus much for this second point: that all in Christ are in a state of life.

Wee come now to the third point, that may be noted out of these words, and it is this.

That the voyce of the Sonne of God, Doct. 3. is the onely meanes to translate men from death to life. Men before they heare the voyce of the Sonne of God are dead; Christ by his voyce makes them living men. This voyce is the onely meanes, to give life: [Page 146] there is no voyce but this that is able for to doe it: that's the scope of this Text. This propo­sition may bee resolved into two parts. First, nothing else is able to translate men from death to life. Secondly, this is able for to doe it. As it is sayd of faith, that it justifies, and nothing else but it can justifie: so may it be said of this voyce, that nothing else can translate men from death to life, and this can doe it. To translate from death to life is nothing else but effectu­ally to perswade and change the heart: now nothing else can thus perswade and alter the heart, but this voyce of the Sonne of God. God himselfe frames the heart; it is as a curious framed locke; none can picke it, but hee that knowes the turning of it. God onely fits the perswasions to the turnings: mens perswasions are as one that will unlocke a locke with a wrong key. God onely can perswade Iapheth to dwell in the Tents of Shem;Gen. 9.27. Ministers cannot doe it. Esay. 57.19. I saith God, create the fruite of the lippes; that is, I make them to bring com­fort. I create the fruite of the lippes for peace by my power. That this is so you may see by di­vers reasons.

1 Reasons of the point.First, that it is so, see it by this; we speaking to the quickest, often times they beleeve not, but then others doe: the same sometimes be­leeve, sometimes not. If man were the sole cause, the word would have the same effect at all times.

[Page 147] 2 Secondly, this is life, and God onely gives life: it is as the breathing of life into a clod of earth. It requires an almighty power to worke this in those that beleeve. Ephe. 1.19.20. The same power that raised up Christ from the dead, raised us up: it is an almighty action to give this life.

3 Thirdly, if it were not proper to Christ and his voyce to translate men from death to life, hee should loose his chiefest soveraignty:Ioh. 5.21. Rom. 9.15. hee quickens whom hee will: hee hath compassion on whom he will have compassion: If men could tran­slate men from death to life, then it would not be proper to God to doe it:

Lastly, as nothing else can doe it, so the voyce of the Sonne of God is able for to doe it. At the first creation all was made by the voyce of God; hee saith, Let there be light, Gen. 1.3. and there was light: let him say to any man, follow mee, and he doth it. Matth. 9.9. he saith to the Pub­lican sitting at the receipt of Custome, follow me; and hee left all, and rose up and followed him. Christ speaking to his eare and heart, made him to follow him; his speech was like the speech of Elias to Elisha, he followed him, 1 King. 19.19.20. and could not chuse but doe it; Christ speaking wee cannot but follow him.

But what is this voyce of the Sonne of God that translateth men from death to life?Quest.

Answ.I answer, it is nothing else but an inward worke of the Spirit, by which hee perswades [Page 148] men effectually to turne from darknesse to light, and from the power of Sathan to God. It must be understood of the effectuall wor­king of the Spirit, because who ever doth heare it, lives: this voyce reneweth and chan­geth men, translating them from death to life. Now this effectuall speaking consists in two things. First, in propounding the object, the truth to the heart. Secondly, in the perswasion of the truth.

1 First, the Gospel must be laid open to the heart, all things necessary to salvation must be manifested to it: then there must be light in the heart to apprehend those reasons which are propounded. The Scripture propounds things by authority: and when as things are thus ex­pounded, the holy Ghost doth kindle light, to apprehend them, which another doth not. Marke how Moyses beginning his booke, saith, that in the beginning it was thus, and thus God did; he doth not perswade them by arguments to beleeve it:Gen. 1.1. so Iohn begins his Gospel without perswasions, In the begining was the word, &c. so the Apostles commission was, Goe and preach that Christ is Come; Ioh. 1.1. he that beleeves shall be sa­ved, Mark. 16.15.16. he that beleeves not, shall be damned: The word of it selfe is sufficient authority: when the Gospell it selfe is thus propounded, then the holy Ghost kindles light in men. And when as the Gospell is propounded, and light kin­dled, then this life is wrought. Now there [Page 149] are three degrees of working this life by the Spirit.

1 First, there is a stirring up of men, to attend to the voyce of Christ: many there are that heare, yet attend not. Act. 16.14. The holy Ghost opened the heart of Lydia, to attend unto Pauls prea­ching. We sow on fallow ground till the Spirit opens the heart to attend to the things that are spoken.

2 The second worke of the Spirit is to con­vince and perswade effectually and fully. Ioh. 16.8. The Spirit shall convince the world of sinne: that is, it shall convince and perswade tho­rowly: none can doe this but the Spirit. It doth also farther perswade men, that it is good for them to be convinced, and this is when the knowledge is full; when as all the corners of the heart are answered, and the minde resolved to practise: Hypocrites and civill men are perswaded, yet not fully; there­fore they never practise; if one objection of the heart bee unanswered, yee never come to practise.

3 The last worke of the Spirit is to keepe this voyce on the heart, that it vanish not. Iames 1.21. The ingrafted word is that which is made able to save your soules, and none else. Men may attend for a flash, but the Spirit must ingraft the Word into the heart; which as a sprig ingrafted, growes bigger and bigger, and hath fruit from the sap: other men having [Page 150] truthes not fastned on them, they grow weaker and weaker.

To understand fully what this voyce of the Sonne of God is; ye must know that there is a double voyce. First, an outward voyce of the word which all heare. Secondly, an inward voyce of the Spirit. This I collect out of Esa. 6.9. Goe to that people and tell them, heare ye in­deed, but not understand; see yee indeed, but not perceive, that is, they shall have an outward hearing, an outward knowledge, but not an inward. There is a common knowledge which all those have, who live in the Church: and there is a knowledge that is onely proper to the Saints, which saves them. The differences twixt these two knowledges; that of hypocrites, and of them in sixth of the Hebrewes; twixt com­mon knowledge, and effectuall knowledge that is wrought in the hearts of the elect, are these.

1 First, common knowledge is confused and generall; this is distinct, inward and particu­lar: that is, the voyce of the Sonne of God, speaking in the Ministry to all, may breed a knowledge of truthes in men; yet they apply them not to their hearts, and the turnings of them; Heb. 4.11. The Word is sharper than a two edged Sword, discerning the thoughts and inten­tions of the heart, piercing even to the dividing asunder the soule and spirit, and of joynts and mar­row: that is, that Word of God that is lively [Page 151] indeed; that voyce of God that is effectuall to salvation, it is sharpe, it strikes not in generall, but enters the inward parts. A staffe can­not enter the flesh, it may bruise it; but the voyce of Christ enters like a two edged Sword, discerning twixt morrall vertues, and super­naturall things wrought by the Spirit; it distinguisheth exactly twixt the rectitude and obliquity of mens hearts: this is proper one­ly to the saving knowledge of the Word. As nothing is hid from God, but it is naked to his sight; so it is to his word: See if the word be distinct to you, else you know nothing. A man never knowes any thing, till he knowes the Elements, parts and grounds of it; the voyce of the Sonne of God onely makes you know things thus particularly. So in other things yee know not till you know particu­lars. Aristotle saith; a man is not a Physition, that knowes things in generall, in the grosse, but he that knowes them in particular. This is not to be a Physition, to know that such dry meates are good for a moyst stomacke, unlesse he also know dry meates and the Symptomes of a moyst stomacke: so it is in the knowledge of the Word. To know what regeneration is, is not enough, except yee know the parts, the kinds and signes of it. To know that none are translated from death to life, that love not the brethren, is not enough,1 Ioh. 3.14. except yee know the brethren and love them. To know, that hee [Page 152] that is in Christ hath crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof, Gal. 5.24. is nothing, except yee know that yee your selves have crucified it. This particular knowledge is that which makes manifest to a man the secrets of his owne heart, 1 Cor. 14.25. that is, the voyce of the Sonne of God, discerneth the secrets of the heart, to know things particularly that are in it.Ioh. 10. The sheepe distinguish the voyce of the sheap­heard, from the voyce of a stranger: when men come to heare, they heare the voyce and di­stinguish not the sound, because they want this particular knowledge.

Secondly, this hearing of the voyce of the Sonne of God workes a quicke sence, in the hearts of those that heare it, which the out­ward voyce doth not: and this followes the former. Let knowledge be particular, it workes quicke sence. Heb. 4.11. the word is cal­led lively in operation: now life consists in quick­nesse, and motion; the voyce of Christ speaking effectually breeds quicknesse. Sola individua a­gunt et sentiunt, A knife in generall cuts nothing, the particular knife cuts. To know in generall you are sinners, have corrupt natures, offend in many things, workes nothing; it is the reflecti­on on your particular sinnes that workes, this makes men tremble. Act. 2.36.37. Peter having told the Iewes that they had crucified Christ, that pricked them at the heart. As it is of sinnes, so is it of comforts, particular comforts only worke. [Page 153] If one can say, I am thus and thus, then com­fort followes: so particular threatnings make men sensible. When God said to Adam, Hast thou not eaten of the tree whereof I said thou shoul­dest not eate? this made him feare.Gen. 3 [...] The word doth breed a quicke sence: they who have not this true voyce sounding to them, (Esay. 6.9.) In hearing they doe not heare, and seeing they doe not see; their hearts are fat, their eares heavy, and their eyes shut. Rom. 11.8. God hath given them the spirit of slumber; that is, when as men heare his voyce in a common manner, they are as a man in a slumber: it stirres them not: their hearts are fat; that is, they are sencelesse: for fat is without sence. The property of them that heare in an ineffectuall manner is this; they have a spirit of slumber, they are as one hearing a tale, when as his minde is otherwhere. If the things propounded were naturall, they would heare them well enough; but they are spirituall, therefore they are dull of hearing them.

3 Thirdly, which followeth the second; those that heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, have experimentall knowledge, the other is but speculative. 1 Cor. 2.6.9. Wee preach wise­dome to those that are perfect: such wisedome, as eye hath not seene, eare hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man; but God re­vealeth it to us by his Spirit: that is, the cheefest in knowledge, have not seene with their eyes, [Page 154] or heard with their eares; but those that heare the voyce of the Sonne of God, have an ex­perimentall knowledge which others have not. This experimentall and saving knowledge hath triall. 1. Ioh. 2.13. I write unto you fathers, because you have knowne him that was from the begin­ning: expound this by the 33. of Ezekiell, 33. When this commeth to passe, then shall yee know that a Prophet hath beene amongst you: that is, when I shall doe this, they shall know expe­rimentally that there was a Prophet amongst them. 1 Ioh. 5.19. wee know that wee are of God; that is, wee know it experimentally; they can say of this, as it is said in the 1 of Ioh. 1.1. That which we have heard, that which wee have seene with our eyes, that which wee have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the words of life, delare we unto you. David takes it as peculiar to himselfe, Psal. 9.10. They that know thy name will trust in thee, for thou Lord hast not for­saken them that seeke thee: that is, they that ex­perimentally know thee will trust in thee: for thou never faylest them that trust in thee: they know it by experience. 1. Pet. 2.3. Desire the sincere milke of the word that you may grow there­by: if yee have tasted that the Lord is gracious. We find in the Saints a longing after God: they desire him, which others doe not: thus did David: Moreover they have assurance of sal­vation, which others have not; and this assu­rance comes from sence: optima demonstratio [Page 155] est a sensibus; the best demonstration is from sence; as he that feeles the fire hot knowes it best; tasting breeds longing; assurance from experience breeds certainty.

4 Fourthly, effectuall knowledge that is bred by the voyce of the Sonne of God, makes men approve and justifie the wayes of God, makes them to relish them: this followes the other; when men have tryed them they approve them, Ioh. 6.63. The Spirit quickens, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words then that I speake, they are Spirit and life. Christ having spoken, that his body was meate indeed; many were of­fended at it: then hee said, The Spirit doth quic­ken, that is, yee accept not my words, be­cause yee have not the Spirit, yee have but flesh▪ that is, a common knowledge; my words are spirituall, and you are carnall, therefore they doe not relish you. These words are otherwise interpreted by some: that is, these materials profit nothing without the Spirit; but the other is undoubtedly the meaning, for so it is through the Scripture: the Spirit profits, that is, saving knowledge wrought by the Spirit: men not having it, doe not ap­prove it. It cannot be otherwise; where the voyce of Christ doth sound effectually, there they justifie this: Wisedome is justified of her children, Luk. 7.35. Rom. 10.15. How beauti­full are the feete of them tha [...] preach the Gospel of peace? that is, they see much beauty in the [Page 156] wayes of God, that they are beautifull to them, they are vile to others. The Scripture often toucheth this, that when as there is but a common knowledge, men relish not the word, Rom. 8. they tast not the word: the spirituall part of the word crossing them, is bitter to them. 2 Cor. 2.15. The word is compared to a sweet savour; to many it is not so, to some it is the savour of death to death: it is a savour diffused through the house, many there are who abhorre it, and being guilty of death it leades them to death: In others it is the savour of life; that is, they smell a sweetnesse in it, it brings them to life, to heaven; the word being powerfully taught, there comes a savour: some smell sweetnesse in it, others doe not so. Luk. 2.35. When Christ shall come, the hearts of many shall be opened to ap­prove or disapprove him: therefore he is said to be set for the fall and rising of many: So when he came some said he was a good man, Ioh 7.12· others that he was a divel: some said that the Apostles were good, some that they were bad: 1 Cor. 4. and 2 Cor. 6· See how yee approve the word in its selfe, and as it is expressed in mens lives.

5 Fiftly, if it bee a right knowledge, it breeds holy affections; the other doth not: this followes the other. If men justifie the Word, then they affect it. Its a generall rule, that all full perswasions draw on affections: let it bee but a perswasion in habit, it stirres as the habit is. 1 Thes. 1.6. My word was to you not [Page 157] in word but in power, because it did worke in you ioy in the holy Ghost. Ier. 23.29. God comparing the word of true and false Prophets together, saith thus; My word is as fire, and as the hammer that breaketh the stone: it is the powerfull word if it stirres your affections. Luke the last, Christ speaking to the Disciples that went with him to Emmaus, their hearts burned within them: they were full of holy affections. Consider if yee have these holy affections. Holy affections in the Scripture are ascribed to this knowledge, every where, where men heare, or know a. right: Psal. 112.1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his Comman­dements. Psal. 1.2. Blessed are they that delight in the Law of the Lord: See whether there be holy affections wrought in you by the word.Act 26. Math. 13. Felix did tremble at the word; so the second ground re­ceived the Word with joy, but not with holy joy.

Obiect.But how shall wee distinguish them?

Answ.I answer, that if your joy be holy joy, afflicti­ons will not put it out: if your ioy be carnall joy, persecution puts it out: but ioy in the holy Ghost is not extinguished by the contrary.

6 Sixtly, that knowledge which is lively brings forth action; it is powerfull in mens actions, it is active and mighty in operation, Heb. 4. It workes in mens hearts and lives mightily, to overcome all contraries. Esa. 6.10. Make the heart of this people fat▪ make their eares heavy, and shut their eyes, least they see with [Page 158] their eyes, and heare with their eares, and under­stand with their hearts, and convert, and bee hea­led; that is, Let them have such a common knowledge as civill men and hypocrites have, and no more; least seeing aright, they under­stand with their hearts and be converted, and they bee healed. Seeing with their eyes, is meant seeing with this knowledge, which if they see with, their hearts will be wrought on: their hearts being wrought on, they are con­verted, and then they are healed. This fol­lowes on the other. Let the affections be stir­red, and actions will forthwith follow, because they are the immediate principles of action; what one affects hee doth; these are tyed all on one string: flashy affections, flashy actions. Ioh. 6.45, Christ speakes thus of this knowledge; They shall all hee taught of God; every man there­fore that hath heard and learned of the Father, commeth to mee: that is, every one that heareth this true voyce of the Sonne of God, comes to me, that is, they breede actions whereby they come to me. See if your knowledge bee operative. Iam. 1.22. the Apostle distinguish­ing of hearers, saith thus, Bee not hearers onely but doers too; if yee finde not this operative working change, Christ hath not spoken to you.

Obiect.But even the Saints have many defects in their actions, therfore actions follow not hearing and knowledge.

[Page 159] Answ.To this I answer, that as their actions are weake and faint, so their knowledge is weake. Heb. 12.5, They often forget and must be put in mind. 2 Pet. 1.13. They must be stirred up by put­ting them in remembrance of those things which they have forgotten. Secondly, this faile is from some doubt, from some shaking within: when as you see a defect in actions, or affections, it is because you want this convincing know­ledge. The way to stirre up affection and acti­on, is the Word, which increaseth this opera­tive knowledge.

If then it be so,Vse 1. that the voyce of the Sonne of God is the onely meanes to translate men from death to life, let us examine our selves, whether we have heard the voyce of the Sonne of God, or no? If we have not, then let us know our cases, and be humbled: they that have not heard it are dead. Consider it is your distinct knowledge, not a knowledge in grosse or generall, that inlivens you. Know yee the passages and working of regeneration and re­pentance? finde yee the Word as fire, and as a hammer? the Word is such in its owne nature, and will be found so of them that receive it a­right. Have ye an experimentall knowledge? approve yee Gods Image, his wayes in the Word, or in the lives of the Saints? doe yee justifie wisedome? are your hearts opened at the hearing of the Word? doe ye like it? At Christs comming many hearts were opened, [Page 160] because then his Word came, and it opened many mens hearts, shewed them what they were. How doe yee affect the Word, and I­mage of God in the lives of the Saints? how do yee realish holy affections in them? blessednesse goeth alwayes with them. Affections are al­wayes a signe of this life: have yee received the Word with them? have yee sorrowed for your sinnes? doe you delight in God? This wil beget holy affections which wil last; afflicti­ons will not put them out; holy joy is not dam­ped with afflictions, carnall joy is. What are your lives and actions? If yee seeing others holy, cannot doe as they doe, this voyce hath not spoken to you. All who heare Christs voyce will come and be doing. Iam. 1.22. If doing be joyned with hearing, if yee are do­ers as well as hearers, this voyce hath spoken to you; if your practise be not joyned, yee are deceived. If yee finde upon examination that yee have not heard this voyce of the Sonne of God, remember that Christs sheepe heare his voyce;Ioh. 10.3, 4. yee may therefore feare yee bee lost sheepe if ye heare it not. He that hath an eare heares the Gospel; If it be hidden, it is hidden to those that perish;2 Cor, 4.3.4. where men live in ignorance and heare not, God regards not it so much: thats not the time of tryall.Act. 17.30. So where they have the Word as wheate covered with chaffe, it tryeth not; but when the Word commeth with autho­rity, and not as the Scribes; when Christs [Page 161] voyce sounds in the Word, see how yee are af­fected: if then yee heare not, yee are dead. Cant. 2. Christs comming is compared to a Spring time, wherein the flowers appeare on the earth, and the birds begin to sing, and the trees put out their greene fruite: that is, when Christ makes himselfe knowne, it is Spring time: doe you spring when the Word comes, when the messages of salvation are made knowne unto you? If not, yee are dead. Our end in speaking this is not to trouble you, but to bring you to salvation. I will therefore shew you what keeps men off from hearing Christs voyce, that knowing the impediments yee may remove them. Now the impediments are se­ven.

1 The first, is selfe-wisedome; this is a great impediment from hearing the voyce of the Sonne of God: selfe conceitednesse hinders men much, because it breeds a despising of the wayes of God. 1 Cor. 2.14. The naturall man re­ceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnesse with him: therefore, 1 Cor. 3.18. If any man seeme to be wise in the world, let him become a foole that he may be wise: that is, let him lay aside that wisedome which be­getteth pride in his heart. Michals disposi­tion is in every one of us more or lesse, shee de­spised David: so men chalke out a way to them­selves, in which they will goe, they will seeke their owne wayes, and will not be sub­iect [Page 162] to the Law of God. Rom. 8.7. The carnall mind is enmity with God, for it is not subiect to the Law of God, neyther indeed can it be. 2 Cor. 10.5, the Apostle speaking of imaginations, saith, that men with them build up themselves against God, and will not alter their courses. The greatest opposition is in mens minds: take a man that hath a true opinion, it is easy to remove his lusts, but false iudgements are as bulwarkes a­gainst Gods wisedome. Men will doe thus and thus because they thinke their state is good. The Scribes and Pharisees come not to Christ, Luk. 15.1. but Publicans and sinners came: so it is with men now, doe we lay open their sinnes unto them, yet they will not bee perswaded: men will bee righteous of themselves, and will not bee perswaded that Christ must bee made unto them righteousnesse, 1 Cor. 1.30. and redemption, and wisedome. This opinion of our selves is a great impediment, this contemnes the Way of God, and fashions out our owne wayes; this contenting of our selves with our present estate makes us to erre: therefore Psal. 119.21. Cursed are the proud that are alwayes erring from thy Law: Selfe conceit makes men erre.

2 The second impediment is custome: men have beene used to such wayes, and will not alter them. Ioh. 4.12. the woman of Samaria was much held off with this argument. Christ com­ming to teach her the doctrine of salvation; [Page 163] Art thou greater, said shee, than our father Ia­cob that gave us this Well? This opinion that our fathers have gone this way, and it is transmit­ted to us, hinders men much; men cannot in­dure newnesse. Lot is taxed for this by the Sodomites, Gen. 19.9. This fellow came in to so­jorne here, and will he now bee a Iudge? So Act. 17. Paul preaching at Athens, the Athenians asked, What new doctrine is this that thou preach­est? Men being accustomed to a way, it winns their opinion; men having once judged, are loth to judge againe: custome winnes their affection. Change is troublesome: men having gone long in a course they will still plod on in the same tract. Custome of our fathers, or country, or place where wee are, our owne custome makes us loath to forsake it.

3 Thirdly, Similitude is a great hinderance. Exod. 7.22. Pharaohs heart was hardned because the Magicians did the same miracles, that Moyses and Aaron did; So similitude hinders men from imbracing the wayes of Christ, and God. Men seeing Papists austerity like our mortification, their suffering like true mar­tyrdome, they are perswaded of their wayes, as we are of ours; so for civility, when as men see it so like religion, as a sparke is like the fire, they imbrace it: All deceit is from simi­litude, false wares having the same dye that true have, deceive the buiers: so falling starres [Page 164] are like other starres. When wee see some men that professe religion to be false hearted, we thinke all are so: wherefore Phil. 1.10. The Apostle prayes, that They might abound in all knowledge, and iudgement to discerne of things that differ: This proximity makes us decei­ved.

4 Fourthly, false experiments hinder us much; some experiments of the workes of God, that should draw us nearer to him, if wee make false use of them, separate us farther from him; As if God afflict and restore againe, or keepe us from affliction, our hearts are hardened. Exod. 8.15. When as the Frogges were removed, Pharoah his heart was hardned: rest made him harden his heart: so many times it makes men slight the word, and afflictions which God layes on them. We may see this in Souldi­ers and Mariners; none more ready to con­temne dangers than they, because they have often escaped; they delude the workes of God that should draw them to salvation. Rootes will make the weeds grow againe, not being taken heed of.Rom. 2.4.5. The long suffering of God should draw us to repentance, but it doth not so. 2 Pet. 3.3. In the last time shall come mockers, walking after their owne lusts, and saying▪ Where is the promise of his comming? for all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; that is, men shall feele nothing, apprehend nothing that God doth; iudgements being be­leeved [Page 165] they second the Word; being eluded, they hinder us and it.

5 The fift impediment is ignorance; men know not the wayes of God, therefore they doe not imbrace them. Ioh 4.10. If thou hadst knowne the gift of God▪ and who it is that speaketh to thee, thou wouldest have asked of him. There is enough in religion to make men love it, if they knew it: there is vertue in it, there is beauty and profit in it. Esa. 57. There is a peace in it; Pro. 3.17. Pro. 16.31: all the wayes of it are wayes of pleasantnesse there is honour in it; old age is honourable with righteousnesse. But mens hearts are full of darkenesse; they see not, neyther doe they understand it. 2 Pet. 2.12▪ They speake evill of the things they know not; Its true, they know the things, [...], they know them not expe­rimentally and really, and that deceives them. 1 Cor. 8.2. If any man thinke hee knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. One may know all things, and yet know no­thing, as he should: Ignorance deceives many, it makes them to measure religion by a false rule, and common opinion. Act. 24.14. it is called heresy; when yee judge of it by externall shewes, all basenesse is outwardly in religion, it is as like a costly thing covered with straw: Christ was hid under a Carpenters Sonne; Matth. 13.55. 1 Cor. 1.21. prea­ching under the name of foolishnesse: so our ig­norance in attributing things to false causes keepes us off. If the Gospel be hid, 2 Cor. 4.3.4 it is hidden [Page 166] to those that perish; there is a double ignorance; privative, and positive; that is it, by which the God of this world blinds men, breeding a false perswasion of good, and a good perswasion of evill.

6 The sixt impediment is in consideration: men doe not consider the things they might know: if men would deduce one thing from another, and doe that they know, they might be brought to God. Deut. 29.2.3. Yee have seene, saith Moyses, all that the Lord did before your eyes, in the Land of Egypt, upon Pharoah and his servants: yee have seene those great signes and miracles which hee did, yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and eares to heare untill this day: that is, yee have not profited because yee have not con­sidered. We thinke if that we had lived then, wee had beleeved, yet wee see how few of them did beleeve: we beleeve the Scriptures, yet what inconsequence is there in mens lives, because wee doe not consider things. Con­sideration helpes to perfect mens actions; it is as a circular line; one part helpes the other. If wee looke backe and examine our actions, it helpes; want of it hinders. What is repen­tance, but consideration? Ier. 8.6. No man repented him of his wickednesse, saying, What have I done? want of this keepes men from salvation. 2 Chron. 6.37. If they bethinke themselves in the Land whither they are carried away, and turne [Page 167] and pray unto me, in their captivity, saying, Wee have sinned, we have done amisse, and dealt wick­edly; then I will heare. So Ier. 8.6. God hark­ned whether any would say, What have I done? men goe on and consider not. Hosea. 4.11. Whore­dome, and new wine, steale away their hearts; that is, it makes them not to consider. Mark. 6.52. They considered not the loaves, therefore their hearts were hardened: they were feareful in the ship, because they considered not the miracle of the loaves.

7 The seventh impediment, is a certaine stif­nesse and obfirmation of minde, whereby a man is setled to continue in such a course that is pleasant to him, and all that crosse him in it are enemies to him. Rom. 8. the flesh is not sub­ject to the Spirit, it crosseth it: one reckons not a man his enemy unlesse hee crosse him. It must be so; every creature as long as it hath a being, opposeth that which is contrary to it: so every man that delights himselfe in such or such a lust, will not be circumcised, cleansed and washed from it,Luk. 19.14. hee will not have Christ reigne over him; he will have his elbow roome. Those men that are not translated from death to life, they count the wayes of God eyther va­nity or folly, and will not submit unto them, nor yet heare Christs voyce.

Now the meanes, the helpes,The meanes how to heare profitably. and wayes to breake through the impediments, and to re­ceive the Word with profit, are these.

[Page 168]First, to heare profitably, that the voyce of the Sonne of God bee not a common voyce, but peculiar, take that rule which is set downe, Luk. 8.18. Take heed how yee heare. Christ gave that admonition to his hearers, and I give it to you: looke to your selves, take heed how yee come to heare the Word; doe it diligently: the reason of this is added in the same verse: for unto him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not, shall bee taken away even that which he seemed to have. That is, if yee heare and get a little knowledge, yee shall have more: hee that yeeldeth some fruits, shall bring foorth more: hee that doth some things, shall doe more, God will blesse you. But from him that hath not, shall bee taken even that which hee seemed to have: that is, your hearts shall be hardened, and that common knowledge which you have shall bee taken a­way, Ioh. 15.2. Every branch that beareth not fruite God cuts downe. God lookes into a Con­gregation to see who doth make conscience of hearing; those that doe, he purgeth; but those that profit not, hee curseth: he takes not away their lives, but their graces, makes them wi­ther in the inward man, and so hee comes to death. Luk. 19. He that had ten Talents, he that had most, had more given him: To practise a little is the way to get more. The Talent is ta­ken from him, Math. 25: who did not use it, and given to him, that had most Talents. There are two rewards [Page 169] for him that useth the Talent well. First, hee shall have m [...]re. Secondly, he shall be ruler over ten Cities; hee shall have comfort here, and hereafter: hee shall have more comfor [...] and grace. See how he dealt with Nathaniel, Ioh. 1.50. Because he confessed Christ to be the Sonne of God, and beleeved because Christ saw him under the Fig-tree, which was but a small thing; Christ tels him that hee shall see greater things than these. Ioh. 7.17. If any man will doe his will, hee shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God: that is, if yee practise according to your knowledge▪ you shall know more, it shall be confirmed to you. Let men know and not practise, then Rom. 1.21.22. Because when they knew God, they glorified him not a [...] God, neyther are thankfull, therefore God gives them up to un­cleannesse, thorow the lusts of their owne hearts, to dishonour their owne bodyes betweene them­selves, and to worship Idols; as he dealt with the Gentiles. So in the 2 Thess. 2.9. Because they received not the love of the truth; because they heard much, and did not imbrace it, God gave them up to strong delusions to beleeve lyes. See it by experience: when as men play with their knowledge, God gives them up to heresies. The Spirit of God will not strive long with them. God hath commanded us,Gen. 6.3. Matth. 7.6. not to cast Pearles before Swine; and will hee himselfe doe it? Consider what yee doe in every doctrine of salvation, that is preached to you; yee eyther [Page 170] relish it, or not; yee obey it, or disobey it; ye taste it,2 Cor. 2.16. or disrelish it: If yee taste it not, it is a savour of death unto death; that is, it brings death and leades to hell: if yee savour it aright, it brings to heaven. There is no true doctrine, but the not obeying of it bringeth something to your damnation. When the savour of Christs knowledge is made manifest, not receiving it, ye reject it, and it brings a curse. Heb. 6.7.8, The earth which drinketh in the raine which commeth oft upon it, and brings forth hearbes meete for him by whom it is dressed, re­ceiveth a blessing of God; but that which bring­eth forth thornes and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned: that is, the word is as raine it makes, hearbs and weeds to grow: if hearbs grow, God doth pro­sper it more; if it fals upon rockes it withers more and more; God doth curse it. It is not in the knowledge of divinity as in other scien­ces: in them ye may neglect a yeare or two, and get it againe; but it is not so in this; yee will not be able to returne againe, yee are neare a curse, yee cannot redeeme it. See what followes in the neglecting of the Word. In the, 2 Chron. 36.15.16. God sent his messengers rising up early, &c. because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his Word, and misused his Prophets, untill the wrath of the Lord rose up against his people, till there was [Page 171] no remedy. Grace may stand with infirmities before they are reveiled, but being reveiled the light discerneth them. If men refuse, God in­dures it not. Act. 17.30. The times of that igno [...]rance God regarded not, but now take heed, the Gospell being reveiled; God will beare no lon­ger. Before Iohn Baptist came, the Axe was not laide to the roote of the tree;Math. 3.10. but as soone as he came, it was; because then the Gospel was made knowne; hee revealed the truth. When the truth is once revealed, if men doe not then receive it, God indures it not. Heb. 3.13. To day if yee will heare my voyce, harden not your hearts. God will not stay longer than this day. There is a day, (when it is wee cannot prescribe) after which God will not offer grace: but commonly wee see that men being of the age of discretion, and having the way shewed, if they neglect it then, they common­ly perish. God hath a secret time. The Iewes had their day; but because they accounted them selves unworthy of everlasting life, Paul did turne from them to the Gentiles, Act. 13.46. Saule had his day, hee had common gifts and profited not, therefore God forsooke him. So Israell had their day, but when they neglected it, God bids Ieremiah not to pray for them. Con­sider what you have heard of the Sacrament, that yee may not absent your selves from it, in the places wherein you are, without weigh­ty affaires, which will excuse you before God: [Page 172] so for the Sabbath; you know it should bee kept; because it is holy; and if it be holy, I would aske you this question; whether it bee holy in whole, or in part? If all of it be holy, it is not arbitrary, it must be sequestred from common uses. The vessels of the Sanctuary are said to bee holy, because they were not used but about holy things: So the Temple is holy, because it is a place set apart for Gods ser­vice: so time is holy, when it is bestowed on ho­ly things, holy thoughts, holy duties; consider that it is holy, and that every part thereof is ho­ly; and then deny if you can, that it is not to be sanctified. Some men spend their time which they should redeeme,Ephes. 5.16. in idlenesse and gaming; most in drunkennesse and disorder, and not as they should. Yee have heard of mortification; yee have heard the doctrine of changing from death to life; apply them, and take heed how you heare; yee that heard it negligently shall grow worse and worse.

2 The second meanes to heare profitably, is that which is set downe in the 1 Thess. 2.13. that is, to receive the Word, not as the Word of man; but as the Word of God. This makes the Word of Christ effectuall, to heare it as the Word of God: that is, consider, whose word it is. Consider the ground of it, that it pro­ceeds from God who is present, God is there, and we speake in his stead: God spake to the Is­raelites in Mount Sinay, Exod. 20. and would have con­tinued [Page 173] for any thing we know, yet the people de­sired that▪ Moses should speake unto them. Wee be­seech you in the stead of Christ, 2 Cor. 5.20. to be reconciled unto God. This is of much moment, to heare it as Gods Word: morrall truths may build you up in morrall vertues, and may be profitable to that purpose; but they will not breed spirituall life: that the Word onely doth, being received as the Word of God. Iohn 6.65. when as Christ demanded of the twelve, whether they also would goe away? Peter made this answer; Lord, whither shall we goe? Thou hast the words of eter­nall life. A man is not a living man, but by con­junction betwixt God and the soule: God is to the soule, as the soule is to the body, hee puts life into it, and is conjoyned to it by his word when it is thus received. The Word comming as from God, wee doe that which is comman­ded us, because God will have us doe it: we doe it simply and sincerely, so that God accepts it. When we receive the Word as the Word of God, with faith, and full Assurance, then it breeds life within us: and when it begets life then it comes from God, then it comes in pow­er and in the holy Ghost, and makes us be­come followers of Christ, 1 Thess. 1.5. When we receive the Word of God,1 Thes. 2.13. as from God himselfe with full assurance, then it workes ef­fectually, then it begetteth life in us. To live, is to have sence and motion, to be acting: the re­ceiving of the word with ful assurance, makes us [Page 174] active; the beleeving of it sets men on worke, 2 Chron. When as Amasiah beleeved that God would not be with him unlesse hee sent a­way the Israelites, then he sent them away and not before. Num. 14.24. Heb:▪ Caleb and Iosuah did beleeve, therefore they followed God constantly. Abraham offered up his sonne Isaacke, because he beleeved God; that he could give him another sonne, or raise him out of ashes againe. Let a man be perswaded that such a thing will hurt him, or that such a thing will doe him good, hee doth the one and leaves the other. Receive therefore the Word with full assurance, consider what is deli­vered, if it be the Word or no; consider that it which yee heare, is eyther the Word or not the Word, it belongs to me or not. Men take things overly, and are not rooted and grounded in faith, and that makes them heare unprofitably. See then if your particular acti­ons agree with the Word, so yee shall be roo­ted in faith; this makes the Word a Word of life.

3 The third rule and meanes to heare with profit, is that which is set downe of the fourth ground, in the parable of the seed, in the eight of Luke, the 15. verse, that is, To receive the Word with honest and good hearts; having heard the Word to keepe i [...], and to bring forth fruite with patience. Heare the word with honest hearts; this is done when as a man is resolved to pra­ctise whatsoever God will reveale; when he [Page 175] hath no reservations or exceptions to himselfe; when hee is resolved to practise what he heares with an humble heart: being humbled we will doe this, and not before.

The fourth ground was humbled; men will not heare this because they are proud: now pride is an evill disposition in the creature, whereby it exalts its selfe above its measure: There is this fault [...]n men, they will picke and chuse in the wayes of God. The last ground will one­ly part with all for Christ. Act. 9. When as Paul was humbled, hee then cryed out, Lord what wilt thou have me to doe? I will doe or suf­fer any thing for thee, and hee was as good as his word. So Act. 2.32. the Iewes being hum­bled cried out, Men and brethren what shall wee doe? wee will doe any thing to be saved. So Act, 16.30. The jaylor being humbled demanded of Paul what hee should doe to be saved; when as a man is thus disposed, God will teach him, Psal. 25.9. God teacheth the humble his wayes: man himselfe will doe so; if he see one willing to learne, he will teach him:Psal. 25.1 4. The secrets of the Lord are revealed to those that feare him; to those that stand in awe of him, and dare doe nothing a­gainst him: hee reveales his peculiar truthes in a peculiar manner to men, those things that are effectuall to their salvation: Bring there­fore humble hearts, ready to obey.

Object.But you will say; wee doe obey and practise what we heare.

[Page 176] Answ.I answer, that yee may be deceived as they, in the fift of Deut. They said they would obey, but God saw that there was another heart in them than what they saide: therefore God said; O that there were such an heart in them, that they would feare me, Duet. 5.29. and keepe my comman­dements alwayes, that it might goe well with them and their children for ever. So Iohanan and the other Captaines, Ier. 42.20. desired Ieremia, to goe to God, to know his will, and they would doe whatsoever he should say, whether it were good or evill. But Ieremiah tels them that they did but dissemble in their hearts; he knew they would not doe it. Looke to this in the acts and effects: what have you done when the Word crosseth you in your aymes, estates, names, friends? If you have disobeyed it, then Eze. 14.4. the Word is made a stumbling blocke, & your iniquities are before your face, and the Lord will answere you according to the multitude of your Idols. God will answer such men according to their com­ming, as they come with false hearts, they shall be dealt withall accordingly. Come then with hearts resolved to practise whatsoever is spo­ken, and desire God to make it effectuall to sal­vation.

4 The fourth meanes to heare the Word, and the voyce of Christ profitably, is to lay up what you heare: let it abide and continew with you. This rule is prescribed by Christ himselfe. Ioh. 15.7. If ye abide in me, and my words [Page 177] abide in you, ye shall aske what yee will, and it shall be done unto you: When ye attend to the Word, if yee are affected with it but for the time, it is nothing; except it continue with you it will not profit you; you must doe as Mary did; shee layed up all the sayings that shee heard of Christ, and pondered them in her heart, Luke 2.51. The Disciples often questioned of Christ: which proves, that they pondered his Words in their hearts: So the Nobles of Berea, they searched the Scripture:Act. 17 11. Gen. 37.11. so Iacob hee noted the saying of Ioseph and laid it up. Yee doe not heare thus if you doe but lend your eares for the time, if yee worke it not upon your af­fections, ye profit not. The reason why there is so much preaching, and so little profit, is for want of this. There are two kinds of ill hearers: the first are such as heare as Swine, and trample all they heare under feete; the second, such as heare as Dogs, snarling at the doctrine▪ if yee offend in eyther of these, yee heare a­misse. Of all the foure grounds that was worst which received not the Word. When men heare the Word there is more than a naturall forgetfulnesse in them, the Divell helpes it. Iam. 1.23.24. He that heares the Word, and re­cals it not, or practiseth it not; is like one that beholdeth his face in a glasse, for he beholdeth him­selfe and goeth away, and straight way forgetteth what manner of man he was: yee must recall it before yee can practise it, else yee will be like [Page 178] to those that behold their face in a glasse, and wipe not away their spots.

Be not therefore forgetfull hearers: and for this, first recall and repeate what yee have heard when yee are gone: Secondly, practise it afterwards; there is a blessing promised to mindfull hearers, there is a curse denounced against those that are forgetfull, Ioh. 13.15. If yee know these things, happy are ye if you doe them, but there is a curse for you if you doe not pro­fit; God will make you to heare, and will not give you his Spirit. Regard to prize the Word if ye will not be forgetfull. Rom. 1.28. those that did not like to retaine God in their knowledge, those that did heare the Word and not regard it, God gave them up to a reprobate sence, to an In­judiciousnesse to doe those things that were not convenient, not being able to profit by it. The ancient Fathers much pressed the repetition of Sermons, and one of them useth this similitude: A man that comes into a pleasant garden, will not content himselfe with the present sent only, but he wil carry some of the flowers home with him; So in a cold day, a man will not be con­tent to heate himselfe at anothers man fire, but he will carry away some fire with him to keepe him hot at home. So doe yee when ye come to heare the Word; carry home some flow­ers of it with you, carry some fire home with you, to heate and warme your hearts. God regards not flashes and moodes, and such neg­ligence [Page 179] in performing of holy duties as will not warme your hearts. Men are like a Sive in the water: it is full whiles it is in the water, but be­ing taken out of it, it hath nothing; it is not the hearing of the Word of God, or the doing of it negligently that will profit, if ye heare it on­ly pro forma, and negligently, it doth you no good, but it brings Gods curse upon you. Gods curse is on many, they grow not in know­ledge or grace for want of diligence; where­fore in the 2 Pet. 3, 17. the Apostle bids us beware least being led away with the error of the wicked, we fall from our owne stedfastnesse: to prevent this, grow in grace, and for this pur­pose grow in knowledge, for then ye grow in grace.

5 The fift meanes to heare profitably, is to prize the Word and the voyce of Christ spea­king to the heart: pray earnestly for it that ye may seeke it earnestly at Gods hands, beseech him to speake to your hearts: your hearing is nothing without this: it is the great sheapheard of the flocke that must feede you. It is the Spi­rit that must teach you.1 Pet. 5.5. Therefore when as you come to heare, pray earnestly to God to speake unto you by his Spirit. It is the Spirit that quickneth. Ioh. 6.63. the Word is spirituall, and wee are carnall▪ therefore wee must pray for the Spirit to helpe us for to heare: the Spi­rit is not bestowed without prayer. Act. 1.14.15. God promised to give his Spirit to his A­postles, [Page 180] yet they continued long in prayers ere he gave it them. Luk. 11.13. God gives not his Spi­rit but to such as aske it, to such as cōtinue pray­ing, asking and knocking. Dauid prayes to God; to open his eyes that he might see the wonders of his Law:Psal. 119. Men may heare the Word, yet God o­pens not their eyes without seeking to him. God speakes unto you by his Ministers. Paule and Apollos are yours; we are the Ministers of God,1 Cor 3.21. for your sakes, for your service. If God open the dore of utterance, it is not for our sakes but yours, that you might seeke the Word at our mouthes and beleeve. Act. 14.1. a great company of Iewes and Gentiles beleeved by hearing the Word preached, and receiving of it: The world receives not the Spirit, because they seeke it not, Ioh. 14 17. We in preaching, can doe nothing; it is the Spirit that must doe it. 2 Cor. 3.18. we can shew you the Image of God, but it is nothing to you if ye be not transformed into the same image from glory to glory: and it is the Spirit that must thus transforme you. Con­clude therfore with God in prayer, let not him deny you; one Word from him is more than a thousand from us. God fastning his Word up­on your hearts, it changeth you; without him we preach in vayne.

6 The sixt meanes to heare profitably, is to come with vacuity of minde, free from all things that hinder; else wee sow but amongst thornes, Ier. 4.4. we speake to men prepossessed: [Page 181] the seed falles on fallow ground; we speake to men, whose hearts are full of lusts, they have a noyse of businesse within them; and so they heare us not, because their hearts are forepos­sessed. The arrowes head being in the wound, it is in vaine to lay plaisters upon it: there­fore, Iam. 1.24. when as wee come to heare the Word, wee are commanded, to lay aside all superfluity of naughtinesse, and to receive with meekenesse, the ingrafted Word, which is able to save our soules. D [...]e in hearing the Word as men doe in grafting; cut off all superfluous branches; come with empty minds; attend to the matters of grace. Men who have full stomacks God feeds not; He feeds the hungry, others are sent empty away, Luk. 1.53. they are alwayes hearing, but never profiting. I should speake now to Ministers and people: to Ministers, that they speake in the voyce of Christ, that they speake as he did; not in wisedome of words, 1 Cor. 2.14. but in the evidence of the Spirit; To the people; that they must heare them by whom Christ speakes: those who have Livings to bestow, ought to bestow them on such as speake the Words of Christ; they that want his voyce ought to procure such. Now if yee will not be at cost for a good Minister, it is a signe you love your profit above Christ. Those that dwell where Christs voyce is not, let them remove, for they sit in darkenesse and in the shad­dow of death, Esay. 9.2. If your dwelling be plea­sant, [Page 182] if you have bitter waters or no waters at all, you will remove: Have not your dwel­ling then where the water of life is not. If the voyce of Christ be the onely meanes to beget life, let men come to it. It is a great fault, men come not to this voyce: hee that came not to the Sacrament, must be cut off: What shall be done to him that comes not to the Word? Want of the Word preached is a great misery; therefore David complai­neth much of this case, when he was not able to come to the Word. Psal. 120.5. O that I am constrained to dwel in Meshech, and to have my habitation a­mongst the tents of Kedar. The daily sacrifice being taken away, it was the greatest desolation that could be;Dan. 9.27. and can men live there with comfort where the Word is wanting? Is it a duty to come to heare the Word, or is it Ar­bitrary, to come or not to come? If it be arbi­trary, then yee performe but a will worship, when yee heare it; if a duty, then yee must heare it constantly, and enquire where it is to be had.

Obiect.But you have excuses.

Answ.To this I answer, see how yee can excuse your selves to God: How angry was Christ with those that came not to the marriage: Math. 22. that is principally meant of comming to heare the Gospell. It is a despysing of God and his or­dinances not to come; it is a contempt which brings forth a curse, which brings a judgement [Page 183] that is like the sinne. Those that despise you, de­spise me, saith Christ;Luk. 10.16. Rom. 1.16. the word is the power of God to salvation: there is no salvation without faith, and there is no faith but by hearing.Rom. 10.11. Faith comes by hearing: He that heares not you, heares not me, saith Christ. Therefore if you heare not this voyce of the Sonne of God take heed lest he heare not you at last.



LVK. 9.23.

And he said unto them all, If any man will come after mee, let him deny himselfe, and take up his crosse daily, and follow me.

WEe have formerly propounded three things unto you; the first was, to shew you what wee are out of CHRIST; and that is, wee are dead men: the second is, what wee gaine by CHRIST: and [Page 186] that is, Life eternall, with all things belong­ing to it; and these two wee have finished▪ the third is, what wee must doe for CHRIST; And that is, Wee must deny our selves, take vp Christs Crosse and follow him: and for this end I have chosen this Text. And hee saide unto them all, If any man will come after mee, let him deny himselfe, and take vp his Crosse daily, and follow mee. As if hee should have said, all expecting any benefit from me now, I looke for this from them againe, to deny themselves, to take up my daily crosse, and fol­low me.

The occasion of these words, was this. CHRIST told them before, that the Sonne of man must suffer many things, goe through ma­ny troubles and drinke this Cup: now from this, he makes this consectary: Hee that will bee mine, must doe the same things that I doe, though not in the same measure; He must deny himselfe, hee must take up his daily crosse, as I doe dye on the Crosse, and follow mee. The maine Poinct intended is this: Who ever will have benefit by mee, must follow mee. Now there are two maine impediments that hinder men from following me; The first is Plea­sures, or any thing that a man lusts after; there­fore hee that comes to me must deny himselfe. The second is crosses; hee that followes mee meets with many troubles, crosses and afflicti­ons from the Divell and the world; now hee [Page 187] must not bauke the way or decline them, when as he meeteth with them, but hee must goe thorough with them, and every day beare them; therefore hee addes, that hee that will come after him, must not onely deny himselfe, but likewise take up his Crosse daily and follow him.

The first point of Doctrine that ariseth from the words is this.

That whosoever lookes for any interest in Christ, Doct. 1. must deny himselfe. Hee that comes after mee, that is, he that will bee saved by me, united to me, made one with me, must deny himselfe; that is, though there be no precedent condition required of those that come to Christ, (wee Preach, that if any man will come in, hee shall be saved, what ever hee hath beene; there is no antecedent condition required but to desire CHRIST, Rev. 22.17. Let him that is athirst come, let whosoever will come and taste of the waters of life freely. That is, none will take him, none will come in but such as thirst: there is nothing required before hand but to take him:) yet yee must know, that when yee have taken him, you must bee his; hee must bee your Lord, and you must bee confor­mable to him: this none can doe without de­nying himselfe. PAVL followed Christ, be­cause hee denyed himselfe: but DEMAS did not deny himselfe. therefore 2 Tim. 4.10. Hee imbraced the present world, and forsooke Christ. [Page 188] Numb. 14.24. Iosh. 14.8. CALEB and IOSHVA followed God constantly, they went through all and denied themselves; the other heads of the Tribes did not. Take ABRAHAM for example of Selfe deniall. Gen 12.1. GOD bids him goe out of his Country to an unknowne Land, and hee doth it; Hee refused not to offer up his onely Sonne when hee was commanded to doe it; hee served God constantly. If our wills and Christs will were unisons & coincident, then there were no need to deny our selves; but because they are contrary one to the other, therefore we must deny our selves.

Quest.But what is it to deny our selves?

Answ.I answer, it is nothing else, but not to make our selves our aime and end; but to make God our end and aime, and to deny our selves as wee are contrary to him: To deny that dulnesse and aversnesse of Nature, that the Scripture calls,Col 3.9. R [...]m. the old man, and the flesh; to give this the deniall is to deny a mans selfe; because this is reckoned a mans selfe. Flesh and corruption of nature, is called a mans selfe. 2 Corinth. 4.5. Wee preach not our selves, but Christ: That is, wee preach not for our owne credit and ends, but for Christ and his glory. The corruption of Na­ture is reckoned a mans selfe. 2 Corinth. 12.5. PAVL saith that hee knew a man that was caught vp into Paradice, &c. Of such a one I will glory, yet of my selfe I will not glory: That is, I will [Page 189] not rejoyce of my corruption, but of the rege­nerate part of my selfe. I am a lump [...] [...] of sinne.

But why is this reckoned a mans selfe?Quest.

Answ.I answer, because it is spread over the Soule and all the faculties, as the forme is over the matter; for a man cherisheth it as himselfe; that which fights against it fights against him­selfe.

But how can a man possiblie deny himselfe?Quest. For there must be a request before there can be a deniall, and this cannot be done but where there are two; one to request, another to deny; now man is but one, how then can this be?

Answ.I answer, there are two selfes, two men in every man; one requests, the other denyes. Rom. 7.20. It is no longer I that doe it; but sinne that dwels in mee: that is, there are two in me, the flesh and the spirit; by the one I will the thing, by the other I resist it; In every Re­generate man, there are three things; 1. Com­mon Nature, which is neyther morally good nor evill: this hath an entity in it, and so is good. Secondly, to this is added the flesh, the corruption of Nature, on the one side, bya [...]ing it the wrong way; on the other side of it there is the spirit, turning it the right way and rectifying it. This common nature as it is guided by the spirit, denyes it selfe in the things propounded, according to the flesh: the understanding and the will in this competiti­tion [Page 190] [...] the flesh: when as your wills and [...] desire riches, pleasures, wealth, life, in an [...]ordinate manner; deny your selves, the spirit reqvesting the contrary. Without this Selfe-denyall a man cannot be saved; there is a necessity of it, and there is much equity in it,Reasons of Selfe denial (as there is in all Gods Commandements) if wee could but see it.

1 For first, if we looke into our selves, there is great reason to deny our selves, because if we doe it not, wee destroy our selves. The flesh is to the Soule, as a disease is to the body; If ye give one that is sicke of a Dropsie, drinke; or one sicke of a Feaver, Wine; you please the humour well, but ye kill the man; so it is here. Galath. 6.8. He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reape Corruption; that is, by satis­fying of it wee reape Destruction: hee that soweth to the flesh reapes destruction; that is, destruction comes not presently, it is as seed that is sowne, it comes for the most part after­wards. And this answers an objection that might be made, that we see the contrary. Ezek. 18.31. God sayth, Why will yee dye O yee house of Israell? That is, though you see not present death, yet your sins will bring death. As it is said of uncleannes, Prov. 2.18. That it leads to the Chambers of death: so may it be said of any other sin, it leades to death. But now to deny your selves, is life, because by so doing ye sow to the spirit. And he that sowes to the spirit; shall of the [Page 191] spirit reape life everlasting. Gal. 6.8.

2 Secondly, in regard of God there is good rea­son that we should deny our selves. For what is it to have a God, without worshipping him as God? If we doe not deny our selves, we set not God above our selves. Looke upon the na­ture of things, & you shall finde, that God hath none above himselfe. GOD may doe all things for his owne ends; but looke to your selves, you are made for another end; keepe the order of nature, doe as the order of things requires, you must be subject to him, your desires com­ming in competition with what GOD requires, you must deny your selves.

But how is it possible for a man in his pro­jects, and the thoughts of his heart,Quest. not to seeke himselfe?

Answ.To this I answer, first, that in every man there is a naturall selfe-love, therefore we doe not destroy it, but say, that a man may seeke himselfe, because God hath planted it in Na­ture; and the plants which hee hath planted we must not root out; we have Gardens in our hearts, and we must weed them: grace destroyes not nature but elevates it. Nature is the Worke of GOD: (Opus Naturae est opus Autho­ris.)

2 Secondly, GOD will not binde us to that which is simply impossible, therefore GOD will not have us not to seeke our selves; yea he hath commanded us not to kill our selves, [Page 192] and to love our neighbours as our selves; whic [...] shew that a man may love himselfe.Math. 19.19.

3 Thirdly, the motives used in Scripture, Re­pent for the Kingdome of God is at hand: and Feare not him that can kill the body and doe no more, Math. 3.2. Math. 20.28. but feare him that is able to cast both soule and body into Hell: shew that a man may love himselfe. Wherefore wee doe not take away this selfe-love but rectifie it; wee doe not dry up this streame, but turne it into it's right Channell: wee extirpate not this plant, but guide it into the right way; as Musicians breake not the strings, but rectifie and tune them. Wherefore wee affirme, that a man may and must seeke himselfe so farre as it is good for himselfe, and no farther: This religion doth, it rectifies our love, teacheth us to deny inor­dinate affections, and to serve God with a per­fect heart. Before regeneration, a man seekes himselfe by doing things that are pleasant ac­cording to the flesh, he doth the thing he sees and handles. But a man that is sanctified, seeks his happinesse in God, though he looseth his goods, his life, and all that hee hath, his hap­pinesse is in God, he is resolved to doe or suffer any thing for God.

If none can have any interest in CHRIST without denying himselfe,Vse. 1. then joyne not both together: make no conjunction whereas God hath made an absolute disiunction; de­ny all that is in you, the whole body of sinne, [Page 163] all it can desire; deny every request of the flesh, every desire of it without all exception: Christ saith not, deny your Covetousnesse, every such particular sinne, but your selves, every sinne, stocke and branch, both cannot bee joyned: if there be any pleasure, any thing that yee delight in, have yee any commodity in such a thing, yee cannot be saved without a Divorce from it, when it comes in competi­tion with GOD. So if there be any Crosse that yee will not suffer for GOD, yee cannot be saved. Put case a man will not endure Ob­loquie; if he will endure this, yet he will not loose his estate: if this, yet he will not loose his liberty and life, such a man as this denyes not himselfe. Those who would follow CHRIST, must doe as the Apostles did, Mark. 10.28. Forsake all and follow him: GOD will try us all one time or other, whether we will forsake all and follow him. Mark. 6.22. Hee that will follow CHRIST, must have a single Eye: that is, if the eye be fixed onely on God, without joyning any thing with him, then it is single; it is said to be single, in regard of the object; when as that is single. When wee can be content with GOD though we have no­thing else, then is our eye single, and we are light: but if our eye be wicked, that is, eyeing of our credit and estate and the like, all the body is darke; that is, we are Vnregenerate. Iames, 1.8. A double-minded man, GOD hates: the [Page 194] minde is double when it hath an eye to GOD and our selves too; such a man as this, is un­stable in all his wayes, he will follow GOD but in some things. Iereboham will follow GOD, but not in the matter of the Kingdome: with­out a single eye, we are unstable in our wayes. This joyning of both together, makes ma­ny thousands loose their Soules. Many that live in the Church will not abandon all, they will doe many things to satisfie natu­rall Considerations; this doth destroy ma­ny, having eyes to GOD and themselves too.

But consider.

1 First, that it is a folly to doe this, yee loose both: the world hates you for that good which is in you; and GOD hates you, because you have no more. If BAAL be GOD, follow him altogether. 1 King. 18.21

2 Secondly, for what end doe ye doe it? Doe yee it for your credit and advantage? Ye are deceived in both if ye doe: if you follow GOD onely, you have pleasure and content; but if you mixe him with other things, yee loose the comfort of both.

3 Thirdly, for what end doe yee it? None can bee saved not serving GOD with a per­fect heart. 2 Chronic. 25.2. AMAZIAH served GOD uprightly, but not with a perfect heart; hee did much, but not with a perfect heart; therefore it was nothing worth. [Page 195] Why doe you heare and pray, and are just in many things, and not in all? Yee loose your labour while thus you halt betweene GOD and Baal.

4 Fourthly, it is needlesse to joyne other things with GOD, to seeke content in the Crea­ture; there is enough in GOD alone, hee is all-sufficient, there is all in him.

5 Fiftly, if there were a possibility to joyne both together, yet the lesse you have heere, the more yee have with GOD; the more yee have of the world, the lesse yee have of Grace; the lesse praise yee have of men, the more yee have with GOD: Man must deny himselfe, have a single eye, forsake all things, else hee looseth all: many take much paines, yet be­cause they deny not themselves, they loose all.

Secondly, if all thar come to CHRIST must deny themselves,Vse 2. then learne to make account of this before hand, to deny your selves: Cast with your selves, if you will bee sa­ved and follow CHRIST, not to provide for pleasures and estate: say not I will bee rich, I will have such content; you must de­ny your selves, withstand your selves: see what your thoughts and intentions are; doe you not thinke how to satisfie your selves in your earth­ly things? these be your thoughts, but suffer thē not to run out: put yee on the Lord Iesus Christ, Rom. 13.14. and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the [Page 196] Lusts thereof. Every man till hee be another man, will seeke himselfe, but doe you re­nounce your selves. Consider what your mor­ning thoughts are, consider that the flesh is lusting and running; thinke therefore every morning how to crosse it the day following, you must dayly deny your selves, you must goe up the Hill of holy duties, when as the flesh would goe downe; be carefull in crossing the flesh when it would be busie: be painefull in your callings, when as the flesh would be lasie; feare not to have shame in the world for CHRIST and Righteousnesse sake, though the flesh brookes it not: nothing troubles men more than being crossed; wee having precon­ceived a thing, it vexeth us for to loose it; if wee will be Christians, wee must crosse our selves, not please our selves; please the spirit, let not the affections run out; part with all that is sweet, and taste those things that are bitter; and not onely thus much (my Brethren) but thinke you have a good bargaine too: hee that takes Christ for his Lord, must deny him­selfe, and hate Father and Mother for his sake, else hee is not worthy of him, Matth. 14.26. That is, except yee thinke mee worthy of all this, let me alone; yee will not be saved: The Mer­chant gave all that hee had for the Pearle, Math. 13.45.46. and thought that he had a good Bargaine: yee must not complaine, if yee doe, yee continue not: thinke what Heaven is worth: Is GOD [Page 197] the governour of all? See what yee have by him: If yee deny your selves,Revl. 1.6. yee are Kings and Priests; yee have all if yee take him: therefore see whether yee take him thus or no: yee must not thinke yee have a hard bargaine.

Obiect.But you will say, this is a hard saying, who can beare it?

Answ.To this I answer, that there is reason for it, there is enough in CHRIST if ye saw it; there is reason to perswade you to it.

1 First, consider that your Goodnesse is all in Christ, it is contained more in God, than in your selves. When ye deny your selves, (Suppositio nihil ponit.) yet suppose that a man could cast himselfe into hell for Gods sake, he would be a gainer by it. Our good is in our GOD more than in our selves, even as the beame is more in the Sunne, than in its selfe. The perfection of every thing is the end of it. Take all Crea­tures, mixt bodies and the rest, let them have their end, and they are perfect: God is the end of every man, we are made, redeemed, and live for this purpose, that wee might be his alone: We cannot then be miserable whiles we have our end. Rom. 9.3. PAVL could wish himselfe sepa­rated from God, for the love which hee had to his Countrimen the Iewes, hee could bee content to bee accursed, that CHRIST [...]ight have glory by their Salvation. Lose yee [...], credit, or your lives for Christ his sake; yee are happy in it: ye have a Command to love God above [Page 198] your selves; because your good is more in him than in your selves. If it were not so, GOD should contradict himselfe, in bidding us love him above our selves: Therefore our good and happinesse is more in GOD, than in our selves. Let a man therefore deny and lose himselfe, for Christ and the Gospel he gets by it.

2 Secondly, let the emptinesse in your selves, moove you to deny your selves. Why will you defend your selves? Out of GOD there is no fullnesse: If you would bee happy, I woul [...] aske you where you would finde your happinesse out of GOD? Either it must bee in your selves, or in the Creature. In your selves it cannot bee; for how many things doe yee want? Wee are so indigent in our selves, that wee are faine to step out to other Crea­tures. In the Creatures it cannot bee; because they are inferiour to us, and worse than our selves: They were not made for that end, for to make us happy, but to helpe us. A­gaine, the mutability of the Creature, shewes that wee have no happinesse in it: it is like brittle Glasses that are soone broken. Againe, if they did continue, there could bee no hap­pinesse in them; for they are but Vanity. 1 Sam. 12.21. Turne not away from following the LORD, for then should you seeke after vaine things, which will not profit; for they are vaine. Goe through all things: Men, women, riches, [Page 199] honours, any delights pleasing the fancy, there is nothing but vanity in them: that is, there is an inability in them, to give that satisfaction that is expected. From this wee say, a Well is empty, because wee looke for waters in it, and finde none. What needs there a change and vi­cissitude of things, if there were not an empti­nesse in the Creature? What needed there such a multitude of them if they were not empty? Besides, consider that GOD can make you hap­py without them. If yee have the Sunne, no matter for the Starres: though yee have them without the Sunne, yet it is night. It were an ea­sie thing to deny our selves, if we were perswa­ded of this. Were wee in SALOMONS case (who saw all that is under the Sunne, and had a­boundance of outward things himselfe, yet in Eccles. 1.2.3. he saith, They are all but vanity:) it were an easie matter to perswade us to deny our selves. If a chast wife were perswaded, that there is no worth in him that solicites her to uncleannes, it were easie for her to deny him. Now adde this to the rest, that all we have said perswades not, but when God sendeth a light into the heart; and that is the reason that ma­ny speake of this, but few practise it.

3 Thirdly, there is much equity in it, that you should deny your selves; because Christ hath redeemed and bought you of your selves. Suppose a man sell himselfe to bee a Ser­vant; it is injustice in him to bee any [Page 200] more for himselfe. 1 Corinth. 6.19.20. Ye are not your owne, yee are bought with a price: Ser­vants are not their owne but their Masters. Rom. 8.12. Yee are no longer debtors to the Flesh, to live after the Flesh; but to the Spirit, to live after the Spirit: yee wrong God much, if the flesh knocke and yee answere it. Consider the price, and the greatnesse of it, that was payed for you. 1 Pet. 1.18. Yee are not redeemed with Corruptible things, as Silver and Gold, from your vaine Conversation, but with the precious Blood of CHRIST, as a Lambe without spot. Paul considered that Christ gave himselfe for him, so that hee stood upon nothing, but de­nied himselfe in all things, that hee might live to him. 2 Corinth. 5.15. Wee thus judge, that one dyed for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him, which dyed for them and rose againe. Consider this yee that come to the Sacrament; ye must not doe all for your selves, but for CHRIST, and what advantage will this bring to Christ? Let men examine themselves and yee shall finde, that few live to Christ, most to themselves: Otherwise, why are not men more affected to Gods glory, and the Churches good? Consi­der CHRIST will have his end; yee must live in him, else yee shall have no interest in him.

4 Fourthly, consider what yee doe, when yee yeild to your selves; and when as you deny [Page 201] your selves; When as ye yeeld to your selves, ye strengthen the flesh: denying your selves, you strengthen your selves, and the inward man: the more ye yeeld to the Spirit, the more beauty ye have; the more ye yeeld to the flesh, the more deformity. Gal. 5.19. The fruits of the flesh, are adultery, fornication, uncleannes, and the like, which bring death: but the fruits of the Spirit, are joy, peace, long-suffrings, gentlenesse, good­nesse, faith, meeknesse, temperance; against which there is no law. Looke to your selves; the fruits of the flesh, are shame, misery, corruption, death; the fruits of the Spirit, are life, grace, and glory: yeelding to the flesh yee strengthen the disease: the wisest way is to strengthen that which will sticke by us. Yee must maintaine the Spirit, crucifie the flesh, which is as the sea; having gotten ground, it is hardly to be re­covered: therefore snib not the Spirit, quench it not, lest it speake lesse and lesse, till it speake not at all: yeeld to the whisperings of the Spi­rit, and quench it not: deny not any request the Spirit makes.

Thirdly, If all that will have any interest in Christ, must deny themselves,Vse. 3. you see how prone our nature is to evill, else wee needed not this exhortation. Wee sinke downe to sin, as a stone doth to the Center, the flesh is still drawing and byassing us the wrong way; therefore let us not have too good an opinion of our selves▪ let us bee jealous with a holy jea­lousie; [Page 202] remember the Flesh is prone to evill continually.

Quest.But how shall wee know it?

Answ.I answere, that it is plaine in many things.

Quest.But how shall wee know whether the desire be from the Spirit, or from the Flesh?

Answ.A man desires a place, hee saith it is to doe good with it; hee desires honours for the good of others.

Quest.But how shall wee know if hee doth so?

Answ.I answere, that in these generals no exact signes can be given, yet we will guesse at some, whereby yee may know it.

1 First, consider if it bee a turbulent desire: desires of Grace, are as naturall desires, gentle and quiet: unnaturall heate and thirst, are tur­bulent and violent; such are the desires of the Flesh.

2 Secondly, the desires of the flesh are hasty, it runs without an errand, when as a wise man ponders his wayes. The desires of the Spirit doe not easily rise; wee must take paines with our hearts for good desires; fleshly desires are hasty.

3 Thirdly, know it by the satisfaction you give it: doth satisfaction of your desire, make you more heavenly minded; it is right: but doth it make you earthly minded, and indispo­sed to holy duties; then the desire is from the flesh.

[Page 203] 4 Fourthly, know it by the contrary; If the duties of Prayer and the like doe weaken the desire, then it is Carnall; but if they streng­then it, so that you goe on with boldnesse and security, it comes from the Spirit.

5 Fifthly, know, if there be some selfe-respect that doth carry you, so farre yee goe and no farther: that respect being taken away, ye end. Doe you it in secret and constantly; even then when ye are sequestred from all other respects, and have nothing else but Gods glory to stirre you up to doe it? If the heart be iust, wee doe it when we have no other end in it. Are yee angry with your selves, when ye neglect Gods businesse? Are ye angry with a Sonne, because he neglects God, or is it because of his loose­nesse and dissolutenesse; because hee takes ill courses, and would waste your estates? Many men are zealous for sinnes against themselves, for sinnes that preiudice themselves: As Mi­nisters are angry with such as rob the Church, and have Impropriations, and sometimes de­servedly too; but when the Pulpit rings of nothing but this, it is a signe that it is onely out of Selfe-respect. So the people cry out of the Ministers Covetousnesse, but it is out of selfe-respect, because they are loath to give them that which is their due. Iohn was zealous for God; but it was with an eye and respect to the Kingdome. So Hosea, 7.14. The people fasted and assembled themselves together, but it was but for [Page 204] Corne and Wine: take away our respects, wee are cold; these are desires that should be de­nied.

Vse. 4,Fourthly, if all that have interest in Christ must deny themselves; then try whether you have interest in Christ or no: are ye willing to deny the flesh? Are ye willing to undergoe the crosse? To crucifie the flesh for Christ? Else ye are not in him. He must deny himselfe that is in Christ: all are ready to say, that they de­ny themselves, when as it is spoken in gene­rall; but if yee will know whether you deny your selves or no, consider but these three things.

1 First, are ye willing to be informed? Will ye try and sift thing to the bran? Try ye if the thing be lawfull which yee desire? If yee stop your eyes and eares, and will not examine it, you doe not deny your selves; it is all one to stop the light, as to have it and not to follow it: Is there not a secret light within you, that tels you, this and this is a sinne? doth your con­science whisper within you? if it doth, ye deny not your selves, except yee desire to be infor­med. Num. 22.20. Balaam would not goe upon any tearmes to curse Israel, at the first and second re­quest; he had a secret light within him that told him that hee should not goe, though God bade him goe; but yet God who knowes the waies of the flesh and Spirit, saw that hee lingred after Balacks wages; and therefore he bids him goe, [Page 205] and he went: hee did not satisfie his consci­ence. So SAVL caried it fairely, when as he offered Sacrifice before SAMVEL came; so hee did when h [...] [...]ared AGAG and the best things; pretendi [...]g Sacrifice to be made with them: yet his conscience told him that it was a sinne, he did not satisfie it· Examine things to the full, else yee deny not your selves. Wee preach to you, that you must doe thus and thus; peradventure yee deceive your selves and reason against it, yet your Consciences are convinced. 2 Corinth. 4.2. Wee speake to your Consciences, and approve our selves to them; we preach not to the wits and humours of men, but to their consciences, in the sight of GOD and men. You must love the light: Ioh. 3.12. Hee that doth truth commeth to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought of GOD. Doe yee choose the light, without seeking any [...]istinctions, or evasions? If a man seeke evasions, it is a signe hee is not of the truth. Hee that loves the truth, is of the light: approves things that are excellent;Phil. 1.10. he is willing to hold up his actions to the Sunne, as one doth a vessell, to see if there be ever a flaw in it. Yee may call sanctifying the Sabbath, Iudaisme; yee may call strictnesse of life, Hypocrisie and Precisenesse; Zeale, indiscretion; But what say your consciences of them? If that which we doe bee but hypocrisie, why doe you not it in reality?

[Page 206] Object.Yea, but you are more strict than the rule.

Answ.Why, then try whether it bee so or no, take not the word upon trust. 1 Corinth. 3.5. Wee are the Ministers by whom yee beleeve, and not what yee beleeve: If yee are not willing to search what the good [...] of GOD is, yee deny not your selves. In those things that are in question, see that you satisfie your Consci­ences and that light which is within. If there bee a question about sanctifying of the Sab­bath, and gayning; doe as your Consciences bid you, see if there be not a reluctancy with­in.

2 Secondly, consider what yee doe in case of a strong affection, in a strong temptation, in a particular humour; it is not what a man doth in coole blood, but what doe you when as opportunity and strong affections mee [...]e. Hee is a good Pilot, that shewes himselfe so in a storme; hee is a good Souldier, that shewes himselfe so in a breach; see if you doe as A­BRAHAM, hee denyed himselfe in his Son: It is Selfe-deniall, when as a man renounceth him­selfe and his flesh, when as they aske him vi­olently and importunately. Will you omit no duty though it cost you much; As DANIEL would not leave off Praier, though it should cost him his life, Dan. 6.10: wil ye not commit any sinne, though you gaine never so much by it; as BA­LAAM did, and as those that have the persons of men in admiration, because of advantage, [Page 207] doe? Try what yee doe in such cases as these. If some trouble follow such a duty, what doe yee? Mark. 8.38. Hee that is ashamed to pro­fesse CHRIST, though it brings a Crosse to him, hee that will not professe him in time of tryall; of him will the Sonne of man also bee ashamed, when hee commeth in the Glory of his Father. Hath Christ need of the same thing, that you your selves have need of; will yee bestow it on him? Suppose it be a boxe of oyntment, or tenne times more; the tryall is, how we doe deny our selves, when as we shall injure our selves.

3 Thirdly, yee shall know if yee deny your selves, by the humility and lowlinesse of your minds: Are yee content to be translated from one condition to another? An humble man is willing and content to bee translated from one estate to another: hee wonders he hath so much; hee will be trampled on for GOD. If yee are proud, having great thoughts of heart, ye never will deny your selves: The proud resist GOD, and hee resisteth them, 1. Pet. 5.5. They are full of murmurings and disquiet; The broken hearts make no account of themselves, care not for any condition, are contented with the lowest roome, as the Prodi­g [...]ll was; so they have grace it is enough; If ye have this disposition, it shewes you are men de­nying your selves: Apply these rules, and try if yee deny your selves or not: if yee doe not, [Page 208] know your condition, and labour to bring your hearts to it, to deny your selves: The wayes to doe it are these.

1 First, to deny your selves, have a right judgement of your selves:Meanes to deny our selves. reckon the inward man your selfe; if yee reckon the Flesh your selfe; riches, honours, credit and wealth that perfect the flesh, your selfe; then yee will lose all for it, yee will not deny your selves: Such a one will leave Religion, wound his Consci­ence, rather than lose his estate: But if wee reckon the regenerate part our selves, it hath friends and a Kingdome; and reckoning it our selfe, wee will suffer any thing rather than hurt it: we will lose our life and liberty, and yet are well because this is safe. After a man is re­generate, he reckons another thing himselfe, than he did before; the Spirit is now predo­minant, he is himselfe: doing Spirituall things, the Spirit is Lord of the house; the flesh may come in as a theefe, but there is a great dif­ference, when as it comes thus, and when as it comes as a Lord: When as the Spirit is a mans selfe, his hold is in heaven. Let us judge of our selves, and wee shall be able to deny our selves.

2 Secondly, have a right opinion of other things: know that by denying of your selves, you gaine; yeilding to the requests and de­sires of the Flesh, yee lose by it: Matth. 16.25. Hee that will save his life, shall lose it; he that [Page 209] will save his credit and pleasure, shall lose it; the more yee deny your selves, and part with these things, the more yee shall have, Even an hundred for one in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting, Mark. 10.30. Yee shall bee gainers by it.

Obiect.Yea, but we see the contrary, the Saints are imprisoned, and persecuted, they have many crosses and losses.

Answ.It is true, and therefore the Text saith; That they shall have a hundred fold with Persecution; that is, God will multiply comforts to them with Persecution: One may have more com­fort in a Prison, than others have in a Palace. Comfort consists not in the bulke of outward things. David was wise to take oportunity when as hee had any thing to doe for God: though it were costly, yet he did it: hee bought his Oxen that he offered, he would not offer that to God, which cost him nothing: 2 Sam. 24.24. The water that cost mens lives, that which hee thirsted so much for, hee powred out as an ob­lation to God, and would not drinke of it: for he knew that whatsoever it cost him, hee should be a gainer by it. Act. 5.41, The Apostles being whipped, went away rejoycing: None re­joyce but such as thinke they are gainers by it. Paul accompted it a great favour, to suf­fer for Christ: So the Apostle, Iam. 1.2. bids us count it exceeding much joy, when as wee fall into divers tribulations: and Iames, 1 12. [Page 210] Blessed is the man that indureth temptation: for when [...]ee is tryed he shall receive the Crowne of life. It is for your advantage, when as you lose an estate, or a friend, or suffer any thing for GOD; yee shall get by it. If yee can say with Peter, Lord, we have forsaken all and followed thee; Mark. 10.28. yee shall have an hundered fold; that is, yee shall have GOD.

Obiect.But is it not best to have other things with GOD?

Answ.I answere, that God is best; trust him, leave the keeping of other things to him: if yee are to lose a friend to keepe a good Conscience, commit it to Gods keeping; so if yee are to lose an estate. Besides, if yee have not these things from his favour, what is it to you? Yee may have them by his Providence, and not out of his favour, and then they will bee a snare unto you, yee will set your mindes too much on them, and they will leade you to hell; or else they will bee a crosse unto you: What comfort can you have in them, if God bee ab­sent? If God bid such a thing comfort us, wee have comfort: but if he bids it not to comfort us, though wee have it, yet we want com­fort; Therefore reckon these things but as drosse and dung, as PAVL did, Phil. 3.8. adde not to them, but to Gods favour; forsake them if they come in Competition with him, and his lawes.

[Page 211] 3 Thirdly, learne to know CHRIST aright, that will make you deny your selves. Christ is worthy all love; this knowledge of Christ will make you deny your selves, not of neces­sity, but out of a love to him. A friend that adventures his life for us, is worthy of all wee can doe: Is not CHRIST then worthy of all you can doe and more? 1 Corinth. 1.13. Paul reasons thus with the Corinthians; Is Christ di­vided? Was Paul Crucified for you? Or, were you Baptized in the name of Paul? If Christ doth all for us, wee must deny our selves for him. Looke on all that he hath done for you, and what priviledges you have by him; learne to beleeve, it will make you to deny your selves. Paul went through many things, be­cause he trusted in the living God, 1 Tim. 4.10. Moses cared not for the wrath or favour of Pharaoh, because hee beleeved, Hebrews, 11. Be­leeve and know, that there is a realitie in the things wee have by Christ: let them not bee as things onely in the fancy, but bee affe­cted with them. We rejoyce in an estate which we possesse, and in honours we injoy; because wee have them. By Christ wee are Kings, and Priests, and heires of all, Revel. 1.5, 6. If you beleeve this, then Faith begets Love in us, which makes us willing to part with all. Philip. 2.21. Paul complaines, That every man seekes his owne, and not the things of Iesus Christ; that was for want of [Page 212] of love: 1 Corinth. 13.5. Love seekes not his owne; you may see this in Paul, Act. 20.24. I count not (saith hee) my life deare unto my selfe, so that I may finish my course with Ioy, and the Ministry which I have received of the Lord Iesus. Learne to beleeve in Christ, love him, then you will deny your selves for him: What ever men thought of Paul, though hee was taken to be a mad man, Act. 26.24. yet the love of Christ did constraine him, 2 Corinth. 5.14. So as wee love Christ, it is no matter what wee suf­fer.

4 Fourthly, the last meanes to helpe us to de­ny our selves, is the manner how wee should deny our selves: Bee peremptory in denying the requests of the Flesh, barre up the doores, give the flesh no audience; nothing is better than a peremptory will, if it bee well set; no­thing worse, if it bee ill. When Ioab would have perswaded David to slay Abner, David gives him a peremptory deniall; saying, What have I to doe with you, yee sonnes of Servia? So Christ gave Peter a peremptory deniall, when hee would disswade him from his Pas­sion; hee saith to him, Get thee behinde mee Sathan. Math. 16.23. The flesh is of your old acquaintance, that hath bin borne and bred with you, and therefore is ready to deceive you; wherefore looke to it. Act. 21. Paul saith to them that would disswade him from going vp to Ierusalem. What doe yee weeping and breaking my heart? [Page 213] their expostulation with him weakned the si­newes of his intention, and softened his pur­pose. Bring these meanes to particulars, ha­ving occasion, let them not remaine in general: You that heare me now, examine your selves; none that heare me this day but had need par­ticularly to deny himselfe: some humours hee hath that he must deny; give not over till thou hast done it. This will scowre out the staines out of your Soules, labour therefore for to doe it: Put case, that satisfying such a desire is pleasant, yet denying of it will bring you more pleasure and profit; there are none that gaine by sinning, and none lose by serving God: You are gainers while you lose your cre­dit for God, or your riches; he will either give you more, or else hee will give you more com­fort in the little which you have. Are you re­strained? God will give you longer and lar­ger liberty from the yoake of Sinne: lose you a momentany delight? God will give you a stronger delight. A lust being removed, there is a blemish wiped away, every lust is a spot on the soule; If yee suffer a lust to continue, that yee are indulgent to, it defiles you, it makes you indigent: Lusts cause want. Beeing brought under the power of a lust, yee are un­der a Tyrant. Againe, what ever your hearts are set on, and you will not deny your selves in it; if yee belong to God yee shall bee cros­sed in it: your strong affections will bee your [Page 214] strong afflictions. David was crossed in his Ab­solon; Absolon, in his Kingdome; Amnon in his Tamar. Againe, if you will satisfie your lusts, there is no end of it, yee must be alwaies adding fuell to them, which in­creaseth the fire. Consider, that in this, our heart is deceitfull: wee being minded to con­tinue in things, though it bee but for a time, wee will not easily be brought to judge aright of them afterwards, wee judge not then with­out a bribe: and our judgements being bri­bed, they are then easily corrupted. Take heed therefore of Custome: this is hard to be resisted: the flesh will expect the same enter­tainment from us at the last, as it had the se­cond or third time. Custome doth prejudice us much; it intends the originall Corruption; it leads us captive with violence: being ac­customed to any lust, know that it is hard to renounce it, because custome addes unto its strength▪ When we have judged already of a thing, we are loath to iudge againe. But now my Brethren, consider, if yee erred once, that will not excuse the second errour: Custome is, but Vetustas erroris, the antiquity of errour; Gods Spirit must bee the rule of our lives: Custome is an ingagement to us, to continue in those things wherein wee should deny our selves: So the opinion of men, is a hinderance to Selfe-deniall; having used such a course we will not alter it; if we doe, men wonder at [Page 215] it; this keepes men off from selfe-deniall. Wherefore that your hearts deceive you not, remember this caution; Take heed of Cu­stome.

La [...]ly,Vse 5. if no man hath any interest in Christ unlesse hee deny himselfe; then see the way of drawing neare to CHRIST: The more wee deny our selves, the lesse distance is betwixt him and us; the nearer our wills are brought together, the nearer we come to him; the more fully we empty us of our selves, the more per­fectly wee deny our selves, and the nearer wee come to him. And thus much for the first Point; that who ever lookes for any interest in Christ, must deny himselfe. The second followes which is this.

That the wayes of God are full of Crosses; Doct. 2. they have much difficulty in them: Christ tels men, They must deny themselves, take up their daily Crosse: they must goe through crosses, and looke for them: the wayes therefore of God are full of crosses. And this must needs be so, for three reasons.

1 First, God will have it so, that wee may beare witnesse of the truth: Words are [...]ut a slender testimony; therefore God will have men suffer and be imprisoned too for the truth: This is that good confession of Christ, when as we confesse him, not in word but in deed. God therefore will have us beare Crosses for this end.

[Page 216] 2 Secondly, God will have men tried; and that they cannot bee without Crosses: Therefore 1 Corinth. 11.19. Heresies must needs come, that those who are faithfull may be tryed; that the good may be distinguished from the counterf [...] Af­flictions and crosses are the best touchstones; therefore they are called tryals, because they try and prove men.

3 Thirdly, this must needs be so, from the na­ture of thinges themselves. Men cannot run on in obedience to Christ without oppositi­on. A faithfull Christian man must reprove others as Iohn Baptist did, and then it may cost him his life. It may cost us our lives and losse of favour, (as it did Moses, Hebr. 11. Who endured Pharaohs wrath,) for stan­ding out in good causes. In many actions wee may and shall be censured; for wee must be just to men, and upright to GOD, and not be byassed a wrong way; and for this we may bee opposed. The Sabboths must bee kept though some losses may come by it; ma­ny other actions must be done, wee must speake for Christ, as Paul and Daniel did, which cost them Imprisonment, and so it may doe us.

4 Fourthly, looke on the world, and there is a necessity that wee should have crosses, if wee will follow Christ. For, Iohn 15.19. The world loves her owne, and hates them who are Christs; they are resisted, and cannot resist [Page 217] againe. The world puts crosses upon the Saints, and as if they were not forward inough of themselves, the Divell helpes them forwards: Hee sets their tongues on worke, Iames, 3.6. Their tongues are set on fire of Hell; hee sets their hands on worke, Revel. 2.10. The Divell shall cast some of you into Prison; that is, men by the Divels instigation shall doe it.

Fiftly, it must needs be so, in regard of mens conditions and themselves; they must have crosses to prevent sinne: Christ the good Shep­heard sets Dogs on his sheepe sometimes to barke at them, and if that will not serve the turne, to bite them too: Partly, for sinnes present which they contract. And partly to prevent fu­ture sinnes. Prosperity makes them rust some­times; therefore God sets scullio [...]s to rub them over and makes them bright, though they make themselves blacke. God sends afflictions on the good to make them better; Threshing makes the corne though it were good before, to be much better: the fire though the gold be good before, yet it makes it much purer: health though it be good, yet exercise makes it bet­ter.

Now as the wayes of God are full of crosses, so they have much difficulty in them; and that for these reasons.

1 First, because of Selfe-denyall: This selfe-deniall must needs bee, and it is hard and [Page 218] difficult for a man to deny himselfe: it is a hard thing to deny a stranger being importunate; it is harder to deny a friend, a wife, or a sonne: but it is hardest to deny a mans selfe, to deny a strong lust, a naturall inclination, which is ever beg­ging and asking, that is like a continuall drop­ping, this is difficult.

2 Secondly, looke on the Law, and it is difficult,Rom. 7.14. the Law is spirituall, wee are carnall, sold under sinne, and yet must bee squared by it.

3 Thirdly, it is difficult in regard of our affe­ctions: these make the wayes of God difficult: wee are to goe on in the middle way, but our affections bias us another way; wee no sooner love things but wee over-love them: so we are ready to over-joy and grieve for things: these affections distemper the minde, and the minde being distempered, we are like a barrell stirred and turned up-side downe, nothing but mud comes from it.

4 Fourthly, looke on our natures, and it is difficult. What is in man, in common or cor­rupt nature? The wayes of God are above com­mon nature, above our reach and up the hill; they are more difficult to corrupt natures: all Gods wayes are contrary to it, and it to them; there is a contention, a contra­riety betweene them, and so a great difficul­ty.

[Page 219] 5 Fiftly, compare it with other things, and you will finde it difficult; to get an art or li­berall science, what paines and difficulty must be used? Now to have Gods Image renew­ed in us, must needs be harder: for to this we have a contrariety and reluctancy, to the other a naturall propensnes: therefore it must be dif­ficult.

6 Lastly, looke to the variety and change wee must run thorow: Phil. 4.21. Wee must want and abound, beare good report, and bad report; It is hard to beare prosperity; as hard as it is to drinke much wine, and not be giddy: It is hard to beare adversity and not to stoope; hard to beare scorches without shrinking; some can beare want, but aboundance makes them leave God: many can beare good report, and can­not away with bad report: some can doe both, but yet they will not loose their wealth: some can indure that, but not imprisonment: to goe through thicke and thin is hard and diffi­cult.

But now you may aske mee two questions.Quest. 1. If this bee so, how comes Christ to tell men; Matthew 11.30. That his yoake is easie and his burthen light? how is that true, Prover. 3.17. That all the waies of wisedome are waies of pleasure? Why promise yee so much joy and peace in Religion, if there be so many crosses following it?

[Page 220] Answ. 1To this I answere, First, that the wayes of God are pleasant to any man that is right, to one that is renewed. 1 Corinth. 2.6. Wee preach wisedome to them that are perfect; that is, to them that are upright. So the wayes of God are pleasant to those that are upright, and able to judge of them: yet they are not so to others. If I say that good meate and drinke are pleasant, it is true, and you will all agree to it: yet it is not so to a Sicke man: So the light is very comfortable, yet to sore eyes it is burthensome: So Gods wayes are pleasant, yet to men having sore Eyes, sicke Conscien­ces, and distempered affections, they are dif­ficult.

2 Secondly, Gods wayes are pleasant in them­selves, whereas other wayes are bitter. Gods wayes bring pleasure and content, they are pleasant in themselves; therefore they are al­wayes so: but things that are pleasant by oc­casion, are not alwayes so: As the pleasure of Sinne, is but for a season, Hebr. 11.25. and by oc­casion of satisfying the lust; but a good Consci­ence is a continuall feast;Prov. 15 15, at all times Gods waies are a burthen and yoke to the flesh, but to the Spirit they are easie.

Object.But you will object, If the wayes of God are difficult and full of crosses, it will discou­rage men to be religious; how shall wee runne the wayes of Gods Commandements with cheerefulnes, seeing they are so full of crosses?

[Page 221]I answer, that though the wayes of God are in themselves difficult, yet they are easie to those that come after Christ, and that in these re­gards.

1 First; every one that comes to Christ hath an­other spirit and heart given him, that makes him with Paul, Rom. 7.22. To delight in the Law of God concerning the inward man. I will say of this as Christ answered Peter, when as he asked him, who should be saved if rich men were not: this is impossible (saith Christ) with men, but it is pos­sible with God; Matth. 19.26. That is, such a man cannot change his owne heart, but God can, and then the wayes of God will bee pleasant: God can give you another nature, and they will bee easy.

2 Secondly, though they bee difficult in the crosse, yet take altogether, then there is pleasure: take therefore the reward and gaine with the labour. The merchant indureth much, yet the hope of gaine sweetens all: a covetous man in­dures much labour, hath a hard lodging, fasts much, but yet the gaine contervailes all. Finis dat amabilitatem medijs, The end sweetens the meanes: the hope of harvest makes the husband­mans labour pleasant. So it is with Christ; he is pleasant if you put all together; if you looke to the joy and reward as well as to the crosse: looke on them as on weights in the ballance: if the weights be equall, they stirre not; but put more weight into one scale, then the other [Page 222] though it seemed heavy before, yet now it is bu [...] light. So it is with these crosses; in themselves they are heavy, but compare them with the is­sue, the end and reward, they are but light; Our afflictions, which are but for a moment, purchase us a far more exceeding weight of Glory, 2 Cor. 4.17.

3 Thirdly, to runne the wayes of Gods com­mandements with our owne strength, it is dif­ficulty; but having another strength more than our owne, it is easie. It is hard for a Child to goe up the staires himselfe, but if a strong man takes him by the hand, it is easie: though these wayes be hard, what if the Holy Ghost helpe you, then they will be easie. A man that lookes on an artificiall thing, he wonders at it, and cannot tell how to turne his hand to doe it; but if he once get the art, it is easie; so it is with us; before we are in Christ, all is hard to us: but if we are once in him, all is easie. Looke to the Apostles, they are shie at the first of every thing, of suffering for Christ; but afterward they indured any thing, even whipping, and death for him.

4 Fourthly, it is hard to part with that which we prize and love much; but when as we are perswaded; that there is no such thing in it as we thinke there is, then it will be easie for to part with it. No man grieves much, that the flowers that he hath in his hand, wither: that he loseth counters or shadowes: such are the things that we see and have, Psal. 39.6. they are [Page 223] but as flowers: our eyes being opened to see that these things are so, it is an easie thing to dis­esteeme them; to one that is humbled this is ea­sie; he that hath felt the burthen of sinne to bee heavy, will find Christs yoake to bee light; the Divels yoake is a hard and heavy yoake, he that hath felt the bitternesse of sinne will thinke Gods wayes to be pleasant.

5 Fiftly, consider to whom we doe all that wee doe: as David sayd to Micol. 2 Sam. 6.21. Wee doe it to the Lord: this makes all easie: this made all easie to Paul, Acts 21. When as Agabus told him, that he should be bound at Ierusalem, he tels them, that he is not onely ready to be bound, but likewise to dye at Ierusalem, for the Name of the Lord Iesus. A souldier doth much more, when as he seeth his Generall looking upon him; a good servant wil worke out of his heart, when as his masters eye is upon him, especially if his master hath a good eye: consider then that we doe all for Christ, and this will sweeten all.

If this be so,Vse. 1. that the wayes of God are full of crosses and difficulty, then learne from hence, to account of so much beforehand, and prepare for it, before ye enter into those waies of God: take heed of Baruchs fault, Ierem. 45.5. Looke not for great matters for your selves: in the world ye shall have affliction; Iohn 16.33. but in Christ ye shall have peace ▪ looke therefore for all in heaven. Remember ye must not take [Page 224] Christ onely as a Saviour, but you must take him as a Lord, as a husband; you must have a wedding garment, a conjugall affection, and be divorced from all other things, that so you may take him thus: yee must take him as your husband, for better, for worse, with losses, and crosses; your will must be subject to him in all things. If to be Christs Servant were onely to give him a cap and a knee, he would have many that would serve him; but you must obey him▪ His servants you are to whom yee obey, Rom. 6.16. There are servants which you call Retainers; which doe their owne worke on the weeke dayes, peradventure on the Sabbath they come to their Master and serve him; thus most are Christs Servants; they will serve him on the Sabboth perchance, but at no time else; but as on the Sabboth, so at all times else you must deny your selves. In other marriages error per­sonae, doth nullifie the marriage; so doth it when wee take Christ: it is an error in our judgements, not to know what he is; and that is the reason why wee so quickly fall away from him: wherefore every one that lookes for any interest in Christ, must consider with him­selfe before hand, and cast his eyes on all his comforts, on that which is pleasant to him, and resolve to part with it for him; yea, hee must looke on bitter things, on the suffe­rings of others, and make account of disgraces and persecutions if hee will follow Christ: If [Page 225] better come, doe you reputare in [...]ucrum, count it over-plus. Caesar, when as hee was goeing to fight, would usually tell his Souldiers, that the enemies were as many more as they were, that so he might make them more resolute and audacious; If you meane to follow Christ, looke for a rainy day. It may bee it is a faire morning, but yet we know not what the eve­ning will be: Nescis quid serus vesper vehat. Shall a man goe to sea, and not looke for stormes? Shall a Souldier goe into the warres, and not looke for enemies? Forecast this therefore, lest going with 2000. you are met with 20000. and overcome, your resolutions being too weake.

2 Secondly, if the wayes of God are full of crosses and difficulty, then it is not the way to heaven that most men goe▪ that common road of pleasure and jollity which most men treade in, is not the way: the true way is per diverticula, a by, a narrow way which few men follow. If we finde our waies full of jolli­ty, wee have cause to suspect them, Luk. 6.21. Woe unto you that laugh now, for yee shall weepe here­after: ye that are full here, shall hunger hereafter: This loosenesse in following Christ is not the way. My brethren, if yee are going to any City, and yee are told before hand, that in the way to it, there are many narrow brid­ges, many brakes to goe thorough; that there are many vagrants to devoure you, many sy­rens [Page 226] to allure you; if ye find no such thing, ye may well suspect that yee are out of the way; So if ye find no such opposition, no such crosses and difficulties, no such strong lusts in the way to heaven, it is a signe yee are out of the way: Whoever will live godly in Christ Iesus, shall suffer persecution: 2 Tim. 3.12. Paul tels Timothy here, that he hath knowne his persecutions and afflictions; and then he concludes, that Whoever in this present time, or in succeeding generations will live a holy life, must suffer for it: A man may suffer and do much for Christ; but Paul tels him, hee must goe fur­ther, and suffer persecution, for Christs sake and the Gospel.

Obiect.But you will object, why should any man suf­fer for the Gospel, seeing that the Gospell brings glad tidings of peace?

Answ.I answere, that there are two parts of the Gospell: the first is, that if yee take Christ, ye shall be saved: the second is, that if ye take him not, ye are damned: it is not the first part, the offering of Christ, but the subsequent conditi­on, that doth breed persecution. Math. 21.33. When as the maister of the vineyard sent his ser­vants to the husbandmen, all his servants were a­bused, because they called for fruite, which the hus­bandmen were unwilling to give. When holy men call for fruite and amendment of life, this stirs up men against them. If in the way ye goe, ye finde not these crosses, this opposition, it is the broad way, not the way that leadeth to life.

[Page 227]Thirdly,Vse 3. if the wayes of God are full of crosses, then bee not discouraged from doing good actions for the crosses that follow them; that is a necessary concomitant, and cannot be severed. Many would be willing to doe much, but it may cost them their estates: then they favour themselves, and will sleepe in a whole skin: But if a case comes, that yee must stand against Popery, and for justice against indirect courses, stand to it though persecution and im­prisonment come; turne neither to the right hand, nor to the left hand: that is, there are many stops and lets in the way which God hath chalked out unto us; yet though there be Ly­ons in it, ye must not step out of it; ye must go on, yee must grapple with the crosse and not goe out of the way: if yee balke those crosses or if yee sit still and do nothing, yee provoke God against you, as much as for your evill deeds. Rev. 2.19. I know thy workes and suffrings, (saith Christ.) Christ takes notice, if yee suf­fer for him, so he doth if ye decline the crosse: Cowardlinesse may lose your soules, as well as rebellion your bodies. If yee have good cards, yet if you play them ill you loose; so when you have a prize in your hands and not use it; you loose by it: so when as you have opportunity to doe good, and doe not stand out, God will call you to an account for it: yee shall receive judgement for sinfull silence, as well as for corrupt speach. Iudges 5.23. Meroz [Page 228] was cursed, because they came not out, to helpe the people of God, as well as the enemies that fought a­gainst them. Luke 13.6. The barren Trees that did beare no fruite, were cut up, as well as the briers ▪ so shall men that have places, in which others would have done good. Revel. 21.8. the feare­full, are put first in the catalogue, of those, which shall have their portion in the lake of Brim­stone, which burnes with fire for ever: those that are afraid to doe good shall have their por­tion there. Take heede therefore of missing opportunities through feare or cowardize: de­ny your selves, take up the crosse and follow Christ, whiles you may. Many are much to blame, so that wee may take up Ieremies complaint against them. Ierem. 9.3. That there is no man that hath courage for the truth: Wee may say of most men, as of Harts and Stagges, they have strength and great hornes, yet they doe nothing with them, quia deest animus; be­cause they want courage. Some good Chri­stians have fire in them, but yet they want blowing. Now what arguments shall I use to make men follow the truth, notwithstanding these crosses and difficulties? Wee magnifie va­lor in any man, and the valor which wee doe so magnifie, it is but as the swelling of a wall, before the breach: it is nothing to this fortitude to suffer for Christ, and a good cause, being cal­led thereunto; the doing of things without difficulties, is no tryall: excellent things are dif­ficult: [Page 229] this obedience which you owe to Christ is not simple obedience, but passive obedi­ence, and hath more difficulty and excellency. To what end is the Spirit and regeneration gi­ven you, if it stir you not up to doe more than others can or will doe? Luther was glad of his opposition, that brought advantage to him: so Paul saith, that his sufferings will further his reckoning. Souldiers out of vaine glory strive who shall be first to scale the wals, and to en­ter the breach; that which they doe for a sha­dow, let us do for true realities: let our af­fections run out in this. Consider, that in Gods cause if ye suffer not for wel doing, ye shal suffer for ill doing; else there were an inconsequence in that of Peter, 1 Pet. 3.17. It is better to suffer for well doing, than for evill doing. If ye suffer not evill with men for well doing, yee shall suffer of God for evill doing. Consider all those Martyrs and Worthies of the Lord which have goe before us, who have acted their parts, and are now departed off the stage; they might have escaped if they would: Iohn Baptist, if hee would have beene silent; Mordecay, if he would have bowed the knee: Those who wandred about in sheep skins, and goates skins, Heb. 11. might have bin clad in silkes and velvets as well as o­thers, if they would not have stood for the truth. Moses might have enjoyed the pleasures of Egypt, he might have bin accounted the son of Pharaoh his daughter, but hee would not. [Page 230] Consider, if one aske you this question, Will yee bee as a pibble or a pretious stone? would yee be worth 1000. others? then resolve to suffer for the truth: Consider what a person ye take upon you: and that ye must do nothing unbeseeming your selves? then you will say with Nehemiah, shall such a man as I flee? and who is there that being a man as I am, will flee to the tem­ple to save his life? Nehemiah 6.11. Paul con­sidered himselfe, and therefore would not yeeld an inch to the false Apostles, Gal. 2.5. Consi­der what God expects from you. A mud wall may bee made up of any thing, but the wall of a palace must bee made up with other materi­alls: if ye will be Temples of the holy Ghost yee must have other actions. Let those who are watchmen, both for Church and common­wealth, let others who are in great place, con­sider this; if you turne false, yee betray both your selves and others: resolve therefore to de­ny your selves, having such a person and such a charge.

Obiect.But some will object, I would doe thus and thus, but I can do no good in it.

Answ.I answeare, that it is more than you know: but however, thou shalt bee sure to have thy reward if thou doe what thou maist: The Phisitian hath his praise, though his patient dies: The Lawyer hath his fee, though his clients cause miscarry: God often sends mes­sengers, though they prevaile not, that men [Page 231] might beare witnesse to the truth.

Obiect.Yea, but the times are bad, and worse than e­ver they were.

Answ.To this I answere, that the worser the times are, the better the Saints should be: the starres are most needed in the darkest night: Mark. 8.38. He that is ashamed of me, saith Christ, even in an adulterous and sinfull generation, of him will I be ashamed when I sit in my Glory.

Object.Yea, but I am alone, and therefore can do no­thing.

Answ.But what if thou art alone? Eliah was alone for ought he knew; yet he withstood all Baals prophets, and overcame them. Luther was a­lone, so that one saith of him; Vnus homo solus, totius orbis impetum sustinuit, that one man with­stood the force of the whole world: And what if thou art alone, yet one cole may kin­dle another, and that another; and so mayst thou. Men are incendiaries to make one ano­ther wicked: be thou so to make others good: however, though thou art alone, yet thou shalt take away that reproach from a nation, which God speakes of Ezec. 22.30. that he sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before him, for the land, that he should not destroy it, but he found none; There will be a man, that is, a man of authority to op­pose the streame.

Fourthly,Vse. 4, if the waies of God are full of dif­ficulty, then wee should learne from hence to [Page 232] proportion our labour to the worke: wee tell you of this not to deterre you from comming to Christ, but to excite men to take paines an­swearable to the worke. Christ told his Audi­tors, they must deny themselves, that they must take paines if they will follow him; and this we tell you in his name: wee would have yee know the worst before hand: many thousands lose their soules, because they thinke that lesse will serve the turne, that there needs no such strictnesse: no fallacy of Sathan deceives men more than this. If a man come to buy a Iewell that is worth 500 l. if he bids but 400 l. for it; he goes without it, as well as if he had bid no­thing at all, because hee comes not to the full price of it: So he that will purchase heaven, he must bid the full price of it, else he goes with­out it: as good never a whit as never the better (as we say.) If a man be to lift a burthen which is as much as hee can doe with his whole strength, if he put but part of his strength to it, he cannot stir it, hee were as good never to touch it: so it is here. It were better for you to doe nothing, than not to doe enough; for if ye lived still in wickednesse, it might parhaps humble you; but when as men doe but a little, but yet not enough, they see not their misery: better not to do at all, than to do things thus by halves. Sathan deales with men, as men with children: they take away gold and silver from them, and stop their mouthes with rattles and [Page 233] counters, so Sathan, because mens consciences must have something to satisfie them, suffers them to doe something, but yet not so much, as they should. Pitty it is to see so many lose their labours: they come very neare, within a step or two to heaven, and yet misse it: many there are which do much, like the young man: yet some thing is wanting, that also must be had, els there is no Salvation. Why is there so little change in men, but because they thinke that lesse will serve the turne? This cold, overly and customa­ry performance of holy duties marres all; there­fore consider but this.

1 First, that it doth you no good at all: what good did the Laodiceans luke-warmnes doe them: they had as good bin cold: yea, God wisheth, that they were either hot or cold: Rev. 3.15. What good did all that Amafiah did to him; seeing that he did it not with a sincere & perfect heart? These dowbaked services (as I may so stile them,) these carkases without life; these slight services profit not: therefore there are conditions added to them in the Word: prayer prevailes, If it be fervent: Iam. 5.16. If thou beleevest with all thine heart, Act. 8. Effectuall faith; diligent hope, and fruitfull love: 1 Thess. 1.3.1 Thess. 1.3. It is a good observation of Divines, that God loves adverbs, better than verbes; well doing, above doing: those that came to the wedding, not having wedding garments, were shut out, Math. as well as those that came not: those that offred strange fire, as Nadab and Abihu, and their company, were consumed, [Page 234] as well as they that did not offer at all.

2 Secondly, consider the nature of the thing, what it is to be religious. Is it an easie thing to turne nature? to worke a change? Is it easie to get ground of a raging lust? It is as hard as to get ground of the Sea. Consider the difference betwixt the Law and us; That is spirituall, wee are carnall: Rom. 7. Consider the distemper of your affections and know your selves; all that we have in us is either common or corrupt na­ture. Gods graces are beyond the one, and con­trary to the other: must we make these duties of religion to be onely in the by? Prayer, keeping of the Sabboths, are to most men but as things in the by, the streame of their affections runs in an other channell. There is another thing re­quired of us than this; we must love the Lord with all our hearts, and strength, Deut. 6.5. This is it which all must do; they must love God with all their strength, else they are not worthy of him. There is a qualification required of all that are saved, he is not worthy of Grace or Heaven, that seekes them not with his utmost indevour. The difference twixt Cains & Abels sacrifice was this, Gen. 4.3, 4.5. The one did it negligently: brought the worst of his fruits; the other brought the best he had.Ier. 48.10. Cursed is every one that doth the worke of the Lord negligently; that is, contenting himselfe with the outward performance of it, doing it as a taske, and being glad when it is done and over: to doe it diligently, is to worke with an eye to that which it tends to, and to obtaine the [Page 235] end. The end of prayer, is to quicken you to performe holy duties; when you obtaine this end, then is your prayer diligent. To do things onely for shew is nothing, the effect and end is all: you esteeme not your servants works unlesse they obtaine their end: there is nothing that you esteeme, the end of it being not done: What is it to pray, the end being not done, men not be­ing built up by it? Iude 20. We must build up our selves in our most holy faith, praying in the holy Ghost. A cold formall performance doth but hurt us, breeds more coldnesse and deadnesse in us. In habits, the more imperfect the acts are, the more they weaken the habits: the duties of religion coldly performed, weaken grace. Let a man accustome himselfe to write carelesly and crookedly, it marreth his hand. Let us therefore do all we do to God with diligence and ferven­cy: consider that those whom you thinke least needed for to do it, did so: their diligence should stir you up. You know that Iacob wrestled with God all night; Gen. 32.24. and so should you wre­stle with him with strong prayers: Christ him­selfe spent many nights in prayer:Luk. 6.12. looke upon the prayers of David, the fastings of Daniel; a [...]ove all others, looke upon Paul, you may see him in watching, in prayers and in fastings often;2 Cor. 11.27. he had a continuall strife with his heart, to bring his body, that is, the deeds of his body, into subjection, I keepe under my body (saith he) and bring it into subjection, 1 Cor. 9.17. My body, that is, the sinfull lusts of my body, must bee brought [Page 236] downe; I must go thorow fighting till I have the victory, else I shall be a cast-away; I shall else have onely an outward shew, but yet bee no­thing accounted of with God. Consider this, if a little diligence will not serve the turne, adde more; if prayer will not doe it, adde fasting to it.Matth. 17.21. As there are some divels that will not be cast out without fasting and prayer; so also are there some sinnes. Make the plaister fit to the disease. Complaine not with the sluggard, who puts his hands in his bosome, and doth nothing at all; or doth not proportion his labour to the worke. Lesse labour would serve the turne, if our soules were as dry wood, but they are as greenwood; there must be much blowing ere they will bee kindled. It is hard to get our soules to good du­ties, hard to keepe them on the wing; we must continue in prayer, and that instantly too. Men are ready to give over,Rom. 12.12. and to sit downe, but you must continue. Eph. 6. We must watch there­unto with perseverance; there must every day be a new winding up of the soule; there is a spring of sin in us, so there must be a spring of holy duties, we must doe them constantly: you have daily new crosses, and impediments, therefore you must mend your pace in the way to hea­ven, and bee more diligent; you must be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, and not slothfull. Rom. 12.11. Doe your owne worke, up and be doing, and the Lord shall be with you, 1 Chr. 22.16. God will deale with you as he did with the Eunuch, [Page 237] hee was reading of the Scripture, and God sent Phillip to him for to teach him, Act. 8.26. &c. So Cornelius, hee was praying, and God sent his Angell to him first, and afterward Peter, Act. 10. So the Apostles, when as they rowed all night as Christ bade them, he at last joynes himselfe to them and helpes them, Matth. 14.24. &c. The worst natures with his helpe can doe any thing, the best without him can doe nothing.

Fiftly,Vse 5. if the wayes of God are so full of crosses and difficultyes, then learne from hence to justifie the wisedome of the Word of God, and the Religion in the Scriptures. It is an ar­gument that it comes from heaven, because it is not a whit agreable with our natures. It is a pure and no leaden Lesbian rule; it is a straite rule opposite to us in all our obliquityes: It is not from the policy of men, for if it were, what end should they have in it? There is no content in it, a man must deny himselfe, mor­tifie every member, and hee must have crosses too. Againe, a man must not thinke to have many following him, not to bee Captaine of Companies; here is nothing that will draw men after him. If Christ had done as Cyrus did, who proclaimed, that if any man would fol­low him, if hee were a husbandman hee would make him a Gentleman; if a Gentleman, he would make him a Noble-man; then men would have flocked to him. This justifies Re­ligion against the dunghill gods of the hea­then; [Page 238] against the Mahometane religion, that tels men, what women, and what pleasures and rewards they shall have if they follow it: this argument therefore is a marke of the holinesse and purity of our religion. Miracles they do but excite us, they do but as the Bels that call us to the Sermon, they cannot worke faith within us; Rom. 10.14.17: That comes onely by hearing and reading this Word; there is nothing in this that doth sute with our nature: these inherent markes are they by which we know it to be the Word of God. Wee propound onely the object, we doe not propound sillogismes: wee tell you onely what it is. Moses in the beginning of Genesis propounds only what God hath done, he propounds no arguments to make men be­leeve it: so the Apostles come with a naked message; He that beleeveth shall be saved, he that beleeveth not, Mark 16▪ 16 shall be damned. In other sciences, and so in all things else, there must be principles else wee should run into infinites. If one should aske you, how know you colour? You answer by the light: but how know you the light? You answeare by it selfe: and then you goe no further. So if one aske you, how know you whether such a weight bee true, you an­sweare, by the standard: but how know you the standard to be true? Onely by it selfe. But this is an argument that the Scripture comes from Heaven, because there is nothing in it, that pleaseth men. Nihil hic humani, there [Page 239] is nothing that is tempered, and modificated to our dispositions.

Sixtly,Vse. 4, if the wayes of God are full of diffi­culty, then labour for a full mortification of sin­full lustes: do it not by halves. Whence is it that religion is so hard? All difficulty is from some disproportion and disagreement; and this dif­ficulty here, is from the disproportion be­tweene the Law and us: wee cannot bend the Law to us, but wee must winde up our minds to it. As we say of griefe, that it is a reluctancy of the will; so there is a reluctancy here, be­tweene the corruption of our nature, and the Law; and this breeds the difficulty: One of them must needs yeeld. If you put fire and water together, there is no quiet but a conti­nuall strife, till one of them get the victory; then all is quiet: So it is in sicknesses; Let a man have a strong disease, and a strong body, hee shall never have any rest, as long as they both continue in their strength: But let one of them get the victory, then there is rest and ease: If nature get the victory, then we have our per­fect health: If the disease get the victory, yet we are at quiet: and hence are those, lucida in­tervalla, before death. So it is here; if lustes get the victory, then there is peace indeede, such a peace as it is; men have rest and content in their forlorne estate: but if grace get the vi­ctory, then there is a perfect peace. To have quietnesse and sweetnesse in religion, is to [Page 240] come to an agreement; and without this agree­ing, there will be no facility: the way to make it easie, is to heale your natures. Religion is not difficult in its selfe; it is as light that is pleasant to good eyes, but yet to bad eyes no­thing is more offensive; it is like good meate, that is pleasant to a good stomacke, but yet to a bad, nothing is more odious. Heale your na­tures, and get perfect health, then these wayes of God will be easie to you.

Object.But you will say; Who is there that can come to perfect health?

Answ.I answere, that though you cannot attaine to perfect health, it is no matter, so as you can come to such a condition as to bee at rest: the body may be at rest and quiet, though there be distempers in some particular part of it. If you would have joy in the holy Ghost, peace of conscience which passeth understanding, labour to make an agreement: you cannot bend the Law, but you must cleanse your hearts, you must winde them up to the peg of holines, and get Evangelicall holinesse which is required and accepted.

Lastly, if the wayes of God be so full of dif­ficulty,Vse. 7. then we had need to humble our selves: if the Law be so holy and so good, and we so a­verse from it, it must be rebellion, when as you see your selves so backward to do good, so contrary to it. Let this open a crevis of light, to see your corruption: this is very needful; men [Page 241] complaine of the Law, they say that it is hard and written in blood, as Draco his Lawes were: they are but flesh and blood, and what can they do? Beloved, this we should not doe, but let us reflect on our selves, as Paul did, and say with him, Rom. 7.14. The Law is spirituall, but we are carnall, sold under sinne. Let us bee humbled more for this badnesse of our nature, than for our actuall sinnes: the worser your natures are, the greater and more sinfull are your sinnes▪ for the more nature there is, the greater is the sin: the worser your natures are, the more hatred is there to the Law: therefore abhorre your na­tures, reflect upon your selves, justifie God, and give him glory, and his Law. Psal. 19.8. The Statutes of the Lord are right, and the commande­ments of the Lord are pure: quarrell not then with the Law, hate it not, as all unregenerate men doe. And thus much for the second Do­ctrine. We come now to the last, which is this.

That all who looke for any interest in Christ, Doct. 3. all that will receive benefit by him, must follow him. They must deny themselves, take up Christs crosse, & follow him: they must tread his steps, be obedient to him in all things, Ro. 8.24. Whom he did foreknow, them also he did predestinate, to be conformed to the Image of his Sonne, that hee might bee the first borne among many brethren: that is, all that God hath chosen, hee will have them to bee like their elder Brother [Page 242] Christ Iesus: we must goe all in one livery, we must be conformable to him in all things, bee ready to doe like him, as Gideon said to his sol­diers; Iudges 7.17. What you see me doe, that do ye. So Christ who is our Captaine and Generall, saith to us, All ye that will be saved by me, must bee like me, ready at a watch word to turne which way I will have you. There are all the relations that may be, betweene Christ and us, which may cause us for to follow him: Hee is our King, our Father, and our Maister, therefore we must follow him. There are two sorts of men in the world; the first are straglers, such as straggle abroad like sheepe without a sheap­heard; lawlesse men, that follow their lusts; these men are priviledged men, and may goe whither they will: The second sort of men, are they that give themselves to serve Christ, loo­king for Salvation from him: these must resolve to follow Christ.

Object.But here may be some objections raised: you will say, that the Law is the rule of a mans life, how then is Christ the rule?

Answ.I answere, that Christ is the example of the rule: as in Grammar and Logicke; after the rule, you have an example put; and Christ by his example gives you more facility to per­forme it.

Obiect.Yea but this rule is too high for us, who is there that can reach it? Take away hope, you take away indevour.

[Page 243] Answ.I answere, that it is true, that none can reach it; yet wee must goe as nigh it as wee may. First, therefore consider that it is for our advan­tage to have such a rule: in other things, men la­bour for the best copies and samplers▪ It is ab­surd for a man to say, I cannot follow the straite rule: Therefore will I have a crooked one. I cannot hit the marke, therefore I will have a false one set vp.

2 Secondly, it is needfull to have the best rule, because we must alwayes grow forwards to perfection; Phil. 3.13.14. We must forget that which is behinde, and looke to that which is be­fore.

3 Thirdly, we must have a perfect rule, to hum­ble our selves by it: taking Christ for our rule, comparing our selves by him, we see our owne filthinesse; and with Peter say to him, Luk. 5.8. Depart from us, we are sinfull men. So Iob seeing God, abhorres himselfe and repents in dust and ashes, Iob 42.6.

Obiect.But you will say; If Christ lived with us and we saw him; if he would (as it were) leade us by the hand, it were something; but hee is gone.

Answ.I answere, that though hee be gone, yet hee hath left guides to leade us in his stead: he hath left the holy Ghost, and his Spirit with us; who, Iohn 16.13, shall leade us into all truth, ne­cessary for Salvation; he hath left us his Spirit to tell you that this is the false way, this the [Page 244] true; and this Spirit hee sends into every rege­nerate mans heart. Gal. 4.6. As soone as you are sonnes, he sends his Sonnes Spirit into your hearts, whereby you cry, Abba Father.

Object.But you will say, how shall wee know when the Spirit speakes?

Answ.I answere, by the Word; what the Word saith, the Spirit saith.

Object.But these are but remote guides.

Answ.Therefore you have the Saints that went all in one path: First, the Saints that are dead and gone, and then those that now live: You have the Spirit, the Word, and the Saints to teach you; onely remember this caution, that the Saints are a rule to you, yet not a perfect one; they goe in and out; eye them; but yet eye Christ beyond them, who is the author and finisher of our faith, Heb. 12.2. In all other things and artes, Non est eiusdem invenire & perficere; one man begins, and an other finisheth: but Christ, as hee is the author, so hee is the finisher of our faith: hee hath begun the Doctrine, and the thing, and hee will finish it. For the better understan­ding of the point, I will shew you these two things.

1 First, the action; what it is to follow Christ.

2 Secondly, the object and patterne that wee must follow; and that is Christ.

1 For the first; what it is to follow Christ: I answere, That to follow Christ, is to resolve [Page 245] to do or suffer with all our hearts, or willingly, what ever he commands, at all times, and all manner of wayes. Thete are foure things in this definition, which expresse what it is to fol­low Christ.

1 First, wee must resolve to doe or suffer any thing that he commands,What is it to follow Christ, and how we must follow him. we must except no­thing; wee must resolve to obey and doe all righteousnesse, and to abstaine from all unrigh­teousnes: we must resolve to go through thicke and thin, rough and smooth; we must do as the Romans did, Rom. 6.17. Obey that forme of Do­ctrine that is delivered to us; not one part onely, but every particular, from the very heart. The reason for which we were deliuered by our Savi­our from the hands of our enemies, was, that wee might serve him without feare, in holinesse and righteousnesse before him all the dayes of our lives, Luke 1.75. Let the passage be what it wil, safe or dangerous, pleasant or difficult, by poverty or aboundance; let Christ leade us thorough good report & bad report, we must follow him. I put in the definition, to do or suffer; suffering is but an higher kinde of action, to do, though you suf­fer for it: Suffering of it selfe, (as the Philoso­pher well observeth) is not commendable; but to suffer in doing Gods will in simple obedi­ence, is to obey without any difficulty.

2 Secondly, you must doe this with all your hearts, and willingly: this is expressed in the Scripture in 3. tearmes, Deut. 6.5. to love, serve [Page 246] or follow God with all your minde, with all your soule, and with all your strength. I chose this Word, with all your hearts, the rather, because it comprehends all the rest.

1 First, to serve God with all your mind, is to search his will, to plant on it, and to know it: some there are that follow Cephas, others that follow Paul; addicting themselves to their opi­nions: there are diverse opinions of men; Some thinke this good, others that, without looking to Gods will: this is not to follow Christ with all our minde: When we submit our minds to his, and make his minde to be ours, then wee follow him.

2 Secondly, to follow God with all our hearts, is to affect that which he doth, and all that hee doth affect; when as all that he doth is come­ly to us; when as we see his Image in his word, and in his Saints, and follow it: men follow the actions in which they see a beauty and comeli­nesse.

3 Thirdly, to follow God with all our strength; (by which we must note the executive powers and faculties) is to do all that we do with all our might, and by Gods direction, nothing against his will or liking: he that serves God thus with all his heart, when any thing is suggested con­trary to Gods will, hee saith; I know my ma­sters will, I depend on him, I will follow his ad­vice, and nothing else: this is to follow him with all our hearts.

[Page 247]I adde, to follow him willingly: it is not e­nough to doe the action commanded, but we must follow him, as the sheepe doth the bough, with readinesse and willingnesse. Being right, it comes from the regenerate part, every rege­nerate man findes a disposition to Christ, lon­ging after him, inclining to him as the yron doth to the loadstone, or the stone to the Cen­ter: Many there are that follow Christ, and hold not out, because the Principle is not good.

Object.But the Saints themselves finde reluctancy, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weake.

Answ.I answere, that oftentimes, the flesh followes obtorto collo, like the Beare going to the stake, yet the spirit brings it into subjection. I cannot bet­ter expresse it than by that of Peter; Christ tels him, that when he was old he should be carried whi­ther he would not: Iohn 21.18. True it is, that he went to the stake willingly, else his death wher­by he glorified God had bin no Martyrdome; true it was, his flesh was unwilling for to do it, yet his spirit overcame it; remember this, that you must doe it cheerefully▪

3 Thirdly, it must be at all times; many follow Christ, but at a brunt, and in an extremity they fly away, as souldiers from their colours, when as the battaile is nigh: or as servants leave their maisters in harvest, when as they neede them most. Christ would have men know what he expects: as the proclamation was made [Page 248] to the Iewes, that if any mans heart fainted, hee might goe backe, and returne to his owne house a­gaine; (Deut. 20.8. Iudg. 7.3.) So Christ deales with us; hee tels us the worst before hand; to see whether wee will goe backe or no. Christ deales with us, as Naomi did with Ruth; when shee had intreated and perswaded her to leave her, and goe backe to her owne Country againe, Ruth· 1.28. When all would not doe, and when shee saw that shee was stedfastly min­ded to goe with her, then shee left speaking. Christ tels his followers what they must looke for: If they are willing to undergoe it, then hee takes them, else hee takes them not.

4 Fourthly, wee must follow him all manner of wayes; that is, inwardly and outwardly: In both these there is a difficulty.

There is a difficulty to serve him in the spirit; many an action commeth, that if it were to be done in the outward appearance onely, it might be well put off: but to doe it in secret, this is hard: when as the Conscience saith, such a thing must not be got; such a thing must be done, such a lust must bee subdued; such a duty must not be omitted, this is not e­nough; but you must professe Christ, weare his livery, and shew whose you are: In many things it is easier to doe the spirituall, than the out­ward Act: As Mark. 8.38. Whosoever is asha­med of me, saith Christ, even in this adulterous [Page 249] and sinfull generation, of him shall I be ashamed when I shall fit in my glory. To professe what a man is in such company, in such a place, is not much; but you must professe Christ at all times, in all places: In the midst of an adulterous Gene­ration. You must thus follow Christ, else all is nothing. And thus much for the first thing; what it is to follow Christ.

Wee come now to the object and example which wee must follow, and that is Christ. And here; first, we must follow his Example. Se­condly, wee must follow his precepts.

First, you must follow his example; doe as he did, set him up as a patterne of Imitation. It would be infinite to shew you all his graces: yet I will name some particulars wherein you must follow him, that so we may not be all in the ge­nerall.

1 First, he abounded in love, which he shewed in his readinesse both to give and forgive. Hee shewed his love in giving, in that hee loved men so, that hee gave himselfe for them. (Act. 20.35.) Hee saith, It is more blessed to give than to receive. For his love in forgiving, he forgave those that did him the greatest wrong, hee had compassion on the soules of men, and on their bodies too; For their soules, he groaned to see them as Sheepe without a Shepheard: (Math. 9.36.) So for their bodies hee fed many thousands of them often times.

[Page 250]Secondly, For the glory that was set before him, he endured the Crosse, and despised the shame. (Heb. 12.2.) that is, hee saw God and his glory, and then the good and evill speeches of men were nothing to him: hee eyed the glory of God, and despised the glory and shame of men: as you may see, (Luk. 23.8.11.) by comparing them both together. When as Pilate sent him to Herod, Herod was exceeding glad when hee saw him, for hee was desirous to see him of a long time; because hee had heard many things of him, and hee hoped to have seene some Mira­cle done by him; (Luk. 23.7. to 12.) But Christ despised that glory which hee might have gotten, hee would neyther doe nor speake any thing before Herod; Therefore Herod and his men mocked him: Here hee despised the glory, and the shame too: when as much was expe­cted from him, hee neglected all; and so must we.

3 Thridly, hee was exceeding humble and meeke; Learne of mee, for I am meeke and lowly in heart;Mat. 11.29. This his humility appeares in this: First, that he excluded none, no not the mea­nest. Secondly, hee did not render rebuke for re­buke; 1 Pet. 2.23. Hee endured all. Thirdly, in that hee was ready to part with his right and his life. Fourthly, in that he washed his Disciples feet.

4 Fourthly, he was diligent in his calling pub­likely and privately; hee went abroad, prea­ching [Page 251] upon all publike and private occasions, ready to take all opportunities to doe good: hee takes occasion to comfort the woman of Samaria at the Well; (Iohn. 4.) so when as hee saw them striving for the upper place at the Ta­ble, hee takes occasion to discourse of humility: (Luk. 14.) He did consider the end, where­fore hee came. This was the end of all his com­ming to doe good. It was his delight to doe Gods will: all hee did, it was Gods Worke, hee did it to glorifie him: and for the good of men, which was an other end wherefore he did it.

5 Fifthly, hee was ready to suffer any thing, to be despised, to undergoe any thing at his Fa­thers pleasure: he subjugated his desires to his Fathers, and hee did rejoyce in it. (Mat. 11.25.) I thanke thee O Father, Lord of heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these thinges from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to Babes and Sucklings, even so Father; for so it seemeth good in thy fight. It had beene more for Christs honour, to have had wise and great men to fol­low him, but hee rejoyceth in this; that God had hid him from those, and revealed him vnto Babes, for that was his Fathers will. So we must rest contented with any thing, if it bee Gods will.

6 Sixthly, Christ likewise fulfilled all Righte­ousnesse; (Math. 3.15.) he was full of zeale for his Fathers glory; follow therefore his exam­ple [Page 252] in all these. And not onely his example, but his precepts too. First, beleeve in him; this is the great Worke of God, this is the worke hee ac­cepts, (Ioh. 6.29.) To beleeve on him whom the Father hath sent. This is the first precept. The second precept is, Repent for the Kingdome of God is at hand: (Math. 3.2.) The third is, to abound in love unto one another: Follow Christ then in these his precepts, and in his exam­ples.

If then all that looke for any interest in Christ,Vse. 1. must follow him; then in the first place, learne from hence not to bee auricular but reall Disciples; doe not make a profession, get not knowledge in the braine onely but act it too. This is the difference 'twixt Christs and other mens Disciples; if a man follow Ari­stotle or any others, it is enough to know and hold his tenets: but he that will follow Christ, must follow and doe his precepts, must imi­tate him. The difference betweene Divinity and other Sciences, is this: in other Sciences if you understand them it is enough; but in this it is not enough to know it, you must doe it. This is like lessons of Musicke, it is not e­nough to know them, but you must practise them: it is like a Copy of writing; you must not onely reade it, but you must act it, and learne to write after it. Wee must not onely know what temperance, patience, and love are, and the like; but you must act and pra­ctise [Page 253] them: wee must beleeve and undergoe the Crosse, if wee will belong to Christ: Iohn 6.45. Every man that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, commeth to me. God makes us fit to follow Christ, hee declares the truth, and bowes the will: he teacheth the Creatures, the Bee, and the Storke to do thus and thus; he puts a secret instinct into them, which makes them doe that they doe; and so hee doth with his Children: hee makes them of Wolves, to become Lambes; hee makes a thorow change in them: It is doing, that makes you Christs Disciples; if it were but to know, it was no­thing. Consider what yee practise, and how farre yee doe Gods will: we looke not onely for the knowledge, the remembrance, and repeti­tion of what wee preach, (though it be good to repeat what wee heare, and it is ill to omit it;) but wee looke you should practise what you heare; we would see the Milke, and the Fleece, not the Hay againe: we would see your defects and weakenesses amended, and those duties per­formed that you neglect.

Obiect.Yea but you will say, you doe practise what you heare?

Answ.But I say unto you, as Samuel did to Saul, when he told him he had kept the Commande­ments of the Lord; What then, sayth he, meane these Bleatings of the Sheepe in mine eares? (1. Sam. 15.14.) If you are Christians, if you pra­ctise what you heare, what meane those oathes [Page 254] we heare; what meanes this Drunkennesse, this Idlenesse, this vanity and pride in apparell, this greedy seeking of profit, this prophaning of the Sabbath which wee see? What meane all these if you keepe the commandements? Those that follow Christ do acknowledge him, they practise what they heare, and no more.

Vse. 2,Secondly, if all that looke for any interest in Christ must follow him, this excludes all those, who say they are Iewes and are not, (Rev. 2.9.) Such as professe themselves to be Christs and are not: they weare his livery and badge, but yet are false hearted. Wee follow Christ, you say, but if you doe, let me put you to some Interrogatories.

1 First, are you contented to bee divorced from all else, and to make Christ your selfe? To deny your pleasures and your profits, like Iames and Iohn, Matthew 4, Who left Fathers, Nets, and Ships; and like the Apostles, Who forsooke all and followed him? Will you part with every thing, with every sinne and vanity for Christ?Mat. 19. The young Man must sell all, if he will follow Christ, and this hee was loath to doe.

2 Secondly, are you contented to beare all that he boare; I meane not in the same measure, but are you able to be baptized with his Baptisme, and to drinke of his Cup?Math. 20.22 Are you content to be despised and hated as he was? You must doe it in your measure, though not in that degree [Page 255] that he did. 2. Tim. 3.12. Thou knowest (saith Paul to Timothy) what persecutions I endured: yea, and not I onely, but all that will live godly in Christ Iesus, shall suffer Persecution, It is this li­ving godly that brings persecution; the beeing downeright and bawking nothing; because the Divell is then our enemy, and will stirre up men against us; he will nibble at our heele▪ If wee live not godly, wee are not then his ene­mies, he will let us goe. If there be warre be­twixt two Nations, suppose Dutch and Spa­nish, either of them medling with English, or French that are but indifferent, they let them a­lone, because they are indifferent men and not their Enemies; So doth the Divell, he lets men alone who are but indifferent; but the Saints who are enemies, they are sure to smart for it if he meet with them.

3 Thirdly, if you follow Christ, is the same mind in you as was in Christ, (Phil. 2.5.) Are you affected as hee was? Dauid was a man after Gods owne heart, Act. 13.22. So every Christian must be affected as Christ was. Doe you hate those things that he hateth? Doe you not onely ab­staine from them, but also hate them? Are you zealous for Gods Glory? Are your Soules vexed for the uncleane conversation of others? Then it is a signe that you follow Christ.

[Page 256] 4 Fourthly, what doe you doe? Doe your actions second your desires? Are you like David? Acts 13.22. Are you men after Gods owne heart, which will fulfill all his will; or are you of your father the Divell, and fulfill his lusts? Iohn 8.49. Christ useth this argument, to proove that the Iewes were of their father the Divell, because his lineaments were in them, as the fathers are in the childs; you are murtherers and Lyars as he was, Iohn 8.49. Therefore you are his. So I would have you consider what you doe; see whether you are holy in your conver­sation: if you are not, Christ will discard such servants, and all the world shall know it, that you are none of his, if you are not ready to doe any thing for him. His life must bee in all those that are his, his Image must shine in them, they must have his graces.

5 Fiftly, how doe you doe, that you doe? Doe you it with a perfect heart or no? 2▪ Chro. 25.2. Amaziah did much, but yet he did it not with a perfect heart. Some follow Christ in the faire, but forsake him in the rugged wayes, as the 2. grownd did: Some follow him for themselves out of a selfe-love: Some for a Kingdome, as Iehu. Some follow him, but yet at a pinch they will start aside like a broaken Bowe, as the Is­raelites did, Psal. 78.57. Some follow him and afterwards fall away, as Ieroboam and Reoboam; 2 Chron. 10.11.12. But now how shall we distin­guish these? Doe these interruptions hinder us [Page 257] from Christ? What shall we say? All sheepe are not of the same strength; Some are Lambes and can goe but softly; and Christ is a mercifull Shepheard that casts off none; now how shall we distinguish? The Saints goe off and on, and so do wicked men, what is the difference betweene them? This is necessary to be knowne, because men are apt to deceive themselves: they say there is a similitude betweene Saints vertues and sinnes, and theirs; looke on the outside, and there is little difference. David and Peter, they sinned foulely; their sinnes in outward appea­rance were like to other mens: So for their ver­tues;Differences betweene the falles of the Saints and other mens. stupidity doth oft times act the part of true vertue. Take one that is ignorant, he dies pati­ently; because he knowes no danger, as well as a godly man that is sure of Heaven▪ both may be abstemious and patient in shew, but now we will distinguish them.

1 First, though the Saints fall, yet there is never any way of wickednesse found in them:Psal. 139.24. there may be infirmities in them, but there is never any con­stant continuance in any sinnes of omission or commission: A holy man may forget himselfe, but yet ye cannot say, that he is a covetous man, or a wicked man; holy men sinne, but it is out of an incogitance, do but put him in mind, they mend all; put another man in mind never so of­ten; tell him of his swearing and drinking, yet he doth it againe.

The sinnes of holy men proceed from pas­sions, [Page 285] and passions last not long but quickly va­nish. David was transported with Passion, and Peter with feare; The Saints sinne not out of deliberation, they recover quickely againe, there is no course of sinne found in them; if their sinnes proceed from either of these two, incogitancy or passion, they are quickly at an end. I speake not now of sinnes that are not re­vealed, for in such they may continue all their lives, as the Patriachs did in their poligamy: but as for other sins that are revealed,Psal. 139.24. the God­ly never stand in the way of sinners: They may perhaps crosse the waies of sin, as theeves do the high way, yet they walke not in the wayes of sin, They sit not downe in the seate of the scorners.

2 Psal. 1.1.Secondly, the Saints, as well as others may be subject to sinfull lusts, that may prevaile and carry them away: but the matter is not so much, what affections we have, but how we stand affected to those affections. A holy man may have a moneths mind to an old sinne, hee may delight in it, and incline to it, because there is flesh in him: but yet hee dislikes that liking, and disaffects that affection, and disap­proveth of this approving: and this hee doth not from checkes of conscience, but hee doth grieve for that love; and sorrow for that de­light, as being contrary to the will of God.

3 Thirdly, an evill man and one that is not sound hearted, acts himselfe in sinning, but a Godly man doth not so. To understand this, [Page 259] you must know, that after regeneration there is another selfe. Rom. 7.17. It is no more I that doth it, but sinne that dwelleth in me. I am ano­ther man now I am regenerate; sinne is but an inmate. In a wicked man, good is but an in­mate, hee may say it is not I, but the good that is in me doth this. Wicked men they have no thorough change wrought in them, therefore they doe good onely by fits; a godly man be­ing every way himselfe, not being transpor­ted with Passion, let him stand on equall tearmes with sinne, let not sin get the hill and the winde, let him remember himselfe; being freed from violent passions, hee sinnes not: Re­generate men sinne, yet the Peace is not broken betweene God and them, because their minds never yeeld to sinne. As it is betwixt Princes that are at Peace, though Pirates of eyther nation rob the others subjects, yet it breakes not the peace; it being done without the will of the King: So it is with sinne in Gods Children, it breakes not the peace betwixt God and them, because it is but a rebell, and they agree not to it. There is a difference be­tweene the entertaining of sinnes as theeves and robbers, and as guests; Wicked men en­tertaine sinne as a guest; the godly man him­selfe never sinnes, and he entertaines sinne but as a robber.

4 Fourthly, those that follow Christ but in s [...]ew, and onely weare his Livery, they often [Page 260] fall off, they can doe nothing: many uncleane persons and Drundards often resolve to leave their courses; but because their hearts are not changed, it is but a purpose, they fall backe a­gaine. Because purposes arising from the flesh are mutable, they are as the flowers of grasse, they quickly perish: so are all the thoughts of civill men; they are flowers indeed, and the best flowers that the flesh can affoord; yet they quickly perish, because they are from the flesh, because they are farre from grace, and come not from an inward change: but the pur­poses of Gods children, they come from a change within, which makes them able to per­forme them. If you finde your selves uncon­stant that you cannot command your selves, you are not right. Christ finds this fault in you, and so doth Iames, Iam. 1.8. You are double minded men and unstable in all your wayes; that is, you partly looke on God, partly on sinne, and know not which way to goe▪ you are in an aequi­librio, nothing preponderates you one way or other; you are in the wayes of God, and in the wayes of sin, and this makes you unstable. Op­posite to this, is a single minded man, who lookes onely to God; other things being put in, yet he still lookes to God: such may be sub­ject to ebbings and flowings in and out; yet this is the difference, though they are shaken, yet they are like to Trees that have a good roote, that holds them up that they doe not [Page 261] fall: they are like a ship that is tyed to an An­chor, they wagge up and downe, but yet they remoove not: other men, and wicked men are blowen away like chaffe, they continue not,Psal. 1.4. they are driven with the winde like waves, because they have no roote.

Thirdly,Vse. 3. if every one that will have any in­terest in Christ must follow him, then learne from hence not to stand at a stay, set no limits to your holinesse: Looke to Christ, he is our pat­terne; Heb. 12.2, grow up to full holinesse, be still mending, and mending according to the Coppy: there is no man that doth follow Christ rightly, but doth this. Let men set limits to themselves, to have as much as will bring them to Heaven, there is onely a selfe-love and a sel [...]e-seeking in them: but if you doe it for God, you wil endeavour the utmost. When men find fault with holines and exactnes, and secret­ly limit themselves, and say with him, Deum colo ut par est, wee will doe that which shall be fitting and no more, it is a signe they doe not follow Christ, that it cometh not from God: if it came from God and love to him, you could not but endeavour perfection. I would but aske this question of you; doe you make God your utmost end or no? If you doe, then appetitus finis est infinitus, you would never stint your selves: if you do not make him your utmost end▪ then you will limit your selves. If a man desires money for such an end, when he [Page 262] hath the end the desire ceaseth: so if a man de­sire Physicke for health, hee desires onely so much as shall gaine his health: but if a man make money his utmost end, hee sets no limits to it. Thus it is with every holy man that de­sires grace, and makes it his utmost end; hee sets himselfe no limits: you must not set your selves any bounds in grace. When you finde this disposition in you, that you are not ready to complaine for want of Grace, but to justifie your selves; when as you do not see your lame­nesse, and that corruption which is in you, you have not the Spirit; for that convinceth men of sinne, and of righteousnesse, and of judgement: Iohn 16.8. You would be then complaining of your selves: if you had the Spirit: if you fol­low Christ, you must cleanse your selves from all filthinesse of flesh and spirit, perfecting holinesse in the feare of God, 2 Cor. 7.1. Let that minde then be in you that was in Christ, Phil. 2.5. follow him to the very utmost.

4 Fourthly, if all that looke for any intrest in Christ must follow him, then learne frō hence not to go before him: we must follow Christ, go not then before him in any thing: in your o­pinions yeeld to his will, let no desire runne out, but know first whether it bee Christs will or no; you must resigne your selves to him in every thing, in all conditions you must follow him, doe not therefore chuse your conditions: hee saith to one, sit here; to another, sit there; [Page 263] in high or low places; he is the great Sympo­siarch, hee placeth you were hee pleaseth: and you must rest contented: So for your workes and calling, he gives you your worke to doe; Christ is the Master, and good reason is there that hee should appoint the worke: So for suf­fering, if he who is the Generall commands it, yee must doe it. So for Physicke and correcti­ons we would rather have other than that hee appoints us; yet we must resigne all to him: we are subject to preconceptions. Iames com­plaines of this, (Iam. 4.13.) Goe to now yee that say, to morrow wee will goe to such a Citty and continue there a yeare, and buy and sell and get gaine; whereas you ought to say, if the Lord will: you goe before and doe not depend on Christ by resigning your selves to his providence. Remember then that you are but Creatures, and must follow Christ in every thing as servants to him; A servant doth not say, I will goe to such and such a place to morrow, because hee saith, that hee knoweth not his Masters will: so a child that is under Tutors, cannot goe whi­ther hee will: say not then to morrow wee will doe thus and thus, boast not of it, preconceive not of such an estate; if you doe, it is sinfull; for then you are your owne guides, and follow your owne wayes and not Christ.

Lastly, learne from hence to doe what you doe from an inward principle: we must not be [Page 264] drawne after Christ as beasts, but wee must goe on our owne legs. Many do follow Christ, but other respects doe carry them: some mens company carries them; and these are but carri­ed in the streame. Some are set on with other respects, some other wheeles set them on worke, as the spring doth the clocke: such as these doe not follow Christ.

Now the meanes to follow Christ are these.

1 First, seeke to Christ; None can come to mee, except the Father draw him, Iohn 6.44.

2 Secondly, love him; If you did but love him, you will like the Spouse in the Canticles, follow him in all places, Cant. 3.

3 Thirdly, feele the burthen of sinne, Sathans yoake, and then you will come unto Christ, whose yoake will then be easie; Math. 11. vlt.

4 Fourthly, beleeve in him: Hee that comes to God must beleeve that he is, and that he is a Re­warder of all such as seeke him▪ Heb. 11.6. There are promises that you shall have a hundred for one even in this life: if you follow Christ; beeleeve them therefore▪ and then you will follow him.

5 Fiftly, have patience, possesse your Soules with it, without this you continue not, as the fourth ground did which brought forth fruit through pa­tience. And thus much for this Text.



1 Iohn 5.14.

And this is the assurance which wee have in him, that if wee aske any thing according to his will, he heareth us.

THe scope of the holy Apostle in this Chapter, is to set forth some of those principall priviledges we have by Iesus Christ. One maine and principall (which is the grea­test of all the rest) is, that through him we have eternall life; And therefore (saith hee) know this, that when you have the Sonne once, you have life in the 12. verse, He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Sonne, hath not life. Therefore (saith he) have I written this E­pistle to you for this purpose, that you might consider well what gaine you have by Christ [Page 266] Iesus. These things have I written, (saith he) in the verses before this that I have now read un­to you, to you that beleeve in the Name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternall life. After this he names another great privi­ledge, that wee have by Christ; mentioned in this verse, that I have now read unto you. This (saith he) is the assurance we have in him, that whatsoever wee aske according to his will, hee heareth us. This is the second great priviledge we have by Christ, we shall be heard in all our requests: it is no more but aske and have [...] up what petition you will, if you bee [...] once, you have this assurance, that he [...] you: but he delivers it with this [...] must first bee in him: We have [...] him (saith he) that if wee aske any [...] to his will, he heareth us. So that [...] are two plaine poynts lying [...] us.

Doct. 1.1 That except a man be in Christ, he [...] hee ought not to apply to himselfe any [...] spirituall priviledges, that we have by him: if we be in Christ, this and all other are ours; if you be in Christ, (saith he) then you have this assu­rance, for we have that assurance in him. The second point that the verse affords us, is,

Doct. 2.2 That whosoever is in Christ, whatsoever he askes he shall have it. Now my full intenti­on was, onely to have handled that which is mainely aimed at in the verse (for the other you [Page 267] see is but touched by the way) which is this great priviledge that belongs to all Christians, that whatsoever they aske in prayer according to the will of God, they shall be heard in it: But because I understand you had a Sacrament ap­pointed for this day, I have altered a little that course; the hearing of that hath somewhat di­verted me, & caused me at this time to pitch up­on the other point which I named to you; That except a man he in Christ, he ought not to apply any priviledge to himselfe; if hee be, I say, all belongs to him.

When you come to receive the Sacrament it [...] great priviledge to meddle with those [...], to have those simboles given to [...] love and favour of God in Christ; but [...] must remember this that except you be [...], you have nothing to doe with him, and [...] it is a fit & necessary point for this [...] For when the Apostle would give directi­ [...] to the Corinth. what they should do, to pre­pare themselves to the Sacrament, that they may be worthy receivers; he gives it in this short pre­cept: Let every man (saith he) examine himselfe, & so let him eate this bread and drinke this cup. 1 Cor. 11.28. Now what is a man to examine himselfe of? Surely e­very one that comes to the Lords Table, is to examine himselfe concerning these two things.

1 1 Whether he be in Christ, and so whether he hath any right at all to come neere to him in that holy ordinance.

[Page 268]2 Though he be in Christ, yet hee must exa­mine himselfe, whether he be particularly pre­pared, quickned, and fitted; whether his heart be put into such a trance of grace, or fashioned so as it ought to be, when he comes to the im­mediate performance of such a duty as that is. Now because I handle this point, but onely for this particular occasion, I will not enter into such a manner of handling of it, as I was wont to do at other times, but onely take up so much of it as may serve for the present occasion; Ther­fore because I say this to you: That except a man bee in Christ, he ought not to take any pri­viledge to himselfe: we will, First exhort every man to consider whether hee be in Christ: for this is the present question which any [...] heart would aske, when he heares this [...]; Why, if all the priviledges be [...] upon my being in Christ, my maine [...] to examine whether I be in Christ or no. [...] because a man may bee in Christ and yet [...] by some interveniall sinne, by [...] disposition of minde and heart, that may [...] on him, from the actuall injoying of the present fruit and benefit of that priviledge which be­longs to him: therefore we will first give you rules to examine your selves whether you be in Christ or no. It is very useful to all that now are to receive, or at any other time; its usefull you know too, not onely upon such an occasion as this, but upon all occasions; and therfore a point, [...] [Page 277] that men magnifie so much, I say, there was a time when they were exceeding good: but sinne hath blowed upon them, it hath blasted the beauty and vigour of them, so that now when the Lord looks upon them, this is the sen­tence that is pronounced of them, you know, in Eccl. 1.14. They are all vanity and vexation of spi­rit. Consider if thou be able to looke on al these things (even the best things the world hath) as things being but meere vanity; things wherein the Lord sowed not mens happinesse, and there­fore thou canst not think to reape it there. If you marke but the expression the wise man useth in [...] saith he; All things under the Sun are but [...] there is a reason conteined in those [...] are but vanity; for waters you [...] not higher than the [...] carry not any thing higher than [...]; so all the creatures that bee [...] be but under the Sunne, [...] ascend to that happinesse [...] the Sun, nor carry you to that [...] is above, for happinesse is [...], laide up in Heaven. Therefore [...], all things under the Sunne if they bee considered to make a man happy, they are but vanity: Now consider whether thy judgement be so of them or no, whether it bee conforma­ble to the holy Ghost, whether thou hast this conceit of all other things, but the quite contra­ry conceit of Iesus Christ; whether thou canst [Page 278] thinke of him, as of one that is most excellent and thy chiefest treasure, as one that is farre be­yond all these, as one upon whom thy heart is pitched, as one in whom thy happinesse is con­teined.

4 Againe, a mans treasure is that which hee will bee at any cost to get, hee will bee at any paines to attaine it. It is that, on which his [...] is bestowed, and affections are occupied [...]. Is it so with thee when thou [...] to Christ Iesus? art thou willing to [...] more cost and paines to get him, than any [...] besides? Is thy heart and affections [...] upon him? For where a mans treasu [...] [...] there his heart is. Math. 6.21. I doe not aske whether [...] bestowest more time upon the matters of grace, than the duties of thy calling; but, whether thou dost them with more intention, whether thou bestowest thy time and paines upon them, as upon that which thou reckonest thy treasure, farre exceeding all other?

5 Fiftly, consider whether thou art willing to part with any thing rather than with Christ Iesus. for whatsoever is a mans treasure, you know a man wil part with any thing rather than it. Is it so with thee? hadst thou rather part with any thing than with Christ? than to part with a good conscience; with the graces of the Spirit, or with any thing that tends to holinesse to build thee up further in the worke of Gods grace? I say, consider whether thy heart bee [Page 279] willing to part with any thing rather than with Christ; for thou shalt finde this, that Sathan and the world will cheapen Christ, and when they come to bidding, they will bid well. Consider whether thy heart can give a peremptory an­swer to the world, and say thus; I will not sell [...] I will not sell a good conscience for any [...] when Sathan and the world bid [...] tell thee as hee did Christ, that he [...] all the riches, Math. 4.8, 9. and all the glory in the [...] wilt part with Christ; Consider [...] be ready to deny whatsoever [...], (as he will be sure to offer that [...] most sutable to thy disposition) [...] heart hath taken this resolution to [...] Christ is my chiefest treasure, I will [...] with all therefore, I will part with liberty, with life, with goods, with credit, with pleasures with profits, with whatsoever is neere and deare unto me, rather than I will part with the Lord Iesus. If this be thy hearts resolution and minde, then Christ is thy chiefe treasure; that's the second thing.

3 Thirdly, consider what is thy cheife joy and delight, what is thy life; (I put them together, for that which is a mans chiefe joy indeed, is his life.) For wee know life is nothing else but that joy which the heart hath, wherby it is nou­rished and fed as it were; for life is not to have body and soule joyned together, to be a living man, in that sense we usually take life; for if that [Page 264] [...] [Page 265] [...] [Page 266] [...] [Page 267] [...] [Page 268] [...] [Page 277] [...] [Page 278] [...] [Page 279] [...] [Page 262] [...] [Page 263] [...] [Page 264] [...] [Page 265] [...] [Page 266] [...] [Page 267] [...] [Page] [Page 277] [...] [Page 278] [...] [Page 279] [...] [Page 280] were life, then those in hell should not bee said to dye the death; for you know in hell there is a conjunction of soule and body, and yet men are not said to live there; for it is death which is the punishment of sinne: and indeed you shall finde that there is something a mans heart cleaves un­to, wherein hee rejoyceth, which is the same with his life. Therefore looke as the Soule enlivens the body, so the conjunction of the present things which hee reckons his joy, that is, his life, enliven his soule, he cannot live without them. Now if Christ be thy chiefe joy, thou wilt finde this, that thou canst not live without him, as men are wont to say of their delights; Such a man cannot live without such a thing; so it is true of every man that hath taken Christ, he is not able to live without him. This life is no life, and therefore if there be but a separation betweene thee and Christ, if a mans conscience bee as it were clouded for a time, hee findes no rest, he doth as the Spouse in the Canticles; She seekes from one place to another, Cant. 5.6. and gives her selfe no rest, till she finde him; and why? because it was he whom her soule loved. So you shall finde, Be­loved, whatsoever it is that your soules love, whatsoever you make your chiefe joy, you will take no rest, but as farre as you love and enjoy it. Therefore for the finding of this, whether Christ be thy life and thy chiefe joy, consider what it is that thy thoughts feede upon; every wicked man, every man that is out of Christ, [Page 281] there is something that his thoughts feed upon, some things there are, in contemplation of which the soule solaceth it selfe; some pleasures that are past, present, or to come; the very thin­king of these are the greatest joy of his heart, he roules them under his tongue; even as a Ser­vant that hath got some dainty bit out of his Masters presence, and [...]ates it in a corner, so the soule of a man hath out of Christ some secret, some stolen, some unlawfull delights, that it feeds upon and delights in: Consider therefore well with thy selfe, what breakfast thy morning thoughts have (that I may so say) what breake­fast they have every morning, what is that Pabu­lum, that food of thy soule, wherewith thy thoughts and affections are nourished and re­freshed from day to day; whether it be some carnall pleasure, some reflecting on thy state, up­on thy wealth, upon thy friends, or whether it be on Christ. See (as David exercised it) whe­ther be they thy songs in the night time? All car­nall men have something past whereby they comfort themselves,Psal. 42.8. something present where by they cheare up their hearts, something to come, something in hope. So every man that is in Christ, he hath the comforts of the Spirit, the meditation of the priviledges that he hath in Christ, the hope of Gods favour; These are his appointed food, these are the things that his soule feedes on in secret; yea the very workes that he doth, that seemes to be the hardest part [Page 282] of a Christians life, the very workes that hee doth in serving the Lord from day to day, even that is his meate and his drinke; that is, it is as sweet and acceptable to his soule, as meate and drinke is to the hunger and thirst of his body. Now consider with thy selfe whether it be so with thee; whether that which is thy continuall feast, without which thou canst not live, bee Christ; or the assurance thou hast, that he is thine and thou art his; whether it bee the priviledges thou hast in him; and the things that belong to the kingdome of God; See whether these be thy life, the things without which thou couldst not live; or whether it bee some thing else, some stollen delights, some unlawful plea­sures, some thing else that thy soule and affecti­ons are set upon. This is the next thing by which thou maiest try thy selfe whether thou belong to Christ or no, to consider whether he bee thy chiefe joy, whether thy soule bee most filled and satisfyed with him. And this is the third thing.

4 The fourth is; to know whether he be thy chiefe Refuge; If thou bee one that hath tooke him and received him, I say, he is thy chiefe re­fuge. For every man hath some refuge, some castle or other to which his soule retires in all difficult and doubtfull cases, by reason of that indigency, that insufficiency to which the nature of man is subject▪ There is something that hee must have to leane unto, (marke it) for mankind [Page 283] is like that generation which the Wiseman speakes of: You know it is sayd of the Con­nyes, They are a generation not strong ▪ and what then,Prov. 30.26. and therefore they have their burrowes to hide themselves in. I say such is the generation of mankinde, he is a weake creature, a gene­ration not strong, therefore there is something that he must leane to, something out of him­selfe, some sufficiency besides himselfe, some strong hold, some refuge every man hath; I say every man hath some refuge or other, whither he thinkes his soule may goe, and there hee may have succour in cases daungerous and in trou­bles. Now consider what is thy refuge, whi­ther thy heart runnes in all such cases, to what wing, to what strong hold: In daungerous ca­ses, you see every creature hath some refuge or other: The Child runnes to his Mother. The Chickens runne to the henne. The Fox to his earth, the Connyes to their burrowes; so every creature to their severall corners and recepta­cles proper to them: I say so it is with every man, so hath every one of you to whom I speake, there is somewhat that is a secret refuge to which your hearts fly. Now consider whe­ther that be Christ or somewhat else. A cove­tous man (or rather a man of this world) he hath wealth for his strong hold, in which his heart comforts it selfe; well, saith he, what change of time so ever come, yet I have an estate to hold me up; and when he is ill spoken of abroad, yet [Page 284] hee applaudes himselfe with that hee hath at home; The Courtiers, they have the Princes favour, that is their refuge wherein they comfort themselves; Those that are given to Company they have good fellowes, such as they, that are their compa [...]ions▪ and so long as they speake well of them, they [...]are not who speake ill of them; Some have a refuge of this kind, some of another, every man hath his refuge. If you will looke into the Scriptures, you shall see Davids refuge, in any distresse, upon any occasion; At Ziglag he comforteth himselfe in the Lord, 1 Sam. 30.6. his hart did fly to him, as the chickens fly to the henne, there he comforted himselfe, there he shrowded himselfe, there he encouraged himselfe in the Lord. When he fled from his son Absolon, was not the Lord his refuge? Yet (saith he) hee is my buckler and my strong hold, Psalme. 3, which was made upon that occasion. What was Iacobs re­fuge when he fled from his brother Esau? Did not he goe to the Lord, and seeke to him by Prayer?Gen. 32.12, Lord thou hast said thou wilt doe me good, now I fly unto thee, I besech thee performe thy promise, thou art my refuge. Consider others now, what was their refuge. Iudas ▪ when he had betrayed his Master Christ, and his conscience was upon him for it; he goes to the high priests and brings the silver to them, why, saith he, you set me a worke, you are the authors of it, and I hope to find some comfort from you; you see he found little cōfort in his minde, yet that was his [Page 285] refuge. The Kings of Israel and Iuda when they were distressed, they fled to Egypt and to Ashur, to this or that helpe, which (the Lord said) were broken reeds to them, but yet that was their re­fuge. This is the maner of every man being out of Christ, of every unregenerate man, that is in his naturall estate, some refuge he hath; friends, or wealth, or credit, or the favour of the Prince, something or other it is▪ and if hee be destitute and have no refuge (as sometimes it so fals out) then his heart is shaken as the leaves of the for­rest, Their hearts were shaken even for feare of the king of Aram, Isaiah 7▪ 2. as the leaves are shaken in the for­rest; and why? Because they knew not how to defend themselves: they had no refuge to fly to. So you see it was with Belshazars heart; so Achitophel; and so Saul; when he sees that hee must die the next day, and that there was no re­fuge for him: then I say their hearts sanke and dyed within them. And now consider how it is with thee, what is the refuge to which thy heart flyeth, and which thy heart makes most account of (for every man thinkes with himselfe, change of time may come, & what shal be my comfort what shal be my strong hold at that time.) Dost thou fly to Iesus Christ? is he thy succour when thy heart is dejected at any time & faints with­in thee? from which fountaine dost thou fetch thy comfort? Dost thou fly to Christ, to com­fort thy selfe in him, when thou art in a doubt­full case, that concernes thee as much as thy [Page 286] life? whither dost thou goe for counsell and direction? is it to Christ, to beseech him to guide thee, to direct thee, when thou art pres­sed hard? whither doth thy heart goe for suc­cour and for helpe to keepe thy selfe safe? Is it to Christ, or to some what else? My beloved, I assure you this, that a carnall man that is not in Christ, in these times of distresse knowes not whither to goe; hee dares not goe to Christ, for he feares that it shall be asked him, upon what acquaintance? for he hath been a stranger to the Lord, he was never acquainted with him: but a carnall man that is out of Christ, hee goes to his muses, he goes to his farmes, hee goes to his bushes, as the hunted hare was wont to doe, to goe to the places that shee used when shee lived quiet, thither shee flyes when shee knowes not how to escape: so in that fashōi it is with men, looke what things they were wont, to which their hearts had recourse in time of prosperity, and what their haunts have beene; to those bu­shes they fly: But alas! they are but bushes, such as will not defend them. But now the Christian on the other side, the muse, the farme as it were (it is but to expresse it to you) that his soule is acquainted with, the strong hold that hee was wont to fly unto, upon every severall evill, upon every ordinary doubt, upon every dejection, discouragement and fainting of heart; hee was wont to fly to Christ, and there he was wont to finde comfort, and thither hee goes in time of [Page 287] greatest difficulty in the day of death, and there hee finds comfort. Consider if hee bee thy chiefe refuge, for if thy heart hath taken him as he is thy chiefe excellency, thy chiefe joy, thy chiefe treasure; so he wil be thy chiefest refuge, yea when all things else are taken away, yet that cover remaines safe: Suppose thou be in prison, suppose thy credit bee taken away, (I meane) thy worldly credit (for the other credit cannot be taken away from any man that hath Christ:) suppose thy life be taken away, suppose thou bee stript of all that thou hast; yet thou hast Christ for thy chiefe refuge, and thou thin­kest so, and thy heart is satisfyed with it. As Paul saith, when hee was a prisoner, when he was naked, when hee was destitute, when he was stript of all,2 Tim. 2.12. yet (saith he) I know whom I have trusted; As if he should say, yet I have him safe, yet my cover is over my head, yet I am safe in my castle, I have chosen him, I have him in death, yea then Christ he is advantage, he is a cover, a castle, and a refuge.

Answ.5 Last of all: consider whom thou settest up for thy chiefest Commander, who it is to whom thou givest the chiefe command in thine heart. You will say how shall I know that? Why (my beloved) he whom a man feareth most,Quest. and lo­veth most, that is he whose friendship above all others hee would least loose, and whose dislike and separation he doth most feare▪ certainely he will bee most obedient to him, he will be most [Page 288] observant of him. Art thou so to Christ? take all the things in the world, if thou set up him, as him whom thou most fearest and lovest, thou wilt most obey him: So againe, he whom thou thinkest can doe thee the greatest good, and the greatest hurt, him thou wilt most obey; if thou thinkest in good earnest that Christ is able to do it, certainely then thou wilt most obey him. As for example, if thou looke to any man in the world, a man that is out of Christ, he thinkes that the favour or the wealth of the King, can doe him more good and more hurt, than the favour, or the losse of the favour of Christ; He thinkes that wealth, or credit, or something else, (many thinges there are that hee thinkes) can doe him more good and more hurt; there­fore hee more respects their command, than the command of Christ; but a man that sets up him for his chiefe Commander, hee regards no­thing else when it comes to crosse it, when it comes to thwart any command of Christ, be­cause hee saith thus to himselfe in his heart in secret: It is the Lord that can doe the greatest good, and the greatest hurt, therefore I care for no more. So Naboth hee cared not for Ahabs wrath. So Mordecay cared not for Hamans dis­pleasure:Hest. 3.2. so did the Apostles, they cared not for the High Priests, nor what they could doe, Act. 4. So did the 3 children (as you call them) they cared not for the fiery furnace of Nabucadnezar, Dan. nor for all that hee was able to doe; and why? [Page 289] because they thought that Christ, that God was able to doe them more hurt, and more good. Now take any Commander in the world, when you regard not the punishment, nor the reward that he is able to inflict or to give you, his au­thority is gone; Now when you set up Christ, and thinke so of Christ, you are ready to obey him, and obey him rather than any other. There­fore consider with thy selfe this, and consider seriously: aske thy heart the question, what is that thou settest up to bee thy chiefest Com­mander? For there are three great Cōmanders in the world, that divide all mankind betweene them almost: And that is wealth, and estate; worldly credit and honour, to live in esteeme; pleasures, and delight. Now thinke with thy selfe when any of these three great Comman­ders come with any command, contrary to that which Christ commands, thinke with thy selfe what thou wilt doe in such a case, what wast thou wont to doe, looke to past experience; looke backe to thy former wayes, see what thou wast wont to doe; thinke with thy selfe when such a Command comes, what thy heart reasons upon; if concupiscence, if a strong lust, if a strong impetuous desire come, and bid thee to doe something, which is contrary to that which Christ would have thee to do, what art thou ready to doe in such a case? If thy pro­fit, the mainetenance of thy estate, thy liberty, thy wealth, thy convenience in this world come [Page 290] and command thee to doe one thing, and thy conscience (which is Christs vicegerent) come in his stead, and command thee another thing, what art thou ready to doe in that case? So when thy credit, thy honour, and reputation, thy vaine glory shall come and bid thee do one thing, and Christ shall bid thee doe another, what is thy resolution, what art thou wont to doe? By this thou shalt know whether thou set­test up Christ, as the chiefe Commander in thy heart or no, whether thou givest him thy chiefe throne, whether thou exaltest him for God in thy heart; you know when you exalt him for God, every thing then yeelds, if in truth he be set up for God in thy heart: Therefore con­sider what it is that thy heart sets highest, whe­ther thou exaltest him most, whether (when any of these threatning, crying commands come) thou canst give them an absolute denyall, and say with thy selfe, I will not obey you; and if they threaten imprisonment, or disgrace, and losse of life, and if I doe not obey such a lust, I shall be wrung and pincht for it, I shall lose such delights: well, I am resolved to beare all this. On the other side, when they shall come with faire proffers, you shall have this honour, and this advancement, and this convenience: If thy heart can say now, I will have none of you, for I see it is a command contrary to his that is above, whom I have set up for my chiefe Commander, whom I resolve to obey, whom I [Page 291] take to be greater than all the friendship in the world, than all the profits, pleasures, and credits in the world; I say thus examine thy selfe what thy heart is toward Christ, what it is to his command; and (let mee touch that by the way) thou must also shew thy obedience to Christ, in thy obedience to others. My beloved there are indifferent things, that are in themselves not of moment one way or other, whether we doe them or not doe them; and though the omission of them in themselves be nothing, yet when it shall bee of contempt, and neglect of those that are set in superiour place over you, in such a case you ought not to doe it: this is a rule, and a true rule in divinity, that indifferent things may be omitted except in two cases, in case of scandall, and in case of neglect, and con­tempt of authority: therefore when there is neglect, when men shew contempt, for that cause it is to be done, though for the other it is not to be done. This I touch but by the way, that you may consider it in your particular oc­casion.

Now my beloved, you see these five things, by which you may know if you have tooke Christ, or no: yee know when a man comes to examine himselfe whether he be a fit man, a man that hath any right to come to the Lords table, hee must consider whether hee bee in Christ, otherwise hee hath nothing to doe either with this priviledge, or with any other. Now to bee [Page 292] in Christ, there must (as I said) goe a double act, there must be one on thy owne side, there must be one act on thy part to take him; and there must be an act on his part, there goes out a strength and a vertue from him by which hee takes thee and comprehends thee. The time is past, & I cannot proceed further; onely remem­ber this that hath beene said to you, and exa­mine your selves by it, whether you bee in the truth, whether you make Christ your chiefe Excellency, your chiefe Treasure, your chiefe Ioy, your chiefe Refuge, your chiefe Commander; if thou finde that thou hast done this, if thou finde thy heart wrought to such an act as this, to take Christ in such a manner, then thou hast Christ, thou art in him, then thou hast a right in him, and maist come with comfort: but if thou have it not, then I must charge every one of you in the name of Christ Iesus (in whose authority we come) that you meddle not with such holy mysteries. My Beloved you know what I have often told you, there is a necessity laid on men to come to the Sacrament: you know hee that neglected the Passeover was to be cut off from the people. Levit. 23.29. It was a very great sinne: so it is to omit the Sacrament: you have diverse Sacra­ments every Tearme, and if your businesse hin­der you from one, you may come to another; yea there is a necessity lyes upon you to come, but yet we must give you a double charge, one that you omit it not; and another that you come [Page 293] not hither unlesse you be in Christ; What hast thou to doe that art a profane person, thou hast nothing to doe with Christ, thou that art yet a stranger to him, that thou shouldest thrust in to the Lords table? thou ought'st not to doe it, if thou dost, thou eatest and drinkest thine owne dam­nation, in stead of thy salvation.1 Cor. 11.29.

The Second Sermon.

AND so now wee come to the Vse,Vse. and that is, that there is an Act of Christ to make an union betwixt us, that we may be his, and he ours: there is an act of his, that is, there is a certaine power or vertue comes from him, even as there doth from the Load-stone to the iron, that drawes thee to him; there goes out a vertue and power from him as to the woman that touched the hemme of his garment, that healed her bloody issue; such a power goes out from Christ to every man, that is in him. And as you must examine it by your owne act, so in the second place you are to examine it by this; consider whether there hath gone out any such power from Christ to take and comprehend thee: For you must know this, that when once we are in Christ, then there goes forth an ef­fectuall almighty power from him, which doth not make a little light alteration on the superfi­cies [Page 294] of the heart, but it alters the very frame of it, it turnes the very rudder of the heart, so that a mans course is to a quite contrary point of the compasse; it is such an alteration as doth breed in us, not some good conception onely of pur­poses and desires which many have, which when they come to the birth, there is no strength to bring them forth: but hee gives to us a power and strength to performe them: That is, hee doth not put upon us a washy colour of pro­fession, but hee dyeth us in graine with grace and holinesse. And therefore consider whet [...] thou hast found any experience of such a power going out from Christ to thy heart; This my beloved, differs from common graces, from the common forme of godlinesse which is in the world, as much as the life differs from the picture, or the substance from the shadow; as a through performance differs from a proffer, or an offer: or as that which hath sinewes and vigour, differs from that which is weake and powerles. Therfore this power of Christ which hee puts forth and diffuseth into the heart of every man that is in him, is called the Kingdome. And the Kingdome of Christ is not in word,1 Cor. 4.20.but in power: That is, when once he rules but as a King, hee exerciseth a Kingdome there, and hee saith not onely to us; I will have such a thing done, they are not weake and powerlesse commands that he gives to the heart of a man that he dwels it; but saith he, The Kingdome of God is not in word [Page 295] but in power; that is, there goes an efficacy with those commands, there goes a great strength with them, that brings every thought, and every rebellious affection into subjection to it; and therefore consider I say, if thou wouldest have these vertues, whether thou be in Christ, whe­ther any such power hath gone out from Christ to thy heart.

But you will say,Quest. what is this power and ver­tue, and in what manner is it infused into the heart of man, for this seemes to be a narration of a thing a farre off?

Answ.My beloved, we will explaine it as well as we can to you; even as you see an Artificer working with his instrument, there goes a certaine vertue out from that art which is in his minde, and guides the instrument to make this or that, the which without it could not be done, when hee makes any artificiall thing, as a knife, or a sword; or when the Potter fashions the potte, his hand is set on worke, and there is a certaine invisible passage, a certaine secret influence of the art that goes along with his hand, that brings forth such an artificiall thing; or even as you see the mem­bers move; a man moving his arme, or his hand, or any part of his body, there goes a certaine vertue from his will, a certaine secret power, efficacy, and command that stirres them this way or that way; the thing wee see not, yet we see it in the effect; or as you see it in the creature, you see the creatures that God hath made, they [Page 296] have all the several instincts, by which they are instigated to doe this or that; you see the birds are instigated to make their nests in such a fashi­on, at such a season; so every creature according to his severall kinde. There goes out from God who is the authour of nature to these workes of nature, a certaine vertue that puts them on, and instigates them to this or that: and as you see an arrow that is shot by the Ar­cher: there goes a vertue together with it, that directs it just to such [...] marke, so farre, and no further. So after this manner there comes a power from Christ to his members; as soone as a man is in him, there comes such a secret divine, unexpressable efficacy that workes vpon the heart of him in whom he dwels. And there­fore the conjunction betweene him and us, is compared to that which is betweene the soule and the body, that acts and stirres us to and fro, according to its will and pleasure: such an effi­cacy shalt thou finde, if thou belong unto him, and therefore consider if there bee such a thing in thee or no.

Quest.But you will say, to what purpose is this effi­cacy, and what doth it in my heart when it comes there?

Answ.Why, I will tell thee what it doth; it is ex­pressed in plaine termes 2 Cor. 5.17. Whosoever is in Christ is made a new creature; That is the worke it effects; it is such a power and efficacy as makes thee a new creature; That is, it breakes [Page 297] in peeces the old building, it quite takes away the first print▪ As when a man comes to make a new stampe, the first must bee removed. So that this efficacy that goes out from Christ, it hath a double vertue in thy soule, to weare out the old stampe, to breed a death of the old na­ture, of the old man, to ruine and breake downe the old building, and to set up a new one; and that the Scripture calls a new creature: and therefore consider with thy selfe, whether thou find such a vertue as hath put thy heart into such a new frame, as hath moulded it all together, and hath put it into another fashion than it was, consider whether all in thee be new.

You will say, this is strange, must all be new?Quest.

Answ.My beloved, you know the words they are cleare; Old things are passed away, 2 Cor. 5.17. all things are be­come new. (In the same place which I quoted before) that as the command was in the offering of the Passeover, not a jot of old leaven, but we must part with it; Now this is the nature of leaven, it is alwayes purging out, and it will be purging out while we are here, only the efficacy and strength thereof remaines not. Then thinke with thy selfe, is all new in me? looke what na­tural disposition I have had: looke what natural lusts and desires I have had, see what acts I was wont to doe, what old haunts and customes I have had, looke what old company I kept, what old courses I tooke, what my tract hath beene, is all this altered and every thing become new? [Page 298] (for,Cor. 5.17. saith he, it must be a new creature, a new nature:) That is, it is not enough for a man to have a new course for a fit, to have new pur­poses and a new change that comes like flashes, I say, that is not enough; you may have many new thinges in you, that may be in old hearts, like peeces of new cloath in old garments, that will do thee no good at al;Math. 9, 16.17. the Lord regards not that: like new wine in old vessells, so it is where there are some new things, that are good things in themselves; in a carnall and old heart, they are not fit for the heart, and therefore they never stay long there: So saith the text, Put a new peece into an old garment, and it makes the rent greater.

Answ.Therefore all must be new; I say there must be a new nature, that these new things may bee there: even as the severall creatures are in their severall elements, as the elements are in their owne place, as the plants are in their proper soyle, as the branches are upon their own roote. For then they florish, then they hold out, then they continue; Therefore see whether this vi­gor, this efficacy, this vertue hath gone out from Christ into thy heart; whether it hath not only renewed al in thee, but also hath given thee a new nature; That is, whether it hath wrought such a change in thee, that all the wayes of god­lines and new obedience, become in a measure naturall to thee, so that thou canst doe them cheerefully, even as wee heare, and see, and do naturall actions, and that thou dost them with­out [Page 299] wearinesse: for you know, things that are naturall wee are not weary of them; And so thou wilt doe them constantly, for what is na­turall, stayes and abides by us, that it out-growes and out-wearies what ever is in us be­side; Now hath there a vertue gone out from Christ, that hath wrought all this in you, that hath made all new, hath not onely done so, but hath made it naturall to thee? But you will say, must it needs be so,Quest. cannot Christ take and com­prehend me, but there must be this wonderfull change wrought, who can be saved then? I have then but little hope, when I am upon my death­bed, and then shall looke upon my old nature, and finde no such worke as this wrought upon me. Beloved, I beseech you consider this, that there is a necessity of it: It is so, and it must be so, and except you have it, you cannot be saved; you see the words in the Scriptures are most cleare, Whosoever is in Christ is a new creature:2 Cor▪ 5. Doe but consider whether it be so or no; there must bee a new-heaven, and a new earth; You see that was the great promise that was to bee fulfilled in our times of the Gospell. 2 Pet. 3.13, Is there not a new priesthood; is there not a new covenant, and hath not the Lord said, there must be a new heaven and a new earth? That is, new graces from heaven, and a new company of men wrought on, and changed by those graces? Shall those that are borne of old Adam, receive a power from him, to make them like to him, to carry [Page 300] his Image, to be corrupt, carnall, and sinfull as he is: And do you not thinke that the New Adam, the Second Adam, shall have as much efficacy in him to make those new creatures, that are in him, that come to him? Certainely there is as much power, life, and vigor in the new Adam, to change every man that is in him, that comes to him, to make them new creatures, as in the old Adam, to make them like to him: Besides, hath not Christ said plainely, I came not into the world to save soules only, that is not my busines alone (though that was a great part of the businesse and errand for which hee came into the world:Tit. 2.14.) but (saith he) I came to purifie a people to my selfe, zealous of good workes: in the 2 Tit. Now if that were the end of Christs comming, dost thou thinke that hee will loose his end? Wherefore its impossible, that any man should bee saved, or have part in Christ, that hee should bee in Christ and Christ in him, except his heart bee purified so, as to be zea­lous of good workes. If Christ dwell in thy heart, thou mayest easily know it; for dost thou thinke, that Christ will dwell in a foule and uncleane place? hath hee not pure eyes? And therefore it is certaine wheresoever hee dwells,Hab 1.13. that place must bee a fit Temple for him to dwell in; Wherefore of necessity hee must cleanse thy heart, hee must fashion it, and keepe it pure, cleane, and sweet, so as it may bee a fit Temple for him and his Spirit to dwell [Page 301] and delight in. Besides, doth hee not looke to his glory in all those that belong to him? he hath many eyes to looke upon them as it were, there are many spectators men and Angells, to see what they are,1 Cor. 4.9. and how they behave them­selves: If he should have a company of men to belong unto him that are carnall, perverse, and worldly minded, that have crooked wayes like other men, would this be for his honour? would it not be said, Like men, like Master? would it not reflect upon him? Certainely it would; and therefore the Lord so orders it, that those whom he hath redeemed, shall be holy in all man­ner of conversation: Saith he, you must be as I am, else it will bee for my dishonour, As I am holy, 1 Pet. 1.15.16. so every one of you must be holy, in all manner of conversation. Therefore let no man deceive himselfe, to thinke hee can goe away and yet bee in Christ, and bee saved through Christ and the mercies of God in Christ, when there goes out no such vertue and power from Christ to change him, to worke on him, to alter him, to make him another creature. And therefore I beseech you in the examining of this, (for its a matter of great moment) to con­sider with your selves, if this be wrought in you or no; whether you finde any experiment and effect of this mighty power, efficacy, and ver­tue: and let me bring you a little to particulars, Hath there gone out a vertue from him to ena­ble thee to beleeve? There is a faith required [Page 302] in the Deity, there is a faith required in the pro­mises of God, and there is a faith required in the providence of God, to thinke that every particu­lar thing is ordered by it; There is also a faith in all the threatnings of God: Now for the man­ner of propounding; when the Scripture comes to propound any thing, it propounds it thus, and no more: as you see in Moyses, he writes nothing but,Gen. 1.1 [...] In the beginning God made heaven and earth, &c. And so the Apostles write; Such a thing was done,Math. 1. Luk. 1.2. Iesus Christ was borne of the Virgin Mary: Thus and thus he did. Now when the na­ked object is propounded, other writers wht they deliver or write is rationall; They use Rea­sons and arguments to convince men of those things which thy deliver; but when the Scrip­ture sets downe any propositions of faith, it doth but barely propound them, for there is the Majesty and authority of God in them, to con­firme them.

Quest.But now here you will demand, (the proposi­tion being but nakedly laid downe in the Scrip­tures) what will enable a man to beleeve it?

Answ.I answere: that certainely there is a mighty power that goes out from God and Christ, that enables thee to beleeve with efficacy; so that when the object is set before thee, there goes out a power from Christ to worke faith in thy heart, whereby thou truly beleevest it, and so it appeares in thy life: We think we beleeve those things, but our lives do manifest the con­trary; [Page 303] namely, That there is not a powerfull faith wrought in us; for all the errours of our lives (though we observe them not) arise from hence, that these Principles are not throughly beleeved: if they were, it could not bee, that there should be such inconsequences in the lives of men. Therefore consider if this faith bee wrought in thee, whether such a power hath gone out, to worke such a faith, that hath chan­ged thy whole course, as it will doe, if it bee once wrought in thee, by the power of Christ: So also consider, whether there hath a vertue gone out from him to worke love in thy heart to the Lord; for otherwise it is certaine that there is no man in the world that is able to love God, or to come neere him, for all love riseth from Similitude, there must bee an agreement and si­militude betweene those two that love. Now e­very man by nature is as contrary to Gods pure nature, as fire is to water, & without an almigh­ty power to change his nature, and to worke a particular affection of love in him, he can never be able to love God: therefore its the baptisme of the holy Ghost; which workes this,Math. 3.11. He will baptize you with the holy Ghost and with fire, that is, with the holy Ghost which is fire: I will mul­tiply thy sorrowes and thy conceptions, That is,Gen. 3.6.1 the sorrowes of thy conceptions. Now love is as fire in the heart, and one fire must beget another; And therefore you have it in the common pro­verbe, Love is a thing that cannot be bought with [Page 304] mountaines of gold and silver; yet if thou bee in Christ, there goes out a vertue from him, that stampes upon thy heart this holy affection, that breedes in thee this holy fire of love, so that thy heart cleaves to him, thou lovest him with as true, with as genuine, as naturall, and as sensible love, as thou lovest any friend; as thou lovest any creature in the world. Consider if this be wrought in thee or no. And so for thy know­ledge; there is also a power in it, consider whe­ther any such vertue hath gone out from Christ to make the knowledge which thou hast, power­full.

You will say, what is that?

Answ. Quest.That is, to bring on these truthes which thy heart assents unto, to bring them with that evi­dence, and fulnesse of demonstration, that thou shalt yeeld unto them, and practise them accor­ding to thy knowledge. Beloued, there is much knowledge among us, but who practiseth accor­ding to his knowledge? We know God, but wee glorifie him not as God;Rom. 1.21, and the reason is, because there hath not gone a power with that know­ledge, to make it lively and effectuall, to passe through all the faculties of the soule, and to overrule them; for if there were such know­ledge, it would alwayes draw affection and pra­ctise with it. So likewise consider, whether there hath gone a power from him to mortifie thy lusts, (Whosoever is in Christ hath crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts;Gal. 5.24.) not to lay them a­sleepe [Page 305] onely, but to mortifie and subdue them. See likewise whether there hath a power gone out from Christ, to helpe thee to overcome the world, The lusts of thine eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life;1 Ioh. 2.16. for whosoever is in Christ overcomes the world, and all that is in the world. The world hath many things to worke upon us, and to resist and oppose us: It hath persecutions, it hath disgraces, it hath slanders and reproches, which it casts upon holy men, & upon the holy wayes of God. And the men that are actours in this, are the divels factours, though they thinke not so, as the Apostle Iames expresses it; Their tongues are set on fire of hell, Iam. 3.6. to devise slanders and false reports, and to fasten them upon holy men, especially upon the Ministers of the Gos­pell, and so upon all the wayes of God: I say they are the divels factours, though they thinke not so: and those that beleeve them are the divels receivers; the one hath the divell in his tongue, the other in his eare. But the Lord hath appointed this. This is one thing whereby the world fights against the wayes of God, to dis­courage men and to hinder them, that they might be stumbling blockes to them. So it was with Christ; hee was the falling of many in Israel by reason of this; so was Paul, as a deceiver, Luk. 2.34. and yet true, &c. Consider if thou hast this efficacy put into thy heart, that thou art able to over­come this, that thou art able to overcome all the offences, and persecutions, all the slaunders [Page 306] and reproaches that are cast upon the wayes of God; and notwithstanding that, to thinke well of them, and to walke in them, and practise thē. Likewise, as it hath these things on the one hand so it hath pleasures, preferments, glory, riche [...] credit, and all things of that nature on the other art thou able to overcome all these? So to shut up this point & prosecute it no further, thus you shall know whether you be in Christ: for that is the point; Wee have assurance in him; that if we aske any thing, we shall be heard, but first we must be in him; now [...] know whether we be in him (as you have heard) there must be an act of ours, and secondly an act of his, which is this power that goes out from him, to change, to take and comprehend us. So much for the first thing.

Now for the second; if a man will apply or take to himselfe the priviledges wee have by Christ, as this particular priviledge of being heard in our prayers, of comming to the Sacra­ment, or any other; know this, that it is not e­nough to be in Christ only, but there must be a certaine qualification, a certaine immediate fa­shioning, and preparation of the heart, or else though thou have a right to the priviledges, though they belong to thee: yet thou art suspen­ded from the use, benefit, and comfort of them. And this is considered in these Five things. (I will but name them very briefely.) First, when a man comes to receive the Sacrament, it's not e­nough for him to be in Christ, no nor when he [Page 307] is come to do some other duties, but moreover there must be this also; those grace thou hast, this change, this new creature that is wrought in thee, which is but a heape of particular graces these must be acted and stirred up upon such an occasion: It is true, no man ought to come except he have the graces of Gods Spirit wrought in his heart, that they may lye there in the habits, that they may be in the heart as fire raked in the ashes. But if a man will come to receive the Sa­crament, and suffer these habits, these graces he hath to lie still there, he comes not as a worthy receiver; (there are indeed degrees of unwor­thinesse) he comes not as a worthy receiver ex­cept hee stirres them up, except they be acted at that very time: as for example; when we come to receive the Sacrament, wee ought then to have an especiall humiliation and sorrow for our sinnes; we ought then to have an especiall love to Iesus Christ; we ought then to have a special rejoycing in him, and in all the Priviledges wee have by him; we ought then to have a speciall love to our brethren, the men with whom wee converse, and among whom wee live: now if a man come and receive, and do not stirre up and act these graces, he receivs unworthyly, and my ground for it, is this; You see in the feast of Reconciliation, the Tenth day of the Seventh moneth, the Lord tels them there, you shall come, and you shall keepe it, & you shall not do worke, &c. But is this enough? no, He that doth not actually [Page 308] afflict his soule (saith he) that day, he shall be cut off from his people, Levit 23.27, 28.29.30. Levit. 23.27. This is, though they had a habitual disposition, and their hearts were prepared to sorrow for their sinnes, and to take them to heart and bewaile them, this is not e­nough, (saith hee) at this time you must afflict your soules, that is, there must be a stirring up of that sorrow. So likewise you finde this in the feasts, in more places than one, that when they come to keepe the feasts, at that time they shall eate and drinke, and refresh themselves, but in any case rejoyce, Deut. 12, and Deut. 16. I will not stand to repeate the places: That is, it's not enough for you to have thankfull hearts, to have hearts prepared for these things in the habit, but you must then rejoyce, for it is the season of it,Eccles. 3.11. (for every thing is good in it's season) and the Lord requires it at such a time. Therefore thus thinke with thy selfe whensoever thou comest to receive the Sacrament, this is the time that the graces I have, the habituall graces, must be new pointed as it were, they must bee new whetted, new scowred, that they may be bright and shining upon such an occasion, when the Lord cals for it, you must then quicken and stir them up, that they may bee all acted in your hearts.

And this is one thing, that it's not enough for a man to bee in Christ, to take the priviledges that belong to him, but there is a certaine qua­lification required that must be done at that [Page 309] time, when the Covenant is renewed: And this is one, to have the graces thus acted.

2 Secondly, there must be a new Reconciliation. For the Saints, those that are within the cove­nant, those that are regenerate men, (you must marke it well, for it's a point of much use) when they commit sinnes against God, the guilt of their sinnes is retained: though they are within the covenant, and are not cut off from Christ, but are in him; yet (I say) when they have sin­ned, the guilt of that sinne continues, and is continued till they be reconciled and renewed by faith and repentance; as you see it was with David: 2 Sam. 12▪ 13. Nathan would not have said when hee came to him, Thy sinnes are forgiven thee, if there had not beene a new thing, if there had not beene a thing done at that time; and therefore it intimates so much, that before his sin was not forgiven: that is, the Lord was angry with him. You must know therefore this, that when a re­generate man sinnes, there is only a particular guilt; the universall guilt of sinnes returnes not, (for that would cut him quite off, that would put him absolutely into the state of damnation,) but it's a particular guilt, for every particular sinne; that is, even as a father is pleased well with his son, and knowes him to be his sonne, hee is affe­cted to him as to his sonne, yet hee hath done such a particular action that hath offended him, and for that particular offence, hee withdrawes himselfe from him, hee carries not himselfe to [Page 310] him as he was wont to do, being offended with him for such a fault; now till the sonne hath re­conciled and humbled himselfe for that par­ticular action, though the father hath an hun­dred gifts to bestow on him, yet hee shall have none of them, till hee hath reconciled himselfe; So thinke with thy selfe (if any sinne lye in the way) when thou commest to partake of this pri­viledge to receive the Sacrament, or when thou commest to call on God for any particular mer­cy, or to have any request granted; thinke then with thy selfe, such a sinne I committed, I must humble my selfe for it, I must labour to make reconciliation, labour to have this taken away, that my Father may bee reconciled to mee; then come and take the priviledge, for now it belongs unto me; therefore there is a necessity of renewing our repentance and reconciliation most exactly, and to take a very particular exa­mination of our wayes when we come to re­ceive the Sacrament, or when wee draw neere to God upon such speciall occasions, least our Father, (though he be a Father to us) have some particular quarrell against us; for even he whom we call Father, 1 Pet. 1.17, iudgeth every man, (even his owne sonnes) without respect of persons, that is, he did not beare any ill in them: thus you see did he with Moyses, with David, and others, and the like he doth with all the Saints. This is the second qualification that is required before you can have any part in any of the priviledges, [Page 311] before you can attaine unto this assurance, to aske and have; therefore it is not without use, and that not in the Sacrament onely, but also in that which we have to deliver.

3 Thirdly, suppose there be no particular sinne, suppose the grace you have, be acted, when you come to receive the Sacrament; yet there is a third thing required, a third qualification that must be found in the heart of him that will be a worthy receiver, and that is, to observe well what distance is growne betweene the Lord and him ever since the time, that he hath in a more particular manner beene reconciled to him. This is another thing than what wee named be­fore, to consider what rust hath growne upon his soule, what soyle his heart hath contracted, by conversing in the world, and by medling with worldly and earthly things; for the soule ga­thers soyle with medling with them, even as the hands doe; now thou must thinke with thy selfe, when thou commest to the Lord; and drawest neere to him in this, or any other duty, thou must recover that distance againe, and bring thy heart neerer to the Lord, thou must draw neerer to him, thou must get thy heart to a more close, a more neere, & inward conjunction with him; thou must labour to have that hardnesse that thou hast contracted (as it will bee in a little con­tinuance of time) thou must labour I say, to have that tooke away and removed; to have thy heart softened, to have the rust rubbed off; [Page 312] thou must labour to have all these things done. For thou must know this, That though there be not a particular sinne committed, yet as we see, the outward man is subject to a wasting, though there be no wounds, though there be no sick­nesse; though a man be in perfect health, and all is well with him, and he observe all the rules of dyet, yet (I say) you see the outward man is sub­ject to wasting, to fainting, to weakenesse, and decay; and therefore there must be a renewing of dyet, and of strength, or else it cannot bee able to hold out: So it is with the inward man; though there bee no particular sinne, though a man did keepe some good course in the wayes of godlinesse, without running out eminently or evidently, yet he is subject to a secret decay, so that sometimes hee must have some speciall meate, some speciall feast, which the Lord hath appointed for that purpose, (for he doth nothing in vaine:) And if this Sacrament could be spa­red, that a man might keepe the strength of the inward man without it, the Lord would not have put you to this trouble; but he seeth it ne­cessary, and therefore he hath appointed it to be received, and that often, that you might feed upon the body and blood of Christ, that you might eate his flesh and drinke his blood, and gather new strength from it; that when there is a decay of grace in your hearts, you may goe to this Fountaine, and fill the Cisternes againe to recover strength. For when a man comes to the [Page 313] Sacrament as hee ought, hee gathers a new strength, as a man doth from a feast; his heart is cheered up as it is with Flagons of wine, he is refreshed, his hunger and thirst is satisfied; That is, the desires of his soule that long after Christ, after righteousnesse, and assurance, are quickned and refreshed. And this is the third thing.

4 Fourthly, besides all this; First the stirring up of the graces, and the acting of the habits; Se­condly, making thy peace and reconciliation with God, and remooving of any particular of­fence, that is betwixt God and thee; Thirdly, this scouring off the rust, this remooving the distance betweene God and thee, the softning of that hardnesse which thy heart hath contracted; this recovering the strength that thou hast wa­sted; There is besides all these a fourth thing required, which is, that there be an Intention, a particular increase of thy will, in taking Christ, of thy desire to Christ, and of every grace that knits thee and Christ together; For there are certaine cementing graces, certaine glewing gra­ces, that joyne Christ and thy soule together, as Faith and Love; these are the two maine graces; there are a great traine of graces that follow them, but these are the chiefe, and these I say must bee intended, For what is the end of the Sacrament? Is it not to knit the knot stronger betweene Christ and us, to make the union more full and perfect? is it not to increase our willingnesse to take and receive Christ? for you [Page 314] know all the acts of the soule may be intended. Put the case there be a resolved act in the heart and soule of any man, whereby he saith thus with himselfe: I am resolved to take Christ, and to serve and love him for the time of my life, yet this resolution of his, though it bee perfect and sincere, may receive intention; when a man is willing to doe any thing truly, there may bee degrees added to that will; when there is light in a roome (when thou bringest in more candles) that light may be increased: so it may in this, so may your faith and love; (by faith I meane no­thing but the resolution of the heart to take Christ; I meane not the beleeving part, but the taking part, the act of the will taking Christ, or receiving him, which is nothing else but the choise of the will that resolves to take him.) I do but touch this by the way, because it is a point I have handled already at large; the thing I ayme at is this; I say the glewing graces are these two; Faith and love, wherby you thus take Christ for your Lord and Saviour; Faith is like the part of the compasse that goeth about and doth the worke; and love is that cementing grace wherby we are more knit unto the Lord; they have both their office and their place; You know love is an uniting affection, therefore this is the definition of it▪ It is a desire of union with that it loves. Now when thou comest to receive the Sacrament, or to pray, or put up any special request, when thou comest to have to do with God, to make use of [Page 315] any priviledge thou hast in Christ, thy chiefe bu­sines is to intend this faith & love, at such a time to draw thee neerer, to make the union perfect.

You will say, how is this increased and how is it intended?Quest.

Answ.I answer; Two wayes in the Sacrament, one way is the very repetition, the very renewing the covenant, the very doing it over againe, the resolution of taking him, (for there is a mutuall covenant, you know, betweene Christ and us,) it is confirmed to us in the Sacrament, hee con­firmes his, and wee confirme ours, as the friend­ship betweene Ionathan & David was increased by the renewing of the covenant, or else why was it repeated? The very repetition of the act intends the habit, the habit is increased by the repetition of the act, though it were no more; so the renewing of the covenant exerciseth thy faith, it sets a work thy faith and thy love, when thou comest to receive the Sacrament, the very intention is increased▪ but this is not all. There is another thing in the Sacrament that much in­creaseth it, and that is a thing I would have you chiefely to take notice of; That is the very Sa­crament it selfe, the elements of bread and wine delivered to thee, with the very words of the minister, Take and eate, this is my body, 1 Cor. 11, 24, 25. that was broken for thee; Take and drinke, this is my blood, that was shed, &c. For when these words are spoken to us, if wee did consider well of them, and thinke thus with our selves; These words [Page 316] that the Lord himselfe hath appointed the Mi­nister to speake (for therein is the force of them that they are of the Lords owne institution) therefore the strength of every Sacrament lies in the institution; That is a rule in Divinity: the Papists themselves, who have added five other Sacraments, cannot deny, but that every Sacra­ment must have an immediate institution from Christ himselfe, even from his owne mouth, or else there is no strength in it; so that even as it is with all things that are symbols of other things, (as take markes in feilds that stand for the divi­sion of severall mens rights; take counters th [...] stand for Thousands and Hundreds; the very essence of these things stands in the very insti­tution of them;) So in the Sacrament, except these words were from the Lords owne mouth that delivered it, this very delivering of the bread and wine, being a signe to you of the for­givenes of your sinnes, except the Lord had thus instituted it, there had beene no force in it. I say consider, they are words that the Minister speaks not in an ordinary course, but he is appointed by the Lord himselfe to speak them; and now whē these words make a new impression upon thy heart, it addes an intention to thy faith and love. For example, (to make it a little more cleare to you, that you may understand it distinctly.) The Lord hath said this, he will forgive the sinnes of all those that come unto him, hee will forgive them that forsake their sinnes, and take Christ [Page 317] Iesus, and love and feare him for the time to come. The Lord might have suffered it to goe thus in generall, that hee hath delivered it unto you and no more; But hee thought good to goe further and say thus to mankind: Its true, I have said it, but I will not content my selfe with that, but will adde certaine seales and symbolls, cer­taine externall signes, that thou shalt see and looke on; and I say to thee, this covenant have I made with thee, and when thou seest the bread and wine delivered by the Minister, know this, that the thing that thou seest is a witnesse be­tweene thee and me: That as it was said by La­ban and Iacob when they made a covenant, This stone be witnesse betweene us:Gen. 31.48. And God said to Noah, when I looke upon the rainebowe, Gen. 9.13.14, 15, it shall bee a signe that I will destroy the earth no more after this manner ▪ when the Lord hath said it and hath appointed this outward Symboll that thine eies looke upon, I remember the covenant and this as a signe betweene us, this shall bind mee to it and him likewise. Now when this is done anew, (it may be every month) this is a wondrous great mercy, this is a marvellous great helpe (if it be rightly understood) to strengthen our faith. Doth it not helpe us, when wee see the Raine­bowe which the Lord hath appointed to put him in mind of his covenant?Gen. 9, 14, 15, I will remember my covenant, when I looke on the Bowe in the Cloud it shall confirme me, and I will not breake my cove­nant to destroy the world with a flood; So this ad­ministration [Page 318] of the Sacrament, when the Lord lookes upon it, hee cannot but remember his promise and his covenant, of pardoning our sinnes; And when thou lookest on it, thou art assured of it, for hee hath said it; it shall bee a signe and a witnesse betweene us; Now I say that new impression that these words (thus contrived and understood, and delivered by the Minister) make upon the heart, intends our faith and love; as indeed it is a great matter to have it spoken to us by a Minister of the Gospell, sent from Christ, from his owne mouth; Take and eate, this is my body that is broken for you: 1 Cor. 11 24.25. and this is my blood that was shed for you and for many, for the re­mission of sinnes. This is the fourth qualification that is required, that our faith and love be in­tended, and our union increased; that the will, resolution, and purpose of taking Christ for our Lord, receive more degrees; that so we may be more fast and firmely united and knit to him; which I say is done partly by the repetition on both sides (for the very repetition doth it;) and partly by a new impression that these words, (take, eate, &c) make on the soule. Now I adde the last thing which is required, (still remember the maine thing wee are upon, that it is not e­nough for thee to be in Christ, but if thou wilt bee a worthy receiver, thou must have these foure qualifications in thee, that I have named already, Thou must reconcile thy selfe anew, thou must rub off the rust from thy soule which [Page 319] it hath gathered, thou must recover the distance that is growne betweene God and thee; Thou must adde an intending and an increase; Thou must adde more degrees to thy faith and love, and after all these.)

5 Fiftly, and lastly, this is also required (which is much for our benefit and comfort) namely, to put up thy request, when thou comest neere to the Lord in the Sacrament: Now thou must not onely do this, but thou must also make some use of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with thee for his part, so that thou mayest think this with thy selfe; When I come to receive the Sacrament, I have but two workes to do, one is to recovenant with the Lord, & to renew my re­pentance, and to set all eaven; and the other is to remember the Lords covenant.

You will say, what is the Covenant?

It's a Covenant that consists of these three things or points; Iustification, Ier. 31.34. I will forgive thy sins; Sanctification, I will make you new hearts and new spirits; and the third, All things are ours;Ezech. 36.26▪ 1 Cor 3. that is, I have made you heires of the world, heires of all things, you have all the promises belong­ing to you, that belong to this life, & that which is to come; this is the Covenant which the Lord hath made. Now thou art bound when thou comest to receive the Sacrament, not onely to remember this Covenant, Doe this (saith hee) in remembrance of Mee, and not barely of me, and of my being crucified for thee, & of all the love [Page 320] that I have shewed unto thee, but also in re­membrance of the Covenant, and of those gra­cious promises, which are the particulars of which that Covenant is the summe: and there­fore, thus a man is to do. What? hath the Lord vouchsafed mee this favour, that I may come to his Table, I may come and renew the nuptials and my covenant with him? Surely, then I will looke about and consider what I want, what re­quest▪ I shal put up unto him; for there is nothing that is wanting, but it is within this Covenant; and thou art to put up thy request in a speciall maner, whatsoever it be, be it concerning things belonging to thy soule, to have a strong lust mortified, to have thy hard heart softned, to have some sin that lies upon thy conscience for­given, & to have that forgivenes assured to thee: be it any thing that concernes thy particular e­state, if it be to be delivered from a potent ene­my, or whatsoever it be, put up thy request, and that largely, open thy mouth wide, that is, make thy request full, feare it not. Put the case (againe) it be somewhat that doth not concerne thee, but that it concerneth the Church abroad, or the Church at home, it is a case that much con­cernes any of these in the Church, put it up to him, and put it up with confidence. For this is a marriage day (as it were) it is the time when he reacheth out his scepter (as you know the things I allude to) and thou maist come to his presence: You know,Ester. 5, 3, when Hester was admitted to the [Page 321] presence of the King, then said he, What request hast thou? when thou art admitted to the fami­liarity and presence o [...] the Lord, he looks for it, he asks what request you have to put up to him? and the promises are large enough: I will give it, whatsoever it be, if you aske according to my will; and therefore, do in this case as Moyses used to do: you shall find when Moyses drew neere unto the Lord, when he was admitted into his pre­sence, and saw him face to face (for that was the great priviledge Moyses had) when there was a­ny special apparition of the Lord to him, Moses makes this argument: (saith hee) It is a great mercy that thou wouldest shew mee this, that such a poore man as I am, should have this pri­viledge, and give mee leave to make use of it: Lord, if I have found favour in thy sight, that is,Exod, 33.13, since thou hast vouchsafed mee such a favour in thy sight, do thus and thus for me: you see he made this request for the whole Church of God and saved them, or else they had beene de­stroied. If thou hast not any particular argument in this case, say, If I have found favour in thy sight, do this: so I say, when thou hast this pro­mise confirmed, that Christ hath given himselfe to thee, and the symboll of that promise is the bread and wine which he hath given to thee, put up thy request: O Lord, if thou hast vouchsafed to give mee Christ, wilt thou not with him give mee all things else? Lord,Rom. 8, 32, if I have found favour in thy sight, to do so great a thing for me, deny [Page 322] me not this particular request. Thus we ought to doe, especially when we come to things that are beyond nature: when we come, let us con­sider with our selves; Indeed I have a naturall disposition that carries me strongly to evill, I shall never be able to overcome it, there are such duties to doe, I shall never be able to performe them: In such a case thou must doe it the more earnestly, thou must sigh & groane to the Lord. Elishah when hee comes to doe a thing so much above the course of nature,2 King▪ 4.34. as to raise a dead child to life, hee sighed unto the Lord, that is, he prayed earnestly.Iam, 5.15. Eliah, when hee would have Raine, he cryed, he tooke much paines, he pray­ed. So must thou do in this case: and know this for thy comfort, that though thou thinke thou shalt never be able to doe these things, to over­come such lusts, such hereditary diseases, yet the Lord is able to helpe thee: though these are past naturall helpe, yet they are not past the helpe of grace;Iam. 4.6. though the spirit in us lust after envy; yet as the Apostle Iames saith, The Scriptures offer more grace, that is, the Scriptures offer grace and ability to doe more than nature can doe; nature cannot heale a spirit that lusteth after envy; or any other thing; a spirit that lusts after credit, af­ter money, after the sinne of uncleanenesse, or whatsoever is presented: now the Scriptures of­fer that grace, that will overcome any of these sinnes, be they never so strong, or so old; Christ healed hereditary diseases, he healed those that [Page 323] were borne lame and blind: so though thou be borne with such lusts, Christ is able to heale thee; you see a Prophet could heale Naaman of his Leprosie, when there was no other that could doe it; so saith Christ; Come unto me all ye, and I will heale you. Math, 11.28. So that you see wee must put up our requests to God.

The third Sermon.

WE have already made some entrance upon the words: I told you what the Apostles scope is in them, which is, to make knowne to all Christians to whom he wrote, a­nother great priviledge, besides that which hee named before: that is, That he that hath the Son, hath life; this (saith he) is another priviledge, that whatsoever you aske, you shall have; onely remem­ber that you have this assurance in him, that is, in Christ Iesus; That point (what it is to be in him, that it may be the ground of all the benefits and priviledges wee injoy) we handled the last day. Now wee come to the priviledge it selfe, If we aske any thing according to his will, hee heareth us. The words are so plain, I shal not need to spend any time in opening of them, but deliver you the point that lyes so evidently before us:Doct. which is this, [That all the prayers of the Saints made upon earth, are assuredly heard in heaven] whatsoever [Page 324] we aske, (saith hee) according to his will hee heareth us, onely the conditions must be obser­ved. When you heare such a generall as this, it must be limited, there are certaine bounds set to it, which we will name unto you: which are these foure conditions. First, all the prayers that are made upon earth shall be heard in hea­ven;Cond. if they be the prayers of a righteous man, and are faithfull and fervent. The person must be righteous, that must first be remembred: be­cause, although the prayer be never so good, yet except the person bee accepted from whom it comes, the Lord regards it not: you know in the old Law, the blood of Swine was reckoned an a­bominable Sacrifice, Esay. 66.3▪ yet if you take the blood of sheepe, and compare them together, you shall find no difference; It may be the Swines blood is the better: then whats the reason the Swines blood is not accepted? even because of the sub­ject of it, it was the blood of Swine, and there­fore you see it was put downe, that it was an a­bominable Sacrifice. So it is with prayer; Take the prayer of a Saint, and the prayer of a wicked man; it may be, if you looke upon the petition, or whatsoever is in the prayer it selfe, you shall finde some time the prayers of a godly man more cold, and lesse fervent: the petitions are not so well framed as the wicked mans: yet be­cause this comes from such a person, the Lord regards it not; you know the condition is men­tioned Iames fift: The prayer of the righteous [Page 325] man availeth much, if it be fervent. Now as this is required in the person, so there is somewhat required in the praier also, that is, that it be fer­vent and faithfull; that it be fervent, you have it in the same place, The prayer of a righteous man availeth much if it be fervent; that is, it must be a prayer made from the sence of the misery that is in us, & from the mercy of God, when a man takes a thing to heart, that he prayes for, and comes with confidence to bee heard, for that makes him fervent. This the Lord will have, and also he will have it faithfull: Iames the first, when the Apostle exhorts them to praier, if any man want wisdome (saith he) let him aske it of God. Iames 1, 5.6, but then marke, he carefully puts in this conditi­on, see that He pray in faith, that is, beleeve that it shal be done unto him: now this faith includes repentance, for no man can beleeve that he shall be heard, except he make his heart perfect with God: If he allow any sin in himselfe, he cannot beleeve upon any good ground: therfore when I say it must be faithful, that also is included, we must regard no wickednes in our hearts, for in such a case, the Lord heares not, hee heares not sinners. Psal. 66, [...]8, So that this you must remember; First,Iohn 9, 31, the per­son must be righteous, and the prayer must bee fervent and faithfull,

Secondly,2 Cond. the other Condition you shal heare in the Text, it must be according to his will; you must not thinke, whatsoever you aske, if you aske it loosely at Gods hands, that it shall pre­sently [Page 326] be graunted you: No (saith he) it must be according to his will, if you aske fire from hea­ven, Luke 9.54.55. that is not according to his will, and there­fore you see, they that aske it, were denyed it, with this reason, you know not what you aske. Likewise to [...]it at his right hand, and at his left in heaven, which was another request of the Disciples,Matth. 20, 21.22. he puts them by with this; You understand not what you aske of the Father, and therefore it must be ac­cording to his will. And that is the second.

3. Cond.Thirdly, we must aske it in time, in due season: so the promise is true, Knock and it shall be opened to you; but you know the foolish Virgins knockt and it was not opened to thē; what was the rea­son of it? because they askt when the time was past; for there is a certaine acceptable time when the Lord will be found:2: Cor, 6.2. and when that oportunity is past, he is found no more. It is true, that this life is the time of grace, but God in his secret counsell hath appointed a certaine time to every man, which is the acceptable time, the day of grace; therefore he saith unto them, This day if you will heare: this day if you will come and seeke unto mee, if you will pray unto mee, I will heare you: when it's past, the Lord suffers not the doores to stand open alwayes, his eares are not alwayes open: therefore that condition must be carefully remembered, you must aske in time; It is a condition that should be carefully thought on by us. For, for the most part, we fly to prayer as Ioab did to the Altar, hee went not [Page 327] to it for devotion (for then he would have done it before) but when hee was in distresse, when hee was in extremity, then hee fled to it, and therefore you know what successe hee had by it, it saved not his life. So we goe not to prayer for devotion, that is, out of love to God, to doe him that service; but (for the most part) wee do it out of selfe love, when we are in extremity or distresse, wee passe the acceptable times he re­quires, and we goe to him in a time of our owne: For there is Gods time, and there is our owne time; Gods time is to come to him when wee may do him service in our youth, in our strength in the flower of our graces: Our time is to goe to him when we need him: Will not a friend say (when we never come to him, but when we have extreame need of him) why do you come now? you were not wont to visit me before, this is not out of love to me: Even the very same answer the Lord giveth;Iudg. 10.14. Goe to your Idols (saith he) those that you served in the time of peace, and see if they can helpe you.

The fourth and last condition is, That wee referre the time, the manner, 4 Cond. the measure of gran­ting our petitions to the Lord. That is, we must not thinke to be our owne carvers, to thinke if it be not granted in such a manner, such a mea­sure, or such a time, presently the Lord hath rejected our petitions; no, he that beleeves makes no haste: That is, he waits upon God,Esay. 28.16▪ he stayes himselfe upon God, he is content to have it in [Page 328] that time, in that manner and measure, as best pleaseth the Lord: For the truth is, we know not our selves what is meete for us, we are unto the Lord just as the Patient is to the Physitian. The patient is importunate with him, for such things to refresh and ease him; But the Physitian knowes what best belongs to him, and when to give him such things, in what manner, and in what measure: So the Lord knowes best what to doe: Many times hee doth the same things that we desire, though he doe it not in the same manner: Even as the physitià he quencheth of­ten the thirst with Berberries, or with such kind of conserves; what though it be not with drinke, is it not all one so the thirst be quenched? Is it not all one whether a man bee hindred from striking me, or if I have a helmet to defend the blow? sometimes the Lord keepes not off the e­nemy; but then he gives us a helmet to keepe off those blowes, to beare those injuries and e­vills that are done to us: he is a wise physitian, he knowes what manner, what measure, and what time is best, therefore that must be refer­red to him: now these conditions being obser­ved, you must know that this great priviledge belongs to every Christian, That whatsoever prayers he makes on earth, he is sure to bee heard in heaven, it is a wondrous priviledge, that which wee have all cause to stand amazed at, that the Lord should so farre regard the sonnes of men, to grant them such a Charter as this; no [Page 329] more but aske and have, and what so ever you pray for, it shall be done to you. But a man is ready to say secretly in his heart when he heares it, This is too good to be true, That whatsoever I aske, I shall have. My Beloved, I confesse, it is a hard thing to beleeve it as wee ought to doe: and therefore before we come to apply this, we will spend a little time in endevouring to con­vince you of the truth of it, that you may not doubt of it, that what prayers you make to the Lord hee is ready to heare them.

1 First, consider that whatsoever prayer you make, he takes notice of it, he observs every pe­tition, there is not one petitiō that you make to him at any time, but he lookes upon it, he sees what the prayer is. And this thing although you thinke it common, (and who is there that know not this?) yet (my beloved) to beleeve this, to thinke that God is present where I make my prayer to him, to thinke he stands and heares it, even as I speake to a man that stands and heares me, and understands what I say to him; This is a great helpe to us. That this is true, see in 4. Eph. 6. Hee is in all, and through all, and over all, That is, the Lord is in every man, hee passeth through every thing, his eyes runne through the earth, and he is over all,2 Chron. 16.9. Psal. 44. [...]1. looking what secrets are in mans heart, what thoughts; yea before hee thinkes them he knowes them, Psal. 139.23. because hee seeth them in their causes: Hee that is in a man, that lookes in all the secret corners of the heart, hee [Page 330] must needs see what thoughts he hath, what pe­titions hee putteth up secretly, even then when his mouth speakes not. And lest that should not be enough, saith hee, He is over all, you know one that stands on high, and lookes over all that is below, hee easily can see whatsoever is done; So the Lord, he is in all, he is through all, he is over al. But this is enough for that; only I would have you remember, that he takes notice of all, he knowes thy prayers.

But you will say; I doubt not of that, I make no question but he heares me,Quest. and understands me well enough: but how shal I know that he is willing to grant the thing I pray for?

Answ.You shall see these 2 Reasons, in the 7. Mat. where our Saviour urgeth this very point, that we have now in hand, from the 7. verse downe­ward; Aske (saith he) and you shall have; seeke, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; here is the promise▪ For (he backs it with these 2. Reasons) Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened unto him: As if he should say; ye have this reason for it, why you should beleeve it, that it is no more but aske and have; for (saith he) all that ever asked have obtained; all that ever have sought, have found; all that ever have knocked, it hath beene opened unto them. That is, looke through the whole book of God, & see what prayers ever have beene made to him, and you shall finde, that there is not a prayer menti­oned [Page 331] in all the Scriptures. but it hath beene heard. Now when we have such a cloud of wit­nesses, it is a strong reason, when it is said to us that there were never any prayed but were heard.

Why, you will say, There were many prayed that were not heard;Quest. Did not David pray for his Childe, and was not heard? Did not Paul pray to be delivered from such a temptation, and was not heard?

Answ.My Beloved, Its true, they were not heard for the particular, but yet I dare be bold to say, that David was heard at that time, though (I say) not in the particular; for though his Childe was taken away, yet you may see the Lord gave him a Childe of the same woman, with much more advantage; he gave him a Childe that was legitimate, which this was not: he gave him a Childe that exceeded for wisedome, Salomon was the Child that he had: So that the Lord did heare him, and gave him this answer, as if he had said to him, David I have heard thee, I know that thou art exceeding importunate; thou shalt not have this, but thou shalt have another Childe which shall be better. And so he saith unto Paul 2 Cor. 12. Christ reveals this unto him; Paul (saith he) though I grant thee not this particular re­quest, in the manner that thou wouldest have me, (To take away the pricke of the flesh which thou art troubled with) thou shalt bee a greater gainer by it, thou hadst better have it than want it; whē [Page 332] Paul understood that it was a medicine, and not a poyson as hee tooke it to be, hee was content and resolved in it; And a man resolveth not ex­cept he be a gainer. He saw that Gods power was manifest in his weakenesse, and hee saw himselfe humbled by it; and when he saw that God gain­ed glory and himselfe humiliation by it, he was content to be denyed in it; So I say, whosoever asketh findeth, you shall never finde any exam­ple but that whosoever sought to the Lord as he ought, he was certainely heard, or else he had somewhat that was better granted to him in­stead of it. And this is the first reason that is used heere.Math. The second reason is this; What man a­mong you, if his Son aske bread, will give him a stone; or if he aske a fish, will give him a serpent? if you then that are evill, know how to give good things to your children, how much more shal your heavenly Father give good things to them which aske him? (saith hee) you bee not able to perswade your selves of this truth, because you know not the Father, for he dwells in light inaccessable, you are not acquainted with him, saith our Saviour: I will helpe you out with an argument that you better understand; even upon earth (saith he) take but a father here, a father that is ill (but the Lord is full of goodnes; fathers have but a drop, but a sparke of mercy in them, whereas the Lord is full of mercy, as the Lord is ful of light, he is the God of all comfort;) Yet, (saith hee) this fa­ther (when his sonne comes to aske him bread) [Page 333] he is ready to give it him, he is full of cōpassion and tendernes toward him; doe you not thinke that our heavenly Father is as true a father as he, that hee loves you as well as he whose compas­sion and pitty is much greater? doe you not thinke hee is ready to heare his Children when they call upon him? O this is a strong and unan­swerable Reason, and this you see is backed in 16 Ioh. 27. you see there the love of the Father how it is expressed to us; I say not unto you that I will aske the father (saith he) the father himselfe loves you; Marke, as if he should have said, let this be one ground to you to think your petitions shall be granted, and that they are not onely granted for my sake, for (saith hee) the Father himselfe loveth you, and hath a great affection to you, that is in naturall parents, there is a naturall af­fection to their Children; So if I were not im­mediatly to present your petitions (though that be not excluded) yet (saith hee) the Father hath such an affection to you, that he cannot choose but heare you; I say not (saith he) that I will aske the father, for the father himselfe loves you. So that this is the second reason which this promise is there backed with, the love of the father, That hee cannot find in his heart to deny us, even for that affection that he beareth to us. Wee will adde a third Reason that wee meet here in the same Chap. 16. Iohn, 23. In that day you shall aske in my name▪ verily, verily, I say unto you, yee shall aske the father in my name, and he will give it you; [Page 334] It is brought in upon this occasion, when our Saviour Christ was to goe from his Disciples, they were ready to complaine, as we see in the verses before, they were ready to say with them­selves, alas, what shall wee doe when our Ma­ster shall be tooke from our head? Our Saviour answers them, you shall doe well enough, doubt you not, for though I be not with you; yet (saith he) go to the father in my name, and whatsoever you aske of him, you shall have it: So that hee answers that objection, when a man is ready to say:

Its true, I know that a father is exceeding lo­ving to his Children:Quest. But it may be, my carriage hath not beene such, I am full of infirmities, I have much in me that may turne the love and af­fection of my Father from me.

Answ.Put the case you have, yet Christ adds this for your comfort; If (saith he) the Father will not doe it for your sake, yet doubt you not, if you aske in my name, he will doe it; doe we not see it usuall among men, That one that is a meere stranger to another, if hee get a letter from a friend, he thinkes to prevaile; and he doth so, because though it bee not done for his sake (it may be hee is a stranger, one that deserved no­thing at his hands) yet such a friend may deserve much: And when we goe to God in the name of Christ, this answers all the objections whatso­ever you can say against your selves, it is all satis­ [...]ied in this: I goe in his name, I am sure he hath [Page 335] supply, I am sure hee is no stranger, I know hee hath deserved it, &c. Last of all, as he loves us, and because we aske in the name of Christ, is ready to heare us: we will adde this, that he is ready to heare us for his owne sake, hee is a God hearing prayer, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 65, 2. that al flesh might come to him, even for this cause he heares, that men may be encouraged to come and seeke to him; for if the Lord should not heare, then no flesh would come unto him; that is, men would have no encouragement, no helpe; therefore he saith, he is a God hearing prayer, doubt ye not, hee will doe it for this purpose, that hee might have men to worship him, that men might come and seeke unto him. Besides that, hee shall be glorified, Thou shalt call upon me in the day of trou­ble, I will heare thee, and thou shalt glorifie mee;Psal, 50▪ 15, now the Lord is desirous of glory; it was the end for which he made the world. But in not hear­ing our prayer, hee loseth this glory; by hear­ing our requests, the more wee are heard, the more glory and praise we render unto him. Like wise he doth it for the Spectators sake; Moyses often presenteth that Reason, Lord doe it, What will the Heathen say? Exod, 32.12.13. and lest thy name be polluted among them, they will say thou hast brought out a people, and wast not able to deliver them. So David often, there are many instances in that; I say, for the lookers on sake he is ready to doe it. All this is enough to perswade our hearts, that hee is ready to heare us, that when prayers are made [Page 336] to him on earth, (So the conditions be obser­ved) they are surely heard in heaven.

Vse. 1.Now to apply this: First, if the Lord bee so ready to heare, then this should teach us to bee more fervent in this duty of prayer than commonly we are; for to what end are such promi­ses as this, but to encourage us to do our duties? when wee heare that prayer is of so much effi­cacy, that it prevailes with the Lord for any thing, shall we suffer it to lye by (as it were) and not make use of it? If a drug, or a pretious balme were commended to us, and it were told us, that if wee made use of it, it would heale any wound, it will heale any sickenes, and this and this vertue it hath: Will a wise man suffer it to lye by him, will he not use it, and see what vertue it hath? And when it is said unto us, that praier is thus prevalent with the Lord, that it is thus po­tent, that it is thus able to prevaile with him for any thing, shall wee not make use of it, when we are in any distresse, when wee need any thing: when we have any disease, either of soule or bo­dy to heale? Let us flye to this refuge that him­selfe hath appointed. If a King of the earth should say to a man, I will be ready to doe thee a good turne, make use of me when thou hast occasion; he would be ready enough to do it. Now when the Lord of heaven saith, aske what you will at my hands, and I will doe it; shall we not seeke to him, and make use of such a promise as this? Beloved we are too backward in this; we [Page 337] should be more aboundant in this duty than we are, we should make more account of it. For whatsoever the case be, if you doe but seeke to the Lord, if thou doest but set downe thy reso­lution with thy selfe: Well, I see it is a thing (if I looke upon the creature and the meanes) I have little hope of, but the Lord is able to doe it; and therefore I will goe to him, I will weary him, and I will not give him over, I will not give him nor my selfe any rest, till I have obtained it: I say it is impossible thou shouldest faile in such a case. Onely remember to be importunate, for an importunate suiter hee cannot deny. You know the parable of the unjust Iudge. Luk. 18, 2, 3, 4. Luk. 11.7. You know also the parable of the man that is in bed with his children; when the widdow was importunate, when she knockt and would give him no rest, he gives her redresse; the other riseth and giveth his friend as many loves as he will, saith the Text; yea though she were not his friend, (for this is the mea­ning of it:) If, saith he, the Lord had not much love to you, if hee had not such an affection, if you did not come to him in the name of Christ whom hee loves, in whom he is ready to grant whatsoever you aske, if hee were not a friend to you; yet for your very importunity, he is ready to do it. As the unjust Iudge (for that is the scope of the parable) hee had no minde to grant the widdowes request, hee had no Iustice in him to move him, he had no mercy nor com­passion, yet for very importunity he graunted it. [Page 338] Remember and observe the condition, for this is commonly a fault among us; when we goe to prayer, we thinke that the very putting up of the prayer will doe it. No, there is more requi­red than so. As it is the error of the Country people, when they heare say, that such an herbe is good for such a disease, they are ready to thinke, that (howsoever it be tooke or applyed) it will heale the disease; No, it must be applyed in such a manner, it must bee used in such a fa­shion. So it is with prayer, you must not onely doe the duty (and therefore when wee exhort you to it, not onely to call upon God, for men are ready enough to doe that, especially in the time of distresse,) but with these conditions I have named.2 King. 4, 29.31 You know Gehazi when hee had got the staffe of Elisha, hee went to the Child, but it was not the staffe that could raise the child from death to life, there was something more required. So in prayer, it is not meere prayer that will doe it, there is something else, there must be other conditions that must bee obser­ved. For wee are wont to doe with it, as those Conjurers were wont to doe with the name of Iesus; they thought if they used the name of Ie­sus, it was enough: but yee know what answer the Spirit gives them, Iesus we know, and Paul we know, Act. 19, 15. but who are yee? So I say, we are wont to doe in this case, we thinke it is enough to make our request, and that is all. No, there is some­what more required, you must make your re­quest [Page 339] in such a manner as ye ought. Then I adde this further, that when thou makest them in such a manner, yet thou must not thinke to be heard for thy praiers sake: that is another thing we are apt to faile in. When wee have made fervent prayers, and have beene importunate with the Lord, wee thinke now surely we shall not faile. No, you must know this, the promise is not made to the prayer, but to the person praying. You shall not finde throughout the whole scrip­ture, that any promise is made thus, because wee pray fervently wee shall be heard: but it is made to the person praying, the prayer is but the instrument, but the meanes by which the blessing is conveyed to us, is a meanes without which the Lord will not doe it, for the promise is made to the party. A cold prayer (so there be no neglect in it, so a man seeke the Lord, and pray as well as hee can,) it will prevaile some­times as well as a fervent prayer: Who indites the petition, who makes the prayer fervent? Surely not thy selfe, but the Holy Ghost: he makes request in us, Rom. 8, 26.27. sometimes hee makes thee more fervent, hee enlargeth the heart more: some­times againe the heart is more straitned in the performance of this duty: but both may come from the same Spirit. Not but that wee have cause of much comfort, when wee are able to pray fervently, for this is a ground of our com­fort, that when we pray fervently, it is an argu­ment that the Holy Ghost dwels in our hearts, and [Page 340] that our prayers are dictated by him; it is an ar­gument, that our prayers come from a holy fire within. And therefore fervent prayer may give us hope of being heard, but yet it is not meerely the prayer, but because it is an evidence that it comes from a right principle, that it comes from the regenerate part, and is made by the assistance of the Holy Ghost it is not the very fervency that prevailes. And therefore when you heare this, that the Lord is ready to heare, I say make that use of it, bee fervent in this duty, remem­ber the conditions: and yet withall know, that you are not heard for the very prayers sake, but for Iesus Christ his sake. He makes every praier acceptable, hee mingles them with his sweete odours.

Obiect.And if you object, O but I am a man full of infirmities.

AnswYou know how it is answered in the Fift of Iames, (saith he) Eliah when hee was heard, he was a man, Iam. 5.17. and a man subject to passions, & to the like passions that wee are: As if he should say, do not thinke that Eliah was therefore heard, be­cause hee was an extraordinary Prophet, for it was because the Lord had made a promise to him, and hee comes and urges that promise to the Lord, and therefore the Lord heard him. So (saith hee) should every one of you, if you have the promise, you may goe and urge it, as wel as Eliah did: though you be subject to many infirmities, Eliah was even so. You know there [Page 331] are infirmities and passions expressed in the Scriptures that he was subject to. And this is the first use we are to make of it, to be frequent and fervent in this duty, since wee have such a promise.

Secondly, if wee have such a promise, then wee should learne hence (when we have put up our prayers at any time) to make more account of them than we doe: for the truth is,Vse. 2. that we pray for the most part for fashion sake, many a man saith thus with himselfe: I will seeke the Lord, if it doe me no good, it will doe no hurt; but if wee made that account of our prayers as we should, we would performe this duty in ano­ther manner; but we doe not make that account of them as wee ought. Wee thinke not with our selves that the prayers that wee make are surely heard▪ ther be many evidences of it; what is the reason, that when wee seeke the Lord, we doe it so remisly that wee have scarce leasure to make an end of our prayers: we are so ready to hasten and goe about other businesse, wee are ready to turne every stone, to use all meanes to seeke the creatures with all diligence: but who prayes to the Lord as he ought, to worke his heart to such a fervent performance of that duty as hee should? men have scarcely leasure, for it is usuall with them when they have businesse to doe, and enterprises to bring to passe, they are exceeding diligent to use all meanes; and yet are remisse in the chiefe: what is the reason els, that [Page 342] wee see the doores of Princes and great men so full of suiters, though there bee porters set on purpose to drive them away; but the gates of heaven are so empty? It is indeed because wee doe not beleeve our prayers are heard, wee do but make our prayers for fashion. What is the reason likewise, that we use prayer in the time of distresse (if it will be an effectuall meanes to helpe us, when all other meanes faile,) why use we it not before? But that is an argument that wee trust not to it, seeing we use it, onely in the time of extremity: for if it be not effectuall, why do we use it then? If it be effectuall, why do not wee use it till that accident? Therefore this use wee must further make, when wee heare that the Lord heares our prayers, to make more account of them than wee do, to thinke that our prayers when they are put up to the Lord shal be heard. Say thus with thy selfe, Well, now I have pray­ed, and I expect that the thing should be gran­ted that I have prayer for, when I seeke to the Lord. It's true, I deny not but wee must use the meanes too, wee must lay the hands upon the plough, and yet pray; both ought to be done, as sometimes we use two friends, but we trust one; wee use two Physitians, but we put confidence in one of them: In like manner wee must both pray and use the meanes, but so as wee put our chiefe trust in prayer, it is not meanes that will doe it. But the truth is, wee doe the quite con­trary: It may be, we pray and use the meanes, [Page 334] but wee trust the meanes, and not the prayer: that is a common and a great fault among us, it is a peece of Atheisme, for men to thinke the Lord regards their prayers, no more than hee regards the bleating of sheepe or the lowing of oxen, to thinke he heeds them not. And its a great part of faith to thinke that the Lord har­kens to them and regards them, as certainely he doth.

Object.But you will say, I have prayed, and am not heard, and have sought to the Lord, and have found no answer.

Answ.Well, it may be thou hast not for the present, but hast thou stayed the Lords leasure? (for that is to be considered in this case,) sometimes the Lord comes quickly, he gives a quick answer to our requests; somtimes he staies longer: But this is our comfort, that when the returne is longer, the gaine is the greater: [...]s we see in trades, some trades have their returne very quicke, it may be the tradesmens money is returned every weeke, but then their gaine is so much the lighter; but when their returne is flower, as is your great merchants, when it stayes three or foure yeares, wee see the ships come home laden, bringing so much the more: So (for the most part) when our prayers do stay long, they returne with the greater blessings, they returne loaden with rich cōmodities. Let this be an encouragement to us Though I stay, the Lord will grant it; and thinke not with thy selfe, I made such a prayer long [Page 344] agoe, I found no fruit of it; for be sure, the Lord remembreth thy prayer, though thou hast for­gotten it, the prayers that thou madest a good many yeares agoe, may doe thee good many yeares hence. May not a man pray to have his Child sanctified, to have him brought to better order? It may be hee lives many yeares, and sees no such thing, yet in the end, the prayer may be effectuall: So likewise it may be in ma­ny cases, you see there are many examples for it: Abraham prayed, he stayed long; but you see it was a great blessing that he had, when he prayed for a Sonne, you know what a Sonne hee was, he was a Sonne of the promise, in whom all the nations of the earth were blessed. So David when the Lord promised him a kingdome, hee staied long for it: Many such examples there are. Therefore comfort thy selfe with this: though I stay long, this is my hope, this is my encourage­ment, that sustaines me, If I seeke the Lord, and waite upon him, Hee will come with a great blessing, the gaine shall bee heavier and greater, though the returne be not so quicke and sudden.

Vse 3.Last of all, when you heare such a promise as this, That whatsoever you aske you shall bee heard in it; you shall hence learne, to spend some time in the meditation of this great privi­ledge that the Saints have, and none but they; This I propound to every mans consideration; that those that are not Christians, that is, those that are not regenerate, may know what they [Page 345] lose by it; and those that are, may understand the happines of their condition, that they may learne to magnify it, and to blesse themselves in that condition, that they have such a great pri­viledge as this: It is no more but aske and have, therefore that which in the third place I exhort you to, is this, namely to spend time in the me­ditation of it, to consider what a great advan­tage it is; David cannot satisfie himselfe enough in it: In 18. and 116. Psalmes; Lord I love thee deare­ly: hee cannot prayse enough, and why? I sought to thee in distresse, & thou heardest me; I called upon thee, and thou inclinedst thine eare to my praier. I say, consider this mercy as you ought to doe, it is part of the thankes we owe to the Lord for so an exceeding priviledge, That whatsoever our case bee, it is no more, but put up our requests, and wee shall bee heard. When there was a speech among some holy men (as you know that man that was named in the story;) what was the best trade, he answered, Beggerie; It is the hardest, and it is the richest trade. Now he understands it not, of common beggery (for this is the poorest and easiest trade, that conditi­on he puts in) but (saith hee) I understand it of a prayer to God, that kind of beggery I meane; which as it is the hardest, nothing more hard than to pray to God as wee ought, so withall there is this comfort in it, it is the richest trade of all others; there is no way to inrich our selves so much, with all the promises that belong ei­ther [Page 346] to this life, or to that which is to come: Even as you see among men, a Courtier, a Favo­rite in the Court, get [...] more by one suite, (it may be,) than a Tradesman, or Merchant, or husband man gets with twenty yeares labour, though he takes much paines; for one request may bring more profit, may make a Courtier richer than so many yeares labour and paines: So in like case a faithfull prayer, put up to God, may more pre­vaile with him, wee may obtaine more at his hands by it, than by many yeares labour, or using many meanes; and therefore it is a rich trade, and great priviledge, a priviledge that we can­not thinke enough of, that wee cannot esteeme enough. You have heard of a noble man in this Kingdome, that had a Ring given him by the Queene, with this promise: that if he sent that Ring to her, at any time when he was in distres, she would remember him and deliver him; This was a great priviledge from a Prince, and yet you see, what that was subject unto; he might be in such a distresse, when neither King not Queene could be able to helpe him; or though they were able, (as shee was in that case) yet it might be sent, & not delivered: Now then con­sider what the Lord doth to us. Hee hath given us this priviledge, he hath given us prayer, as it were this Ring, he hath given us that to use, and tells us whatsoever our case is, whatsoever wee are, whatsoever we stand in need of, whatsoever distresse wee are in, doe but send this up to me, [Page 347] (saith hee) do but deliver that message up to me of prayer, and I will bee sure to relieve you. Now certainely what case soever wee are in, when we send up this, it is sure to be conveyed, whersoever we are: Againe, whatsoever our case is, we send it to one that is able to helpe us, which a Prince many times is not able to doe. This be­nefit we have by prayer: That whatsoever we aske at the Lord [...] hands, wee shall have it. Now consider this great advantage which you have; It is expressed 4 Phil. in these words, Be in no­thing carefull (saith the Apostle:) And that you may see wee have ground for this generality, In nothing bee carefull, but in all things make your re­quests knowne unto God. That is, whatsoever your case bee, I make no exception at all, but what­soever you stand in neede of, whether it con­cernes your soules or your bodies, your name or your estate; yet be in nothing carefull. This is a great matter: There is none amongst you that heares me now, but sometime or other hee is carefull of something or other, for which he is solicitous: Now when a man hears such a voyce from heaven, that the Lord himselfe saith to us, Bee carefull for nothing, doe no more but make your request knowne, it is well enough, I will surely heare in heaven, and grant it; It is a great comfort. Beloved, comfort your selves with these words, and thinke this with your selves, that this is that Charter, & great Grant that the Lord hath given you, and to none but you, that [Page 348] what prayers you make to him, hee heareth you.

Quest.But it will be objected, why is this said so ge­nerally? That wee must in nothing be carefull, but in all things make our request knowns? For then if a man were but a poore man, it is but go­ing to the Lord, and asking riches, and hee shall have them; If a man were sicke of an incurable disease, it were no more but going to the Lord, and hee should be sure to be recovered; If a man hath an enterprise to bring to passe, it is no more but goe to him, and it shall be done: what is the reason then, that godly and holy men have not these things granted to them?

Answ.To this I answer, you must understand it with this condition, even as it is with a Father (I will prove it to you by that,) suppose he should say to his sonne, I will deny thee nothing, whatsoe­ver I have, I will deny thee nothing but thou shalt have part in it; Though he say no more, yet we understand it with these conditions.

1 First, that if his Childe shal aske him for that, that is not good for him, or if the child should refuse to have that done, or pray his Father and say, I beseech you doe it not, when the Father knowes it is good: here the Father is not bound hee thinkes: as for example, if a Father sees his childe needes Physick, it may be, the child finds it bitter, and therefore is exceeding loath to take it, it makes him sicke, and is irkesome unto him, so that hee earnestly desires his Father that hee [Page 349] may be excused, that he might be freed from it; In this Case, the father will not heare him, for hee knowes the Child is but mistaken. On the other side; if the Child aske something that is very hurtfull, if he aske for wine in a feaver, the Father denyes it him; No, (saith hee) you are mistaken, I know your desire is that you might have health and recover, and this I know will hurt you, though you know it not; This the Fa­ther understands, and therefore he puts in that condition. So when the Lord saith, In nothing be carefull, but in all things make your requests knowne: If you mistake the matter at any time, and your prayer shall not bee the dictate of the Spirit, (so that yee alway make request accord­ing to his will) but the dictate of your owne hearts, and shall bee the expression of your na­turall Spirit, and not the Lords Spirit: In this case there is no promise of being heard, and yet the Lord makes his Word good, Be in nothing carefull, but in all things make your requests knowne.

2 Secondly, a Father when he saith to his Child, I will deny you nothing, but you shall have part in all that I have, yet the Child may carry himselfe so, that the Father, upon such an occa­sion may deny him, and bee ready to say unto him; Well, if you had followed your Booke, if you had not runne into such disorders, if you had not bin negligent to doe what I gave you in charge, I would have done it: In this case, the [Page 350] Father withholds the blessing that hee will be­stow upon his Child; not because he is unwilling to bestow it, but because he would thus nurture his Child, he useth it as a meanes to bring him to order:Numb. 20.21. Psal. 106.32, 33. So the Lord saith to Moyses, That be­cause he had spoken unadvisedly, because he had not honoured him before the people, at those waters, the waters of strife, therefore the Lord tels him by the Prophet, he should not goe into the good land:2 Sam. 12.14 And so he tels David, that because he had sinned against him, hee would not give him the life of the Child: So the Lord saith to us some­times; I will not grant you this request; for though I bee willing to grant it, yet this is one part of the discipline and nurture that I use to my Children, That such a particular request, I will deny you for such an offence; as worshipping of Idols, &c. Beloved this is not a generall deny­all, & this is not for our disadvantage, but it is a helpe to us, it makes us better, that sometime we should be denyed: knowing hereby that it is denied to us for our sinne, that we may learne to come to the Lord, and renew our repentance, and to take that away, that we may come to pre­vaile in our prayers with him.

3 Thirdly, when a Father is willing to grant it, yet hee will thus say to his Child, Though I be willing to doe what you aske at my hands, yet I will not have you aske it rudely, I will have you aske it in a good manner, and a good Fa­shion. (For when wee come to call upon God, [Page 351] & come in an unreverent manner, in such a case the Lord heares not.) Or againe, hee will say to his child; I am ready to heare you, but you must not aske in a negligent manner, as if you cared not whether you had it or no: So the Lord saith to us; I wil have you to pray fervently, you shall aske it, as that which you prize. Againe he will say to his child: I am willing to bestow this upon you, but I do not give you this mony, to spend it amisse, to play it away, to spend it in trifles, and geugawes, that will do you no good: So saith the Lord, I am willing to give you riches, but not to bestow upon your lusts. Iam. 4.3. Thus speakes the father to his child, when hee comes to aske, hee tels him hee must come in such a manner as becomes a child, hee must speake to him as to a Father, he must sp [...]ke with confi­dence to receive it: So also the Lord tels us,Iam. 1.6. wee must come in faith; So that (in a word) this is to be remembred; That though the Lord promise, that hee will give whatsoever we aske, and bids us, In nothing be carefull, but make our re­quests knowne; yet notwithstanding this, hee would have us to understand that our requests be made in such a manner as they ought to bee. Last of all, it may be the Father is willing to doe it; but hee makes a little pause, hee will not give it presently, and suddenly to his child, though he purpose to bestow it upon him, that he may come by it with difficulty; So the Lord useth to with-hold his blessings many times, that his [Page] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 1] [...] [Page 2] [...] [Page 3] [...] [Page 4] [...] [Page 5] [...] [Page 6] [...] [Page 7] [...] [Page 8] [...] [Page 9] [...] [Page 10] [...] [Page 11] [...] [Page 12] [...] [Page 13] [...] [Page 14] [...] [Page 15] [...] [Page 180] [...] [Page 181] [...] [Page 182] [...] [Page 183] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 185] [...] [Page 186] [...] [Page 187] [...] [Page 188] [...] [Page 189] [...] [Page 190] [...] [Page 191] [...] [Page 192] [...] [Page 163] [...] [Page 194] [...] [Page 195] [...] [Page 196] [...] [Page 197] [...] [Page 198] [...] [Page 199] [...] [Page 200] [...] [Page 201] [...] [Page 202] [...] [Page 203] [...] [Page 204] [...] [Page 205] [...] [Page 206] [...] [Page 207] [...] [Page 208] [...] [Page 209] [...] [Page 210] [...] [Page 211] [...] [Page 212] [...] [Page 213] [...] [Page 214] [...] [Page 215] [...] [Page 216] [...] [Page 217] [...] [Page 218] [...] [Page 219] [...] [Page 220] [...] [Page 221] [...] [Page 260] [...] [Page 261] [...] [Page 262] [...] [Page 263] [...] [Page 264] [...] [Page 265] [...] [Page 266] [...] [Page 267] [...] [Page 268] [...] [Page 269] [...] [Page 270] [...] [Page 271] [...] [Page 272] [...] [Page 273] [...] [Page 274] [...] [Page 275] [...] [Page 276] [...] [Page 277] [...] [Page 278] [...] [Page 279] [...] [Page 280] [...] [Page 281] [...] [Page 282] [...] [Page 283] [...] [Page 284] [...] [Page 285] [...]

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