The true Picture of Iohn Preston, Dr. in Diuinity, and sometimes [...] of Lincolnes-Inn.


A Sermon preached at the Court before King JAMES of blessed memory.

By IOHN PRESTON, Dr. in Divinity, Chaplaine in Ordinary to his Majestie, Master of Emmanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and sometimes Preacher of Lincolnes Inne.

Offendunt homines non cum Christi multa dicurt, sed cum addunt sua: sic quippe incidunt ex mul­tiloquio in falsiloquium. Ambr.

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

THE BOOKE-SELLER to the learned and godly Reader.

COurteous Rea­der, you know better then I, that the Church hath beene pestered with writings falsly fathered upon men of renowne. There is scarce an Age in which many instances are not given. Not onely Fa­thers, [Page] and Councels, but Historians, have beene stuffed from other mens Pennes with adulterine conceits. The Divell knowes that as Labans sheepe have conceived by the eye; so men have been apt peremptorily to con­clude from the opinions of their great Masters: And men have so cleaved to the persons of men, that they have catched up all shreds that have fallen from them with admiration and reso­lution to follow them. This hath been very offensive: it [Page] hath stayned the dead, and corrupted the living. It is not therefore alwayes safe to trust posthume wri­tings, and to say, This such a man held, be­cause we finde it in the Books published under his name when hee is dead. Yet is there an ex­cellent use of such Workes of good men, as may truely be affirmed to be theirs, though time have brought them forth, when their ow­ners have inhabited their eternity.

Now Bookes are of [Page] excellent worth (not to satisfie some greedy Tradesmen, who know how to value them for themselves, though o­therwise they care not two pence for the Author, when their own turne is served,) but to take up, and gaine, the eyes, hearts, and times of many, who would reade none ex­cept they can reade new ones.

This here presented is certainly the Authors pre­tended: though not for e­very word (for I cannot [Page] promise that, from a Copy which hath passed through many hands) yet for the fu [...] [...]stance, and sense: and it is as certaine that it is new, and so, apt to invite unto it as a new fashion. It is wondred that it is so new, when many of the same Authors are so old. It surely might have beene set in the front both for age, and worth. It was preached before many of the rest, and savours of the Authours learning, mode­sty, piety, and affection to Iesus Christ, and his [Page] Church with us. But though it hath beene for­merly neglected, yet now it is tendered in the Authors owne words and hearty affections, so neare as I could. You may see in it a glimpse of the full glory of Christ, and of that use which we make of him, as we must receive him to salvation. If it may doe any service in the Church, I, into whose hands it hath fallen, am glad. If not, yet I beseech you, accept of my good meaning, and be to me, as I am to you, a Chri­stian, [Page] ayming more at the glory of Christ, and peace of the Church, then at my owne profit.

Farewell. Iohn Stafford.

The summe of this Sermon is this.

  • 1 It propounds the fulnesse of Christ.
    • 1 In respect of his person
    • 2 In respect of his Offices
      • uncreated.
      • created.
    • 1 As a Prophet.
    • 2 As a Priest.
    • 3 As a King.
    • 3 In respect of his righteousnesse.
    • 4 In respect of his effects.
  • 2 It maintains it above the fulnes in the Saints
  • 3 It applies it by foure Corrallaries. Therefore
    • 1 We must be invited to come to him.
    • 2 We must answer it with full affections.
    • 3 We must be satisfied with full Christ.
    • 4 We must comfort our selves with the ful­nesse of Christ, against the fulnes of sin.
  • 4 It propounds this fulnesse of Christ for us,
  • Which we must receive if ever we have it.
  • 5 It applies it for direction of
    • 1 Iudgements about the receit of Grace.
    • 2 Practise.
      • 1 In not deferring our repentance.
      • 2 In not being idle though we are receivers.
      • 3 In going to him from whom wee receive.
      • 4 In being affected as receivers.
        • 1 With thankfulnes for all receits.
        • 2 With humility because wee are receivers.
        • 3 With begging grace by prayers both
          • Private,
          • Publike
          • wherof
          • Liturgies.
          • Setformes.
          • Esteeme of them.


JOHN 1. 16.‘Of his fulnesse we have all received grace for grace.’

SAint Augustine seemes to stand amazed at the mystery which appeares in this [Page 2] Chapter.Detonare ab alto. Calvine saith, that God doth heare Thunder from on high. Iunius saith, that hee was never strucke with an apprehension of the Deity, till he read this Chapter: affirming it to be the first, and chiefest cause of his conversion from A­theisme, to a sincere imbra­cing of Christianity. And in all this Chapter, I find no richer and fuller sentence then this, which describes Christs fulnesse for us: Of his fulnesse we have all recei­ved grace for grace.

You may be pleased to observe with mee three parts. [Page 3]

  • 1 A fulnesse given to Christ.
  • 2 Not a repletive fulnesse here, but a diffusive fulnesse: that is, not shut up in his owne banks, but running o­ver for our benefit and use.
  • 3 These receits are am­plified from the va­riety of them, Grace for grace.

That is, Christ hath given us for all the graces which he received of his Father for us, graces answerable. As the Seale is said to give to the Waxe Print for Print, Cha­racter for Character: or as the father is said to give to the child, limbe for limbe, member for member, [Page 4] (though not of the same big­nesse and proportion:) so doth Christ to us in grace and truth. So that here is a full shop, and many buyers, and receivers; choyce of Wares and precious Com­modities: or rather (to use the Scriptures phrase) a full Table, many Guests, and va­riety of Dishes, of his ful­nesse have wee all received grace for grace.

1 Note first,Fulnesse is given to Christ. that fulnesse is given to Christ, and that in foure respects: In regard of his person, of his offices, of his righteousnesse, and of his effects.

1 In regard of his person he is full, In person. with an uncreated ful­nesse. Moses could have no communion with this ful­nesse, [Page 5] but with his back [...] the effects of [...] Deity [...] in him are not onely the ef­fects of his Deity, as then; but the Deity it selfe, which is said to dwell in him corpo­rally, Col. 2. 1. or personally in his in­carnation. He is full with a created fulnesse, with all cre­ated and excellent good things,Iohn 1. wch St. Iohn reduceth to two heads: first grace, which comprehendeth all the beauties and perfections of the will: secondly, truth, which comprehendeth all the vertues of the understan­ding.

In regard of his offices, In Offices▪ 2 as a Prophet he is full of all treasures of wisedome and knowledge. So that all light that the world ever [Page 6] had, came from him as a Prophet. All the mysteries that ever were declared to Saint Paul, and Saint Iohn, came from him. All the revelations of Adam, Noah, Abraham, came from him. Thus all received their light from this Sunne, which from the very first moment of time, shone to the darke world, without setting (more or lesse) though the darke­nesse comprehend it not. As a Priest, hee is full of fa­vour with God, whereby he hath audience alwayes: full of compassion to men wher­by he is ready to entertaine any suite or suiters: full of merit, by which he is able to prevaile in all his requests and intercession. As a King, [Page 7] he is full of authority. All power is given him both in heaven and earth. He is full of strength to defend his ser­vants, and resist his enemies, till he hath made them his footstoole. Lastly, he is full of royall munificence, wher­by he is ready to supply to the wants of all his servants, and to give them in the end a full recompence of re­ward.

In regard of his righteous­nesse, In righte­ousnesse. 3 this fulnesse is attribu­ted to him: he is full of all righteousnesse, originall, ac­tuall, active, passive, generall, and particular in all habits: whereby we have this bene­fit; first, that he that was so 1 full himselfe, is able to helpe us, if we want love, faith, or [Page 8] 2 any other grace: Secondly, by this we know what a me­diatour wee have to deale with, even with one full of love, patience, compassion, which may invite us to come unto him: Thirdly, that 3 though our righteousnesse be weake, and small, yet in him we are compleate.Col. 2.

4 In regard of his effects and workes,In effects. this fulnesse is given to him, that there is scarce any action which Christ ever did, but you shall find a fulnesse in it. At the first miracle hee ever wrought, he filled sixe water pots with Wine. Afterwards hee filled five thousand Guests with five loaves and two fishes. So he filled the nets with fishes, so as they [Page 9] were ready to breake: and (which is the best fulnesse) he filled his Disciples with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and after when they were said to be full of the Holy Ghost.

Thus is there a fulnesse given to Christ:Why ful­nesse is gi­ven to Christ. and there is reason for it, both in respect of himselfe, and in respect of us chiefly.

In respect of Christ him­selfe,In respect of him­selfe. 1 he was the chiefe cor­ner stone; and therefore reason good that he should bee the fairest of the buil­ding.

He was the Prince of our salvation: therefore meet it was, he should be like Saul, higher by the head and shoulders, yea, fully exalted [Page 10] above all Principalities and Powers.

2 In respect of us chiefly,In respect of us chiefly. & our emptinesse; that with his fulnesse hee might re­plenish us and our vacuity. Otherwise we could neither have seene, nor received it of him. Not have seene; for the glorious beauty of the Divinity was too bright for us to behold. Therefore it is reason that it should be put in the Lanthorn, and vaile of Christs humanity, that wee might behold it. Neither could wee have received it: for the Deity is an unaccessi­ble fountaine: therefore it is reason that Christs humani­ty should be a Cisterne to re­ceive it for our use, & model.O [...]. [...]

It may be you will say [Page 11] that S. Stephē, betwixt Christs fulnesse, and o­thers. & other Saints are said to be full of the Holy Ghost as well as Christ; How then do these two fulnesses differ?Sol. I answer, that they differ three wayes.

First, others are said to be 1 full according to their mea­sure,Ioh 3. but Christ above measure.

As a little dish may bee said to be full as well as the Ocean: so they are filled ac­cording to the narrownesse of their present capacity. Christ was full according to all dimensions, length, depth, bredth, and height of fulnes.

Secondly,plenitudo 1 vasis. 2 fontis. there was in 2 them a fulnesse of the vessell, but in Christ, a fulnesse of the Spring. In them was a derived and participated fulnesse, in Christ a fulnesse [Page 12] of a fountaine proceeding from himselfe. This is well expressed by the School­men,Igni [...] Ignita. when they say, that Christs, & the Saints fulnesse differ as fire, and things set on fire. The fulnesse of the O­cean is too little to expresse it: for if you take a drop or two from it, it is so much the lesse: but the fulnesse of fire is such, as though you light a thousand Torches at it, it is not diminished.

3 Thirdly, their fulnesse was in them comparatively; Saint Stephen was full in comparison of other lesser Saints: but in Christ it is an absolute fulnesse without li­mits, or comparisons.

What shall we now de­duce from hence for ourApplica­tion. [Page 13] benefit? Foure consequen­ces.We are invited to come to Christ to take of his full heape. First, that we ought to be invited to come to Christ to take of his full heape. This Incentive Saint Paul often useth to inflame the desires of the Gentiles to come to CHRIST, even the ri­ches of that fulnesse which is in him, which in the fulnesse of time was exposed to all commers; which was hid­den before, but now (as hee saith) fully revealed; seene before, but in types and sha­dowes, now with open face; before preached to a few, now to every creature under heaven; before given by his Spirit, by drops but now he that ascended up on high, and led captivity captive, hath so received for, & given [Page 14] gifts unto mē, that he hath fil­led all things. Let us therfore be exhorted, when we heare of such a fulnesse, not to take the grace of God in vaine, but labour to have our parts therein, that, with the Corin­thians, we may be made rich in Christ, filled with all knowledge, and every grace.

Content we not our selves to know this onely, (for that is our common fault to rest in the notion of such things without practise) but goe to Christ as Bees to a Meddow full of flowers, as Merchants to the Indies, that are full of Wines and Spices, that you may expe­rimentally feele your selves return from him full fraught with treasures of truth and grace. [Page 15] In other things fulnes invites us much; Iosephs full Barnes drew Iacob and his sonnes downe into Egypt. Canaan was a land full of milke and honey, & that invited the Is­raelites to seeke it. Solomons aboundance and fulnesse of wisedome invited the Queen of Sheba to come out of the South to his Court. In eve­ry thing, fulnesse doth much allure, and affect. The Co­vetous man though he spend but a little, yet he delights to take it from a full heape. De pleno tollere a­cerno. How much more then should the fulnesse of Christ worke in us, seeing there is in him not onely a repletive, but a diffu­sive fulnesse; not only plen­ty, but bounty?

But, alas, if we looke to [Page 16] the actions and lives of men, we shall finde that they seek a fulnesse in every thing else almost. A fulnesse in plea­sure and delight; a fulnesse in honour and preferment; a fulnesse in profit and worldly incomes; but this full hony-combe is almost every where despised. But happy is he the bent of whose heart God hath turned the right way, to seeke a ful­nesse of faith and wisedome, a fulnesse of the holy Ghost. Happy he, who cares not to be empty of other things, so he be full of these; to be a looser in other things, so he be a gainer in this. Such an one hath indeed chosen the better part which shall never be taken from him.

[Page 17] Secondly,We must answer the fulnes of Christ with a ful­nesse of affection. we should ther­fore 2 answer the fulnesse of Christ with a fulnesse of af­fection fully to beleeve, and trust in him, fully to love and adore him, fully to joy and delight in him. For it is good reason that the affe­ctions should be answerable to the object. A little ex­cellency deserves at our hands a little love and esteeme, more excellency more love; but when there is a fulnesse of excellency, wee ought to prosecute it with all fulnesse of affections.

All excellency of the creature in comparison of this, is but a drop to the O­cean, and as a sparke to the whole Element of fire. If therefore we proportion our [Page 18] affections to the object, (which ought to be the rule and square of them) we must bestow upon the creature but a drop of love and de­light, but the full streame of our affections should runne after Christ, in whom is all the fulnesse of perfection.

It is true, as men hide trea­sure from theeves under straw, or some other base covering, so God hideth this full excellency from the world, under a base outside, that his secret ones onely might find it: and that others (truely blinded) might not see but stumble at it. So he hid Christ himselfe under a Car­penters sonne: so he hideth divine mysteries under the meane elements of Bread [Page 19] and Wine▪ so the wisedome of God is hid under the foo­lishnesse of preaching, and under sheepe-skinnes and goat-skins, such as the world was not worthy of: yet there is a fulnesse of excellency notwithstanding. For if ever we saw beauty in the Sunne, Moone, Starres, Men, Wo­men, or any thing else; all must be more abundantly in God, who is the maker, gi­ver, and Author of all these things. As David reasoneth, He that made the eye, shall not he see? and he that made the eare, shall not he heare? So he that made these things shall he not have them more eminently in himselfe? For as the worth and value of many pieces of silver is in [Page 20] one peece of gold: so all the petty excellencies, which are scattered abroad in the creatures, are united in God; yea, all the whole volume of perfections which is spred through heaven and earth, is epitomized in him. Why doe we not then with Saint Paul, trample on the glory of the world, for the excellent knowledge of Christ? Why doe wee not with David turn our hearts, eyes, and affections from be­holding vanities, and pitch them all in him? Why doe we not recollect our affecti­ons, and gather up our thoughts, which are scatte­red abroad, and busied about a thousand trifles, and be­stow them all on him in [Page 21] whom is the fulnesse of all ex­cellency, beauty, and per­fection?

Thirdly,We must be content and satis­fied with ful Christ. let us also there­fore 3 be content with Christ, having our hearts satisfied with him and his fulnesse. First, in regard of spirituall things goe not to the brooks of Teman, the broken Ci­sternes of Rome, as Saints merits, Church Treasures, and the like. For if there be a fulnesse in Christ, that nee­deth not,Col. 2. In him we are com­pleat. Secondly,Christ is our fulnes in tempo­rall things for tempo­rall things, be content with him alone: for he is our ful­nesse even in them also.

For the better conceiving whereof, we must know that the first Adam brought a ge­nerall emptinesse over all the [Page 22] world. For though, the world be full of pompe and pleasure, as Saint Iohn calls them (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life) yet properly it is emp­ty, because it is not full of that which it should be. Evē as we say, a well is emp­ty, though it be full of ayre: so all creatures, if not filled with that they should be. For emptinesse is not so much an absence of entity, [...] or of something that is, but of that being that is due, and should give filling to that which should be full. Hence therefore not onely the heart of man, but all creatures also are said to be empty. Vanity of vanities, Eccl. 1. saith Solo­mon, that is, emptinesse of [Page 23] emptinesse. The whole crea­tion is subject to vanity, Rom. 8. saith Paul, that is to emptinesse. Hence is it that the hearts of men are not satisfied with the world: but, as the Pro­phet speaketh; they eate and are not full, they drinke and their soule is empty: because now the creature is as the Huske without the Graine, the Shell without the Ker­nell, full of nothing but emp­tinesse; and being empty of it selfe, cannot give us satis­faction.

But Christ the second A­dam hath filled all things a­gaine. All in all, Col. 3. that is, not onely the hearts of men, but the things also. It is the neuter gender ( [...]) all and in all.

[Page 24] Hence we may observe, that many find a want in the midst of plenty: their hearts find no rest in all they injoy, no satisfaction; with the holy regenerate man it is much otherwise. Though he have but a little wealth with a little food, yet there is a ful­nesse put into that little which maketh it fit to give him satifaction. This is the meaning of that in the Psalme,Psal. 37. A small thing that the righteous hath, is better thē great riches of the ungod­ly. The reason is, because that little being filled with the blessing of the second Adam Christ, they find a fulnesse, when the wicked find an emptinesse in their greatest abundance.

[Page 25] Lastly,There is a fulnesse in Christ a­gainst the fulnesse of sinne. hence therefore 4 issues singular comfort; what though there be a fulnesse of sinne and guilt in us, yet is there a fulnesse in Christ a­ble to remove it and take it away. A fulnesse of mercy to receive our supplications: a fulnesse of merit to make atonement for our fowlest sinnes: a fulnesse of favour to prevaile with his father in any requests. If therefore there be a fulnesse of Christ (as there is) be not discou­raged.Rom. 5. Though thy sinne a­bound, yet (if thou turne from sinne to Christ) his grace a­bounds much more. Thou canst not be out of measure sinfull, as he is out of mea­sure mercifull.

Remember but the two [Page 26] metaphors used in the Scrip­tures. I will scatter your sinnes as a mist, and they shal be drowned in the bottome of the Sea. Now, the Sunne, by reason of his force, can scat­ter the greatest mist, as well as the least vapour: and the Sea, by reason of his great vastnes can drowne the mountaines as well as the Mole-hills. So Christ, by reason of that vast fulnesse that is in him, is a­ble, yea forward, and as willing to forgive the grea­test sinnes as the least: I say, as forward, and willing; for mercy, though it be a quality in us, yet it is a nature in him: now, what is naturall, there is no unwillingnesse, nor wearinesse in that. The eye is not weary with seeing, nor [Page 27] the eare with hearing fit ob­jects. Therefore though our sinnes be never so great, and many; yet (if this con­dition be observed that we lie in no knowne sinne, that God bearing witnesse to our consciences, we have a full and resolute purpose not to doe the least evill, nor to o­mit the least good; in a word, that we make our hearts per­fect with God in all things; for without this there is no remission of sinnes) then they are not beyond the price that was paide for them, nor beyond the grace of him with whom we have to doe; because there is ful­nesse in him. Now, I be­seech you take not this ex­hortation in vaine. For there [Page 28] is nothing more effectuall to heale a rebellious heart, to instill soveraigne saving grace, to cause a sinner to change his course, then to be perswaded that he shall be taken to mercy, and that his sinnes shall bee forgiven in Christ.

Even as the thiefe while the Hue and Cry pursues him, never returnes willing­ly; Rebels and Pyrats, while the Proclamation of rebelli­on is against them, never come in: but if there be a Proclamation of pardon, yea of some great advancement, if that be beleeved once tru­ly, that, and nothing but that causeth them to lay downe their courses, and become loyall and loving subjects: [Page 29] so is it with poore sinners upon the apprehension of Christs willing supply. Ther­fore let the fulnesse of the mercy of Christ moove us to lay downe our armes of rebellion, and to chuse God for our God, and to give our selves wholly unto him. And thus I passe the fulnesse given to Christ.

Now next view for 2 whom it is. It is for us,All grace is received from Christ. That we may receive grace for grace. Note, that as there is a fulnesse of grace in Christ, so is it for this use, that all grace may be received. As all starres shine in the light of the Sunne: so doe all the Saints through grace recei­ved.

The Scripture is evident for [Page 30] this.Phil 2. 13. It is God that worketh in you both to will and to doe, of his good pleasure. Wee are not sufficient of our selves to thinke any thing, 2 Cor. 3. 5. as of our selves: but our sufficiency is of God. So that all grace, and all preparations to grace, and all ability to accept grace, is all from God, and not of our selves, (whatsoe­ver men dreame) and that for these reasons.

1 Because nothing can work beyond the Spheare of it's owne reach: the effect ex­ceedeth not the cause. There­fore it is impossible for cor­rupt nature to get supernatu­rall grace, or to doe any acti­on preparing, inclining, or bending the will unto it. For as the water cannot heate, [Page 31] which is an action above the nature of it, untill an high­er principle of nature be in­fused into it: no more can meere nature doe any thing tending to saving grace, ha­ving no principle in it selfe whereby it can raise it.

Indeed, to will is natu­rall, but to will good, is su­pernaturall, and must needs arise from an higher Wels head then nature is. For as an Hatchet will cut when it is handled but with a com­mon hand, but to make a Chaire, or Stoole, or like ar­tificiall thing, except it have the influence of an Artificer, Influentias artificis. it cannot: so though to will be natural, yet to wil well, to doe a supernaturall work in a supernaturall and holy way, [Page 32] it cannot except it have the influence of a supernaturall agent to guide and direct it.

From this consideration arise two Corollaries to di­rect our judgments,Applicati­on. and pra­ctises. 1 First, for our judge­ments,To helpe judgment. this part shewes the errour of the Pelagians, who ascribe the beginnings, pre­parations, and abilities, of our accepting of grace to our selves, and our owne free­will, although the comple­ment be of God. But you see (by that which hath been said) that not onely the full streames, but that every drop of grace hath beene recei­ved from his fulnesse.

This errour of theirs pro­ceeds from their not distin­guishing aright betwixt ac­quisite [Page 33] habits, and those that are infused.

Indeed, in acquisite habits the acts goe before the ha­bits, & prepare for it. But in infused habits it is clean con­trary. It is with them, as with the naturall powers of the soul. We have first the facul­ty of seeing before we see, and of hearing before wee heare: so have we first the infused habitts before wee exercise the operations of it. For as the wheele doth not runne that it may be made round: so the heart doth not first doe the action whereby it may be set in a good frame: but it is first fashio­ned, and made a new crea­ture by grace, & then it doth performe actions, and bring [Page 34] forth fruits worthy amend­ment of life.Fabricare fibi domi­ [...]ilium. For that which is said of the soule, it doth frame an house for it selfe, and frame it selfe a roome, is as truely said of grace; it useth no harbenger: for no­thing can prepare for grace, but grace.

If it be objected,Ob. that such as Seneca, and Socrates were much enlightened, and did also approve the Law in the Inner man, and had not one­ly an offer some way, but had a certaine kind of uni­versall and common grace.

This priviledge cannot be denyed to many of the hea­then;Sol. who as Alchimists, though they misse of their end, yet they finde many ex­cellent things by the way. So [Page 35] though they fayled of the right end, of the glory of God, yet were they not destitute of many common and ex­cellent gifts, wherein though one did goe farre beyond another, as Seneca beyond Nero, yet, as they say of sins that they doe all alike passe the rule of rectitude, though some goe further beyond it then others; so were they all destitute of originall righ­teousnesse, though some were more inlightened from it then others; all are alike dead in sinnes, though some as dead bodies were putrifi­ed, and corrupted more then others.

Now to direct our pra­ctise.To helpe practice. 2 If all grace be recei­ved, then first deferre not re­pentance. [Page 36] 1 For no repentance is acceptable to salvation,Wee must not defer repentance but what proceeds from sanctifying grace, and that you see, is received, and gi­ven of God as he pleaseth. It is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but he hath compassion on whō he will, Rom. 9. 15. and whom he will he harde­neth. As I said, the spirit breatheth where, and when he pleaseth. Therefore we should doe as Millers and Marriners, take the Gale when it commeth, and make use of it, because they have not the wind in a bottle.

Suppose a man were to passe the Seas in twenty dayes upon paine of death; if the wind should blow the first, second, and third dayes, [Page 37] no wise man would omit that opportunity, because he knowes, the windes are not in his power. But if the spirit shall breath into our hearts good motions of tur­ning to God unfainedly in our youth, yeares of age, or whensoever, it is the greatest wisedome in the world to take the opportunity, and not to put it off. Who knowes whether ever it will be had againe or no? How many thousands are in hell, who thought to have repen­ted, and did not, because they neglected the brea­things of the spirit when they were offered?

There are certaine accep­table times, after which God offereth grace no more to [Page 38] them that wilfully refuse. Happy is hee that knowes the day of his visitation, Luke. 19. and the things that belong to his peace, which Jerusalem did not, and therefore Christ wept over it; which Saul and the Iewes in Ieremies time did not, and therefore God forbad him to pray for them.Ioh. 5. As there were cer­taine times when the Angel moved in the poole of Be­thesda, and he that then stept in was healed: so are there certaine acceptable times wherein God doth, as it were, thaw and soften the hearts of men, and then this time must be taken. It is wis­dome with the husbandmen, then to put in the Plough when the ground is soft: for [Page 39] the heart in such cases is like to the iron in the furnace, ea­sily wrought upon; but stay while it is cold, and it will not so easily be fashioned.

I beseech you therefore be exhorted to take the op­portunity: and be not like them, of whom Esay com­plaineth,Es. 58. who like Bull rushes doe hang downe the head for a day, while some storme of outward, or inward trouble is upon them, but when a faire Sun-shine day is come to dry it up againe, they lift up their heads as upright as ever.

If any man would sit down, and cast his thoughts toge­ther, but one halfe houre, and consider this seriously, I have but a little time to live [Page 40] here, I have another place where I must live to all eterni­ty: as I spend this short time here, so shal it be with me there and then for ever no more. If a mans thoughts (I say) were such, I should wonder if any thing else should take up our intentions, but to take our seasons,2. Pet. [...]. and make sure our elections. But, alas, wee are robbed of our selves by our worldly delights, and in great earnestnesse and conten­tion we spend our selves in trifles. Magno conatu magn [...]s nugas agi­mus. But if we would not have with he Merchant an estate hanging upon ropes, Fortunam rudentibus apt [...]. and depending upon uncertaine winds; how much lesse should a man have his salva­tion depending upon uncer­tainties, seeing grace (whence [Page 41] repenance proceeds) is, as you see, received, and not in our owne power?

But here most mistake re­pentance, and that is the cause why it is deferred. It is not onely a sorrow for sinne (as it is commonly thought to be;) nor a leaving of sinne out of feare of hell, and desire to be saved, which a man may doe out of the strength of nature, wisdome, and provi­dence for his owne safety: but it is (when it acompa­nies salvation) a much diffe­rent thing, to wit,Ephes. 2. 1. an act of life by one that was dead, 2 Cor 5. 17. an act of a new creature by one that was old: it is the change of the whole frame of the heart, as if another soule dwelt in the same body, or, [Page 42] as he said, I am not my selfe, Ego non sum ego. by repentance I differ from what I was. In a word, when a man is a quite other man then he was, serving God out of an inward propension, & having the whole bent of his heart turned to delight in the Lord, and in his Law, without all by-respects.

And that this yet may be made clearer, and put out of all doubt, I would aske you this one question. That re­pentance which men take up in age, or times of extremi­ty, whence proceeds it? If from selfe love, as is usuall in such cases (because the soule is thē most strongly possessed with an apprehension of death, and hell, and another life) then there is no more [Page 43] then nature in him: for the streame naturally riseth no higher then the fountaine. A beast would as much, for when he sinks into danger he would struggle to save him­selfe. But if it proceed from love to God, why is it not done sooper, why not in the flower of youth? yea, when it is done soonest, would we not be heartily sorry that it is not done sooner? If it proceed of love to him, it cannot but rise from his ho­ly Spirit, the breathings whereof as they are most free, so are they most preci­ous. Therefore when such a sparke is kindled in our hearts, let us be carefull to put fuell unto it, and not let it goe out againe. All the [Page 44] creatures in heaven, and earth, cannot helpe us to them againe: yea, the best ordinances are but as pennes without Inke, and empty Conduit Pipes which give not one drop of true grace, except Christ, who is the fountaine pleaseth to con­vey it by them.

Therefore let us take heed how we let such motions rise like bubbles, and breake a­gaine, or goe out like sparks upon wet Tinder;1 The [...]. 5 least often checking, snibbing, and quen­ching the spirit, in the end we be found guilty of resist­ing the holy Ghost, Act. 7. and then God sweare in his wrath, Psal. 95. that we shall not enter into his rest.

Here,Though grace be received, we must not be idle. by the way, observe, that this Doctrine teacheth [Page 45] us not to be idle (though all grace be received frō Christ) we must not therefore leave all to God (as we are slande­red to say and doe:) but as St. Paul makes the cōsequence, because God worketh in you the will and the deed, Phil. 2. there­fore worke out your salvation with feare and trembling. O­thers may be thought con­trarily to inferre, our selves work in our selves the will & the deed, therefore we need notwork out our salvatiō wth such feare & trēbling, seeing we may do it at our pleasure.

But it will be said,Ob. this is an hard case, although a man would repent, yet he cannot, although he desire to serve God, yet it is impossible ex­cept he receive it. To re­move [Page 46] move this scruple we must know,Sol. that God is exceeding free and open handed in gi­ving grace, if it be taken in time. And if ye will not be­leeve it, St Iohn comes here and tels you, I have received of his fulnesse, and not I one­ly, but we, that is, I, and all the Saints that either are, or have been, and since St Iohns time many thousands, and shall not such a cloud of wit­nesses perswade us? If a Begger heare of an open house kept, or a great dole given, it affecteth him, and in­vites him to goe; but when he sees many comming from it with armes full, & laps full, is he thē confidēt, this addeth wings to him So if a sick man doe but heare. of a famous [Page 47] Physitian, or an healing well, it stirres him up to goe and try; but if he meet with many hundreds, and thou­sands comming from thence, and saying, I have been with him and am cured, I have been there, and am healed, then he makes no question. So doth Saint Iohn here, all wee have received grace for grace, therefore come. As a bird that hath received from a full heap, cals his fellowes: so doe we one another. Say not therefore, Alas my sins are so great, my wants so ma­ny, that I shall not be suppli­ed: but rather thinke thus, if there was grace for so ma­ny, then surely there is e­nough for me. Onely be sure to receive it in an acceptable 2 Cor. 6. [Page 48] time, when it is offered in the houre of salvation, Ephs. 4. least often grieving the spirit,Gen. 6. God suf­fer his spirit to strive no lon­ger, & then though ye strive to enter ye be not able, Luk. 13. 24. be­cause (as I said,) God hath sworne ye shall not enter forever.

2 Secondly, if all grace bee received,We must be affe­cted to grace as receivers then let us be affe­cted as receivers. First, let vs be thankfull to God for all receits. The most graci­ous 1 are the most gratefull.With thanks to God. Secondly, let us carry our selves in humility towards 2 men.With hu­mility to men. For what have we that we have not received? shall our purse or vessell boast it selfe against another, because the owner hath put more gold, and more precious li­quor [Page 49] into it? or shall the wall that glistereth with the Sun­beames, exalt it selfe against another that standeth in the shadow? Thirdly, let us beg 3 grace at Gods hand by pray­er.With prayer. For in obtaining any thing meerely given, and re­ceived, that is the most pro­per meanes; therefore pray­er is said to be the banket of grace: and it is a true obser­vation, that a man of much prayer, is a man of much grace.

Now, prayer is either pub­like,1 or private.Both in private. Private, is that whereby wee expresse our private and publike oc­casions to God every day; wherein we renew our re­pentance and covenants of abstaining from the sinne we are most prone unto, and do­ing [Page 50] the duties whereto we are most unapt: in a word, that whereby we doe every day set our hearts streight before God in all things. This is the very life of Religion, and in this we must be fre­quent and fervent, binding our selves with an invinci­ble resolution to keep a con­stant course in it: but of this there is no doubt.

2 The next is publike prayer, And in publike prayer. which because it is more questioned, and not received of all with the reverence it should, I will adde a word or two of it, and so conclude.

That a set forme of prayer is lawfull, Set forms of prayer lawfull. much need not be said. The very newnesse of the contrary opinion is e­nough to shew the vanity [Page 51] and falshood of it. It is contrary to the approved judgements of appro­ved Councels, learned Fathers, and the continuall practise of the Church. Tertullian, who lived a little above an hundred yeares of thea Apostles death, saith, Set and ordinary prayer going before, it is lawfull to build upon them other petitions. This shewes that they had some ordinary set allowed prayers, to wch some others might be added in words of more liberty. In Origens time, who lived neere Ter­tullian, it is evident, that there were set formes of Prayer used in the Church. For, in his 11 Homily, he re­peateth & expoundeth some passages of them. Vpon whichb Illiricus saith, Without doubt, at that time▪ they had certaine formes of prayer. Saint Basil, in his sixty six Epistle saith, that there [Page 52] were used Letanies in the Neocessarian Churches: And Ambrose in his time affirmeth, that the use of Letanies was frequent. * Constantine the Great prescribed a set forme of prayer to his souldiers, which is set downe by E [...]sc [...]ius in his fourth booke. And Calvine in his eighty third Epistle to the Protector of England, saith, that he doth greatly allow a set forme of Ec­clesiasticall prayer, which the Mi­nister should be bound to observe. But (as I said before) of the lawfulnesse there is little question.

That which is to be reprehen̄ded, is,a asecret dis-esteeme of publike prayers, by reason of which many neglect to come to them, and they that doe come, doe it in a perfuncto­ry, and overly manner, which is an extreame madnesse. Better it were [Page 53] that men would come to this disjun­ction: either it is lawfull to use them, or not: if not, why doe they not wholly abstaine? if so, why doe they not use them lawfully in a reverend manner?

One thing there is which if it were well considered, would breed in our men another esteeme of publike prayer then indeed there is; and that is, that, besides the end of attai­ning what wee want, (wherein yet publike prayer hath a promise) there is another end of prayer, and that is, to worship God, and performe, a ser­vice to him. For proving of which there are two places of Scripture un­answerable.a Anna served God with fasting and prayer, night and day. And the Prophets and Teachers of Anti­och, b ministred to the Lord, or obser­ved a Liturgy to the Lord, whence [Page 54] the word Liturgy is derived: and this should breed reverence.

Ob. Besides, how sleight is that which is objected against the lawful­nesse of it, to wit, that the spirit is stin­ted when we are fettered with words appointed? Sol. I answer, the free­dome of the spirit stands not so much in the extent of words, as in the in­tention of zeale wherein they are ut­tered.

Ob. It is againe objected that we cannot pray for occasionall necessi­ties. Sol. I answer, that therefore we bind not onely to them, but may and ought to use priuate prayer wherein we may expresse our private, parti­cular, and accidentall occasions. And if they be more publike, there be prayers both before and after Ser­mons (according to order) wherein the Minister is left at more liberty, according to fuller apprehension of the [Page 55] Lords prayer. And if it be yet more generall belonging to the State and Church, we adde to it more generall and publike prayers, as in the time of publike infection, warre, and the Gun-powder Treason dayes.

But there needs not much to be said to convince the judgement: that which is chiefly to be desired is, that they may be better observed, and more esteemed: especially seeing our publike prayers are holy, and good, and (which should be a great induce­ment) the Church hath commanded them. For if the Church be to be o­beyed in indifferent things (as it is) then much more in Gods owne Ordi­nances. And if a set forme be law­full, then must a set forme needs ex­cell, which is dictated bya Christ him-himselfe, and is therefore more fre­quently to be used, and with all re­verence [Page 56] both in minde and gesture.

Nor doth this want the practise and approbation of the ancientest. It is Saint a Cyprians speach, by how much more effectu­ally do we obtaine that which we aske in Christs name, if we doe aske it in his owne prayer. And Saint Augustine saith, Learne ye, and hold without booke the Lords Prayer, and with all the Saints utter it with one same-sounding voyce.

Thus if we would shew our selves affe­cted as good receivers both in private and publike prayers, we shall finde that successe which both Iohn and the rest of [...] Saints found, who of his fulnesse re­ceived grace for grace. This God grant for Iesus Christ his sake.


Perlegi hans Concionem, dignamque judico quae typis mandetur.


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