[Page] THE GOLDEN SCEPTER. with - The Churches Marriage, And THE CHURCHES CARRIAGE In three Treatissis. BY The late Learned Divine, IOHN PRESTON. Dr. in D. & Chap: in Ordinary to his Matie. Mr. of Emmanuell Colledge in Cambridge. And sometime Preacher of Lincolnes Inne.

London. Printed by R. Badger, for N. Bourne A. Boler. & R. Harford. sould at ye Royall Exchange. & at ye Marigold in Paules Chu: yard. & at ye Bible in Queens head Alley, in Pater Noster Row. 1639

[Page] THE GOLDEN SCEPTER held forth to the humble. VVITH THE CHVRCHES DIGNITIE by her Marriage. AND THE CHVRCHES DVTIE in her Carriage. In three Treatises. The former delivered in sundry Sermons in Cambridge, for the weekely Fasts, 1625. The two latter in Lincolnes Inne. By the late learned and reverend Divine, IOHN PRESTON, Dr. in Divinity, Chaplaine in Ordinary to His Majesty, Mr. of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and somtime Preacher at Lincolnes Inne.

PSALM. 45 6. Thy throne O GOD is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdome is a right scepter
IER. 3. 14. Returne O back-sliding children, for I am married unto you.
HOS. 2. 7. I will goe and returne unto my first husband for then it was better with me than now.

LON [...]ON, Printed by R. Badger for N Bourne at the Royall Exchange, and R. Harford at the gilt BIBLE in Queenes-head Alley in Pater-noster Row, and by F. Eglesfield at the MARIGOLD in PAULS Church-yard. 1638.



IT hath beene our cu­stome hitherto, who were deputed by the Author to this service, to inscribe or dedicate the severall tractates wee have put forth, to some or other of his speciall friends, as proofs of our fidelity, in discharging of the trust reposed in us, and speciall emblemes of the Authours great abilities. For if in [Page] every triviall and small Epistle, a man do ex­arare animam, imprint upon the paper some peeces of his soule, he doth it much more doubtlesse in his studied exercises, wherein he cannot but conceive his memory may live, and some part of himselfe be kept a­live, and sweet to all posterity.

If he could say, non omnis moriar, because Horat. he was a Poet, and think his Poem perenni­us aere, a monument that time it selfe would not be able to divoure: how much more may he say it that drawes himselfe unto the life in an immortall Dye, and writes such characters as are not subject to decay and perish? For all flesh is grasse, and all the glory of man as the flower of grasse: the grasse wi­thereth, and the flower falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever: and this is the word, which by the Gospell is preached unto you, 1 Pet. 1. 24, 25.

Seeing therefore it hath pleased God to preserve these peeces yet alive, and after long deferring and desiring, to produce and bring them forth to publike view; we have thought good, in a prime and [Page] speciall manner to entitle you unto them, and to send them out unto the world under the covert and shadow of your name.

For seeing it pleased the Authour to choose your habitation, wherein to put off and lay up his (then) decaying and declining body, why should it not bee proper and convenient, to send these living and surviving peeces of his soule, for to at­tend it? considering especially, how much his body heretofore had waited on his soule, which otherwise, in humane proba­bilitie, might still have beene alive.

Neither is there any doubt, but these vi­gorous and usefull breathings of his spirit, wil find accesse and entertainment, where his languid, and at last, his breathlesse bo­dy did. Especially these which may more properly be counted his, than any thing that hitherto hath seene the light, and this wee dare be bold to say for these, that none of them did more expresse the Au­thour to the life.

Those that did either know him in his [Page] life time, or since have much and frequently perused his writings, shall find these three things every where occurring.

The foulenesse of sinne, the freenesse of grace, and the fulnesse of duty, which in o­ther peeces onely scattered, and sparkling here and there, are here collected under proper heads, and handled so professedly and clearely, as nothing more concerning them can be desired.

In the first are the danger and deformity of sin, driving the spouse to sad and low ex­pressions of her selfe, as those virgins were commanded, Deut. 21. 11, 12, 13. Even to shave her head, and pare her nailes, and bewaile her father and her mother, that is, her naturall and inbred evils and corruptions.

In the second, is the glorious freenesse of the grace of Christ, receiving this dejected and humbled captive unto favour, and, with that great King, Hest. 5. 2. reaching forth the Golden Scepter of his love and mercy to her, not onely to the pardon and forgive­nesse of all her sin, but intitling also of her unto all things, for all things are hers, whether [Page] Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things prosent, or things to come, all are hers, because she is Christs, 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22.

In the third, the fulnesse of her duty is prest upon her, for, the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, doth no sooner appeare to a­ny man, but it teacheth to deny ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, Tit. 2. 11, 12. that as before Ahasuerus had the virgins pu­rified that were to approach his bed, with various and costly powders and perfumes, Hest. 2. 12, &c. so Christ, when once the soule is faithfully espoused unto him, per­fumes and washes her in his most precious bloud, and beautifies her with variety of graces, that he may present her to himselfe a glo­rious Spouse, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that she should be holy, and without blame, Eph. 5. 27.

And now what rests, but that these Treatises crave shadow & protection from you, nay owne you for their Patron? Doth not the low and humble posture of your [Page] mind intitle you unto the first? your high opinion of free grace, unto the second? and your holy and spotlesse carriage, to the third? Having so just a title (besides other ingage­ments) by this threefold clayme, 'tis but ju­stice to call your name upon it; and, by your acceptance of it, you shall shew friendship to this Posthume, and especially oblige

Your already much obliged, and ingaged,
The Contents of the first Treatise.
  • Doct. 1. GOd afflicts his owne people. 3
  • Reas. 1. Because he loves them. 4
  • 2. That his name be not blasphemed. Ibid.
  • 3. He will be sanctified in those that draw neare him. Ibid.
  • 4. He walks among them. 5
  • Vse 1. To feare the Lord. 6
  • 2. Want of feare provoketh God. 13
  • 3. Gods severity to wicked men. 18
  • 4. Not to think strange that God afflicts his. 19
  • Doct. 2. God pities his people in affliction. 20
  • Reas. 1. He is slow to affl [...]ct. 21
  • 2. He sustaines them in affliction. Ibid.
  • 3. He brings them through affliction. 25
  • Vse 1. Not to be discouraged in affliction. 32
  • 2. To come to God when we have offended him. 35
  • 3. To lead us to repentance. 37
  • 4 To choose the Lord for our God. 41
  • 5. To confirme us in that choice. 45
  • Doct 3. The Lords name is called upon his people. 47
  • Reas. God hath chosen them. 48
  • Vse 1. To learne obedience. 49
  • 2. To humble our selves. 53
  • 3. Not to pollute Gods name. 59
  • 4. Not to be ashamed to professe Gods name. Ibid.
  • Comfort, concerning our selves, and the Church. 63
  • Doct 4. Without humiliation no mercy. 66
  • [Page] Reas. 1. The necessity of humiliation. 69
  • 2. Els there will be no returning from sin. 71
  • 3. Els there will be no constancy. 73
  • 4. Els God should not have the praise of his mercy. 74
  • Vse 1. Exhortation to the humble. 101
  • 2. To those that are not humbled. 103
  • Doct. 5. The Lord is mercifull to the humble. 112
  • Reas. 1. To give God the glory. 113
  • 2. Humility keeps a man in compasse. Ibid.
  • 3. It makes him usefull to others. 114
  • 4. It makes him obedient. 114
  • Vse 1. Consolation to the humble. 115
  • 2. To strengthen faith. 118
  • 3. To be humble in afflictions. 123
  • 4. Exhortation to be more humble. 124
  • 5. Not to apply the promises without humiliation. 131
  • Doct. 6. All performances nothing without seeking Gods face. 132
  • Reas. God is holy. 150
  • Vse. 1. To examine if we seeke Gods face. 153
  • 2. To seeke the Lord, and not our selves. 168
  • 3. Not to forget the Lord in the middest of his mercies. 172
  • Doct. 7. No interest in promises without turning from evill wayes. 186
  • Vse 1. Examination. 197
  • 2. No duties serve without turning. 219
  • 3. Good purposes alone insufficient. 222
  • Doct. 8. Turning from our evill wayes difficult. 224
  • Reas. 1. They are pleasant. Ibid.
  • [Page] 2. Agreeable to nature. 225
  • 3. They are backed by the law of the members. Ibid.
  • Vse. To make our labour answerable to the worke. 229
  • Doct. 9. All sinnes forgiven to the humble that for­sake sinne. 254
  • Reas. 1. From the truth of God. 256
  • 2. From his goodnesse. 257
  • Vse 1. To exclude wicked men from mercy. 263
  • 2. To trust perfectly in Gods mercy. 267
  • 3. Exhortation to be humbled. 272
  • Doct. 10. All calamities from sin. 279
  • Vse 1. To looke to the root of calamities. 281
  • 2. To see sin in its own colours. 283
  • 3. How to remove crosses. 284
  • Doct. 11. If sinne be not removed as well as the crosse, it is never removed in mercy. 287
  • Reas. 1. Because sin is worse than any crosse. 288
  • The Lord doth nothing in vaine. Ibid.
  • Vse. By the issue of our afflictions to judge of our e­state, and Gods love to us. Ibid.
  • Doct. 12. Take away sin, and the crosse will depart. 290
  • Reas. 1. Because crosses come from sin. 290
  • 2. God never afflicts, but for our profit. 291
  • Vse. To comfort us against our feares, that the crosse will alway continue. Ibid.
The Contents of the second Treatise.
  • [Page]Doct. THere is a match betweene Christ and his Church. 1
  • Vse 1. To apply Christ himselfe. 6
  • 2. To perswade men to take Christ. 23
  • Motives to it. Ibid.
  • Impediments. 38
The Contents of the third Treatise.
  • Doct. EVery one that taketh Christ ought to be sub­ject to him, and it is best for him. 76
  • Reas. 1. He is the head. 78
  • He is a Saviour. 80
  • Vse. Exhortation to come to Christ. 82
  • Doct. Christ is the Head and Saviour of his Church, and every member of it. 90
  • Vse 1. To be obedient to Christ. 91
  • 2. To choose Christ for our Head. 93
  • 3. To draw influence from him. 95
  • 4. How to know we are in Christ. 99
  • Trials of our subjection to Christ. 104
  • 5. To be the glory of Christ. 133
  • 6. To trie our condition. 137


[...] CHRON. 7. 14.‘If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seeke my face, and turne from their wicked wayes: then will I heare in hea­ven, and will bee mercifull to their sin, and will heale their land.’

THese words containe the an­swer GOD gave to Salo­mons Prayer, which hee made when hee dedicated the Temple: His Prayer was, that when they pray­ed on earth, hee should heare in heaven: And God promiseth in the words I have read to do all that Salomon asketh: which pro­mise containes three parts.

First, That hee would heare in heaven, which 1. [Page 2] phrase notes out either his power, that he is able to bring to passe what he assents to doe; men are said to heare on earth, because they can doe little; but God in heaven; or else it implies, that though hee seemes to be farre off from his people, yea though in heaven, yet he will heare at last.

The Second part is, that he will pardon their sins, 2 and it is of all other mercies the greatest, for sin hin­ders all good things, and openeth a gap to all evills, and therefore David saith, Blessed is the man, whose sin is forgiven: of all requests it is the greatest that wee can make, and of all grants the greatest that God vouchsafeth.

Thirdly, He will heale their land, and remove their affliction: Now observe the order of this, in that 3 before he doth it, he pardons their sin.

Now this promise is farther set forth by two things.

First, the persons to whom it is made; the peo­ple of Israel and Iudah, notified by two attributes; 1 First they are his people; Secondly, called by his name, or on whom his name is called, as the name of the husband is called upon the wife, or of the fa ther upon the sonnes; and as they in Antioch, and we are called Christians from CHRIST.

Secondly, the conditions this promise is made up­on for it is the Lords manner to put promises upon 2 conditions.

First, if they bee humbled, and humble them­selves. 1

Secondly, if that humiliation, bee not contained within the compasse of their brests onely, but ex­pressed 2 [Page 3] by prayer and confession of sins.

Thirdly, if they seeke my face, seeke to bee recon­ciled, 3 seeke his presence as separated from all things else, not seeking Corne, Wine, Oyle, but GOD himselfe.

Fourthly, if they part with their sins in seeking, 4 for they cannot maintaine Communion with him else, for God dwels in light, and he who walkes in darkenesse, can have no fellowship with him. And thus you have the Analysis of the words; wee in handling them will not use this method, but be­gin with the words as they lye, and will observe first these three Doctrines from these words.

If my people called by my Name

FIrst, God sends sharpe afflictions on his owne 1 Doct. people: this appeares by the Coherence, for in the words before the text, If I send plague, &c. then if my people, &c.

Secondly, that yet in them the Lord is very ten­der 2 Doct. and full of compassion to his people; this loving compellation [my people] argues as much, it is as if he should say, I cannot forget you, for you are cal­led by my Name, you are mine, though I thus punish you.

Thirdly, that the Lords Name is called upon his 3 Doct. people. For the first, the Scripture is frequent in ex­amples of this kind, so as I shall not need to stand to name any places to you, they are so well knowne already.

I come to reasons of it, why it is so.

[Page] [...] [Page 1] [...] [Page 2] [...] [Page 3] [...] [Page 4] First, he sends sharpe afflictions on them because he loves them, they are such as belong to him, and Reas. 1. the ground of this reason is, because, Ira est tam ex amore quam ex odio; Anger is as much out of love as hatred; it is a true rule though it may seeme a para­dox, because when one loves another, hee desires much from the party beloved and expects much from him, and therefore a crosse and stubborne acti­on from such a one provokes more to anger, than from any other man; as from a Son, from a Friend, from a Wife, it woundeth more; and therefore God saith of himselfe, that he is a jealous God: Iea­lousie is a mixt affection of love and anger, the mean­ing is, if I find my peoples affection stealing out from me, I am presently affected, as a jealous hus­band useth to be in such a case, and there is no an­ger to that, nor none sooner stirred: God will in­dure ten times as much from another, but when one that he hath taken into covenant with him, offends him, he is angry, and will therefore be sure to send some sharpe affliction on him, which is the fruit of his anger, for his anger is not in vaine.

Secondly, hee doth it that his Name might not bee blasphemed, that was the reason he gives, why hee 2. punished David when he committed adultery, for the Lord must of necessity doe it for their sakes that stand by and looke on, to shew to them that he can­not indure such things, no not in his owne people.

Thirdly, because he hath said, that he will be san­ctified of all that draw neere to him, he will have them 3. know that he is an holy God, hating iniquity; and that none should draw nigh to him, but such as have [Page 5] holy hearts, and pure hands: and this was the reason why he did send fire upon Corah, Dathan and Abi­ram; Num. 16. 9 The Lord hath separated you, and you draw neare to himselfe, saith Moses to them, and that in the near­est manner to doe service as Priests to offer Sacri­fice, and you are among the heads of the people, and therefore he will not forbeare you, others that are afarre off (it may bee) God will long and farre forbeare, but others that are sanctified to the Lord, and draw neare to him in profession and in the o­pinion of others, and also so indeed, of those God will either bee sanctified by their bringing holy hearts before him, or else he will vindicate his ho­linesse by punishing them, and will not suffer them to go on with prophane hearts.

Fourthly, because they are his people among whom 4 hee walkes, and with whom he dwels, 2 Cor. 6. and the three last verses, and the beginning of the se­venth Chapter, he is conversant among them; But you will say, is he not every where else? yes, but he is there as a man is in his owne house, among his sons and daughters, observing every thing, looking narrowly to them, and because he is still with them, therefore hee will endure no uncleannesse among them: thence it was that in the Campe he comman­ded every man to carry his paddle with him, when he went aside to bury it, that no outward filthinesse might appeare, for I walke among you, hee did it, to shew by that which is odious to us, that wee should hide what is odious to him, namely sin, and filthi­nesse, which caused him to loath his house, to loath Israel: when Israel was so unswept and so filthy, [Page 6] God loathed it and so departed from it, and so Asa­hel came upon them. God will bee sure to plow his owne ground, whatsoever becomes of the wast, to weede his owne Garden, though the rest of the world should be let alone, to grow wild.

But you will object and say, that the Saints wee see, often sin, and afflictions doe not follow.

I answer, it may be and doth fall out often, and the reason is because God findes his worke done to his hand. If they plow themselves up, God will not, but if we do it by halves (as that is our fault we leave many balkes behinde us) then God alwaies comes with afflictions, yet then the lesse that you leave behind unplowed, the lesse will God afflict you: if you humble your selves throughly, you shall escape, except only in the case of scandall, and then God must needs do it for their sakes that looke on, as in David, God would have all the world see his punishment on him, as well as they knew of his sinne, but this comfort you may have though you have greatly sinned, (if not scandalously) that humble your selves throughly, and you shall e­scape.

Learne from hence to feare the Lord, to tremble at his words, and seeing he will endure no unclean­nesse Vse 1. in his owne people, stand in aw and sin not: labour to bring your hearts to such a constitution, to such an awfull respect as to feare to omit any good duty, or commit the least sinne, and this had need to be urged upon you, for it is the cause of all that laxiture and loosenesse in our profession, that we doe not feare the Lord as we should. If we had [Page 7] the feare of the Lòrd before our eyes (as the Apo­stles speakes Rom. 3.) that is, if we saw the Lord so as to feare him, we should walke warily and look how, and where wee set every step, and the reason why you are so uneven and not like your selves, is from want of the feare of the Lord: Now the reason of that phrase of the Apostle that the feare of God is said to bee before your eyes is from the nature of feare, Timor figit oculum, as if a man bee busie about any thing, if there be any thing that he feares, he wil still have an eye to that, and he watcheth least it should come with some by blow, when he thinks not of it, and so doth the feare of the Lord worke where it is, it fastneth our eyes on him: And if the Lord were thus before our eyes to feare him, it would make us walke more evenly and more constantly with him. And therefore when the holy Ghost in Scripture would chuse to commend a man, he singles out this propertie, especially of fearing God, as that Iob was an upright man fearing God, and so speaking of Cornelius, it is said that hee was, a just man fearing God, and so Abraham when hee would expresse the wickednesse of the Court of Abimelech, he sayes, the feare of the Lord is not in this place, that is, there is no religion nor good men, God is not regarded there, and the more feare, the lesse sin, stand in awe Psal. 4. and sinne not. If a man stand in awe of the Lord he would be afraid of every sin, he would be afraid of vaine thoughts, to bee vaine in his speeches and to give way to the least wickednesse, afraid of every inordinate affection, hee would be afraid how hee spent the time from morning till night, and how to [Page 8] give an account thereof, afraid of recreations, least he should sleepe too much, or sleepe too little, eate too much, or eate too little, as knowing all is but to whet the sithe to make him the fitter for his harvest worke, and therefore would be afraid to forbeare refreshments too-much or to use them too little. I beseech you therefore that are in Covenant with the Lord, and nearest to him, that know your selves to bee within the Covenant, to consider this and learne to feare. And to helpe you in this, take two places of Scripture, 1 Pet. 1. 7. If you call on the Fa­ther who judgeth without respect of persons, according to every mans worke, passe the time of your sojourning here in feare; that is, seeing you have such a Father that judgeth every person, all his children, he will cer­tainely afflict you if you offend him: Therefore feare to do it. The other is, Heb. 12. 28, 29: Let us serve him with all reverence and godly feare, for even our God is a consuming fire, [our God] whom we wor­ship is not made all of mercy, he hath other Attri­butes joyned with them, to you he is a consuming fire; If you will not serve him with feare, though not im­mediately to consume you utterly, yet to afflict you, and thereby to consume your lusts; so as it is a dangerous thing to be negligent of him, to meddle with him who is a consuming fire.

How sharply did God deale with David, who was yet nearer him than any of us; first he tooke a­way the child from him, which to him was a sharpe affliction, he being a tender Father, and had a strong affection to his life, as appeares by his fastings, and the like hee had to Absolon, who yet was a Rebell [Page 9] against him; and then to have almost all the people to fall from him, when he was an old King, to have Concubines abused so openly, and the sword ne­ver to depart from his house; all these sate close to him, went neare his soule; besides his shame, to have his sin discovered to all the world, as appeares by Psal. 51. Have not wee cause then to spend o [...]r time in feare, if hee dealt thus with David? and doe not say, that though he dealt thus with David offending of him, that yet he will not doe thus with me, for is he not a Father that judgeth all his sonnes, and that without respect of persons, as the Apostle saith? Con­sider also what he did to Iacob and Rebecca for con­sulting and agreeing to get the blessing by a lye, for though the thing shee went about was good and they had a warrant for it, and their end was good; yet they used ill meanes (a lye). But GOD met with them both for it, Iacob was therefore put to live twenty yeares from his Mothers house (whereas he should have staid Gods leisure, and not have beene too hasty for the accomplishment of that promise, for he that believeth doth not make haste: and so God promiseth riches and all good things to his children, as much as they can desire, but they must not make haste, that is their fault) and when he was comming home againe, what a feare was hee put to from Esau, that lye of his being the cause of their falling out! and how did Rebecca also for all that while want the comfort of a sonne shee loved, and had none to live with but Esau? And so Moses was dearer to God than any man upon earth, hee never spake with any face to face as with him, yet [Page 10] he would have slaine him in the Inne, for not cir­cumcising his Child, and also because of that other sin at the waters of Meriba, he chuseth an affliction for him, wherein he most of all crossed his desires denying him to goe into the Land of Canaan, it may bee some small affliction in shew as this seemed to be, which yet pincheth sorely, and some great af­fliction on the contrary in bulke to others, that is not so to him that beares it; And thus he also deales with Eli, a zealous man (would any of us were so in these dayes) for when newes was brought that his sonnes were dead, and many of the people slaine, he was not so much troubled at that, as that the Arke of the Lord was taken, and this amazed him so as that he fell backward and brake his necke: you see the holinesse of the man, yet because he had prefer­red his sonnes before the Lord, did not governe them well, God did not onely thus take away his life, and of his sonnes, but the Priesthood also from his house for ever, and have not wee all cause to feare then? How did hee deale with the good Pro­phet that was slaine by a Lion, his fault that he be­leeved another mans word, pretending that he had Gods Word, when hee had Gods Word expresly given to himselfe, this sinne was as the sin of Eve who beleeved the Divels word, when she had Gods Word expresly, and therefore let us when we have the Word of the Lord sticke close to it. And so however hee deale with Gideon a worthy man reckoned up among those worthies, Heb. 11. yet when he made an Ephod, see what judgement fel upon his children, Iudg. 9. and all his house was cut off.

[Page 11] These examples are usefull for you to consider, that you might know and feare the Lord, and the want of this is the cause of this remissnesse and loos­nesse in our profession, and that we doe not so con­sider our waies. Saint Paul was an holy man, and one that stood in neere termes with Iesus Christ, yet feared exceedingly, 2 Cor. 5. Wee knowing the ter­rour of the Lord perswade men; And Iob that was ve­ry exact in his life, which appeares by the 31. Chap. which Chapter is nothing else but an expression of the manner of his carriage, which was very exact, verse 23. he gives this as a reason, the punishments of the Lord were a terrour to me, and so in the 2. verse the reason why he would not give liberty to his eys to looke on a Maid, was for that hee considered, what portion then shall I have with the Almighty? and this feare of the Lord is needfull at this time, when God hath discovered himselfe to be angry with the Land, which is not onely for the grosse sinnes of wicked men, but the sinnes of the Saints also; It is your coldnesse, remissenesse and laxitude. I have two grounds for it, first in the Revel. 2. because Ephesus was fallen from her first love, therefore he would re­move her Candlesticke, that is, the whole Church a­mong them, carry them into Captivity, for I can­not see by the Candlesticke how only the Ministery should be ment; and so in the Rev. 3. because Laodi­cea was neither hot nor cold; therefore will I spue them out of my mouth, God would endure them no lon­ger, and therefore you that thinke your estates the best, even you have had a hand in this plague, you thinke that other mens sinnes, the sinnes of wicked [Page 12] men are the cause of it, but God he knoweth, that they cannot pray and have no life in them, as you have; and though-their sinnes also be a cause, and a maine cause, as appeares by the Amorites, whose sinnes when full, God punished; yet I say they are yours also: And therefore, when there is an evident signe, that God hath a controversie with a King­dome and the Churches, and a signe of his wrath is proclamed from heaven, then every man must doe something; now feare the Lord, be zealous, repent and doe your first workes, begin now to mend your pace to heaven: and yet would onely there were a want of zeale among you, yea is it not in disgrace, is not a zealous man hooted at, as an Owle among us? this place, the excellency of it is exceedingly a­bated and eclipsed, the zeale of it is withered, the Lord is departed from us; learne to bee more zea­lous, and God will returne and cause you to flourish againe; for when God lookes upon a people, it is with them as with the earth in spring time, and when hee departs from them, they are as withered trees in winter, and where now is the zeale of for­mer times, the Communion of Saints, the heating and whetting of one another, by mutuall exhorta­tions; where is the boldnesse for the Lord? Those holy prayers, those former times are gone, the light of those times remaine, but not the heate, as also if wee looke backe upon that Generation of Queene Elizabeth; how are we changed! they were zealous, but here is another generation come in their roome, that is dead, and cold, and yet we have their light, but ignis qui in illis calidus, in nobis lucidus tantum. [Page] But, I beseech you, that you would now begin to stirre up your selves, especially in these times of fast­ing, when there must bee an extraordinary renew­ing of a mans covenant with God, that you would not now be so cold, and so dilute as you have beene; and seeing you have that you would have, and have desired long publike dayes of humiliation, that you would labour to spend them with all care and dili­gence and quicknesse of spirit, and to consider that the maine is to bee done at home with your selves, for the end of these dayes is, that you may be hum­bled, which you will never bee, till you consider your particular sinnes, get up early in the morning, for then your spirits are quicke, and so you will have a long time before you come to the congregation, and get you all that while alone, and consider your particular sinnes, and the holy duties you neglect, and renew your repentance, and enter into covenant; and then when you come hither you shall finde the word to have another manner of working upon you than it hath ordinarily.

If God be thus ready to punish his own children, Vse 2. and that thus sharpely, it shewes the sinne of those that are fearelesse and carelesse, which provoketh God exceedingly, Zach. 4. 15. I am very sore dis­pleased with the carelesse heathen, the heathens had sinnes enow besides to anger the Lord, yet this sinne did it above other sinnes, and it is not to bee wondred at that it should, for it is a rule in Philoso­phy, and most true, that of all things that which provoketh a man most, is contempt, in so much that Aristotle maketh it the onely cause of anger, though [Page 14] therein he is deceived, yet it is the maine; we use to say non respondere pro convitio est, it is a signe of con­tempt not to answer againe, as when a man is chid­den and stricken, & non respondere to goe by, as if hee tooke no notice of it at Gods hand, this is contempt. And thus a Father when he is angry with his son, or a Master with his servant, how hainously doth hee take it! And so God who now hath discovered his wrath to the whole Land, and to every particular man in it, this neglect of him will cause his wrath to wax hot against us, but yet for the land in gene­rall wee have cause to hope that his wrath doth not so, but that God takes it well at our hands, that we are thus publickly assembled: but let mee say this, though, to every particular man, though God spare the Kingdome, yet if thou neglect him and bee carelesse, it will goe the worse with thee how­ever. In the 50. Psalme when hee had expressed great threatnings in the former verses; hee con­cludes with this, Consider this, O all yee that forget God! you that minde him not, least hee teare you in peeces, and there bee none to deliver you: and so in the Prophet Ieremy 5, 12, 13, 14. verses, because you say that his words are but winde, they shall be as fire, and you as drie wood, and they shall devoure you. This is the great fault of men, that they are ready to feare things which they should not feare, the creatures, poverty and discredit, but are backward to feare the Lord.

God sayes of the Church Rev. 2. 12. Feare not the things thou shalt suffer; what all the world feares, that doe not you feare, feare not the things you [Page 15] shall suffer, those things you ought not to feare, but feare those things you should doe, and who is a­fraid of them, least hee should provoke God in them? And so Christ saith, feare not men, no, not those that have power of life and death (if wee should feare any, it should be them) remember that was the commendation of Moses, hee feared not the wrath of Pharaoh; when you place your feare thus amisse, it becomes a snare to you; for it makes your hearts busie upon the creatures, when they ought to be set upon the Lord; but when your feare is placed upon God, it doth exceedingly helpe you, nothing more: to give you an instance or two, you shall finde Da­vid exceedingly strucke with the feare of the Lord, when Ziglag was burnt; no accident ever so amazed him: when hee fled before Absolon, hee bore it much better, yet that feare helped al, for it set him a worke to pray; so Iehoshaphats feare did also helpe him, when he heard of a great Army comming against him, it set him on worke to pray, and so turned away the Iudgement: and therefore things that you so feare, when your feare is placed on God, seldome come to passe, for that sets men on worke to prevent them, whereas evill feare brings the thing with it. Saul feared the Armies of the Philistines exceeding­ly, that made him seeke to the Witch, and this wrought his overthrow which hee feared: so Iero­boam feared the losse of his Kingdome, and that feare made him set up the Calves which lost him his Kingdome indeed; learne therefore to feare the Lord: nothing brings a Iudgement so much as the want of feare, security is the next doore to a Iudge­ment. [Page 16] L [...]hish was a secure people, and when the Army came against them, they and their City fell as Figgs from a tree that are ripe, so did they fall in their enemies mouths, security is a fore-runner to every mans Iudgement, Esay 66. 2. To him that feares mee, saith God, and trembles at my words, to him will I looke to keepe him safe; if not, I will neglect him as much as hee mee, I will have no eye to save him, as hee hath no eye to mee to cause him to feare and tremble. But you wil say, how may I bring my heart to feare the Lord? I answer, first pray to the Lord to strike your hearts with a feare of him, it is the the worke of God to bring the feare of himselfe up­on us, for it is hee that brings the feare of one man upon another, hee brought a feare upon all the Na­tions of the Land, when the people of Israel entered Canaan, much more the feare of himselfe, for the affections are such things as the Lord onely can meddle with, and therefore the Apostle saith, You are taught of the Lord to love one another.

It must be the Lord, that must put in such an affe­ction into you, for his teaching is planting the affe­ctions, and so he is said to teach other creatures, that is, to give this or that inclination, and so the Lord is said to fashion the hearts of men; and then they cannot chuse but feare him: therefore goe to the Lord, and say, Lord I am not able to feare thee: and say, Lord thou hast promised to give the Holy Ghost to those that aske it of thee, that worketh e­very grace: if you would seeke him so, and seeke him importunately, though you had the securest hardest heart of any in the world, hee would at [Page 17] length teach you to feare him. Ier. 40. I will plant Ier. 40. my feare in your hearts, that they shal not depart from me. Thus you see that God takes the doing of this to himselfe, it must be of his planting, and he hath pro­mised also you see to doe it.

This is not all, but there is something we must doe our selves.

Therefore secondly, observe the Lords dealing 2 Observe Gods dea­ling. with his, learne to know him in his wayes, and that will be a meanes to cause thee to feare him: if any of his children sin, he never lets them goe, for then should they thrive in evill, and prosper in sinne; but if they will bee medling, they shall be sure to finde some bitternesse in the end. When a mans heart is set upon the creatures, there being thornes in them all, and therefore if hee will graspe too much of them, or too hard, hee shall finde it: Gods children are trained up so to it, that God will not let them goe away with a sinne; if they bee too a­dulterously affected, they shall finde a crosse in such a thing: you may observe this, in the 30. Psalme; Psalm. 30. 5 there you may see the circle God goes in with his children; David had many afflictions, as appeareth by the 5 verse, I cryed, and then God returned to me, and joy came▪ what did David then? I said in my heart, I shall never bee removed: his heart grew wanton, but God would not let him goe away so, God turned a­way his face againe, and I was troubled. At the 7 verse verse 7. he is you see, in trouble againe: well, David cryes againe, at the 8 and 10 verses, and then God turned his mourning into joy againe. And this to be his dea­ling you shall finde it in all the Scriptures, but be­cause [Page 18] we find this his dealing set so close together in this Psalme, therefore I name it. Therefore observe the wayes of the Lord to you, and they that are not acquainted with these his wayes, as yet in them­selves, see what hee hath done to others in all the world; in our neighbour Churches: when hee had given a bill of divorce to Israel, yet Iudah had not feared: now when God hath stricken our neighbour Churches, doe you thinke hee will take it well, if we be idle spectators? therefore when he hath stric­ken another place, learne to feare.

If hee afflicts his owne children thus sharply, let them looke to themselves, that are not his; whether Vse. 3. God will be more severe to wicked men. they be grosse sinners, prophane persons, of whom there is no question; or mere civill men, and for­mal professors, in whom there is no power of grace: if he bee thus hot against his owne Church, his an­ger will be seventimes hotter against you: it may bee longer deferred as his manner is, yet when hee strikes, hee will strike you in the roote, not in the branches; and that so as he will not Strike the second time: Consider that in the 50 Psalme, that hee will teare you in peeces; and you that are prophane ones, Psalm. 50. let me say to you, as 1 Cor. 10. 22. Doe you provoke the Lord to anger? are you stronger than hee? Those 1 Cor. 10. 22 that lye in open prophanenes, and doe fight openly 1 Prophane. against the Lord, and have not so much as a shew of turning; yea and those that are meerely civill, and yet lye in secret sinnes; that yet are in health, wealth and credit in the world; it is a signe that God meanes them no good, hee would not let his owne Garden goe so long unplowed.

[Page 19] And in the second place for professors, that doe 2. Civil men. not answer their profession in their lives, take heed, for he that is not with me is against me; it may be thou art no enemy, not very stirring in any evill way, but because thou art not with GOD in good earnest, be­cause your hearts are not perfect, at the last day you will be found against him, CHRIST will come a­gainst you in good earnest as an enemy; and where­as all your hope lies, that GOD is mercifull and CHRIST a Saviour, learne to know that this JESUS, whome you hope to bee saved by, will prove the sharpest enemy against you, Kisse the Son lest he bee angry: the Son may be angry, as he who Rev. 2. hath Revel. 2. his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feete like fi ne brasse to tread you to powder; he shall come against you that are formall: and know, that JESUS CHRIST is not only a Saviour, but a Lord; that he came in­to the world to be a Prince, and the government is up­on his shoulders; you forget that part of his office, halfe the end for which CHRIST came into the World, and if you would know what kind of Go­vernor he is, Ex. 23. 21. I will send my Angel with you Exod. 23. 21. (saith God) that is Christ, beware of him and obey his voyce, and provoke him not, for my name is in him: he is of the same spirit and disposition with his father, and they are both alike affected to sin; beware of him, he goes along with you, and he will not spare you, for the LORD hath put all the government upon him.

Let it not seeme strange, that he hath or should Vse 4. Not to think strange that God afflicts his. deale thus with his Churches abroad; what though the Candlestick bee removed out of the Palatinate, because they were luke-warme, and falne from their [Page 20] first love? what if he should do it in France? what if in England? in the Low countries? should it seeme strange to us? It is his manner so to doe: Hee re­moved Iudah and Ierusalem often out of their pla ces; wee should not be offended at it, if he doth, or if he should doe thus with us, as thinking that it is a signe that our religion is not the true religion, and that he doth not love his Churches; yes those hee loves most hee soonest affl [...]cts, for Iudgement must begin at the house of God, that is, hee lookes on all the world, as on Europe now, and where he seeth his house is, there he beginneth with them, for hee is to use others to afflict them; and therefore he be­ginnes with them first. Amos 2. 2. You have I knowne of all the Nations, therefore will I afflict you soonest and frequentliest, though not more deeply than o­thers; for though the Church bee brought under water, yet she shall rise againe. I speake this, be­cause men are subject to bee offended at it, and Bel larmine I remember, makes that an argument, that theirs is the Church, because they have had so ma ny victories against the Protestants, and our Church hath beene ever and anon downe, but by that argu­ment the captivity should not have lighted upon Iu­dah's, but upon Nebuchadnezzars people.

The second Doctrine was, that Though God send very sharpe afflictions upon his owne people, yet therein Doct. 2. God pitties his people in affliction. his kindnesse and compassions are exceeding great to­wards them: hee cals them you see here, my people, as if hee should have said, you are mine, and I can­not forget you; a man loves that which is his owne, much more God, who is all love. And this Do­Doctrine [Page 21] had need to bee added to the former.

Now the reasons and demonstrations of this are three.

Because he is exceeding slow to afflict, and ex­ceeding Reas. 1. He is slow to afflict. long about it, ere he do's begin, and there­fore hee makes many offers often before he does it, as one that could finde in his heart not to doe it at all. Psal. 78. 38. It is said, he being full of compassi­on Psal. 78. 38. forgave their iniquity, yea many a time did hee call backe his anger, when his hand was up, and hee gi­ving the blowe, hee called it backe againe, as one that could not finde in his heart to do it; and when hee did it, hee did not stirre up all his wrath; hee let fall some droppes of it, but would not shed the whole shower of it; and hee gives the reason of both, for they are but flesh; and indeed his primary scope is to shew mercy, and that hee afflicts, is but upon occasion; and therefore he is provoked, and provoked much before hee doth it: As the Bee to Simile. give hony, it is naturall to it, but it stings but by oc­casion, when it is provoked; and this wee see to bee true in GOD by experience, who suffersmen, and suffers them long, they continue in their sinnes, and yet he continues his mercies, and with-holds his judgements.

His compassion is shewen in sustaining them in 2 He sustaines them in af­flictions. Dan. 11. 33. 34. their afflictions, and in helping them in the mid'st of them, Daniel 11. 33, 34. When his people should fall by the sword, and by the flame &c. it is said they should bee holpen with a little helpe, that is, so much as would sustaine them, beare them up: the like wee have Zach. 13. 9. I will bring a third part through the fire, Zach. 13. 9. [Page 22] and they shall come out refined, as Gold and Silver is refined, lose nothing but their drosse, so as hee would sustaine them, hold them up. And this hee doth by doing of two things, 1 by moderating their affliction, 2 by so framing and fashioning their hearts, so as they shall be able to beare them.

Hee moderates them; they are Still in measure, and not beyond their strength, Revel. 2. 10. saith [...] By modera­ting them. Christ to the Church of Smyrna, Feare none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold Sathan shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried, and you shall have tribulation ten dayes: as if hee should have said, I will moderate this persecution, and doe mea­sure out the time to you, but ten dayes and no more; and therefore feare not: so as you shall not have so much as Sathan would, for he would never give o­ver; nor so little as you would, for then you should not be afflicted at all. If you aske now what it is to be afflicted in measure? I answer, if afflictions lye so To be affli­cted in mea­sure, what. upon his children as to cause them to put forth their hands to wickednesse, then it is above measure, but if so as they never fret nor faint under it, it is not: now he hath promised, that he wil so accommodate afflictions, as they shall not worke so with his peo­ple, Psal. 125. 3. The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous, lest he put forth his hand to Psal. 125. 3. iniquity; it shall not bee so long as to cause a dis­temper in the spirit of them, so as they should not carry themselves in a meeke manner under it: I meane not so, but that at the first it may cause a bustling in their spirits, as it did in Iob, when it grew sharpe, and hee spake unadvisedly, yet not a sub­stantiall [Page 23] disquiet, he came to himselfe againe. To this purpose let the Psalme 129. 3, 4. be compared Psalm. 129. 3, 4. with the former, God compares there the afflicters of his people to plowers set to plow his ground, (the Babylonians and all the other enemies were but Gods plowers) now they should not doe it, as to do them any hurt, no more than for his advantage and his Churches, they should not goe a foote further, for then God cuts their cords in sunder, and when the tra­ces are cut, then the plow stands still, goes not a jot further, let the horses doe what they will.

The second way of sustaining them is, in that he 2 Fashioning their hearts to beare it. so fashioneth their hearts, as they shall be able well to beare it; and then though it be great, if they have strength to beare it, it is the lesse; A great burthen on a strong mans shoulders, is no more than a small one on a weake mans. Wee oft wonder that God should lay so great afflictions on his children, but we do not see their inward strength and ability they have to beare them.

Now first he fashioneth their hearts to pray, and 1 To Pray. Rom. 8. 26. not to murmure, and the greatest affliction it is no­thing if they can but pray, in Rom. 8. 26. that is one comfort brought in among the rest, that sweetneth our afflictions, that the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, and teacheth us to pray.

He frameth their hearts to repent, and that they 2 To Repent. should not sinne against him, and if sinne bee not mingled with an affliction, it is not bitter, if a good conscience bee joyned with it: for then it is heavie, when it falls upon the shoulder out of joynt, or up­on the sore place, and therefore S. Paul he cared not [Page 24] for death or the prison, because he had a cleare con­science, all his afflictions were nothing to him, for he bare them with a whole shoulder; sinne wounds the soule, and then affliction dropped in, causeth smart.

Hee frames their hearts to patience, and so that keepes their spirit whole, so as they possesse their 3 To Pati­ence. soules, and themselves: as on the contrary impa­tience takes the soule off the hinges, puts it out of it selfe: but whilest a mans spirit is strong and it selfe, it will beare its infirmities, but when impa­tient, it will beare nothing; when therefore afflicti­ons are thus mingled with prayers, and repentance, and a good conscience and patience, it is easie to beare them, and it is GOD mingles their cup thus. And as CHRIST said, shall not I drinke of the Cup which my Father hath mingled? although the cup be bitter, yet the ingredients he puts in it, makes it sweete, GOD mingles a cup to them in another manner then to others: See how hee mingled a cup to Ahitophel, it was no great thing in it selfe, it was but that disparagement in the rejection of his counsell, yet such an ingredient was put in, such an apprehension by Gods providence (for though God was not the author of it, yet he suffered Sathan to doe it) as that it brake his heart, and he hanged him­selfe. See the contrary in David, when Ziglag was burnt, a great and suddaine affliction, yet he bare it well, for he had comfort from the Lord, an ingre­dient with it which incouraged him in God, and so when he fled before Absalom his owne sonne, a great and bitter affliction, yet he bare it with such a mind, [Page 25] as if hee had beene in his bed asleepe, as appeares by the third Psalme, which was made upon that oc­casion: Psalme 3. when tenne thousand were encamped against him; yet hee feared no more, then if hee had had never an enemy in the world. I will lay mee downe and sleepe, &c.

Thirdly, his compassion is shewen in bringing Reas. 3. In bring­ing them through. them through, and giving them a good issue and comfortable fruit of all; as appeares by that place of Zachary 13. 9. Hee carried them through the fire, and fined them thereby as Gold, led them out, and caused them to lose nothing but their drosse; or as the Wheat loseth nothing in the win­nowing, but the chaffe. There is an excellent place for this purpose in Esay 27. 8. In measure in Esay 27. 8. the branches thereof thou wilt debate with it (so some reade it.) God promiseth in the former part that Israel should grow like a fruitfull tree, and flourish; and though he afflicted them, yet it should not be so, as he afflicteth others, hath hee smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? no, hee smote them in the root, but him in the branches, so as he should grow the more by it; God compares himselfe to a man that loppeth his tree, but medleth not with the root or body of the tree, but with the branches onely, and that just so farre as neede was, and where they should bee cut, and that in season, and at the just time, that it may grow the more; for this is to doe it in measure: and this is no more than necessary, to make the tree shoot the more; and it were spoyled, if hee did not deale thus with it. Now hee smites others at such a time, as they are most unfit for it, [Page 26] and that in the roote, so as he causeth them to wi­ther, they are losers by it; as appeares by that wic­ked King Ioram, 2 Kings 6. 33. This evill is of the Lord, and what should I wait on the Lord any longer? and by that of Ahaz, 2 Chron. 28. 22. &c. Then 2 Kings 6. 33. 2 Chron. 28 22. in time of distresse Ahab yet trespassed more against the Lord: this was that King Ahaz, this was the end of that affliction.

But some good soule will object and say, I doe not finde this fruit of my afflictions. Quest.

It may be thou dost not for the present; but stay a little till God hath made an end, and thou shalt Answ. Afflictions of Gods people worke good in the end. see that affliction which thou thoughtest most sharpe, and for which thou sawest no reason, and by which for a while you saw you got no good; yet when the Lord hath made an end and put all toge­ther, then I say thou shalt finde thy worst takings, thy worst condition profitable and usefull to thee; in the time of Winter when the trees wither, an un­wise man would wonder to see such a spoile, but when the Spring comes, you know the benefit of it; you should not have had such a Spring but for such a Winter: And so those varieties of afflictions and crosses which God leades thee through, those sins, those puttings backe which wee thinke can no way bee advantageou [...] to us, they ever in the end will bring forth a Sp [...]g time, for all things worke toge­ther for good. Iudge not by one particular, but stay till God hath put all together, and thou shalt see it is for good. Thence it is that Saint Iames would have us, Iames 1. 2. When wee fall into divers temp­tations, Iames 1, 2. to count it exceeding great joy, that is, hee [Page 27] doth not say, when you goe in step by step, but when you are precipitated, fall all on the suddaine, and are pluhged into them; so the word in the ori­ginall signifieth. And secondly, not into one, but into all sorts, into divers afflictions at once; affli­ction in Estate, Body, Wife, Children, one upon the necke of another: yet rejoyce, and not onely so, but bee exceeding glad, as glad as a Merchant man is to see his Ships come from the Indies laden with riches, and full of treasure; so beneficiall should they be in the end. Now except they did always bring home such treasure, and proved not in the issue exceeding good and profitable, he could not have desired them thus to rejoyce.

Now if you aske the reasons why it is so, that God deales thus. God deales thus with his Children in afflictions? I answer out of the text.

First sayes hee, they are my people, they are his 1 Because they are his people. owne, and therefore hee is full of bowels of com­passion towards them, as a man is to his owne child, because it is his, Hosea 11. 8. thou art mine, and I can­not Hose. 11. 8. deale with thee as with a stranger, for my bo­wells are turned within me, as it is there, when it came to the casting away of his child, he cannot do it. So, 1 Sam. 12. 22. The Lord will not forsake you, for you are his people. And so also, [...] 7. 18. Who is 1 Sam. 12. 22. Micah 7. 18. a god like unto our God, that pard [...] [...] iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of thine heri­tage? there lies the reason; they are a remnant, they are chosen out of the rest of the world, and to them hee is so mercifull, as there is none like unto him, it would make a man stand amazed at it.

[Page 28] They are a people called by his name: as hee hath 2 They are called by his name. chosen them to bee his, so it is taken notice of that they are his, and he hath owned them, his name is upon them by profession, and therefore hee will spare them, for his name sake, because of them that stand by and take notice of them: for if hee should deale hardly with them, none would serve him; for when servants are hardly dealt withall, who will serve such masters? And this argument Moses u­ses, Numb. 14. Lord spare them (sayes hee) and if it be, but for thy Names sake, for what will all the Nations Numb. 14. say? that either thou art such a God as art unkind, and wouldst not save them, or a weake God, and couldest not.

But you will say, wee see the contrary by daily experience, wee see great and sore afflictions befall Object. Gods people, yea, it may bee some here of his will say, they have felt and tasted of great afflictions.

I answer, you may mistake in afflictions, they are not alwayes such afflictions as they seeme to be: Answ. Mistake in afflictions. fo [...] [...] wee say of the Sunne, Sol non patitur eclipsin, sed videtur tantùm pati, the Sunne keepes his light e­ven in eclipses firme and cleare, so often those affli­ctions which you thinke great, are nothing at all in themselves, they seeme so to us onely: so the Apo­stle, 2 Cor. 6. wee seeme to be men sorrowfull, yet al­wayes 2 Cor. 6. rejoycing, seeme to be poore, but possessing all things, all was nothing to Paul: for affliction lyes only in the apprehension, and so many of those gre­vous afflictions and tortures which Martyrs and the children of God endured though to us they seeme great, yet I am perswaded were nothing to many of them.

[Page 29] But thou wilt say, this is not my case; I feele, I Object. am sure the sting of it.

I answer thee, first, that God layes it not on thee, Answ. Afflictions needfull. till thou hast neede: the Physitian knowes the body of the patient better than himselfe, and the soule hath more intricate diseases than the body, and he sees thy secret pride, security, &c. it may be when thou seest them not; as Hezekiah did not; so that when thou seest no reason of such a sharpe affliction as purging physicke for thee, he doth, and does not administer it but when there is need.

And secondly, he doth not goe a jot beyond thy need; 2 God afflicts no more then needs. Esay 28. 24. and this will appeare by the opening of two excellent similitudes, Esay 28. (for all the wits in the world cannot finde out better expressions than the Word hath; if we had eyes to see the glory of them) from the 24. verse downeward; First, doth the Plowman plow all day to sowe? and open and breake the clods of his ground, when hee hath made plaine the face thereof? doth he not cast abroad the fetches? scat­ter the cummin, the wheat, and the rie? for th [...] [...]ord hath instructed him to doe so. The husbandman hee tells you, plowes not but where he meanes to sowe, and to have an harvest, and the plow goes no lon­ger then till the clods be broken, and sayes he, God hath given him this discretion; and therefore shall not God have the same and use the same himselfe? doest thou thinke that thou art plowed longer then thouneedest? it is but till the clods, thy stiffe spirit bee broken; and whereas thou mayest thinke thy heart soft enough, it may be so for some grace, but God hath seeds of all sorts to cast in the wheat [Page 30] and the Rie; and that ground which is soft enough for one, is not for another. And againe, secondly when it comes to harvest, to some maturity, he hath to thresh it with divers kinds of instruments (which is the second similitude) ver. 27. The Fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is the Cart wheel turned about upon the Cummin, but they are bea­ten out with a staffe and a rod; but bread-corne, Wheat is bruised with the wheele, because he should not always be threshing it. So GOD beholdeth every mans strength, and knowes what affliction is most suitable for him, hee findes out a fit instrument for every graine; his end is but to drive thee out of the huske of thy circumcision, of some lusts wherof some sits more close to the heart than other: and as the wheat and the husk sits closer together than in other grains, and therefore the wheele goes over it, and when it is threshed enough, and GOD hath unloosed the heart and the sin, the husk and the wheat, he doth it no longer: now sayes he, this is from the LORD, who is wonderfull in counsell and excellent in working; and therefore as when you see an husbandman doe so with his ground and graine, you judge him a wise man in doing so, so also is GOD therein.

But you will say, for all these good words and Object. setting it forth thus, we are sure, and see and feele by experience, that the Saints alwayes fare as ill as the worst when general afflictions come, Plague, Sword or Captivity, they are swept away by these as well as others, and what afflictions are there (go through the sonnes of men,) that fall not upon the Saints as well as upon others?

[Page 31] For answer, it is true, those deluges of afflictions Answ. Difference in afflictions which over-whelme whole Countries take away one as well as another, yet there is a difference, as Ier. 24. all were carried into the same captivity by Ier. 24 the same King, but yet they were carried in divers baskets, the bad in one basket, the good in another; which shewes the condition of the one was different from the other: First the LORD knowes the good figs, his eyes are upon them for good, to see that no hurt should befall them, that was hurt indeed: And secondly, againe hee did but send them into captivity, as one is sent of an errand, but the o­ther are led as a condemned man to the Jaile: Third­ly, hee would bring them againe, when they had done the businesse for which they were sent, when they had humbled themselves, sanctified his name more; many the like ends the LORD hath: but the other hee utterly destroyed, and they never re­turned.

But will some say, the afflictions that I endure Object. are of an extraordinary nature, never any was so af­flicted as I (as the manner of man is to complaine) there is a peculiarity in mine, and it is not one but many, and these for a long time have layen upon mee.

I answer, it is true, they are often of an extraor­dinary Answ. Why God sends many and great afflictions. nature, and there is good reason for it: For a small affliction would not bring thee home to GOD, it is not a little head-ach, a scratch with a pin that drives a man to the Physitian; but such a disease as a man apprehends death in, makes a man seeke out for help: and the reason why; first, these afflictions are [Page 32] many is, [...] because thou hast many diseases to bee healed, lusts of divers sorts, and thou must have diversity of afflictions applyed to them; and againe if God should not change afflictions, thy affliction would grow familiar; and as Physicke when it is made familiar to the body workes not, so would not those afflictions: and 2 they are also often long, because some sinnes sticke close, and are not easily got off, the staine in some sinkes deeper, and requires a great deale of scouring. Dan. 11. Many shall fall Dan. 11. by the Sword, Famine, &c. their trialls were of many kinds and long, that they might be made white, in­to which yet they should not fall nor continue in, if men would bee scoured and made white sooner. I have stood longer upon this and the opening of it, because either it hath or will bee of much use one day to many of us: and seeing we know not what wee are reserved for, it is good to treasure up these things, that wee may know the wayes of God afore­hand, and so beare what comes the better, for it is ignorance that makes afflictions so unsupportable when they come. We will come to the uses.

Learne hence not to bee discouraged whatsoever thy case bee, whether thou hast beene afflicted in Vse 1. Not to bee discouraged in afflicti­ons. name by reproaches, so as thou thinkest, thou shalt never get thy credit againe; or in body by diseases, that thou shalt never have thy health againe, or in soule by doubts, that thou art in such an estate that thou shalt never bee raised againe, remember the exceeding great kindnesse of the Lord, and know whatsoever thine afflictions bee, hee is able easily to scatter them: this I speake, because as men in [Page 33] prosperitie doe thinke, it will alwayes continue, and tomorrow will be as to day, and much more abundant; so in affliction, that it will never bee otherwise. What unfaithfullnes is this! are not all times in Gods hands? as David saies Psalm. 31. he that alters the Psalme 31. weather, he that turnes the Winter into Summer: It is a storme now, and half an houre after the Sun shines; all in the weather, so such alterations is God able to make in mens estates: and comfort thy selfe with this, it shall lie no longer on thee, then there is neede, the plaister shall not lie a jot longer than the sore is a healing. If it were sooner healed, it would fall off sooner; but then it shall fall off alone; though sorrow be in the evening, yet joy shall come in Psalme 30. the morning; because the anger of God never lasteth but for a while; and the reason is given Mica 7. 8. Mica 7. 8. for mercy pleaseth him: take him alwayes when he is angry with his children, and there is but a short brunt of it, his constant course is otherwise, for mercy pleaseth him: now that which a man delights in hee will bee doing long, hee can hardly be taken off from it: as if it grieved him to doe otherwise: when therefore it is long I say, it is per accidens, as when thy heart is harder than ordinary; for some are more stubborne than others. Ah, but thou wilt Object. say, this of mine is a great affliction, and I know not how it should be helped, unlesse the LORD should worke miracles. It may be it is so; and indeed Answ. No avoyd­ing afflicti­ons sent. when God will send an affliction, all the world can­not keepe it off. In Zach. 1. there were foure hornes, did beset the children of Israel to afflict them, so as which way soever they went and would have fled, [Page 34] one would have met them, whether to the East or to the West, &c. no way left to escape, no evasion; for when God will afflict, hee will afflict, and there shall be no doore to goe out at; else it were not an affliction: for what matter is it for a man to be in a smoaky house, if he hath a doore to go out at? but yet what do these hornes serve for but to push them home to the Lord? and though a man cannot scape them, yet there is this comfort, that though those hornes bee as strong as the hornes of an Vnicorne, so as all the world cannot knock them off, yet when they have pushed them to the Lord, then the Pro­phet God in due time re­moves affli­ction. saw 4 Carpenters, and wherefore came those Carpenters? to knock off every horne, and to cast them out, so that every nation was frayed away, that was against Iudah; not the Assyrian, not Babylon, nor none of them left: so that as when God will af­flict a man, nothing can hinder him, so also when the Lord will scatter the affliction againe, and will raise a man, nothing shall hinder neither, he will do it be it never so great. Be not discouraged then: what though the storme grow great and violent? one word of his mouth will allay and still both stormes and windes, as in Mar. 5. one word did it: so take the most grievous disease that thou hast long lyen un­der, Marks 5. and which thou think oft thou shalt never reco­ver, yet one word will rebuke it: take the worst and bitterest and powerfullest enemy of the Church, such as Haman, if God speake but a word to him, as he did to Laban, hurt not this man, he cannot hurt thee; one word of the Lord Iesus tames them all; Mar. 4. 40, 41. only bring faith with thee. Mark. 4. 40, 41. In the [Page 35] great storme, why did you feare, oh, you of little faith, (faith Christ to his Disciples, when they were so exceedingly troubled) as if he had said; it is not the greatnesse of this storme that breeds this feare, but the littlenes of your faith. So when all the people murmured at the red Sea, what was the reason that Moses was quiet all that while when they murmu­red? Stay (saith he) a while, and you shall see the salva­tion of God: the reason of the difference was, Moses believed, they did not.

So as the trouble comes not from the greatnesse of the affliction, but the littlenesse of your faith: when therefore afflictions shall come, be not, be not discouraged, lose not your selves, but possesse your selves with patience: keepe this as a sure conclusion against all objections, that God will be mercifull to his people.

I [...] the Lord then so full of pitie and bowells to Vse 2. To come to God, when we have of­fended him. his owne people? Learn thou to come to the Lord, when you have offended him: If indeed God had so hard an heart as would never relent, then when you had sinned, you might goe some whither else for comfort; but now come againe unto the Lord, as being assured of good successe: this use wee see made of it by Samuel in the like case to the people of Israel. 1 Sam. 12. When the people had commit­ted 1 Sam. 12, 20. that great sinne, wherein as he told them, they had not onely cast away him, but the Lord; and God had declared his wrath against them in storms from heaven, in the time of the latter harvest: yet at the 20. vers. saith Samuel; Feare not, ye have done all this wickednes, yet turne not aside from following the [Page 36] Lord; and he giveth two reasons. 1. Because all other things they would go to, would not profit them, they were vaine. Secondly, because that the LORD will not forsake his people for his great Name sake, be­cause it hath pleased him to make you his people; as if he had said, I would not have you lessen the sinne, seeke out excuses (as indeed that is our fault in such cases) no, that is not the way, you have committed a monstrous transgression, yet forsake not the Lord. Samuel said this, because that which keepes men off What keeps men from comming to God. from the Lord is discouragement; for many a man, if hee had (it may bee) a voyce from Heaven that would assure him, if he came in, his sinnes would be pardoned; I doe not think but they would come in though they love their sinnes well: But the maine thing that keepes them off, is, men doe not thinke God so ready to receive and pardon them. Now therefore (saith Samuel) you are his people, and the LORD cannot forsake his owne, let a man have a child of his owne even when it is young and troublesome, and nothing pleasant in it, yet because it is his owne, his affections will not off from it, yea his affections will hold on, although when it is growne up, it provokes him an hundred times, be­cause it is his own. Now if they should aske how it comes to passe that they are his? Samuel tels them, because it pleased him to make you his people; there is no other reason can be given of it: so that if any of the children of God looking upon all the world lying in wickednesse, and should aske the reason why I should be in this good condition rather then they, there is no other than that it pleased GOD to [Page 37] make him so, GOD loves for no merits, which should teach us to looke out of our selves, lesse into our hearts in this case, and more to the Attributes of GOD, to returne in Ier. 3. GOD saies there, it Ieremy 3. is true indeed, that if you come to any man in the world when his wife hath played the harlot, will he receive her againe? no, a mans heart in this case cannot relent, he hath not mercy enough, his heart is too narrow, But thou hast played the harlot many a time, yet returne to me, saith GOD; for looke how much larger GODS heart is then a mans, so much larger are his mercies.

If GOD bee thus exceeding mercifull and piti­full, Vse. 3. To leade us to repen­tance. Rom. 2. 4. this should leade men to repentance: there is that in the thing that leades you, so Romans 2. 4. when either GOD expresseth his mercies towards us by his behaviour and mercifull dealings with us, or causeth his Ministers to offer mercies unto us, it leades to repentance. It hath indeed a contrary ef­fect almost in all in the world; for whom doe not GODS mercies leade from him rather then to him? but take heed lest you turne the grace of GOD into wantonnesse, which yet men ordinarily do. The more favour, the more meanes they have enjoyed, the more wanton they grow, that is, the more bold, losing their respect to GOD; even as a child is apt to doe when his father carries himselfe kind to­wards him, hee cannot beare it, he hath not the dis­cretion to consider, that it should leade him to obe­dience, but growes bold and wanton. And you should also make this use of mercies, that the medi­tations of them should stirre up your hearts to a [Page 38] more kindly sorrow for your sinnes, to thinke that you have deserved to be cut off long agoe, and that you have committed such sinnes, for which many are in hell long since. God expects this at your hands; and let us make this use of it in these dayes of humiliation, the maine worke whereof is to humble your selves; and we are to labour to hum­ble you, not only by denouncing Gods judgements, but by expressions of his mercies also.

A digression (concerning Fasting) to the occasion.

THere is a double manner of doing this duty, Double performāce of Fasts. one wholly publike, which should bee from morning till night in publike by the whole land, that al together might confesse and humble them­selves for the sinnes of it; which is more extraor­dinary. 1 Publike. But secondly, as for these dayes which are kept from weeke to weeke thus, it is well ordered, that the time is so limited for these publike exer­cises, as that there is time left for the private: for the 2 Private. businesse of particular humiliation goes forward better then; and these publicke exercises tend but to that end, and what is the meanes without the end be attained? that is, that every man should mourne apart: so Zach. 12. when it was a businesse of mourning, e­very Zach. 12. family did it apart, and the wives apart: the wife and the husband are the nearest, and if any 1 By con­fession of sinnes. should be together, one would thinke they should; and yet they must be then apart: and the reason is, because nothing humbleth so much as particular [Page 39] sinnes, those wound the heart, which in publick are not so much confessed, but in generall onely; but when you are every one in private, then you may consider what your lusts, your actions have beene, and the circumstances of them; then you may search your hearts and wayes, looke backe and re­flect upon your selves; and that is the maine busi­nesse and duties of these dayes. Some of you it may bee, will say; I know not how to spend my time in private, when I am from the Church: but consider, hast thou not committed many sinnes? consider them, canst thou not speake and confesse them? and say, Lord I confesse I have fallen backe into this againe and againe. But secondly when you 2 Seeking reconcilia­tion. have done this, seeke reconciliation and beg it ear­nestly, which the heart will doe when it is touched with the sence of sinne, and the enumeration of them will worke your hearts to it; when you see the multitudes, the circumstances, the aggravations of them; and because this is the greatest of all your requests, therefore you must be the most earnest in it; and therefore God doth purposely with-hold assurance often, to teach men, what it is to be re­conciled to him; and fasting serves to intend your prayers, that they may be the more earnest. Third­ly renew your covenants also, consider what sinnes 3 Renewing covenants. you are most inclined to, and what occasions draw you most to those sinnes, and vow against them. Consider what good duties you have slighted most, and that your hearts are most apt to faile in; and promise better obedience. Fourthly, not only 4 To bee willing to leave fin. make a promise, but labour to bring your hearts to [Page 40] be willing to leave those sins in good earnest, and to performe those duties; and when the heart is strong­ly byassed any way, it is hard to alter it, it is no easie matter to get an inward willingnesse; you must ther­fore have much reasoning with your hearts to bring them to it. Fiftly, when they are brought into a good temper, they are easily subject to be distempe­red 5. Labour to keepe our hearts in a good tem­per. again; our affections shoote too far into worldly businesses: your love, your feare, your griefe is sub­ject to be too much in something, and it is not easie to bring the soule backe againe; you must therefore take a great deale of paines with your hearts.

That which is said of Ministers, fullones anima­rum, fullers of mens soules, that is every man now to be himselfe, to wash out the staines of his heart, and to make his soule whiter, as it is, Dan. 11. and that will move GOD either not to bring afflictions, Dan. 11. or to remove them: and therefore clense your hearts from all pollution of flesh and spirit, and know that to get staines of a deepe dye out will cost a great deale of paines, you must scoure till your soules ake a­gaine, and though it cause the skinne to come off, and if you do the worke your selves thus, and plow your owne hearts, GOD shall not need to doe it by afflictions; therefore doe it, and give not over till you have done it, and have brought your hearts to be throughly humbled for them, for that is a great meanes to doe it. What else is the meaning of that in Iames 4. Cleanse your hearts yee sinners, &c. but how should we doe it, would some say? afflict Iames 4. your selves and mourne, and let your laughter be turned into mourning: bee content to sit alone, get out of [Page 41] company, and not to take your former liberties, and mourne and humble your selves, and doe it con­stantly: for it is not bowing downe the head for a day, which God regards; but let sorrow abide in your hearts; It is continuance that God regards: doe it, and doe it to purpose, for the want of this, is the reason of the coldnesse and remisnesse in our pro­fession; namely, that we are not throughly and con­stantly humbled, it is the ground of every grace and the growth of it: What seed is sowne in a heart broken in pieces, thrives and prospers, but all instru­ctions falling upon an heart not broken will bring forth no fruit. If you were humbled, wee should find wonderfull fruit of our Ministery. Doe this therefore but one day, and you will be the fitter for it the next: Sorrow should be as a spring that runs a long constantly from day to day. The sorrowes of many are but as land-flouds; and take heed that the continuance of this duty from weeke to weeke, make you not slacken your course herein, suffer not your hands to faint. When these duties are new, you are apt to do much; but when a while continued, to bee perfunctory in them. And let not any man complaine that he loseth a daies work; for is there any work so necessary, as the salvation of the soule? Neither complaine, that a daies study is lost, for is there any excellency to the saving Image of God stampt on the heart?

Wee are hence to be exhorted to chuse the Lord Vse 4. To chuse the Lord for our God. for our God, when you heare hee is so mercifull a God; for no man ever served the Lord, but he first made choyce of him to be his Master. Every man [Page 42] when he comes to yeares of discretion, and to be master of himselfe, adviseth with himselfe what course he should take, whether he should serve God or the world. Now all the Saints of God have made this distinct choyce; we will serve the Lord, and goe to no other. Moses when both stood be­fore him, the pleasures of Aegypt on the one hand, and God and his people with their afflictions on the other, hee chose the latter before the former, Heb. 11. 25. So David sayth he did, I have chosen the way of truth, thy Iudgements have I laid before Heb. 11. 25. mee, Psal. 119. 30. for to chuse, is, when a thing lyes before a man, and hee considers and takes it. Psal. 119. 30 So Ioshua, I and my house will serve the Lord. Now I exhort you, that seeing you are to make some choyce, that seeing God is such a God, so exceed­ing mercifull, that you would make this choyce, let him be your God; for what moves a man to make choyce of one course of life rather then another? the ground of it is some happinesse that he seekes: when men consider what makes most for their hap­pinesse, that they will chuse.

Now if men were perswaded that to chuse God Happinesse in chusing God. were the best way for happinesse, they could not but chuse him; and surely if God be so exceeding kind and mercifull a God, their chiefest happinesse cannot but be found in him alone; and surely there is no husband, no friend so loving as he, no father so kind as he, so tender hearted; he goes beyond all the sonnes of men, for love and tendernesse and kindnesse: for if there be any kindnesse in any man or woman, the Lord hath put it in him. That na­turall [Page 43] [...] and affection in Parents, &c. is not a drop to that Ocean, not as a beame to the Sunne, to what is in him; And if the kindnesse in them be an excellency, then surely it is in him; And if the Lord hath commanded us to be amiable, and full of bow­ells and goodnesse, and easie to be entreated, as being a part of that his image, and that holy frame of heart which ought to be in us, is it not then much more in himselfe? but that I may not urge a bare exhor­tation Motives to chuse God. without some reason; Consider how merci­full the Lord hath beene to us, and how gracious he is to them that make choyce of him: for first hee giveth them the comfort of his presence, and there is no comfort like that. For joy and comfort is no­thing Ioy what. else but the agreeablenesse of a thing to a mans minde, applicatio convenientis convenienti: Now there is nothing that better agreeth with mans minde then the presence and face of God; for lusts and pleasures are the diseases of the soule, and the pleasures that agree to them, are the destruction of it. Besides, when thou art reconciled to him, thou art out of all debt and danger, he will set thy soule at rest, that was rest lesse before; And besides when thou hast the Lord to be thy God, thou hast one to whom thou maiest goe, and unbosome thy selfe, to advise withall, when thou canst not g [...] to any in the world; one thou maist fetch comfort from, when thou seest no comfort any where else; thou maist runne to him as to a refuge, when thou art overwhelmed with oppositions, slanders and ill reports; and besides all this, and the glory which we shall have in heaven, consider what there is that [Page 44] thy heart can desire, that hee will not doe for thee; If thou hast any businesse to doe, God will doe it better for thee, then thou canst for thy selfe, the Lord workes all our workes in us, and for us, Esay 26. 12. Isay 26. 12. Art thou a Scholler, and hast studies to bring to perfection? a Tradesman, and hast enterprises to bring to passe? art in straights? he will be entrea­ted of thee to doe all for thee, if thou go to him, and hee will bring it better to passe then thou canst with all thy policie.

Againe, Art thou fallen into poverty, into sicknes, into disgrace? thou shalt finde him exceeding kind, when thou art sicke, he will be carefull and watch­full over thee, this David acknowledges, Psal. 31. 7. Psal. 31. 7. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy, for thou hast con­sidered my trouble, and hast knowne my soule in adver­sities: When others overlook and forget thee in ad­versity, as the Butler did Ioseph, he will not, but take care of thee. Againe, if thou beest persecuted, and hast enemies to deale with (as who hath not that li­veth godlily? so that (as David saith of himselfe) My soule is among Lions; yet thou shalt find God stand by thee, as he did by S. Paul, to del ver thee out of the mouth of those Lions: thou shalt finde him to bee as a Rocke, as a place of defence, to shield thee against them and all their incursions, so that all their plots and malice shall not hurt thee. David had often tryall of God in this. Againe, if thou doest want any thing, he hath promised to grant whatsoever thou shalt aske. But if thou shalt say, I provoke him day by day; yet know that he is exceeding kinde, and will passe by many infirmities, for hee [Page 45] knowes whereof we are made; one ill turne causeth not him, as it doth men, to forget what was done before, the Lord keepeth for us the sure mercies of Da­vid, that is, such mercies that the Lord shewed Da­vid, and not to him only, but to all his posterity, so as he will not only be a God to thee, whilst living, but when thou art dead, to thy seed also. Such a God you shall finde him; therefore take him for your God and for your husband. If men knew him they would chuse him; as Saint Paul said to Agrippa, I would that thou wert altogether as I, that is, if thou didst know him as I doe, and his service, thou wouldest not be halfe a Christian, but one al together: doe but try if thou likest not his service, thou mayest leave it. But the Saints who have ex­perience of both conditions, holding out may be an argument of his kindnesse unto all his: and this also should move us to chuse him for our master.

As the other use was to those without to chuse Vse 5. To confirm this choyce. the Lord, so this use is to all those that are already in the covenant, to exhort them to confirme them­selves in their choyce to bee more and more well perswaded of him, that so they may love the Lord more and more, and cleave faster to him. One that is married may love her husband well, and yet by seeing more and more the excellencies that are in her husband, shee may bee more confirmed in her choyce: In all afflictions labour to thinke well of God, and ill of your selves. This was the praise of David, hee alwayes laboured to extoll God in all, and still hold this conclusion, yet God is good to Is­rael: we are apt to faile much this way, we are rea­dy [Page 46] to thinke that God deales hardly with us and his people: but wee must learne to correct this er­rour, and to have a good conceit of him, to labour to extoll his mercy. But this we will not doe, till we see these two things: First Gods exceeding great kindnesse: Secondly, our exceeding rebellions: you looke onely to Gods dealings, and so are rea­dy to thinke that God hath dealt hardly with you, but never thinke how abominable your carriages have beene to him. But learne to think, that how­ever he is a God full of bowels even in your worst condition, and that you have deserved worse at his hands, that he is exceeding kinde: labour to thinke of this for your selves and also for the Church. God hath beene mercifull to it in all ages, and is so still; so he saith, I have beene her habitation (that is, a house for the Church to dwell safely in) from one generation to another, from Abrahams time to the time they were in Aegypt, and there I was their ha­bitation, and so in the wildernesse, and so in all the times under the Iudges, and so to our times, look on the Church when it was in the worst condition, take the Church of God, even when it deemed to bee cut off, as in that great massacre in France, yet then was the Lord an habitation to it, a company was kept alive, that grew greater than the former. So the Church in Queen Maries time, he suffered the storme to overtake them a little, but it was soone blowen over, he was an habitation to keep off the storm from destroying them, and so he hath been, and will be to Bohemia and the Palatinate, but so he hath beene found to be to our Church above all the [Page 47] rest, for our Nation hath beene like Gideons Fleece; when all others about us, have beene wet and wal­lowed in bloud, we have been dry: therfore labour to see how good God is, and how base we are, and take heed of abusing his kindnesse, lest he make this Nation wet with bloud, when all others shall be dry, and we come to have warre, when all the rest have peace: the way to continue his favours is to remember them, and to humble our selves before him in thankfullnesse. Thus much of this Doctrine.

The next may be this third Doctrine:

The Lords Name is called upon his people, that is, Doct. 3. The Lords Name cal­led upon his People. they are called by his Name: for the opening of this point, we must know first, that it is the Lord that putteth his name upon them; for who durst take this honour, but those upon whom the Lord him­selfe pleaseth to bestow it? this is no small thing; where God puts his name, it brings something with it.

So as secondly, it is not an emptie title, Titulus sine re, but there is a reality in it; for where God 2 gives his Name to any man or people, there he be­stowes himselfe, and all he hath is theirs, because they are Gods, 1 Cor. 3. ult. As an husband when 1 Cor. 3. ult. hee bestowes his name upon his wife, then he also giveth himselfe to her. Now in the Scripture the Lords name and the Lord himselfe are put one for another, so that it is no small priviledge to have the Lords Name called upon us.

And to open this further; let us consider, who they are yet that are called by anothers name a­mongst men.

[Page 48] First, wives are called by the name of their hus­bands.

Secondly, children by the name of their Pa­rents.

Thirdly, Temples are called by their names to whom they are dedicated.

Lastly, they that addict themselves to some man to follow his opinion, are called by his name. As the Platonists, Aristotelians, Ramists, &c. from their masters.

In the same respects, those that are called by Gods Name are such as are married to him, and that are borne of him (for they are his children) and all such as are his Temples dedicated to his ser­vice. Lastly, all such as are addicted to follow him; as Ioshua was, who said, I and my house will serve the Lord, and as Iacob was, thou shalt be my God, and I will serve thee; all these are called by the name of the Lord, and the Lord is called by their names: so he is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Iacob, &c. so that it s [...]mes that there is (as it were) a cer­taine match betweene them, a mutuall agreement and relation, as there is betweene a husband and a wife, a father and a sonne; so if thou beest one who is married to Christ, and hee hath changed thy heart, and begotten thee anew by his word, and art dedicated to his service as his Temple; then thou art called by his Name.

And the only reason of this is, because he hath Reas. Because of Gods choyce. chosen thee, there is no other; when hee cast his eyes upon all the earth, he chose thee out, to have his Name called on thee; as it is said of the Tem­ple [Page 49] at Ierusalem, that he chose that place rather then any other, to put his Name there: and there is the same reason why his Name is called upon a whole Church; as when he looked on Europe, he chose out the reformed Churches to put his Name there; and where the Lord puts his name, there he dwels, so as the one is put for the other, either to say, he chose a place to dwell in, or that his name is called upon it, they are all one. There are two places where God Isa. 57. 15. dwelleth, Isa. 57. 15. Thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose Name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, &c. The highest heavens and the lowest hearts are Gods chiefest dwelling places. He hath indeed other places, he dwelleth elsewhere, but in these two he manifesteth a peculiarity of his presence, and that peculiarity is of the presence of his grace and comfort; for he saith in the same vers. to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones; hee reveales himselfe to these, and his secrets, which are hid from all the rest, and hee fills their hearts with joy and com­fort.

If we be such as beare the Name of God, then Vse 1. To learne Obe dience. let us learne to be obedient unto him, to give up our selves unto him; for so much is intimated by this, that we are called by his Name, and therefore we are said in Scripture to bee baptized into the Name of Iesus Christ; that is, we doe by our baptisme pro­fesse thus much, that we give our selves to his ser­vice; for to beare his Name is to beare our owne names no more, that is, our owne natures no more. [Page 50] A man that is called by the Name of the Lord is no more sui juris, his owne man: As a man that giveth himselfe to serve another, how much hee serveth himselfe, so much hee wrongeth that man And the reason why a wife leaves her owne name, it is to shew that shee is to give up her selfe to the obedience of her husband, shee is not mistresse of her selfe, not free, shee depends on her husband as the Ivie on the tree, shee hath no root of her owne to rest on, but dependeth on him. So wee having taken the Name of the LORD upon us, wee must thinke that wee are no longer free, wee leave We are not to serve our selves. our owne names, wee must have no more root of our selves, but of the Lord; we must have no will of our owne, his will must be ours: therefore, yee that beare the Name of the Lord, let it not bee in profession onely, but doe that thing which the Name requireth, that is, follow no more your selves but follow GOD. A Wife before had the name of her father, but when shee is married, as she leaves that name, so she leaves father and mother also to cleave to her husband; if her Parents com­mand one thing, and her husband another, shee leaves her father and mother and cleaves to her hus­band: so as leaving father and mother, implies lea­ving to beare affection to them, in comparison to her husband, and thus must you doe to Christ, as you have it in Luke 14. 26. If thou wouldest bee matched to the Lord, thou must be divorced from Luk. 14. 26. all things else in the world, from every thing that is very neare and deare to thee: father and mother, sonnes and daughters are deare, but you must hate [Page 51] them all for Christs sake, or you can not be his Disciples: yea, he that is married to the Lord, must hate and deny his owne soule; when his owne soule desires one thing, and Christ another, he must deny it and be divorced from himselfe, and take no roote from The neare­nesse of our relation to God. himselfe, but from the Lord, because he is able to sustaine him. Wives are not bound to destroy themselves for their husbands, but this bond is nearer, therefore Ephes. 5. 31, 32. this neere con­junction Ephes. 5. 31, 32. betweene man and wife is made but as a shadow of that betweene Christ and his Church, who is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, verse 30. And as for this cause they leave father and mother, as the Apostle sayes, verse 31. so for this cause must wee leave all to cleave to Christ and bee subject to him, as verse 24. that is, our will must be subject verse 24. to the Lords. As if thou hast such a journey to go, say, yea but what sayes my husband to it? thus Saint Iames teacheth us to speake, Iam. 4. I will goe Iames 4. into such a City (if God will) so in other businesse, say, if the Lord will (to whom I am married) I will doe it, else not: and you have reason for it, because Christ loves us as his Spouse and body: by this union we are one flesh with him, yea one spirit, and no man hates his owne flesh, saith the Apostle there; though a man hath all the imperfections in his bo­dy that may be, soares and biles, &c. yet he hates not his owne flesh, but laboureth partly to cover those wounds and imperfections, and to heale them, if he can, for it is his owne body; So doth the Lord love you, if you have taken him to bee your husband; you have reason therefore never to [Page 52] forsake him. And if any should object and say, I am a sinfull wretch, an unfit match for him; Con sider that yet being his, he will cover your imper­fections with his righteousnesse, as a man covers his sores from the view of others; and he will wash you from your corruptions. As if a man have a sore arme, he doth not only cover it, but also wash­eth it, and heales it, because it is a member of his. So sayeth the Apostle there, hee hath washed his Church with his owne bloud. And this the Apostle S. Paul calleth a great mystery: as if hee had said, great things are now revealed therein to you, and worth your considering: why therefore should wee not give up our selves to him? a Wife may object a­gainst her husband and say, another ones husband is more wise, more kind, but thou canst say nothing against him. Consider this, and let it not only be as a notion in your heads, but let it sink down into your hearts: And let the Name of the Lord not onely be upon you, but also in you. As we have it in Exod. 23. 21. spoken of the Angel that went with them in the wildernesse; my Name is in him. My Exod. 23. 21 Name is not only upon him, so that he is not only called my Angel, but my Name is also in him, that is, he is so affected as I am, he hates sinne as I doe, and therefore will punish it in you, and loves what is good as I doe. So let the Lords Name bee in you, that is, labour to be of the same mind and dis­position that God is of, to have a heart after his heart, to be affected as he is, labour to be thus minded, and you shall be the Glory of the Lord, as the Wife is the glory of her husband, as shee is called, 1 Cor. 11. 7. 1 Cor. 7. 11. [Page 53] because when shee behaves her selfe wisely and vertuously, those that see her doe commend her The wife the glory of the hus­band how. husband: Therefore so behave thy selfe in the world, so shew thy selfe like thy husband, that thou bee his Glory, shew forth the vertues of Christ, as the Apostle hath it in 1 Peter 2. 9. A man 1 Pet. 2. 9 must so behave himselfe, as the Image of God may appeare in him; and then he shall be his glory, as a wife when she carries herself as the image of her husband, so as his wisdome and vertues appeare in her, then she is his glory. Consider this seriously; you are called by Gods Name; if you make this but an empty title, then you shall have but an emp­ty benefit by it: but if in earnest you cleave to him, and follow him, then he is yours and you his, and all that is his is yours.

If at any time you sinne against God, this should Vse 2. To humble our selves having sin­ned. be a great motive to humble your selves the more, that you should sin against him whose Name you beare, to whom thou hast given up thy name, and made a vow and promise to obey him. Thus learn to aggravate your sin, for it doth aggravate it; and this use also I make for the day. There is a dou­ble Humiliati­on double. humiliation; one comes from selfe love, and that sometimes makes way for grace, but is not grace: but there is another that comes from a ten­der affection and love to God and Christ; for when a man loves one, he desires to please him, and there­fore when hee displeaseth him, it grieveth him: And this is such a humiliation, as is required of us on these days of Fasting, therefore labour to worke your hearts to this.

[Page 54] Now there is nothing will worke our hearts kindly to be humbled more then love: and neere­nesse Love hum­bleth. will surely make us love GOD: for why doth the wife love the husband, and the husband the wife, but because they are neare one to another? Now when the Name of the LORD is called upon us, it is an argument that wee are neare unto him; therfore let that soften thy heart, that thou should­est carry thy selfe unworthy of this nearenesse. That was that which smote the heart of David, when he considered how kind and loving the Lord had beene to him; the LORD himselfe when hee comes to humble his people, hee taketh this course with them, to [...]ell them of the nearenesse that is betweene them and himselfe, as is plaine in Ier. 2. 2, 3. Thus saith the LORD, I remember thee, Ier. 2. 2, 3. that is, put thee in mind of the kindnesse of thy youth, that is, which I shewed thee in thy youth, the love of thy Espousalls, when, &c. Now when wee see the LORD take this course, we should take the same; when he would humble David, he sent Na­than to humble him, this was one part of his mes­sage to tell him of GODS kindnesse to him, 2 Sam. 12. 7, 8. thus saith the LORD, I annointed thee King 2 Sam. 12. 7 8. over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul, &c. And this doubtlesse was the chiefest cause that made him confesse and say, I have sinned against the LORD, as it is in Psal. 51. he repeats (a­gainst thee) twice, there lies the Emphasis, I have Psalme. 51. sinned against thee, against thee have I sinned, that wounded him in a manner alone, that there was so great a nearenesse betwixt the LORD and him. [Page 55] When a man commits a sin, there are two things to be considered in it; first in that he sinnes against Two things in sinne. the Law of GOD, and so hee sees a great obliquity in sin; when he lookes on sin and the streight Law of GOD, he sees a deformity in it; but this alone doth not humble us in that kindly manner; this will make us vile in our owne eyes, this will make us to see a wonderfull deformity in our selves: but now there is another thing to be seene in sinne, and that is the person against whom we commit it, and that is the LORD, and sinne so looked upon comes to have another relation put upon it, not onely as an obliquity and deformity, but as an injury, as a re­bellion, an unkindnesse, recompensing evill for good. The first way sinne is considered as an obli­quity from a straight rule; but in this latter, as a­gainst the Person of GOD, as against thy hus­band.

Now therefore to humble thee, doe thus; Goe Way to hu­miliation. through all the particular dealings of GOD with thee, remember all the speciall kindnesses of the LORD, his keeping thee from thy youth, his many deliverances, how many special kindnesses he hath done thee, recount his mercies every Fast-day; and when thou hast done this, then go to thy sinnes and say: These are not only transgressions against GODS streight Law, but also, they are unkindnesses and injuries against his Person; and adde to all this the consideration of the patience of GOD: though I have plaid the wretch and harlot as never any have done, yet he hath been patient, and is so kind, as he bids me yet to returne, and this will cause thy heart [Page 56] to melt towards him: labour to doe this more and more.

There is an exercise of Humiliation which is done after this manner, spoken of, by seeing the Lords kindnesse to thee, and thy injury against him, and comparing the one with the other. But thou wilt say, I would faine do it, but I cannot, my heart is hard, and I cannot get it thus melted. Therefore I say, exercise thy selfe to this. The reason mens Cause of hardnesse of heart. hearts are thus hard, &c. is, because men are idle, not willing to recount Gods mercies to them. Say not thy heart is hard, but thou art sluggish, this ther­fore you ought to doe especially at this time. In Levit. 23. 29. there was a time set apart for the Israelites, for the performance of this duty of hu­miliation, Levit. 23. 29 and it was to bee their exercise that day, they were then to labour to afflict their soules; such as did not, were to bee cut off from among his people. And this consideration, that wee are called by the name of the Lord, is a meanes to doe it.

But you will say, I have done this, and yet my Object. heart is hard still.

It may be so indeed, and your heart not softned, Answ. 1 God ac­cepteth en­deavours. but yet this I say; First for thy comfort, that if thou continue doing this, the Lord accepteth it; but if thou dost it not, thy bloud shall bee upon thine own head: we require that thou shouldst only labour to doe it, and the Lord will accept it, though thou art not able to soften thine heart: And secondly, know for thy comfort also, that God will joyne 2 Hel pes them. with thee, if thou labour thus with thy heart, and send the spirit of humiliation on thee; as the Disci­ples, [Page 57] though they rowed all night, yet CHRIST came at the last, so though thou toilest many dayes, and makest no proficiency (as thou thinkest) yet know, that God at length will come and help thee, and that because he hath commanded thee to doe this, he will not suffer you to be doing that alwayes in vaine, which he commandeth, and therefore hee will come: but that you may have the more ground Promises of Gods helpe. Luk 11. 13. for this, remember that you have many promises made of Gods helpe; as in Luk 11. 13. If yee then, being evill, know how to give good gifts unto your chil dren, &c. You shall never alone, of your selves, bee able to soften your hearts without the Holy Ghost, but continue knocking, and the Lord will give you the Holy Ghost, though you bee but strangers. So that every man may come to God and say; Lord thou hast made such a promise, thou canst not goe from thy word, and therefore deny me not; and bee earnest with God, and hee cannot deny thee. The woman of Canaan was not a Iew, yet shee having this ground, that hee was the Messias, she would not bee put off, therefore doe thou so, and thou shalt in the end finde that thy heart is softned: and the longer thou waitest, the greater measure thou shalt have of the spirit; and when thou hast him, hee shall humble thy heart, as in Zach. 12. 10. I will poure upon the house of Da­vid, and upon the inhabitants of Ierusalem, the spirit of Zach. 12. 1 [...] grace and supplications, and they shall looke upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourne for him as one mourneth for an onely sonne. The people of Israel were here exhorted to mourne, and to sepa­rate [Page 58] themselves, and to doe it every family apart. The businesse was the same that you are to doe e­very fast-day. Now sayes GOD, if you seeke me aright, you must have the spirit; and sayes GOD, I will doe my part, I will poure on you the spirit of bowells, for so the word may be translated. The The Spirit workes hu­miliation. Iob 42. meaning of it is this, that when the Spirit of God is thus upon you, you will bee tenderly affected to the Lord, even as a mother toward her child: then saith hee, they shall looke upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourne for him, as one mourneth for his only sonne, and be in bitternesse for him, that is, you shall then remember your rebellions, and the remembrance of them shal be bitter to your soules, as bitter things are to your tast: so it was with Iosi­ah: the reason why his heart melted, and he wept when he heard the booke of the Law read, was be­cause he had the spirit of bowells, which every one of us should have: So Iob, Now I have seene thee, I abhorre my selfe, Iob 42. he was not thus before; he Iob. 42. was a holy man, but this was a new worke: for says he, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the eare, but now my eye sees thee. He was enlightened anew; as it were, the spirit shined into his heart with a new light: I have beene in a myst all this while in com­parison; but now mine eye hath seene thee, and I have an experimentall feeling of thee, now I abhor my selfe. It is a hard thing to abhorre a mans selfe thus, which then a man doth, when Gods Spirit with a new light enableth a man to see Gods love and kindnesse, and his owne unkindnesse in their colours.

[Page 59] If the Lords Name be called upon us, we should Vse 3. Not to pol­lute Gods Name. learne hence to keepe his Name faire, to keepe it pure and unspotted: As it was said of Saint Paul, he was a chosen vessell to carry Gods Name; and there­fore it behooves them to take heed how it bee pol­luted by them, or they give occasion that it be blas­phemed; for the evill committed by you reflects vpon the Name of the Lord. A small thing is a great matter in you: one fly corrupts a box of oynt­ment, but many flies in a barrell of Pitch or Tarre, are counted nothing; so many sinnes in a wicked man, redound not so much to the dishonour of Gods Name, as one in the Saints. When a Saint doth a thing that is uncomely, hee polluteth the Name of the Lord, not that it can be polluted in it self, but it seemes so to other men. Before men are regenerate, their sinnes are as blots upon a table, before a Picture be drawne upon it, which are not Simile regarded of any; but after it is drawne, the least blot is seene of every one: So it is when men are but strangers to God; the sinnes which they com­mit, reflect not to the disgrace of God: but when Gods Image is renewed in a man, then these sinnes are more taken notice of, and cause the Name of God to be blasphemed of his enemies.

This should teach us, not to be ashamed of God Vse 4. Not to be a­shamed to professe Gods name. and the profession of his Name: for shall the Lord not be ashamed of us, as he shewes he is not, when he is willing to put his Name upon us; and shall we be ashamed of him? it is an unreasonable and an un­equall thing for a child to be ashamed of his father, for a wife to bee ashamed of her husband, and so [Page 60] for us to be ashamed of the Lord, whose Name we beare.

This is the rather to bee spoken of, because it is a fault very common amongst us, that we doe not take notice of.

But the most will say, we are not ashamed of re­ligion, but wee account it rather a glory to bee ac­counted Object. Christians.

Give mee leave to examine you by these two Answ. 1 Men asha­med of the power of re ligion. Questions. First, are you not ashamed of the stri­ctest ways of religion? There is a common course of Religion, that you need not be ashamed of, be­cause all are for it, and commend it; but yet there are some speciall acts of Religion that men cast shame upon, such was that act of David, when he daunced before the Arke, which seemed absurd in Michals eyes for a King to doe; yet he said, I will be yes more vile: some of the wayes of God give a more peculiar distaste to wicked men, and there is a shame cast upon the power of Religion, by reason that the multitude goeth another way. Now what is singular, that shame is cast upon: as in any Simile. thing, let the multitude have never so ill favoured a fashion, it is no shame, whereas if a few others weare a garment farre more comly, but different from the fashion, yet it would be a shame to them; so it is here, there is shame cast upon holinesse and sincerity, because the multitude is not holy, for ho­ly men are like the gleanings after the harvest, or like the grapes after the vintage, exceeding few, and not e­now to bring godlinesse into fashion: Therefore if thou wouldst know whether thou art ashamed of [Page 61] God or no, try whether you be ashamed of any the peculiar acts of Religion, upon which shame is usu­ally cast among men.

The second question I would aske is this: are 2 Before wicked men you ashamed of God, or any taske or duty, or his people among those where the shame will doe you some hurt? consider whether you are not ashamed of Religion among sinners; it is an expression put in for some cause, in Mark. 8. 38. Whosoever shall be Mark. 8. 38. ashamed of me: and my words in this adulterous genera­tion, &c. As if he should have said, it may be you would not be ashamed of me among Saints; but he that is ashamed of mee among the worst of men, and in a dangerous time, in such a time as when it is ignominious to be a Christian (as it was then) of that man will I be ashamed in the day of the Re­surrection. You must therefore try your selves, what you do before wicked men, and what you do before great men, when it is some losse to you to professe CHRIST, or any truth of H [...]s; and know that this is not a small matter: We must pro­fesse CHRIST in our times, wee must make the word of God the rule of our lives. Perhaps wee thinke that so long as our hearts are right, and so, that we runne not out into evill wayes with others, the matter of profession is but a small change, that is but as the leaves of godlinesse; if GOD have the fruit, what need we care for the leaves? But re­member that in Rom. 10. 10. With the heart man be­lieveth Rom. 10. 10. unto righteousnesse, and with the mouth confessi­on is made unto salvation: This will damne many of us, the want of profession, as well as the greatest [Page 62] sinnes. The Scripture is peremptory; wee must Outward profession is required. professe Gods Name at all times, even then when we shall doe it with the danger of our lives. You know that Daniel did so, in danger of his life, and it was not a needlesse matter, but it was in a matter that concerned his life. But that you may doe this the more willingly, consider why men are ashamed of this profession, why? because men doe speake evill of you, but is this a good reason? No, for they Why men are asham'd of professi­on. doe so out of their ignorance, as it is in 1 Pet. 4. 4. wherein they thinke it strange, that you run not with them into the same excesse of riot, speaking evill of you. But if they knew the ground of your actions, they would not speake evill of you. They see your acti­ons, but your rules and principles that you goe by in these actions, they know not: and therefore they speake evill of you. And shall we be discouraged for this? What if a Geometrician should be drawing of lines and figures, and there should come in a Country man and seeing him should laugh at him, would the Geometrician leave off his art for his de­rision? surely no, for hee knowes hee laughs at him out of his ignorance, because hee knowes not the art and the grounds thereof: and is it not as great a folly for us to be ashamed of godlinesse, be­cause men that understand it not, speake evill of it! surely it is. And therefore remember Davids two reasons, when he did that act for which he was re­viled by his wife. I did it for the Lord that chose me: as if he should have said, the Lord deserved it, hee loved and chose me, therefore I did it. So this is thy case: The Lord hath chosen thee, when hee [Page 63] hath passed by many thousands of others, therefore doe it for the Lord. And another reason of Davids was, it makes for my honour in the eyes of those that are good, 2 Sam. 6. 24. Men thinke it 2 Sam. 6. 24 brings no honour, because they shall not get any credit by it amongst men: but know thus much, when men shrinke from God, then God makes true that rule, them that dishonour me, I will dishonour: he that hath made a profession of godlinesse, and afterward falls away, God never suffers such an one to escape, but he punisheth him one way or other. Therefore Moses exhorteth the people in Deut. 4. 6. to keepe GODs Statutes and to doe Deut. 4. 6. them: for this is your wisedome, and your understand­ing in the sight of the Nations, &c. Now why should you bee backward to beare the shame that the world casteth upon you? doth not God observe all, look on, and with approbation? doth not God tell the Church of Ephesus, in Revel. 2. 2. I know thy workes, and thy labour, and thy patience, &c. When any man at any time casteth shame upon you for religion, it is a persecution which God will record, as Luther said, when any spake evill against him; this will be accounted on my reckoning at the last day, that speech is to be considered and weighed of us all. I know thy patience; therefore be not ashamed, but be bold in the profession and feare of God, do­ing those things that are glorious in the eyes of God and men that judge of things aright.

If the Name of the Lord be called upon us, this Vse 5. Comfort concerning our selves and the Church. should comfort us concerning our selves, and con­cerning the Church of GOD; for where GODs [Page 64] Name is called upon any Church, any Nation, any man, you may be sure he will defend them, for he is engaged so to doe, that his Name may not bee polluted; for the Lord is the worse spoken of, when his people suffer. Therefore thou whosoever thou art, rich or poore, be confident, God will defend thee in all thy sufferings. A man will not suffer his wife to be wronged; for saith he, she is my wife, he accounts himselfe wronged, when any injury is done to her: so God accounteth himselfe injured, when any wrong is done to thee on whom his Name is called, Esay 4. 5, 6. Although (saith the Lord) they may seeme to bee helplesse, notwith­standing Esa. 4. 5, 6. this (saith the Lord) feare not, I will create a cloud by day and a flaming fire by night: that is, though there be no meanes, yet I will worke with­out meanes. I will create them, make them of no­thing: I will be both their direction and protecti­on; for the cloud by day, and the fire by night, hath reference to that cloud that went before the Children of Israel in the wildernesse, which led them in the way, and kept them from the heate of the Sunne. For upon all the glory shall bee a defence; that is, the Churches, though they seeme never so base, yet they are glorious; for therefore they are called glorious; and not only upon one man or two, but upon all the glory, that is, every man in the Church, upon all the glory shall be a defence.

But then if this objection come, why? doe we Object. not see them afflicted? doe they not often suffer a storm; are they not often scortched with the heate of reproach?

[Page 65] Therefore, the LORD saith, as they have di­vers Answ. &c persecutions, so will I have divers meanes of helpe; and there shall bee a Tabernacle for a sha­dow in the day time for the heat, and for a place of re fuge, l [...]ke the Cities of refuge whither they fled that were pursued by the avengers of Bloud, and for a covert from a storme, and from raine. The Saints in a storme of persecution or any calamity, are as a man under a shelter; whereas all others are in the midst of the storme. Therefore be you assured, the Lord will not forsake his owne people; they are as the apple of his eye: a man may beare much, but hee will not suffer you to touch the apple of his eye; So God will suffer much, but hee will bee a­venged on them that wrong his people. Thus much for this Doctrine.

2 CHRON. 7. 14.If my People, that are called by my Name, doe humble themselves:

WEE are now come to the Conditions up­on which mercy and forgivenesse are here promised, whereof the first you see is Humiliation, If my People doe humble themselves: In the handling of which I will proceed two ways;

First Negatively, that without humiliation, and 1 [Page 66] unlesse men doe humble themselves, they can have no interest in these promises.

Secondly, Affirmatively; That if they doe hum­ble 2 themselves, then God will be mercifull to them, and forgive their sinnes.

For the handling of the first, I raise this Do­ctrine Doct. 4. Without hu miliation no mercy. out of the words: That without Humiliation no man shall obtaine mercy: Wee see that God sus­pendeth mercy upon it here, as without which no mercy can bee expected; which therefore must needs bee thought a matter of great consequence, and the more largely to be insisted upon.

I expresse the doctrine in a more large and gene­rall word humiliation, which containes in it, as well What meant by humiliation humiliation passive, or being humbled, as humiliation active (as for more cleare distinction sake I call them) whereby we humble our selves: which is the maine thing intended in the Text, explicitly and di­rectly, which also in the prosecution of this point I mainely intend; yet I shut up both together, in this negative part of this discourse: because they are, though in themselves distinct, yet alwayes conjoy­ned in their working, and the latter doth alwayes presuppose the former, and doth necessarily im­ply it here: for no man did ever come to humble himselfe, that was not first humbled. This negative part of excluding men from mercy without both these, being also alike common to both, it being a like true, that no man did ever attaine mercy, that was not first humbled, and that did not humble himselfe: So as in this negative part they agree and concurre.

[Page 67] Againe, though that affirmative part mentioned is proper to that humiliation active, the promises of interest in mercy being made to them that humble themselves, and not to all that are humbled: there being many that are much humbled, who yet ob­taine not mercy; yet I joyne both together in this first part chiefly; because as they are conjoyned in their working, so they must necessarily bee in the explication of them; for we cannot come distinct­ly to know and finde out what it is to humble our selves (which is the thing I principally ayme at) without knowing what it is to be humbled, the one beginning where the other ends: the one being a preparative to the other. That therefore wee may see how farre the one and the other goes, and how they are distinguished, we will shut both up in this first doctrine.

Now in handling this Doctrine we will do two things.

First, shew that men must be humbled and hum­ble 1 themselves, ere they can come to have interest in these promises.

We will shew what it is to humble a mans selfe 2 and to be humbled.

For the first, this place alone is sufficient ground. 1 Necessity of humilia­tion. GOD would not have put in such a condition in vaine, if it might have beene spared in any, but be­sides this ground wee have the practise of all the master builders, who made it their first worke (as here it is the first condition) to humble men, that they might bee brought to humble them­selves: And to omit all other instances, wee [Page 68] have all the three Persons seales to this me­thod.

This was GOD the Fathers method in the first Sermon that ever was preached (which him­selfe Humiliati­on required 1 By God the Father. also preached) as a patterne for all Ministers to follow. And when hee would draw Adam and Eve in to seeke the promise of mercy, he first expostulates the matter with them, to humble them for their sin: and then lets fall the promise of the Messias.

And secondly, JESUS CHRIST the second 2 God the Sonne. Person in his first Sermons in Preaching the Go­spell, as in Luk. 4. 7. shewes his approbation of Luk. 4. 4. this method in that hee makes this his first subject of his first Sermon, us appeares by the text hee takes to preach the Gospell, but to whom? to those that are first humble and humbled. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospell to such as are poore and broken in heart.

And the same order, the Holy Ghost the third Person was foretold by Christ, that when hee was 3 God the Holy Ghost come, hee would observe in working upon mens hearts by the ministery of the Apostles, &c. Iohn 16. 8. He shall convince the world of sin: for humili­ation, Ioh. 16. 8. [...] that is his first worke, then of righteousnesse, for justification: lastly of Iudgement; that is, that sanctification which persons justified are to have wrought in them; We come now to the explicati­on and reasons of this point, which shall be,

To shew the necessity of this humillation to the other that follow. 1

[Page 69] Of the order of it, as it is here placed the first 2 of all the rest.

For the first, it is true indeed, that the Lord might Reas. 1. From the necessity of it. bring men home to him without this humiliation. Hee could doe as he did at the first creation, say no more, but let there be light, and there would be light, and that without any of this thunder, he might say, Let there be grace, and there would be grace; hee could come in the still voyce without renting the Rockes, and say no more but, Open yee everlasting doores, lift up your heads yee gates, and they would be open; but as though hee might have brought the Children of Israel out of Aegypt into the Land of Canaan, without leading them through the Wil­dernesse, yet his good pleasure was thereby rather to humble them and prove them; so it is here.

And the reasons of this necessitie may bee drawne from the relation, and respect which this humiliation hath both to the other conditions that follow, and all that is promised here in the Text: unto which we will fit the reasons that follow.

As first, without this men will not seeke out 1 The relati­on it hath to the other conditions. for and come unto CHRIST: they will not seeke His Face, that is, His Person: The Laweis our Schoole-Master to bring us to CHRIST, by humbling us: men would not come in to Him unless they were driven; men would not seek Him unlesse 1 Seeking for Christ. they themselves were first lost; men would not re­ceive Him unless they were first humbled; the poore receive the Gospell; the poore in spirit.

It is necessary in respect of receiving and seek­ing for mercy and pardon, and forgivenesse, which 2 Seeking mer [...]cy. [Page 70] is the maine thing here promised, I will bee merci­full to their sinnes, for untill then our propounding pardon and the promises of it, and inviting men to come in would bee all but lost labour: for untill then, men would give us that answer, and the pro­mises the same entertainement, which they did that were invited to the Marriage Feast, Matthew 22. 5, 6. The text sayes they made light of it, and so Mat. 22. 5, 6 wee finde by experience, that when wee preach the great things of the Gospell; as Justification, and remission of sinnes, men account them as a small thing, and set light by them: and the reason is, because they are not humbled; men other­wise would not prize CHRIST nor the promise of the pardon by him (as Manna was not prized by the Israelites) nor his righteousnesse, by which they are to bee forgiven: a man happily would be content to have CHRISTS righteousnesse, as a bridge to goe upon to Heaven, but hee will not prize it as Paul did, who was ambitious of nothing so much as to bee found in CHRIST, not having his owne righteousnesse, but that which is by faith, ac­counting all things in himselfe and out of himselfe drosse and dung in comparison of it; but a man un­humbled will not set this high prce upon it, and God wil not have his Jewels, much lesse Christ and pardon of sinne cast away at randome to those who shall not value them; but when a man shall see the badnesse of his nature, the multitudes of his parti­cular sins, and see that in his heart he never thought had beene there, and stand amazed at them, then to have such a righteousnesse as shall perfectly cover [Page 71] all these sinnes, this he will thinke a great matter. So it was to Saint Paul, when he saw himselfe the greatest of sinners. And when a man thus sees his particular sores and diseases, and something in Christs righteousnesse to answer them all; as Christs patience to answer his impatience, Christs Christs righteous­nesse not e­steemed by men un­humbled. love to stand for his hatred, Christs holinesse of na­ture to cover his uncleannesse, he will then begin to esteeme every Iewell in that Cabinet, for he knowes he could not spare one part of that righteousnesse, he sees a glorious righteousnesse to cloath and co­ver his nakednesse from top to toe, and this makes him prize it and every part of it, which a man un­humbled will not do; and as he would not esteeme the imputed righteousnesse of Christ, so nor inhe­rent righteousnesse from him, whereby he should be enabled to turne from his evill waies; but when a man sees and knowes what a heart he hath, how false, how full of sinnes, and empty of grace, and what strong lusts are there, then when he shall finde the contrary graces wrought in him, hee prizeth them highly, and Christ for them, because they are the pretious guifts of Christ, for he knowes and acknowledgeth they are the sole worke of Christ, because in his nature dwelleth no good thing. And why else doth God after conversion suffer his peo­ple to fall into sinne, and into variety of temptati­ons, but that they might be more humbled still, and so know the worth of Christ herein?

It is required men should be humbled, because Reas. 3. No turning else from our evill wayes. else they will not actually turne from their evill wayes, nor bee obedient to Christ in all things in [Page 72] their lives. An unbroken heart is like an untamed horse, that will not indure the bridle, and be gui­ded by it, like an untamed Heifer that will not goe Simile. with the yoake; such a man that God may command him what he will, but he will doe what he list: but when the heart is broken and humbled once, then as Saint Paul trembling sayd, Acts 9. he will say Act [...]. also; Lord, what wilt thou have me doe? I will doe what thou wilt, yea, and suffer what thou wilt; call me to suffer, for thee.

If this question had been asked Saint Paul before he was thus humbled, he would have given another answere: before, God may bid us doe what hee will, but wee as stubborne servants will doe what we thinke good: wee are proud and unbroken, and pride is the cause of all disobedience, and therefore it is sayd, High thoughts must bee east downe, that Pride the cause of disobedi­ence. exalt themselves against the knowledge of God; ere eve­ry thought can be brought into the obedience of Christ. 2 Corin. 10. 5. They exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and His will; for when His will 2 Cor. 5. 10. is knowne, the heart yields not still: when the LORD commands any thing, as to take heede of evill company, to have a care of their speeches, whilest men are unhumbled, they are ready to ex­postulate the matter, and in the end will doe no­thing at all: but when a man is humbled, and the high thoughts cast downe, then hee brings every thought and affection (that exalted it selfe before) into the obedience of Christ. And as all disobedi­ence is from pride and stubbornnesse of the will, so all obedience is from humility; when the heart [Page 73] is humbled, it is made pliable to God, Esay 66. 2. Esay 66. 2. I will looke to him that is contrite, and trembleth at my words; they are both there joyned: that is, when he heareth any command from me, he is afraid to breake it, afraid of admitting the very occasions of sinning: A man that hath beene scorched with the fire dares not easily meddle with it againe, and the reason is, it makes a man choose the Lord freely for his Husband and Lord, and from thence followes kinde obedience to Him.

Hee that hath made the choyce himselfe will serve, else not; but hee will condemne himselfe, that he should make a choyce so unsuitable to him; and it also teacheth a man to set an high price upon CHRIST, and forgivenesse of sinnes, as you heare; and that will set all thy desires on worke, and cause thee to refuse no obedience, whether active or passive: For, what is the reason men obey their lusts, but because they prize pleasures, have an high esteeme of honours, &c. and the same effect will the prizing of CHRIST have in thee, to do any thing for Him, so as thou shalt not count thy life deare, for Him.

They would not doe all this constantly and for Reas. 4. Else there would not be constan­cy. ever, if they should come to Christ and be obedi­ent for a while (as Iohns hearers and Herod was) yet they would returne unto their vomit againe: and not stay with Him if they were not humbled, they might come in, as those hearers (signified by the se­cond and third ground) did, who received the seed with joy, and as those of whom it is sayd, Christ would not commit himself to them, but stay with [Page 74] him, men will not unlesse they be humbled: For unlesse a man be brought to part with al for Christ, and to sell all, he will in the end repent of his bar­gaine; if there bee a reservation of any thing, the time will come he will goe backe, and start aside like a broken Bowe; and untill a man be throughly humbled, he will not be brought to part with all for CHRIST; he that is humbled, he onely is the Merchant-like minded man, who sells all hee hath and goes away rejoycing, is glad at the heart that hee hath Christ though with the losse of the whole world; he is willing to take Christ upon all conditions, with losses and crosses, and to deny himselfe in every thing; for he knowes the bitter­nesse of sin, and so sets such a price upon Christ as if the bargaine were to make againe, he would doe as hee had done, but the other what he hath done in a fit, he repents him of afterwards, and therefore true repentance (which godly sorrow and true humilia­tion worketh) is called repentance never to be repented of, 2 Cor. 7. 10. Other sorrow than Godly may 2 Cor. 7. 10 worke a repentance, but it is such as men afterwards repent of.

Men are soone weary of the yoke of CHRIST. because they have not felt how grievous the yoke of sin and Sathan is, but to one who hath felt the burthen of sin, the yoke of CHRIST is easie and sweete.

The last Reason hath relation to the last thing Reas. 5. God should not have the praise of his mer­cy. here promised, of taking away the Iudgements and healing the Land. God should not have the praise of his Iudgements and of his Mercy in taking them [Page 75] away, unlesse men were humbled; for if when God did afflict men, he should restore them againe with­out this humiliation, men would thinke that God wronged them before, and now did but right them, but when God hath humbled them so farre, that they acknowledge his Iustice, in afflicting them, and their owne desert to be utterly destroyed, and con­fesse that it is his mere Mercy they were not consu­med, and humble themselves under his mighty hand, and now if the Iudgement be taken off, and his wrath blowne over, then they give him the praise of his Mercy and Iudgements.

Thus you see why of necessity it is required: Now let us see the reason of the order of it, why it is required thus in the first place: It is the first con­dition here: there is something in the order, and to Why humi­liation re­quired first. be said by way of reason for it, and the reason in ge­nerall is, because nothing is acceptable to God, till the heart be humbled: You may pray, which is another condition, and you may heare, &c. but all you doe is but lost labour, unlesse it come from a broken heart.

For first that is alone a fit sacrifice for God, with­out Reas. 1. No sacrifice accepted without it. Psal. 51. 16, 17. which act no sacrifice is accepted: This you may see Psalme 51. 16, 17. Thou desirest not sacrifice, else I would give it thee; thou delightest not in burnt of­ferings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and a contrite hart, oh God, thou wilt not despise. David knew that till his heart was broken, all his good deeds and all holy duties would have beene in vaine, and it is as if David should have said, Lord, before I was thus humbled and my heart thus broken (as in the begin­ning [Page 76] of the Psalme hee had expressed that it was) Thou didst desire no sacrifice of me, nor wouldst have de­lighted in no burnt offering from mee, but the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and other duties but as they come from it. This is the maine sacrifice, and with out it, nothing acceptable, unlesse it be laid upon this low Altar, which sanctifies the Sacrifice.

As it is only a fit Sacrifice for God, so this only Reas. 2. It makes us Priests. makes us fit Priests to God; and before we are fit to offer a sacrifice acceptable, we must be Priests; and we become not Priests to God, till we have offered our selves first to God as a sacrifice, 2 Cor. 8. 5. and that we are not, till we our selves be slaine, and bro­ken, [...] Cor. 8. 5. and so made a sacrifice.

Nothing is accepted till the Holy Ghost dwell in the heart; and untill a man bee Humbled, the Reas. 3. Else the Spirit of God dwells not in us. Spirit of God dwells not in his heart: And there­fore what he doth till then, savours not of the Spi­rit, but a carnall heart, and so is not acceptable: Til a man is humbled, he keepes the doore shut upon the Lord and His Spirit. There is one within, his heart is full already; hee dwells in his owne heart himselfe; therefore it is said, Esa. 57. 15. That he dwells in a contrite heart, that is in it alone, for there Esay 57. 15. is only roome for him to do what he will in all the chambers of it.

Vntill a man will be obedient in all things, no thing he doth is acceptable: Hee that turnes his eare Reas. 4. It makes us obedient in all things. from the Law, his prayer shall bee abominable. Now one that is not humbled throughly, hee may bee obedient in many things, hee may pray, &c. but yet he will have by wayes of his owne, he hath not [Page 77] fully renounced himselfe, that is, not Humbled: Now unlesse a mans obedience be generall, nothing is acceptable.

And so wee come to the second thing propoun­ded what this humiliation is, and herein our maine 2 Humiliati­on what. enquiry is after that which is mainely intended in the text, What it is to humble a mans selfe. But be­cause the finding of it out depends upon the other also, wee will with it shew also what it is to be hum­bled, that so wee may the better know the true hu­miliation required of us; and for the finding out of this wee will first set before you the examples of them who have humbled themselves, and have been humbled in Scripture, and from thence gather what it is.

For this you shall finde Manasses in the 2 Chro [...]. Examples of men hum bled. 2. Chron. 33. 12. Manasses. 33. in his affliction humbling himselfe greatly, and the Lord was intreated of him, vers. 12. Like­wise wee have that of S. Paul humbled. Acts 9. 6 where we find him trembling and astonished, and saying, Lord what wil [...] thou have me doe? See ano­ther example in Acts 2. 37. of those who were The con­verts. Acts 2. 37. The Goaler Acts 16. prickt in their hearts, crying out, what shall we do to bee saved? And so of the Goaler, Acts 16. who came trembling and astonied, and would have killed himself; and likewise of the Prodigall, Luk. 15. (which Prodigall. Luk. 15. [...] though a parable, yet sets forth this condition of a soule humbled to us,) of whom it is said, that none gave unto him, and that hee came unto himselfe, &c.

Out of all these we gather those two maine parts Humiliati­on of two parts. of Humiliation mentioned; humiliation passive, and active. The first whereof makes way for the [Page 78] second, unto which no promise is made, and which may be found in an unregenerate man; the second, which is the fruit of Sanctification, which is meant here, and unto which the promise is made: These goe both together in the godly; and hee that hath the second, never wants the first in some measure more or lesse, though many have the first, that have not the second.

Now the first is nothing else but a sence of sin, and Gods wrath for it; expressed to us in those for­mer examples, by being prickt in the heart, it being a wounding of the heart and spirit.

Vnto which is joyned trembling feare, with considering and comming to a mans selfe, aswee have it in the Parable.

And this passive Legal humiliation stands in these Passive hu­miliation. particulars.

A sensiblenesse of sinne: before a man is as one [...] Sensible­nesse of sin. that is in a dead sleep; what is done to him he feeles not, nor what is said he heares not, is sensible of no­thing: But this is the awakening of a man to be sen­sible of sinne; so as now hee is wounded, now he is smitten with it, now he feeles it. So the Goaler as the foundation of the prison was shaken, so was his heart also, and had an earth-quake within, as well as one without; and his awaking out of sleepe was a resemblance of his awakened heart.

This humiliation makes a man fearefull of his e­state; whereas before he was bold: and others that 2 Feare of his estate. are not humbled goe on boldly and are punisht, as it is said of the foole in the Proverbs.

It makes a man consider his estate, which he never 3 It workes considerati­on. [Page 79] did before; as the Prodigall came to himselfe, that is, entered into a serious consideration of his estate; be­fore a man thought himselfe in a good estate; little imagined hee was in the gall of bitternesse; but this worke shewes him his poverty, and that he is alto­gether naked, and that hee hath nothing to sustaine him, as the Prodigall saw he had not, no worth at all in him.

And this first worke of humiliation is wrought 1 It is wrought by the Law. by the Law and the curse thereof; which sayes in his hearing, Cursed be he that abides not in all things to doe them.

By the Law I say, which is the rule of righteous­nesse, whereof all particular rules are branches; and by the threatnings thereof, which are all branches of that great curse. The one being as the lightning to discover sinne, the other like the thunder-bolt that strikes the heart with feare of Gods Iudgements: the one is like the Inditement, the other as the Sentence of the Judge. I put both these together, because both goe to humble a man. The Law is like the Task­masters of Egypt, that commanded the Israelites to Simile. do the worke, but gave them no straw; so the Law tells us, this and this is to bee done, and binds us to doe it, but gives us no strength, and so thereby dis­covers our sinfulnesse and unability to any good: and then as the task-masters did beate them that fai­led of their tale, so comes the curse and strikes them dead, that continue not in all things to do the Law; and these two put together worke this Legall humiliati­on: The Law what. neither by the Law is meant only those ten words spoken in Horeb, but together with the explanation [Page 80] of them, as wee finde them expounded in the Pro­phets and the whole Scriptures: so that by the Law is meant that rectitude which the whole Scripture doth require. Now therefore when the Scriptures are laid to our hearts, the rectitude of the Scriptures is compared with the crookednes of our hearts and lives, and thereby we come to see how that the least sinne is forbidden, and that the least dutie must not be omitted, and that we must give an account for eve­ry idle word, and every lustfull thought and motion in the heart; as S. Paul when humbled, saw lust to be sinne; and then we come to see withall the curse due to the lease: This humbleth a man.

And unto this is further required the help of the Spirit joyning therewith, without which the Law 2 The Spi­rit workes humiliation doth not humble a man: who is therefore called the spirit of bondage, because he enlightneth a man to see his bondage and slavery to sin and Sathan, and his subjection to Gods wrath; not that hee makes him such or brings bondage with it, but discovers it; and 3 By affli­ctions. this not onely by shewing a man his bondage, but he makes him believe it: For there must be a faith to humble as well as to comfort, whereas wee set light by the threatnings, and believe them not; for would the swearer sweare, if he believed that threat­ning, the Lord will not hold him guiltlesse that taketh his name in vaine? When therefore the Spirit en­lighteneth a man to see his sinnes, and makes him believe the threatnings denounced against them, then a man is humbled and not before.

And yet though these threatnings are pro­pounded by the Word, and made effectuall by the [Page 81] Spirit, yet usually some affliction puts life into them; as wee see in Manasses, and also in S. Paul who was first struck off his horse to the ground, and in the laylor who thought verily all his priso­ners gone, for whom his owne life must have beene answerable; so as hee would have killed himselfe: sometimes a reall affliction, sometimes an imagi­nary one, an apprehension of Judgement, shame, poverty, misery doth God use to put life into the threatnings, and they put life into the Law; and then the Law is brought home to the conscience; and so sinne is brought to light; for when men are sensible of miseries, then they are often brought to to inquiry into the Law of God to find what should bee the cause of it: and when the Law is brought home to the conscience, then sinne is made alive. Saint Paul saies, Romans 7. Sinne appeares to bee sin, Rom. 7. which before was as colours in the darke; and sin being made alive, then I dyed, saies Paul there, that is, he apprehended himselfe a dead man, in which is a discovery of sinne and our subjection to death for it; wherein doe consist those two parts of this for­mer humiliation, which makes way for the second humiliation.

Thus you see, what to be humbled is. Now wee 2 Active humiliation come to the second, what it is to humble a mans selfe: which begins, when the other ends: for then a man lookes out for the remedy, as those who cryed out what shall we doe to be saved? which is the second thing to be observed in those examples; af­ter the wounding of their hearts, they made an en­quiry what to doe to be saved. For those that belong [Page 82] to Gods Election goe yet further: there is another kinde of Evangelicall humiliation wrought in them, which is a fruit of sanctification; for in one whom GOD meanes to save, when hee is come to this, the LORD sends the spirit of adoption into his heart, the spirit of grace, as Za [...]hary calls him, which gives him some secret hope, hee shall bee received to mercy, if hee will come in; which is a worke of faith in some degree begun: and then says the soule with it selfe, I will goe and humble my selfe, I will goe home to God, and change my course, and give up my selfe to him and serve him: and this we shall finde in these examples mentioned before, especi­ally Examples of this hu­miliation. Luke 15. of the Prodigall, Luk. 15. he came to this con­clusion, If I stay here, I dye for hunger; but in my fa­thers house there is bread enough: here was hope that bred this resolution. I will goe home, and say to my father, I have sinned against heaven and against thee, &c. here was that true humiliation we speake of. So Manasses, hee humbled himselfe greatly, out of an hope of mercy; for a man comes not to this active humiliation wherein he kindly humbleth himselfe, unlesse hee hath hope of mercy; and the beginning of faith is with a hope of mercy, which sets a man a worke to goe to God, and say; Lord, I have committed such and such sinnes, but I will returne to them no more; I am worthy of nothing.

Now there are foure severall compositions or Foure pay [...]s of ingredi­ents in it. foure paires of ingredients, that have influence into this second kind of humiliation, to cause us to hum­ble our selves.

1 Payr, an hope of mercy, as wel as a sence of misery: 1 Hope of [...] mercy and sence of mi sery. [Page 83] that whereas before wee did looke upon God as a severe Judge; we looke now on him as one willing to receive us, both are requisite. Sence of misery onely, brings a man but to himselfe, as the Prodigall first is said to come to himselfe; but hope of mercy joyned with it, drives a man home to God, as it did also him; without which, sence of misery drives us from the LORD; but hope of mercy being ad­ded to it, causeth this active humiliation, wee speake of, whereby wee say, I will goe and humble my selfe.

2 Payre of ingredients are the sence of our own emp­tinesse, 2 Our owne emptinesse and Gods alsufficien­cy. together with an apprehension of that Al­sufficiency that is in God; which we also may see in the Prodigall, when he said, I shall starve and die, if I stay here; but in my fathers house is bread enough: he lookt to that alsufficient fulnesse that was in God to supply his wants. The creature whilst it findeth a­ny thing in it selfe, it will stand upon its owne bot­tome and not bee humbled, but when it finds no­thing in its selfe but emptinesse, then it beginneth to seeke out for a bottome; which it seeing to be in God alone, it goes out to him; for men will not be drawne off from their owne bottome, till they see another bottome to stand upon.

3 There must bee a sence of a mans owne sinful­nesse, 3 Sence of our sinnes, and Christs righteous­nesse. and the LORD JESUS his righteousnesse, and so a light comes in that discovereth both: thus when S. Paul was humbled, there was a light shone about him, which was an outward symbole of that new light which shone within him, of Christ, and his owne sinfulnesse.

[Page 84] A sence of the love of God and Christ, joyned with the sence of a mans unkindnesse unto God, 4 A sence of; Gods love and our un­kindnesse. whereby wee looke upon sinnes as injuries done to God, and an unkindnesse shewne therein.

And now let us see the difference betwixt these two works or parts of humiliation, that wee may Difference betweene active and passive hu­miliation. 1 In the matter. further understand what it is to humble our selves.

And first, they differ in the matter they are con­versant about; in that first, a man is humbled pro­perly, but for the punishment: a man indeed is hum­bled for sinne, yet principally as it hath relation to punishment; it is guilt works on him; he is not hum­bled for sin, as it is contrary to God, and his holi­nesse, but as contrary to himself and his own good: and thus we are not humbled, till we come to love God, and to have a light discovering the holines and purity of his nature, which one that is saving­ly humbled hath wrought in him.

They differ in their grounds and principles whence they arise. 2 In the ground.

The first ariseth but from selfe-love, and is but a worke of nature; though thus farre a worke of God to stirre up self-love, by the sence of misery and to awaken it; but so as any unreasonable creature if in danger, useth to be sensible of it: and what won­der then is it for a man, when hee begins to have some sence of hel and death, let into his conscience, to be wounded and apprehensive of it! but the o­ther ariseth from the love of God kindled in the heart by hope of grace and mercy.

They differ in the instrumental causes that work them; the one is wrought by the spirit of bondage, 3 In the in­strumentall causes. [Page 85] by an enlightning meerly to see his bondage, and the soule is as one that is in bondage fearing God as a master; and he hath no further light than thus to see God as a Judge: but this other is wrought by the spirit of adoption making the Gospell also ef­fectuall, discovering God as a father.

They differ in their effects; as,

The one driveth a man from GOD, but this 4 In their ef fects. latter causeth a man to goe to GOD and to seeke Christ: it workes that affection to Christ that the 1 Church in the Canticles had to him, who would not give over seeking him, till she had found him whom her soule did love. Though there bee twenty obsta­cles in the way, yet the soule hath no rest; as a stone hath no rest, till it bee in its owne center, so nor this soule thus humbled, but in God; and ther­fore gives not over seeking him, though it hath ne­ver so many denyalls.

The first breeds death, an acedia, a deadnesse and 2 listlesnesse, it makes a man as a log, that moves not to God in prayer. So it wrought in Nabal, and Achitophel, it breeds such discouragement as often ends in death. Of worldly sorrow (and such is all sorrow whereof God is not the end) commeth death: but when it is right and true and kindly sorrow for sinne, it doth that which an affection should doe, it quickneth him to doe that which he ought to do: so feare when it is right worketh, and so all other affections, which were put into the soule for that end that it might bee stirred up by them to that which it should doe, for GOD and its owne good; and therefore this affection of sorrow for [Page 86] sinne quickens a man to seeke out to God when it is right.

The first breeds a fiercenesse and turbulency in a mans spirit; as we see often in men whose consci­ences 3 are awakned to see their sinnes, they are fier­cer then they were before; for guilt of sin vexeth their spirits; and where there is no sence of mercy from God, there is none to men: but hee that is broken for sinne spends his anger upon himselfe, frets chiefly for his owne vilenesse and unworthi­nesse; and the Peace of God which his heart hath a sence of makes his spirit gentle, and peaceable and easie to be entreated and perswaded: bring him Scrip­ture, and a child may lead him and perswade him. The rough wayes are made smooth, the rough and fro­ward dispositions of the heart, and every Mountaine­like affection cast downe, as it is said they were by Saint Iohns ministery, who came to humble men and prepare men for Christ.

They differ in their continuance; the former a lone proves but a passion, and it comes but from 4 flesh, so as all the fruites of flesh are, it is but as the flower of the grasse: of the same fading nature the roote is from whence it comes: though it comes like a violent torrent into the heart, and swells a­bove the bankes, yet it is but as a land-floud; but this latter is as a constant river that hath a spring, which though it keepes within the bankes, and doth not overflow so much as the other, yet it runnes constantly, and the further it runnes, the greater it growes. 5 Properties. of this hu­miliation.

I will give you also some properties of that hu­miliation [Page 87] to which the promise is made here, by which it may bee yet further knowne and diffe­renced.

We will take those fruites of it wee finde in the 1 Prayer. text. 1 It will make a man pray, and 2. Seeke Gods face, and turne from his evill wayes: it hath al­wayes these as the consequences of it:

To pray. Iudas was humbled, but hee had no 1 minde to pray, nor an ability to pray; the spirit of prayer went not with it; but hee that hath that true humiliation, is able to poure forth his soule to God: and indeed prayer is not the worke of the memory and wit, but the proper worke of a broken heart.

Againe, secondly, to seeke Gods face, this true 2 Seeke Gods face. humiliation cuts a man off from his owne roote and bottome, and causeth him to seeke the Lord alone: which seeking useth to be expressed in prayer: that other will cause a man to seeke mercy, but this to seeke Gods face; that is, if they have his favour, it is enough: they seeke God as sequestred from all things else; though such a soule had assurance of being freed from hell, it would not content him, un­lesse he saw Gods face.

That which Absalom counterfeited (as knowing it to be a true straine of a loving and humbled child to a Father) when he had his life given him, though banished from the Court, Let mee see my Fathers face, though hee kill mee, it is an humbled soule in truth towards God: others as God sayes in Hosea, Seeke mercy, but they turned not to mee: they sought not me.

[Page 88] True humiliation causeth a man to turne from his evill wayes: the other makes a man but give them 3 Turne from sinne. 2 Chron. 33. 23. over for a time, whilst he is sicke of them; and then returnes againe, as a Dog to his vomit, 2 Chron. 33. 23. It is said Amon humbled not himselfe, as Manasses his father had humbled himselfe, but transgressed more and more: which implies, that when a man is hum­bled as hee should, he transgresseth no more as hee had done; and so Manasses did so humble himselfe, as he transgressed no more. It will make him be­come stronger against that sin he hath transgressed Simile. in: as a bone that hath been broken is stronger when it is right set againe; hee especially humbleth him­selfe for and turnes from his beloved sin, and with that from all the rest.

2 Property is, it makes a man to cleave fast to 2 To cleave fast to Christ. Christ, and so draw nigh to him in all the duties of obedience, to obey him constantly, generally and throughly. Men may have light wounds made in their hearts which do not drive them to the Physi­tian, which awakeneth men a little, but they fall asleepe againe: but when God humbleth so as to save, he so fastens the apprehension of his misery upon him, as to bring him home to Christ: he sets on the avenger of bloud to pursue him to the ut­most, and not for a mile or two, but to follow him till he be driven into the Citty of refuge: There is an humiliation, which hath not this effect and con­sequent of it (and therefore I mention it as a pro­perty of the true) and this because of a defect that is in it, in which respect though it come neare the true, yet differs from it: which is in the event seene [Page 89] in this, that the true causeth to come to Christ, and to cleave to him without separation.

That you may therefore see the difference be­tweene this and the other, and wherein that other is defective; marke how that which is true workes this in one, who yet is not quite cut off, but hangs by a thread as it were, there being some secret Fibrae, some veines and strings that are not cut in peeces, which keepe life in the old man, and a man remaineth still upon his old stocke, and so long CHRIST comes not into the heart; not untill a man be unbottomed of himselfe, and sees he can no way be happy in himselfe, or within his owne compasse, but sees all is to bee had in and from the LORD JESUS; untill then, he will not goe out of himself, nor cleave to or follow the LORD JESUS CHRIST fully.

Now then, the other humiliation is defective in this, in that it is not in this manner enough bottom­ed, it cuts not a man wholly off from himselfe, the foundation is not laid low enough; there is want­ing depth of earth, there is indeed so much earth as shall bring forth a greene blade of profession, and such a foundation as there may bee erected a slight building upon, but it is not low enough to beare a substantiall building that shall stand out all windes and weathers. This true humiliation hath these two things goe with it.

A man sees no bottome in himselfe: 1

Seeth a bottome out of himselfe to stand upon, 2 Two things accompany this humili­ation. and so hee casts himselfe upon that, clasps about CHRIST, and wholly adhereth unto him, and so [Page 90] draws all sap and life from him, as the branch doth from the roote, and thence comes that resolution and ability to cleave to the Lord, and to please him in all things.

As the resolution to doe it, so all his ability to goe through with it; for being joyned to CHRIST, there comes the spirit of grace (cal'd the vertue of CHRISTS death, because it workes a vertue like un­to his death) into the heart: But when the heart is not yet in this manner broken, many take up purpo­ses and good desires, but are not able to keepe them, because they were bottomed on their owne strength; whereas if the heart were broken from it selfe and engrafted into CHRIST, such purposes made in his strength would thrive and grow there: For if the soile bee made good, and fit plants bee planted in it, it is certaine they will thrive. Now in a good heart those desires that bee planted there doe thrive, and wither no more, and though there may now and then waves arise, and so they may be tossed to and fro; yet substantially they doe not wither nor fall from the foundation: Those there­fore who have begun a good course for a yeare or Falling a­way the ground of it a moneth, and go not on in it, it is a signe they want humbling: Hee that is truly humbled, falles backe no more: Manasses did not, nor Saint Paul, Lord what wilt thou have mee doe, said hee then? and hee was as good as his word. Therefore take knowledge you that doe fall away, what the defect hath beene and wherein: for that will bee a meanes to set you right and recover you againe.

3 Property of Humiliation is, to have all the af­fections 3 Moderates the affecti­ons. [Page 91] moderate, all delights in worldly things faint and remisse, and all his affections taken chiefly up about grace and sinne: True affection in him wil eate up the false. He esteemeth spirituall things at a high rate, and all other things as little. Aske such an one what of all things else he would desire, and he will tell you, Christ, and the favour of God, and the graces of the Spirit, and to have his lusts mortified, and his sinnes pardoned, and that hee pas­seth not for the things of this life, hee cares not in comparison whether he bee poore or rich, bond or free, (notwithstanding if hee may have a better con dition, hee will use it rather) as a man that is con­demned to die; little regards hee his estate or the things of this life, his apprehensions are taken up with greater things; give him his pardon, and take al else: So here one truly humbled, counts the favour of God so great, as he esteemes all things else light in comparison: When therefore men are violent in their affections towards worldly things and in their desires and delights in them, and endeavours after them, it is a signe they are not humbled.

4 Property is to love God and Christ much, Ma­ry loved much, because much was forgiven her; that is, 4 To love God much. not simply that much was forgiven her, but because withal she had a sence of it, apprehended it as much and her sin great by a worke of humiliation, and so apprehended it a great matter to be pardoned. And so a man having once apprehended death and hell, and the wrath of GOD as belonging to him, and God comes on a suddaine and tells him, thou shalt live, when his necke was on the blocke, and hee ex­pected [Page 92] nothing but death; this causeth a man to love GOD much, and to prize CHRIST; and this made Saint Paul also to love CHRIST so much, that the love of Christ constrained him, because I was a persecu­ter and a blasphemer, and he died for me, forgave me a great debt.

Hee that is truly humbled will bee content with any condition, as the Prodigall sonne, I am content 5 To be con­tent with a­ny conditi­on. to be as an hired servant, sayes hee, and am unworthy to bee called a sonne any more; hee was content to doe the worke of a servant, to live in the condition of a servant, to have the lowest place in all the familie: And so Saint Paul look'd on himselfe as the least of all the Saints, thought hee could never lay himselfe low enough. Now this contentednesse is exercised about two things.

In a contentednesse in the want of these outward 1 In want of outward things. good things; when a man is content with the mea­nest services and the least wages, to want wealth, and credit and gifts, as Iacob being truly humbled, I am lesse than the least of thy mercies: whereas an o­ther man that is not humbled, when hee lookes up­on himselfe and GODS mercies hee enjoyes, he thinking highly of himself, thinkes himselfe too big for them, and that the disproportion is rather on his side; whereas Iacob though he then had many mer­cies, yet said, take the least mercie, and lay it in one scale, and my selfe in an other, and I am too light for it, lesse than it, and it too much for me.

It is exercised in bearing crosses. One that is 2 Bearing crosses. truly humbled still blesseth GOD, as Iob, and beares and accepts the punishment of his iniquity willingly [Page 93] and cherefully, as we see it made a condition, Lev. Lev. 26. 41. 26. 41. If their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they beare or accept the punishment of their iniquity, if the Lord lay upon him a sharpe disease (say the plague, disreputation, poverty,) yet hee beareth it willingly and chearefully; for when a man thinkes in earnest that which is said Ezech. 36. that hee is Ezech. 36. worthy to be destroyed, whatsoever befalls him from God, which is lesse than destruction, hee blesseth God for it, and rejoyceth that he escapeth so.

The humble man therefore is in all conditions contented, alwayes chearefull and blessing God; if he hath good things, they are more then he is wor­thy of; if evill, though never so sharpe, yet they are lesse than destruction, and then he deserves, when as an unbroken heart is alwayes turbulent, and thinkes in the secret murmurings of his heart, that he is not well dealt with.

I should come now to the application of this Do­ctrine; Case. Whether such a mea­sure of Le­gall sorrow be necessary but before I must resolve a case and scruple, which doth use to trouble the hearts of many.

The Case in question is, whether to right and true humiliation, it be necessary that such a solemne humiliation and such a measure of sorrow and vio­lent Legall contrition goe before it.

There is a double kind of sorrow wrought in the Answ. Sorrow dou ble. hearts of men; the one is a violent tumultuous sor­row, which ariseth from the apprehension of hell and punishment: the ground whereof is self-love, and is commonly in those who are suddainely en­lightened, and so amazed therewith being taken on the suddaine; as wee see in Saint Paul who was ta­ken [Page 94] suddainely as hee was going to Damascus: and it was discovered to him, that hee was guilty of so great a sinne, as he could never have imagined, a voyce from heaven to strike his eares on the sud­daine, why persecutest thou me? And this wee find by experience to have beene in many who never have true humiliation, as wee see in Iudas. God indeed sometimes useth it to bring men to humilia­tion, as he did in Saint Paul.

But again we find in experience in some a clea­ving to God, and holinesse of life, and a constant care to please him in all things, without this violent vexing sorrow: and many that have had their hearts deeply wounded, amazed, affrighted, and have ther­upon taken up great purposes which have come to nothing, the ground whereof having beene a violent passion, as that the roote withered, so the fruit wi­thered also; but a true apprehension and conviction of sin; as in it selfe the greatest misery is more re­all and drawes the heart nearer to Christ; so that in this case we may say of these two sorts, as Christ said of those who were bidden to goe into the vine­yard: They that said they would goe, did not, and others that said they would not goe, yet went: and therefore wee answer, that it is not alwayes necessary to have Violent sor­row not al­wayes ne­cessary. such a violent sorrow, or that a man should lie any long time in such an evident sence of wrath, though alwayes there is a right apprehension of sin which doth humble a man: which will appeare by these considerations.

1 That is not alwayes the greatest sorrow that is 1 It [...] not alwayes the greatest. thus violent: though it seeme to bee so, it is not al­wayes [Page 95] the greatest sorrow which melteth into teares; as that is not the greatest joy that discovers it selfe in laughter; that is not the greatest sorrow which workes the most violent commotion in the heart; there is a sad silent quiet sorrow that sinketh deeper, and wets more slowly, and sokes into the heart, and makes the heart more fruitful in the issue, which ariseth out of a more spirituall conviction of Judgement, of the evill of sin; though lesse passion accompanies it, yet a stronger and deeper affection of sorrow is wrought. I call it deeper, because it is more constant and lasting, more to purpose; the one being as a land-floud, the other as a spring.

Put the case, such a violent sorrow should bee 2 greater, yet it is not alwayes alike necessary, neither on Gods part nor mans.

Not on mans part; as some disease doth not 1 Not necessary on mans part. need so sharpe and quick a medicine as an other, as some mens flesh is harder to heale than others, so some mens hearts have more stubbornnes in them than others; some have made themselves children of the Divell by their wicked courses, worse then they were at first; others in comparison are but as the children of Adam, still as they were borne, and therefore the same work may be wrought in them, with much lesse adoe.

On Gods part it is not alwayes so necessary, but 2 Nor on Gods part. is proportioned to Gods ends; and God differs and is various in his ends concerning men.

He meanes to bestow a greater measure of grace 1 upon one then upon an other; and where he meanes to set a greater building, there he digges a lower [Page 96] foundation; hee meanes to use some as a meanes to comfort others, and therefore letteth them see and feele more the bitternesse of sinne, that they may be able to comfort others with the same comfort wherwith they have beene comforted.

Hee differs in the meanes to attaine his ends; if 2 hee meanes to bring them to the same measure of grace, yet hee will not goe alwayes the same way to worke, as hee often doth that without affliction, which sometimes hee doth with it; as a man is brought to the same Haven divers wayes, some in a Simile calme is tided in, others are driven in with a storme, but it is no matter how they come so they come in, the promise is made to those that come.

A third consideration is, that it is not for want of this greatnesse of humiliation, that divers have 3 Greatnesse of sorrow. not so violent a sorrow, but from some circum­stance in the worke it selfe; as,

First, because the light of comfort comes in soo­ner to some than to others; they have the salve pre­sently 1 Comfort comes late. after the wound is given: God having bro­ken the heart bindeth it up presently againe, a man may have as deepe a wound which a mitigated me­dicine comming neare to the bottome of the disease and soone applyed may sooner heale than another lesse deepe, to which the remedie is not applyed a Simile. long time after, which therefore askes longer: So also it is in joy, suddainnesse increaseth it for a fit; for example, put case a man is condemned for high treason, and brought to the blocke, and verily ex­pects death, and his pardon on the suddaine comes, there is such a great sensible change wrought in him [Page 97] (and our natures are sensible of great changes) and therefore how excessively doth hee rejoyce! but take one who is guilty of the same fault, who knows that if he have not his pardon, hee should lose his life, but hath his pardon presently after the sentence passed, hee will prize his pardon as much as the o­ther, though happily hee is not so turbulently affe­cted as the other.

It falls out thus by reason of the ignorance some 2 From igno­rance. have lived in before, who therefore are enlightened to know their estates all on the suddaine; whereas an other hath beene brought up in knowledge, and the knowledg of his misery being let in by degrees, then the case doth also differ, as betweene two men who were to goe through a wood, whereof one is Simile. set upon by theeves not suspecting any, and is put into a feare of his life, and knowes not how to es­cape, but one comes on the suddaine, and rescues him and gives him his life, but another is warned before, knowes hee must goe through such a pas­sage, and that unlesse hee hath a strong guard to goe along with him, hee shall certainely perish; this man apprehends the danger as great, as the other, and the benefit as great, and the love of him that should goe with him as great; onely his passion, either of feare or joy, is not so violent as the others, though hee truly rejoyceth in the deli­verance as much as the other, and thinkes him­selfe as much bound to the man that delivered him.

I have spoken these things, because some are scrupulous in the point, and thinke they may not [Page 98] safely apply the Promise, because they have not had that measure of sorrow that others have had.

But let no man suffer his assurance to hee weak­ned for want of this, for a man may have as high an esteeme of CHRIST and bee as throughly convinced of sinne though hee want that violent worke, which GOD workes in some, even a great sence of his wrath, and letting them lie there and then speakes peace, so as these are wrought by distinct acts and causes in a great distance one from the other, so that as their sorrow was evi­dent so their joy was evident, in another he workes so, that as soone as hee sees sinne hee sees God also pardoning.

And in those that have that violent shyning of affection in their first Humiliation; looke how much of it is violent, will vanish, and what is substantiall, will hold; so that even they in the end come to this solid conviction of Judgement at last, which onely is constant and abideth with them. And therefore let not thy assurance bee weakend for the want of this, for faith unites to Christ and establisheth us in well doing.

But you will say, is it not good to get that sensi­ble stirring sence and sight of sinne? Object.

I answer, yes, for to that end GOD leades through crosses, and suffers thee to fall into sinnes, Answ. Sence of sin necessary. that thou mayest see the vanity of the creature and the sinfulnesse of thy nature, that when thou com­mest to heaven thou mayest say by thine own expe­rience, it was not by my owne righteousnesse that I [Page 99] came hither: And therefore though it be good to get it, yet let GOD goe his owne way and use his owne manner of working, whether by Legal terror or otherwise, what he sees good for thee he will do to humble thee, but doe thou use meanes to under­stand the Law, thy owne heart and actions, and as thou art fallen into new sinnes, labour to see what a case thou shouldest be in, if Christ had not delivered thee: But let not thy assurance bee weakened, for you must know there are but two maine ends of hu­miliation, which if they bee attained in thee, thou needest not call in question thy estate. Now first Two ends of humilia­tion. it serves to make thee willing to match with Christ: Wee are Christs spokes-men, and woo you every Sabbath day, but wee finde all the world like them To take Christ. who thinke themselves beautifull and rich and that they have matches enow, who though they are contented to have Christ for their husband in Hea­ven, yet not on the earth with all those crosses they must take him with.

Now humiliation comes and makes men wil­ling, when a man comes to see and say, I have no such thing in mee as I imagined, no riches, &c. but I am in debt, and shall be arrested and laid in prison, and my life must goe for it, unlesse Christ will mar­ry mee; in that a man sees hee shall be kept from all arrests by him, this makes a man willing to match with Christ, yea glad, though he have many crosses follow in this life upon the marriage. Now there­fore if thou findest this wrought that thou canst sin­cerely say, I am willing to take Christ, and to bee subject to him in all things, to follow him in all [Page 100] conditions, to give a full consent to take him, as I finde that hee in the word hath a full consent to take mee; then certainely thou art humbled, else not; if thou hadst taken him onely in a fit, and not out of Judgement, thou wouldest have repented thee ere now.

The second end which humiliation serves to is for Sanctification, as the other helpt him in his Justifi­cation, 2 For Sancti­fication. that every unruly lust may bee broken and mortified in thee; that thou mightest feare to of­fend and bee plyable to the Lord in every thing; whereas another that is unbroken quarrells with e­very thing, thinkes his worke too much, and his wages too little, and knowes not why he should goe a contrary way to the world, but an humbled man Simile. will doe all this chearefully, like a broken Horse that turnes at every check of the bridle, when ano­ther casts his Rider: Doest thou finde that thou tremblest at the word, and fearest sinne, and darest not venture in it, and so for duties, thou darest not neglect them: and this thou hast experience of in the whole course of thy life? then surely this worke of humiliation hath beene in thy heart: Though thou seest not the fire, yet if thou findst the heate, it hath beene there: for these are the effects of it, and as I speake this for the comfort of those that have not felt such violent sorrows, so let mee on the contrary say to others, who (it may bee) have had such fits of sorrow, yet if thou find an unwillingnes to submit thus to Christ, findest thy necke stiffe to the Lords yoke, and such an unbrokennesse in thee, that thou canst not live without satisfying this or [Page 101] that lust, but canst sin and beare it out well enough, let thy sorrow have beene never so great, and now they are past and gone, and were not right; let men therefore examine themselves by the effects, for men are deceived on both sides: and then,

1 Vse is for exhortation to stirre up to the dutie: Vse 1. This exhortation I direct to two sorts of men; first to those who are already truly humbled, and se­condly to strangers to it.

First you that are already humbled and have ob­tained 1 Exhortation to those that are humbled. the assurance of the forgivenesse of your sins, you must be humbled more, for if the Lord suspend his promise at this, then the duty is to be done daily: When God requires a dutie of Sanctification (and his promises are made onely to such) there can bee none excuse, there may bee a let in prepara­tive humiliation; a man may bee swallowed of two Degrees of grace from degrees of humiliation much sorrow: but not in this which is a duty of san­ctification: and know this, that all degrees of grace arise from the degrees of this true Humiliation: which I make good to you thus; Faith and Love are the great radicall graces, all elseare but bran­ches springing out of them. Now they are streng­thened by this humiliation, and graces the more they grow, there is an addition still made to them; as there is an addition made to our humiliation.

First for Faith, know that the more strongly 2 Faith. a man layes hold on CHRIST and prizeth him, the more he goes on to apprehend his sinne, and is emptied of himselfe; and though a man tooke CHRIST truly at his first conversion, yet there are degrees of prizing him; when a husband takes a [Page 102] wife, though at their feast marriage there was such love betweene them as they would have chosen each other before any other in the world, yet so as this their love may admit degrees; after marriage, they may see more grounds of loving each other more, so that though the match is made, yet they may be more confirmed in their choice, which may be made more full and absolute: So towards Christ the will and affections may be wound up to a high­er peg, which is done by a further degree of hu­miliation. What is faith, but a laying hold of Christ? Now the emptier the hand is, the further [...]aith what. hold it takes, and the more we are taken off our own bottome, the further we will cleave to Christ. A man in a river that is like to be drowned, and hath a rope cast to him, he wil be sure to catch as fast hold Simile. as hee can, you shall not need to bid him. And to this end it is, that Christians are still taught more and more, by the spirit to see the vanity of the crea­ture, the vilenesse of their natures; and they are led through this wildernesse to humble them, that so Christ may have the higher place in their hearts.

Againe, the greater the thirst is, the greater will a mans draught be; and the more you adde to your humiliation, the more will your thirst bee after Christ, and you will drinke deeper of the fountaine of life, and draw more sap from him.

And secondly it increaseth your love, for there­by 2 Love. wee come to see our selves more beholding to God, as having a greater debt forgiven us. What made Mary love much, but because shee was sensi­ble much was forgiven her. Therefore labour more [Page 103] and more to bee humbled, especially as you fall in­to new sinnes, which the Lord oft lets him to doe, that they might bee humbled more: and the more light a Christian gets to discover his owne vilenesse and the vanity of the creature, the stronger he will grow in grace, and the more established in well doing. 2 To those that are not humbled.

Now secondly for those that are strangers to this grace of Humiliation; that they may come to be humbled, let them observe these two rules. First labour to see the greatnesse of sin. Secondly to see your owne weaknesse and unability to helpe your selves; for the first, doe not weigh sin by common opinion, but in a right ballance, doe not doe with 1 To see the greatnesse of sinne. your soules as some doe with their bodies; when their beautie is decayed, they desire to hide it from themselves by false glasses, and from others by painting; so do we for the most part with our sins; wee desire to hide them from our selves by putting false glosses upon them, and from others by fained excuses: but deale impartially with your selves herein, and labour to see sinne in its full vilenesse: And that you may doe so,

First pitch upon some one great sin, and take it in­to 1 Single out some great sinne. consideration. So Christ, when he would humble Paul, he tells him of his persecution, Why persecutest thou me? And so S. Peter, when he would humble Acts 2. [...]. the Iewes Acts 2. 1. he tells them of their crucifying of Christ: So Christ when hee would humble the Iohn 4. Woman, Iohn 4. he remembers her of her adultery: And the method that God takes when hee would humble us, it is good for us to take: For as when a [Page 104] man goes to rub a great staine out of a cloath, by the same labour hee rubs out others, that are the lesse, for my meaning is, not that you should let o­ther sinnes alone, when I exhort you to single out Simile. one; but to consider all particulars else also, though never so small: the multitudes of them will helpe to humble thee, as well as the greatnesse: When a man sees hee hath many debts though but small, of six­pences and shillings; yet being many, the totall summe may arise to a great quantity, and make a man see himselfe bankerupt: Therefore set your sinnes in order before you, give the due weight to e­very sin, but yet especially let great sins bee in your Sins great how. eye. Now some sinnes are greater in their owne nature, as fornication, swearing, drunkennesse, &c. others are made great by their circumstances, as that they were committed against knowledge, with deliberation, as Saul sparing the Amalekites, and sacri­ficing before Samuel came, wherein a commande­ment on the contrary was distinctly given. So God aggravated to Adam his sin, did not I command thee the contrary? and didst thou not know thou should­est not? We are not to take sins by number only, but also by weight: as when they were committed contrary to many promises, purposes, and so as hardnesse of heart follow upon it

And secondly, withall labour to make sins pre­sent, 5 To make past sinnes present. though long since committed; looke on them as if they were newly done: for though our sinnes bee great, yet if we apprehend them and view at a distance, and a great way off, they move us not: which is the reason why men are not more affected [Page 105] with the thought of death, in their health, which yet is one of the greatest evills, and so apprehended by us when we come to die: the reason is, because it is then conceived to be a farre off, and so men are not moved with it. Thus it is in our apprehension of sins also: the distance makes them seeme small; there is not a neare conjunction and application of the object and the affection, they are not brought nigh, but men looke upon sinnes long since past as small, whereas in truth sins long since committed are the same in themselves and in the sight of God they were when first committed; and therefore should bee the same to thee. So a man that hath committed a treason twenty yeares agoe, may bee executed for it now: and therefore Iosephs brethren remembred their sinne as fresh, though long before committed, as if they had then committed it: their affliction revived in their consciences, and made it as present: but we usually looke on sins past as none of ours. Iob saith, that the LORD made him pos­sesse the sinnes of his youth: he possessed them, that is, looked on them as his owne. What is the reason why to men in jeopardy, as in a storme at Sea and in the time of sicknesse their sins then appeare so terri­ble and fearefull? they apprehend them as present. Now that which God doth by affliction, let us la­bour to get done by meditation, and by faith to looke on them as present; turne that end of the op­tike glasse which will bring them neare to thee, la­bour to have a true Judgement of their greatnesse, and that they are the same, for therein lyes true hu­miliation, when the Judgement is rightly convinced [Page 106] to esteeme them the greatest evill, though it bee not accompanied with so violent and turbulent a sorrow.

When you have made them thus present, doe not quickly make an end, but let sorrow abide 3 Let sorrow abide. upon your hearts, for the worke is not so soone done; you will get into some rocke or other, un­lesse you bee continually persecuted and followed by the apprehension of your sins, till you come un­to the City of refuge: but doe as David did Psal. 51. he sets his sin before him; and as Saint Paul, to whom that sin of persecution was ever fresh in his Psalme 51. memory and alwayes in his mouth, I a persecutor, &c. In this case learne something of the Divell, who when he would bring a man to bee swallowed up of sorrow, his manner is to keepe a mans sin still before him, nor will he let a man be at rest, therfore 2 Cor. 12. they are called the buffetings of Sathan, because hee comes often with blow after blow, to 2 Cor. 12. discourage and amaze a man now learne from that practise of his to stay and dwell upon the meditati­ons of our sinnes, and often to present them to our soules. Thy greene wood happily will not burne without much blowing: it is frequens & intensior ar­gumentatio, Simile. a frequent pressing of arguments that workes on the affections; and so here keepe the ob­ject neare the faculty, and at last it will worke: look not on thy sins by fits, let there be no interruption by worldly joyes or pleasures, no intervalla: and this is Saint Iames counsell, Be afflicted, and mourne and weepe, Iames 4. Let your laughter bee turned into mourning, and your joy into heavinesse: humble your [Page 107] selves, &c. that is, if you will have your hearts humbled, abstaine from lawfull delights for the time, get alone. So Ioel 2. hee bids them set apart Ioel 2. a day, that they might have no interruption; and if that will not doe it, sanctifie another; let not one sparke goe out ere another bee strucke; otherwise you will bee alwayes beginning and never come to be humbled.

If you would come to lay your sins to heart, and 4 Take heed of false rea­sonings. be affected with them; then be sure you be not kept off by those false reasoning; and excuses, which hinder men from being humbled, and keepe their sins from comming in upon them: as for instance; when a man comes to consider of his sinnes, I but sayes he, am I not in a good estate already? and then my sinnes are pardoned; for I have good desires in me and a good meaning, I meane no man no harme; and thus these keepe him from seeing himselfe a child of wrath: but consider, that thou mayst have all these good things in thee, and more than these, and yet be a child of wrath; these will be found to the praise of the Holy Ghost who wrought them in thee, but not to thy advantage to escape damna­tion; for though these be in thee, yet they have not that full effect they should, for they overcome not that evill that is in thee: for notwithstanding all these good things thou art still a Sabbath profaner, a drunkard given to company. I might goe over all other sins; but in a word; if they overcome not every sin, they are nothing for the saving thee; if they had beene effectuall in thee, they would have driven out the darknesse; all the good things thou [Page 108] hast availe not to thy salvation; because they make thee not a good man; yea all these good things and the good fits thou hast had, will helpe forward thy condemnation: because thou hast prophaned the truth in thy heart, and hast not put fuell to these Other excu­ses are in those Ser­mons upon Rom. 1. 17, 18. sparkes, which God in mercy did put in: that thou shouldest suffer such Talents as these to lie hid in a Napkin, will he not say, thou art an unprofitable ser­vant?

A second thing that is to be added to the sight of your sinnes to humble you, is to know that misery 2 The sight of our mise­ry and vani­ty to that end. and vanity that is in your selves; wee see by experi­ence that men will grant that they are great sinners, but what is the reason, that yet notwithstanding they stand out?

They doe not know their owne misery and va­nity, and though wee have preached to men againe and againe their misery; yet they are not stirred: but when death comes, then they are humbled, and why, but because then they see what God is, and what themselves are; death shewes them the vani­ty of the Creature: so that the way to bee hum­bled, is to know how unable a man is to bee happy within his owne compasse. And to this end con­sider:

First, the greatnesse of God and his power, and the terrours of the Almighty, that he is that God in 1 See the greatnesse of God. whose hands is thy life and wayes, and all: and consider, that unlesse thou seriously lay thy sinnes to heart; this God is thy enemy, and him with whom for ever thou hast to doe.

Consider what a weake creature thou art; thinke 2 [Page 109] with thy selfe; a sicknesse may come on my body, a crosse may come on my estate, yea an apprehen­sion Our owne weaknesse. of my soule, that may sucke up the marrow of my bones; and above all, I have an immortall soule in a vessell of clay; and thinke when that glasse, that shell is broke, what will become of that poore soule of thine: And this would bring a man to the Prodigalls case. Belshazzar saw this, when hee saw the hand writing upon the wall. Had it not beene wisedome in him to have seene and acknow­ledged it before? Thou art well now; thou doest not know what alterations may befall thee in the yeare, and thou hadst better leave a thousand busi­nesses undone, than this.

And yet thirdly, all this will not doe it, except the spirit of God come on thee: to humble a man 3 Labour for the Spirit. is a mighty worke. Though Eliah should preach to you, yea all the sonnes of thunder should come, yet without the spirit, they will not be able to hum­ble you; yea God himselfe came downe from hea­ven, upon Mount Sinai, and with what terrours? and yet the people remained unbroken, though they were amazed for a time. When Christ spake to S. Paul and strucke him off his horse, if he had not had a light within as well as without, hee had not beene humbled; nor the Iaylor, if there had not been an earthquake in his heart, as well as in the earth. Ieroboam had as great a miracle wrought before him as Saint Paul: you may well thinke the drying up of his hand amazed him, yet made him not give over his sinne; and what was the reason? there was a miracle in both, but not the spirit: and if wee [Page 110] did worke miracles before you, from day to day; yet unlesse God sent his spirit of bondage upon you you would not bee humbled. See the necessity of the spirits helpe in admonitions also. Amaziah was admonished by a Prophet as well as David by N. than, yet hee was not humbled: and so wee see some are humbled by afflictions, and others not. Therefore pray that God would send his Spirit to convince you, and learne also not to be offended at us, when in preaching the Law your consciences are troubled. It is the spirit that troubleth you; else our words would not trouble you: and there­fore bee not angry at us: and therefore also doe not put off this duty of getting your hearts humbled; for thou art not able so much as to humble thy self: therefore take the opportunities of the spirit, when he stirs thy heart.

But you will say, this rather discourageth us from the worke: for then wee must ever waite like Object. marriners, till the tide and the gale comes, and I had as good sit still: for I may goe about it to no purpose, seeing the Lord must doe it.

I answer thee; that if thou wouldest goe about Answ. God gives the Spirit in our indea­vours. it and shut up thy selfe in private a day, and after that another, in the end God would send his Spirit. When Christ bad them goe and rowe, though they rowed all night to little purpose, yet CHRIST came at last, and they were on the other side presently; it may be thou mayest bee about it a moneth or two, ere thou findest the Spirit comming; yet hee will come in the end, and then the worke wil be through­ly done; for God hath made a promise of the Holy [Page 111] Ghost, that hee will baptize with the Holy Ghost as with fire; not onely to his Disciples; but those that yet never had it: for it is not onely for increase, but to begin grace. Yea, if God hath given thee a heart to pray, to consider this promise, so as thou hast taken up a resolution to waite and to set thy selfe to the worke, when thou hast done so; the spirit is already in thine heart, the worke is begun, though thou thinkest not so; and never pleade thou canst not do it without the spirit; for I aske thee this question, didst thou ever commit a sinne in which thou couldest say, I did it against my will? was there ever any duty which thou hadst a thought to doe, that thou couldest say, thou couldest not doe it? thy heart tells thee no.

Therfore set about this duty which is the maine; which therefore we have prest much, because it is as a naile driven into a wall on which other graces hang. This and Faith are the great things which the master builders are occupied about, and indeed the foundation, which therefore above all you must looke to; and these our exhortations should bee as forked Arrowes to sticke in you, and not out againe, and not as other Arrowes that wound onely.

We have done with the negative part, That such as doe not humble themselves have no interest in the promises.

We come now to the affirmative part, which is for comfort; That if any man doth humble him­selfe, God will heare his prayer, his sinnes shall be forgiven, &c.

[Page 121] The Doctrine is this. The Lord will be mercifull Doct. The Lord is mercifull to the humble. unto the humble.

I had thought to have gon off sooner, but that the Supper of the Lord drawes neare; which time is a day of reconciliation; such as was that Feast the tenth day in the seventh moneth, when the people all meeting together, Aaron the Priest confessed their sins over the scape Goate which fled into the wilder­nesse, which was a type of Christ taking away all our sins; and the same is done and represented when we receive the Sacrament. Now one condition re­quired of the people at that time was, that they should humble themselves, and every soule that did not was to be cut off, Levit. 23. 27. to the 30. verse, and that letting goe of the scape Goate was at the Levit. 23. 27 same time, as appeares, Levit. 16. 20. to the 31. Lev. 16. 20.

But to come to the point; the Scripture is plen­tifull to prove it, Iames 4. 6. God giveth grace to the Iames 4. 6. humble, sanctifying grace, and also saving know­ledge, Psal. 25. He shewes his secrets unto the humble, Psalme 25. yea he dwelleth in such, Esay 57. 15. he hath an espe­ciall Esay 57. 15. eye to such: those eyes that runne through the whole earth fixe themselves on the humble man for good, Esay 62. 2. other things have my hand made; (yet them he regards not in comparison) To him will I looke that is humble: he promiseth also to Esay 62. 2. fill them with good things, to give them preferment and honour, to exalt the humble and meeke; yea hee regards it so, that when evill men have humbled themselves, they have not gone away without some mercy; as when Ahab humbled himselfe, [Page 113] 2 Chron. 12. God promised he would not bring the 2 Chron. 12 evill in his dayes: and the best of Gods children when they have not humbled themselves, hee hath withdrawne his favour from them, as he would not looke on David, till he had humbled himselfe. All the world cannot keep an humble man down, nor all the props in the world cannot keep a proud man up.

And what are the reasons why God respecteth humble men so?

An humble man giveth God all the glory, and Reas. 1. They give God the glory. him that honoureth mee (saith GOD) I will honour. Now an humble man doth as Ioab did. Ioab would not take the victory to himselfe, but sent for David; and it was the deepest policy that ever Ioab used: and so the Apostles, Acts 3. know that JESUS hath Acts 3. made this man whole: and it is the humble mans wisedome, in all actions not to set themselves up, but to say no matter how I be regarded, so God be glorified; and God will honour such: therefore CHRIST in his prayer makes this a ground of being glorifyed by God, Iohn 17. I have glorified thee on Iohn 17. 4. earth; now father glorifie me. And so God will deale with his Saints in a proportion.

Humility keepes a man within his owne com­passe; Reas. 2. It keepes a man in com passe. but pride lifts a man up above his propor­tion, it puts all out of joynt and breeds disorder, and that bringeth destruction; and therefore humility was defined by some of the Ancients to bee that which out of the knowledge of GOD and a mans selfe keepes a man to his owne bottome. That whereas a proud man liftes up himselfe above his Simile. measure, as a member in the body that swells, takes [Page 114] up more roome then it should, and are as bubbles in the water, which should bee plaine and smooth; but this brings all into its place againe, gives the Creator his due, and sets the creature where it should be, and therefore God loves it.

It makes a man sociable and usefull and profi­table Reas. 3. Makes a man usefull [...] others. to others: a man would not have a stubborne horse that will not goe in the teame with his fel­lowes, nor such high trees as overshadow others, and will not suffer them to grow by them, and bring forth no fruit themselves. A man will not keepe a Cow or an Oxe that is still a pushing; and Simile. such an one is a proud man: it is but, and onely the humble man that will live profitably amongst his neighbours, and will not goe beyond his owne Tedder.

An humble man hath such a frame of heart, as the LORD delights in; for hee is fearefull Reas. 4. It makes [...] ­bedient. to offend, alwayes obedient, ready to doe any service, and is content with any wages; loves much, is abundant in thankfulnesse, and cleaves fast to the LORD, because hee hath no bottome of his owne, and keepeth under his lusts, because hee knowes the bitternesse of sinne; resignes up his heart to the Lord to follow him in all things, hee is a man of the Lords desires; so it is said of Daniel, when he had humbled himselfe, Dan. 9. Such an one as the Lord would have; and so it makes him fit [...] 9. for favour; and when a man is fit for favour, he shall bee sure to have it, for God is not streight-handed to us.

Hath the LORD said it, and that from heaven; Vse▪ 1. [Page 115] that if a man doe humble himselfe hee will forgive Consolati­on. him? Then this is a matter of great consolation; when I can say from GOD to any one here that droopes, that if thou doest and wilt humble thy selfe, the LORD will forgive thee; consider it, this is newes from heaven.

Put the case (to compare spirituall things with things which you are more sensible of) that any of you had committed high treason against the King, and thou hadst forfeited thy life and goods; if any one should come from the King to thee, and tel thee that if thou wouldest goe to him and humble thy selfe it should be pardoned: And is not our case the same? We are guilty of eternall death, and have forfeited life and all: when therefore GOD him­selfe shall say, If thou wilt humble thy selfe, thy sinnes shall bee forgiven, what comfort is it? such a word as this should not be lost. A man that knowes the bitternesse of sinne, would waite and waite againe to gaine such a word as this from the LORDS mouth, and would keepe it as his life. It was not a light thing to get such a word as this from God, none but a favourite could get it, nay none but his Son, and hee not, but by his death; if CHRIST had not provided this Charter for us, every man should have dyed in his sinnes. Now this we can and doe say from GOD through CHRIST, that though your sinnes be great, and you have fallen into them many a time and committed them with the worst of circumstances; yet if thou humblest thy self, thou shalt be forgiven; so as thou mayst say, I may challenge God of his promise, and put this bond in [Page 116] suite and he cannot deny it. This is a great matter; if a man shall but seriously consider, what it is to have this great God, the Governor of the World, to bee an enemy, one would thinke they should thinke this Gospell good newes.

But you will say, I doe yet neither know distin­ctly what it is to humble my selfe, neither can I humble my selfe; there is not a harder thing then it is. Therefore I will shew it you once againe, that you may know it, for why should wee not in so great a point turne it every way, and mould it for your use, and to your apprehensions, as also that you may not thinke it harder then it is, by which the Divell keeps many off.

Now you may know what it is by the expressi­ons Humiliati­on what. of those who have humbled themselves. Da­vid having numbred the people, when he humbled himselfe he said, Lord I have sinned and done exceed­ing foolishly. Iosiah his heart melted before the Lord. And Dan. 9. Lord we have done very wickedly, &c. and Dan. 9. shame belongs to us: hee was ashamed. And Io [...] when he humbled himselfe, said, Lord, I abhor my selfe in dust and ashes. And the Prodigall, I have sinned against heaven and against thee, and am no more worthy to bee called thy sonne. And so they are said to bee weary and heavy laden. Many other expressi­ons there are, but I will digest all into two heads; to humble a mans selfe is but to bring his heart and minde unto these two acts.

Is out of a sence of a mans unworthinesse to say 1 An ac­knoledgi [...]g our vile sins thus unto the Lord: Oh Lord, I ha [...]e done exceeding wickedly, and am worthy to be destroyed. I have beene [Page 117] in the wrong way, and done exceeding foolishly; but thy wayes are righteous, and thou art just: yea I have dealt unthankfully and unequally with thee, who hast beene so good to me. That was it melted the heart of Iosiah, and made Iob abhorre himselfe; as vile as the dust I tread upon, as ashes that are good for nothing, or but as sackloth (in which they used to humble themselves, the worst of gar­ments, I am ashamed and confounded. This is the first act which is a sence and an acknowledgement of our owne unworthinesse and vilenesse. And the 2 To ac­knowledge he is wor­thy to be destroyed. second a sight of a mans worthinesse to be destroy­ed, unability to helpe himselfe, and of the vanity of all things else. A man must further say, that I am not onely unworthy, but guilty of death; my sinnes will breake my backe; I am not able to stand under them, and I am utterly undone; and when I looke upon all the props of my life, my health, and rich­es, &c. I see they are but vaine things, reeds and feathers, and as hollow ground whereon I can set no footing: Therefore LORD, bee thou a rocke to mee, on whom I may pitch and build my selfe. And that this sight of our owne unability is also ne­cessary we see by that 1 Tim. 6. 17. Charge them that are rich, that they bee not high minded, nor trust in un­certaine 1 Tim. 6. 17 riches: they are both joyned together: For so farre as a man doth trust in them, he is high min­ded; and the soule of man doth trust in them so long as it apprehends substance in them, and that they are not vanity, so farre the heart beares it selfe upon them, and so is carelesse of the LORD; and why else do afflictions humble men, as Manasses, but [Page 118] because a man then sees the emptinesse of all things, it brings him to say with the Prodigall, I die for hun­ger, and these cannot feed mee, and so to hold fast to the LORD: which a man must needs doe, when he hath but one thing to hold to. Now when thou art wrought on so as to expresse this unfainedly, this is it, to humble thy selfe.

We should hence learne to strengthen our faith; if we have done this, if thou hast thus humbled thy Vse 2. To streng­then faith. selfe, confessed thy sinnes, taken up a full resolution to forsake them; thou shalt have mercy, according to that promise Prov. 28. 13. He that confesseth and [...]rov. 28. 13 for saketh, shall have mercy.

But here we find those who have humbled them­selves come in with two objections, that hinder their comfort,

1. That they cannot mourne for their sins. 2 That they fall into the same sinnes againe and againe, and that therefore they have not humbled themselves. Now as we would not have the false deceived with false evidences, so nor the true discomforted, and therefore wee will answer these objections. To the first,

If thou beest so farre convinced in thy Judge­ment of thy sin, and misery, and unability to helpe 1 When mourning is effectuall. thy selfe, as it hath turned the bent and rudder of thy will, so as thou sayest, I will goe and humble my selfe to my Father, change my course, confesse and forsake my sins; though thy affections seeme to thee not stirred, yet this is enough to translate thee into the estate of grace: for I aske, to what end is mourning and weeping required, but to awaken a [Page 119] man, to come home to God, in this manner menti­oned? when therefore thou findest these effects, thou maiest be sure thou hast the end of these, and that is enough to save thee. Suppose a man carries about him a deadly disease, so as upon the disco­very, and knowledge of it he is content to part with all he hath to the Physicians, and is wary of med­ling Simile. with any meate that will hurt him and increase it; if he know this that it is deadly, though he hath no sence of paine, it is all one, (and there are some diseases you know, wherein a man feeles not so much paine, that yet are mortall) it may make him as carefull to use the meanes: and so is it here; if the conviction of the sinfulnesse and deadlinesse of sinne worke those dispositions mentioned in thee, then thou hast the end which mourning tends to, and that is all one.

Though thy affections be not so stirred, consider 2 What the promises are made to the promises are made to ones comming in, and taking Christ, and beleeving in him: they are not made to the commotion of the affections: and here in the words the promise is made to, humbling thy selfe out of a solidity of Iudgement. It is no mat­ter by what meanes you are brought to take hold on Christ, so you come to him. It is all one whe­ther I come to my journeys end by land, or by water, on horse backe or on foote, so I bee come thither.

If thou findest thou doest the things that an humble man should doe, then though thy affections seeme not to be moved, yet in very deed they are moved and changed: as if thou art fearefull to re­turne [Page 120] to thy sinnes, art resolved to please God in all things to thy power. For what are affections, but divers positions and scituations of the will and Affections what. the feete it walkes upon? they are but the divers motions and inclinations whereby the will shoots it selfe into the objects of it. Now looke which way thy will is resolved, and set: that way are thy affe­ctions set also: if thou seest one ro rise up soone and goe to bed late, to avoyde poverty, and to get riches, a wise man will assure himselfe that his Simile. ayme is such, and his heart set upon riches; his actions shew that his affections doe move strongly that way, though he sayes, he feeles no such stir­radge. Therefore though thou findest this stilnesse of affections; yet if thou doest the same things that they use to do, who mourne and weepe more; thou mayest assure thy selfe thy affections are moved.

I adde this, that it is no wound, if thy affections be not so sensibly stirred, and yet thy humiliation bee sound; for it is the nature of the affections to shoot into their owne objects stilly, and to runne along as water and winde doth; if they meete with no obstacle to runne quietly, if it meetes with trees, then the winde riseth, and if the tide meete with the winde, then the waves rise; so if our af­fections be crossed, we are sure to heare of them then: if thou hadst not some hopefull assurance of thy estate, thou wouldest heare of mourning and drooping; then it may be the worke of grace in thee hath alwayes gone evenly on, the streame hath runne calmely and quietly; but yet such doe [Page 121] finde that upon some suddaine accidents or draw­ings nigh, when the LORD is pleased to make an impression upon them, then they heare of stir­ring affections.

But (to conclude all) know and resolve upon it, that the flowing and ebbing of thy affections is not that which thy salvation depends upon, but solidity of conviction of Iudgement which turnes the will, and makes thee to cleave fast unto Christ.

Whereas you object you fall into the same sins 2 Object. Answ Falling a­gaine into sins. againe and againe; I answer, you may fall againe and againe, and into great sins, for which you have been soundly humbled: why should we speake that which the Scripture doth not? onely take it with this caution, that you find a constant warre against them, as Israel with the Amalekites, so as never to yield; to looke upon their sinnes, as a mans greatest enemy, never to be reconciled though he be foiled againe and againe: for what is true humiliation, but True humi­liation what to reckon sin the greatest misery? and indeed if a man reckon any greater, as losse of wealth, &c. then a man had rather fall into sinne then lose his wealth; whence it is that falsenesse of heart doth a rise: but humiliation makes a man to reckon sinne such an evill, as he had rather suffer any thing than make a truce with sinne: and the generall ordinary power of grace in a mans ordinary whole course is not seene in keeping men from relapses altogether, but in setting sinne and the heart at oddes, as health and sickenesse; whilst a man is a living man he can­not [Page 122] be friends with any disease but nature will resist it, it sets them at variance, as the Wolfe and the Lambe, as the spring and mudde, and living waters will cleanse themselves, though the mudd arise a thousand times, if as the Wolfe which reckons the Lambe the greatest enemy it hath in the world by an instinct of nature, so if thou reckonest sinne the most destroying thing in the world, whence is this but because humiliation hath made that impression and apprehension of it on thy heart; which God hath set on thy heart as a brand in the flesh that will never out, then thou wilt fight against every sinne and never be reconciled to it, as a Lambe is not to a Wolfe, because nature hath implanted that en­mity there; if thou finde this to bee the constant disposition of thy minde, keepe thy assurance strong, though many weakenesses be discovered in thee; It is utterly a fault among you to weaken your assurance by your daily slippings and fail­ings, Daily fail­ings should not weaken assurance. and Satan labours that above all other, for then when your assurance and hope is gone you walke unevenly, and as a Ship that hath lost her An­chor, or is without a Rudder: thou mayst some­times feele a hardnesse in thee, and yet if this afore­said bee the constant disposition of thy minde; Weaken not thy assurance, but say, though I finde my heart hard and carelesse, froward and angry often, whereas I should bee meeke and humble; Yet I will not question the maine, but I will goe and renew my humiliation, which will strengthen my assurance; however, hold that firme, for it drawes into neerer Communion with GOD, and [Page 123] further from sinne establisheth a man in well­doing, and makes him abound in the worke of the Lord.

Learne hence also, that it is not enough for a Vse 3. To be hum­ble in af­flictions as well as pa­tient. man only to be patient in afflictions, but he must also humble himselfe under them, wee must not onely beare the crosse, but willingly and cheerfully ac­knowledge Gods justice in it, and our owne sinne, for to bee humbled is a further thing then to bee patient, as in 2 Chron. 12. 6. when the people were 2 Chron. 12 6. left in the hand of Shishak, it is said, that the Princes of Israel humbled themselves, and they said, the Lord is righteous, where being humbled, is expressed by acknowledging God to be righteous, which is more then to be patient, God lookes for this in all af­flictions, therefore he sayes in 1 Pet. 5. 6. humble 1 Pet. 5. 6. your selves (and not bee patient onely) under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Many a man in affliction may say, he will be pa­tient; but that is not enough, but he must humble himselfe, which is more then patience; for pati ence is only to beare it contentedly, but a man must goe to God, and say, Lord I confesse I am sinfull and have deserved more then this punishment, I wonder not at thy judgment but at thy long suffer­ing rather, that it is no worse with me, the least of Saints and the greatest of sinners. So wee see it was with Naomi in Ruth 1. 20, 21. call me not by an Ruth 1. 20, 21. honorable name, not Naomi, but Marah; I went out full, but I am come home empty, and the Lord hath afflicted mee; and seeing hee hath afflicted mee, I will carry my saile accordingly. This is truly to [Page 124] humble a mans selfe. And thus did David, when hee fled before Absolon, Let the Lord doe with mee what seemes good in his eyes. 2 Sam. 15. 26. And so said Eli, In all this the Lord is good, that is, the Lord 2 Sam. 15. 26. is just in all this, and I, and my sonnes deserve it, and more. Thus when a man thinkes it reasonable that God should punish him, he blesseth God that the crosse is no greater, without complaining or re­pining. If the Lord will leade thee through vari­ety of conditions, say with Paul, I know how to want, and how to abound, and how to goe through bad re­port, as well as good report; and I am not onely content, but chearefull in all this, and would be, if it were farre worse.

If the Lord hath said hee will bee mercifull to the humble, then let us humble our selves more and Vse 4. To be more humble. more and get our hearts lower and lower, seeing there are such mighty and large promises belonging to the humble, and know that as the Lord suspends his promises upon this here, so they shall bee ful­fild upon the performance of this, and as wee doe this more or lesse, so shall the promises be fulfilled to us more or lesse, therefore let us doe this more and more, for if we humble our selves, the Lord will fill our hearts with good things; when he sees a man taking a low place, hee will say sit up higher, all the world cannot hold downe an humble man, because the Lord setteth to his hand to raise him up, neither keepe up a proud man because the Lord set­teth himselfe to depresse and debase them, when the wall swells, it is not like to stand long, when a joynt is luxated and swelled, till the swelling abate, it can­not [Page 125] be saved and set, he hath respect to the low estate of his handmaiden, so saith Mary the blessed Virgin, Luke 1. 48. So he dealt with Naomi, hee was long Luke 1. 48. in humbling her, and then raised her up; so with Iob, when hee was humbled, then God doubled his e­state: thus God deales with the humble and that constantly, he never does any great things for any men, till hee hath first humbled him; how much was Ioseph humbled, ere he made that promise to him that the Sunne, Moone, and Stars should bow to him, that is, his father, and mother and bre­thren, should obey him, and yet againe before God made good these promises to him, what a doe there was to humble him further? which doubtlesse made him more to prize these mercies, and so more thank­full to God for them. So also in his glorious ap­pearance to Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob, he would still before hand humble them, and make them low by some affliction or other still before hee would make any gracious promises to them. When Iacob was flying from the face of his brother and was in great streights and so made low in his owne eyes, then did God first appeare to him: when a man is humbled, it is the next doore to preferment one way or other. Therefore it should be our wise­dome to humble our selves more and more, since there is so much benefit to be gotten by it. Prov. Pro. 22. 4. 22. 4. By humility and the feare of the Lord are riches, and honours, and life: the rule holds constant, the Lord makes it good; let a man be humble, and feare God too, that is, allow himselfe in no sinne, and the Lord will make it good one way or other, in his time.

[Page 126] But you will say, we see the contrary, proud men Object Though the proud are ex alted, and humble de­pressed. are advanced, and humble men deprest, they have riches when as the humble man is poore, and as we use to say, where the hedg is lowest, there all the beasts goe over, and tread it downe: every man will be ready to trample upon the humble man.

I answer first; The Lord gives outward gaudy things to proud men; but hee gives his Iewels Answ. 1. Yet the humble have the best gifts. to those that are humble, hee reveales his secret to them; these are Princes though they goe on foote; and the other are servants, though they ride on horse­backe.

But this is not all my answer: but secondly I 2 He exalts them in due time. say; that even for the things of this life, the Lord doth exalt the humble and bring downe the proud; onely with this caution, hee doth both in season, when things are brought to maturity; as the Apo­stle Saint Peter saith, 1 Pet. 5. 6. humble your selves under the mighty hand of God, that hee may exalt you in due time. God doth it not on a suddaine. When 1 Pet. 5. 6. the proud like the corne are ripe, then he puts in the sickle, and cuts them downe, and casts them into the fire. The wall which is sweld, must have a time to moulder and fall, and so on the contrary, there is a due time, for the exaltation of the humble. And therefore if thou sayest, I have humbled my selfe, and have not beene healed, I have not beene freed from such a temptation for all my humiliation; if this bee thy case, then assure thy selfe thou art not humbled enough, but goe thou and yet bring thy heart lower, and then bee confident, that this rule will hold: the Lord will take off the smarting plai­ster [Page 127] as soone as it hath eaten out the proud flesh; so soone as thy heart is truly humbled, the Lord will helpe thee: he will either remove the crosse, or give thee that which is equivalent: and thus the Lord hath alwayes done. So he dealt with Ioseph. You A [...] Iosoph. happily may thinke, and hee might thinke, it was long before he was exalted; but yet that time was not too long, for as soone as the LORD had truly humbled him, then hee presently exalted him; as you may see in Psal. 105. 18, 19, 20. Whose feet they Psalme 105 18, 19, 20. hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron, until the time that his word came; the word of the Lord tryed him: then the King sent, and loosed him, &c. And so he dealt Iob. with Iob. All that time that his friends were rea­soning with him, his heart would not bee brought downe; but the Lord himselfe must come and rea­son with him; and then he began to abhorh mselfe, in dust and ashes: and how soone after was hee re­stored, and al he lost restored double also? This be­ing (as you see) Gods constant course, if thou hum­bling thy selfe, yet lyest long under a calamity, thou mayest assure thy selfe, there is somthing wanting in thy heart, and therefore bee content with Gods dealing. 2 Cor. 12. lest Saint Paul should be exalted, 2 Cor. 12. there was given him a thorne in the flesh: if Saint Paul needed humility, who doth not? Remember this rule, that if Gods people humble themselves, then he will certainely helpe them; onely it will bee in due season.

But you will say: how shall wee get downe our Quest. stubborne hearts? Pride is very naturall, and the hardest thing in the world to overcome.

[Page 128] Let every man consider, whether he be released or no from the plague of his heart; if that, there be not some calamity, which hangs continually on him: if there be, then know, thou art not humbled enough (the meaning is not, that thou shouldest be brought to an apprehension and feare of hell; but thy heart is to be brought down more; thou maiest be humbled truly so as to be within the covenant, and yet not enough to have thy heart wrought to Meanes to humble the heart. this or that frame God would bring it unto.) And to bring your hearts lower, use these meanes.

First consider your hearts often, consider what unruly lusts you find hid there; make it your daily Daily serch the heart. custome, to search into this. We goe not a daies journey in this life, but there is somewhat disco­vered in our hearts which may serve to humble us further, as it was with them in the wildernesse, Deut. 8. 2. Thou shalt remember all the way which the Deut. 8. 2. Lord thy God led thee these forty yeares in the wil­dernesse, to humble thee, to prove thee, and to know what was in thy heart, &c. There is not one day, but a godly-wise man may discerne something in his heart, which may be matter of humiliation to him, which he saw not before; vaineglorious speeches, unlawfull silence, cowardize in good causes, thy worldly mindednesse, thy unruly affections, that will be still stirring, and something will be disco­vered without in thy actions also, which when thou seest such sparkes ascending, remember to looke to the fire, the furnace within; these are but the buds, there is a deepe roote of bitternesse within; these are but ebullitions; consider there is a spring [Page 129] within, search into all the corners of the house for this sower leaven. So the first meanes is studying our selves, for the way to humble a mans selfe is to know himselfe.

And secondly, as you must study your selves, so 2 Study the Scriptures. you must study the Scriptures, that is, you must con­sider the strictnesse, the holinesse, &c. that is requi­red of you therein, and lay that and your hearts to­gether, apply this levell and square to your wayes, and it will discover the crookednesse of them, and dresse your selves by this looking glasse, every mor­ning; for it will shew you the smallest spots; and this will exceedingly humble us: For this is a sure rule, degrees of humiliation follow degrees of illumina­tion; as any Christian is enlightened more, so he is humbled more: hence hee that is most conversant in Scripture, is most humbled.

And thirdly, you must not only looke to increase 3 To bee con­stant in ho­ly duties. your light, but looke to your hearts and wayes, to keepe your selves upright, and to be constant in an holy course, and all holy duties; and this will bee meanes to increase your humiliation. Many ab­staine from holy courses and duties, because say they, we are not humbled enough: It is true indeed wee must begin with humility, yet this you must know, that the setting your selves to a holy course, is of it selfe a notable meanes to increase humiliati­on; for thy watchfulnesse will increase tendernesse, and tendernesse will increase thy humiliation. Men that are bold in sinning, their hearts grow hard; and so on the contrary, when men are fearefull to offend, their hearts grow tender.

[Page 130] But yet adde to this, diligence in your callings, 4 Diligence in our cal­ling. for (as the wise man saith) The stuggard is more wise in his owne conceit, then ten men that can give a rea­son, that is, he is selfe conceited and proud. A slug­gard that hath nothing to do, looks abroad to other mens matters, and lookes not to his owne wayes, nor his owne heart, which would bee a meanes to humble him: therefore diligence is a greate meanes to humble, to bring downe our hearts, because idle­nesse is a meanes to lift them up.

And further, it is profitable for you to remem­ber 5 Remember times and sinnes past. times and sinnes that are past. A man will bee ready to say, I hope I am changed now, what I have beene I care not for; but the Lord to humble David told him what he had beene, I tooke thee from the sheepe fold, &c. so with the Jewes, Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite, and I saw thee in thy bloud.

Be carefull to distinguish wisely betweene grace in thee, and thy selfe of thy selfe; and that will bee 6 Acknow­ledge grace in us. a meanes to humble thee. As Paul in 2 Cor. 12. 11. Not I, but the grace of God in mee. Put the case the LORD hath beautified us with many graces and gifts above others; thou must not exalt thy selfe a­bove others; wee must looke upon our selves as of our selves, to bee the same men still. Can the wall Simile. say, it hath brought forth the beames that the Sun hath cast upon it? the wall is the same: so if God hath shined upon thee, and left others in darknesse, art thou the better of thy selfe? shall the pen boast it selfe, because it hath written a faire Epistle? who made it? who put inke into it, guided it? the glo­ry [Page 131] belongs not to the pen, but to the writer. What though God hath used thee in some great worke, and not others? the praise is his, not thine: Wee praise not the Trumpet, but him that sounds it. Non laudamus tubam, sed tubicinem. Paul was a bet­ter Trumpet than ten thousand others, and yet hee saith, I am nothing. The smoake a dusky and ob­scure vapour climbes up into the light, as if it were better than pure aire. Many exalt themselves a­bove their brethren, for gifts and outward things which are but the trappings, and make not the diffe­rence betweene man and man; as if a man were the taller, because hee stands on a hill, or a man had a better body, because hee had a better suit on: thou art the same man still. Wee are not to bee proud, no not of any Graces, much lesse of outward things.

Lastly, is the Lord thus mercifull to the hum­ble? Vse 5. Not to ap­ply promi­ses til we be humbled. then take heed of applying those promises to thy selfe without a cause, when thou art not hum­bled.

But thou wilt say, I am humbled. Object. Answ How to know wee are hum­bled.

It is well if it be so: But consider, hath thy humi­liation brought thee home? perhaps it hath brought thee out of Aegypt, but hath it brought thee into Canaan? hath it driven thee to the City of re­fuge? to the hornes of the Altar? to thy fathers house? The Prodigall changed many places, ere he came home in earnest. Many came out of Ae­gypt, that never came into Canaan, but died in the Wildernesse. The Meteors have matter enough, in the vapours themselves to carry them above the [Page 132] earth, but not enough to unite them to the element of fire: therefore they fall and returne to their first principles. Art thou watchfull over all thy wayes, fearefull to offend, looking to every step where thou settest thy foote, how thou hearest, how thou prayest, how every worke is done, every word spo­ken, every howre spent? For this is certaine, if he be humbled, it will dry up the fountaine of sinne, it will heale his bloudy flux, and make him wary in all his wayes and fearefull to sinne. Thus much for this first condition.

If my people that are called by my name, doe humble themselves, and seeke my face.

WE are now come to the next condition; If my people seeke my face: where we may ob­serve this point,

That except a man seeke Gods face, all his labour is Doct. All perfor­mances no­thing with­out seeking Gods fac [...]. lost in his humiliation and prayers, and whatsoever else hee doth.

This is put in among those other conditions; and therfore without this the promise is not made to us.

For the unfoulding of this point, wee must first enquire,

What it is to seeke Gods face. Quest. Answ. What it is to seeke Gods face.

It is to seeke the LORD himselfe: for his face in Scripture is often taken for his person: so the word [Page 133] is used Exodus 20. 2. in the first Commandement, Thou shalt have no other gods before my face, that is, Exod. 20. 2. before mee. So then the meaning is, we must seeke the LORD himselfe. Many, when they are in di­stresse, will seeke to the Lord for deliverance, in time of Famine, they will seeke to him for Corne and Wine and Oyle, as they in the Prophet; but they seeke not the Lord himselfe, nor communion and re­conciliation with him; they seeke to the LORD, but not the LORD: they seeke what he can doe for them, but not his person, not himselfe: So those Hos. 7. 14. Ye have not cryed to me, sayes God, when yee Hos. 7. 4. howled upon your beds. Yee assemble your selves for corne and wine, and rebell against me.

They then wanted Corne and Wine, &c. and sought them at GODS hands; but not me the LORD whom you had lost. Thou mayest seeke salvation and deliverance from hel, out of the strenght of na­turall wisedome, because it is for thy good: and al­so being convinced of the necessity of faith and re­pentance, to escape hell, and obtain salvation. Men may thereupon go farre in the performance of ma­ny duties, and be constant a while in them, and yet not seeke the Lords face in all these: and then the Lord regards them not. Take a thiefe that is ar­raigned Simile. at the bar, he will cry earnestly for his life, but yet he seeketh not the face of the Iudge, i. e. he doth it without love to the Iudge, but onely out of the love of life: So we may do much to escape hel, and to attain the life opposite to it, and yet all this while not seeke the presence of God, and then GOD regards it not. You find this disposition in your selves, and [Page 134] see it in others: if a man bee never so observant of any of you, and performe never so many offices of friendship to you, yet if a man can say he loves me not for all this, hee doth not prize mee, nor desire my love and favour so much for it selfe, but for his owne ends; in this case you care not for what hee doth: So the LORD, hee knowes the heart and the reines, and what thine end is, whether it bee com­munion with his person immediately, or thine own welfare meerely; and if so, regards not thy hum­bling thy selfe nor thy prayers. The promise you see is suspended upon it: it is a distinguishing point, and will separate betweene the precious and the vile, it is a marke set upon Gods people alone: To seeke Gods face Psalme 24.

Wee will therefore further and more particular­ly consider, what it is to seeke Gods face or presence. And there are three wayes to finde it out.

First by what is here joyned with it, If they hum­ble I themselves, and seeke my face: and so by consi­dering the connexion that these two have together, find out what seeking of Gods face is. Now there is a twofold humiliation wrought in men:

The one is, for that bitternesse and punishment Humiliati­on which is twofold. that sin brings with it, and this never brings forth either faithfull prayers, or seeking Gods face.

But there is another kind of humiliation, which hath a further ingredient in it, and that is the sight of the foulenesse of sinne, when God openeth a crevise of light to looke upon sin, not onely as that which brings bitternesse with it, but as that, which in it selfe is most filthy and abominable, and by [Page 135] that light it is made such in his account: for it is one thing to flee from the sting of the Serpent, an other thing to hate the Serpent it selfe; and so to take heed of the Wolfe, because of his cruelty, and to hate the Wolfe it selfe, are differing things. Other crea­tures may hate the properties and conditions of a Wolfe; but a Lambe only hates the Wolfe it selfe. Now with this latter kind of humiliation there goes and is conjunct with it an enlightning, where­by God shewes to a man his owne glorious face, the lustre whereof helpes him further to see the foul­nesse Discovery of Gods ex­cellencies. of sinne. God by the same light of the Spi­rit, whereby he shewes a men the uglinesse of sinne, discovers withal his own excellencies, which makes the sinner thus humbled to seeke his face, to seeke grace, as well as mercy. But other men either see not Gods face at all, or onely see his angry counte­nance; onely those whom the Lord calleth effectu­ally, see his gracious face. Now hee to whom it is hid and sees it not, seekes not Gods face; for none can seeke it, unlesse they have seene it, and hee who sees it onely as angry, flies from God; but he dis­covers himselfe to the truly humble, the secrets of the Lord are with such, Psal. 25. and so Ioh. 15. 15. Psalme [...]5. Iohn 15. 15 I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have call'd you friends, for all things I have heard of my Father, I have made knowne to you. Hee reveales himselfe to those who are already his friends, or to those he is about to make his friends; one of the first things he doth, is to reveale his face to them: With men indeed, men are first made friends, and then secrets are revealed; but contrarily [Page 136] with God, he reveales his secrets to us and his face, that we may be made friends with him, and then God re­veales his secrets to the humble. wee grow into further acquaintance with him, and they are therefore cal'd the secrets of the Lord, be­cause only revealed to the Saints. Servants indeed see what is done in the house, but there are many things which their masters reveale not to them: and so many come here to the house of God, and heare what is spoken of GOD and CHRIST, but yet there are some certaine secrets that are hid from them, that are told only to the children, the sonnes and daughters of God: The other heare as much and see as much, for the outside, as Gods children do, yet the secrets of things are hid from them, and a­mong others, Gods face; and the excellencies there­of are hid from them. This he reveales (as his o­ther secrets) onely to those that feare him, and this revealing it is a speciall worke of the Spirit. If a man would see the Sunne, all the starres in heaven Simile. and torches in the earth could not helpe him to see it or shew it to him, unlesse the Sunne it selfe shines and ariseth, and there come a light from the Sunne it selfe, you cannot come to see it; and so all the Angels of heaven and wits of men on earth, cannot shew you Gods face, unlesse hee opens the clouds and reveales himselfe by his owne Spirit, it will not bee done; which is therefore called the Spirit of Revelation, Ephes. 1. 17. by which God reveales his Ephes. 1. 17. secrets to his children, when he begins to call them effectually, they see him and none else; wee make knowne the Doctrines about GOD and CHRIST, &c. to all alike, but the Lord makes the difference, [Page 137] by revealing himselfe to one, and not unto another; that which is said especially of the Iewes, 2 Cor. 3. 2 Cor. 3. 15. 16. 15, 16. verses, and so on, is in like manner applicable to us all. The Lords face shines, as Moses face did, verse 15. and hee gives the knowledge of his glory in 2 Cor. 4. 6. the face of Iesus Christ in the ministery of the word every day; but there is a vaile lies upon all mens hearts, upon all but those whom the Lord calls, and upon theirs also, till hee calleth them, as upon the Iewes hearts, verse 16. Neverthelesse when they shall turne unto the Lord, the vaile shall be taken away: and untill then, Gods face cannot bee seene, as Moses face was not; and who shall take away that vaile? The Spirit of the Lord; where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, vers. 17. and when hee doth free us of that vaile, then we behold the Glory of the Lord as in a glasse with open face, v. 18. that is, we see the amiablenesse of his face, the happinesse of communion with him; and when the light breakes through the cloudes thus, and the Lord gives a glimpse of himselfe, then they see him, and never give over seeking his face, more and more, till they have found him: And be­cause that other sort I spake of, if they see him, they yet see but an angry face onely, and that makes men flie from the Lord; as we see in distresse, and at death many will do any thing rather than goe to God; they tremble at his presence, and no way de­sire it, as Adam did not, but fled from it: and thus would all doe, if no word were revealed. There­fore the Spirit of revelation, takes away the vaile, and breakes the clouds, that his owne Elect may have a glimpse of his face, and the Spirit of adoption, who is [Page 138] sent downe into their hearts, shewes God as merci­full, full of kindnesse and love: they see not one­ly his face, but his face shining in all gracious wil­lingnesse to receive them: hee presenteth him as a loving father ready to admit of them, and graci­ously to forgive and receive them: They see Gods face, that is, both his excellency, and beautie, and also his love and graciousnesse towards them; and this makes them seeke his presence and reconciliati­on with him, and never to be at rest without it, as Moses, Lord we will not stirre a foot without thy presence, Exodus 34. 18. A right suitor eare for Exod. 34. 18 nothing, but the love and presence of the person sued to: so they desire nothing, can bee content with nothing, but the presence of God, communi­on with God, The light of his countenance.

The second thing whereby I expresse what it is to seeke Gods face, is to seeke the Lord alone, as seque­stred 2 To seek the Lord alone. from punishments and rewards, in his owne person, as considered in himselfe, in his Attributes, in his holinesse and purity; so as not to seeke the things hee brings with him, but to seeke himselfe, and the things which are in him.

But you will say, this is very hard, to set aside all respects to rewards and punishments. Object.

It is an errour to thinke, that you may not make use of rewards and punishments: for, Answ

First punishments and the threatnings of the 1 Punish­ments the object of feare. Lord are the true object of feare; and a faculty and an habit may lawfully bee exercised about their proper object; and so rewards are the subject of de­sire, and so may lawfully bee sought after and de­sired.

[Page 139] The Lord himselfe in Scripture, useth these mo­tives, 2 of Iudgements on the one side, and of rewards on the other, and therefore wee may make use of them to our owne hearts; for to that end hath God propounded them.

Therefore I will set downe two conclusions to cleare this to you, what use there may be made of rewards and threatnings.

1 Conclusion, the propounding of, and the re­spect What use may bee made of re­wards and threatnings. unto rewards and punishments, is a good be­ginning to draw us on, to seeke the Lords face: they are a good introduction. A man that hath not as yet seene Gods face, the feare of hell may cause him to reflect on his owne heart and wayes, and to bee sensible of the evill of them: and so the happinesse of heaven may draw him on: but all this while he [...] They are a beginning to seeke Gods face is but in beginning. A spouse that is considering with her selfe, whether shee should marry such an husband or no, beginneth to consider at first, what shee shall be without him, and what shee shall have with him; shee considers him perhaps as one that wil pay all her debts, and make her honourable &c. and yet it may be, yet she considers not the man all this while, and yet these considerations are good preparatives to draw her on, to give entertainement to him, but after converse and acquaintance with the person, she likes the person himselfe so wel, that she is content to have him; though she should have nothing with him; and so she gives her full and free consent to him, and the match comes to be made up betweene them out of true and sincere free love and liking: So it is here, men begin at first to consider [Page 140] their owne misery most, and that if they should ap­ply themselves to other things as remedies, they should bee still to seeke, for there is a vanity in all things; and if to themselves, that they cannot helpe themselves in trouble: therefore they judge they must goe to the mighty GOD, who is able to doe more than all, to rid them out of misery: and they consider, that going to him they shall have heaven besides: and yet all this while they consider not the LORDS person: yet this consideration makes way, that GOD and wee may meete and speake together; it brings our hearts to give way, that the LORD may come to us (that I may so speake, for before we are not to be spoken with) it causeth us to attend to him, to looke upon him, to converse with him, to admit him as a suitor, and to be acquainted with him, and whilst wee are thus conversing with him, GOD reveales himselfe; and then being come to the knowledge of him in himselfe by that his speci­all light spoken of afore, we love him for himselfe; then wee are willing to seeke his presence, to seeke him for our husband, though all other things were removed from him. And now the match is made, and not till now; and then wee so looke upon him, that if all those other advantages were taken away, we should yet still love him, and not leave him for all the world, and so as if wee should imagine hee would give us never so much, and yet with-draw his face, wee could not bee at rest. Before, if a man could but be assured, he should not go to hell, and should have creatures and comforts about him; it would bee enough to him; but now it is not so. [Page 141] Now if Gods countenance bee but clouded, if any breach bee betwixt a man and God, he cannot rest till it bee made up, and he see his face againe.

Yet still after the match is made, there is a second 2 To confirme us after wee are come in use of punishments and rewards; they are usefull, not onely to bring us in, but to confirme us also in our choyce; they serve both as an introduction, and as an helpe, when we are come in, to confirme us in our choyce: As when a woman is married, shee having this husband, I live in an house, well furnished, and I have many conveniences. I enjoy not onely my husbands person, but with many ad­ditions. So it is with us, though the LORD alone be sufficient reward; so as if wee had nothing else, wee would never goe backe of our choice, yet wee having many good things with him, it helpeth us in our love to him, and confirmes us in our choice: These are then good additions, but not good prin­ciples and foundations; and encourage us much if added, and put to seeke the LORD for himselfe, as the principall. So then as ciphers added to figures, Simile. they helpe to make the number greater, though if they stand alone, they are nothing; so these; and though they be not good leaders, yet they are good followers: They are as a good wind, that fills the sailes, and sets the Ship forward with the greater speed, when the rudder is once set right, to steere to God alone.

The third thing whereby I explaine what is 3 To seeke God with selfe denyal. meant by seeking GODS face, is to seeke the LORDS presence in opposition to a mans selfe, when a man doth it with deniall of himselfe, not serving his [Page 142] owne ends in seeking the Lord, but gives up himselfe to the LORD alone. In all things an unregenerate man doth not know the Lord, is not acquainted with him, and therefore will not preferre the Lord to himselfe: but a regenerate man that knowes him reckoneth all things, as life, liberty, riches, &c. but as drosse and dung, so he may enjoy the LORD: hee hath set up the Lord for his God, in his heart, and desires not to stand upon his owne bottome; and therefore when the Lord comes into competition with himselfe, and the matter is betwixt God and his credit, &c. he is willing to deny himselfe.

But here the great objection is, how it is possible for a man, not to seeke his owne happinesse, safety Object. and advantage?

This troubles many, and makes them think their sincerity but hypocrisie, and may put a scruple into the best: I will therefore cleare this for their sakes whose hearts are upright, as also to exclude those whose hearts are not sound.

The answer stands upon these two points. Answ. A man may seeke, and love himselfe

First, it is true that a man may seeke and love himselfe, and desire his owne happinesse, yea and all his actions may take their rise from thence; so as to be moved in seeking the LORD, in doing what he doth with a respect to his own good and safety, and that this is so, take these reasons.

Because GOD hath commanded it, for hee bids us love our neighbour as our selves: where it is taken 1 God com­mands it. for granted, that we must love our selves, because loving our selves is made the prima mensura, the rule of loving our neighbour. Now to love a [Page 143] mans selfe, what is it but to seeke a mans owne good?

A man is commanded not to kill himselfe, or to 2 Negative commands imply the affirmative. hurt himselfe, and by the rule of contraries hee is thereby commanded to seeke the preservation of himselfe, and his owne good: For as when we ex­pound the commandement Thou shalt not kill, as sup­pose thy neighbour, wee say it includes this affirma­tive command, thou shalt seeke the good of thy neighbour; so when wee expound it of our selves, we are to understand it as not onely forbidding us to destroy our selves, but as commanding to pre­serve our selves, and to seeke our owne safety.

It is impossible for the creature, not to will its 3 It is agree­able to na­ture. owne happinesse; the Lord doth not command that which is simply impossible even to pure nature: but it is the nature of every thing that hath an appetite, appetere bonum sibi, to desire that which is good for it selfe.

Selfe-love is a plant of Gods owne planting; 4 God hath planted▪ selfe-love. and therefore not to bee rooted up: God did put it into us all, for it is the nature of every thing to do so, and opus naturae est opus author is naturae.

Many motives which the Scripture useth are ta­ken 5 Motives in Scripture from selfe­love. from selfe-love, as that of CHRIST, feare him that can cast both body and soule into hell: And so when it promiseth us a Kingdome. The Scripture deales with men by working upon this principle; and by arguments taken from our selves. This is the eare which the Holy Ghost takes hold of, and leades a man into the wayes of peace by, and wee must not pluck off this eare.

[Page 144] The second part of the answer is, that yet not­withstanding, wee may and ought to seeke the Lord in opposition to our selves, that is, when God and our selves come into competition, the commande­ment comes in opposition with our selves; the case being such as if we obey God, wee hurt our selves; then wee must preferre God and his commande­ments to our selves.

But you will aske, how can this stand with the former; that a man should make his owne good the Quest. rise of his actions, and yet in his actions oppose himselfe?

When once a man is perswaded, that even to de­stroy himselfe is the best way to provide for him­selfe, Answ. When a man must seeke God with oppo­sition to himselfe. and that to let himselfe goe, and his credit and life, and give up all to God, is that whereby he shall put himselfe into a better condition; when a man is perswaded of this, then you see both doe stand to­gether. And wee never doe exhort a man to seeke God in opposition to himselfe, but when it is best for him so to doe, not to give himselfe up to any thing that shall bee an immediate hurt to him; but when It is best for him. otherwise it would be worse for him, and when let­ting himselfe goe is the next way to happinesse; and then a man may bee exhorted to it, when hee shall bee perswaded that his good is contained in God more than in himselfe; as we say the being of an accident is more in the subject than it selfe; so as take away the subject, and the very separation is a destruction to it: So it is with the creature which hath no bottome of it selfe, so as the separation of it from God is the destruction of it, as on the contrary [Page 145] the keeping of it close unto God, though in a case that seemes to bee the ruine of it, is its happinesse and perfection. As for example, when Abraham should have destroyed his sonne by offering him up, he thought he should not lose by it, nor Isaac neither: he thought with himselfe, God hath com­manded me to do it, and I never yet lost by keeping any commandement he gave mee; God is able to raise him up againe. I never yet was a loser by him, and on the contrary I shall be sure to be a loser, and my sonne also if I doe it not. It is indeed im­possible, that if a man should simply be a loser, that hee should doe thus; but when he considers that though hee bee destroyed at present, yet hee be­lieves it will be for his good; and so it will bee in­deed: As take a beame of the Sunne, the way to Simile. preserve it, is not to keepe it by it selfe, the being of it depends upon the Sunne; take the Sun away, and it perisheth for ever: but yet though it should come to be obseured, and so cut off for a while, yet because the Sun remaines still, therefore when the Sun shines forth againe, it will be renewed againe. Such a thing is the creature being compared with God. If you would preserve the creature in it selfe, it is impossible for it to stand: like a glasse without a bottome, it must fall and breake. When therefore this is considered by a man, then he will say, I will be content to deny my selfe, and seeke the LORD, when my selfe comes into competition with any commandement of his. And let not this seeme strange to you, that the best way to make a mans selfe happy, is to resigne up himselfe to the [Page 146] utmost to glorify God. You see in common expe­rience that take a Corne that is fallen into the ground: if it continue whole, it perisheth; but if it die, it brings forth an hundred fold. 1 Cor. 15. 36. That which thou sowest, says the Apostle, is not quickened, 1 Cor. 15. 36 except it dye. The Apostle there speakes it of the resurrection: but we may truly apply it to the re­surrection Simile. of a sinner here; that except a man die, that is, be willing to let all hee hath goe, and to expose himselfe to what the Lord shall put upon him, that he perisheth indeed; but if he die, then he is quickned, he shall be a gainer by it; even in this life he shall have an hundred fold. And when this is considered of throughly by a man, he will easily seeke Gods face with neglect of himselfe. And that thus when ever a man suffers any thing for a good conscience in obedience to God, it is the best way to provide for himself; that this I say, is not a mere notion, may appeare by comparing those places together; the first where it is said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy selfe, and thou shalt love God above all, even above thy selfe; and with it also that other, Deut. 10. 13, 14. Thou shalt keepe the Commande­ments of the Lord, which I command thee for thy good. Deut. 10. 13. 14. Now put both together: this is Gods commande­ment, to love God above thy selfe; and all the Commandements are given for thy wealth, for thy good, therefore this amongst the rest. And there­fore denying our selves, when God and our selves come in to competition, is the best way to provide for our selves: therefore set it downe for a conclusi­on, that to have God alone, and to seeke his face [Page 147] thus, is your happinesse. The end of every thing is the perfection of it; now God is the end of the crea­ture, and therefore to get him, is to get thy perfe­ction and happinesse. Againe, we have all from him, as the branch hath all from the root; and therefore as the way for the branch to keepe life in it selfe, is to keepe close to the root; and when it is broken off it dies, so we so long as we cleave to and seeke the Lord, we are preserved. And this was the ground which all the Saints went upon in their sufferings, both of persecution and death; and this was the case of Moses and Paul, when the one wished himselfe rased out of the booke of life, and Paul to be accursed from CHRIST; that is, saith Saint Paul, if this be for Gods glory, and the good of his Church; let me perish. In which though they seemed to imply their immediate de­structon, yet they knew what was ultimately best for themselves.

And this is all the difference betweene a carnall Difference in men in loving them selves. man, and one to whom God hath revealed him­selfe; they both agree in this, they both love them­selves, and seeke their owne happinesse; but they differ in this, that they seeke it in a different way; the one in the LORD, but a carnall man seekes it in himselfe and the creatures: A godly man is so perswaded of God, that he seekes him, and cares not what hee loseth to gaine him; but another man, when hee is told of an invisible God, hee will not trust to things unseene; the things hee sees he will rest upon, and so seekes for an happinesse with­in his owne compasse; and therefore when himselfe [Page 148] comes in competition with the Lord, he lets the Lord goe.

But then another question comes to be answer­ed, Quest. how these two should likewise stand together; to seeke the preservation of a mans selfe, and yet to expose himselfe to destruction, as Moses and Saint Paul did.

For answer, you must know, that in every rege­nerate Answ. Two selves in the rege­nerate. man there are two selves.

That common nature, that is in every man (in which the principle is rooted, to love a mans selfe) hath two binsses; the one Spirit which leades to God, the other flesh: and these two in this common na­ture makes two severall selves. By the first a man is carried to seeke the Lord, by the other to seeke 1 Flesh. himselfe immediately and in the first place; and these two are reckoned two severall selves in Scrip­ture, and so expressed to us: first, flesh and corrup­tion is called a mans selfe, 2 Cor. 4. 5. we preach not our selves, but Christ, that is, for our owne glory, which he calls himselfe, because men use to reckon 2 Cor. 4. 5. it as themselves. So 2 Cor. 12. 2, 5. I knew a man in Christ, &c. caught up into the third heavens; of 2 Cor. 12. 2, 5. such an one I will glory, but of my selfe I will not glory; by selfe, hee meanes either the corruption which was in him, but there was something else in him, which he reckons as another man from this selfe, a man in Christ, of such a man I will rejoyce, that is, of my regenerate part, which is a New Creature in Christ, but not of my selfe, that is, my flesh and corruptions I will not rejoyce, or of the regenerate selfe neither, as of it selfe, but as it is in Christ, [Page 149] which is another expression, and this corruption is called a mans selfe, because it is spread over the whole man, as the forme through the whole mat­ter, and a man will not part with it, but fights a­gainst every thing, fights against it as if it were him­selfe.

And secondly, that the other regenerate part is 2 The rege­nerate part. called a mans selfe, which a godly man reckons so rather then the other, we have an expresse place for it, Rom. 7. It is not I, but sinne that dwells in mee, Rom. 7. that is, not the regenerate part which I account my selfe, but sinne which I account but an inmate; dwelling within my roofe; which yet is called a mans selfe, for the like reason aforesaid, because spread over the whole man; and now it is easie to conceive, how the preservation of himselfe may stand, with exposing himselfe to destruction, and how a man may seeke the Lord in opposition to himselfe.

In that which the flesh desires, a man is bound How a man may seeke God and himselfe. not to seeke himselfe, that is, not that selfe, but yet he may seeke the good of his other selfe, and seeke the Lord too, for Gods will and it are unisons, and he may be said to seeke Gods face alone, though he seekes the desire of that selfe: for there is no dif­ference, no opposition betweene them; and like­wise that regenerate selfe may seeke him in opposi­tion to that other selfe, that is, what it desires, when it desires amisse (for all those desires which are a­misse are from that fleshly selfe) and so we must not desire what ourselves would desire, but destroy it, and the desires of it, and seeke the Lord in opposi­tion [Page 150] to it, which tends to the preservation of our regenerate selfe, and proves so in the end.

So then to seeke Gods face containes these three things in it.

First, to have his face revealed to you, and to see him as a father. 1

To seeke him as sequestred from punishments and rewards. 2

To seeke him alone in opposition to your selves. 3

And that all this ought to be done, we will give you one reason, and so come to the uses.

And that reason is drawne from the holinesse of the Lord, Esay 6. 3. One Angell cryed to another, Reas. From Gods holinesse. Esay 6. 3. holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory: this [...] was the proclamati­on of Angels, and that upon this occasion. The Lord sends Esay the Prophet to pronounce a Iudge­ment to his people, and that a great one, the rejecti­on of the Iewes, and at the same time the Angels are sent to proclame Gods holinesse: now holi­nesse is the appropriation of a thing to the Lords Holinesse what. use, and a sequestration of it from common use: and so the holinesse of God himselfe (which is the rule of all other holinesse) is an appropriation of his actions to himselfe, as his end: he is then said to be holy, when he doth things for himselfe, therefore being about to doe so great a worke peculiarly for himselfe and his glory, as when he would destroy his owne people, and destroy Kingdomes for his owne best advantage and ends, the glory of him­selfe, then he lets them know this as the only rea­son, [Page 151] because he is holy; for if he should not respect himselfe, he should not be holy. So Rom. 11. 33. Rom. 11. 33 to the end. The Apostle having spoken of this re­jection here prophecied, concludes with this; His Iudgements are unsearchable, and his wayes past find­ing out, &c. of him, and to him, and through him are all things, and to him bee glory for ever. As if he should have said, God hath done all this, but I know not the reason of it, nor any one else; onely God is for himselfe, for he being of no cause but himselfe, therefore he may doe all for himselfe: if he were of another, he might doe all for another, yea else he were not holy. Now if this be Gods holinesse, then the holinesse of man, is to do all for God; which he is therefore to doe, because he is of another cause above himselfe, and therefore is to When a man is holy seeke another end above himselfe, namely, the Lord; and then he is said to be holy, when he hath no eye to himselfe, but to God, when in his recrea­tions, the use of riches, &c. and in his whole course he hath his eye and ayme at God, and not him­selfe.

The nature of holinesse is expressed in two Nature of holinesse in two things. things: First, in purenesse: Secondly, sequestration to God, so that holinesse, purity, and chastity are much alike as it were, as there is also much affinity 1. Purity. between the Greeke words [...] and [...]: Chastity in a Wife stands in keeping close to her husband; and being sequestred from all other; and Gods ho­linesse consists, first in the purenesse of his nature, and secondly in a sequestration of all things to him­selfe: 2. Seque­stration. Now our holinesse is not so, but wee being [Page 152] of another cause, wee must doe all for another end; our holinesse stands therefore in giving up our selves to the Lord: therefore sayes Esay, Sanctifie the Lord, and make him your dread; as if he had said, if you make any thing else your dread, you doe not sanctifie the Lord. What he says of feare, is true of all our affections, and actions: holinesse dedicates all unto the Lord: and some actions are holy for Actions ho­ly in seve­rall respects the substance of them, as Prayer, keeping the Lords day, &c. and all such immediate duties of his worship, some by putting a right end upon them; and so all actions may be holy of what kind soe­ver, as recreations, which are common actions, and eating and drinking, all which when done to the Lord, doe become holy. It is the nature of morall actions to take their specification from their cir­cumstances, especially their end, more then from the substance it selfe: and so all such common acti­ons may bee holy to the LORD, and so that place of Saint Peter is to be understood, bee holy in manner of conversation, 1 Pet. 1. in all the turnings of your lives, even in common actions, this being the 1 Pet. 1. nature of holinesse in the generall, both as in God and in our actions.

There is a double holinesse required in every Double ho­linesse re­quired in man. 1 Giving himselfe to God. 2 Cor. 8. 5. man.

A giving up a mans selfe to the Lord, as 2 Cor. 8. 5. They first (it is said) gave themselves up to the Lord. To give a mans selfe up as a Sacrifice to the Lord, that is, the holinesse of a man, and when any thing is sacrificed, it is given up to the use of that Lord, to whom it is sacrificed.

[Page 153] The second is a giving up all things with him­selfe, 2 giving all things with himselfe. his understanding, will, thoughts, affections, life, liberty, credit, goods, all his power, might, whereby he is able to doe any thing, to resigne all these to the Lord, and by this hee sanctifies the Lord; and this is the holinesse of a man, to doe all for the Lord onely. So that the reason is cleare; let a man doe what he will, keepe the Sabbath, pray, &c. If there be not this holinesse in his heart, all his labour is lost, as you all grant; for without holinesse no man shall see God. Now it is not holy, except it be given up to the Lord alone, excluding himselfe and the creature.

Is all our labour lost, except we seeke Gods face, Vse To examine if wee seeke Gods face. though otherwise a man goe never so farre? then there is great reason, to examine our selves, whe­ther we seeke the Lord for himselfe or no; for other­wise, all your labour is lost, for then you doe not set up God for your God in your hearts, but some­thing 1 Else wee seeke some­thing else. else, namely, that which you seeke besides him; as in marriage we say, when a man marries a woman, not out of love to her person, but for riches; that hee marries not the woman, but her wealth, so it is here.

And then secondly, you will never hold out 2 Fall away. in seeking the Lord; and if you doe not hold out, then all your labour will be lost, Ezek. 18. though Ezek. 18. a man hath beene righteous all his dayes; yet if he fall from God, all his righteousnesse shall be for­gotten: and such a man as seekes not the Lord for himselfe, will fall away, as appeares by that, Hos. 7. 16. They returne, but not to the most High: they Hos. 7. 16. [Page 154] are like a deceitfull bowe; that is, when a man turnes to the LORD, but not for himselfe, he will re­turne againe, and start aside like a broken bowe; for if hee attaine those ends for which he sought the Lord, his seeking is at an end. See this in Ama­ziah, 2 Chron. 25. he went farre in obedience, but 2 Chron. 25 yet he did not seeke the Lord in it, he was content to lose an hundred talents, and to send backe the Israelites he had hired therewith (which was such a triall as even a good man might have failed in it) yet he did not seeke the Lord in this, he was per­swaded, that if he had taken the Israelites along with him, he should have lost the battell, which was his chiefest end in that action; he beleeved the Pro­phet so farre, and so sought his safety alone, and because he sought not the Lord, therefore he held not out; but when he was put to other tryalls, to new temptations, and saw another worship, it plea­sed him, and he left the Lord; and started aside like a broken bowe: as a bowe that is rotten (though o­therwise faire) when an arrow is drawne to the head; and so many brought up in good families, when they come into new company, and tryalls, they fall away because they sought not the Lord himselfe.

If you doe not seeke the Lord for himselfe, you doe not love him, and then all your labour is lost: 3 Love him not. for all the promises are made to those that love God, Cant. 1. the two first verses, Because of the sa­vour Cant. 1. 2. of thy oyntments; thy name is as oyntment pow­red forth, therefore doe the Virgins love thee, that is, take those which doe much for the Lord, as much [Page 155] as another doth, though such a man doth carry the faire semblance of a Spouse, yet all this he doth comes from the affection of an harlot. The Virgins, they love thee. The Virgins love his person, love him for his names sake, the personall beauty that is in him, and for the sweetnesse of his love, verse 5. Cant. 1. 5. Thy love is better then wine.

This poynt well understood will come in among you as a messenger from the King of Kings, to all you of the bedchamber of the Bridegroome, ma­king this inquiry, do you love him? are you harlots or Virgins? and will make every one to consider, to what end have I done all, have I knowne the Lord, and been acquainted with him? have I sought Gods face in all that I have done?

But men will be ready to say, we doe seeke the How to know when we seek the Lords face. Lords face. Therefore I will give you rules to di­stinguish, and to helpe men to discerne whether they seeke the Lord or no.

Consider what opinion thou hast of thy selfe Rule 1. Every man that is regenerate, at his regeneration changeth his opinion of himselfe, as Saint Paul, By our o­pinion of our selves. Rom. 7. Rom. 7. It is no longer I, but sinne. Before he was Regenerate, sin was himselfe; but now there was a new Lord come into the house, that renewed-selfe, the Regenerate part; and that which before was wholly himselfe, he now speakes of as one crept in, as of an Inmate, that should not be there. Now if thou reckonest the Regenerate part thy selfe, then thou hast sought the Lords presence: for that part is thereby strengthened. The perfection of this selfe stands in conjunction with the Lord, and so [Page 156] seekes him; if not, but thou accountest flesh in thee thy selfe, it is impossible thou shouldest seeke God aright, for God and it are contraries: A regenerate man sayes, let me have God, and what ever I lose, whether life, liberty, yet my selfe is safe; he con­siders still chiefly, whether doth this tend to the safety of my selfe or no? and though he is content, and would have the outward man doe well too; as if I have a faire house to dwell in, I would have it Simile. safe; yet if it be set on fire, it is no great matter, so long as my selfe is kept safe. Take a man who hath cloathes on, if he can keep his cloathes whole, it is well; but if they be rent, he cares not, so his bo dy be safe; so where the regenerate part is The selfe, if the outward man can be kept safe, it is well, he had rather have it so; but however, so the rege­nerate part be safe, he cares not much; for he ac­counts it but as the renting of his cloathes: but take another man, that as yet is no other then he was borne at first, into whom no new man is come to dwell, he thinkes thus with himselfe, sure I must not destroy my selfe; I would keepe a good con­science, but not so as to destroy my selfe; and it is impossible, that what a man reckons himselfe, he should suffer to be destroyed: therefore when dis­credit, imprisonment, &c. comes, all these are reckoned wounds given to himselfe, he lets God goe to defend and save himselfe harmelesse. All this difference comes from the difference of opini­on, that a man hath of what is himselfe. Quest. How know to opinion of our selves.

But how shall I know what opinion I have of my selfe?

[Page 157] Consider wherein thou desirest to excell, all Answ. 1. By that wee desire to excell in. things desire to have that excellency, which is proper to themselves; every creature desires to build up it selfe. If therefore thou desirest to ex­cell in things that belong to the outward man, to build up thy selfe in learning, credit and wealth, and outward conveniencies, then thy outward man and flesh is thy selfe: but if thou seekest an inward excellency, not caring for mans day, but seeking to have the praise of God, the comfort of a good con­science, and assurance of salvation; then it is a signe thou reckonest the inward man thy selfe.

Consider where thou layest up thy treasure: 2 Where wee lay up our treasure. doest thou lay it up in the regenerate part, and en­deavourest to make that richer, and every day car­riest something into that chest? then thou countest that thy selfe: for where the treasure is, there the heart is also. When a man shall be thus affected, that though he hath troubles abroad in the world, and decayes in estate, as in health, yet so long as he find­eth his regenerate part safe, and thriving, and stand­ing in good tearmes with God, he applaudes him­selfe. As a man when his house is broke open, he Simile. presently runs to his chest, where his chiefe treasure lyes, and if that be safe, he thinkes all is well: but if thou laiest up thy treasure in the outward man, an heape of outward things; so as when these things are gone, thou reckonest thy selfe undone: it is cer­taine, thou makest that thy selfe. This was the case of Haman, Nabal and Achitophel, &c. and of all carnall men, whose hearts must needes sinke, when outward things leave them, or if they be [Page 158] put into the feare of the losse of their lives and goods: but another man is like to grapes which have wine in them put into the wine presse; what though the skin and huske perish? yet the wine is saved. So it is with the Saints in persecution; their inward man is still saved, they lose but their husks: but when a man hath nothing in him but flesh and an outward man, then when these perish, all he hath is lost, and himselfe with them. It is good there­fore to try your selves what opinion you have of your selves before ill times come, that you may see whether you have that in you which will not then perish, but be kept safe and sustaine you; and thereby also you shall know whether you seeke the Lords face or no.

Second rule is, consider, what it is you make your utmost end; we are now upon a poynt that Rule 2. What wee make our utmost end. admits of very narrow differences, for as we have said, a man may performe many duties, go therein as farre as another, and yet lose all his labour, and all because he seekes not the Lords presence. And the tryall of that lyeth especially upon this, what you make your utmost end? for though the acti­ons be good, yet if the end be your selves, or Gods glory be made by you, but as a bridge, all is lost. Now that you may not mistake here, you must Double end. know, there is a double end; the one of the worke, the other of the workeman: now the end of the worke it selfe, may be good, even in hypocrites: the acti­on being in it selfe a holy action ordinabile in se, and tending to Gods service; when yet the end of the workeman is not the Lord, but himselfe, this diffe­rence [Page 159] runnes along through all actions. Two men that go together in the same way, may have a dif­ferent journeys end, Zach. 7. he speaking both of Zach 7. the Feasts and Fasts of the Iewes (two as holy du­ties as any other) verse 5, 6, 7. sayes, but did yee 5, 6, 7. them at all to mee (sayes God) but to returne out of Captivity? So Hos. 10. 1. there was much fruit Hos. 10. 1. found in Israel, yet because they brought it sorth to themselves, not to the Lord, therefore Israel is called an empty Vine. A carnall man and a regenerate man differ mainely, in this; that a carnall man, when hee is to doe any thing, askes what good will this bring to me? what profit, what credit shall I have by doing it? if none, he layes it a side: but a godly man (so farre as he is godly) asketh this question, whether it is commanded by God? is it for his glory and advantage? When therefore thou com­mest to preach the Gospell or studiest, consider thine end, whether for God or no? consider also what thy end is in thy trade, or any civil action, and judge by that.

But is a man bound to seeke God in every thing? Quest. may he have no respect to himselfe?

The end must still bee better then that which Answ. God must be looked to as t [...] end. tends to it: and that therefore which is the chiefest good must bee the chiefest end; and unlesse thou makest God better then all things else, thou doest not make him thy end, nor thy God. Againe the end commands all, is most perfect, and compre­hends all the rest, and that also is proper to the Lord alone, this cannot be said of any man or creature, and therefore God alone is to be made thy end.

[Page 160] But may not a man make his owne happinesse his end, and doe what hee doth for his owne per­fection? Quest.

A man may and alwaies doth so, and that upon Answ. How a man may make his owne happinesse his end. necessity, as hath beene sayd; only this, there is a double end; the one is the thing it selfe which a man makes his end, the other is the benefit or fruit com­meth by the attaining it. So that happinesse is that sweetnesse, that followes all ends, even as the sha­dow doth the body; so then the question is, what that thing is, which thou seekest this happinesse from, for that is it which is thy maine end; whether doest thou thinke thou canst make thy selfe happy by those riches and pleasures which for thy selfe thou aymest at? or doest thou looke for all thy happinesse from the Lord alone? That which a man lookes for his happinesse from, that a man makes his chiefest end; if from God, then a man makes God his utmost end, so as his owne happi­nesse is but the fruit that ariseth out and accompa­nies his seeking him.

But may not a man provide for himselfe? Quest. Answ. How a man may pro­vide for himselfe.

True, but thus; whereas all that a mans minde is to be taken up about, is either worke or wages; if it be worke, thou must do it to God alone whose servant thou art; if it be matter of wages (as are the things belonging to thy name, estate) these in like manner thou art to looke for from God a­lone. All a mans imployment is taken up either in doing all for God, or receiving all from God: and if any man were a perfect servant to another man, he then oúght to have an ey only to his Master in mat­ter [Page 161] of worke and to no other, and also to take what wages his master will allow him for that worke, and no other; he ought to resolve all into his ma­ster: But no creature is a perfect servant unto ano­ther creature; but wee are so to God, and there­fore wee ought both to doe all the worke wee doe for God, and also for matter of wages, to take all from him, and to depend upon his providence, so that this provision for a man is but to cast a mans self upon the Lord. It being not our work to provide for our selves, but the Lords, let us do al for him, and it belongs to him to give us wages, and he wil do it.

But may not a man in his actions have an eye to Quest. God, and himselfe also?

For answer to this, looke to that place Mat. 6. Answ. Mat. 6. 22, 23. 22. 23. The light of the body is the eye; if therefore the eye bee single, the whole body shall be full of light. It is a single eye, which lookes on a single subject, upon one object onely; and therefore then a man is said to have a single eye, when he lookes upon the Lord alone, when nothing else is made his God; hee lookes not on riches, nor nothing else as his God: and then all the body is light, that is, all the conversa­tion is good, and hee sees whither hee goes; but if the eye be evill, that is, by the rule of opposition, if it bee double; (for that is a rule of interpreting Scripture to open the meaning of phrases by what is opposed to them,) A double eye is a wicked eye, that is, if it bee partly set upon GOD, partly on a mans selfe, it is wicked. And so Saint Iames hath it, hee calls such an one a double minded man, who is unstable in all his wayes. When a man hath partly [Page 162] an eye to the world and himselfe, partly to GOD, hee is as one distracted betweene two wayes; hee knowes not which to take, he is unstable like a drun­ken man that staggers in all he doth, being now on one side, now for GOD: and now on another side, for himselfe: and so his whole body is darke, that is, his whole conversation is wicked, as being out of his way; hee sees not a right path to walke in, hee hath not a right scope whither he should tend, hee is not able to see a right object, but goes hither and thither from one thing to another, is unstable in all his wayes.

But you will say, the holiest man that is hath Object. some eye to himselfe in his actions.

It is one thing, when a man hath chosen the Answ. LORD as his end, and that way that leades to him though hee wavers in it, and misseth somewhat of Whence it is that good men have an eye to themselves. the evennesse of his wayes, and hath falls in it; and another thing, to be distracted betweene two ways, sometimes choosing one way, sometimes another, as a carnall man doth. One that is resolved to goe in this way though with much unevennesse, may fal and have many mistakes in the way, hee may have too many lookings to himselfe, but yet hee hath chosen the LORD and followes him, and this is the difference betweene him and the other who hath two wayes and is distracted betweene them.

But now the maine question is, how shall wee Quest. How to know wee make the Lord our utmost end. Answ. Rule 1. know whether we make the Lord our utmost end or no?

There are these rules may help you in it.

The utmost end gives rules to a mans whole life; [Page 163] all other ends doe it but in particular actions, and but at such and such a time, because they are but It rules all the life. particular ends: but the utmost end doth command all in a man, all his wayes and actions; therefore then thou makest the Lord thy utmost end, when in all thy actions whether publike or private, thou lookest to the LORD: and in whatsoever a man doth, in all those respects and relations hee stands in, whether hee bee a Magistrate or a private man, whether they bee businesses or recreations, if GOD bee a mans end, his eye will still be upon the LORD in all: Now he that doth not make GOD thus his utmost end, may find that he hath some secret by­wayes of his owne, some secret motions differing and contrary to God, wherein he goes, (as the pla­nets that have a motion of their owne) though it is not open to the world, unknown perhaps to him­selfe, or not knowne at all times: but the utmost end commands all, and leaves nothing out, but the least action is subject to it.

The utmost end limits all the meanes, and sets Rule 2. It limits the meanes. them their bounds, but is not bounded it selfe by any: finis praescribit media, sed ipsi fini non praescribitur. It sayes, thus farre you shall goe, and no further; but there are no limits set to the end it selfe: As the master-builder appoints every man his worke; and they goe so farre as he appoints them, and no fur­ther; Simile. as if health be a mans end, it sets limits to all the meanes he useth, to meat, and drink, and phy­sicke: Looke what conduceth to that end, he takes so much, and no more. But there are no limits set to health it selfe, hee can never have too much of [Page 164] health. So then consider what it is gives bounds to thy course, that thou sayest, when thou art come to such a pitch, thus farre will I goe, and no further: hee that maketh himselfe his end, will bee sure to have an holinesse of such limits as shall not lose him his great friends nor his estate; he will goe so farre till it come to hurt himselfe; himselfe being his end. Therefore hee limits his holinesse, hee stayes in such a pitch or gives over, but if God be his end, he thinkes he can never have enough of God and of holinesse, and though his actions of holines and for­wardnesse therein over-runne his credit, overthrow his estate, yet hee cares not, for it is not his end to preserve himself, or that which belongs to himself.

Thou shalt know thy utmost end, by a secret Rule 3. By a secret sence ac­companying our actions. sence which accompanies every action thou doest; if thou narrowly lookest to it, for that is the diffe­rence betweene man and other creatures; that a man can looke backe to his owne actions, so that if thou wouldest aske thy heart, what is thy scope and purpose in this or that action? there is a secret sence accompanies the action, in thy heart, that would discover it. Consider therefore in any busines thou doest, why thou doest it? why thou undertakest it? why thou art at so much paines and cost in it? Aske thy heart, is it for the Lord, or for thy selfe? if that will not discover it to thee, looke to the circumstances, to the manner of doing it, as why doe I preach in such a manner, and pray in such a manner? why do I do it thus and thus, and not in a better manner?

If this will not doe it, looke to thy affections: Rule 4. By the affe­ctions. [Page 165] consider how thou art affected or troubled about it; when the action is done; suppose it bee a businesse that both for the matter and manner was for the Lord: but when it is done, what is it thou art grie­ved at? is it that thou hast got some discredit to thy selfe in the performance of it? or that God hath had no more glory by it? are thy affections troubled, that thou hast offended God in it, that something is gone from God in it, or rather that something is gone from thy self? thus by examining how thy affections are occupied about the thing when done, thou may est discerne thy utmost end.

5 Is taken out of 2 Phil. 21. I have no man like Rule 5. Phil. 2. 21. Whether we seek the things of Christ na­turally. minded, for all seeke their owne, and not the things of Ie­sus Christ; that doth naturally take care for you. Con­sider whether thou seekest thine owne things, or the things of IESUS CHRIST? and that whe­ther naturally, as the word is there &c. [...], that is, as his owne businesse, to seeke a mans owne, and to doe a thing naturally is made there in that place all one. Consider whether thou seekest the things of Christ as naturally as thine owne, and whether that be done or no, thou wilt find by these three things.

First a man will goe about what hee doth wil­lingly, 1 Willingly. when a man hath a businesse of his owne to do, he doth it willingly, and beates his head about it, and is exceeding solicitous, but when the businesse is another mans, he goes about it, it may bee, be­cause hee sees it must bee done, and there is reason for it, but still he doth his owne in another manner; and thus willingly do the Saints doe the Lords bu­sinesse, see it in Saint Paul, Rom. 15. 20. Yea so have I Rom. 15. 20. [Page 166] strived to preach the Gospel, &c. the word in the o­riginal is [...], I was ambitious to preach the Gospell: Looke what desires an ambitious man hath (and there are no desires so quick as those of ambition, such a man over-lookes all for his prefer­ment) such desires had I to the preaching of the Gospell: The like affection hee expresseth in him­selfe, 2 Cor. 11. 28. Besides the things without, that which commeth on me daily, the care of all the Churches; 2 Cor. 11. 28 who is offended, and I burne not?

There are three expressions shew his willingnesse and naturall affecting of the Lords businesse: First [ [...] the cumber] that is, hee had (as it were) all care numbred and mustered together, and that Se­condly with anxietie [...], with the same solici­tude that a man hath about businesse of his owne. Thirdly sayes he, who is offended, and I burne not? his affections were so hot and quick, as presently if any soule were disadvantaged, if CHRIST lost any thing, hee was presently stirred and affected with griefe.

Doest thou doe it diligently? when any thing is 2 with'all our might. to bee done for the Lord Iesus, doest thou doe it with all thy might? if remisly, thou art farre from seeking the Lord: What ever a man doth for him­selfe, so farre as he conceives it to be for himselfe, he will doe it diligently and with all his might, and wee are commanded to love the Lord with all our might, and there is a curse upon the contrary, Cur­sed is he that doth the worke of the LORD negligently: the meaning is not, cursed is he that doth the worke of the Lord weakly, and with infirmities; for then [Page 167] all the Saints should bee accursed, but that is done To do Gods work negli­gently, what negligently which is done hypocritically, and for other ends; for they are the causes of that negli­gence; to this the curse belongs, and that justly: this cold, remisse, formall, customary performance of duties, as when we receive the Sacrament or are exercised in any other dutie, or in any cause that concernes the LORD, to goe about it coldly, is a signe we doe it not for the Lord.

Consider whether thou doest them faithfully? 3 Faithfully for so a man useth to doe his owne businesse, for no man is unfaithfull to himselfe; to another hee may performe but eye service, but not for himselfe: now so to do a thing is not to rest in the thing done, but his care will be, that it may be done effectually, so as to see the fruit and effect of it.

And if you aske how you shall discerne you doe Quest. any thing faithfully?

That is discerned by this. Answ. 1 To doe it our selves.

When a good action is to bee done, thou carest not so much that it be done, but thy selfe would be the doer of it, for thy credit, &c. as Diotrephes, he was a froward man, but himselfe would doe all; but wouldest thou doe it, though the fame thereof were not knowne? dost thou desire to have it done, though another man doe it? and thinkest, it is no matter by whose hand the worke goes forward, so that it goes forward.

Againe, secondly what doest thou, when there 2 To doe it when our creditis se­parated. is a separation made, a partition betwixt the busi­nesse of the Lord, and thine owne credit? art thou yet then as carefull? when two goe together, it is [Page 168] not knowne who is the master of the servant of one of them that followes them both, till they part, so when thy credit and Gods glory goe together, it is not knowne for which of them thou doest it; but there are times when our owne and the Lords busi­nesse will be separated, and then consider what thou doest, is it so, that because thou art not the first in a businesse, thou wilt doe nothing at all? or if thou shalt not bee seene in it; it is a signe thou doest it for thy selfe, and not for the Lord: when two men are to carry a beame into a house, if both strive to goe Simile. in first, they carry it in a crosse; whereas if they would bee content to come one after the other, it would go right in; so often great workes both for Church and State, might bee done that are thus hindred, or are carried crosse, because men are not willing that others should go before him.

Consider therefore these things seriously, and bring them home to your hearts; for to what end doe we preach? that you might know these things onely, (that makes onely for your further condem nation, and you had better never to have knowne them) but wee preach them, that you might lay them to heart: take therefore some thing to consi­der these things, and if you have found your selves failing in this, be not yet discouraged, but labour to make your hearts perfect for time to come, thus to seeke the Lord alone.

To exhort to which (which is the next use I Vse 2. Why wee should seek the Lord not our selves. make of it) and to quicken you to this, consider what great reason there is thou shouldest seeke the Lord Iesus, and not thy selfe. Consider what ties [Page 169] and bonds are upon thee towards him: the bar­gain between him and thee past.

I will aske you first whose servant art thou? and 1 we are his servants. should not the servant seek the profit of his master? if a man sees a company of sheep, and he askes whose sheep are these? sayes another to him, such a mans; for he hath bought and paid for them; and hath not Christ bought thee? and besides this his first buying of thee, who gives thee thy wages, and provides for thee, meat, drinke, and cloathing? and is there not reason thou shouldest serve him a­lone? Then, if thou beest perfectly a servant (as thou art) thou doest wrong to the LORD, if thou doest not serve him.

Againe secondly, I aske thee who is thy hus­band? 2 His spouse Is not the Lord Iesus? and if thou beest his wife, oughtest thou not to seek his things? one that is unmaried is yet her own; but when she is maried, she is her husbands. When there was no King in Israel, every man did what was good in his owne eyes: and if thou had'st no husband, no King, so mightest thou; but thou art not tui juris, the covenant is past al­ready, thou art not now to choose; if thou sayest no, consider that when thou wert baptized, it was into the Name of the Lord, and that by way of a vow, The nature of a vow. which is an invocation with a curse, that is the na­ture of a vow: If thou sayest yea, but I was young: then, I but since thou commest to yeares of discre­tion, thou hast not disclamed it, but confirmed it in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, receiving it often, and therefore thou canst not recall it; there­fore that first covenant then made, it stands good, [Page 170] as marriages made under age, if when the parties are come to yeares, they did not disclame them they hold, and he being thy husband. Consider that as adultery is worse than fornication, the one being punisht among the Iewes with death, the o­ther but with a pecuniary mulct; so the sins which thou committest in going after other lovers is worse then if a heathen man had committed the same: he that was circumcised, Saint Paul sayes, was bound to keepe the whole Law; and so hee that is baptized, and hath received the Lords Supper, is bound to give up himselfe to the Lord, as the Lord Christ to him and all things in him; and so the Saints of 2 Cor. 8. 5. Macedonia did, 2 Cor. 8. 5. They gave themselves up first to the Lord. 3 The Lo [...]d deserves it.

And if thou wert not thus bound, yet hee hath deserved it at thy hands; and both these wee find 2 Cor. 1. 12. 13 urged by the Apostle, 1 Cor. 1. 12. 13. was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized into the name of Paul? these were men among the Corinthians that did not seeke Christ alone in their professing of Christ, for one was for Paul, and another for A­pollos, another for Cephas: (but sayes the Apostle) is Christ divided? if Christ indeed had been divided amongst these three, they might have sought them; but Christ stands alone against them all; and ther­fore they were to seeke Christ alone; and he brings these two arguments for it:

Because they were baptized into the Name of 1 Wee are baptized in to his name. Christ, and not of Paul or any other: and secondly, was Paul crucified for you? that is, was not Christ crucified?

[Page 171] And secondly, how much is there in that Word 2 Hee was crucified for us. [Crucified for you?] we are not able to search into the height, and bredth, and depth of this your en­gagement unto Christ. His bodily paine was the least thing in his sufferings: that of his soule was the soule of his sufferings: My soule is heavie unto death, sayes hee, when the pressure of his sufferings made him sweate drops of bloud in a cold night; and yet these were but the beginnings of his sor­rowes which fell on him upon the crosse, when hee cryed out, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken mee? 4 The equi­ty of it. Consider further the equity of it; for did not he the same for thee, which he requires of thee? for did not hee empty himselfe of that eternall glory and happinesse, which he enjoyed with his Father and might have then enjoyed? did not hee make him selfe poore to make thee rich? and what is it hee calls thee to deny thy selfe in? to forsake a friend or two? and to some disadvantage in thy wealth? whereas he emptied himself of all his great glory. Is hee not upon equall termes with thee, nay most unequall on his part? if hee calls thee to beare the crosse for him, did not hee beare a greater crosse for thee? Therefore sayes Christ, Hee that forsakes not father and mother for mee, is not worthy of mee, and not fit to come into the number of my Disciples.

Lastly, besides all this consider; it is best for thy selfe; which is the argument moveth men above all 5 It is best for us. other: for if thou doe it not, thou shalt be damned for it; and if thou wilt, thou shalt provide for thy selfe abundantly; but if thou wilt needs save thy life, thou shalt lose it, if thou wilt save thy credit, liberty, [Page 172] thou maiest, but thou shalt goe to hell with thy li­berty and credit. These are the eye and the hand, and it is better going to heaven without them, then to bee throwne into hell with them: but if thou be­est content to lose all these, thou shalt gaine by it. That man that is most forward to suffer any thing for Christ and Gods cause, provides best for him­selfe. Iudas going about to make himselfe rich, lost himselfe, it was his undoing. Peter and the rest left all, and gained happinesse. What was Pauls making, but his going from prison to prison? how did Abraham save his sonne, but by being content to offer him? what was it gained Moses so much honour, as to bee the leader of Gods people, and to be so great a Prophet, but the losing and re­fusing his honours and pleasures in Aegypt? That man that comes to resolve, I will be content to bee of no reputation, so I may seek and serve the Lord, that man is of the rising hand, it is the onely way to preferment: on the contrary, he that saith, I must and will be some body in the world, that man is in his downefall, he is ruining himselfe. Sauls thinking to enrich himselfe by the Cattell, was his ruine; Ieroboam by plots to keepe the Kingdome, lost the Kingdome, and undid himselfe.

Is it of so much consequence to seeke God for Vse 3. Not to for­get the Lord in the midst of his mercies. himselfe? then take heed of forgetting the Lord in the midst of all his mercies. It is an usuall thing, that God is hidden and covered from us in his be­nefits wee receive from him; and whereas they should bee as glasses and as spectacles to helpe the Simile. weakenesse of our sight of him, they prove often as [Page 173] clouds to hinder us from beholding his face. But consider, that this is the maine part of the cove­nant, I will bee their God, and they shall bee my people. And upon that tenour come in all benefits, even with himselfe; we doe not usually thinke that wee must first have the Lord himselfe; our eyes should be in the first place fixt on him, then on the mercies received from him: for Rom. 8. it is said, that with him, that is, Christ he will give us all things. There­fore Rom. 8. first wee are to have him, then all things else. So 1 Cor. 3. last, All things are yours; but upon what 2 Cor. 3. ult. ground? for you are Christs, and Christ Gods: wee must first have him for our husband, ere we can en­joy the advantages to be had by him. It is a com­mon fault, that men looke to the comforts and priviledges by Christ, but not to him, he is forgot­ten. As when wee come to be humbled for sinne, men in the first place looke upon a promise of for­givenesse of sins, and say, if I can but believe my sinnes to be forgiven, and lay hold on that promise, I have enough; but Christ is forgotten by them: but this is not the method wee should take, but ra­ther thinke, how shall I have forgivenesse? who gives it? who brings it? It is a dowry comes with my husband; when I have Christ once, I shall have his righteousnesse to cloath me, 1 Cor. 1. 30. Of him 2 Cor. 1. 30. yee are in Christ Iesus, who of God is made to us wise­dome, and righteousnesse, sanctification and redempti­on. The meaning of it is, that God the Father gives Christ to us, as a father gives his sonne, as a hus­band Simile. to one in marriage, and sayes, I will make him worth thus much to you, but you must have [Page 174] him first; so doth God give Christ, and when wee have him, God makes him all these, Wisedome to you as a Prophet, Righteousnesse to you as a Priest, and he shall sanctifie you and purge you from dead workes, and he shall be your King, and deliver you out of the hands of all your enemies, he shall be made sanctification and redemption to you. Observe the phrases in Scripture, and they leade you still to his person, and doe urge upon you to make the cove­nant The Scrip­ture leades to Christs person. with his person. As when it is said, in him are all the treasures of wisedome, &c. if treasure bee hid in a Casket, you must first have the Casket, then the treasure; so if in a field, you must first buy the field, there is a mine will hold you digging all your life long: but you must first purchase the field, and then fall a digging for the treasure in it: and these are all sorts of treasures in him, Adoption, Iustifica­tion, &c. so Iohn 6. he exhorts them to eate his flesh, and to drinke his bloud, and that should nourish them Iohn 6. to life eternall: but before men can have spirits or strength by meate, they must have that meate it selfe, and there must be a conjunction with it, and assimilation of it to them, and of them to it, so 1 Iohn 5. 12. he that hath the Sonne, hath life. Wee 1 Ioh. 5. 12. must have first the Sonne, and then wee come to have life by him; you must have these two distinct conditions (I suppose a man comming immediately out of the estate of unregeneration) hee is first to consider who Christ and God is, consider the per­sons of them, and so chuse them as a father and an husband to live and die with. And then secondly, he is to consider what he shall have with him, yea [Page 175] to looke upon the benefits themselves, but chiefly to this end, and so as that they may stirre up your hearts to love him the better, and not simply as be­nefits only, so as to say in your hearts, though he is most beautifull in his person, and so though I had him alone, I should have an exceeding great reward of himselfe; yet withall when I consider, that all within the compasse of this world is mine, (a great dowry) that Paul and Apollos, and all the good Mini­sters that ever have beene, have beene for my sake, that whatsoever is in this life or after death is all mine, and that all these hee brings with him (all which you should looke on, as motives entirely to love him, and not as bare benefits) and say, hath not hee given me al these? sanct [...]fied me, and redeemed me and set me at liberty, when I was a bond slave of sinne and Sathan, and have I not reason to love him? this is to seek his presence. It may be though you have done the thing, yet you have not had this distinct consideration; yet use it henceforth to help you: say not, I am in misery, and there is a promise of pardon and adoption, but looke first to the Lord Iesus, go to him and take him. To convince you further of this, there is none of you but will say, I cannot be saved without an holy conversati­on, and what is that, but to converse with God and Christ? all converse is not with things, but persons, therefore in an holy course, all that you have to do is with the Lord himselfe, to open your hearts to him, to resort to him for counsell, to delight in him: to converse with a man is to deale with him upon all occasions; you are not only to looke un­to, [Page 176] to be dealing with duties alone and privileges, for then with whom doe you converse? not with the LORD, but with notions, with duties and your sinnes, but your chiefe businesse is with the Lord in all these, and with these as meanes to bring you to the LORD, into his presence and unto his person: this is to walke with GOD as Enoch did, which still respects his person, for so walking with implies.

Againe, no man can bee saved without love to God, and that love must not be amor concupiscentiae, but amor amicitiae, a love of friendship; the one re­spects things, the other persons: your love must first be to the person, and then to the commodities you have by him, and the duties you are to perform to him.

But you will say, how shall we doe to bring our Quest. heart to this? this is exceeding hard: It is easie to seek the benefits come by CHRIST; self-love will cause most to doe so. Any man that needs a thing, would faine have his wants supplyed. A man that is prest with a burthen would willingly have it taken off: it is easie to have your desires quicke­ned this way.

What therefore shall wee say, to set an edg up­on Answ. How to seeke the Lords Per­son. your affections, to seeke the Lords person? If wee had the tongue of men and Angells, all would bee too little; therefore let us beseech the Lord, that he would be his owne spokes-man, and reveale himselfe unto us. There is no way to set our hearts a worke to seeke his face, but by seeing of him: and to helpe you to a sight of him, is not in our power; To see him. [Page 177] and yet he useth to do it, whilst we are speaking of him in the ministery of the word. It is said Psal. 9. Psal. 9. They that know his name, will trust in him: and as they will trust in him, so they will seeke his face. What was the reason Abraham and Moses sought the Lord thus for himselfe? because they had seene his face. Thus of Moses it is said, hee spake with him face to face. There are two wayes to know a man; by report, or sight, by heare-say, or by face, and this later way have all the Saints known him in some degree, and have therefore sought him, though Moses in a more particular manner; yet all saw him. Benevolentia, Good will sayes Aristotle, may arise from a good report, but Amicitia, Friendship from sight and acq [...]intance; that is, we may beare good-wil to one of whom we have only heard a good report, but we doe not come to love him, intirely, and as friends to him, till we have seene him, and doe come to know him, and be acquain­ted with him: Therefore though a man have a ge­nerall knowledge of him by heare-say, yet he will not seeke his face, till he have seene him face to face, 2 Cor. 3. ult. The Lords face appeares in­deed 2 Cor. 3. ult. in the word, as in a glasse, but yet till the veile be taken away, we see him not face to face; there­fore Desire God to shew his face. in the first place, go to God and beseech him, and say, Lord shew me thy face, reveale thy excel­lency to me, by thy spirit of revelation, that my heart may be stirred up to seeke thee; and will the LORD deny you this request, if you do so? no, No man knowes the Father but the Sonne, and hee to whom the Sonne reveales Him; sayes CHRIST. [Page 178] Therefore goe to CHRIST and beseech him to shew you himselfe and his father. The reason we see not God as we might, or but by glimpses, is that we forget to go thus to the Son; or if we do, we seeke not earnestly. You know how hardly Moses did obtaine this, and you must beg hard as he did; and when you have obtained this, know you shall see wonderfull things, strange things in him, which eye hath not seene. There are wonderfull things to be seene in the Law, if a mans eyes be opened. Open my eyes, sayes David, Psalm. 119. that I may see the wonderfull things of thy Law. How much more won­derfull things are there to be seene in the Lord, if if he doth but reveale himselfe, and open your eys? for the Law is but an expression of him; such as is the expression of a man in a Letter or Epistle, of which we say, it is Character animi, it is the portrai­t [...]re of a mans minde. When therefore your eyes are opened to see the Lord himselfe, you will see such things in him as will make you in love with him. What was the reason, that the Spouse in the Canticles, Chapter 5. was so sicke of love, that she could not containe her selfe? but because the Lord Cant. 5. had taken away the veile, and shewne himselfe unto her: And so if God would take any of us here in­to the Holy of holies, and into the Presence-chamber, and open himselfe to him, then we would say as Thomas and Peter did. Now Lord we will go with thee, now Lord we will live and die with thee, and when wee lose him, wee would seeke him with the Spouse from watch to watch, that is, from one or­dinance to another, to finde him, and never leave [Page 179] seeking, till we have found him, as shee did not, be­cause shee had had a sight of him: As Moses could no have this knowledge of God, till it should please God to reveale himselfe to him; so he would not give over, he would not stirre a foote, till he did reveale himselfe to him. Exod. 33. 13. If I have Exo. 33. 13. found favour in thy sight, shew me thy glory, that I may know thee. And so should we pray as earnestly as he: and when he hath made himselfe so knowne to us, that will draw us, and that is the drawing meant Cant. 1. 3. Draw me, and we will runne after thee, that Cant. 1. 3. is, shew thy selfe, and we will follow thee, even as straw followes the jett, or iron the load-stone; and if the Lord will but put the Adamant to the iron, we cannot choose but follow and seeke him. And God doth thus by leaving an impression of himselfe upon the heart, of the amiablenesse and excellencies that are in him; as when two men are linckt to­gether, so as no consideration can part them, it is by an impression on their hearts of some excellency in each other, till which be removed, they will not leave off to love and cleave to each other: And so when this impression of Gods excellency is once stampt upon the heart, then nothing can take it off; no accident what ever is able to sever God and the heart, having once seene him: but till this bee wrought, the separation is easie, men will depart from God upon any occasion: when we are taught of God him selfe, we so know him, as it is Ier. 31. that Ier. 31. we seeke him earnestly, and not till then.

Besides, after Gods speaking and revealing him­selfe, 2 Grow in acquain­tance with him. there is something to be done likewise on [Page 180] your parts: grow into further acquaintance with him; which is done, partly by speaking much to him, and partly by much observing him in all his wayes. Looke upon him in all his actions and car­riages, and thereby you will see how worthy he is Observe God in his wayes. to be beloved. Consider the first action that ever he did, making of the World: he could have en­joyed happin [...]sse within himselfe for ever, as much as now, yet he was willing out of his goodnesse to 1 Creation. make Men and Angells, and to provide abundantly for them, and afterwards when all mankind were at one throw lost, and he might have left us, as he left the Angells that fell without any possibility of 2 Redemp­tion. salvation, out of his [...], his love to mankind, his love to the nation, he gave his Sonne to redeeme us: and if it were but for this love to our nation, he is worthy of all love and respect from us, as he was of the Iewes, that out of his love to their Nation built them but one Synagogue: but hee hath not loved the nation only, hath he not given him, ma­nifested, revealed him unto thee, when he hath pas­sed by thousands? and whereas thou, if left to thy selfe, wouldest have lost the advantage of the possibility of being saved, as the most of mankind do, wouldest have been hard hearted, as millions of men are: he hath broken thy heart, and given thee Christ, and that when thou wert utterly unable so 3 Sanctifi­cation. much as to beleeve in him: and since he brought thee home to his Sonne, how often hast thou been going quite away from him, and hath he not still been as a Shepheard to thee, and fetched thee in a­gaine? thou hast plaid many a slippery tricke with [Page 181] him, but he hath kept thee, and embraced thee, and established the sure mercies of David to thee, thinke al­so of his wonderfull patience, that when the eyes of 4 Gods pa­tience. his glory have beene so often and so highly provo­ked as they have beene day by day, yet he passeth by all and spares thee. Thinke if any one would e­ver have borne so much as he hath done. And add 5 Bounty. to this the consideration of his bounty added to this his patience by him, his constancy in doing thee good; though thou art uneven in thy carria­ges towards him, yet a continuall current of his mercy flowes in upon thee; and consider further, that if it had beene but a meere act of his will, to do thus, it had beene wonderfull; but it hath cost him deare to have the opportunity to doe it, it cost him his Sonne; and then consider the great love of his Sonne, that hee would give himselfe, and when 6 Love of Christ. hee was equall to his Father in glory, would yet leave all to come under the same roofe with thee; and what he hath done, if it had not beene done, thou haddest been undone for ever; and consider how often he hath stood with thee in a strait, plea­ded thy case, and pacified his father for thee; and la­bour to bee led by all these rivers and streames of his goodnesse to that sea of his personall excellen­cies that are in him; and gather an Idea of him into your mindes out of all you have heard or seene of him; the end of all these acts of his providence, is that men might know him by all these. As when you would have a man knowne to another, you goe about to comm [...]d him to him, to describe him; it is good to do so of the Lord, to be often expressing [Page 182] his excellencies to others, and meditating of them our selves; it may perhaps winne others to him; however it will quicken thy selfe, and exercise thy love towards him. There is a double way of knowing things, as I told you; one by report, ano­ther by sight. Doe thou labour to know him by experience, so as to be able to say, I know him to be thus and thus, and therefore I will cleave to him.

And with all this consider his greatnesse, who it 7 Gods greatnesse. is hath done all these things for thee; the great God of heaven and earth: this sets an high price up­on all he hath done for us. If a great King doth but cast his countenance upon thee, how is it prized! but that the great God should looke after such a wretch as thou art, not having any thing in thee, why he should respect thee so, how should it af­fect thee! and from hence also consider what he is able to doe for thee. Men know not God in his greatnesse, and therefore it is he is not sought unto. Why doe we trouble our selves so much about the creatures, feare this man and that man, and thinke a little credit or preferment a great matter? if we saw but God in his greatnesse, all these would va­nish. See how the Prophet describes him, Isay 40. 15. when hee sayes, all the nations are but a small Isay 40. 15. thing to him, like the few drops of the bucket and the dust of the ballance; put the case all the Nations of the world were for thee or against thee, who would not thinke this a great matter (as what would wee thinke if we had but one Nation against us?) yet let them be compared to the Lord; they are but as [Page 183] dust blowne away with his breath. If our eyes were but opened to see as Gehazies were, the host that was about him, so ours to see the Lord, we should desire him alone, and seeke him: and then a man would be ready for all varieties of changes, put him where you will, he will be content to have Gods favour whilest he lives, and heaven when he dyes, and till this be wrought he doth not seeke God with a perfect heart; till a man comes to this choyce, I have many things in the world, but the LORD is my portion, and he is my exceeding great reward; and I can live on him alone, it being as im­possible for me to have him without comfort as to have the Sunne without light; so as whatever be­comes of him, he is able to say, I have lost nothing, I am not driven out of my inheritance and portion, I have Gods presence, and that will be a direction and a protection to us in hard times, so that we may say, The Lords Name is my strong Tower, and though others fly to other refuges, yet Thither fly the righ­teous, and are safe. Thou must seeke Gods presence By seeking God wee shall have in time of peace: if thou wouldest have it for thy refuge in time of danger. Both these we may see, Isai. 4. the two last verses. The Lord will create up­on Isay 4. ult. every place of Mount Sion, and upon her assemblies a cloud and smoake by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, verse 5. that is, as the People of Is­rael comming out of Egypt had a pillar of fire to guide them by night, and a cloudy pillar by day; so 1 His pre­sence. God promiseth there to his people, I will walke before you, and direct your way in all your actions, in difficult cases. God guides them by an imme­diate [Page 184] enlightning of his Spirit into those wayes that shall be most safe for them, 1 Sam. 18. 14. The Lord was with David, and hee walked wisely, God di­rected 1 Sam. 18. 14. him, and was his Counsellor, when as the Lord departed from Saul, and he erred in all he did; As the Israelites, if their two pillars had beene taken away, they had beene lost in the wildernesse; So was Saul, when the Lord departed from him, he was as a man wildred in a darke night: whereas a godly man shall have a voyce behinde him saying, this is the way, walke in it; whereas if hee went another way, he should breake his necke; and what a great privilege is this?

But that is not all the benefit which the presence 2 Protecti­on. of God doth afford us, but it gives protection also; as that place in Isay shewes: for it followes, upon all the glory shall bee a defence, and there shall be a Taberna­cle for a shadow in the day time from the heate, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from the storme and from the raine; that is, looke what a shadow is to a poore traveller in the time of scorching heate, in those hot Countries; that will the Lords presence be to all his Saints, and it shall be a covert also; they shall be under it, as under a roofe, stand like one in an house dry, that looks out and sees others in a storme: as when the Aegyptians were beaten with haile, and perisht in it, the Israelites were safe.

And lastly, he will be a refuge to them, when 3 Refuge in persecution. they are persecuted by any, whether it be by their owne sinnes which follow them, as the avenger of bloud, or by evill men, or the power and malice of Sathan; if they run to him, he will be their Asylum, [Page 185] their Sanctuary. See this different priviledge of the Saints from others in Mordecai and Haman; both were in distresse. Mordecai was persecuted, he flew to the Lord by prayer, and had him for a refuge; but Haman had none, when he was out with the King: So both Peter and Iudas fell into sinne; but Peter had a refuge to fly to, even God, whom he had been formerly acquainted withall; but Iudas had none; and so the storme fell on him: so Saul being to fight with the Philistimes had no refuge, God was departed from him, and therefore he fled to a witch: but David when hee was in as great a streight, and the people talkt of stoning him, he had a refuge, he encouraged himselfe in his God: and ther­fore you find it so often repeated by him, God is my shield, and the rocke of my defence. In faire weather men care for no such shelter, because they thinke they need it not; but remember, a storme may come, and it is good to provide against a rainy day, 2 Rev. 5. when the Church was falne from her first Revel. 2. 5. love, he threatneth to remove the Candlesticke, where­by he meanes not the ministry onely, as appeares by the last verse of the first Chapter: The seven Candlestickes thou sawest are the seven Churches, and therefore Captivity is thereby threatned, a remo­vall from that Citty which was a place of ease and safety, into a barren land where they should live more hardly. And this is threatned, not because they had utterly forsaken, but were fallen from their first love, and some degrees of it. What cause have we then to feare? and if so, what cause is there wee should now seek the Lords presence? and then [Page 186] we shall be sure to find him a refuge; for go whi­ther thou wilt, He is there. Psal. 139. Whether into Psal. 139. the furthermost parts of the earth, or the heart of the Sea, thou art there, sayes David, and as nothing is so terrible to the wicked as that; go whither they can, God is there; so nothing is more comfortable to the Godly.

Now we are come to the last condition, which the Lord requires, before he will heare prayers and forgive their sinnes, or heale the land of his people; and that is, If my people turne from their evill wayes. Whence you may observe this Doctrine.

That except a man doe turne from his evill wayes, Doct. 7. No interest in the pro­mises with­out turning from our evill wayes. hee can have no interest in the promises of the Gospell. Now this poynt, as the rest, hath a double office. The one is to shut out those, to whom the promi­ses belong not; If you turne not from your evill wayes your prayers shall not be heard: Another to open a doore of comfort to them that doe it, their prayers 2 Parts of the doctrine shall be heard.

But first for matter of terror to those without; and herein our method shall be, first to know what 1 Terrour to the wicked. it is to turne from our evill waies; for when the Lord shall hang all his promises upon these conditions, we have reason to examine them narrowly. Wher­fore for the conceiving of this, we must know, that every man is borne backward into the world, with his backe turned upon God, and his face toward sinne and hell, and so continues, till he heare some call from God to the contrary, saying, That is not the [Page 187] way, &c. So that this conversion of the soule is called a turning, because it is from one terme or object to another, that is, from sinne to righteous­nesse, from Sathan to God. And because there are many false turnings, and many men that wheele a­bout and never turne truly, who yet suppose that they are converted, therefore we will endeavour to open to you this true turning. Now it may be found out foure wayes. First by the causes of it or motives upon which. Secondly, by the termes from which and to which we turne. Thirdly by the man­ner. Turning to God known by the cau­ses, False, [...] Some af­ffliction. Fourthly by the effects.

First, for the causes of this solid, true turning, and the motives which worke upon a mans heart to turne him; you must know, that there are many things may cause a man to leave his evill ways for a while; As it may be, some present affliction, for the avoyding of which a man may seeme to turne unto God. Therefore God still complaines of the Iewes, that they turned, but fainedly unto him, and not with the whole heart, because when hee slew them, then they sought to him, and then they would turne from their evill wayes; but when they were delivered, they turned to their old Bias againe. So Pharaoh, when as he was plagued with any new Iudgement, then hee would let the Israelites goe, but as soone as that was off, hee hardened his heart, and would not let them goe.

As also a second cause to move men to turne 2 Present benefit. may be some present commodity. This doth ap­peare in many of those that applied themselves to Christ: some did it for the loaves, and some for [Page 188] their convenient living, some for the hope of an earthly Kingdome, which they thought hee would have brought; but these all left him afterwards. There bee many such false motives, but the onely true motives are taken from the apprehension of e­ternall True mo­tives to tur­ning whēce they are. life and eternall death: the conversion is not right till then, and the reason is, because all o­ther motives may be over ballanced; But the mo­tives of life and death cannot be over topped by a­ny thing; If preferment be offered, or what ever the world can offer: but these exceed all that Sathan, or the world, or the flesh can suggest. Therefore a man is then turned, when the Lord shall enlarge his thoughts, to see the greatnesse and the vastnesse of these two; for then all those other things ap­peare but as Candles in the Sunshine: So that if Sathan come with earthly honours and pleasures in his hand, the answer will be easie, but what are these to eternall death, and everlasting life? and these are not thought of nor considered by carnall men: though they talke of heaven and hell, yet they see not the immense vastnesse and latitude of them, and therefore goe on so confidently, hence Christ in Marke 16. when he sends forth his Disciples to Mark 16. 16 convert men, he bids them use these two argu­ments. Tell every man if hee beleeve hee shall bee saved; if not, hee shall bee damned. Where wee see the motives that Ministers are to use by Christs direction, are eternall life and death: And Saint Paul endeavouring to convert Felix, told him of the Iudgement to come, which made him to tremble: And Christ told the woman of Samaria of [Page 189] that water and spring, that flowes up to eternall life. Iohn 4. Consider therefore whether ever thou hadst a true apprehension of these, without which a man can­not be throughly wrought upon; which apprehen­sion if true, hath these conditions in it.

First it must be an apprehension of them as pre­sent: Eternall life, and death how to be ap­prehended. for happily a man may have a slight thought of eternall life and death, he may looke upon them as things absent and afarre off; but when they are set on by God, a man is pursued and brought into streights by the apprehensions of them, so as he 1 Present. hath no rest till he be translated into another con­dition. A carnall man on his death bed, having an actuall apprehension of hell as present, is strange­ly affected. Now at conversion, the apprehension of these seizeth upon a man by a work of the Spirit, and compasses him about so, as he cannot shake it off, till he turnes to God. The wise man sees the plague before hand, even as present: and therfore stayes not till it comes: but turnes in the time of youth, health and strength.

Secondly, it must be a deepe, fix'd, and setled appre­hension: 2 Deepely. for sometimes a man that shall never be saved, may be moved with the present apprehen­sion of eternall death, and life; but it is as a storme soone blowne over, but in him that shall be saved, it is set on by the spirit of bondage, and such an im­pression made, as will never out, but he still remem­bers it; and this is that true apprehension which moves to repentance.

But some will say, can a man be wrought upon Object. by the meere apprehensions of eternall life and [Page 190] death, to turne from his evill wayes, without an ap­prehension of sin and grace?

When a man hath a true apprehension of eternall life and death, he comes to know what sin and Grace Answ. How men come to know sinne and grace. is, and never before: till a man knowes eternall death, he looks on sin as a trifle, as a thing of nought; therefore the wise man saith, they despise their waies; but this apprehension is it, which helpes to present sin in its l [...]vely colours, and so also the price of grace is then understood, when it is apprehended, as draw­ing with it everlasting happinesse, as the needle drawes the threed.

The second thing is the consideration of the 2 The con­sideration of the terms termes, for there is no turning without going from one terme to another; and there is no true turning, except it be from Sathan, and the creature, and your owne selves to God. Of this you reade in Acts 26. 18. that Saint Paul was sent to open their eyes, and Acts 26, 18. to turne them from darkenesse to light, and from the power of Sathan unto God, &c. You see these the termes of true turning; and this is especially to be marked: for if there be no more then a turning from misery to happinesse, it is not sound; for if you look upon sinne, and misery, grace and happinesse as in themselves without respect to God, you doe but turne upon your owne hinges, as axle-trees, you goe but different wayes to the same center, that o ther wicked men goe unto, so long as you looke on­ly at the misery and the happinesse of your selves alone, which is the center of all mankinde. There­fore in a true conversion, these motives are lookt upon in relation to God, as thus; if I follow my [Page 191] selfe and the creature, they are never able to save me; but if I apply my selfe to him that hath the keyes of life and death, I shall be happy in him for e­ver: therefore henceforth I will forsake Satan and e­very creature, and apply my selfe onely to the Lord. And upon this ground a man makes this resolution with himselfe, I will forsake Sathan and subject my selfe to God; for he only is the author of true hap­pinesse: so that now God is made a tearme, to which thou turnest and appliest thy selfe. Hos. 7. 16. Hos. 7. 16. They returned, but not to the most High, &c. There is a turning made mention of, and one would thinke, in a speciall manner; for they fasted, they prayed, but this was no turning to God; and why? because yee have turned but from misery, and sought your owne happinesse, and ye have forgotten me, saith the Lord, who am the most High and only able to de­liver and save you; and therefore their turning was counterfeit, not true; this will not hold, such will start aside like a broken bow.

Thirdly, for the manner of turning, as it is exprest 3 The man­ner of tur­ning. in Scripture, you must turne to the Lord with all your heart, and all your soule; though it be not exprest here, yet it is to be understood, If my people turne from their evill waies with their whole hearts.

But what is this turning with a mans whole Quest. heart?

A man is then said to turne with his whole heart, Answ. Turning with the whole heart what. when hee is fully enlightned and convinced in his understanding of the evill of a thing, and thereup­on doth take a full resolution to forsake it: As if a man bee going out of the way, and another man [Page 192] come and tell him he is not in the right way, which will leade him to his journeys end; if he be fully perswaded of this, he will returne, and that with all his heart, as we use to say, when we doe a thing willingly: So it is here, if a man be fully perswa­ded that sinne is the cause of all misery, and God of happinesse, hee turnes to GOD with his whole heart. Now unlesse it be with the whole heart, this turning is but fained; as appeares by that in Ier. 3. 10. And yet for all this, her trecherous sister Iudah [...]er. 3. 10. hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but fain­edly saith the Lord; which falls out, when men have some motives to move them, but not enow; they are not fully convinced, and so they turne but by halves. When therefore the illumination is perfect Illuminati­on. and full; that these wayes wherein he walkes will bring him to misery, and the contrary to happines, then a man perfectly turnes, and with his whole heart: and because turning thus with the whole heart fol­lowes full conviction, therefore the Apostle doth expresse this turning by the phrase of opening the eyes, Acts 26. 18. To open their eyes and to turne Acts 26. 18. them, &c. that is, every man goes on in his wayes of sinning, till his eyes be opened, to see the thing which he saw not before: and GOD many times meetes men in the midst of their wayes, and gives them some light and meanes, as some exhortations and motions to good, some checks for their evill wayes: and if those admonitions be so farre effe­ctuall, as to open their eyes, that is, to convince and perswade them, that the way they goe in leades to eternall misery, then doe they turne and are willing [Page 193] to do it. And therefore also on the contrary, when GOD will not heale and convert a people, hee suf­fers not their eyes to be opened, as in Esay 16 10. Esay 16. 10. Make the heart of this people fatt, and make their eares heavie, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and heare with their cares, and understand with their hearts, and convert to be healed. Where we see, that the first chaine of our conversion is the opening of the eyes, the second chaine is the opening of the heart, the third is to be converted and healed; and the two for­mer will draw on the last: and because the Lord is resolved not to heale them, therfore their eyes must be shut up. But at conversion mens eyes are opened to see sin comming against them, even as an enemy with a sword in his hand, and to see the riches of the inheritance of the Saints, which neither the eys of natural men have seene, nor their eares heard, nor their hearts un­derstood. And then is a man turned from his evill wayes, and not before. A man goes on in a course of sinning, as Balaam did in his way; he met an An­gell with a drawne sword, but saw him not at the first: so soone as his eyes were opened, there needed no more perswasions to move him to turne: So a wicked man goes on in a way, wherein hee runnes upon the swords point, and he sees it not; but when his eyes are opened to see it, then hee turnes backe, and when they are thus turning back, like Gehazi, 2 Kings 6. 15, 16, 17. who (seeing an army 2 Kings 6. 15, 16, 17. comming against him and his master Elisha) he cries out, Alas, what shall we doe, if we goe on? and Eli­sha answered, feare not: for they are more that be with us then they that be with them: and so Gehazi saw when [Page 194] God opened his eyes: So do men when they set upon a new course, they meete with many oppositions and dangers in the way, which makes them cry, alas what shall wee doe? then God openeth their eyes, and they see also more with them then against them: they see the glorious priviledges that they have, and the strength that they received from God: these things encourage them, that they goe on re­solutely, because that the latter are farre greater than the former.

Lastly, to finde out what this true turning unto 4 The effect [...] of turning. God is, we must consider the effects of it: Now a man is then turned, when he finds these three effects wrought in him.

First he findeth that those evill wayes of sinne, and those corruptions which before did dwell in his 1 Sinne is put out of possession. heart and had the rule there, are now put out of pos­session, and the contrary grace is made master of the house; so that he can say with the Apostle Rom. 7. It is not I, but sinne in mee, that is, sinne sometimes was the master of the house, and that which I now call my selfe, as then was not, had no existence in mee; but now the case is altered, the regenerate part, Sin crept into the re­generate. that is in me is master, and though sinne thrusts in and dwells there also, yet it is but an intruder, no lust but is thrust out; and if it creepes in, it is by one of these wayes.

First, either stealing in, as a thiefe, by night, 1 As a thiefe when they doe not watch and see it, or secondly it 2 As a rebel breakes in by violence, as rebells taking the advan­tage of some strange passion, so as they are not able to resist it, yet sinne dwells not there as master, for [Page 195] it is expeld as soone as the rebell is found, as soone as strength is recovered, so as possession is still kept by grace, that as it is said of peace, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, that is, though you be ready to fall out with your brethren, yet let not malice rule, but peace. Now what is said of one grace, is true of all: so then examine thy selfe, how comes sinne in into thee? comes it in by stealth, or by vio­lence onely? and when it is come in, does it con­tinue master? then thou art not turned to GOD: for if thou wert truly turned to God, though sinne did creep in as a thiefe, yet thou wouldest not suffer it to take possession of the house, but you would cast it forth; and if it did breake in by violence, yet when thou hadst recovered thy strength, when thou hadst got the hill, that is, the upper hand, thou wouldst keepe it under.

The second effect is this, that when hee hath 2 Hatred of sinne. thrust out sinne, then he hates it, as Amnon did his sister Thamar; he not only thrust her out of doores, and barred the doore on her, but also he hated her worse, than ever he had loved her. So a man that is turned doth hate sinne, hate it as truly as ever hee did love it before. There is none but the regene­rate man that hates sin truly. Suppose a man hath lived a long time in some sinne, it may be in drun­kennesse, or whoredome, swearing, &c. hee may sometimes thrust it out of doores, and by a resoluti­on upon some grounds barre the doore against it; as when he lies on his sicke bed, or is in some great affliction, but doth not hate it.

You will say, how shall we know that? Quest.

[Page 196] Hatred is implacable, and for ever, as in a man Answ. Hatred of sinne what. towards Toads and Serpents, he will never be per­swaded to receive it again, and to grow friends with it, but he forsakes it forever. And againe second­ly, he will never mince the matter with sinne, and say, thus farre will I lop and cut up my sinne, but hee will pluck it up by the rootes: Hatred desires the utter abolition and destruction of what it hates. Thirdly, he will hate all kinds of sinnes. Sheepe hate all kind of Wolves, and the Dove all kind of Hawkes; therefore examine thy selfe by these generalls.

The third effect is this, fighting against it: The 3 Fighting against it. truth of turning is seene by a mans resistance all a mans life; as the Israelites were never to seeke peace with Amalek, but to fight against them, to seeke the destruction of them while they lived. Indeed it is true, such a man may bee foyld by a sinne, but still hee fights against it; and so wee will, if wee bee truly converted.

Therein then is the difference betweene the re­lapse Difference of relapses of the god­ly and o­thers. and backsliding of the wicked, and the falling of the godly into some sinne. A Saint never gives over the warre, he never enters into league with sin. The spirit lusteth against the flesh, Gal. 5. that is, will be Gal. 5. ever stirring him up against it: all the world cannot make peace, where GOD hath put enmity: Thou wilt never come to say, I cannot chuse, I must needs yeeld to it: but thou wilt never give over; for that is the property of one truly converted, to look on sin as an enemy, and whatsoever helpes him against sinne, he accounts his friend, as admo­nitions [Page 197] and reproofes, and whatsoever helpes sinne against him hee accounts his enemy.

But you will say, if all this bee to bee done, I Object. cannot say, I hate sinne, for it hangs on mee con­tinually, and I finde an aptnesse to delight in it as before.

It is true, that there is something in thee, the flesh Answ. to which sinne is as suitable as ever it was: hence the aptnes to entertain it, that is ready to become as friendly to it as ever it was. Yet againe the frame is such, as there is something in thee, namely a new creature, a new selfe, thy regenerate part, that hates sinne with a deadly hatred, yea and the flesh also which fosters it. So then this may be thy comfort that the spirit that is in thee hates sinne, at the same time, that the flesh which is in thee delights in it.

If this turning unto the Lord bee a condition on Vse 1. Of exami­nation. which all the promises are put; then it stands you upon to examine your selves, whether any way of wickednesse bee found in you; if it bee, be it grea­ter or smaller, then you are not converted, you are still in the bond of iniquity (it is the Apostles phrase to Simon Magus; Acts) that is, tyed up in it as in a bond, shackled in it, as a man still in prison and bound in fetters; thou art a fettered bond slave: For when there is▪ any way of wickednesse in thee, it so bindes the soule, that a man is not able to runne the wayes of Gods Commandements. Looke backe therefore upon thy former wayes, search thy heart as throughly and narrowly as they did for the lea­ven before the Passeover; search as it were for thy life, because if there bee a way of wickednesse, it [Page 198] will cost thee thy life. Search also diligently, for selfe-love makes it hard to find it out. This point needs application more than explication; the busi­nes here is more with the heart than with the head. Put case it bee a way of enmitie, having an evill eye Enmity. toward such a man, though thy enemy; if thou goe on in it, thou art in a way of wickednesse. It is the LORDS command, that thou shouldest overcome e­vill with good, and that thou shouldest love thine ene­mies; and therefore you are your owne utter ene­mies, in walking in a way of enmitie against others. Say it bee the way of evill speaking, which comes Evill speak­ing. nigh to enmitie (and therefore I speak of it in this next pl [...]ce) in Titus 3. 2. Speake evill of no man. Tit. 3. [...]. You must not speake evill of any man, though he be truly wicked; for you your selves were such, saith the Apostle, and therefore doe it not: to make a custome of this; when thou hast an opportunity, and when any man will give thee the hearing: this is a way of wickednesse. It is one thing to fall in­to it beyond a mans purpose, another to give a mans selfe liberty in it. It may bee done, for the good of the party, or when it concernes GODS glory, but not of envie. Againe, suppose it bee a way of idlenesse, which men of all callings are subject to; Idlenesse. consider that if thou wert free from all other sinnes, and yet wert idle, thou art in a way of wickednesse. The Apostle speakes much against idle persons, as 2 Thes. 3. 10. For even when wee were with you, this 2 Thes. 3 10. wee commanded you, that if any would not worke, nei­ther should hee eate, &c. that is, it is such a sinne, as he is not worthy to live, that lives in it; as for scho­lars [Page 199] that are sent hither with a price in their hands to learne the knowledge of GOD, and his true reli­gion, for these to spend their time idly, of all o­ther they are not worthy to live. If Saint Paul may be Iudge, thou canst not be saved, because this is a way of wickednesse. Art not thou the Lords servant? doth not he give thee thy wages? Sup­pose it not a positive way of sinning in it selfe, yet that will follow upon it, Omnis omissio fundatur in aliquo actu voluntatis affirmativo, the reason why a man neglects to doe what he should, is because hee doth what he should not: and therefore, 2 Thes. 3 11. he calls those idle persons busie bodyes, because 2 Thes. 3. 1 [...] whilst idle, they are busie about something else, as good fellowship, drinking, or happily recreations, which though in themselves lawfull, yet are most unlawfull, when a man makes a trade of them.

This way of idlenesse is usuall amongst men, and misspending time is counted no sinne, if a man have enough living but to maintaine him. But consider how vehement the Apostle is against all such, 2 Thes. 3. from the sixth to the thirteenth, speaking of the same persons, I command you brethren in the 2 Thes. 3. 6, 13. Name of the LORD IESUS, that you withdraw your selves from every brother that walkes disorderly, &c. he gives it not from himselfe, but it is a com­mand from Christ: and besides he sayes, he that walkes idly walkes inordinately, that is, besides his rule, which is to be painefull in his calling; there­fore he is like a souldier out of his ranke, a member out of joynt; yea saith the Apostle,, let him not eate. He names a punishment in nature sutable to it; as if [Page 200] he had said, nature hath taught you so much, it is a rule ingrafted in nature; and therefore you see drones cast out of the hive, and you see stones and all things that ly still continually, that they eate not as beasts doe, this is a mother sinne, it was the sinne of Sodome. Salomon often toucheth upon the slug­gard, and speakes against him. As there may bee a way of wickednesse by being idle, so by minding our earthly businesse too much; against such the Earthly mindednes. Apostle speakes, Phil. 3. 19. minding earthly things: whose end is damnation; minding, that is, being so content that they minde it continually; whereas men should bee so conversant in the world, and use it, as if they used it not: buy and marry, as if they mar­ried Phil. 3. 19. not; let it bee a by-businesse, doe it as if you did it not, and bee so diligent in them, as that the maine of our intentions bee reserved for better things, as getting of grace, &c. otherwise we for­get the maine errand for which wee came into the world, to make our calling and election sure, and in­tend that which we shold do, but by the by. This is a fault even amongst Gods people in part, as we may see in Martha, who troubled her selfe about many things, but Mary left all to heare Christ preach; and Christ upon that occasion teacheth us, that hee makes the better choyce, that takes more time from his calling to bestow on better things. Marke the reasons which Christ useth, why Mary chose the better part. First, because this alone is needfull, that one thing necessary. There are many worldly things required to make up our content. Thou art troubled about many things (saith he to Martha) but [Page 201] this one thing is sufficient; and againe, many o­ther things may be spared, but this is that one thing necessary: and againe, this one thing shall not bee ta ken from thee; she shall enjoy it for ever, and it will accompany you to heaven, whereas death will strip Martha of those outward things, bring care and vexation of spirit, as in Martha, shee was cum­bred, so that Maries part was the better, and let us also chuse it.

Againe, there is a way of wickednesse which Vnjust dea­ling. Salomon often toucheth upon and speaketh against, a false ballance, whereby he meanes any kind of un­just dealing in trading, putting off slight wares with a good glosse, any such way: such an hidden my­stery of unequall gayning, it is an abomination to the LORD, saith Salomon. Is this the exercising of your callings, for the good of men? no, for the hurt of them, and the destruction of your owne soules; likewise if there be any such secret way of sinning found in thee, as the Apostle speakes of, Vncleane­nesse. 1 Thes. 4. 4. 1 Thes. 4. 4. that every one of you should know how to possesse his vessell in sanctification and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence; by vessell hee meanes soule and body, which were made wholly for the LORD to put his grace into: take heede therefore of any such lust of uncleanenesse. The Apostle meanes no particular Act; therefore if there bee any such se­cret way of uncleanenesse of what kind soever, thou art yet in a miserable estate: for I tell thee, if thou hadst any worke of regeneration, would it not re­sist every kind of sinne? if any true tendernesse of conscience, thou wouldest be sensible of every way [Page 202] of wickednesse; as tender flesh is of every p [...]icke, o [...] the eye of every more: but you will say, the best may fall into these sinnes: Answer, yes, but they Object. Answ. Good men may fal, but walk not in sinne. make not a path of them: Wicked men take their walkes in sinne, yee shall finde them there day by day; but not so wi [...]h a godly man, he never drawes a course of sinne as a thread through his whole life. When there are ten thousand wayes to one place, any one is enough to leade to it; there are many wayes leade to hell, and any way of sinne leades to hell, though but one; and therefore thou belongest to Sathans division, and not to the Lord, unlesse thou canst say as Saint Paul and those Corinths, whereas I was sometimes a blasphemer and uncleane, now I am sanctified and washed: Thus thou must bee able to say of every evill way, or thou shalt not be saved.

As for the commission of sinne, so for the omis­sion of duties, suppose it bee neglecting of GODS Sinnes of o­mission. ordinances, as hearing the word, as it is a custome for some to bee absent, it is a monstrous thing that men should be so openly prophane, manifesting to all the world that they lie in a way of wickednesse. So for negligent performance of duties, which will Negligent performance of duties. come up to the same degree of guilt with sinnes of omission, and bee reckoned as if you had not done them, thou maiest have a way of wickednesse in the way of performance of duties: for GOD com­mandes the manner of the duty as well as the sub­stance. A man happily will not neglect the duty, and yet negligently performes it. Now CHRIST bids us not onely to heare, but to Take heed how wee [Page 203] heare, namely, in such a manner, as that we should get strength by every powerfull Sermon.

If thou findest not thy heart to be softned, which was hard before, and wrought upon, I may say thou hast not heard: So in prayer, when prayer brings not thy heart into order, which before was off the hinges, thou hast not prayed. Remember, that the manner is commanded as well as the substance. So for the communion of Saints, we are charged not to forsake the fellowship of Saints, therefore it is a way of wickednes not to be found amongst them: what can you say for your selves that neglect this command? how canst thou looke to have thy prayers heard, thy sinnes forgiven? So for thy speeches, they ought to be profitable, ministring grace to the hea­rers, affording not drosse, but fine silver, Prov. 10. 20. Prov. 10. 20. The tongue of the just is as choise Silver, and this al­wayes. Let your speech bee gracious alwayes. Col. 4. Colos. 4. not only by fits.

So for family duties, looke, if there be no way of wickednesse there. Ephes. 6. 4. Children and servants Ephes. 6. 4. ought to bee brought up in the nurture of the LORD. This you ought to do to your servants: for when they are delivered to you, you are become as pa­rents to them. Deut. 6. 7. Deut. 6. 7.

There is a strict command to rehearse the way of God upon all occasions. Those families wherein nothing is done for the bringing them up in the wayes of the Lord, have a way of wickednesse in them, and search it out.

I have insisted the longer upon particulars, be­cause it is the spreading of the net that catcheth the [Page 204] fish. Therefore Saint Paul condescends to particu­lars, whereas hee might have contented himselfe with generalls, Rom. 1. 29. as being fild with all un­righteousnesse. But hee adds a catalogue of many Rom. 1. 29. particulars; fornication, wickednesse, covetousnesse, ma­liciousnes, full of envie, murther, debate, &c. So 1 Cor. 6. 9. the Apostle says, Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdome of God? that might have 1 Cor. 6. 9. beene enough in the generall, yet he brings in a ca­talogue of many particulars; Bee not deceived, no fornicator, nor drunkard, &c. shall inherit the kingdome of God, as if hee should have said, should I stay my selfe in these generall tearmes, you would be ready to shift it off, therefore I speake it of every particu­lar course of sinning. When a man is to shoote at a multitude of birds, he puts not in one bullet only, but haile shot, so when wee are to speake to many Simile. people, we are to make application of many parti­culars. Nathan applyed his message in particular in David, and if Ministers should omit it, yet the peo­ple should themselves bring generals to particulars in applying the word to themselves at home, and in applying these particulars let them consider the do­ctrine delivered, that if there be any of these or any other way of wickednesse in a man, hee cannot bee saved.

And though many will bee ready to say, wee know this already, it is no newes to us; yet I feare that if the hearts of men were ransacked and sear­ched, it would bee found they believed it not, but that they thinke they may lie in some little sinne, and yet bee saved by the mercies of God in Christ, [Page 205] for if they thought not so, they would not bee so bold to lie in sin as they are: therfore doth the Apo­stle upon this occasion still put in this Caveat, be not deceived, as in Ephes. 5. 6. Let no man deceive you with vain words, because of these things [...]ommeth the wrath of Ephes. 5. 6. God upon the children of disobedience, as if he had said; every man is apt to think, that notwithstanding such courses of disobedience hee may bee saved, there­fore take heed saies he, such advertisements as these the Apostle doth often use: As 1 Cor. 6. 9. it is as 2 Cor. 6. 9. if one should say to a traveller asking him of the way, that at such and such a place there is a by-tur­ning, if you take not heed, if you marke it not, you may be deceived, and goe out of your way. Many have lost their wayes there. So, bee not deceived, saith the Apostle, it is twenty to one you will in this particular. Wee are ready to thinke God a God all of mercie, and to see the greatnesse of Gods justice requires spirituall eyes; therefore though you know this, yet consider it: there are many things which we know, and do not know them, we see and do not see them, that is, we do not consider them as wee should▪ and the Divell is apt for to delude us, saying, such a small sinne may stand with salvation: and therefore it is no wonder, if many erre. I may say of that man, that is fully perswaded of this, that to lie in any small sin whatsoever will condemne him, a thousand to one if that man will be turned.

Yet take this in to explicate it, that notwith­standing Good men may swerve a little swerving, a mans estate may bee good: but it is continuing in it makes it a way. [Page 206] For if you judge a man by a step or two, you will judge amisse of him; therefore I say, it must bee a way of wickednesse: the ground is, because a way of wickednesse proceeds from the roote, from the frame of the heart, which a man will returne to a­gaine, be it good or bad; for howsoever a godly man may be transported for a time, yet he returnes againe to his former course. On the contrary, a wicked man may bee hedged in for a piece of his way by education, so as hee cannot goe out: So Ioash was hedged in by Iehoiada, and went strait on for many yeares; but consider what way you take when you come to the lanes end, when you are your owne men, at your owne choice.

And therefore, because wee are upon a point of salvation and damnation, wee had need distinguish exactly: And that which puts us to distinguish in this point, is that a regenerate man may have ma­ny relapses into wayes forsaken, and wicked men may have stands in their evill wayes, and sometimes turne out of them, and performe many duties, and goe farre in obedience to the Law.

The question is how shall we doe to distinguish Quest. Difference of men for­saking sin. this? it will serve to unmaske the one, and comfort the other.

Observe three rules, to find the differences.

1 In regard of the search made for sinne, an up­right Answ. 1 In search­ing for sin. hearted man, if therebe any ambiguous case, in his whole life, he is willing to be informed to the full, to referre himselfe to the word and good men, for the finding out what is right; when himselfe doubts, hee would bee glad to bee resolved, and [Page 207] would love him that would doe it. Lord try mee (saith David) if therebe any way of wickednesse in me, which was a signe of the uprightnesse of his heart. When the heart is not sound, then a man is not wil­ling to come to try all, as Iohn 3. 20. 21. whence this Ioh. 3. 20, 21 difference is taken, Every man that doth truth, that is, up [...]ight hearted, comes to the light; but he that doth e­vill, hates the light. The one desires his deeds might bee brought to the light, but the other hates it, be­cause hee would not have his deeds knowne: It is spoken of the Pharisees, who tooke it in scorne to have their uprightnesse questioned by our Saviour. And this is sincerity [...], as the Apostle cals it, when a man is willing to have al his actions brought to the Sunne-beames, as that word implyes, that if there bee any flaw in them, they may bee discove­red and amended; he desires not that they may be kept in darke shops like bad ware, but brought to his view and discovery: therefore the upright de lights most in the company of those that are freest from his sinne, they appeare most beautifull in his eyes, and hee loves a ministery that speakes to that particular; every one is desirous to heare evill spo­ken of his enemy, that sinne is his greatest enemy; therefore you could not have done David a better turne, than Abigail and Nathan did to tell him of his fault, or a worse to Amaziah and Ieroboam, then Simile. the Prophets did, when they reproved them; hee that would have a building downe, is glad of those that come with pickaxes, but if hee would have it stand, hee cannot endure any body that should offer to meddle with it; so the strong holds of sinne be­ing [Page 208] to be puld down, a godly man likes him that will helpe him against them, when conscience doubteth such a course is not good, which yet is ambiguous. If thou be loth to have it examined to the full, it is a signe thou hast a false heart, and art desirous to continue in it. It is a sweet morsell to thee, Io [...] 20. 12. when sin is kept as an ulcer which Iob. 20. 12. thou wilt not have a man come nigh to, it is a signe thou lovest it, and art not turned from it.

2 There is a great difference in the ground and principle of a godly mans abandoning sinne, and o­beying 2 In the ground of forsaking the Law, from that which is in an unrege­nerate man, that is not truly turned, though he may go farre in both; for the upright hearted man hath not only some present checks, and transient resolu­tions to leave sinne, but there is a law stamped upon his mind, whereby to resist the law of sinne, for e­ver this law the other wants. Rom. 7. 23. I see a law in my members, warring against the law of my minde. Rom. 7. 23. To a man truly converted there is a double law; the outward written in Scripture, the inward prin [...]ed in his heart, which is able to guide him: Therefore sayes the Apostle, 1 Tim. 1. 8. The law was not given for the righteous, that is, it is not given to him, as to 1. Tim. [...] 8. others; for others having no law in them, must therefore be pressed only with that without, but it is (as it were needles to the other) hee hath one in his minde continually, opposing the law of sin.

Now because the explication of what this law of the minde is, will exceedingly conduce to cleare this difference the more, I will further shew what this law of the minde is.

[Page 209] It is an inward habit of holinesse agreeing with Law of the mind what. the Law of God, as a picture with the prototype answering in every respect unto it.

And it is called a Law, because it commands Why it is called a law powerfully, as a Law which hath authority in it; effectually inclining and carrying the heart on to do what the Law without commands; and on the con­trary, it doth forbid with efficacy and power the committing of sin, and it hath this power in it, be­cause it is the very power, vertue and fruit of the resurrection of Christ, and is the immediate worke of the Spirit, who is stronger than Satan, the world, and the flesh.

And likewise, because as a law it rewardeth and punisheth, refreshing the obedient with peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and when a man disobeys it, it causeth griefe and wounds the heart; that law in David smote him when he had numbred the people, and caused Peter to weep bitterly. And Why the law of the mind. in the second place it is called the law of the minde, because though it sanctifies the whole, yet it is most in the minde; as the Law of the members is called so, because in a regenerate man, it is strongest in the members, and least in the minde and will. This law doth both enlighten the minde with saving o­perative knowledge of GOD and his Law, and stampes all the habits of grace upon his will, Iere. 32. 4. An unregenerate man, may through his Ier. 32. 4. conscience enlightened, give a stop to evill courses, but without such a law as this. 5 Differen­ces between a naturall▪ conscience enlightned and the law of the mind

This being thus explained, the difference be­tweene a naturall conscience enlightened and this [Page 210] Law of the minde stands in these effects.

The first is taken from the phrase it self, when it is called the law of the mind: it having a differing worke upon the mind, from that which the light of conscience hath; for the knowledge this Law stampes upon the mind, differs from that which is brought into the conscience of a naturall man.

Though an unregenerate man may first know the Law, and 2. may consent to it, that it is good; 1 In the consent. yet a regenerate man that hath this law of the mind goes further, and consents to it as good for him: this is the meaning of that which the Apostle sayes, verse 15. that hee consents to the Law, that it is good: and therefore it hath this same worke upon his Rom. 7. 15. minde, as concerning also that hee allowes it not, vers. 16. that is not as good for him, pro hic & nunc. This the other wants for want of light, whereby the Holy Ghost convinceth a regenerate man, that it is best for him to obey the Law, at such and such times, in all circumstences; and when he comes to act it upon all occasions, by answering all objecti­ons; the other sees it good in it self, but not for him in such and such circumstances. An envious man first knowes what is good, secondly consents that it is excellent, but thirdly not that it is good for him; and so also though an unregenerate man al­lowes sinne to be evill in it selfe, yet not for him in such and such circumstances.

But then you will object, it seemes then that the Object. knowledge of a carnall man and a regenerate man differ, but in degrees, not in kind.

The want of degrees here alters the kind, as in Answ. [Page 211] numbers the addition of a degree alters the species and kind.

This law of the mind, puts a lusting into the 2 In the lusting. soule against that which is evill and to that which is good, Gal. 5. 17. So as he is not only stirred up Gal. 5. 17. to his duty by conscience, but hee hath an inward inclination also thereunto; and so for sin, this law doth put a strong inclination into the faculties, which doth not onely represse the outward acts, but it weakens the habits of sinne by a contrary in­gredient: but the light of conscience, though it may weaken the act, yet not the habit, So Gal. 5. Gal. 5. 24. 24. not onely the acts are restrained, but the lusts are crucified, the vigour of them is abated by a con­trary lusting, a lusting passeth through every facul­ty which weakens it. Now nothing is weakened, but by that which is contrary; if the refore we look to repressing of outward acts therein, they both agree; and againe, if wee looke to the abatement of a lust and no more, we also may be deceived; but if the habit of sinne bee weakened by a contrary lust­ing, then it is from Grace, and the law of the mind.

The difference is in the willingnesse to performe 3 In the wil lingnesse to performe good. what is good, and to abstaine from evill. To will is present with me, sayes the Apostle in that seventh Chapter: another act of provokements of consci­ence, may do what is good; but to will it, and to will it heartily with all the bent of the soule and the sway of it; he is not able to say he doth so, 1 Tim. 1 Tim. 1. 9. 1. 9. The Law is not given to a righteous man, that is, hee hath a Law of grace in him, that puts [Page 212] him on to good without this law; as if he had said this law without might (as it were) be spared to this man, hee being a law to himselfe, but it is given to the unrighteous, that is, he would doe nothing with­out this, he hath not in himself a strong inclination to what is good, and aversenesse to evill, as the o­ther hath, Rom. 7. 15. I hate the evill that I doe; hee hates the evill which the Law forbids, and longs af­ter Rom. 7. 15. what the Law commands. The Law is put upon the wicked, as a restrainer to keepe him in, he lookes upon the Commandements, as chaines and shackles; but a regenerate man lookes on them, as upon girdles and garters, which gird up his loines and expedite his course the better. The Law con­fines a regenerate man to live in that element, where he would live; as if one should be confined to Para­dise, where he would be, though there were no such law. But another man is confined by it to the place where he would not be; and to actions which hee would not doe; and therefore as S [...]ime [...], when hee was confined, he leapt over the hedg, comes over the pale, after profit and pleasure, and dies for it; the Law given to him hee reckoneth as a Prison; therefore examine whether there bee in thee such a constant inclination to walke in the wayes of god­linesse, so as you could even be a law to your selves, if you are left to what the Lord hath wrought in you.

4 They differ in the power that accompanies this law of the minde in a regenerate man: where this 4 In the power. Law of grace is; there is not only a knowledge of what should be done, but also there is a power goes [Page 213] with it. This Law is a Kingdome. A gouern­ment consists not in word, but in power, 1 Cor. 4. 20. 1 Cor. 4. 20. 1 Iohn 3. 9. 1 Iohn 3. 9. he that is borne of God sinnes not, neither can he sinne, &c. compared with that, 1 Iohn 12. Iohn 1. 12. who is borne, not of the will of the flesh, &c. but of the will of God. The meaning of both compared is this; a regenerate man that is borne of God, hath first such a habit as is agreeable to the will of God in all things; and this habite is as a thing innate, like naturall qualities bred and borne with us, so that he cannot sinne; that is, he cannot but resist and strive against it, and have in the end the victory o­ver it; for it is a law within him which puts him on to what God wills: and secondly, not onely so, but he is borne thus, said the Apostle, that is, though this disposition bee infused, yet it is so rivetted into him, that he can no more shake it off then a naturall disposition hee is borne with; therefore he cannot sin, that is, it cannot be he should become a sinner given up to sinne. On the contrary, naturall men wanting this law are not, nor cannot bee subject to the Law of God, because this disposition to sin is naturall to him, he is borne of the flesh, of the will of man; so as this Law of grace workes out all evill in the end, and if good bee to bee done, breaks through all difficulties; but corruption in the other workes out all good, and returnes to sinne, so as he sayes, I am not able to keepe the Sabbath thus, and abstaine from such and such a sin, I am so strongly inclined to it.

5 Difference is out of the seventh verse, not I, but 5 It makes a change. sinne, and in the last verse, with my minde I serve [Page 214] the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sinne. This law of the mind makes a change in the person. Can any unregenerate man in the world say, it is not I, but sin? if he doth any thing that is good, it is not he; if he doth any thing that is evill, it is he and onely he that doth it. A regenerate man himselfe never sins, that is, whilst he is himselfe, he never yields to sin, but it is his flesh when he is not him­selfe, and an unregenerate man when hee is him­selfe, never yields fully to the motions of grace; but a regenerate man when ever he is himselfe, acts ac­cording to this part, hee is never otherwise over­come, but with a strong temptation, drunke and transported with passion, and when a myst is before his eyes; I alwayes serve in my mind the Law of God. And therefore though hee bee overcome, yet with this difference, that he lookes upon it, as a captivity and a bondage worse then that of Aegypt. He doth not as that servant in the Law, hee is not willing to have his eare boared through, and to serve that master for ever: whereas another lookes at sinne as a li­berty, and the Law of God as a restraint, and wish eth it were not, though he may accommodate him­selfe by it; and though he may delight in sin for a while, yet withall hee delights in the Law in the in­ward man, and that is the more constant prevailing overcomming delight: so as consider if there bee not another delight contrary to the delighting in sinne, though at that time, when the flesh delights in sinne, it appeares not, which yet overcomes and Rule 3. The maner of resisting in foure things. out weares the other.

3 Rule is, consider the manner of thy resisting [Page 215] and fighting against sinne; and here there are foure notable differences comes to be laid open.

The upright in heart fights against sinne with the 1 With the whole heart whole frame of his heart. All the faculties fight in their courses, as it is said, the Starres did against Sisera, as first the mind, there is a [...], [...] change of mind, in him: he hath another opinion of his sin. There Iudgement. is a change in judgement, he is renewed in his mind. Let a mans opinion be kept right, and how ever his passion may stirre, they will in the end vanish. Whilst a man is unregenerate, he is as Colos. 1. 21. Col. 1. 21. [...] an enemy in his thoughts or reason­ings, as the word translated in their mindes properly signifies; but you hath hee reconciled; and so after conversion a man is a friend in his understand­ing to the wayes of God, he is in his judgement re­conciled to them, and become therein an enemy to the wayes of sin. The question here is not, whether thou thinkest sin evill or no, or this and that unlaw­full, but whether evill to thee, pro hic & nunc, at this Conscience. and that time, in these and these circumstances; and then comes in conscience also, and that fights a­gainst sin, which is tender and feareth alwayes. Prov. 28. 14. Whereas hee that hardneth his heart falls Pro, 28. 14. into mischiefe, and it is that place of conscience is it which is onely culpable of this hardnesse and ten­dernesse. Hee dares as well venter upon a Canons mouth as commit a sin; and though he may some­times bee transported for a time, yet conscience Will. fights against it. Then for the will, that fights a­gainst sin also, whilst with David he hath sworne to keepe those righteous judgements, that is, hath fixedly [Page 216] resolved against it. Lastly he resists sin in his aff [...]cti­ons, 2 Cor. 12. S. Paul prayed, and prayed earnest­ly, Affections. 1 Cor. 12. and could not be content nor make a denyall, he was so troubled. So in David, Psal 119. 20. My Psal. 119. 20 soule breaketh for the longing it hath to thy Iudgements. When a man hungers and thirsts after righteousnesse, and weepes bitterly for sin, as Peter did, it is a signe that his affections are stirred. Now on the contrary, in an evill man, all the faculties fight in their cour­ses for sin. As Ephes. 4. 18. 19. Having their under­standings Eph. 4. 18, 19 darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardnesse of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over to worke all unclean­nesse with greedinesse: here you may see all the foure faculties in an ungodly man fighting for sinne.

Their cogitations are darkened, &c. their un­derstandings are for sinne, being estranged from the 1 wayes of God.

Then secondly followes the conscience, be­cause of the hardnesse of their heart, so the word sig­nifies, 2 their conscience being insensible of sinne ad­mi sir.

And then thirdly, for the will, they have given 3 themselves up to it, they have taken to themselves a resolution to betray their soules to it.

Then fourthly, for the affections, they are said 4 to commit it with greedinesse, that is, with a [...] of affections, such as is in a covetous man, who is gree­dy, and can never have enough, his affections are so large.

[Page 217] This is the first difference in regard of the sub­ject.

The second difference is in respect of the ob­ject, 2 Hee fights against [...]mal▪ ler evills. the things they fight against; a carnall man against grosse evills; as wee see in Herod, when hee beheaded Iohn, what a contention was there in him? he was troubled about what report the peo­ple would give of it, and about the murder of one, he knew to be so holy and good a man: but a man truly regenerate, as he is enabled to see more than another, so also he fights against more. Another man sees no more but the morall evill and good, and so fights against no more; but besides this, a regenerate man sees the spirituall holinesse that is in a dutie, and lookes to the manner, as well as the matter, and hee fights against those smaller motes in the Sunne. All the carnall men in the world finde fault with strictnesse, &c. but another mans chiefe trouble is, that hee cannot bee strict enough. S. Paul was a learned man, and understood the Law of Moses exactly, and was not ignorant of the ten Commandements, and yet when he came to be re­generate, he saw and understood it in another man­ner. I was alive once without the Law; but when the Commandement came, sin revived, and appeared, as a monster, which before seemed but a small thing to him, above measure sinfull; so for good, when a man is changed in his mind, he discernes the whole will of God, that perfect will, Rom. 12. 2. before, hee Rom. 12. 2. saw the maine duties it may bee, and the grosser e­vills onely.

This is a second difference in the Object.

[Page 218] The third difference is in the successe; the issue of a carnall mans resistance is still deteriora sequor; 3 In the suc cesse. the godly in the issue still followes the best, and in the end is a conqueror; and though much assault­ed, yet he walkes after the Spirit, Rom. 8. 1. and in Rom. 8. 1. the end mortifies the deeds of the flesh: but a wicked man, though hee may have many good intentions, yet walkes as it is Ephes. 4. 17. after the vanity of Ephes. 4. 17. his mind, and in the end fulfills the lusts of the flesh. This is Saint Paul his estate being compared in the Rom. 7. 2 Cor. 12. seventh to the Romans, with 2 Cor. 12. though hee complaines much in both, yet Grace sufficient was given him to keepe him from the Act.

But some of Gods children have had the worst in the issue of the combat, as David▪ who fell in­to Object Adultery, Saint Peter into denyall of his Ma­ster.

In some particular actions, they may bee foiled, Answ. Gods chil­dren soiled in some par­ticular act. but the combat is with the lust, which in the end is overcome, though the actions give him a blow. Saint Peters lust was feare, which made him to de­ny his Master, but in the end it was overcome, Acts 4. 8. whereby his boldnesse it appeares there. Acts 4. 8. So David had the victory over that lust, Psal. 51. how doth he hate it? and was fenced against it? Psalme 51.

4 Difference is in respect of the continuance of the combat. In the wicked it lasts but for a time, 4 Continu­ance. because that in him which causeth this combat, hath no bottome; like a flower, though beautifull, yet it growes but upon a stalke of grasse, and there­fore soone withers: and the combatants failing, the combat ends. Saul held out a while, and carried it [Page 219] faire, but in the end persecuted David, and followed his lusts without any bridle. Iudas was long restrai­ned and kept himselfe in CHRISTS family, but at last his covetousnesse overcame him, and he re­solves to give up his Master to the Pharisees. Ioash restrained himself the greatest part of his life, whilst his Vncle lived; but two yeares before his death, he gave himselfe up to doe evill; the Princes came and did reverence unto him, and he yielded. So Amaziah after he had overcome the Edomites.

In a regenerate man the combatants always con­tinue; it is an immortall seed which cannot be era­dicated: therefore the combate lasteth and increa­seth. There was a strife of feare in Nicodemus, and hee comes by night, but hee got the mastery and spake boldly for Christ. And so againe we see it in Peter: there was a combat in him to his death, as appeares by that which Christ tells him, they shall carry thee whither thou wouldest not; this was a strife in him which never ended, till he had an end him­selfe in this world.

Thus you have seene the differences betweene the relapses of the godly and the wicked, by which examine your selves.

If no promise belongs to any but to those that Vse 2. Other du­ties will not serve with­out turning. turne; then this followes, that if any have provoked the eyes of Gods glory by any sinne, let him not thinke to take up the matter by offering sacrifice, that is, by prayers, and confessions; for God re­quires this absolutely, Except yee turne, I will not be mercifull; do what you wil, humble your selves, fast, pray, seeke my face, &c. GOD will bee satisfied [Page 220] with nothing, unlesse there be a real turning. Ther­fore let no man say, I have sinned, and I am sorry, and confesse it &c. but I am not able to leave it, and yet I hope GOD will pardon me. No, know that stoppage is no payment. God requires all this, humiliation, and these purposes, and an act of turning beside. All is lost labour, unlesse there bee a divorce made from your sinnes. Well therefore might Daniel say to Nebuchadnezzar, Breake off thy sinnes by righ­teousnes, and thine iniquity by shewing mercy to the poore Daniel 4. 27. Daniel doth not exhort Nebuchadnez­zar, [...]an. 4. 27. to prayer onely, &c. (though this is likewise to be done) but to breake off his sinnes by righteousnesse, that is, whereas he was an oppressor, now he must give almes and take off their burthens, that is, take the contrary course: This is the counsell GOD gives to Ioshua, Ioshua 7. 8. when he was humbling Ioshua 7. 8. himselfe and praying, Get thee up, take away the ac­cursed thing from among you, &c. that is, this is not the way to fast, (though this is to be done too) that which I most looke after, is taking away the evill that hath provoked mee. Though this bee a truth acknowledged, yet looke into mens hearts, there is a false conceit lurking there, that hearing the word, receiving the Sacrament, &c. is enough to save them. Men would thinke their estates absolutely bad, if they should performe none of these duties, and wholly neglect them: but if they come to Church, give some almes, &c. then they think that all is well. But know, that except you actually turne from all evill wayes, all these performances are in vaine.

[Page 221] And to convince you of this, consider, that the It is the end of Gods or­dinances. end of the word, conference, and Sacraments is to turne you from your evill wayes: therefore God accepts them no further then they have this effect, Thou shalt keepe my ordinances and statutes, that thou mayest walke in my wayes, to feare me, saith the LORD: that is the end of al ordinances and statutes; so that though there bee never so much done, yet except your lusts be mortified, and victory got over those sins which are most connaturall to you, al is lost. A­gaine The end of duties. consider, that those duties in which you trust (as we are al apt so to do,) as reading good Bookes, confessing thy sinnes, if they be rightly performed, they will worke a true change; and if they doe not, it is asigne they are but carcases not accepted; with­out this fruit what are they, but bodily exercises (though happily performed, with some intention of minde) because they profit nothing: 1 Tim. 4 8. 1 Tim. 4. 8. for the Apostle calls that, Bodily exercise, which pro­fiteth little, therefore Rom. 2 ult. there is a distinction Rom. 2. ult. put betwixt a Iew in spirit, and in the letter: and so be­tweene a right and a false performance of the duties of the Law; the one in the letter, the other in the spirit: the one respects the outward part of the du­ty only, the other the inward; and if they be not in­ward in the spirit, and so thereby effectuall to work a general change both in their hearts and lives, their praise may be of men, that is, you your selves and o­thers may thinke you good Christians, but their praise is not of GOD, saith the Apostle, wee are all Gods husbandry, the Ministers d [...]essers of it, the or­dinances are the manuring of it. Now what is the [Page 222] end of all husbandry? is it not fruit? is it enough for the trees to say, wee have submitted our selves to all manuring, watering, &c. but wee are still as barren, or our fruit as bad as before? Mal. 3. 2. Mal. 3. 2. The end of CHRISTS comming is made to be as a refiner, to scoure out staines; which place being compared with that of the first of Esay where GOD Esay 1: sayes, He abhorred their new moones and sacrifices, be­cause their silver was become drosse; both afford this, that the end of Christs comming, being to purge out this drosse, therefore if this be not done, all per­formances, new Moones, Sacrifices, &c. are in vaine. Conclude therefore that except there be an universall change, both of the object, from evill to all good, and of the subject in all the faculties, ex­cept this be wrought in you, you shal surely die for it; the LORD will not forgive you, or heare in hea­ven when you cry, though you shed never so many false teares.

If this bee the condition, upon which mercy is Vse 3. Good pur­poses onely not suffici­ent. suspended, this also followes, that good purposes and intentions will not serve the turne: not but that these must bee precedent to every mans turning; and when they are true, they doe bring forth this effect of turning from all evill wayes whatsoever. But as there is a purpose which is true and the ground of sincerity, so there are false ones also; the true al­wayes continues and brings forth constant endea­vours and fruits, but the other leaves us where it findes us, and quickly dies and withers. There is so much in a carnall man as may breed good pur­poses, and desires and resolutions; viz. naturall [Page 223] conscience, and desires of preservation and salvati­on, Ground of good purpo­ses in carnal men. which two put together worke serious purpo­ses; but this being all but flesh still, is not able to worke so through a change; as we see in moorish ground and in a rotten fenny soyle, that it brings forth broad long grasse, which soone withers and Simile. decayes, neither is it sweet nor usefull: So is it with conscience enlightned to see a mans duty, and selfe­love, they produce good purposes, and in shew great and serious, but yet such as the people there expressed, Deut. 5. 29. who purposed to keepe the Deut. 5. 29. Law: but Oh saith God, that there were an heart to feare mee! as if he had said, the soyle, the ground is not good for these purposes to grow in; therefore they will surely wither, there wants a heart chan­ged to afford roote to them, and to nourish them.

The next point is gathered from the order of the words, turning from our evill wayes being put last of all these foure conditions, because all the other doe but make way for this. All the other, prayer and humiliation, are but preparatives to this. As the end of all dressing and pruning of trees is the fruit, and the end of plowing and sowing is the bringing forth of corne, so the end of all other duties is tur­ning from our evill wayes, and the end is alwayes hardest, omnis difficultas in ipsa summitate, in the ut­most pitch and top of the hill; this being the utmost of all the other is therefore the hardest: Therefore the Prophets urge this upon all occasions; if you turne, cease to do evill, rend your hearts, then will I leave a blessing behind me. In that this is the pin upon which all hangs and is suspended; observe thence,

[Page 224] That it is a very difficult thing, to turne from a mans Doct. Turning f [...]m [...]vill wayes diffi­cult. evill wayes.

That this is the difficultest duty of all else, wee see plaine in the Israelites. The Iewes religion was very costly, they being to kill so many Sacrifices, to keepe so many Feasts, yet they were content to doe all this, but not to turne; they would not bee brought to it, when yet to any thing else. Whence appeares this difficulty of it: [...]heir readinesse to offer sacrifice was alwayes acknowledged by God, when their backwardnesse to this was still complained of. Again, we see it in experience. Let a man who hath an evill and a wicked heart, let him bee broken in a Morter; lay affliction on affliction, let him bee brought to deaths doore, yet al this will not change him; nay let God worke miracles, not onely in his sight, but upon him, yet all is not enough to turne him. As wee see in Ieroboam, there was a miracle wrought upon him, though he had his hand withe­red up, and was by the Prophet reproved; and his Kingdome was threatned to bee taken away from him, yet this would not worke upon him, he would not turne from his evil wayes: he found such sweet­nesse in that evill way, whereby he kept his King­dome, and without which he thought he could not hold it, if he left that. So all the great wonders in Egypt would not soften Pharaoh his heart, nor make him let the children of Israel goe, because he thought it was for his profit to keepe them still. The grounds of it are:

Because these evill wayes are so pleasant to us, Reas. 1. They are pleasant. so suitable to all men, according as mens severall [Page 225] fancies do pitch. Now it is a rule in morality, that those things are most difficult, about which joyes and griefes are conversant, and therfore the chief imploy­ment and end and use of vertue, is to order them and guide them a right.

Because they are rooted in nature, and are agree­able Reas. 2. Agreeable to nature. to a mans naturall disposition; and it is hard to stop the current of nature, which way soever it takes, especially running downe the hill: And then besides, education addes to nature; and custome as an­other nature, addeth strength to sinne; and Sathan addes to all these: For when lusts lie as sparkes under embers, hee blowes them up. And to all these ad the joyning of wicked men, among whom we live, and who live with us in the same courses. Therefore in Ephes. 2. The course of the world, and Ephes. 2. the Prince that rules in the children of disobedience, are made there strong and potent and efficacious wor­kers in us: there is nothing so weake as water, yet let much water be joyned together, and nothing is stronger: so though sin were weake of it selfe (as yet it is not) yet when multitudes joyne, custome, Sathan, &c. wee are carried with the streame and croud.

Because every evill way in us is backt by an in­ward Reas. 3. Backed by the law of the mem­bers. Rom. 7. 23. Law of the members in us, that makes it also hard. Rom. 7. 23. where the Apostle considering of the reason, why sinne should so prevaile and leade him captive gives this, I see sayes he, another Law in my members rebelling against the law of my minde, &c. this is given as the reason why hee cannot do the good hee would, and why he doth the sonne he hates. And the [Page 226] reason why he had so much to do with it was, be­cause it was a law, and it is called a law, the law of sinne, because it commands powerfully as a law. A law implies a strong commanding inclination. Lawes extort obedience, and will have it done; they come with authority, and will not be denyed; and so doth sin; and therefore it is hard to resist it; and forbids good to be done, and a man cannot doe it. So 2 Pet. 2. 14. We have it expressed, eyes full of adultery that cannot cease from sinne: because as a law, it is armed with punishments and rewards, this being the definition of the law; Praeceptum mi­nus commixtum, a naked Praeceptum is not called a law, because it barely teacheth; but when threat­nings are joyned with it, then it is called a law, and such lawes are our lusts; if we do resist them, they threaten with some evill: as when Ahab would have Naboths Vineyard, his lust being not answered casts him upon his sicke bed, as if it meant to be revenged on him, till it were satisfied: So did Aman his lust also: And as it threatneth and punisheth, so it promiseth rewards, profit and pleasure, if we will obey it.

Both which argue the difficulty to resist it.

As also that it is called the law of the members, argues as much: for it is so called,

First, because it inclines not in a morall manner onely, as when a man is perswaded by reason or motives to doe any thing that is evill, but because it inclines us Physically, as nature enclines us to meate and drinke. A law so radicated in the soule, if it inclines by way of nature, as plum­mets [Page 227] hang upon wheeles, and makes them goe as we say, whether they will or no; and reason may be put off and denyed, but not a strong inclination of nature, that will not be got off so easily.

Because it discovers it selfe (though it be seat­ed 2 in the whole man) and is most operative in the sensuall part, as on the contrary the law of the minde is most exercised in the superior part, though it sanctifies the whole man. The meaning is this, it appeares in the faculties of the minde, when they are set about any action that is good, and in the relation is called the law of the members, because it is discerned in the use of the members, as a man that hath the palsie, it lyes undiscerned in the hand; but when he comes to use it, he findes it; so the gout, or sorenesse or lamenesse in the leg, though it be there, yet it is most discerned when a man goes to walke: such a lamenesse or difficulty in our faculties appeares, when we goe about any thing that is good.

In the last place, this law of the members is said to rebell against the law of the mind; and if we will consider its forces in this warre, we shall find it dif­ficult to resist and turne from them.

For first there is a strong faction of evill; many members, many lusts, legions of lusts warring; so the word implyes: it is not a [...], a single fight, but of many; there is never a good motion comes into the soule, but they give their suffrage against it, their voice against whatsoever is good; no good intention but they are ready to gainesay it; nor doe they meerely say it, and tell us they dis­like [Page 228] it, but they will reason it out with many argu­ments, and they are not able onely to give a voyce against what is good, but likewise to doe somthing what is active. They dampe, and clogge and pro­hibite the spirit, when it is about any good; and therefore it is called flesh, because the nature of it is to dampe the spirit; as in the doings and proceed­ings of men, there often comes a prohibition from Chauncery to stay the proceedings at the Com­mon law; so from the law of the members comes a prohibition often hindring us when we would pray and conferre, &c. As it is our part in warre to stop passages, to take up the bridges, to hinder the enemy from going whither they would, so doe they fight against us in our endeavours to doe good.

So Galathians 5. 17. the flesh so lusts against the Spirit, that yee cannot doe what you would; and it not onely stoppes from good, but impells to what is evill; it not onely makes defensive warre to hold its owne, but labours to gaine ground and fight, as fire fights with water, labouring to overcome grace, where it is begunne, and to assimilate it to it selfe.

And lastly, they are able alwayes to make warre; though the victory bee gotten to day, yet lusts are ready to set on us to morrow. A last which you thought you should never have heard of more, sets on you afresh: and though you stay all the motions and assaults the flesh puts upon you this day; yet there is such a brood, such [Page 229] a spring, that to morrow there will be new ones wil instaurare aciem, and make a new supply; it is still re­covering strength and setting up afresh.

All which considered, it appeares to be most dif­ficult for unregenerate men to begin to turne; or for regenerate men to get any ground of their evill wayes.

If to turne from our evill wayes, and to resist the Vse. To put to the more strength to turne from sin. law of the members be so difficult; then learne to proportion your labour to the worke; else the bu­sinesse will not be effected. If much labour be re­quired, and little bestowed; then that which is be­stowed, will be lost.

Thinke therefore with your selves, that if you have taken none or small paines, the worke is not yet done. If any man have thought it an easie work, let that be enough to convince him that the worke is not yet wrought. The blunter the toole is, the more strength must be put to it: many stay yet in their sins, because they have undervalued the diffi­culty of this worke, and have thought lesse paines would have serv'd the turne. Is it easie to change and turne the course of nature? see it by experi­ence; if a man have a naturall inclination, though it may be lesse stirring sometimes then other, yet it will returne againe and againe; and if thou usest not as much forces against it, as it brings with it, thou doest nothing to resist it. If one come against you with ten thousand, and you meete him but with two thousand, who is like to get the victory? Thou must not therefore spare any paines. Difficilia quae pulchra: this is the most excellent thing, and [Page 230] therefore the most difficult. Is it easie to build a Temple to the Lord, and to keepe it cleane and in repaire? see what paines Saint Paul tooke, 1 Cor. 9. the three last verses, Every man that striveth, is tem­perate in all things; therefore I keepe under my body, and doe bring it into subjection: he expressed it by what they did at the Olympian Games, who were at great paines and labours before to enable them­selves unto those exercises.

To bring it to particulars.

Is it not a hard thing to keepe watch and ward day and night against a spirituall enemy, to keepe Difficulty of a Chri­stian course up the bankes, against the Sea of lusts continually assaulting, and breaking in; to take up and to beare the daily crosse without stooping, to carry the cup of prosperity without spilling, to climbe the hill of good duties without fainting, to abstaine from the waters of pleasure, when we are most thirsty, and they at hand, to goe against the crowd with­out sweating, to be as an Owle among men, and to beare the shame (as it is said of Christ) who went out and suffered without the Gate, hee bare the re­proach; and to do all this continually? These are no easie things, and yet they must be done; men in this case are like unthrifts, who complaine of po­verty, and that they cannot thrive, and yet will take no paines. The sluggard will not pull his hand out of his bosome; and men are sluggards in mat­ters of salvation. But to quicken you, consider that this is the maine businesse you came into the world to doe. And doe you thinke that a little cast time spent upon it will be enough? Matth. 11. [Page 231] 13. It is said, the Kingdome of Heaven suffers vio­lence, and the violent take it by force, that is, he that would have the Kingdome of heaven must use vi­olence to take it; violence must be offered to your appetites and unruly affections: he must keepe them under, and that by violence; and againe he must use violence in his prayers, and other holy duties, that is, he must wrestle and strive in them, and be fer­vent in them. There are some good duties to be done as it were with violence. Christ in that place shewes, that when the preaching of the Gospell came, and the beauty of the Kingdome came to be opened to men, then they tooke it by violence. But who is so ravished now with those priviledges, the hope of their calling, &c. that they should thus take it with violence, that is, spare no paines? There­fore stirre up your selves, and consider what it will cost you. This concernes even those that professe the feare of the Lord. Looke what anger and pas­sion they have beene subject to, they are subject to still; looke what slackenesse they used in prayer, the same they use still; their ancient infirmities hang upon them still; they are found in the same path: the reason is, because they thinke a godly course an easie thing; therefore have they taken but small paines to bee freed from the bondage of their lusts, and to grow in grace. So also those without are not content to be at the cost and la­bour to begin to repent, but thinke it may be spared, it will be at any time soone done. But know be­loved, it is not so. Take a man accustomed to idlenesse, is it easie for him to become laborious [Page 232] and diligent in his calling? so if there be any ill haunt, how hard is it to hinder a man from going still downe the hill, to pull his feete out of the pit of uncleannenesse, sweete gaine, or gaming, &c.

But you will say, what is the labour wee must take? turne from our evill wayes? Quest.

Directions might soone be given. If there be Answ. Rules of turning from sin. any edge set on your desires, if you were once re­solved, even that resolution is one meanes to overcome your evill wayes: but to helpe you, take these.

To such as are strangers from the covenant, for to those I first speake: when thou art given to evill Rule 1. wayes, goe not about first a reformation in particu­lar, but endeavour to get a general change wrought. It is a rule in Physicke, that when a man hath a par­ticular infirmity, the way to cure it, is first to bring the whole body into a good frame and temper, and that will worke out the disease: so get the utmost end altered. Therefore humble your selves, and seek Gods face, and leave not till some assurance of Gods favour be gotten, till a new Lord be set up in your hearts, a new end; till the end be changed, no good can be done. Therefore it is in vaine to go about the particulars first. The utmost end is as the Rudder to the ship, as the bridle to the horse, which turnes all; going about particulars only, is as if one should set his shoulder to the side of the ship, when one touch of the Rudder would doe it. Therefore Rehoboam 2 Chron. 10. 14. erred, because his heart was not prepared to seeke the Lord; and [Page 233] his failing in that particular is ascribed to his want in the generall. Iob 17. 9. It is said, the righ­teous shall hold on his way, and he that is of pure hands shall waxe stronger and stronger: he that hath his heart once changed, holds on; but till that is done, all is in vaine to strive with particulars. As put the case a Gardener takes paines to dresse a Thorne, it may have as much paines taken with it, in manuring and pruning it, as any plant in the garden; yet it remaines a Thorne still, for all the mouldes put to it; So though thou prayest and fastest, and humblest thy selfe, yet if thy nature be not changed, all will doe no good. Cast up a stone a thousand times, it comes downe againe, because it remaines a stone; but if it were turned into a meteor, &c. or the like, it would not. Therefore get a generall change of thy heart, and then a change in particular would follow.

Goe to CHRIST and beseech him to worke Rule 2. this chang in thee, let this be more in your practise, this wee formally confesse, that the LORD only can change us, yet it is not throughly considered. When thy nature is strongly inclined to any evill way, so as thou art almost out of hope to overcome yet goe to GOD. That place may encourage us, Iames 4, 5, 6. doe you thinke the Scripture sayes in vaine, The spirit that is in us lusteth after envie? but he giveth more grace: hee had told them vers. 1. of lusts fighting in their members; they might aske him how they should get the victory: true saith the A­postle, it is hard to overcome, and indeed impossible [Page 234] to nature, the spirit that is in us lusteth after envy, and will doe so: but consider, the Scripture offers more grace then nature is able to doe, it tells you not in vaine, that the grace therein offered is able to heale; though the disease be hereditary, and is past natures cure, yet it is not past the cure of grace, Acts 10. 31. It is said of CHRIST, Him hath God raised up to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgivenesse of sinnes. When lusts are too strong for a man, Christ comes as a Prince and overcomes them, for he gives repentance; and the end of his comming was not onely to give salvation, but re­pentance. Though Physitians could not cure Na­aman, the Prophet could, though the Disciples could not cast out Divells, yet Christ could: And there­fore say not, it is an hereditary lust, and it hung long upon me, and I have made many resolutions, and yet I cannot overcome it.

Take a man that is borne blind, hee is past all cure by man, all Physitians will give him over, and say, he is borne blind; yet remember that Christ did cure those that were borne blinde and lame. This course Paul tooke 2 Cor. 1. 2. he had a strange lust which he could not overcome, he beseecheth the Lord to remove, for this I besought the Lord thrise, that it might depart, so David also, Psal. 51. 10. find­ing the remainder of his old disease and sinfull dis­positions, he goes to GOD for a new heart; when he could not make cleane his heart, he prayes to the Lord, Create a cleane heart in me. So he in the Gos­pell, I beseech thee helpe my unbeliefe. Thinke not that all is done, when thou hast taken up a resoluti­on [Page 235] against thy sinne: to take up a resolution, be­longs to thee, but to cure it belongs alone to GOD: Goe to him therfore, for he hath undertaken to cir­cumcise thy heart. Ephes. 3. he having prayed v. 16. that they should be strengthened in the inward man, &c. then vers. 20. concludes, Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all wee are able to aske or thinke, according to the power that worketh in us, &c. as if he had sayd, you may finde many weaknesses in your selves, and then doe as I doe for you, goe to the Lord to heale them, and know that he is able to doe above all thou canst thinke, to subdue that lust which thou thoughtest could never have beene o­vercome.

But how will he do it? According to that mighty power that worketh in us; that power is as strong as Christ himselfe, for it is the power of his death, the power that raised him up from death to glory, able to worke out all infirmities, and to worke into you all the graces you want. Give not over therfore, have faith in the promises of Sanctification, as well as in those of Iustification. Is he not bound by pro­mise to performe these to you that believe, as well as the other? Where ever God hath a mouth to speake, faith hath an eare to heare, an hand to lay hold, as God sayd to Ioshua, I will conquer those Gyants for thee, I will pull downe those walls which they say are built up to heaven; onely bee thou couragious, and doe but trust mee, bee not discouraged upon any occasion, give not over say­ing, it is a thing will never be done, and had not Io­shua trusted the Lord, he would quickly have set [Page 236] downe and given over. So I say to you concern­ing your lusts; be couragious; and so none are but those that put their confidence in the LORD; faint not, nor be weary; doe but believe thou shalt over­come, and thou shalt see them all conquered in the end. One word of his mouth was enough to still the raging windes, and is as able to still thy lusts.

But here many will be ready to object, I have Object. striven long and praied long, and taken much paines, and I have not gotten the victory; this must neces­sarily be answered, for this is the case of many, and it is the scope of Sathan to discourage men, and ther­by to give over the combate.

First consider, whether thy striving be right or Answ. Triall of our strife a­gainst sin. no: for there is a false resistance of sin, and the pro­mise is not made to that; and then no wonder if they be not performed; for example,

1 First it may be it is not the sin thou strivest a­gainst, but the disprofit, the discredit, in thy name and estate, or sicknesse in thy body, that followes upon it, so as if these were removed, thou shouldest be willing enough to keepe the sin. This is not a right striving that will be accepted.

2 It may be, it is but a faint resistance, and a faint denyall doth but make the begger the more impor­tunate. Balaam gave the messengers a denyall, but it was a faint one, they perceived his lingring, which made them the more importunate: It may be thou art content still to parly with sinne as Evah did, and so by little and little art brought to the committing of it: these faint denyalls are no denyalls, these pid­ling [Page 237] companions are not to be accounted fighters a­gainst sin.

3 If thy deniall be more resolute, consider whe­ther it be not for a fi [...], a fl [...]sh for a good mood, he is but a cowardly enemy that for one volly of shott will give over, Sathan and our lusts are not of that disposition.

4 Consider whether thy resistance be not only a­gainst the grosse act, and not against the least [...] in­ctures, the fringes and borders of sin, that doe com­passe the act. These are of the same kinde with the act, though not of the same degrees: thou resistest it may be the greater acts, but admittest the lesser, some dalliance with it.

As the drunkard it may be resolves to runne no more into excesse, yet he will sit with his old com­panions, and be sipping, till sometimes he is overta­ken. Balaam will go with them, but not speake a word but what the Lord shall put into his mouth.

The Levite would not stay all day, but yet he would be entreated to stay and eate his break-fast, and so to stay dinner, and so to stay all night. Thus dalliance brings on adultery, and lesser sins greater; as a little thiefe let in at a window lets in the greater. If therefore you faile thus in your resistance, the promise is not made to you. Tis true, it is said, resist the Divell, and he will fly from you; but the resistance must be right, and not such as hath beene spoken, and that is the first answer.

As you may be deceived in your striving against Ans. 2. Tryall of our victory over sin. sinne, so also about the victory, and that on both sides: both by thinking you have the victory when [Page 238] you have it not, and (2) by thinking thou hast it not when thou hast it.

First thinking thou hast not the victory when thou hast it; for example, when thou findest the sinne striven against, b [...]s [...]ing and lusting more than at other times, thou therefore concludest, thou hast not nor shalt not get the victory; when as now sin is dying and on the loosing hand; (as on the contra­ry, when thou thinkest all at peace, thou mayest be farthest off the victory.) Consider with thy selfe, doth any man but a regenerate man complaine so bitterly as the Apostle doth, Rom. 7. the good that I would do, that I do not, or as the same Apostle com­plaines, 2 Corinth. 12. of the thorne in the flesh? doe you thinke that any but a sound hearted man, can come as he did with teares to Christ, that cryed out so to him, Lord helpe my unbeliefe? can any but a broken heart pray so earnestly as David, Psal. 51. 10. for a new and a cleane heart? This deepe sense of sin, is an argument of our victory over it.

This complaining is a signe that we have the bet­ter of it: for what is the reason thou complainest thus against it, but because thou art striving against it? We know the mud that lyes at the bottome of the water, troubleth not the water; but when they goe about to [...]leanse the ditch, then the mud riseth and defiles it; yet then it is a purging. When one takes a fire-brand to extinguish it, by beating out the fire, yet then it is the sparkes fly most about: When we strive against sinne, we feele it most, partly be­cause Sathan his manner is, to rend and teare, when he is going out, and it is the nature of sin also so to [Page 239] doe, as also because our light is encreased, the more grace we have, and the more we strive against it, and therfore we see it more, our sense of sin gowes more exquisite.

Againe on the other side thou maiest thinke thou hast the victory, when thou hast it not. The soare may be skind over, when it is not healed at the bot­tome, and then no wonder, if it breake out againe: Sin may lie but asleep when thou takest it for dead; therfore in our turning from our evill ways we must observe a right method. Let thy humiliation be sound, thy faith and assurance perfect: when these precedent acts are not done as they ought, and yet thou thinkest thy sin mortified, it may deceive thee; as wee say an error in the first concoction is never amended in the second, nor of the second in the third: So if thy humiliation hath not beene sound, thy turning from thy evill ways cannot be through.

To answer this objection, consider that thou Ans. 3. strivest against even a spring of sinne; if it were but to empty a cisterne or to dry up a pond, when the worke is once done, we should heare of it no more: but it is a spring of sin that runnes continually; and therefore thinke not that because it returnes againe, that thy former striving is in vaine. As those that watch over the pumpe in a Ship, though they pump out all the water to day, cannot say, that it will bee empty to morrow, or that yet their pumping is in vaine, because it fills againe, for if they ceased to do it, it would sinke the Ship, so it is with sinne, especi­ally with some sins: some are more properly cal­led the Law of the members, as being rooted in the [Page 240] constitution of our bodys, in our naturall dispositi ons; and these are ready to returne againe ever and anon.

There is a great difference betweene these, and the temptations of Sathan, temptations (as blasphe­mous thoughts) are but as weeds throwne into the garden, and cast out againe: but these are as weeds growing in the garden that take roote there: and which though weeded out, will grow againe. We must not hope or thinke to dry cleane up the spring of originall sinne, but the labour returnes upon us in a circle. As in our houses so in our hearts, we sweepe them cleane to day, and againe to morrow, for then they will be foule againe: therefore mer­vaile not, if you be kept in continuall labour.

Againe consider this, that GOD suffers some lusts and infirmities to hang upon you to humble Ans. 4. Why God suffers sin to remaine in his. you; as he dealt with Paul: he sent that thorne in the flesh, that he might not be exalted above measure; but be kept little in his owne eyes: though he cures the Ague, yet hee suffers some grudgings to remaine; that though wee goe in the way of his comman­dements, yet that wee goe halting, that wee may re­member the worke of redemption, and be sensible of his mercy in CHRIST. Likewise hee suffers such lusts to haunt [...]us, to make us weary of this world, as Saint Paul, who therefore desired to be dis­solved and to be with CHRIST; as also that wee might learne to be mercifull and charitable unto o­thers, and to pitty them that have the like infirmi­ties. And therfore though thou fallest, yet give not over striving. It is Satans end to have us discou­raged: [Page 241] be importunate with God, and he cannot at lenght but give thee the victory; for as CHRIST sayes, if you aske bread, will he give you a Scorpion? if you aske grace, will he give you up to your lusts? he will not. It is Gods manner to let his children strive, and to overcome in the end. Iacob wrestled all night till the dawning of the day, and then hee let him have the victory, and blest him. The Lord suffers us to strive long; but this is our comfort, that we have a promise; that if we resist the Divell, he will fly.

And whereas you will say, I finde it not: Object. Answ.

The meaning of the promise is not, as if Sathan should fly away as thou shouldest heare of him no more, or that thy lusts should never returne up­on thee againe; but that if thou wilt be perempto­ry, thou shalt have the victory in that particular combate. As if when thou hast a feaver, if one comes and tells thee, take such a receipt and thou shalt bee cured; his meaning is not, that thou shalt so bee cured, as never to have Feaver againe, but that thou shalt be healed for the present: so in that particular combate, thou shalt have the victory.

Oh! but I am still haunted, and I doe not over­come? Object.

Strive constantly and conscionably, and though it Answ. Constant striving o­vercomes, Revel. 2. 2. doth returne againe and againe, the Lord takes no­tice of all thy paines and warring against it: that which he sayes to the Church of Ephesus, Revel. 2. 2. may be applied to this, I know thy workes, and thy labour: though thy corruptions bee too strong [Page 242] for thee; yet if thou strivest, the LORD takes it for a victory; thou shalt not bee condem­ned for it: give not over, but rather thinke thus; if all this contention hath wonne so little ground of my lusts, where should I have beene if I had not contended at all? and therefore I must take yet more paines, and row harder, that at the last I may overcome.

And because this is of generall use, both to re­generate and unregenerate, therefore I will goe on to adde some more rules and directions, wherein this paines consists, which we must take in resisting sinn.

A third rule or meanes wherein this labour a­gainst evill wayes must be bestowed, is to strive to Rule 3. take notice of all the wayes of God, whereby hee labours to turne thee from thy evill wayes, and let them not passe without some impression to that purpose for which God intends them. God useth not onely his Word, but many meanes else, to turne men; as by his workes, and by many passa­ges of providence hee strives with us, all which should bee observed. As it may bee, some great crosse upon the commission of a sinne, some great dangerous sickenesse, though not to death; some­times hee sends great feares and terrors of consci­ence upon some sinne committed, somtimes an evill report is brought up of us; or hee sends friends to admonish us, or executes some Iudgement upon an­other for the like sinne in our sight. When he meets with thee some way or other, as he met Balaam, hee lookes wee should understand something by it: and [Page 243] if we neglect those his dealings with us, he takes it ill at our hands, and so gives us up to our lusts more and more. Dan. 5. 22. there had beene a Iudgement brought upon Nebuchadnezzar in the sight of Belshazzar his Sonne, which should have beene a meanes to have turned him: but Thou Bel­shazzar his Sonne hast not humbled thy selfe, though thou knewest all this. As if hee had said, I did all this to one neare thee in thy sight, that thou might­est be humbled, and turne to me. This was the case of Ieroboam, 1 Kings 13. God sent the Pro­phet to him with signes and wonders, both in tear­ing the Altar and withering his hand, yet still he went on. And verse 23. it is noted and set downe on purpose by the Holy Ghost, that after this Ie­roboam returned not from his evill way, &c. as if God had said, I looked thou should'st have returned upon the sight of all these Iudgements, but thou wouldest not. So Ieremy 3. 8. you know that Is­rael was carried captive long before Iudah. I gave Israel a bill of divorcement for her adultery: yet trea­cherous Iudah feared not; as if he had said, a Iudge­ment on their next neighbour should have made them to have returned. Therefore doe thou think, what the Lord would by all such passages of pro­vidence towards thee, which are all as warning peeces before the great army, as crackes before the fall, creveses through which the Lord reveales himselfe: For you must know, that God brings men in by his workes as well as by his word; and you may take his workes in vaine as well as his word, and to let them passe without profit is to [Page 244] take his Name in vaine, for his Name is whatso­ever hee makes himselfe knowne by: as by these acts he doth, and God will not hold him guiltlesse that takes his Name in vaine. GOD will utterly de­stroy such a man, for then there is no remedy. God cuts not his owne corne till they be ripe, and all his dealings with them tend to ripen them; nor doth hee bring wicked men to destruction till they be ripe for it, and every such passage doth ripen them. Now all men are for the most part in one of these three conditions: Some take no notice at all of such passages. God passeth by them, and is not seene; and it is said of the Israelites, Deut. 29. Deut. 29. 3. though they had seene great signes and miracles in the wildernesse, verse 3. yet they had not eyes to see them, nor eares to heare them, verse 4. Others though they doe take notice of them, yet the im­pression they leave behinde them, is but slight, and like a light colour not well dyed, the tincture is Mark 6. 52. soone worne out, Marke 6. 25. for they considered not the miracle of the loaves, for the hardnesse of their hearts. It was spoken upon occasion of their be­ing amazed at this new miracle, Christs walking upon the water, and is as if hee had said, if yee had considered the miracle of the loaves, you would not have wondered thus at my walking on the waters: that had made so deepe an impression on them, as it should by reason of the hardnesse of their hearts. But you shall see the case quite otherwise in the Iaylor; his aff [...]ightment which the earthquake and the opening of the prison dores had wrought in him, passed not away as a dreame, but left such an im­pression [Page 245] as brought him home. And so should all such passages worke with us: And that is the third direction.

4 Rule is not simply to goe about to resist a sin, Rule 4. and to turne from the evil of our ways, but to fil the heart with something that is better; for when lusts are mortified, the streame of our affections are not dryed up, but diverted; and therefore the way is not to goe about to stop the current of a sinfull lust, but to turne thy heart into another channell, set thy heart upon something that is better: Take a crab­tree stocke that is sower or bitter, the onely way to sweeten it, is to put in a graft of another nature, which wil change it, and by little and little sweeten the constitution of it.

But you will say, what is to be put in? Quest. Answ.

I answer, goe not about it as a morall man, but as a Christian, get Iustification and Sanctification. It is true, it is profitable to bee much humbled for thy sinne, and you ought to bee so; yet this is not the onely way to heale it, but the heart must be strengthened with the assurance of the forgivenesse of it.

There is a double way to get the heart turned a­way 2 Wayes to turne the heart from sinne. from sinne, the one to see the loathsomnesse of that which we turne from, the other the beauty of the contrary object wee turne to. Spend not all your paines about the first, but do something in the later; the more contrition the better. But it is not got all at once, it is more increased by assurance and hope of pardon, when a man begins to have hope he purifies himselfe. So it is in all other exerci­ses; [Page 246] it is hope quickens our endeavours. One that is not neare a kingdome, goes not about it: but when he comes to have hopes, he begins to bestirre him­self, tolle spem, & tolle conatum, therefore get and en­crease the hope of the pardon of your sinnes. Hence the Apostle, Rom. 15. 13. prayes, Now the God of hope fill you with al joy and peace, through believing &c. Rom. 15. 13 By the words following, it appeares to bee to strengthen and set them right concerning al their in­firmities: and he points to this as one meanes, to be fild with joy and peace in believing; as if he had said, if your hearts were full of spirituall joy through faith and assurance, your hearts would be purified, and therefore faith also is said to purifie the heart; and besides, when the bloud of Christ is applyed by faith, there goes a vertue with it. Heb. 9. 14. How much more shall the bloud of Christ, who through Heb. 9. 14. the eternall spirit offered up himselfe to God, purge your consciences from dead workes? And adde to this sanctification, set upon that work. Ioh. 17. Christ hath prayed, that they might be preserved from the evill of the world.

But how shal that be done? Sanctifie them through thy truth, thy word is truth, that is, when they shall passe through this world full of evill and corrupti­on, the way to preserve them spotlesse and untainted is, to have the heart sanctified. When the heart is well oyled with grace, the dirt of the world falls off▪ This is an antidote against corruption. Though in your passage, you meete with much bad aire and infection, this will preserve you. But then how should wee bee sanctified? By truth: The more [Page 247] truth you get into your hearts, the more grace. Grace and Truth goes together, 1 Iohn, and came 1 Iohn. by CHRIST, who is full of both. Therefore 2 Pet. 3. ult. these two are joyned, grow in grace, and 2 Pet. 3. ult. in the knowledge of Christ. By truth: but what truth? thy word is truth. Every truth is not fit to sanctifie, as all water will not take sope to scowre, the word is that truth that doth it. Morall truths may doe many things in the soule, they may adorne it, but they cannot heale or purifie it. Wash in Iordan, saith the Prophet to leaprous Naaman. There is a spe­ciall vertue in this Iordan to heale thee of thy se­profie, that is not in the waters of Damascus. You came not to the word as to a lecture of Philosophy, but as to that which workes wonders: the power of God goes with it. For withall marke this, that it is not the word of it self that doth it; it doth not work as Physicke that hath a vertue in it of its owne, but the LORD doth it by the word; and therefore CHRIST prayes to his father to sanctifie them by the word. As a man writes a letter by a pen, so the Lord sanctifies by the word. To consecrate the heart to GOD is to sanctifie it; and divine truths alone doe consecrate the heart to God, and no other. Let us therefore get much grace and truth into our hearts, assurance of justification and joy in the Holy Ghost, that by tasting of better the heart may be taken off from the pleasures of sinfull wayes; sound joy will swal­low up all other joyes, the joyes of sin.

Stirre up those graces that are in thee: for when Rule 5. wee exhort you to goe to God to helpe you, our meaning is not, that you should leave all the worke: [Page 248] some labour is required of thee. I speake to those who have some beginnings of grace: you must stir up those graces GOD hath given you. Hence Saint Paul sayes, 1 Tim. 4. 15. neglect not the gift that was given thee, as if hee had said, Timo­thy, thou maiest doe much, if thou consider what ability thou hast received; so much spirit; so much liberty; so much regeneration, so much free will to good. So he sayes to the Church of Phi­ladelphia, Thou hast a little strength, it is a Talent, therefore use it. Therfore also he sayes in Iude 20. build up your selves, and cleanse your selves, and many the like.

But you will say, how can wee doe this, seeing Object. it is the LORD that workes in us the will and the deed, and wee can doe nothing without the Spirit?

Though the Spirit doth it, yet we, in this worke Answ. are to bee agents also. Rom. 8. 13. If you through the Spirit mortifie the deeds of the flesh; as if hee had said, though you do it by the Spirit, yet do you go about it. We may do something to draw the Spi­rit nigher us; as we may doe something to grieve the Spirit, and to smoke him out of the house, so to please the Spirit; as wee intend the flame of the Spiritby pure thoughts, so we put him out by fog­gy thoughts.

But you will aske, what it is to stirre up our gra­ces? Quest.

Stirre up thy light, examine thy selfe of thy evill Answ 1. To stirre up grace what. wayes, endeavour to see them clearely, and confesse them, for that is the way to forsake them, Prov. 28. [Page 249] 13. and despise none of them: with that light thou hast, examine every thing what ever thou hast, the least doubt, search it out to the full. This idle speech, this jollity and vanity of conversation how little soever it seemes, as dalliance in thy thoughts and eyes, overly performance of duties.

Vse that light further to get reason against thy 2 sinne. This is to consider a mans wayes as Da­vid did, to ponder the reasons. Let a man take paines with his heart from day to day, and consider what reasons there are by which a mans heart may be taken off from his sin? as against unlawfull gain, to thinke it but as stealing custome, whereby a man forfeits all the rest; that what is unlawfully got­ten, is as the coale that was carried in by the Eagle into her nest with a peece of broyled flesh, which consumed her nest, young, and her selfe; and all treaties of infirmities, that what is unlawfully gotten is as a coale carried in by the Eagle into her nest, and the flesh among the rest to consume all and thy nest. Had not Ahab better have bee [...]e without his Vineyard? if pleasure; consider how it is but for a season, and what bitternesse it will bring in the end, and lose the joy which by farre exceeds it: if matter of vaine-glory, that all thy paines taken is lost, for it will bee all thy reward.

When thou hast done this; adde a third, namely 3 exercise, to overcome it: as Saint Paul sayes to Ti­mothy, exercise thy selfe to godlinesse. Thinke of these things, 1 Tim. 4. 15. if thy failing bee in good, accustome thy selfe to the duty; if in bad, [Page 250] disuse it, and that will exceedingly helpe thee. A Child that could not want the teat for an houre or two, yet being disused and weaned a while, seeks not after it: and doe this against your bosome sin; that sinne that hangs on thee more then the rest, single out, and doe thus to it, as David, Psal. 18. kept himself from his iniquity. Psalme 18.

Lastly, observe the manner of their growing Rule 6. upon you, and how they fight for themselves. The lusts that are in us are warring lusts, as I told you out of Rom. 7. and so Saint Iames tells us: and so in Saint Peter, they have a method in fighting, Rom. 7. which observing, you may learne to resist and pre­vent them.

Observe, when any affection goes beyond the 1 bounds Christ hath set it, that then it begins to war and rebell, even as subjects do; when they breake their Soveraignes lawes, they begin to rebell: so when Rachel would needs have children, and no­thing would content her else, it was a warring lust.

Observe the manner how they fight for them­selves: 2 the wiles they have in warring: they en deavour to possesse the ports, the senses, suffering no good if they can to be brought in, that may op­pose them, and drawing in by them what may feed and strengthen them, such objects as may give supply. For when the heart within is full of adul­tery; the eyes is so also. They take also away the supply from the contrary side, causing us to neglect prayer and reading, and such holy duties, as the Philistims disarmed the Israelites, and would let them have no Smith.

[Page 251] They draw men out with traines from their forts, till they have led them into an Ambush, as Ioshua drew the men of Ai from their Towne, and as the fishers drive the fishes out of their corners, where they are safe, and when they are wandring in the river, take them in their nets; so doe lusts draw out from the rocke of our salvation, from our resolutions, the ordinances, and our callings, and then surprize us. They leade us into ambush by little and little; As Peter was drawne to deny his Master by degrees. They will also come upon us at first but with light skirmishes. Lust commeth not upon us with inticement and onsets, to great sins at first: and wee making account of little, and so being negligent, it comes upon us with the maine battaile. David lookes but upon Bathshe­ba at first, and then is drawne to speech with her, and then to folly. Therefore observe this, that you may be skilfull in warre, as the Athenians by reason of their neighbour enemies; and having ob­served this to be their manner to deale thus subtil­ly, as Saul said of David looke about thee, and take Saint Peters counsell, abstaine from them; when once an affection growes violent, meddle not with it, have nothing to doe with it; if thou dost, thou admittest an enemy into thy soule, that will be­tray it: as David when hee had such a desire to the water the Souldiers fetcht him, he would not drink it, but powred it out upon the ground: so if once thy mind be set upon such a sport, or company, if affections once exceede their measure, meddle not with them.

[Page 252] And then stand upon thy watch also; for though thou hast armour on, yet if thou watchest not, it will doe thee no good: as Saul though hee was armed, yet being asleep, David came and tooke his Speare away; therefore be sober and watch, and that thou mayest not fall asleepe, keepe thy selfe sober, and endeavour to weaken that law in thy mem bers that fights against you, by doing something. A law not execured is antiquated, and weakened, and weares out, and custome strengthens a law; the lesse obedience you yield to these lusts, the more you weaken them: when these lusts would have thee omit such a duty, if thou yieldest to it, thou strengthenest it; if not, thou weake­nest it.

And againe, a law is weakened when it is not cared for: care not for their threats; and when the threatnings of a law are contemned, they lose their force. If sinne tell thee thou wilt lose such a friend, incurre such dangers, care not; and that wea­kens the force of it.

And if thou canst not doe it by reason, doe it by force, by a strong resolution; resistenda sunt, non sub­tilitate, sed impetu. Overcome the desires of sinne by a contrary resolution.

[Page 251] And I will be mercifull to their sinnes, &c.

THese that follow here are the particular in­stances wherein hee would especially heare their prayers.

If they humble themselves and pray, whatso­ever their sinnes are, God will be mercifull unto them.

Now the reasons why he sayes he will be mer­cifull to their sinnes (for so according to the former translation I rather reade it.)

That the Lord hereby might take away all ob­jections: 1 for some might say, their sins were ex­ceeding great and many, and many times reiterated; why but all these are but fit objects for mercy, wch triumphs over them all, as a mighty Sea swallowes them up as mole hills.

To take away that conceit, that all their hum­bling 2 themselves, and prayers, and new obedience here required, is not required as a condigne satis­faction for their sins: no saith the Lord, I will doe it meerely out of mercy; though not without these, yet not for these. There is a secret popery to thinke something must be given, some satisfaction must be made, as if God else would not forgive, unlesse they satisfie for themselves, &c. and so ballance their sins. No, it is meere mercy, free forgivenesse.

To set an high price upon this gift, the pardon 3 [Page 254] of sinne, I will be mercifull and forgive them. As if he had said, remember, that you are worthy to be destroyed, and not able to pay the least farthing. But it is of my meere pitty, that thou art forgiven. So that the matter we have in hand, is a gracious promise of mercy and forgivenesse, which of all points else I fall most willingly upon, which will make men come in, if any thing will doe it. It is the proclamation of pardon, that must bring in pirates; when as the proclamation of rebellion drives them away. Men are more easily overcome with kind­nesse then with threats; it is the Gospell melts and maketh men vile in their owne eyes.

But then some will say, that it is not necessary, Object. that the preaching of the Law should goe before, if the Gospell doth it.

Yes, the preaching of the Law is notwithstand­ing as a preparative. In all that are brought up in Answ. the Church, there is some knowledge in the Law that praecedes, but it is the Gospell that softneth the heart first; as ice is broken in peeces with hot water as well as with hammers, so is the heart with the Gospel, as well as with the hammer of the Law, and indeed maketh that knowledge of the Law that proceeded to bee operative, and sets it a worke: so as the Law in its true working cannot bee without the Gospell, nor the Gospell without the Law: so as to a perfect worke of the Gospell the knowledge of the Law must precede.

Whatsoever a mans sinnes are, if hee be truly hum­bled for them and forsake them, they shall bee forgiven him.

[Page 255] This is the maine point you may observe by the way, that the Gospell was as fully preached to the Iewes, as to us. So you see it was here, they had the same way of being saved, that we have, as great mercy promised and dispensed. Onely these great mysteries of the Gospell wherin grace and mercy is displayed, were not opened so to them as unto us; they had the promises of forgivenesse as fully and clearely, but knew not the grounds of them; as Christs incarnation, death, and resurrection, as wee doe; nor those glorious priviledges in particular wch wee have by Christ. For the proofe of the maine point, take that one place to make it good to you, Esay 1. 18. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sinnes bee as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red as crimson: [...]hey shall bee as wooll. The Prophet had exhorted them to learne to doe well, &c. But the people might ob­ject: What shall wee bee the nearer for all this? if wee be such great sinners as you have even now de­clared us to bee? to prevent this the Prophet tells them, what though their sinnes bee great and blou­die sins, of the deepest dye of guilt? (there are many kinds of red, but crimson and scarlet are the highest) yet you shall be as perfectly cleansed from all your sinnes as if you should see scarlet turned as white as snow, or crimson as white as wooll, and none of the former dy remaining: and when he tells this to them, marke his expression, Come, let us reason toge­ther, as if he had said, this is a point requires strong reasonings to perswade you to believe it; and in­deed it is a hard thing truly to believe the pardon of [Page 250] their sinnes; and the time will come when you will finde it to be so: Wee will therefore set the Lord and your consciences together, and you shall see how the Lord reasoneth for himselfe, and how he will make this go [...]d.

Wee will first prove it to you from all his attri­butes.

1 From his truth, the Lord hath said it, and this is argument enough, to perswade you: And therfore Rule 1. From God. having made this promise of forgivenesse in the verse before, that hee would subdue their iniquities and cast their sinnes into the depths of the Sea, he addes, thou 1 From his truth. Mica. 7. ult. wilt performe the truth to Iacob, and the mercy to Abra­ham, which thou hast sworne unto our fathers from the dayes of old. As if he had said, you must rest per­sw G [...]d of this: for he hath not onely promised it, but hath sworne it, and that oath not taken lately, but of old; there is an oth to it, and an old one, an oath that hath many witnesses, Abraham and Iacob, and all the fathers that have beene since: and will he not, thinke you, bee as good as his word? and that Acts 10. 43. To him give all the Prophets Acts 10. 43. witnesse, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sinnes. It is Saint Peters speech to Cornelius; sayes Peter, we deliver this from God to you, and not only we that are the Apostles say this, but to this truth doe all the Prophets, Isay, Ieremy, and all the rest beare witnesse. Now when the Lord hath said such things, and made an absolute promise, he expects you should believe it. It is a greater sin then you imagine, not to lay hold upon such promises. See how the Lord rea­sons [Page 257] it 1 Iohn 5. 9. 10, 11. If we receive the witnesse 1 Ioh. 5. 9. 10, 11. of men, the witnesse of God is greater; for this is the wit­nesse of God &c. He that believeth not God, hath made him a lyar. As if he should say, will you not believe? If a man that is of an honest disposition should pro­mise you a thing, you would believe him: and will you not believe me? As if a man had more truth in him then I have: yea further, you make the Lord a lyar, if you believe not this his record of his Son, what is this record? why saith the Apostle, I will repeate it againe, The Lord hath given us eternall life, and this life is in his Sonne, that is, whosoever believes and takes CHRIST, his sinnes shall be forgiven, and he shall have life. It is the pardon that brings life to the condemned traytor.

2 But though he hath said, this is ingaged suf­ficiently, 2 From his mercy. and this is much to helpe our faith, yet when wee shall further heare and know him to bee one of a mercifull nature and gracious disposition, wee will goe the more willingly to him. There­fore add to this, how the Lord expresseth his na­ture to us, Exodus 34. 6, 7. The Lord God, mercifull, Exod. 34. 6, 7. gracious and long suffering, and abundant in goodnesse and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sinne. As if he should have said to Moses, wouldest thou know the very inward disposition and frame of my soule? this is my nature, to be mercifull and graci­ous, &c. this is the Lords Idea, for his end here was to expresse himselfe unto us; know that this is his nature, and this will strengthen our faith in the pro­mises, for all his promises doe but flow from this nature of his, and receive their strength therefrom, [Page 258] and hee is rich in mercy, because it is his nature.

3 Adde to this the attribute of his wisdome, and 3 From his wisedome. that will also helpe us to believe his mercies. GOD that hath made these promises is exceeding wise, and knowes with whom hee hath to doe, hee knowes, that originall corruption that is in us, and is the mother of all sinne, hee knowes our infirmi­ties, and what is in our hearts, as hee that made us knowes what wee are, as hee that makes any thing knowes the inward frame of it. It is no strange thing for him to see us fall into sinne. Therefore Psal. 78. 38, 39. after he had spoken of those strange Psal 78. 38, 39. rebellions, of the people of Israel into which they fell after their comming out of Egypt, yet saith hee, Hee being full of compassion, destroyed them not, but for­gave their iniquity, and why? because hee remembred they were but flesh. And indeed, one would wonder how the LORD could forgive so obstinate a peo­ple, that had such experience of his power and mercy by those great workes which he wrought a­fore them in bringing them out of Egypt, yet he did, because he remmebred and wisely considered what ingredients went to make up their natures; hee re­membred they were but flesh. So Psalme 103. 13, 14. Psal. 103. 13 14 the former part of that Psalme, is nothing else, but an expression of promises of forgivenesse, and in the 14. verse he gives this as the reason of all, for hee knowes our frame, hee remembereth that wee are dust: 14. hee knowes whereof we are made, and therefore is exceeding mercifull.

4 Whereas there is one Attribute from which 4 From his justice. you object against the pardon of their sinnes, that [Page 259] the Lord notwithstanding is just, and this terrifies you and puts you off: even from this we may fetch an argument to strengthen our faith herein; for know that the Lord is therefore ready and willing to forgive, because hee is just. 1 Iohn 1. 9. If wee 1 Iohn 1. 9. confesse our sinnes, hee is faithfull and just to forgive us. This is the ground of all our comfort, that he eis just and faithfull, for is he not engaged by promise, and is hee not faithfull to keepe his promise? A­gaine, hath hee not beene satisfied and paid for our sinnes by CHRIST? and his justice will not suf­fer him to require a second payment. It is just now with him to forgive, faithfulnesse hath reference to his promises, justice to that bloud of CHRIST the ransome received, which cleanseth us from all our sinnes.

5 If all these will not serve to perswade our hearts 5 From our readinesse to forgive. to believe, the Lord descends a little lower, and helpes us out with an argument of his readinesse to pardon, from the consideration of what is in our selves, consider how you would deale with your children. Psal. 103. 13. Like as a father pitieth his Psal. 103 13 children, so the Lord them that feare him. If a child that is yours, offend you an hundred times, yet if he come in and humble himselfe, you will pardon him: And will not God, when his people humble them­selves? Wee use but such arguments as God him­selfe doth, and doe but set him and your consciences together, to reason the case: But you will object a­gaine, and say, it is possible for a child so to offend, as that a father will not nor cannot forgive him. True, but the Psalmists meaning is, not as if GOD [Page 260] would pardon no more, then an earthly father; but on the contrary, if you that are earthly fathers can doe so much, I that am an infinite Lord God and not man, can doe much more, who is Omnipotent and can doe whatsoever he will, and shews his omni­potency in pardoning. I compare with this, Esay 55. 9. My thoughts are not as your thoughts. What though your sinnes bee great and in their owne thoughts unpardonable, and you thinke them grea­ter then can bee forgiven? but my thoughts sayes GOD, are not as your thoughts; he speakes this of pardoning; but as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts, and my waies above yours, in multiplying to pardon. Though you could not forgive, nay though you cannot think or imagine how such transgressions should be for­given, yet I can forgive them.

A second sort of arguments is taken from the Reas. 2. From the meanes of conveying forgivenes. meanes and instrument by which forgivenesse is conveyed. Wee are come to IESUS the Medi­ator of the new covenant, and to the bloud of sprink­ling, which speakes better things then the bloud of A­bel. Hebrewes 12. 24. Hee speakes this as an encouragement to their faith, and it is as if hee Heb. 22. 24. had said, consider how the bloud of Abel, though but the bloud of a poore man, cryed so loud that it came up to heaven, that it brought down vengeance upon Cain, how loud then shall CHRISTS bloud speake? What is it able to procure for us? which speakes better things, that is, for mercy (which God is more ready to heare the cry for, then for vengeance) and this cry is not of the bloud of an or­dinary [Page 261] man, as Abel was, but of the bloud of his owne Sonne, to which purpose compare with this that place, Heb. 9. 14. How much more shall the Heb. 9. 14. bloud of Christ, who through the eternall Spirit offered up himselfe without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead workes? As in the other place hee com­pares it with Abels bloud, so here with the blood of Buls and Goates; which in the old law served by Gods appointment for the outward purification of the flesh, how much more, how infinitely transcendent­ly more above our thoughts or imaginations, shall the bloud of the Sonne of God bee able to purge your consciences? wee not able to conceive, nor he to expresse; hee onely sayes, how much more, &c. and hee backeth it with two Reasons, which put together, shew the transcendency of that sufficien­cy in Christs bloud to cleanse us: the first from the eternall Spirit, whereby hee offered up himselfe; it was not the bloud or sacrifice of a meere man, but of God: which sacrifice was in it selfe without spot.

There are three objections wee usually make a­gainst 3 Objecti­ons from our sins. our selves by reason of our sins.

  • 1. That they are so many.
  • 2. So great.
  • 3. That they are reiterated and often fallen into.

Now the sprinkling of the bloud of Christ thus offered is sufficient to cleanse your consciences from, and to take away all these, Ezek. 36. 25. then will I Ezek. 36. 25. sprinkle cleane water upon you, and yee shall bee cleane from all your filthinesse, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. The bloud of Christ is the water there [Page 262] meant, which cleanseth from sinne and filthinesse; and from all, though never so many; and from fil­thinesse, and idols, from such sinnes, though never so great. Ah! but I have also fallen often into them, Zach. 13. 1. His bloud is therefore compared to a fountaine set open for sinne and for uncleannesse; not a cisterne, but a fountaine, a continuall spring perpe­tually running to cleanse us; so that as there is a spring of sinne in us, so as wee are defiled againe and againe, so there is a spring of vertue in his bloud, to cleanse us, never to be dried up.

The last reason is taken from the freenesse of the covenant which God hath made with mankind, if Reas. 3. From the freenesse of Gods cove­nant. Iohn 7. 37. any man bee a thirst, yea if any man will come, let him come and drinke of the waters of life freely. See the manner how it is set downe, Iohn 7. 37. In the last day, a great day of the feast, Iesus stood and cryed, saying, if any man thirst, let him come to me and drinke: hee makes a proclamation for all to come, as also, Rev. 21. 6. and 22. 17. where he makes the like generall Revel. 21. 6. ver. 22. 17. invitation and adds, that they shall have it freely; so the tenour of the covenant runnes: that if any thirst (those indeed that doe not, have nothing to do with it) let him come and take freely; that is, I will bestow it without any other condition, but com­ming, without which no man can partake of it, and thirsting, without which no man will come, or prize it.

The consideration of which covenant therfore should move us and helpe us to believe the truth of this point, that whatsoever our sinnes are, yet if we humble our selves, &c. they shall be pardoned.

[Page 263] Before I come to apply this to any man; I must Vse. Who are excluded f [...]om pardon Exod. 34. 6. exclude those whom the Lord excludes, or rather who exclude themselves. Still remember what is the last letter of his name. Exodus 34. 6. That hee will not hold the wicked innocent. Thou that art a car­nall man, hast nothing to doe with this childrens bread; thou art a Dog: which may bee made good to thy conscience, out of 1 Pet. 2. ult. Like the dog 1 Pet. 2. ult. thou returnest to thy vomit: For in thy sicknesse and in thy distresse didst thou not make many promises and resolutions against thy wayes and courses? and after thy recovery, didst thou not returne to them againe with as much greedinesse as ever?

2 Againe, thou art such an one as doest not thirst after these promises; carest no more for them then for thy old shooes; these precious promises (which as is said before) containe in them most rich and precious promises, and none shall ever obtaine them that doth not in some measure of truth prize them above all things whatsoever. Thou that never hadst thy heart broken with the apprehension of sin and Gods wrath canst not come to thirst after them, and so hast nothing to doe with this water of life. A man that is still whole hearted ever since hee was borne, and never affrighted with sinne and wrath, may heare these promises spoken of, but hath no­thing to doe with them.

3 They that are hypocrites, are also excluded, for they are to have their portion in hell fire, and therefore whilst remaining such, have nothing to do with the promises. Now an hypocrite is one that is not willing to omit holy duties altogether, and [Page 264] yet not willing to doe them throughly, one that like the Eagle soares high in faire pretences, but still hath the prey that is below in his eye, and wil stoop for it upon occasion, eying preferment, credit, riches &c. all the while: Thou mayest be white in thine owne eyes, and washt before a Communion, or so, as a Swine may bee washt as well as a Sheepe, but yet the Swinish nature remaines.

4 Or it may be thou art a wicked man.

But you will say, who are those wicked men? Object. Answ. wicked men who,

I will give you a description of them, which no man shall refuse, they are such as hate the Lord, nor can any man think much, if he be call'd a wicked man, comming within the compasse of this chara­cter; for it is the note given in the second comman­dement. Now when we heare this, every man will be ready to say, I hope my condition is good, I am none of them that hate the Lord: but know, there are many thousands that think well of themselves, who yet when it comes to the tryall will be found to hate the Lord. And therefore to try thee in this, give mee Signes of such as hate God. leave to aske thee but a few questions.

1 Dost thou not hate the law? dost thou not wish that the Law were not so strict, and that it gave more liberty? Let an unregenerate man try himselfe by this, and he will find such a disposition in him, that he desires that the law would give him leave to com­mit such and such a sin; he esteemes of the Law as a thing that is contrary to him, and therfore their com­plaint of godly men is, that their wayes are contrary to ours, in the booke of Wisedome. What wayes? the wayes of the law: for where is contrariety, there [Page 265] is hatred; and if they hate the law, they hate the law­giver God, for the law is the expresse image of God.

2. Againe, I would aske thee, if this bee not also thy disposition, that thou hast no great delight to be where the Lord is? thou hast not any delight in holy duties, otherwise than as custome, and na­turall conscience have made them familiar to thee; nor to be in the company of the Saints (for where two or three of them are, there God is among them) but when thou art among them, thou art as it were out of thy element; if they be such as are formall like thy selfe, thou canst away with them; but if they be holy, and the holinesse of God appeare in them, thou delightest not in them; thou couldest, it may bee, bee among the Saints, if they hold their tongues; but let God shine in them, then thou canst not indure to be there.

3 Againe, dost thou hate those that are like the Lord? for if thou dost, thou hatest the Lord him­selfe: for as wee try our love to the Lord, by our love to the brethren; so our hatred also. Is there a secret dislike of them, though thou knowest not why, an antipathy, though happily thou canst not give a reason of it? It is because God hath put an enmity, and there no man can put amity: all en­dowments, sweetnesse of converse and disposition, eminency of parts in the Saints, will not take away the enmity that is in wicked men against them. Da­vid was a Poet, a souldier, a man of excellent parts, wise and valiant, yet had abundance of hatred a­mongst men for his goodnesse.

4 Againe, dost thou not desire that there were [Page 266] no God? Couldst thou not bee content to live for ever in this world, so that thou were happy here, and so there were no hell? Couldst thou not bee content that there were no heaven, no GOD, no Iudge at the last? If every unregenerate man would examine himselfe, he should finde this in himselfe. Now if any wish that such an one were not, that he were sublatus demedio, it is a signe he hates him: for that is the property of hatred, to desire the utter removall of the things hated.

5 Againe, dost thou not lie in some sin which thou knowest is a sinne? Now every man that lies in a sinne, a knowne sinne, feareth GOD as a Iudge. Let him bee a thiefe, and he will feare the Iudge, and whom a man thus feareth, hee hateth, Quem metuunt, oderunt, he that walkes in darknesse hates the light, and God who is the author of that light. Dost thou therefore live in some evill way or other, wherein thou dost allow thy selfe? thou hast no interest in these promises: onely those that claime interest in the promises, who make consci­ence of all their wayes, dare not omit the least duty, nor performe it slightly.

Lastly, consider, art thou not one of the foolish virgins, deferring repentance, not caring to pro­vide oyle in time, but thinkest thou canst do it time enough at death? and, I will come in ere I die, like the sluggard in the Proverbs, tumbling in the bed of thy sin securely, and loath to rise, turning like the doore on the hinges; but still remaining upon the same hinges. The Lord hath said, Deut. 29. that Deut. 29. he will not be mercifull to such a man, but his anger shall smoake against him.

[Page 267] But you will say, what doe you preach damnati­on to me? will you leave us desperate?

I answer you, we preach damnation to you whilst you are in such courses, and would make you de­spaire of your selves, to drive you out of your selves unto Christ, and it were an houre well spent, to put you out of hope; but what? may wee have no hope left? None, in the estate you stand, but that of the hypocrite, which perisheth with him: for if thy hope were true, it would purifie thy heart, as S. Iohn speakes. But I may pray? But if thou continuest in thy sinnes, thy sinnes shall out cry thy prayers, and at the day of thy death, when the least interest of these promises will bee worth a world, it will bee said to thee, that thou hadst no­thing to doe with them, and there was a time when God call'd upon thee, and thou wouldst not: and therefore then, though thou cry to him, God will not heare thee.

But if there bee any broken-hearted sinner desi­ring Vse 2. To Trust perfectly in Gods mercy. to feare the Lord, and serve him sincerely, that have this witnesse in their consciences, that though they doe not that good they would, yet they strive against all sins, allow themselves in none, whether small or great; to you I say, that of the Apostle, 1 Pet. 1. 13. Trust perfectly on the grace brought unto you by the revelation of Iesus Christ, [...], 1 Pet. 1. 13. trust not by halves, but trust perfectly: if I had bidden you trust in your sanctification; you might have done it imperfectly, because your sanctifica­tion is but imperfect; but seeing it is the free grace of God is brought to you as a rocke to trust and [Page 268] rely upon; trust perfectly upon it; commit all your waight and burthen to it; Heb. 6. 18. God, when hee made the covenant of grace, tooke an oath to that end, that we might have strong consolation; this is an argument commonly forgotten among Chri­stians, and so they want that strong consolation which they might have. Do you think it a small matter, to take an oath of God partly and in any degree in vaine? God hath sworne that you might have strong con­solation, and he would have it so strong, that when Satan sets upon you, it may be as a strong fortresse to hold out against all assaults; why is your faith so weake then? what are the impediments? Impedi­ments, to this trust. 1 Mistake in the cove­nant. Rom. 4. 5.

1 One is, that wee are deceived in the covenant: hath not the Lord promised to justifie the ungodly, and commanded us to believe on him that justifies the ungodly? Rom. 4. 5. and bidden us come with an empty hand? and thou commest with an handfull of humiliation, and sayest, that thou durst not come before, and now I can come better in: the more thou hast in thy hand, the lesse firme is thy hold. A man that is in danger to bee drowned, cannot take hold of a Cable cast to save his life, if hee keepes any thing in his hand, an empty hand takes the fastest hold: thy humiliation if true, will empty thee of all selfe conceit: therefore if thou through humiliation hast nothing of thine owne to trust to, thou art the fitter object for mercy. Be not alwayes poring downewards on thy sinnes, but looke up to God, Heb. 6. They have strong consola­tion, Heb. 6. 18, 19 who have fled for refuge to the hope laid before us, which hope wee have as an anker of the soule both [Page 269] sure and stedfast, and which entreth into that within the vaile, Verse 18, 19. This our hope is not said to bee any thing in our selves, but is as a refuge which wee flie unto out of our selves, and is laid afore us, growes not within from what is within us, and is from above: now by hope, wee are not to under­stand the thing hoped for, or the grace of hope in us, but that sure promise of God ratified by an oath; this is the object of our hope, and so call'd our hope, that is it which is our refuge, and which is laid afore us, and proceeds from Gods owne brest and nature; which if we anchor upon, wee shall have strong consolation, both for surenesse of not failing us, and for steadinesse establishing our hearts; but whilst we flie for refuge to any thing in our selves, or cast anchor upon it, we are tossed with every wave.

2 Our daily infirmities, they also are a great 2 Daily in­firmities. impediment. A man thinkes, if I had faith, that would so purifie my heart, as I should not fall thus oft as I doe; which whilst I doe, how can I have such strong consolation? for this I say to all upright hearted Christians, that their infirmities should not dishearten their faith and consolation, but they should rather labour to strengthen their sanctifica­tion. Say with thy selfe, because my sins are and have been greater than other mens, therefore I will labour more for sanctification hereafter, I will love more than others, and be more serviceable for the time to come; but say not, therefore I will doubt or despaire of Gods mercy. 3 Supposed want of hu­miliation.

3. Hinderance to their laying hold of the pro­mises [Page 270] of forgivenesse, is a conceit of their want of humiliation, as if they were not humbled enough; but if it bee so much as brings thee home to Christ, if thou thirst for Christ, so as nothing will content thee till thou hast him; feare not to lay hold, this is enough, stand not upon the measure.

Lastly, it may bee thou hast not prayed enough for assurance of forgivenesse, and therefore want­est 4 Want of Prayer for pardon. it. It is here put in as a condition, if my people pray, and among other things for this, to forgive your sinnes, and to give them the assurance of it. All the arguments in the world cannot perswade the heart of this, nothing but the spirit of adoption; and can so great a mercy be obtained without fer­vent prayer? therefore goe to God, and intreate his favour, and though hee deferres, yet continue in prayer: for it may be the Lord also with-holds it, because hee would have thee set an high prize upon it: which thou wouldest not doe, if thou shouldest obtaine it easily: but be not discouraged, continue thou to pray still, and in the end thou shalt have it with a full hand.

Heare you mee, all yee that are upright and sin­cere in heart, here is your comfort, continue thus to seeke Gods face, and all your sinnes shall bee as if they had never beene committed by you: and what is said of the sinnes of Israel and Iudah, Ier. 50. 20. The iniquity of Iacob shall bee sought for, and there Ier. 50. 20. shall none be found: so shall thine be in the day when they shall be sought for: Is not this a great and unspeakeable mercy? A man shall bee as if hee had never committed sinne: even as if hee [Page 271] were as innocent as Adam was in Paradise. Object.

But you will object and say, can sinnes that have been committed cease to have beene committed, or cease to have been sins?

Answer: tis true, that which is once done can Answ. The efficacy of sin taken away in forgivenesse never bee undone. All the acts remaine as things once done, so as it may be said, they were commit­ted, and were thus hainous; when therefore it is said, there shall be none, the meaning is, they shall be of no efficacy, they shall never bee able to doe you hurt, as our Saviour said to his Disciples, Luk. 10. 19 Luke 10. 19. You shall tread upon Serpents and Scorpions, and they shall not hurt you, so I may say of sin, it shal not hurt you, because the sting is taken away in and by Christ; or as that fire in Nebuchadnezzars furnace, it had power enough to burne others, but not so much as to singe an haire of the three children, because Christ was with them; so those sinnes which would sting and shall sting others to death, because of their im­penitence, yet shall doe thee no hurt, but fall off like the Viper off from Saint Pauls hands, but not hurt thee. It is an opinion of some, that GOD can see no sinne in his children, because, they say there are none (when a man is once in Christ) son to bee seene: But that is not the meaning of that saying, God sees no iniquity in Iacob: they are there, but as in a debt-booke crossed and cancell'd though the lines be drawne over, yet the summes may be read, yet so as they cannot bee enacted, or sued for, be­cause they are crossed and cancell'd. A falling starre loseth its light by little and little, and when it comes to the earth, it goes quite out: so when sinnes [Page 272] begin to fall from their proper element and Sphere, that is an unregenerate heart, where they had domi­nion and raigned and moved as in their Orbe, the light and influence of it decayes, and shall at length both in the guilt and power of it wholly vanish.

I will also adde to this, this caution: the Saints must know that for all this, their sinnes are retained, Caution. Sins of the Saints re­tained till actuall re­pentance. till they actually repent againe, the Lords wrath is kindled against them, and they may feele such ef­fects of it as may make their hearts ake. Thus the Lord met Moses, and would have slayne him in the Inne for neglecting that ordinance of circumcision; the sinne was not forgiven till he had humbled him­selfe, and amended his fault; so GOD was angry with the Israelites that fled before their enemies, till the accursed thing was taken away: So when Da­vid sinned in the matter of Vriah, it is said in the end of that Chapter 2 Sam. 11. 27. The thing that David had done displeased the Lord, and there was the wrath 2 Sam. 11. 27. of a father against him, though not of an enemie: and when was it that GOD was well pleased with him againe, but when hee had humbled himselfe and repented? Therefore that you may have strong consolation, search and examine your hearts and lives, see that there bee no way of wickednesse unrepented of in you, before you apply all these promises, which then you may doe to your com­fort.

Somewhat is now to bee said, even to those Vse. 3 Exhorta­tion to be humbled. whom before wee excluded; for the end of our preaching is not to shut them for ever out. If the LORD will bee mercyfull to our sinnes, if wee be [Page 273] humbled; there is an open dore for those that are without, a ground, to exhort them to come in. Come, and welcome. God is exceeding mercifull, and ready to forgive, and receive you. If any thing will draw men in, they are the promises of mercy; the Hue and Cry makes the Thiefe to flye away the faster.

The Proclamation of pardon brings the Rebels in, and what greater motive can wee use than this, that whatever your sinnes are or have beene, never so great in themselves and aggravated with never so many circumstances, yet if you will come in and humble your selves, and turne to God, God will bee mercifull to you. No matter what thy sinnes have beene: all the matter is, what thy humility is, what thy resolutions to confesse and forsake thy sinnes are; thy have not gone beyond that price which hath beene paid for them: And God will not only pardon their sins but also leave a blessing behind. If you indeed should come thus to any man whom you have offended, hee would say, what are you not ashamed to come to mee ha­ving wronged mee thus, to looke mee in the face? not to aske forgivenesse onely, but to aske such a kindnesse, such a favour at my hands also? how could you have the face to doe it? But the Lord, he never gives that answer, for he is not as man, Ier. 3. 11. Though if a man put away his wife, and shee be­comes Ier. 3. 11. another mans, hee will not receive her againe; yet returne to me, sayes God. It is possible for men to commit such sins, that men cannot forgive, but God can pardon any.

[Page 274] You know the pernicious counsell which A­chitophel gave to Absolon; to goe in to his fathers wives, to make an irrecoverable breach betweene his father and him, judgeing it such an injury, as Da­vid would never put up, yet returne to mee sayes God. God can pardon any, I will scatter thy sinnes as a myst, and thine iniquity as a cloud.

Some sinnes are small as mysts, some more great and grosser, as a cloud. Gods mercy is able to scat­ter both. Doe not say, oh I had beene a happy man, if I had not fallen into this or that sinne, I had then beene pardoned. Tis true, that in respect of Gods dishonour, it had beene better thou hadst not committed it; but yet this I will say, that in respect of obtaining pardon thou mayest bee happy not­withstanding: if thou humble thy selfe, this sinne will not barre thee from happinesse; but thou maist be in as good a condition after thou art come home as any other whose sinnes have beene smaller: and know that when thou art once come home, God looking upon thee in Christ, all thy sinnes displease him not so much, as thy repentance in and through Christ pleaseth him.

But how shall a man be perswaded of this Gods Quest. readinesse to forgive?

Consider that place, As I live, saith the Lord, I will not the death of a sinner, but rather that hee turne Answ. Gods rea­dinesse to forgive. from his wickednesse and live: Hee hath taken an oath for it, that hee delights more in saving than in destroying: and you may believe him. Consider also what Christ was wont to doe in the dayes of his flesh: and hee is still as mercifull an high Priest [Page 275] as ever: None were more welcome to him than Publicans and Harlots, that came with repentance to him; and he is as ready to receive us now as them then.

I doubt not but that Christ is willing, but what Object. will God the Father do?

It is certaine, that hee is not willing to have his Resp. Sonnes bloud spilt in vaine, which should bee of none effect, if such sinners as you are should not bee saved: Hereby the bloud of Christ is improved, that it is sprinkled on many for great sinnes. Thinke not therefore that God is backward to pardon, Psal. Psal. 130. 3, 4 130. 3, 4. There are two arguments more to helpe us in this, If hee should marke what is done amisse, who should stand? none should be saved. Now it is not his will that all flesh should perish, and therefore hee will not take the advantage to cast men cleane off for their sinnes; againe, none else would worship him. There is mercy with thee, that thou mayest bee fea­red: It is his full purpose to have some servants to feare and worship him. Yea shall I goe further? God is not onely ready to forgive, but desirous of it, yea hee is glad at the heart when a great sinner doth come in: which is noted to us in the Parable of the lost sheepe, and the lost groat: how did the woman rejoyce for the finding of her groat, and the Shepheard for his sheepe? And likewise in the Parable of the lost Sonne, how glad was hee when he heard that his Sonne was comming home, that yet had lived riotously and spent his goods? it was to shew, that GOD was so affected, when a great sinner returnes to him. Besides, he doth not [Page 276] onely say, if you will come, I keepe open house, I will not shut you out; but inviteth them, calleth them; yea more, sends his ministers to fetch them in; yea more, entreateth, beseecheth, comman­deth, threatneth.

But you will say, is it possible, that I should Object. bee forgiven, that have committed so many sinnes, so great, so hainous, and continued so long in them?

Yes, it is possible for you. Marke that place, Answ. 1 Cor. 6 9. 1 Cor. 6. 9. Hee reckons up as great sinnes, as can bee named. And such were some of you, but now you are washed. You see what kind of people there were forgiven, whence wee may gather, that those that are guilty of those sinnes now may bee forgiven as well as then, such were some of you. Whosoever thou art, it is no matter what thou hast beene; all the matter is what thou wilt bee. Put case, any of the old Prophets should come to thee, or any man in particular, and say, wilt thou bee content now to turne to GOD? if thou wilt, all thy sinnes shall bee washt away, and thou shalt bee made an heire of Heaven: it would cause him that hath any ingenuity, to relent and say, LORD, canst thou now bee so mercifull to mee as to forgive mee af­ter all this? loe LORD, I will come in and turne unto thee.

I aske thee this question, whether art thou con­tent to quit all thy sinnes presently upon assurance of being received, if thou dost? if thou answerest no, art thou not worthy to bee destroyed? if yes, is not this great comfort?

[Page 277] But some may say, if heaven gate stand thus wide open, I may come and bee welcome at any time. Thou vile wretch, that darest to have such a Refusall of the offer of grace dan­gerous. thought! Dost thou not know, that every such re­fusall of such an offer is so dangerous, as it may put thee into hazard of never having the like againe? If the gate of heaven stood thus alwayes open, why then did God sweare in his wrath of some Is­raelites, that they should never enter into his rest? and what is the reason that God said of those that were invited to the feast, but refused to come, that they should never taste of it? The reason is there given, it is said, the master of the feast was full of wrath at the refusall of his offer, both because his love and kindnesse was despised: that filleth a man with indignation, and so the Lord: and also be­cause the thing offered was of so much price; it being the kingdome of heaven, and the precious bloud of Christ. Therefore whensoever such an offer is made and refused, God is exceeding angry. There goes an axe and a sword with this offer, to cut downe every tree that will not bring forth good fruit. Say not when you heare of this offer, I am glad there is such a thing, I will accept of it ano­ther time, but it comes too soone for mee now. Consider this, that the end of the comming of the Lord Iesus, was not onely to save the soules of men; if onely so, then indeed this might have beene done at any time, even at the last: but his end also was, Titus 2. 14. That he mtght purifie to himselfe a Tit. 2. 14. peculiar people, zealous of good workes,' which is a greater end than that which went before in the [Page 278] verse, to redeeme us from all iniquity, to purchase to himselfe a people that should serve him in their life time: and canst thou thinke, that thou that hast served thy lusts all thy life time, shalt yet bee ac­cepted at death? It is a common saying with you, that if a man bee called at the eleventh houre, hee shall be received: 'tis true, if thou beest called then first, and not before, as the thiefe, who was not call'd afore, was then accepted: but what if thou hast beene call'd afore, and hast not accepted, but put off till death? thy case then will bee exceeding dangerous. Againe, I aske thee, what is it makes thee resolve to come in at death? If love to Christ, then it would sooner; if to thy selfe, how shall such conversion be accepted?

Come we now to the last words. ‘And I will heale their land.’WE have these three points may be observed out of them.

1. That all calamities and troubles proceede from Doct. All calami­ty is from sin. sinne; this I note from the order of the words: hee first forgives their sinnes, then heales their land.

2. That if calamities bee removed, and sinnes be not [Page 279] forgiven; they are removed in judgement, not in mercy.

3. That if sinne bee once forgiven, the calamity will soone be taken away.

For the first, all calamity is from sinne, troubles from transgression. In the chaine of evills, sinne is the first linke that drawes on all the rest; as grace is in the chaine of blessings and comforts. Consi­der this in all kinds of judgements, which wee may reduce to three heads. 3 Kinde of Iudgemen [...]

1. Temporall calamities, about the things of this life, they are all from sinne, both publike and private. What was the reason of Salomons trou­bles? The Lord stirred up an adversary against him, because hee departed from the Lord, and had set up idolatry: so the sword departed not from Davids house, because of his sinne with Bathsheba, and the murther of Vriah. So Asa, 2 Chron. 16. 2 Chron 16 the Prophet tels him, Hence forth thou shalt have warre, because thou hast not rested on the Lord. I could give a hundred instances for this.

2. Sort of judgements are spirituall, which are much more grievous than the former; when a man is given up to his lusts, and to hardnesse of heart: and this proceedeth from some other sinnes that went before; and it is a sure rule, that you never see a man given up to worke uncleannesse with greedi­nesse, or to such open scandalous sinnes, but the first rise of it was his unconscionable walking with God in secret, as the Apostle Paul sayes of the Gen­tiles. Rom. 1. 20. to 24. That because when they Ro. 1. 20, 24. [Page 280] knew God, they glorified him not as God, God gave them up to vile affections, So Psal. 80. 11, 12. But my people would not bearken, and Israel would none of mee: Psal. 80. 11, 12. So I gave them up to their owne hearts lusts, and they walked in their owne counsels. As if he had said, I used all the meanes: they still refused, and would none of me, and therefore I gave them up. Seest thou a man given up to a lust, his heart so cemented to it, as hee cannot live without it? know this is in judg­ment to him for some unconscionable walking be­fore, and not practising according to his know­ledge.

3 There is yet a judgement beyond these, when the Lord forsaketh the creature, and withdrawes himselfe from a man; which though men doe little account of, is the fearefullest of all others. The losse of Gods presence is a losse unvaluable. Take a man that makes wealth or honour his God, take that prop from him, and how doth his heart sinke with­in him? how much more, when the true God shall bee departed from a man? that God that is the God of all comfort, if hee bee withdrawne, the heart sinks into a bottomlesse pit of horrour; as when the Sun is gone, all things run into darknesse. All comfort is from some measure or degree of Gods presence, though men doe not take notice of it; which when it is taken away, there remaines nothing but horrour and despaire: when God was departed from Saul, 1 Sam. 16. hee from that day 1 Sam. 16. ranne into one errour after another, in his govern­ment, till hee was destroyed; and the cause of this was sinne; he had cast off the Lord, and therefore [Page 281] the Lord rejected him. The like was Caines case, Gen. 4. His judgement was, to bee banish'd from Genesis 4. the presence of the Lord, which hee acknowledg­eth to be an insupportable punishment, which hee was not able to beare.

When any trouble is upon thee, sticke not in the Vse 1. To see sin in all troubles. rind and ba [...]ke of it, but looke through it and be­yond it, to the inward root of it; looke to sinne as the cause, and thou shalt finde it so: it may bee the immediate cause and instrument may bee some out­ward thing, some enemy of thy disgrace, some sicknesse, &c. but who hath permitted them to worke? is it not the Lord? and what is the motive of his permission but sinne? men may have many severall motives to doe this or. that, but nothing moves the Lord but sinne and grace. When an enemy comes upon thee, say not, this man is the cause of this evill, but the Lord hath suffered him to worke, and sinne hath occasion'd this suffering, 2 Chron. 12. 5, 7. Shishak was but the violl, through 2 Chr. 12. 5, 6, 7. whose hands God powred out his wrath; so I may say, sicknesse is but the violl, it is the Lords wrath that is powred out in it. Amend this common errour, that men are ready to seeke out the naturall causes of the evils that befall them: if it bee sicke­nesse, they looke to such a distemper in diet, or cold, &c. as the cause of it: so if they miscarry in any enterprize, what folly and oversight hath beene the cause of it? These are but the naturall and imme­diate causes, but Christians should looke to and seeke out to the supernaturall. When there came a famine upon the land of Iudah for three yeares, [Page 282] 2 Sam. 21. 1. the naturall cause was evident, which 2 Sam. 21. 1 was a great drought (for that famine was healed by raine afterwards) and so in those hot countries famine came by drought alone, but David rests not here, but went to the Lord, and enquired out the reason, the sinne that should bee the cause of it: And God told him it was for the sinne of Saul, and his bloudy house in slaying the Gibeonites: as wise statesmen, when they find a meane person in a treason, they rest not there, but seeke further what deepe heads was in the businesse, and who was the contriver of the plot. When Iacob saw the Angels descend and ascend, he lookes to the top of the lad­der, and saw the Lord there sending them to and fro. Looke not to the stayres of the ladder, one or two that are next to thee, but to the top of the ladder, and there thou shalt see the Lord sending one Angell to do thee a mischief, another to be a Sa­viour to thee. If you say, how shall I know for what sinne it is? Pray earnestly, and enquire as David did, and as Ioshua did, when he saw the peo­ple flie before their enemies, that God would re­veale to thee the particular sinne; and if thou canst not find out the particular sin (for it may bee some sin long ago committed, or some secret sinne) yet be sure that sin is the cause of it; for as in the works of nature, we know the vapours arise out of the earth, and ascend invisibly, but come downe againe in stormes and showers which we are able to see, and are sensible of; so the judgements may be open and manifest enough, but not the sins, but some secret sin that past by thee without notice taken is the cause of it.

[Page 283] Learne hence to see sinne in its owne colours; Vse 2. Sin hard to find out. sinne is a secret and invisible evill, and in it selfe as abstractly considered, is hard to be seene of the best: therefore looke upon it as it is cloathed with calamities; and when you view it under the cloa­thing, you will have another opinion of it than you had before. If you should know a man, who, wher­soever he comes, doth nothing but mischiefe, poy­sons one, stabs another, &c. and leaves every where some prints of his villany; how hatefull and ter­rible would he be unto you? it is sin that playes all these reaks among us; if sin come upon a man cloa­thed and armed with Gods wrath, as it often doth at death, then it is terrible. Why do we not look up­on it thus at other times, but because we doe not be­hold it in the fearefull effects of it, as then in the wrath due to it we doe? Sin is the same at all times else, but our fancy is not alwaies the same, as the body is alwayes the same, though the shadow bee greater or lesser: that which we now count a small sinne, as swearing, and petty oaths, will one day bee terrible; such a sinne as was committed by A­nanias and Sapphira would seeme small, it may be, to you in it selfe alone, but see it cloathed with that judgement that befell them dying at the Apostles feete; so see the sinne of Ahabs oppressing Na­both, which you may looke at but as doing a little wrong to a poore man, by a great man, but see it cloathed with Ahabs death, and the dogs licking his bloud, and it will appeare to be most hainous; so the prophanenesse of Nadab and Abihu, offering strange fire.

[Page 284] Learne, that if you would remove the crosse, you must remove the sinne first. You may ob­serve Vse 3. How to re­move cros­ses. it in diseases, that twenty medicines may bee used, and yet if you hit not right upon the cause of the disease, the patient is never the better; but if that be removed, the symptomes presently vanish: so when some crosse is upon us, wee set our heads, and hands, and friends aworke to remove it, but all in vaine, whilst wee hit not the cause, and that is sinne, which whilst it continues, the crosse will continue.

The reason why our peace and prosperity is en­tertained with so many crosses and troubles is, be­cause our lives are interwoven with so many sinnes. The cause of Gods unevennesse in his dispensations of his mercy towards thee, is the unevennesse of thy carriage towards him. Hast thou a health­full body, a sure estate, many friends? Thinke not that these shall secure thee: see Adam in paradise, Salomon in his glory, David on his mountaine, which hee thought made strong; and you shall see Adam, when sinne had made a breach upon him once, quickly made miserable; and sinne bringing in upon Salomon an army of troubles after it; and upon David in the height, sin bringing in upon him the hazzard of his kingdome, the rebellion of his sonne: sinne in a mans best estate makes him mise­rable, and grace in the worst estate makes a man happy. Saint Paul with a good conscience was happy in prison, David through faith was happy at Ziglag.

But you will say, how is it, that calamities thus Object. [Page 285] follow upon sinne? wee feele no such thing: and thus because it is deferred, the hearts of men are set to doe evill.

All this is to bee understood with this caution, that sinne when it is perfected, brings forth death, Resp. and not till then. God stayed till Ahab had op­pressed Naboth, and gotten possession, and then when he was seene, God sends the message of death to him, What, hast thou killed, and also taken possessi­on? Thus Iudas, he was a thiefe whilst he kept the bag, and went on in many sinnes in Christs family, and Chri stlets him alone, and he goes on till hee had betrayed his Master; and then when his sinne was perfected, and come to its full ripenesse, then at last CHRIST comes with judgement upon him. There is a certaine period of judgement, and if the Lord stay execution till then, thou hast little cause to comfort thy selfe, Eccles. 8. 11, 12. Because sen­tence Eccl. 8. 11, 12 against an evill worke is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of men are set to doe evill: As if the wise man should have said, Goe to you, you that have peace, and comfort your selves in this, that whatsoever the Word and the Ministers threat­ten, yet you feel nothing; yet remember that as soon as the sin is committed, the sentence goeth forth, (& therefore he useth the word sentence to expresse this) though it bee not so speedily executed, yet it goes forth at the same time with the commission of the sinne. The sentence, you know, is one thing, the execution another; and many times there is (and so may be here) a long distance be­twixt the sentence of the Iudge, and the execution [Page 286] of it: So as his meaning is, that execution is de­ferred. Therefore flatter not your selves; sen­tence is gone forth, and execution will follow. For the amplification of this, that vision of Zachary seemes to make it good, Zach. 5. When swearing Zach. 5. 2, 3 and theft had beene committed, Verse 3. Hee saw a flying roule, Verse 2. Which Verse the 3. is inter­preted to be the curse that goeth over all the earth, for him that stealeth and sweareth, Verse 3. which curse may bee upon the wing long ere it seizeth on the prey: but it goes forth as soone as those sinnes were committed, that is, the execution may be deferred: which is there further shewed in the parable of the Ephah, which sets out (as there) the measure of the peoples iniquities, for so, Verse 8. he sayes, this is wickednesse, which untill it be filled, hath not the weight of leade laid upon the mouth of it, it being a long while ere God comes to execution, and not till their sinnes are full, the plummet of leade being laid; as it signifies that then their sins are sealed up, with the waight of leade rolled upon them, that none might be lost or forgotten, but God remem­bers them all: and then hee saw two women come, and the wind was in their wings, Verse 9. that is, when their sinnes are thus full, and their measure sealed up, their judgement comes swiftly like the winde, and carries it into Shinar, and there this wickednesse is set upon its owne base, that is, in its proper place, a place of misery, as hell is said to bee Iudas his owne place. Sinne may sleepe a long time, like a sleeping debt, which is not call'd for and deman­ded for many yeares: but if a man hath not an [Page 287] acquaintance, the creditor may call for it in the end and lay the debtor in prison. It was forty yeares after Sauls slaying of the Gibeonites ere execution went forth, and vengeance was call'd for it. So Io­abs sin which he committed in slaying Abner (which was slaying innocent bloud) slept all Davids time, til Salomon came to the crowne.

Doe not therefore as ill husbands in debt, that suffer the suite to runne on from tearme to tearme, till they bee out-law'd, and pay both debts and charges, and all. Thy sinnes are a bringing swift damnation, and it slumbers not: it is on foote already, and will overtake thee, and meete at thy journeyes end, the end of thy dayes. Let it therefore be thy wisedome to take up the suite and compound the matter with God betimes, else thou shalt not onely pay the debt and smart for the sin it selfe, but for all the time of Gods patience towards thee, the riches of Gods patience spent, and beare all the arrerages, Rev. 2. I gave her space to repent, but shee repented not; Revel. 2. God meant to make her pay for all the time he gave her to repent in.

The next point from these words is:

That if the calamity bee removed, and the sinne bee Doct. Calamities may bee re­moved in judgement not healed, it is never removed in mercy, but in judge­ment.

Hee doth here promise first to forgive the sinne, and then to heale the Land; so as if hee should have healed the Land without forgivenesse, it had beene no mercy.

[Page 288] Because sinne is worse than any crosse whatsoe­ver. If therefore hee takes away the crosse, and Reas. 1. leaves the sinne behinde, it is a signe thou art a man whom the Lord hates. When a Physician takes a­way the medicine, and leaves the disease uncured, it is a signe the parties case is desperate; or that the Physician meanes to let him perish.

Because the Lord doth nothing in vaine; if ther­fore Reas. 2. an affliction doth a man no good, it must needes doe him hurt; for that which doth neither good nor hurt, must needes be in vaine. That was a property of the Idols of the Heathens (which are called the vanities of the Heathen) that they did neither good nor hurt: And such should Gods actions bee. Therefore if the crosse doth a man no good by hea­ling his sinne, it must needs do him hurt. You will aske what hurt? It doth aedificare ad Gehennam, builds thee up to destruction. If you saw a cor­rasive applyed to the live flesh, and to eate out that, and not the dead, you would say it were applyed for hurt: So if you see an affliction that workes up­on the live flesh, that wounds the heart with sor­row, but takes not away the sinne, such a crosse you would reckon not the medicine of a friend, but the wound of an enemy.

By this thou maiest judge of thine estate, and of Vse. How to judge of our estate. Gods love to thee, by the issue of thine afflictions. Tis true, that all kindes of crosses fall alike to all, sicknesse, poverty, &c. upon the godly and the wic­ked; the difference is onely in the issue: The same Sunne sh [...]nes upon all, but it hardens one, and it sof­tens another; and the same winde blowes upon all, [Page 289] but it carrieth one Ship into an Haven, and dasheth another against a rock. Consider therefore whe­ther thy afflictions brings thee home to the Lord, or whether it drives thee from the Lord upon the rockes. Tis a common observation, that when phy­sicke works not, you say the party is mortally sicke: So when afflictions worke not, it is a signe hee is a man of death. If, as Matth. 7. Hee that takes not an admonition from his brother, is desperately wic­ked, either as a Swine to trample on it, or as a Dog to devour: How much more, when a man is admo­nished by God himselfe, and is worse after it? Now every affliction is an admonition from the Lord. In the fifth of Esay when God had pruned his Vineyard, and it did it not good; it was then at the next doore to destruction, and laying wast. If therefore thou hast had some great affliction, and now it is off; thinke with thy selfe what profit and good came to thee by it. Did it come from Gods providence, or not? if it did, there was somthing he intended, and which it did imtimate to thee: If thou then didst suffer it to passeby without taking any no­tice of God in it, or if thou didst, yet art not recla­med, God must needs be exceedingly provoked, he will suffer the tree to stand one yeare or so, to see if it will bring forth fruit, but if it doth not, then says, cut it downe.

There are certaine times wherein the LORD by affliction, sh [...]wes himselfe (as it were) to a man, makes apparitions, so as a man may grope after him and feele him, and take notice what hee would have. If such passe away, and no good is done, it is [Page 290] no presage of health, as is that sicknesse which comes by physicke, but of destruction; 'tis but as a drop of wrath fore-running the great storme, a crack fore running the ruine of the whole building. Seeke not therefore in distresse, so much to have the crosse removed, as the sin, Iames 1. Rejoyce, sayes the Apo­stle, when you fall into sundry tentations; which hee would not have said, if healing the sin had not been the greater mercy, than the induring the affliction is grievous and dolorous; and if thou hast an affliction on thee, say, 'tis best, I will be content to indure it still, for God meanes me good by it: on the contrary, if thou lashest out, and yet art in health and pro­sperity, &c. and thy sins still continue, but thou art not afflicted, and God suffers thee to thrive in sinne; it is a signe God will destroy thee, that hee leaves thee wast as a vineyard, to bee overgrowne with briars and thornes.

And the last doctrine is,

That, take away the sinne, the crosse will surely fol­low, and bee taken away also: either it, or the sting of Doct. 3. Sin remo­ved, cala­mity remo­ved. it; so as it shall be as good as no crosse. An Affli­ction consists not in the bulke of it, but in the bur­then. What is a serpent without a sting? what is a great bulk, if it have no waight? God can so fashion the heart, as that it shall not feele the bur­den of it.

1. Because crosses do come for sinne. Indeed, some are not for sinne, but for triall, for the confir­mation Reas. 1. of the Gospell; some for the glory of [Page 291] God, as that blindnesse in the blind man; some for triall onely, as Abrahams offering up his sonne, yet for the most part they come from sinne.

2. God never afflicts but for our profit: so says Reas. 2. the Apostle, Heb. 12. Our fathers after the flesh cor­rected us, not alwayes for our profit, but they out of passion oftentimes; but, He for our profit: Now when he hath thereby made us partakers of his holinesse, and so we have ceased from sinne, then he will cease to afflict.

It was otherwise (you will say) with David: his Object. sinne was forgiven, as Nathan told him, and yet the crosse was not removed, for his child died, and the sword departed not from his house.

There is an exception in these two cases.

1. Of scandall, when the name of God is blas­phemed: Answ. then though he forgive the sinne, yet he may go on to punish for his names sake.

2. When we are not throughly humbled: for there may be true repentance, when our lusts are not enough mortified: God doth it, that the heart may be the more cleansed. Thus David Psal. 51. cries out of his broken bones, and why? his heart (he sayes) was not cleansed, and therefore hee prayes for a cleane heart and a right spirit.

This affords matter of comfort. When any Vse. Comfort in afflictions. judgement is upon us, we are apt to thinke we shall never be rid of it: but if thou canst get but thy heart humbled, and thy lusts mortified, God will take away the crosse. It is our fault to say, when we are afflicted, that we shall never see better daies: why so? is not God able to remove it? and if the [Page 292] sinne be removed, he will be willing also. No man is in an hard case, but he that hath an hard heart: we are apt to think in all conditions, that what is at present, will alwaies continue; if we be in prospe­rity, we are apt to think as they in the Prophet, that to morrow will be as to day, and much more abundant; so if in affliction, to say also, that as it is to day, it will be to morrow, and so for ever. But know, that if you humble your selves, and turne from the evill wayes, God will take away the calamity. There is an excellent place for this, 1 Pet. 5. 6. Humble your selves under the mighty hand of God, and he shall exalt you in due time. When a man is humbled by God, let him humble himselfe, and then God will exalt him; that is the due time, and he will not stay one jot longer. And that which I say of pre­sent affliction, I say also of crosses for the future, which you may feare, that your sinnes will bring; That if you humble your selves, and turne from your evill wayes, God will be mercifull to you, and heale you.


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