THE RIGHTEOUS MANS WAY. WHEREIN ARE GIVEN CERTAINE Directions, how men may profitably meditate upon the Commandements of God: that so through such man­ner of meditation, the Lordes Commande­ments may finde place in mens hearts, to serve in them as guides unto all their Actions and Thoughts. DIRECTIONS MOST NEEDFVLL FOR THESE times, seeing most men laying the Commandements of God aside, doe leade their lives in disobedience to Gods Commandements; and this, not onely to the scandall of Christian Religion, but also to the extreame hazard of their own salvation.

1. Thes. 4. 1. Wee beseech you, brethren, and exhort you in the Lord Iesus, that ye increase more and more, as ye haue received of us, how ye ought to walke and to please God.

Printed in the yeare 1621.

THE EPISTLE to the Reader.

MAny of Gods servants (beloved Reader) having writ­ten at large upon the ten cōmandements, opening them so, as that men may in a great measure see how farr they branch themselves, into every action, speach, & thought of Man, I thought it might be profitable to add unto their labours, this my direction unto Meditation upon the Commandements. For, I observe in most Men a kinde of disposition, willingly to heare or reade of the Commandements, that so their knowledge might be increased; but there is little evidence of any who meditate also of them in private, that by such meditatiō upon them, they may sink into their hearts, there to remaine as directors unto them, in all things wherein they may haue use of them. The very Notion one­ly of Gods Commandements is surely profitable, as serving to informe Men of the way they should walk in, but meditation upon them rootes them within us; because, what our Spirit once labours upon, it will not easily forgoe againe, but will retaine and make use of the same, and this also to the end, wherefore the paines to meditate upon it was taken. For if any man purpose with himselfe, and set his hearte to seeke Gods Com­mandements, that they may serve to guide and rule him in his wayes, he joyning private meditation, or selfe-questioning and selfe examining with the same, his hearte will then affect and indeavour to come to the end of its purpose. For this cause haue I chosen to direct men unto a manner of meditation upon the Lords Commandements that so through meditation, the Commandements of God may not rest in the bare Noti­on, but may branch themselves out in the actions, speaches, yea and pri­vate thoughts of men. But because the streame of this worlds dispositi­on, runns violently against the man that would keepe Gods Commande­ments: (for such is in most men the custome to erre from the wayes of Gods commandements, that he that walks in them, shall hardly finde a­ny man, that is not eyther against him, or at leastwise not addicted to that way he walks in) And because our owne corrupt nature is hardly brought in obedience, to yeeld to walke in the wayes of righteousness, Therefore I haue purposely set my selfe to shewe, (in the first place, and in severall chapters a parte) certaine motives or inducements, by which men may be brought on, to take upon them, as for a light burthen, and ea­sy yoake, the holy Commandements of God, which are as his burthen and yoak [Page] which he for Mans good hath put upon us. I am not ignorant, that the world threatens me to labour herein in vaine; for such rooting in Men hath the pleasure of sinne taken, that it is almost unexpectable, that they should leave to sinne those, sinnes, by which their laughter, hearts joy, & firmest bond of fellowship is commonly occasioned; but my trust is in God, that there are thousand thousands in the world, who, not being of the world, will not goe the way of the worlde, but, as aymers at another world, will give diligent heede to all good directions how to come to the glorious world which is to come, Yea, seeing there is a tur­ning of many unto Righteousness, Daniel, 12, 3, who walked in the wayes of unrighteousness, I cannot but hope, that many, even in the unrigh­teous multitude, may yet be wonn, to bethinke themselves ere it be too late, of the evill way wherein they walke, and of the good way of Gods holy Commandements. Many indeede are the inducements unto sinne, and they are also very powerfull, to move yonge, and lusty, and covetous persons, to walk rather in the way of sinnes, then in the way of Gods Cō ­mandements; but alas, as the pleasure of a whore ends often times in a mi­serable and loathsome disease, when yet during the pleasure there will be no eare given to any warning of danger, so men that are overcome of the inducements unto sinne, doe but gather more and more matter for their own grief & destruction. The way of God is peace, health, and Glory; but the way of Satan (the miss-leader of the miss-led,) is, trouble of consci­ence, disease of body, & eternal Infamy. In hope therefore that all wil not be so evill minded as to neglect the way of God, rejecting also all Medi­tation upon the Commandements of God, but that some will be wonn to exercise themselves in such Meditation, that so they may reape the glori­ous fruite of righteousness, I will now conclude this epistle, and send my Reader to the Treatise its selfe, where directions how to meditate are given.

Yours in the Lord THOMAS PROCTO [...]

The Righteous Mans way.
WHEREIN ARE GIVEN CERTAINE DIRECTIONS how men may profitably meditate upon the Commandements of God: That so through such Manner of Meditati­on, the Lords Commandements may finde place in Mens hearts, to serve in them as Guides, unto all their Actions and Thoughts.

WHen God had created this glorious frame of heaven and earth, and had made the wonder­full and beauteous creatures therein, then we reade, Gen. 2. 16. that unto man God gaue a commandement, saying: thou shalt eate free­ly of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evill thou shalt not eate of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death, which first com­mandement of the Lord, seemes to me as the signe of his Lordship over Men: the Lord shewing herein his Lordship, in that he gaue a Lawe unto Man, exacting also from him, even upon paine of punishment, subiection unto him here­in. which signe of the Lordship of God remaineth in the Church even unto this day; for unto this day wee Christi­ans though wee be under the liberty of the Gospell, yet are not freed from beeing in subiection to a Lawe of Comman­dements and Ordinances. Therefore also ought we to bee sensible of the Lawe of God, as of a yoke and burden, even as a mark, signe, or evidence of a Lordship, which God hath over us. And indeede our Lord, saying, Math. 11. 30. My yoke is easie and my burden light, shewes, that he hath put a yoke and burden upon his Disciples, though indeede, it is an [Page 2] easy yoke and a light burden. Againe, our Lord, saying, Luk. 6. 46: But why call ye me, Master, master, and doe not the things that I speake, this shewes, that his Commandements are so a signe of his mastery over us, as that not to doe his Commandements is little lesse, then to deny and put off frō us his Mastery or Lordship. Wherefore also those, who as at libertie to doe or not doe, doe goe farre in observing the Cōmandements of God, when yet their heart and soule hath no sense of the Commandements as of a yoke & bur­den, or as a signe and evidence of a Lordship which God and Christ hath over them, they for all this are not truely Subjects, but Libertines rather, doing the Commande­ments but because they will doe them, not because they haue in them any sense of the Lordship of God & of Christ over them. And surely, what thorow mens desire of Con­formity with Christians with whom they liue: and thorow fear of the punishment of their Christian Princes, if they do such or such evill things contrary to Christian Religion: & what thorow a superficiall apprehension of the goodness of the things cōmanded of God, many goe farre in doing as God commandeth, and yet without any true subjection to the Lord, as having sense of his Lordship over them. Yea, Men may liberally acknowledge with their lipps, yea super­ficially in their hearts also, the Lordship which God ought to haue over themselves, when yet their hearts never had any the least sence, of the Lordship of God in his Comman­dements. We ought rather to put on a resolution of minde, both to receive the Commandements of God as a yoke or burden put upon us, or as a signe or evidence of a Lordship in him over us: and also to doe them, as in testimony of our subjection to a Lordship in God. The like ought even Christian States aswell as private persons to doe, not con­tenting themselves to give good Lawes to their people, but [Page 7] to give them as branches of the Lawe received from God, and as in subjection to a Law of Commandements, in which God hath and exerciseth even over them also a Lordship & Dominiō. With this advertisement I thought good to be­ginne this Treatise upō the Cōmandements, that so I might prepare Men, to haue in them a kinde of apprehension & sense, of the yoke and burden of the Lordship of God upon them. But because (as aboue) our Lord the Sonne of God hath said: My yoke is easy and my burden light, therefore ha­ving given this Advertisement next aboue, now I will pro­ceede, indeavouring to shewe unto men, by what conveni­ent meanes they may receive upon them this yoke & burden, not as a pinching yoke, and heavie burthen, but as an Easy yoke, and a light burthen. And truely as on the one hand our hearts sence and feeling of the Commandements, as of a yoke or burden, is right needfull, that so thorow such sense there may be a hearty acknowledgement of the Lord­ship of God over us, so on the other hand it is also profitable for us to be instructed, how wee may receive this yoke and burden upon us, as an easy yoke, and a burden light to be borne of us.

Chap. 1.

COmmon experience proves unto every one, that when any thing is done vnwillingly by any, then not onely that done is done with heaviness and griefe of heart, but al­so the very commandement its selfe seemes unto such, a hea­vy loade, too heavie to be borne, yea or to be required of them. This considered, there cannot be (in my judge­ment) any better Meanes, to make men receive the Commandements of the Lord, as an easy yoke, and light burden, then by shewing them how they may make them­selues willing to beare upon them such a yoke or burden. But wee finding it also true in common experience, that vn­less mens Passions and Affections be stirred vp, as either their Admiration, Feare, Reverence, Loue, or delight, both towards and in the Commander, and also towards the thing Commanded, they seldome (if at all) doe any thing com­manded willingly, therefore it must needs be needfull to in­struct men, how their Passions and Affections, may be stirred vp in them, both towards God commanding, and towards the thing commanded. Are not the children of Parents, and the favourites of Princes, drawen on first, to Reverence, Feare, and loue, before commandements are given unto them? even so the very Children also of God, must first bee instructed to admire the Lord, to feare him, and to fall in Loue of him, before there can be expected from them, a wil­lingness to receiue upon them the yoke or burden of Gods commandements. Let therefore the mighty works of God in his Salvations and judgments, be discreetly opened unto Gods people by the Lords ministers, that so Gods people discerning them, they may both be brought on to fall into an Admiration of him that could doe such things, and also [...]o feare him in whose power it is, so and so fearfully to punish [Page 5] them which obey not: Let also the glorious Apparitions of God, his Sonne, and Angels, be opened unto them, that so of such heavenly and faire Glories, their hearts being wonn of such Glories, they may be brought on, both to an Awe, and yet also to a Loue of God: Let also the Vertue, Goodness, & Gratiousness of God, be opened unto their apprehensions, that so euen for such things sake also, they may be subdued to yeild to fall in Loue of God who dwelleth in Glory. Lastly, let the Righteousness of the commandement it self be open­ed unto them, declaring the invaluable good which cometh to mans society, by the observation of such a commande­ment, and the odious wickedness & hurte which cōmeth to mans society, by doing things forbidden, & this, to make thē loue the commandement it selfe also for its Righteousness, hating also the thing forbidden, for its odiousness and hurt. Let these things I say be more frequently, and intentiuely done by the Lords ministers, and then there may be good hope of reaping from Gods people, a very plentious har­vest of good and pious works, done in obedience to the lawe and commandement of God.

And indeed, besides the bare iniunction of keeping the Commandements, we find in the Scriptures many motiues also or inducements set before men, both for the stirring up their passions and affections, and also to draw them to a wil­ling obedience. what therefore were motiues, or induce­ments unto others, the same (if we with them would attaine to a willing obedience) must be made vse of by us also; for, as we cannot expect the effects, where wee are negligent of the causes, so wee can hardly expect to attaine with the Saints before us, a diligent, ioyfull, and willing observa­tion of Gods Lawe, whilst wee are negligent to make vse of those motiues or inducements by which they were drawen hereunto. Suffer mee therefore patiently (I pray [Page 6] you) collect out of the Scriptures to your hands, first som [...] good evidence, how David (and in him other saints) received the commandements of God (that so by this testimony you may perceive what your duty also is, and how farre short herein you come of that Affection which you ought to haue towards the commandements of God): Secondly, some speciall motiues or inducements, which may serue to moue or induce us to obey Gods commandements. Lastly, some speciall means wherby we may attaine to keepe them, as the saints before haue kept them.

For the first, we, Psal. 119. 14. reade thus, I haue had as greate delight in the way of thy testimonies as in all riches. Again Psal. 119. 24. also thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellers. Againe Psal. 119. 47. and my delight shall be in thy commande­ments, which I haue loued. Again, Psal. 119. 54. Thy statutes haue been my song in the house of my pilgrimage. Againe, vers. 72. The lawe of thy mouth is better unto mee then thousands of golde and silver. Againe vers. 111. Thy testimonies haue I taken as an heri­tage for ever: for they are the ioy of my heart. Againe vers. 127. therefore loue I thy commandements aboue gold, yea aboue fine gold. Lastly, v. 162. I reioyce at thy worde as one that findeth a great spoyle. Thus you see how this mans Passions or affecti­ons, were stirred up in him; now see in the next place what came also thereof. Psal. 119. 23. hee saith thus. Princes also did sit and speak against mee, but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. Againe verse 31. I haue cleaved to thy testimonies ô Lord Againe, verse 46 I will speake also of thy testimonies before Kings and will not bee ashamed. againe verse, 51. the proude haue had mee exceedingly in derision: yet haue I not declined from thy lawe. Again verse 60. I made hast and delaied not to keepe thy comman­dements. againe; verse, 79. let such as feare thee turne vnto mee, and they that knowe thy testimonies. againe, verse, 112. I haue ap­plied mine heart to fullfill thy statutes alway, even unto the ende. Againe, verse, 115. Away from mee ye wicked: for I will keepe the [Page 7] commandements of my God. Lastly, verse, 136. min [...] eies gush out with rivers of waters because they keepe not thy lawe. When wee read these things, suffering also our selves to pawse also a li­ [...]le upon each of them, considering it advisedly, it may then well seeme unto us even incredible, that so excellently a dis­posed minde towards the commandements of God, should ever at all be found truly in a man. I for my parte should be very much deceived, if each man comparing himselfe with this declaration, will not then from the greatnes of the diffe­rence, acknowledg in himselfe a seeming incredibility here­of. For so many are the other things, and specially things of this world, which steale unto them our delight, loue, ioy, and songe, as that most rarely (if at all) wee shall finde a man, whose delight, loue, ioy, yea and song, shall bee of the commandements of the Lord. And indeed it will bee found in common experience, that it is farr easier to liue in a good, yea a greate measure, conformable in our actions to that commanded, then to haue a delight also in the com­mandements, to loue them, reioyce of them, and to make them our songe; for such passions or affections of our soule are not usually, nor indeed easily moued in us by such things. Neither need I any greater proofe by which to make this e­vident unto men, then if they but enter into an examination of themselues, each man taking some time when betweene God and his owne soule, he aske of his owne selfe, saying▪ Wherein truly do I delight? what is my hearts loue fixt upon? wherof doe I commonly ioy? let but each man take a time wher­in to aske euen himselfe this question, and then let it thereby be tried, if his heart answer him, that hee euer at all had de­light in Gods commandements: if ever he bare loue to them or ever had any ioy in or of them. The heart will not, nor indeede cann dissemble to a mans selfe, therefore let but men aske themselues, what they doe, and it will readily ap­peare [Page 8] unto them what they doe, but if any mans owne heart can answer him, that it hath delighted, loued, and reioyced in the commandements of God, happie man be hee: yea hee is surely a man that excelleth among men; for, euen among the most religious, who commonly in these things excell o­thers, there is commonly (of all things in religion) least de­light founde in the commandements, least loue towards them, least ioy of them. For, the cōmandements discovering guiltines, and thereby making men ordinarily sigh, and mourne, are also ordinarily heard with greife when they are pressed neere to the consciences of men; therefore also of all things in Religion, the commandements commonly are least delighted in, loved, ioyed in. Therefore (I say) a rare, and well neere singular thing it is, for any man to say truly of the commandements of God, that his delight is in them, he loues them, they are his hearts ioy, and even his songe is of them. One man may truly say, that hee delighteth indeed in the increase of his riches, an other may truly say, that his loue is fixt upon honour, promotion, and the favour of some Prince: a third may as truly say, that his hearte exceedingly joyeth in his prosperity, and in the affluence of desirable things which it draws unto it: a fourth may truly say, that his Loues are the occasion and subiect of his songs; but where is the man whose delight is also in Gods commandements, whose loue is towards them, they are his hearts joy, yea and his songe? Surely the passions and affections may be mode­rately spent upō every of these things aboue mentioned, but that those should so ingross unto them all our passions and affections, as that there is no delight, no loue, no joy left for Gods commandements, this is cleane contrary to that disposition of minde which wee see in this holy man. But indeede because our passions and affections are never moued in vs, beeing drawen unto the commandements of God, [Page 9] therefore it is that we come farr short of doing by the com­mandements as this man did. He, though Princes sate and spake against him, yet hee meditated in the statutes of the Lord: hee claue unto the testimonies of God: hee would speake of them even before kings: hee would not be asha­med to speake of them before any: hee declined not frō the Law of God, no though he was had in great dirision by the proud: hee made hast and delayed not to keepe the Commandements of the Lord: he would receiue them who make conscience of the Lords Cōmandements: he applied himselfe alway, ever to the end, to fulfill the Comman­dements of the Lord: he cried unto the wicked, away from me, for I will keepe the commandements of my God: yea his eies gushed out with teares because men kept not the law of the Lord. Here we see rare and pretious effects of the pas­sions and affections of a man, overcome and drawen of the Commandements of God. Consider each of these things advisedly, and then thinke with your selfe where wee may finde a man in these dayes which thus doth. But what should wee seeke after others, let each man discend into his owne conscience examining his owne selfe in private meditation saying, doe I this? is this my custome? and if neede be, let men examine themselues upon each particular, saying, spend I a [...] any time any meditation in the commandements? doe I cleaue un­to them? am not I ashamed to speake of them in company? if I bee afflicted, haue I then any mind at all of the commandements? when I see others deride, and scoff at that restreint from wickedness, which the observation of Gods commandements causeth in the ob­server, am not I then ashamed? doe I then hold me to the restraint as not ashamed of Gods commandements? let I then not loose the reynes with them for company sake, especially if they be my superi­ors? if obedience cross any present benefit, do I not then delay or put off the keeping of Gods commandements therein, or at leastwise [Page 10] for that time? Desire I to make up my family with such as I see pro­nest to keepe God [...] lawes? haue I forborne the company of the wic­ked, or, haue I saide in my harte away from me ye that will be wi­ed for I am set to keepe the commandements of my God? Haue I [...] any time mourned to see, that men are so negligent, as they are in keeping the cōmandements of the Lord? Doe I these things cu­stomablie? yea which of all these haue I ever at all done? But alas, common experience shewes, that men for the most parte, doe the cleane contrary to all this done of this blessed Man. Surely it is the more pitty, yea the more hurt unto them­selves; for thousand thousands plunge themselves, if not into Gods eternal wrath, yet frequently into his punishmēts temporary, by their respecting more to please men even in their wickedness, then to honour the Lorde with the obser­vation of his holy Commandements in all Companies. It is indeede the miserable and fearefull condition of our times that there is hardly any Ioy or mirth but must be in sinne: some or other of Gods Cōmandements, must be presump­tuously broken that men may be merry. But it is but the corruption of the times: for there may be a separation of Ioy and harty Mirth from sinne, if Men would but take care, that they make not a sport of sinne. Yet as here is not the place of a Christians true Liberty, and Rejoycing (for there is still a Divell in the world) so indeede it is not common­ly to be expected, that wee can here be merry and not sinne. Now whilst all cōpanies affect mirth & a liberty to be plea­sant: & hardly a man can keep Gods cōmandemēts & yet be merry with mē, (as men are now for the most part disposed) this causeth, if not a casting aside wholly the keeping of the Lords cōmandements, yet surely a restreynt in the Saincts, such also as is somewhat distastfull to Society. But seeing there shall be a judgement, there shalbe an eternall burning, why should wee not bethinke our selves of it before hand, [Page 11] that we cast not our selves foolishly therein by taking an unlawfull liberty to our selves in our mirth and sporting. Therefore if it must needs be so, that a man cannot be hear­tily merry but he must sinne, let us then chuse a solemne sobrietie, before a hurtfull laughter. Though we may not be Lawgivers to others, yet we our selves may be absteni­ous: thongh we intrude not our authority among others with an insulting or masterfull humour, yet we may keepe our selves. And truely as I haue many times in my heart, blessed our Princes for their admirable restreint of wicked Actions, so I haue many times mourned to see, that none of their Lawes stretch unto a brideling also of wickedness in Communication. In Communication men may (well neere) blasphemously sweare without any danger of Law: In communication they may laugh at adultery committed: In communication they may make sport well neere of any sinne, and yet be without danger of law. But whilst Com­munication hath this Liberty, the corrupt nature of Man hath too great advantage, to spread abroad the poison of all ungodliness and sinne. Communication is as the seede, evill actions the fruit; suffer the seede, and you shall never be without evill actions. Whereas communication be­ing a publishing of things; even corrupt, prophane, or wic­ked communication, may aswell haue penall Lawes for it, as Actions. Therefore as even communication of Trea­son is deservedly punishable, so the breaking of Gods Com­mandements even in communication might profitably be punishable. Thus having given you some good evidence, how David is manifested to have received the Commande­ments of God, I will now proceed to note unto you some of the speciall motiues or inducements which I finde in ho­ly scripture, by making a carefull use wherof, you also may attaine to a willing observation of the Commandements, & [Page 12] even (well neere) to the like minde towards them, as her [...] wee reade that this holy Prophet of God had.

2. Chap.

THe first Motiue or Inducement which I will note unto you is, the Injunction it selfe, by which wee Christians also are Cōmanded or Inioyned, that we also bring forth fruits answer­able to Gods Commandements. For this purpose is that which Math. 6. 46, we reade in these words: But why call ye me ma­ster, master, and doe not the things that I speake? And which, E­phes. 2. 10. wee reade in these wordes: we are his workmanship created in Christ Iesus unto good workes, which God hath ordey­ned that we should walke in them. Againe, Ephe. 4, 1, where we thus reade: I therefore being prisoner in the Lord, pray yee, that ye would walke worthy of the vocation whereunto ye are called, with all humbleness of minde, and meekness, with long suffring, supporting one an other through love. Againe, Ephes. 5. 8: yee were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walke as the children of light. Againe, Titus, 3, 8: This is a true saying, and these things I will thou shouldest affirme, That they which haue beleeved in God, might be carefull to shew forth good workes. Lastly, Titus, 3, 14: And let ours also learne to shew forth good works, for necessary uses, that they be not unprofitable. Thus when the Gentiles had beleeved, they were not then left af­ter faith, to doe like Liber [...]nes after the motion of their cor­rupt flesh, as before their conversion they did, but they came withall under a yoke, or burden of Commandements. There was a Change required of them even in the outward Showe, aswell in Communication as Action, and this to the end that by the light of Righteousness wherein now they must walke, not onely the world might more and more be in­lightened, but also the darkness of that Liberty under Gē ­tilisme, [Page 13] might more and more be thrust out from among [...] Nations. And indeed Righteousnes is no less truely light then is the day, and wickedness is no less truely darkness then is the night, therefore by Righteousness aswell in cō ­munication as action, the world is even inlightened. For God who himself is light, 1▪ Iohn, 1. 3, sendeth from him­self light into the world, and therefore also even the Com­munication and good workes of the children of Light, be­ing the fruite of the Commandements come from God, are a light shining there where ever the Gospel prevaileth. This considered I cannot but mervaile, that the very Obedience to this injunction concerning Gods Commandements, be­ginne among the common people (wel-neere) of all Na­tions, to receive a nick name of Puritanisme. But let that be spoken against which truely and deservedly is to be spo­ken against, (even the laying upon men a restreint in things, wherein God hath given no such Commandement of re­streint, as some for singularities sake would impose) when yet that which truely is Obedience may receive praise. But men beginne thorowe the sides of those over-abstenious ones, to give a wound even unto true obedience its selfe, accounting all restreint from wickedness (which is customa­ry in Communication), Puritanisme. If this be suffered to goe on, looke then for an over spreading againe of wic­kedness, little (if any thing at all) less, then under Gentil­isme. But shall we of the reformed Churches, who haue ex­ceeded other Churches in receiving blessings and manifold testimonies from God, suffer the darkness of wickedness to overspread againe, yea and to prevaile also against the true light, by suffering true obedience, true restreinte, to be­come nick-named, or traduced? Let not this be, but rather let those Congregations where most true restreinte from things truely evill is founde, be accoumpted as the speciall [Page 14] Lights of our Nations, & cherished of our Magistrates as for such. To cōclude, seing our Nations in the Churches refor­med, haue received by the Gospel so blessed a change, as frō Darkness unto Light, well might we be moved to the kee­ping of the Commandements, by the bare Iniunction or Commandement received from them who minister unto us the Gospell. For commonly they who receive good by any, will be willing to doe some things at their bare Com­mandement or Injunction. But the Lord hath not left us to the bare Iniunction onely, but hath mercifully found out many powerfull Motiues or Inducements besides it, that of them our passions and affections might so be moved in us, as that a willing undergoing of the burden of the Comman­dements might be begotten in us. Proceede we therefore now to consider also the other motiues or inducements, learning withall to make such a manner use of them, as whereby their working upon us their profitable effects may be furthered.

3. Chap.

THe next Motive, then, or Inducement, which I will note unto you, is, The observation of the greate workes of God in signes and mervailous Acts done of him. To this end Mo­ses, Deut. 4. 9. saith: Take heed to thy selfe, and keepe thy soule diligently, that thou forget not the things which thine eyes have seene, and that they departe not out of thine hearte all the dayes of thy life: but teach them thy sonnes and thy sonnes sonnes. Forget not the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord sayd unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will cause them to heare my wordes, that they may learne [...] feare me all the daies that they shall live upon the earth, and th [...] they may teach their children. Againe he saith, Deut. 1 [...] [...] [Page 15] Consider this day the chastisement of the Lord your God, his great­ness, his mighty hand, and his streatched out arme, and his signes, & his acts which he did. And what he did unto you in the wilder­ness untill ye came unto this place. For your eyes haue seene all the great Acts of the Lord which he did. Therefore shall yee keepe all the Commandements. Againe, Ioshua 24▪ 16, wee read thus: Then the people answered, and sayd, God forbid that [...]e should forsake the Lord to serve other Gods. For the Lord our God, he brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and he did those great miracles in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the people thorow whom we came. And the Lord did cast out be­fore us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land [...] Therefore will we also serve the Lord. As here the great won­ders which God did, are set forth as the Inducement to serve the Lord in keeping his Commandements, so let us for ever expect, both that the ignorance, yea or neglect onely, of the great wonders which God heretofore hath done, will occasion a negligent observation of the Commandements: and also that the often recording them in our minde, and respeaking of them to our children and family, will occasion the more willing serving of God in keeping of his Cōman­dements. For the workes done are of themselves so won­derfull, as that even the very thought of them, joyned with a present advised considering of them, will move the spirit of a man to fall into an admiration, both of the thing done, and of him that did it. And Admiration being once stirred up, then hardly can it be but that the soule will be the proa­ner, thenceforth to be obedient to his Commandements who did such things as these. Commonly we finde one thing to draw on another, Power Admiration, Admirati­on Awe, Awe Attention, and Attention Observation; there­fore needfull must it needs be, to exercise the stirring up [Page 16] the Admiration of our Spirits, by often recording, re-speak­ing of, re-marking, and re-opening to our selves, our chil­dren, and family, the great Acts of God, each aparte, as they are described unto us in the holy Scriptures. Is it not the common experience of the world, that a man receiving a Commandement, (yea though of a good thing,) from one in whom he knoweth no power, no authority, he will be very backward to obey to doe according to such Com­mandement, when yet let the same man receive the like cō ­mandement from a King▪ (whose power and authority is manifest unto him) we shall finde him to rejoice that he hath received even a commandement from such a one? So is it with men in the Kingdome of heaven. For whilst they onely heare of the Lawe, the Lawe, and of God named un­to them a thousand times and a thousand, they not appre­hending well, and distinctly, the great Acts and mervailous wonders done of God, receive the Commandements with such an unsubjected soule, as that they can haue no hearte to apply themselves to the fulfilling of them. For it is the apprehension of the mighty Power of God in his workes, that subjects the spirit & heart of a man, to yeeld to obey him in his Commandements who was able to doe such things. Therefore let men more frequently then in these times they usually doe, each one in his family aparte, ex­ercise themselves to speake now of one, two, or three, an o­ther time of as many, of the great Acts of God and of Christ: accustoming also themselves, and those of their family, to consider, what a thing it is to haue such a thing as that done in this worlde. For if this they use themselves unto, then as on the one hand, this will cause the ancient works of God to be still in the memorie of Gods people, so on the o­ther hand the works will work from the heart, first a Confession of the power of God, and secondly an Awe, an [...] [Page 17] thirdly, an inclinatiō to keep his Cōmandements. Feare not neither doubt the producing these effects, if thus you use your selves to speak of the antient wonders done of God; for assure your selves, that these workes were done, and ap­pointed to be told unto the sonnes and sonnes sonnes, pur­posely to produce these effects. Neyther are the workes of God so slight, Neither is the Ordināce of God concerning telling them in family after family so vaine, as that the rela­tion of such workes of God will be fruitlesse, as concern­ing the appointed effects.

4. Chap.

THe third Motive or inducement which I would note un­to you, is, the observation of the Mighty workes of God in his greate and fearefull Iudgements, inflicted heretofore upon those who have been disobedient. To this end Moses, Deut. 11, 2. saith: Consider this day the chastisement of the Lord your God, which he did in the mids of Egypt unto Pharaoh the King of Egypt, and unto all his lande. And what he did unto the hoste of the E­gyptians, unto their horses, and to their charets, when he caused the waters of the red sea to overflowe them, as they pursued you, & the Lord destroyed them unto this day. And what he did to Da­than and Ab [...]am the sonnes of Eliab, when the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, & their housholds, and their tents, and all their substance that they had, in the mids of all Israell. Therefore shall ye keepe all the Cōmandements which I command you this day. And the Prophet David, Psal. 119, 30, saith: Thy iudgements have I layd before me. Againe, verse 118: Thou hast troden downe all them that depart from thy Statutes, Thou hast taken away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies. Againe, verse 120. My flesh trembleth for [...]eare of thee, and I am afraid of thy Iudgments. Lastly, verse 115: Salvation is farr from the wicked, because they seeke not thy Statutes. By these scriptures it may appeare, that it were an [Page 18] error of no small importance to conceive, that a feare brought upon us by the judgements of God, is not a filiall but rather a slavish feare; therefore also if any should so per­swade men, I hope these scriptures may serve to convince such of false doctrine. But now, seeing we haue this te­stimony from Scripture, that to consider Gods judgements even upon others, is a Motive or Inducement to the keep­ing of the Commandements, ought not wee so much the more diligently to set alwayes before the eye of our mynd, those ancient fearefull Iudgements which God hath inflic­ted upon others? Therefore also haue I chosen this motive among others, as a speciall Motive or Inducement, advising Men also to the making a very careful and customary use of the same. Which that you may the more profitably also doe, chuse out unto your self some convenient time, where­in thinking with your self of some one or two of the special Iudgements of God, you may withall say thus, or to like effect with your selfe: This was, (or seemes to me to be) as if here at this present I should before mine eyes see: this or this, as the story relates unto you. Thus if you doe, this will then help your perceiving or discerning well of that which once was done: and the discerning furthers much the working of that upō our hearts which is discerned. But if hereunto you add further, saying: Had I been in his or their steads to whō this was done, how had it been with me? how fearful had been then my conditiō? This would help to bring the feare of God upō your heart. For, you making their case your own, supposing how it would be now with your self, if now the like should befall your selfe, the fearfulness of the judgement would so appeare unto you, as that a feare of the Lord that did it would fall withall upon your hearte. Now feare is such a passion or affection of the minde, as which taking holde of the heart and spirit of a man, it will incline the heart to a [Page 19] care to doe that, for the not doing whereof such punishmēts [...]s it now feareth hath fallen upon others. Yea from feare [...]prings also Delight, for wee cōmonly delight in doing that, [...]y which we avoide or escape such Iudgements as which our heart now feareth God for. Be carefull therefore that you learne not onely to say, God is to be feared, or, wee must feare God, but to feele the passion of feare of the Lord in your hearte. For there is great hypocrisy lurking in a free confessiō, whilst what we cōfesse should be done, our selves never doe. Therefore to be sure to season your heart of this passion of feare, doe by the judgements of God inflicted upon others as I haue aboue instructed you. But it may be some will say, this is very dangerous for men, for men thus supposing themselves as in their steads, will be ready to be deluded with a fancy that the same is done now unto themselves in deede; I answere, I direct men but to apprehend what was done, therefore they must not fancy that now it is done. And if any be so foolish, yet a good thing must not be left undone by the wise, for the foo­lish use which some may make thereof. Neither in deede hurt you your selfe, eyther by supposing what you should see, if here in this place before your owne eyes, you should see such a fearefull judgement as that whereof you reade: or by supposing your selfe as in their stead, considering with your self if the like judgement should befall your selfe now at the present; for the judgement its selfe is nothing here­by the neerer you, but rather the further off from you, be­cause you thus indeavour to teach your heart to apprehend, what was done many hundred yeares since unto others, for which you now (through faith of the report) would feare God that did it. Whilst therefore this so good an intent or end of your meditation is in your soule, you haue the lesse need to feare any the like judgment to be inflicted now [Page 20] of God upon you. Wherefore be not caried away by any mans perswasion, from the practising of that which aboue I haue directed you unto. But indeed the Devill by his in­struments, will he ready to make opposition here against, & this to the end that you may to your owne hurt, rest still in a saying onely, God must be feared, or, we must feare God, without ever feeling in your hearte the passion its selfe of [...]eare. And in deed all the while that you but thus doe, the Divill knowes that you are still his, in his bonds, because so long as your passions & affections are not moved in you, the kingdome of heaven is not in you with power to your salvation. An other fallacy there is, when some would move mens feare by their own zeale or earnestness in prea­ching of damnation damnatiō; so putting more trust to pre­vaile more by their owne manner of preaching, then all the power of God in his great works can prevaile. But the faith­fullest course is, to open well unto people the fearefulness of any judgments already inflicted upon some, and the fear­fulness of that last judgement of eternall damnation, trust­ing that by an apt opening unto the people the particulars of those judgements, the judgements of the Lord will then worke the feare of God in their hearts: And surely it is more honour to God, when his owne work prevaile over men to beget a feare of him in their hearts, then when mens feare is begotten in them by the earnestness or zeale onely of a preacher. A third fallacy there is, when some put trust in preaching the Lawe, as if the word Lawe, Lawe, onely sounded out in their earnest manner, should make men feare to breake the Lawe; whereas it were better aptly to o­pen unto them, the manner of Gods Apparition when he gave the Lawe, that as then, so for ever (upon the apt de­scription▪ the fearfull manner of Gods giving the Lawe, may beget a feare of God in mens hearts, and consequently [Page 21] a feare to breake his Lawe so given to men. And truely it is a very great darkness, yea also damnable, which wil be found in men at the last day, by their not being possessed with the Acts and Iudgements of God, for them, and through them fearing God, but resting onely with a seeming feare brought on them, by hearing some over-zealous preacher. Zeale is good, yea it must be, when the people are dull and slowe of hearing, and therefore I would not haue men thinke that I reprove all zealous preachers; but I would haue men rather to know, that I would not haue any to make a false ayme, or end of their zeale. They must not thinke to beare Men more downe with their zeale, then all the power of God in his workes declared can doe; for this is to the great disho­nour of the Lord. To conclude, Let no man hurt his owne soule by saying, what should I fear God for any thing done by him to others heretofore? for, to feare God for the judg­ments inflicted upon others, is the ready way to remove Gods judgments from your selfe. And surely he that thus honoureth God by fearing him for that done by him to o­thers, shall never feele judgements, but gentle corrections rather. Therefore at any hand take heede of so evill a dispo­sition, as when you heare what God hath inflicted upon others, you say, What is that to me? I am well enough: I will goe on in my pleasure though it be sinfull. Nay rather learne (by this manner practise which I haue taught you) to be able truely to say with the Prophet David: Thy Iudgements have I laid before me. My flesh trembleth for feare of thee, and I am afraid of thy Iudgements. For surely the Iudgements laid before us, will beget feare in us, and feare in us will incline us to the keeping of the Commandements. Yea, as I haue said before, our heart will even delight in the escaping such Iudgements, by the keeping of Gods Commandements. Therefore apply your selfe hereunto, as you tender your [Page 22] owne profit. Yea when you heare the Comm [...]ndements▪ receive them then as if you heard them out of the fietry flame, Deut 3. 11. for so they were at first given; and you [...] eye must (by faith) ascend to the first giving those thing which now you often reade or heare.

5. Chap.

A Fourth Motive, or inducement which I would remē ­ber unto you, is, The love of God. To this end, Deut. 11. 1, we read t [...]us: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, an [...] shalt keepe that which he commanded to be kept: that is, his Ordinan­ces and his Lawes, and Commandements alway. And ou [...] Lord saith, Iohn, 14, vers. 15. and 23: If ye love me, keepe my Com­mandements. If any man love me, he will keepe my worde; he that loueth me not, keepeth not my worde. Love is the most as­sured bond of any other, binding men faster to a keeping of Commandements, then any other thing whatsoever can doe. Love knowes no rewardes for disobedience, but abi­deth faithfull unto that which is beloved; therefore the A­postle Paul, 1. Cor. 13, 7, saith: Love doth never fall away. If any man therefore would be a constant observer of Gods Commandements, let him then indeavour to attayne to Love God. But how should a man Love God whom he ne­ver sawe? I answer, this may be, though it is indeede dif­ficult, because this cannot be done without faith, and every man attayneth not unto faith. And indeed to love God & Christ whom we haue not seene, is reckoned for a speciall part of that wherein the Saincts excell others; as the Apostle Peter, 1. Pet. 1. 8. saith: whom ye haue not seene and yet Love him, in whom now though ye see him not yet doe ye beleeve, and reioyce with ioy unspeakeable and glorious. And yet, though wee see not God nor Christ with our bodily eye, yet we▪ must haue a sight both of God and of Christ, or els we can [Page 23] not love eyther of them; but this sight in deede is the sight of the soule through faith. Wee cannot possibly loue any thing whereof wee haue no knowledge, neyther doe men now knowe God, but thorowe faith; therfore as our know­ledge of God is now thorowe faith, so also is our Loue of God through Faith. Would you therefore attaine to Love God, you must then first beleeve the report of these things, whereby the Lord hath reveiled himselfe to his Church. If you beleeve those things, then is the eye of your soule ope­ned, and thenceforth you haue a soule-fight of God and of Christ, because thorowe faith of the report, you now haue knowledge of those Apparitions or Reveilings of God and of Christ, which they haue made of themselves to the Church. Wherefore present your selfe with those Decla­rations: set them before your selfe in Meditation, and then (unlesse your heart be in you wholy unbeleeving) you can­not but haue thenceforth a knowledge of God. Accustome your selfe therfore to heare the Ministers of Gods Word: accustome your selfe to beleeue them also in that they say out of the word of God: accustome your selfe to heare the word of God in Scripture read unto you; or, if your selfe can reade, then accustome your selfe to reade the Scriptures: Accustome your selfe ever likewise to beleeue what you reade in the Scriptures. If thus you do, then by this means, you shall present your selfe with these things in the Scrip­tures, by which God and Christ haue made themselues both known and beloved of Men. And verily, the next way to attaine to a loue of God, is, the presenting our soule and heart with these things, by which God drew other men to fall in loue of him. Doe but therefore present unto your selfe, these powerfull Attractions, Motiues, or Inducements of Loue, whereby others were drawn to the loue of God, and hardly then it can be but that your selfe also will of [Page 24] them be drawn to the loue of God. Now the speciall Mo­tiues or Inducements which we finde in holy Scriptures, I reckon to be these. Fi [...]st, The Apparitions: secondly. Th [...] heavenly Glorie which hath been shown to the Church: thirdly, The mighty power in Signes and wonders done: fourthly, the evi­dence of vertue and goodnesse in God towards others: fi [...]tly, the rich aud glorious worship of the ancient Church: Lastly, The be­nefits which you your selfe (beleeving in God) receiue in this life, and by promise are to receiue in the life to come. Euery of these is a very powerfull Motiue or Inducement of the loue of man towards God, therefore these things ought you to set before your soule in Meditation, that of them you (with others) may be drawn to fall in loue of God. These things (for that it were too much to write of them here at large) I thinke fit to write of in severall Treatises by themselues, hoping that Gods people will be desirous of these Treatises also, for their further instruction what to doe therein. In the meane time, I will heere indeavour to moue you unto this Loue, by some of these things aboue mentioned, briefly here touched at in this Treatise. And indeed, most men come short of that loue which they ought to beare to God, by rea­son of the neglect they haue to set before themselues in Me­ditation, some of those speciall things wherby God draweth the loue of man unto himself. Eueryman saith, who should not loue God; yea, they will be bold to say, who is there among Christians that loues not God? But as I haue said before concer­ning Feare, so I say here concerning Loue, Many say that we must loue God, when yet their own heart never felt the Af­fection it selfe of loue unto God. Let thē but consider, what the Affection of Loue is unto anything which they feele thē ­selues to loue, whether it be wife or child, riches, orreputatiō, honor, Princes favours, imployments of Power & Cōmands, Glory, or the like, & then let them consider with themselues whether the like Affection bee in them towards God, yea [Page 24] or no. But that men may attain to haue like affection towards God also, it is needful that they make use of such soul-objects as G [...]d hath provided for the winning of the soules loue un­to himself. Among the which I wish you to make afrequent and special use of the Apparitions, & heavenly Glories, shown of God to his Church. For, as the soule of Man being deligh­ted with faire objects, yeilds readily to fal also in loue of such, so the presenting it with the apparitions of God, & with the beauteous & heavenly shining Glories shown of God to the Church, is the ready way to win it to fall also in loue of God. Accustome your selfe therfore to reade, or heare read unto you, now one, thē another of the Apparitions made of God, whether visibly to the eye, or onely in vision (for both are true Apparitions, though divers in kind) and then use your selfe to say thus, or to like effect: This was (or seemes to me to be) as if here I should see before me, this or this, as the story reportes unto you that others saw. Which having (for the help of your Discerning) done, then use your self to say further also thus, or to like effect: My heart, what a sight was this? What a kinde of Glory was this? Is not this wonderfull? Thus God shewed himselfe to others. And now (my soule) here is a glimpse of the Glory of God: consider now therfore, (this being once truely seen) whom should not this moue unto loue of him, who i [...] so marvellous in his Apparition, so glorious? Certainly the heavenly Glories shown by God to his Church upon earth, are not idle, but operatiue obj [...]cts, and therefore there lacketh but mens pre­senting their soules with them. For, did each Man by him­selfe thus present or set before his foule, the merv [...]llous Ap­parations, & shining Glories, which God hath showne to his Church, then this, of the Power in thē, (which they receiue frō the wise cōposition of God) would overcome the foule, both to confesse that this was mervailous & glorious indeed, & also to loue God who so gloriously made show of himself. Do went see in cōmon experience, how Mē soon rejoyce to [Page 20] be favoured of them who most partake of this worlds glory? And if there be any hope given of a gracious acceptance, how easily then inclines the heart to loue all such? Whilst therefore God hath been pleased to manifest his gracious acceptance of their loue to him who beleeue, there lacketh but our setting before our soules and hearts in private medi­tation, the faire glories and shining which God (for the ho­nour of himselfe and comfort of the Church) hath caused to appeare. Be not therefore disswaded by any, as if your selfe informing, and selfe-questioning about the Appariti­ons of God, and about the faire and shining Glories, which the Church of God hath in former times seene, and to this day beleeveth, were to little purpose to winne the loue of your heart to the Lord; but rather be frequent in the exer­cise hereof. Spare not to speake thus unto your own selfe in Meditation, that so you may find the precious fruit, which certainely your so doing will produce. I know that the be­nefits which we receiue, by the exceeding vertue, and good­nesse of God toward us in Christ, are also verie powerfull Inducements unto Loue; but let us not therefore neglect the other, depriving our selues of the precious fruit which certainly will come of them also Nay, suffer me to tell yo [...] further, that true Loue is never for the Good onely which we receiue, but rather for the true Desert of that (in its selfe) to be Beloved, which requires our loue; therefore also that mans loue is truest & soundest, who loveth God even for the evidence made of himselfe unto others, by which hee hath declared himselfe to be worthy to be beloved. And certain­ly, there were never more worthy causes of Loue given to man, then the Lord God of Israel, his Sonne, and Spirit, haue given. Never such Apparitions seene but in the Churh: never such true and shining Glories: never such workes of Power: never such vertue and Goodnesse: ne­ver [Page 27] so rich and glorious a worship: never such Gifts given, as in the Church. Let there be faith that those reported in [...]ripture were indeed done: Let there be a considering al­ [...] of the speciallest of them advisedly: Let the Church of God still to this day continuing be considered in its rich Gifts, and then let comparison be made betwixt the Lord our God, and the gods of any other Nations whatsoever, and whensoever. But if upon comparison, there be a mani­fest evidence of excellency in the Lord, then even this also is a very powerfull Attraction, and worthie cause of our loue towards God. To this we may adde the incessant cau­ses, which are given us of God why to loue him, and this in our continuall enjoying the use of life, in this so faire a creation of his as this world wherein we are. For, we be­leeving in the Lord God of Israel, that he indeed it was, and he onely, that made this world, we are thenceforth bound to loue him for our very breathing, for our food, rayment, and for being incompassed with so faire and pleasing Ob­jects and Ornaments, as are the spangled heavens, the flow­ry earth, and the faire liuing creatures which we see. Cer­tainly, as it is our hearts griefe to be deprived of the use, yea, or sight onely, of any of these things; so everie portion of breath, every morsell we eate, every thing we weare, and eve­ry faire thing we behold without eye, ought to teach us the deere loue of him whose worke all these louely things are. The world is in truth aright faire and glorious creature, full also of such goodnesse of the Lord, as that the wickedest that is cannot but joy in the use of it, as for a Good which he accounteth good, and without which he will not be if he can chuse. Therfore sometimes put your sel [...] in mind hereof, saving; Now I breathe the breath of my life, but loue I the Lord God of Israel that giues me this breath, and power to breathe it? Here I now eate this morsell of meate, for the continuance of my [Page 28] life and lustinesse of this my bodie, but loue I the Lord God of Israel who hath made, and continues these things whereon I feed? I now put on this my rayment according to my estate, but loue I the Lord God of Israel who made and continues in the world the things whereof they are made? Here I see these fierie glorious starres, this faire heaven, these flowres, fruits, this earth, and these faire living creatures, how would it grieue me to be depri­ved of the sight of them? How loue I the verie sight of them, and the benefit I haue by them? But, doe I loue the Lord God of Irael, whose marvellous power made all these things for my comfort and use? Thus put your selfe in minde of these Causes also, which the Lord God of Isreal giues you why to loue him, and this will be an incessant occasion, moving you to the loue of God. We are too negligent to stirre up our Affections to the glory of God▪ we are not (for the most part) faithful i [...] heart of his creating these things, therefore we are the bol­der to be negligent in giving him our loue, for these his good gifts even of this world. True it is, these we haue in common with the wicked, with the unfaithfull, and this cooles the affection of many: But we must not do as they doe, though they injoy with us what we enjoy; for else, how should we escape that damnation, whereinto they (partly for this verie wickednes, of not loving God whose creatures they haue the use of) are cast of God. To conclude, if you would attaine to the loue of God, then doe not onely reade, or heare what I haue written, but doe what I hid you doe: so shall you finde an inclining of your heart, willingly, and with delight to keep the commandements of God. For loue in­genders a willingnesse in obedience, yea a delight that a man hath occasion wherein to shew obedience. And indeed, joy of obeying is an inseparable companion, of doing any thing at his commandement who hath wonne our hearts loue unto himselfe. Therfore get loue, and then out of all [Page 29] doubt, the yoke and but then of the Commandements, will be so easie and light, as that easily, and with delight you will beare it upon you in your life and in your conversa­tion.

6. CHAP.

A Fifth Motiue or Inducement, is, The Promises made us by God; Therefore David, Ps. 119. 11. saith, I haue hid thy promises in my heart, that I might not sinne against thee. And the Apostle Peter 2. Pet. 3. 13. saith: But we look for new heavens, and a new earth, according to his Promise, wherein dwelleth righteous­nesse. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that yee looke for such things, be diligent that yee may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blamelesse. We see in common experience, that a Man loo­king for some great and desireable Gifts from a Prince, he is thenceforth very carefull not to displease him, by breaking any commandement received from him. This being so among men, how is it that the Promises of God made of him unto us, make not us like minded towards him? Are any Gifts promised by Princes, comparable to the Gifts pro­mised of God? If no, why then are their commandements more tendered, more carefully fulfilled? I thinke the faile be, partly in our not trusting God; partly, in our not so much as minding the Promises of God; partly, in our not estee­ming them though we know them; partly, for that we com­monly think, that all Gods Promises are for another, not for this life. But every of these are great errours of our minde, therefore we must cleare our minde of these errours, if ever we wil for the Promises sake keep the Lords Commande­ments.

A maine and chiefe remedy against our not trusting of God, that such things as these promised of him shall ever at all be performed unto any, may be our considering [Page 30] the great Acts and wonders of his power heretofore shown. For the evidence of his Power in other things, may make us trust him for things promised of him; therefore be not neg­ligent to informe your selfe of the great works of his power▪ and then you will the more readily beleeue him in the great things promised; for he that heretofore hath raised the dead, well we may beleeue him that he will raise the dead as he hath promised. And truely through mens negligence to lay to heart, the great wonders which the Lord hath heretofore done, their hearts know not reason to beleeue, that ever at all such things shall bee done as God hath promised. Wherefore I pray you informe your selfe one by one, of the great wonders which the Lord and his Sonne haue done, and then let the evidence of Gods power in them, per­swade your hearts concerning the things that are promised. This I take to be a convenient remedy against the first errour; suffer me to shew you a remedy also against the second.

Is it so, that the cares of this life, the couetousnesse of in­crease of this worlds riches, the incessant imployments in the Common-wealth, or the continuall pleasures of Court, will not suffer you so much as to minde the Promises of God; yet, consider with your selfe that there is a God to whom accounts of this life must be given: for as we made not our selues, nor these things of this world, so surely the Maker will haue an account of all. Therefore though these things may somewhat, yet let them not wholy transport you; say with your selfe in some breathing time, Shall I wholy neglect God my Creator? Shall hee make rich and in­estimable Promises, and shall I not so much as once minde them? Thus stirring your selfe up but even to mind the Promises of God, then allow your selfe some leasure time, wherin now one then another of the speciall promises of God, may be [Page 31] thought of by you. Verily, the very but thinking now of one, then of another of Gods Promises, will be a Meanes of our minds and hearts deep conception in time, of all the speciall promises of the Lord. But, if minding them, your heart then esteeme them not, then help also your estimation by saying thus, or to the like effect with your selfe: My heart, what thinkest thou of this thing? What if I may attain it, shall I be the better? is this a thing to be desired? haue I need of it? Thus teach your selfe by selfe-questioning, to open to your selfe the riches of the Promises, and the need which you your selfe (rightly considering your mortall condition) haue of it, and then I doubt not, but that the thing promi­sed will appeare such, as that you cannot but both esteeme it, and desire also to attaine unto it. This may be a conve­nient remedy against the third errour, consider we therfore in the next place a remedy against the fourth and last errour.

If you think that all that God doth for you is put off to another life, so that in this life you haue no benefite of any of his Promises, then teach your selfe to know better, by informing your selfe of the many and inestimably rich Pro­mises of God, (which being in the Church) you injoy even in this life. Verily, as many men injoying the light of the day, never think of it as of a precious gift of God: so many injoy the rich blessings of the Church, never perceiving the gift of God unto them therein; but let such negligence be with fooles, not with wise men.

Thus haue I showen you briefly some convenient reme­dies against these common and also potent errours; but there remaineth yet another thing of so great importance, as that unlesse a man be also therein satisfied, hardly can he haue the heart ever thus to doe by the Promises. Which other thing is this, That a man know whether these things belong [Page 32] to himselfe or no: whether these Promises are made to him; yes, or no.

To assure your selfe therefore hereof, you must obserue, whither you be without or within the Church; for no man out of the Church, so long as he remaines out of the Church, hath right unto any of the Promises. He that is out of the Church hath no right unlesse he be called, but being called, and upon the Call obeying, and beleeving, the Promi­ses are made unto him, Act. 2. 38. And if you be born within the Church, then, unlesse you proue an Esau in Israels house, vilipending in time the riches of faith, refusing also in your heart (though not in outward profession) to beleeue, you may not doubt, but that the Promises belong unto you. For not an vnmanifested Election, but the Promise made, must be the guide of their faith who are in the Church; therfore where there is not a reprobation manifested, we may not presume to doubt of the generall Promise to be effectuall to any person: but the generall Promise is made to them and their children who are in the Church, Act. 2. 38. therfore to the children of those in the Church the Promises ought of duty to be applyed, unlesse there be any manifested rejection of a party. Therfore, are you born within the Church, then obserue whether comming to yeares of understanding, you then vilipend not the grace of God in his Word unto you, but rather imbrace and beleeue it; for, you then beleeving, you may not doubt of the belonging of Gods promises un­to you. Yea, being borne in the Church you haue more­over this benefit, that though (transported of the tempta­tions of Satan, or of the sinnefull pleasures of this world) you run a race for a long time cleane against the grace of God, yet in time, repenting from the bottome of your heart, and then yet beleeving the Gospell, you may be most assured that all the pretious Promises of God belong, and [Page 33] shall certainly be performed unto you. To conclude, labour first to haue a knowledge of the promises of God, and then labour to get an estimation of them, and desire of heart after them; for if this be once attained, then your heart will keep the Lords commandements, yea, though but because it would not loose those so rich things wherof now it hath a desire. But to beget an estimation, you must consider well the thing promised, you must compare it with the other things of this world, you must consider the need you haue of it, and the bettering your selfe by it. For as these things are more or lesse apprehended by your heart and soule; so is your heart and soules more or lesse esteeme of the Promises. But as the hearts esteeme is, such also is its affection; for if it first esteeme not of a thing, it will haue no Desire of it though it might haue it.

Therfore some times, and that in your most serious and private meditation, set before your soule now one, then another of the Promises, questioning your own selfe, What you thinke of this, and whether it be a precious thing or no, if it may be had. But this be sure of, that if none of the Pro­mises of God, prevaile over your Esteeme and Desire, drawing them unto it, then you will never haue care of keeping the Commandements, even for the Promise sake made of God unto you. One Promise well and seri­ously considered, well opened unto our selues by discourse in private meditation, discovering so unto our selues the riches and good of the Promise, is more powerfull over our Affections to draw them to esteeme and de­sire it, then if all our life time we heare never so much of all the promises of God, resting in a superficiall Notion and bare knowledge onely of them all. Wherefore at any hand rest not in a bare Notion of Gods Promises, but consider each one, and lay it to heart, teaching your selfe to [Page 34] prise well of it, and to haue a Desire of heart after it, so shall you certainly come in time to say with the Prophet David: I haue hid thy Promises in my heart, that I might not sinn [...] against thee.

7. Chap.

THe sixt Motiue or Inducement unto the keeping of the commandements willingly, and with delight is, The Righteousnesse of the Commandement. To this end, Moses, Deut. 4. 8. saith: And what Nation is so great, that hath Ordi­nances and Lawes so Righteous, as all this Law which I set before you this day? And the Prophet David, Psal. 119. 86. saith; All thy Commandements are true. Again, vers. 128. Therefore I esteeme all thy precepts most Iust. Again, vers. 142. Thy Righ­teousnesse is an everlasting Righteousnesse, and thy Law is Truth. The righteousnesse of Gods commandements, manifesteth both the Iustice of God, and also his Loue unto his crea­tures: his Iustice, because as he is in himselfe upright or righteous towards all; so he would haue Men also doe right one to another: his Loue, in that he tendereth the good of his people, giving such lawes as which being of every one observed, every man shall haue good by it. And indeed as common experience shews us, that that Nation where Right is most preserved, aboundeth most with Goodnesse; so Gods giving a Law by which Right might be preserved, proues that he loues the Good, not the Ruin of man. True it is indeed, that some men use to set a false Good before their eyes, their Desire also being drawen wholly after it, and not after the Good of Righteousness which God would haue. But such men manifest themselues to be no fit Iudges of Good, in that if their particular Good should spread over all, their could be nothing more hurtfull to the society [Page 35] of man; nothing that sooner would produce the dishonor, yea, and the Ruine of Man. Wherfore as in the best Com­mon-wealthes, the very sense of Good which Men receiue by Lawes, makes them not onely loue the Lawes, but also to stick together with their Princes for the maintenance of thē: so the very best means to make you fal in loue of Gods Lawes, and to stick together for the maintenance of them, is, your opening to your selfe by discourse in Meditation, the Good which Mans society would receiue by the obser­vation of them. And indeed in that God giving Lawes giues such, as which the farther they spread in observation, the better it is for Man and Mans society, this declares him most truely to tender that which is the true Good of man. I speak of those Lawes which are generall, not of those which were but peculiar to the Nation of the Israelites: for there were Lawes which served but peculiarly for that Conquest made of Canaan by that people; even as every prevailing power or conquest hath power to make right or wrong of possession, as best serveth for the Good of that Dominion in particular. For in that God confirmed the Powers of this world in the hands of the Heathen Princes, declaring them to be his Ordinance, Rom. 13. 1. this shewes that he alloweth of the peculiar lawes for possession, made under each Dominion for the better maintenance of the same. We must therefore put difference betwixt the Gene­rall Lawes of God, which must universally spread with the spreading of the Kingdome of heaven, and those which ei­ther were temporary, or peculiar to some people and their peculiar conquest. But now for the generall Law of God, seeing we ought to imbrace and loue it, therefore I would advise you to discover to your selfe the righteousnesse of the same, that so you loving the righteousnesse may then loue the Commandement even for the Righteousnesse sake. [Page 36] To this end then use your selfe some times to meditate now upon one, then upon another of Gods commandements, considering then with your selfe, both what a Good every man should haue if every one kept that commandement, and also what insufferable Hurt every mans doing the con­trary would produce unto every man. The Prophet David said unto God, Psal. 119. 18. Open mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of thy Law. And vers. 119. he saith further: Thy te­stimonies are wonderfull: therefore doth my soule keepe them. Now, what thinke you made this Man say this? Surely his penetrating, and desire to penetrate more, into the Mysterie of the Righteousnesse and Good of that which God com­mandeth, and the unrighteousnesse and hurt of the contra­ry. True it is, that Gods Lawes had in his time another wonderfull Mysterie, in that his appointed Divine Service figured out things, most wonderfull to them that could dis­cover them. But I thinke not that for this onely he accounts the law of God wonderfull, seeing those Lawes also are wonderfull, for the composition of Righteousnesse in them, which yet prefigured not any thing, but onely taught right and wrong. And indeed it is a Speculation fit for a Prince and a Magistrate, to penetrate into the mysterie of the Com­position of a generall Law, discovering the justice contained therein, and the good of every man by observing it, and the hurt of every mans transgressing it. Yea, a Prince that loveth the Good of his people, hath not onely great de­light in the speculation and discovery of the Righteousness and good of his Lawes, but also hath in admiration (and this also with delight) the wonderfulnesse of the wisedom by which the Composition was made. Euen so if every man in particular, would but enter into the consideration of the Good which would come to every man, if every man kept the generall commandements given us of God, then would [Page 37] each man both discern with delight and joy of heart the Righteousnes of Gods Commandements, and also account the wise composition of them wonderfull in God. There are none of us all (no not of the most wicked) but loveth his own particular Good; yea, and will complain of hurt as wrong; why then should we not teach our hearts to loue such a Law, as which the generall observation of, would produce the Good of every one in particular? Surely those whose supposed Good standeth not with this, are worthy to be punished, as those whose supposed Good is the hurt of others. Therefore also if at any time we haue procured our own supposed Good by some unrighteousnesse, then let us learn to grow in hatred of that unrighteousnesse and false Good, by considering advisedly what a Hurt it would be to our selues, if other Men that we haue to deale with, should for their Good deale with us as unrighteously, as we for some supposed Good to our selues haue dealt with o­thers. Verily, there could be no greater punishment of the wicked, then if every man that they deale with were as wicked as they. Wherfore also that is not a good which is evill come by, because not onely the punishment of God and man awaites it upon discovery; but also, if other Men doe the like to us we shall then with [...]orrow feele and ac­knowledge, that it is not Good to haue one mans Good anothers Hurt. Therfore I say, learne from the Good which would befall your selfe in particular, by every Neighbours observing a Commandement given, to fall in Loue of such a Commandement, as whose Righteous­nesse is not one but every mans Good. Which that you may the better doe, allow to your selfe some time of seri­ous and private meditation, wherin thinking of some or other of the Commandements of God, you may also say thus, or to the like effect with your selfe: How Good [Page 38] were this to be observed by every Man? If this were kept by [...] ­ry man, what a blessed life should we liue ever [...]pon earth? from how many feares should I be freed? from how many dangers, yea, wrongs, and hurts which now assaile me should I be freed? were it not better for me and for my houshold, that this Lan were kept by every of my Neighbours? were it not Good for them also, if I and my houshold obserue this Law towards every of them? Thus if you use to question and discourse with your selfe, some time of one, an other time of another of the com­mandements of God, then will not onely the Righteous­nesse of the commandement appeare unto you, but also your heart will inclyne within you to loue the commande­ment, even for loue it beareth to its own particular Good, which would arise by every mans observing that Comman­dement. But if once your heart be possessed of loue to the commandement, then will loue not onely make the obser­vation of the commandement easie, but also it will breed even a delight in you to keep that commandement in your Actions and Conversation with men. Learne therefore to loue the Righteousnesse which is in a commandement, and then assure your selfe that you will be the readier of inclina­tion; both to loue and also to obserue the commandement its selfe. At any hand therefore be not negligent of your Passion or Affection, but rather carefully endeavour that you fall in loue of the Commandement: For unlesse one Passion or Affection be moved, there will not any other be moved for the easing of the observation: I meane, un­lesse your loue unto the commandement be won, there will be no delight in the observing of the commandement: and where there is not delight in the observation, there no wil­lingnesse is to keep the commandement. Surely it is the Affection of loue, that moues the Passion also of Deligh [...] in the observing that loved, and this moving of the Passion [Page 39] and Affections, makes the observation of a Commandement easie. Wherefore, as you open unto your selfe by discourse in meditation, the Righteousnesse, and the Good which would come to every man, were this of this commandement observed by every man, be then also carefull of your hearts affection, observing whether it yeeld in you to loue and delight in such a Righteousnesse, or such a Good: for if the Good, doe upon evidence thereof unto your selfe, prevaile over your heart to moue it to like or loue such Good, then for loue of the Good, the Commandement also will thence­forth be beloved and delighted in. But every Commande­ment tending to shew us our duty, either to God, or to our Neighbours, we must not rest in considering the Righteous­nesse and Good of those Commandements onely which concerne our duty towards Man, but we must consider the Righteousnesse and Good of those Commandements also, which shew us our duty towards God. Now to make our selues discerne the Righteousnesse of these commandements which shew us our duty towards God, it will be needfull that we consider him, even God that giues the Comman­dement▪ endeavouring for his excellency, and for the inva­luable Good he doth us, to confesse unto him freely, say­ing: Lord, tho [...] art worthy that I doe this or this in thy worship and service. For, doe we not see in daily experience, that the greatnesse of a Commander, and the Good we receiue by him, make us even to loue his very service? Therefore we shall be the proaner to acknowledge, and loue the Righ­teousnesse of those Commandements, which shew us our duty towards God, if we use our selues sometimes to lay to heart, the excellency of God, and the Good which we receiue of his hand. This doe therefore; but doe it not with that superficiall generality of Confession which com­monly men use; they confessing Gods Greatnesse and Ex­cellency, [Page 40] and that all Good is of him, but without evaer lay­ing to heart any one particular of either; for they never con­sider the excellency or greatnesse of God in any one parti­cular thing, neither doe they in particular consider any one Good, confessing it to be Good, and then beleeving with­all in their heart, that it is of God indeed, and not of Nature, or of Man onely. But now, if you doe sometime by one, another time by another of Gods commandements, as I haue aboue directed you, then will the Righteousnesse and Goodnesse of Gods Commandements so appeare unto your Spirit and Heart, as that even for loue unto such Righteous­nesse, and such Good, your heart and spirit will yeeld in you to loue the Commandement it selfe also. And a Comman­dement loved, is with delight of heart also observed, there­fore get to loue any commandement, and then be assured, that the observation of that Commandement will be, not onely easie, but even a Delight also unto you. I could wil­lingly here (for a furtherance both of your Apprehension of the Righteousnes and Good of Gods commandements: and also of your dislike or hatred of those false Goods which wic­ked men doe flatter themselues of) haue written particular­ly, of each of the Lords commandements, shewing both the Righteousnesse and Good therof, and also the unrighteous­nesse and Hurt of the seeming Good, which the transgressors of those Commandements sooth themselues up in. But the Commandements being many, as branching themselues not onely into all our outward actions, but also unto the inward Actions of the minde, and this also both towards God, and towards Man, I found that I could not conveniently in this place write in that manner of them; for if I should, it would too too inconveniently increase this present Treatise. Ther­fore I think fit to leaue you here, to the directions in briefe which before I haue given you: knowing, that if you doe as [Page 41] I haue taught you, then you will doe this even of your selues: and your own soules discourse, doth commonly cause things to sinke deeper into your heart, then another mans telling or unfolding them unto you. But now to conclude this chapter, get to know and haue in minde, not the ten com­mandements onely, but also the other commandements which branch themselues out of those ten, and then rest not in the knowing them onely, but exercise your selfe to think now upon one or two, another time upon other, opening then also unto your selfe, by your own discourse therupon with your selfe, both the Righteousnesse of the Commande­ment, and also the invaluable Good which would come to Mankinde, if every man towards other did according to that Commandement.

8. CHAP.

THe seventh Motive, or Inducement, to the keeping willingly and with delight Gods Commandements, is, Their profiting them that obserue them. For besides the profite of those blessings which Gods Promises, Deut. 11. 8. Deut. 11. 2 [...]. Deut. 26. 16. Deut. 28. 1. comfort us of, there are other pro­fites which the commandements themselues bring with thē to the observers of them. As David saith, Ps. 119. 24. Thy Tes­timonies are my Counsellers. And Ps. 119. 22. Except thy Law had been my delight, I should haue perished in myne affliction: I wil ne­ver forget thy Precepts for by them thou hast quickned me. Again, Ps. 119. 104. By thy Precepts, I haue gotten understanding. And Ps. 119. 100. I understood more then the Ancients, because I kept thy Precepts. Againe, Ps. 119. 129. The entrance into thy Word shew­eth light, and giveth understanding to the simple. Lastly, Ps. 119. 98. By thy commandements thou hast made me wiser then myne enemies: for they are ever with me. I haue had more understanding then all my Teachers: for thy Testimonies are my meditation. Thus by this holy mans experience we find, that the cōmandemēts [Page 42] of the Lord shew a Light, and giue understanding; they quicken one, they are as Counsellers, they make us wi [...]er then our enemies; yea, they prevent our perishing in Af­fliction. Precious benefites truely are these, and such will appeare to be unto him, who duely considers each of these things what it is. There is not one of these things but wee would be delighted to haue it fulfilled in our selues: for who desireth not every of these things, if there be any possibili­ty of attaining thereto? Would you then attaine to these things, doe as did this holy man, exercise your selues in the commandements to doe them. For certainely as the com­mandements, issued in the originall from God who dwel­leth in glorious light, so they themselues partake of the na­ture of light, giving light also unto him that receiues them into him by Meditation, setting himselfe to doe them in his life and conversation. A worldly minded man injoying the light of this world, can hardly be perswaded that darkness is in himselfe: but, as a blinde man though he be in the light of this world yet is himselfe darke, so is a worldly minded man, though he injoy the light of this world. Let the sim­ple or ignorant therefore, or the worldly minded, (for there is no worse simplicity and ignorance then worldly minded­nesse) take unto them the commandements of God: let them learne them by heart: let them think or meditate on them one by one: let them set themselues to put them in execution in their actions, and in their conversation, and they shall finde a mervailous change in themselues: a change, I say, nothing lesse mervailous, then if a blind man ever blind, should receiue sight, or darknesse should be changed into light. Surely, as is the morning light after the dark shadow of the night, so will the simple, the ignorant, or worldly mine­ded, by receiving the commandements be inlightned, be­comming of darke, light, and of ignorant, to be men of un­derstanding. [Page 43] A worldly minded man would hardly think that his wisedom can be foolishnesse; for finding himselfe wise, and wiser then many, either in contriving to increase his gaine, or in dexterity of apprehension and invention in matters of State or Pollicy, though he know not, or care not for to walke in the commandements of God, yet he thinks himselfe wise, and sufficiently wise for his part; but, as the Apostle, 1. Cor. 1. 20. saith: Hath not God made the wisedome of this world foolishness? So there is nothing truer, then that a man wholly worldly minded, nothing minding the commandements of God to doe them, or obserue them in all his Actions and Thoughts, is not wise as he thinketh, but contrariwise is even filled with foolishnesse. Let such therfore, if there be any heart in them to doe themselues good, learne also the commandements of God, endeavouring that they, as Guides, goe with all their plots and devises, to the ruling them when they tend unto straying from the way of Righteousnesse, and then they shall change their wise­dome, from foolishnesse to wisedome indeed. If their gain, if their promotion will not stand with the observation of Gods commandements, and therfore they thinke that it were not wisedome for them, by observing the comman­dements, to depriue themselues of such gaine or promoti­on, let them know, that when they haue reared up their state unto the uttermost, then they are but as men who are foolishly under some old Ruines, which are ready to fall up­on them to their destruction, if wisely they hasten not them­selues from under them. As for the poore of the world, the simple (I mean) or unlearned, let them also know, that if unto this poverty of theirs they joyn also worldly-mindednesse, nothing caring to know the commandements of God, and to be ruled by them in their poore plots and contrivings for meanes of living, or for gaine, then they are of all men the [Page 44] most miserable and truely base, as being both poore and wicked, and in the wrath of God. But if they will resort to their Teacher, and pray him to acquaint them with the Commandements of the Lord, setting themselues also to rule their Acts, and their Thoughts by them, then shall they feele a wisedome to grow in themselues, changing them in their minds within, making them of simple or ignorant, to be of good understanding, and truely wise. Therfore also the commandements which most import us are such, as which the simplest may understand, that so none may plead for his ignorance, but every one of what condition soever he be, low as well as high, poore as rich, shallow as deep of judgement, may better both his understanding and also his condition. And verily a worthy work is it in a Pastor, to haue an eye to his Auditories knowledge or ignorance, observa­tion or neglect of the commandements of the Lord, ben­ding his Instructions and Exhortations, his giving consola­tion or denouncing of judgement accordingly. For cer­tainly it is one of the chiefest parts of his office, to haue a watchfull eye over the manners and conversation of his peo­ple, observing their change or not changing, from wicked­nesse unto Righteousnesse, from prophanesse unto Holiness. I cannot therfore but much commend them, who insist much upon instruction and exhortation concerning Man­ners, observing in their Auditories the defects or unrighte­ousnesse, and sharply reproving the same, and that plainly: Teaching them withall, and that frequently, the way of Righteousnesse, being carefull to impresse in them, now some, then others of the commandements of God, and shewing them how they should make use of them in their common Actions and Conversation. I cannot like that su­perficiall and too generall kinde of touching at wickedness, which the teachers of these our time too much (for the [Page 45] most part) now affect; for hereby they speake, not as to their own people; but as of things which concernes not them as guilty, saue onely to heare of them as the text giues oc­casion, and this but as for a warning. For the Teachers of these times seeme to be loath to exasperate any by a just re­proofe of wickednesse evident in them, speaking alwaies so generally rather, that men may take or leaue the reproofe at their own pleasure. For my part I thinke this to be a fault, whilst a Pastor, though wickednesse be even manifest in any of his Auditorie, yet he dares not reproue any one plainly thereof, but must ever speak in generall manner, leaving the party to take or leaue the reproofe at his pleasure. Indeed without certainty and evidence, none ought to be publique­ly reproved, for publique reproofe is a kind of punishment, and not being surely grounded may be rather a scandal then a just reproofe; but where the wickednesse is manifest, as be­ing a thing generally noted of the neighbours, I think that Pastor failes of his dutie, who reproveth not the same open­ly and plainly in his hearer, that so a just reproofe may touch the conscience, and peradventure leade his hearer to repen­tance. If these things were done both by people and Pastor, it would certainly appeare by present experience also in eve­ry Age, that the Commandements of the Lord shew light, and giue understanding to the simple. And it is this sence in our selues of so blessed a change of our mindes within, that is a kind of Quickning, which they certainly will with comfort of heart feele, who set themselues to the Lords commande­ments to obserue them, as for Guides of their Action and Communication. For as he that walketh in trespasses and sinnes, is said of the Apostle Ephes. 2. 1. to be dead even while he is aliue: So certainly, the change from so walking in trespasses and sinnes, unto an obedience or guiding our deeds or speech by the Commandements of God, is ever [Page 46] accompanied with a kinde of Quickning (as feeling peace with God) which the soule in a man that so doth will cer­tainly haue a sense of Therefore profitable is it that a man use himselfe to know the commandements of God, learn­ing them more and more in time; but with this resolution of minde withall, to doe as they direct him, as occasion is offered for making use at any time of any of them. Let men therefore with this holy man use them as Counsellers, con­sulting ever with them before any thing be done or said, or thought; for assuredly he that so doth shall finde that they will be unto him faithfull Counsellers, and deep a [...]o in wisedome, shewing him the true and happie way of a most excellent and blamelesse life. Which that a man may the better and with the more ease doe, it is convenient that hee get a ready knowledge of the commandements, least else for want of a ready knowledge, the commandement be to see [...] when any thing is to be done or said. But it will greatly fur­ther a readinesse of remembrance, if the commandements be by some skilfull hand digested into such an order, as that the most usuall Actions of life, and the most usuall speech, may haue annexed to them severally the commandements which most aptly serue as Guides in them. For men more easily apprehending variety of common or usuall actions or life, or speech, then they doe a variety of commandements, they will both then more easily apprehend a variety of com­mandements, they being joyned with the usuall actions of life, or commonnesse and most usuall speech and conversa­tion, and also they will haue the commandement the more ready at hand, as they haue occasion of such Action or Speech, unto which they finde the commandements an­nexed▪ It is good to further good things by all good means, and people haue need of such furthering, because they are commonly dull of apprehension, and carelesse of Re­membrance [Page 47] as concerning duties.

Another benefite which the Prophet David found by Gods commandements, was, that he was by them made wi­ser then his enemies: for surely some enemies of his laying wait for his falling, indeavoured either to bring him by some or other snare, or else oppression or distresse, into some or other evill Action, that so Advantage might be taken there­of, to ruin him even by publique justice; but he having his eye to the Commandements of God, shunning the evill which they discovered and forbad, deceived them in their expectation concerning the end of their plots Even so, full many are they who industriously plot, to bring the Saints into some open scandall, by getting them, either by smooth flattery, or couloured violence, to doe some evill thing or other, that therupon they may haue opportunity to shame them, if they cannot also ruin them. Therfore a happy man shall he assuredly prooue, who consulteth frequently with the commandements of God; for, making them to goe commonly with his Actions and Speech as Guides unto them, he shall prevent his falling into the snares, which it may be unknown enemies lay for him. Much like as when some desiring the fall of some one, will close with him by some that haue familiarity with him, to get him, either by way of conference of State matters to speak evill of some in Authority; or by way of Society to become a drunkard with drunkards for cōpany or good fellowships sake, (as they use to speak): or by way of pleasure to become a haunter of har­lots: or by way of questioning and disputation, to become a holder of some punishable errour. These, and many other traps doe wicked persons and politique lay, to intrap them unto shame at leastwise, if not unto perdition also, who let not loose the raines to runne with them in the full speed of that ungodlinesse wherein themselues delight; but he that [Page 48] hath an eye upon the commandements of the Lord, eschew­ing by their direction the evill, will (unawares peradvent [...] at the present to himselfe) proue wiser then his enemies, [...] unknown to him at the present, laid such snares for his fa [...] ­ling. Yea, the Prophet shewes by his experience further, that he that doth set his eye upon the commandements, shall not onely finde a wise prevention of the drift of his foes, but also shall finde a sustaining him by them in his Af­flictions. And indeed sometimes when Afflictions happe­neth upon a man, he is then more ready to run into further and further evill, through discontent of not being kept of God from affliction when he sets himselfe to his comman­dements, then he is to turne in his heart to the Lord with prayer, remaining withall constant in obedience. But when once a man hath gotten such a victory over the evill inclyna­tion of his flesh, as that with a resolute heart he hath made Gods commandements his delight, then even under the hea­vy pressure of Afflictions, he shunnes the running the high way of Discontent unto perdition, staying himselfe by the Law of his God, from doing or thinking those evill things which Discontent would easily take hold of, and so saveth himselfe from perishing in his Afflictions. To conclude, as you desire to haue the darkenesse of this world expelled out of you, and the Light of God to inlighten you to salvation: as you desire, of simple or ignorant, to become men of good understanding: as you of dead, even while you are aliue, would be quickned with the life of Righteousnesse through the Spirit: as you would, in stead of the false and pernici­ous incytements of the flesh, haue faithfull counsaile: as you would prevent the traps of your foes, becomming wiser in preventing, then they in plotting: Lastly, as you would eschew shipwrack in the storme of Afliction, so haue a resolute courage and minde in you, to set the Com­mandements [Page 49] before you, in all your Deeds, Communi­ [...]ation; yea, and Thoughts, [...] that you be ruled [...] them, to doe in all things as they instruct and teach you. Thus having shown unto you some of the speciall Mo­ [...]ues, or Inducements, by which men may be brought on to willing obedience unto the Commandements, I will now proceed to shew also some of the speciall Meanes, wherby to attain to keep the Commandements as the Saints haue kept them.

9. CHAP.

THe Meanes I account to be specially three: First, Gods assistance invocated by prayer: Secondly, Gods correcti­ons or afflictions: Lastly, our own industrious Meditation. For the first, the Prophet David, Psal. 119. 10. saith: Let me not wander from thy Commandements. Againe, vers. 12. O Lord teach me thy Statutes. Againe, verse 18. Open mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of thy Law. Again, vers. 27. Make me to un­derstand the way of thy Precepts. Again, vers. 33. Teach mee, O Lord, the way of thy Statutes. Lastly, vers. 36. Incline myne heart unto thy Testimonies. For the second, the same Prophet, Psal. 119. 67. saith: Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now I keep thy Word. For the third, he, Psal. 110. 10. saith, With my whole heart haue I sought thee. Again, vers. 23. Princes also did sit and speake against me: but thy servant did Meditate in thy Statutes. Againe, vers. 48. I will Meditate in thy Statutes.

Though the Prophet said, (as in the third Meanes) With my whole heart haue I sought thee: And again, I will meditate in thy Satutes: yet you see how he invotateth of God also, that Hee Let him not wander: that He Teach him: That He Open his eyes: That He make him to understand: that He inclyne his heart. And truly it is in some measure a Mysterie, that our Act is attributed to God as being his Act: for so here though [Page 50] David bent his will to meditate in the Law of the Lord, yet he prayeth to God that he incline his heart unto his Testi­monies: so likewise Exod. 18. 15. though Pharoah hardned his own heart, yet chap. 10. 1. God saith: I haue hardened his heart. Indeed I obserue that Exod. 8. 15. it is said, But when Pharoah saw that he had rest given him, he hardened his heart and hearkened not unto them: from whence I thinke I may gather, that this hardning was not an evil quality infused by its selfe of God, but was onely the permission of that Good unto this wicked one, which he enjoying or feeling, he would surely abuse, hardening his heart unto unbeleefe and disobedience. The man intreated Moses and Aaron to pray for him, that the plague of frogs might be taken from him: God heard Moses and Aaron praying him to take away the plague: and yet even Gods Goodnesse in hearing his ser­vants, and taking away the plague, was the occasion that this man feeling rest again, hardned his hart. Therfore though we set our hearts very industriously to be obedient to Gods commandements, yet it is needfull that we pray to the Lord also to incline our hearts to his lawes; for God by Meanes (as by Corrections when we haue gone astray, or by Gifts when we haue applyed our selues to his service) incli­neth our hearts to the keeping of his Commandements. And truely, let our Indeavours be what they will, yet such are the baits of Satan, such the crosses we finde in obedi­ence, as that we haue exceeding need to pray with this ho­ly man, that God suffer us not to wander: that He teach us his Statutes; that He open our eyes; that He make us under­stand; that He incline our hearts. The wicked will perad­venture be ready to say: Must we pray to God that He in­cline our hearts unto his Lawes? Then let us take our fill in the pleasures of sinne untill God incline our hearts unto his Law; for if we never incline our hearts, it is because He [Page 51] himselfe inclines not our hearts: but contrariwise doth this [...]ly Man of God doe; for, though he prayed unto God, [...]ying; Let me not wander; and, Inclyne my heart unto thy Tes­timonies: yet he also said; With my whole heart haue I sought thee; and, I will meditate in thy Statutes. And certainely it is [...] true signe of a child of God, when he sets his heart unto all godlinesse, and yet prayes unto God that he inclyne his heart. For as our breathing is not of our selues, but it is Gods good Gift in us that as yet we can breathe the breath of life; so every good thing in Religion which we doe, is yet the good Gift of God in us, and as for such to be asked of God our Father in prayer. Yea verily, every particular thing in Religion, which God requireth of us that we doe, may yet be asked of God that he work the same in us; for though he hath sent the Meanes, and such Meanes as which will work such effects in those that resist not the Meanes; yet such are the snares of the devill, such the inticing with­drawing of the world, such the opposition or persecution of all those who resist not but embrace the word of Grace, that it behooveth us that we ask of God that he inclyne our hearts to his words, that he open our hearts to Beleefe, and that he himselfe work that Hee requireth of us. Therfore, doe you finde that you shall goe, as it were, contrarie to all men if you liue after the Rule of Gods Commandements? Doe you finde that you shall loose much gaine if you restraine your selfe to this Law? Doe you finde that you shall de­priue your selfe of pleasing imbracements, pleasing delights in wantonnesse, if you take not libertie to cover other mens beauties, other mens wiues? then yet consider that there will be an end; no mans life lasts ever; and there is a God who will take account of his creatures: therefore say rather with your selfe: Liue I in such an age wherein to be righteons is contrarie to all mens custome with whom I haue to doe? Surely so [Page 52] much the more miserable are my times, but yet, shall I leaue such Goodnesse as this Law teacheth, to make my selfe so wicked for companies sake as I see these men? I will not doe it. Is there no possibility to gaine, unlesse I be also unrighteous in getting it? God forbid; yea, I may Gaine, and yet without coveting, without stealing, without oppression, without swelling against God by Gaines gotten; therfore for the Gaines of unrighteousnesse let it not come into my possession: Let who will follow after that, I will haue myne eye to the Law of God in getting it. Why should I loue the unlawfull embracements? Why should I loue the unlawfull liber­ty of a lustfull eye? Will not God iudge for these things? If I doe this, shall I not be as he that hath stollen, for whom the execu­tion of hanging waites? If myne own wife should be so coveted of another: or if when I shall haue a wife I shall be so used, will that please me? If no, then let me content my selfe with her whom I shall linke my selfe unto, and though I may be conversant with other women, and delighted of Gods gifts, of beauty, proportion, wisedome, and the like in them, yet for Gods Lawes sake let mee abstaine from sinne. Let there not be Adulterie, let there not be uncleanenesse, let there not be secret coveting. Surely, s [...] many are the baites of sinne, as that it is so difficult a thing not to wander in this world from the Law of God, that we may well pray, and pray earnestly and frequently with this Pro­phet unto God, saying, Let me not wander from thy Comman­dements. But though you pray that God let you not wan­der, yet you must not take hold of every occasion of wan­dering, leaving it to God to keep you that you wander not; for if with such a heart you pray to God, you may assure your selfe that God will not heare the prayer of such a one; but if you put on a resolution of minde, to seek God with your whole heart, and bend your will to the Law of God, putting from you the occasions of unrighteous Gaines, and drawing your eye from an evill or lustfull looking, then God [Page 53] will second you, as he did David, that the baites of this life shall not intise you to your perdition. A mans own resolu­tion of minde, as it is a precious thing and acceptable of God, so it is very powerfull against those things, against which it is setled. Therfore doe but put on this resolution, that with your whole heart you will seek God & his righte­ous wayes: that you, notwithstanding the foolish occasions of sin, which daily will offer themselues unto you in this life, will yet keep your selfe to doe as Gods Commandements direct you, and you shall feele that it is not so difficult a thing to withstand sinne, as at the first apprehension a man would thinke. True it is that the heate of youth, as it tend­eth to Lust, and to Ambition, and to oppression, and to wantonnesse, so it is a warfare to restrain it; but consider with your selfe that there is a continuall warrfare in the world, which even by Mens Lawes is occasioned, and yet who con­demnes not him that will not restreine his Appetite or In­clination but will expose himselfe for the satisfying of it, unto Carting, unto loosing of eares, of nose, or the like, un­to hanging, and unto quartering? how hardly doth a strong man restraine the use of his strength, that he woundes not this man, and kils not that man upon everie displeasure? And yet for the Lawes sake of his Prince he restraines the disposition of his strength; and shall we doe lesse for Gods Lawes sake? How difficult a thing is it for yong and lustfull men, to keep themselues from deflowring of Virgines, from abusing every mans wife? and yet partly for the feare of men whose displeasure should be moved thereby; partly for feare of the Law of the Land, they doe restraine their heat, and doe not all that youth would easily incite and inable them unto: and shall we not then indure the same warfare of restraint for the Lawes sake of God? How many are able to steale, and yet indure want rather then they will steale, [Page 54] and is not this a warfare: Surely yes. But if for feare of Princes punishments men endure this warfare, why should they not for Gods punishments endure the same? But in­deed the Princes punishment is Gods punishment, though God can and will punish them so, who will not be restrained for the punishment of their Princes, as no Prince can possi­bly punish any. God can punish in this world, with blinding of the minde, hardening of the heart, and with [...]ending into swinish or wicked Men evill spirits, to leade them into fur­ther and further evill; this cannot Princes doe, and yet they are most fearefull judgements and plagues of God even in this life. Besides this, he can even in this life punish with a finall casting away or Reprobation, and in the life to come with a keeping men in an eternall living in paines, in torments, gnashing of teeth, word, and never quenchable burning. There­fore though occasions unto sinne may offer themselues dai­ly unto you, yet put on a setling of your minde to keep Gods Law, animating your selfe therto by the invaluable benefits of Obedience, and frighting your selfe from sinne, by set­ting before your selfe, with faith, the fearefull punishments of Disobedience, and joyne herewithall an invocating of Gods assistance, and then you shall surely much the more easily, yea not without delight, feele this a very powerfull Meanes of keeping the commandements of God.

To which, if you joyne a desire of heart, and prayer unto God, that you may discover the Goodnesse and Utilitie of his Lawes, praying with the Prophet that God teach you his Statutes, that Hee open your eyes that you may see the wonders of his Law, that Hee make you understand the way of his Precepts, you shall surely greatly further your keeping of the commandements God. For it is no small provocation to the keeping of a Law, when our understan­ding is opened to discerne the goodnesse, utility, and righ­teousnesse [Page 55] of a Law. Wherefore though you set your selfe industriously to the keeping of the Law of God, as [...]ling or guiding, and restraining, in all your Actions, Commu­nications, yea and Thinkings, brideling them in, when they would take liberty to wander from the commandement, yet use your self withall to pray with this holy Prophet unto God, that God assist you also, keeping you that you wander not from his Commandements, teaching you, opening your understanding, and inclyning your heart unto his Testi­monies.

For the second Meanes, which was, Affliction, we haue also very great need thereof; therefore if after we haue been loose in any thing, following after some sinne, casting the Lords holy commandement behind our backs for that time, the Lord then send upon us some Affliction, let us consider, that this Affliction as it may be a gentle Correction sent us of the Lord; so it may be also a Meanes that we stray not still from his Commandements. And indeed we are com­monly so apt, if God but blesse us with such a portion of this world wealth, as that we can with credit and boldnesse hold societie with the rich, and those of good place in Au­thority, then to take liberty, either to neglect all dependance on God, or to doe violence to some whom we maligne, or to entise the faire or beautifull women in our company to be dishonest with us, as that there is need that God send up­on us, either dejection of estate, or else infirmity of bodie, that so even of Disability to be any longer bold to commit such sinns, we may both turne in our hearts from doing such evill, and also turne again to the Lord yeelding obedi­ence to his words. Surely, if this holy Prophet could say, Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep thy words, much more haue other men need of this restraint from evi [...] by affliction. Wherfore learne you also when you feele [...] [Page 56] to make this godly use of them, that they not onely stay you from further straying, but also work you to a kee­ping (now yet) the word of your God. Say with yourselfe: I am now in adversitie, shall I also be disobedient to my God? shall I also be wicked? What were this but to double my miserie? therfore I will rather set my selfe now to the Word of the Lord, that yet my estate to Godwards may mend, even under this declining of my estate to the worldwards. And indeed, who will not con­demne him who addeth wickednesse to his poverty? or him who when the Law hath punished for some wickednesse, he will yet then increase his wickednesse? Are not mens hearts even set against such a man? Doe they not common­ly account the utter perishing of a man of such a disposition just? Therfore learne from this holy Prophet, that if ever Afflictions come upon you, you make this use of them, that now yet you will turn you to the Law of your God to keep it.

For the third Meanes, which was, Meditation, we haue also great need thereof; for such are the incessant with­drawings from minding the things of God, as that unlesse we purposely set our selues to minde the Commandements, ei­ther the continuall care of getting Gaine, or the continuall laying hold of all meanes of aspiring, or the continuall delight of advantage unto lustfull pleasures, is such, that we shall hardly ever so much as once minde the Commandements of God. Wherfore it is surely necessary that you sometime say thus, or to like effect with your selfe: Shall I never think of Gods commandements? Shall I be alwaies carried away of my Cares, of my Imployments, of my Pleasures? Shall these wholly [...]uffe my minde? Shall I never once Meditate on any Comman­dement of the Lord? What will become of me if I thus goe on? For if thus you say some time with your selfe, this will touch your heart, this will startle you, this will moue you to break off sometimes your cares, imployments, or pleasures, taking [Page 57] some fit time wherein purposely to reade, or heare read the commandements of the Lord; at which time, you suffering your selfe to discourse upon each one, unvayling its Righte­nesse, Goodnes, and utility to mans Societie, this wil greatly further your keeping the commandements of God. The dis­course of the soule upon a Commandement, fastens a Com­mandement in our Memory, wherby ever after it shall not come after, but goe before every Action, Speech, or Thought of ours. And truely we fall into much evill, even for want of having a ready, and impressed knowledge of that Comman­dement which concernes the Action, Speech, or Thought we are at present about. Therfore I commend in a man a divi­ding of the Gospell into parts, taking the commandements apart, and then taking him to studie, either in bed or in soli­tarinesse, now of one part, then of another. For this same generall Notion onely of the Gospell, whilst we know all, but study not advisedly any speciall particular part of the same, comes farre short of that use which we ought to make of the Gospell. And indeed all is best comprehended, by di­viding all into parts, and then studying well the parts, one at one time, another at another time.

10. CHAP.

THus having shown you (as for an excellent example) how David received the Cōmandements of God: & next ha­ving shown you, some special Motiues tending to make a man the more willing & delightfully to keep the Cōmandements: and lastly, having shown you, three very speciall Meanes by which may be furthered your keeping the commandements of the Lord, I think it fit in the next place to shew you two things wherof I would warne you. The first is, that you in an eager disposition to keep the commandements, begin not to [Page 58] fall into that old [...]rrour of trusting unto justification by works, rather then by faith onely: the second is, that you be not discouraged from observation of the Commande­ments, neither by the impossibility perfectly to fulfill them, nor by the manifest evidence that other Men minde them not, to obserue them towards you, in that wherin you haue to doe with them.

Men desire much to be justified for their obedience, and therfore to doe works commanded that they make them­selues righteous by their obedience; now unto obedience indeed righteousnes is imputed; but men consider not that the obedience in beleeving, is that whereunto truely righte­ousnesse is imputed. They would faine be righteous by their works, but God that knoweth how imperfectly men fulfill the righteousnesse of workes, hath imputed Righte­ousnesse to Beleefe, not to Workes. As it is said in the Scrip­tures of the old Testament, Gen. 15. 6. And Abraham beleeved the Lord, and He counted that to him for Righteousnesse: which thing is made use of in the new Testament by S. Paul, to draw us to seek Iustification, not in our workes but in our faith in Christ, Rom. 9. 4. Therefore let no man be discoura­ged for that he cannot perfectly fulfill the Lords Comman­dements concerning workes, but rather let him be sure, that he fulfill that great Commandement concerning Beliefe, that so he with Abram beleeving God, may haue by God Righteousnesse imputed unto him for that. Few men in our times consider as they ought, what an excellencie it is to Beleeue in God and in Christ, manifesting themselues so vailed as they haue done; but God knowing how rich a thing it is, for man to beleeue that which he saith, as abram not onely heard, but also indeed beleeved the Lord, vouch­safed to account Beleefe unto man for Righteousnesse. Ve­rily men heed not this in these times as they ought, therfore [Page 59] also they accounting of Beleefe but as of a light inclination of the mind onely, trust rather to works then to beleefe for Iustification; but they ought to informe themselues, that though the faithfull must indeavour to fulfill also the righteousnesse of workes, yet God hath chosen to justifie Beleevers for their beleeving, not for their works, because they beleeue in him who (onely) fulfild the Righteousness of works commanded. To beleeue the Lord is a worke of workes, as we may perceiue by that which our Lord answe­red the Iewes, Iohn 6. 29. saying: This is the worke of God▪ that ye beleeue in him whom He hath sent. And truely all the Scripture shewes, that the Lord hath ever more freely ac­cepted of mens beleeving in him, then of any the best workes that they haue done; therfore though Abraham performed that great worke, of offering up to God his sonn Isaak, yet there we reade not that God counted that to him for Righteousnesse, but when he beleeved God, God coun­ted that indeed unto him for Righteousnesse. Blessed there­fore [...]e the memory of those first Angels of the Reformati­on, who perceiving how Poperie lead people to trust to works for their Iustification before God, drew them back againe to consider Beleefe more advisedly. Which thing though at that time they had more reason to doe, then wee now of the Reformed Churches haue (because at that time workes were taught people as for workes meritorious, which indeed merited rather punishment, yea damnation, such as was the doing worship, not before onely, but even to the very Image, directly contrary to the commandement of God, who said: Thou shalt not make thee no graven Image, and thou shalt not bow down to them, neither worship them:) yet even now also, when no workes are allowed, but those which are consonant to the Commandements of God, there is need to put people in minde of the same, even of [Page 60] their making sure that they trust beleeue, as also that they [...], Beleefe, aboue workes, for Iustification. Surely people (for the most part) not beleeving, know not what it is to beleeue, therefore also they come farre too short of that esteeme o [...] Beleefe, which not onely they should haue thereof, but also which God declares himselfe to haue therof. As we see when Abraham beleeved God in that which he said unto him, pre­sently God counts That unto him for righteousness. And so our Lord when Nathaniel so soone beleeved in him, Ioh. 1. 50 readily answeres, saying, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the Fig-tree, beleevest thou? thou shalt see greater things then these. Let us therfore learne to prise aright of Beleefe, that so we may not doe workes, trusting to haue Righteous­nesse imputed unto us for them, but rather may make sure to Beleeue, that so God may count that to us for Righte­ousnesse.

As for the second thing where-against I would warne you, I would haue you to know first, that seeing Righteousness is not imputed to our workes, but to our Beleefe, therfore no man should be troubled if he cannot perfectly keep the Commandements. Secondly, that though it may trouble a Man indeed, that he is carefull to keep Gods commande­ments towards others, when yet others are carelesse to keep Gods commandements towards him, yet seeing we keep not Gods commandements for the pleasing of Men, but for the pleasing of our God, therfore we ought to re­joyce of our pleasing God, though others be carelesse of the Commandements. Let not such things therfore discourage us, but rather let the rich Gifts and Promises of God incou­rage us to the keeping of the commandements: yea, let each of us say with our selues; Shall I hazard the loosing of this and this good thing promised me of the Lord, for the doing new upon a suddaine this or this against the Lords Commandement? [Page 61] Which kind of incouragement that it may the rather prevail with you, you are to proceed from a superficiall notion one­ly of the rich things promised us of God, unto a serious consideration of each thing promised, discoursing with your selfe therupon in your mind, examining your esteeme ther­of, and considering also how much need this poore estate in this life hath of such things, and what the Benefiting us by such things is and will be. For thus to studie upon each the most speciall of the Promises, is the way to make a Pro­mise sinke into our hearts, and to abide in our memories ready for our incouragement against every discouragement which this world is apt to trouble us with, in our attending to put in execution the Commandements of the Lord.

To this, if we adde a looking upon every sinne wistly, as looking it in the face unmasked, unvailed, that so it may ap­peare unto us in its owne true hideousnesse, and vilenesse, before we intertaine a liking it, this would greatly further our discouragement from committing sinnes. As, if you thinke on, or be about Murther, consider in your minde ad­visedely what a dead man is, consider the patience, the want of motion, the grieslinesse of wounds, and indeed the hor­rour of the sight of Death in a Man: think then with your selfe how wicked a thing it were for you, that a Man by your hand should (not in a just warre, or defensiue) be brought into such a condition. Use your selfe some times in private Meditation, or upon the sight of any one dead, to informe your minde well what a dead bodie is, that so the minde be­ing possessed of the fearfulnesse of the condition, may also before-hand be possessed with a loathsomnesse and detesting by it own hand to bring any man into such a fearfull estate. And use your selfe withall to set this against those things which draw on Murther, or wherein Murther comes com­monly so vailed or masked, as that it prevailes over us to [Page 62] giue it entertainment into our hearts and Resolutions: se [...] this, I say, against the Occasions of Murther, whether it be injurious words, or some blow, or some disgrace, or the lusti­nesse of youth, proane and even desirous of fighting, or skill of weapon, or fond reputation or imputation of cowardli­nesse or dastardie, which some foolish and wicked men, carelesse both of Gods Lawes and mens, are apt to discredit him, who will not rather kill a man then put up such or such a thing. It is a wisedom and righteousnesse in all well orde­red Kingdomes, to giue lesse punishment to lesse offences: and why then should any man in a private quarrell be so vi­olent or unwise, as for a word to kill a man, so doing the greatest mischiefe for the least offence? Of two evils it were better to require eye for eye, tooth for tooth, or to giue blow for blow, then for a word onely, or for some blow, to de­priue a man presently of life: but the best is to hearken to what the Lawes both of God and man informe us of, and to possesse our mindes therewith, resolute also, what ever occasions fall out, to doe as they direct us: for this is not onely a wisedome, both also a safety, both among men, and before God. In like manner, if you thinke on, or be but a­bout committing of Adultery, consider advisedly the Act it selfe sundred from the Inducements, which as a vaile co­ver it from being perceived in its own true filthinesse and danger: consider therfore with your selfe, the filthinesse of the Act; the injury you shall thereby doe unto another, and the danger you draw upon your selfe thereby, both from the man whom you shall offend, and from God the Lord. And set this against the oc [...]asions or allurements which com­monly draw a man on hereunto; as against the eye, the plea­sing language, the forme, the beauty; against the wit, the toying of pleasures, the heat of lust, yea against the injoy­ing the liking and loue of a strange woman.

[Page 63] Thus if you would use your selfe, to looke the sin wisely in the face which is forbidden you of God, this would greatly further a with-holding you from yeelding unto it (through the alluring occasions wherewithall it would come unto you as in a vaile) and would stay the soule from a too too suddaine admitting of those occasions, wherby the liking of the sinne is drawn on. Indeed, sometimes the Acting of a sinne, springs from occasion which is so suddain, as that it prevents all thought of what it is that is to be done; therfore so much the more need haue we, to be ever in our selues resolved against the sinne, and to let fall all occasions which would induce us thereto: better it is for us to let fall an occasion or opportunity, then to plunge our selues into further mischiefe. And truely, we finding in common ex­perience, that men living under Governments, doe usually informe themselues before every Act of Importance, whe­ther the Law permit it or no: so that they will not so much as cut a tree, break open a hedge, or the like, but they will in­forme themselues first, saying: May I lawfully doe this? Why should we not be as carefull of the Law of God, consulting with it also before any Act, Speach, or Thought, informing our selues whether we may doe such or such a thing, or no? If men doe not thus consult with the Law of God before-hand, unvailing by its help the sinns which they are about, it is their fault, and such a fault as giues advantage to sinne, so that it is committed before a man is aware of what it is he is about. But the child of God, that looketh for the rich Gifts of God in Christ, may not be so negligent of the Law of God, but rather with the Prophet David to make it his studie to thinke on the Commandements, meditating also on them, some now, some another time; for thus doing, not onely the sinnes will appeare to the soule in their own vile­nesse: but also the soule will be fore-possessed with a dislike [Page 64] and loathing of them: and this to the abating of the force of all occassion, which shall be offered to commit, or fulfill them

Thus, if you would use your selfe to look every sinn, a in the face umasked wistly, that so you may be discouraged from committing the same, then would the incouragements or exhortations unto Righteousnesse and Godlinesse, given us by the Apostles of our Lord Iesus Christ, the more pre­vaile over us to divert us from sinning. And truely we ought never to be unmindefull of our deliverance from the bon­dage of sinne, by the conversion of us unto Christianity: we ought never to forget the blessed benefite we received, by our fore-fathers conversion from Heathenisme to Chris­tianity. Wherfore that you may as a fresh be put in minde hereof, and the exhortations of the Apostles hearkened un­to by you, I thinke fit in this place to set before you some of them, that so they may work upon you to dispose you, to a willing keeping of the commandements of God. Ephesi­aus 2. 1. the Apostle saith thus: And you hath hee quickened, that were dead in trespasses and sinnes, wherein in time past yee walked, according to the course of this world, and after the Prince that ruleth in the aire, even the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we had our conver­sation in time past, in the lusts of our flesh, in fulfilling the will of the flesh and of the minde, and were by nature the children of wrath as well as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, through his great loue wherewith hee loved us, even when we were dead by sins hath quickened us together in Christ, by whose grace yee are saved. And chap. 4. 1. I therefore being prisoner in the Lord, pray you that you walke worthy of the vocation whereunto yee are called, with humblenesse of minde and meekenesse, with long suffering, supporting one another through loue: endeavoring to keep the uni­ty of the Spirit in the bond of peace. And chap. 5. 8. Yee were [Page] [...]nce darkenesse, but are now light in the Lord: walke as children of light: approving that which is pleasing to the Lord. And ha­ving no fellowship with the unfruitfull workes of darkenesse, but even reprooue them rather: For it is a shame even to speake the things which are done of them in secret. But all things when they are reproved of the light, are manifest: for it is light that maketh all things manifest. Wherefore he saith. Awake thou that sleepest and stand up from the dead, and Christ shall giue thee light. Take heed therefore that yee walke circumspec [...]tly, not as fooles, but as wise: Redeeming the season, for the daies are evill. Wherfore bee yee not unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. These exhortations, are exhortations which ought ever to be sounding in the eares of them of those Nations, which in antient time were heathens: therefore remember still that you are Nations, whose fore-fathers were carryed away af­ter dumbe Images, and false Gods, yea, devils, and knew not the true Lord God of Israel, Creatour of all things, and the giver of life and all blessednesse. Forget not therfore this Grace of your conversion shown unto you, but rather apply your hearts to his Commandements who hath shown you this invaluable Mercy. Put on a Resolution of heart, that neither for pleasure not for profite, nor for fellowship sake, nor for Custome; no, nor for Displeasure o [...] Losse, you will leaue the good waies of Gods Commandements, to walke in the wickednesse which is contrary to the same, and too too usuall in the world.

In which Resolution two things may strengthen you, the one Good Education, the other, the Spirits Assistance.

Good or truely Christian education in children, is truely a most needfull help unto righteousnesse: therefore where Parents are negligent, there the Magistracy should help, to discerne what customes corrupt the youth, leading it into things evill, and then to suppresse, and to allienate the youth [Page] [...] these things; for verily Magistrates are also Parents un­to youth, little lesse then they by whose generation they come into the world. Therefore if the Parents care not what company their children keep; or care not what evill they commit there in their jollity, nor what wickednesse and prophanenesse their conversation or communication be corrupted with; yet Magistrates owe to God a duty, to take account of those houses or places where youth take liberty to be bold in such evill things. Some fondly think, that un­lesse youth be suffered in evill conversation, and evill actions, they will never be bold and manly, or valiant: but we may see in the children of some Princes and Nobles, that chil­dren become manly and valiant, and yet without such liber­ty; so that these evils doe but steale upon such, to corrupt them and weaken them, nothing furthering their Manliness or Valour. I note this the rather, because it is the errour of some mindes, to thinke that a godly restraint of youth, is the depression of the spirits, and the cause of pusillanimity: but whilst all exercises stirring the body, and refreshing the mind and spirit, may even by Gods lawes be practised, the use of such things will increase the strength and magnanimity of youth, and yet without admitting also the abuse. And in­deed the abuse of such exercises, brings upon men first a mis­chieving and ruining one another: and secondly, a taking away the hearts of men, by Gods not prospering the warres of such. Though indeed sometimes as (for punishments) God lets out evill spirits, giving way to their prevailing also; so wicked Powers, composed of wicked men, are let loose of the Lord, and suffered to prevaile in the world. But the Kingdome of heaven, even the victorious Church, hath not its fortitude in wickednesse, but in Righteousnesse: and what Power did ever so truely prevaile, indure so long, or was so glorious? Therfore l [...]t us Christians, vigilantly watch [Page 67] over our youthes, abusing those exercises of fellowship, and Activity, by which the strength of a Land is nourished, and [...]he spirits refreshed: maintayning the use, but punishing the abuse of things. Therefore if any youth grow prophane or wicked in its usuall communication, or bold to doe this or that injury to men, let Parents in their houses, and Ma­gistrates in their jurisdictions, haue an eye betimes upon this, and restraine wickednesse betimes in youth, that so God be not moved to plague us, for suffering our youth to practise nothing more, nor nothing more to take pleasure in, then in breaking continually the Commandements of God.

If we be carefull herein, then let us nothing doubt of the Assistance also of the Spirit of God, disposi [...] our youth unto Godlinesse and Righteousness And truely Christians haue through the Spirit, a kinde of inclination unto Righte­ousnesse, so that not so much of a forced observation, as of a minde and heart even disposed, or inclyned of the Spirit, they are keepers and observers of the commandements of the Lord. Yea, the Apostle, Ephes. 5. 9. saith: For the fruits of the Spirit is in all goodnesse and righteousnesse and truth: so accounting these things the fruits of the Spirit in us, rather then our workes, or our industry. Wherefore Righteous­nesse is not in the Saints, or their children, a bondage, but rather they are inclyned by the Spirit of God thereunto. Therfore so much the rather we ought to watch, that wic­ked customes bring not us and our children into such a bon­dage, as that to be righteous, they must struggle against the common customes of the time: for if this be suffered, then indeed wickednesse brings our youth into a bondage, yea, and the Spirit of the Lord forsakes them. Let us looke up­on any Nation, where the Church is, or hath bene, and see their condition what it was, whilst they made conscience [Page 68] of the commandements of God: obserue their prevailing against their enemies: their multiplying, their inriching: and their matchlesse valour and magnanimity. Again, let us look upon them after they had suffered the breakings of Gods commandements to sway among them, and obserue then their miseries and calamities. Let us take them for our example; for it is a sure Rule unto us, Doe as they did, and haue as they had. Wickednesse growes more and more in time of prosperity, and creeps upon a Nation under very faire and plausible pretexts; but it is bitternesse in the end, and the subversion of States and Thrones. St [...]p it therfore betimes, and be vigilant against its growing into Custome among your people and Officers, as you d [...]sire the growing or stablishing, of the welfare and glory of your Nations or Dominions.

Verily, it is lamentable to obserue, that if Gaine come in, or the warres be managed by any, such seeme as free to be godlesse, and to breake frequently in their life and con­versation the commandements of God. They seeme as the wheeles whereon the prosperity of a Land runnes, or as the cause therof; or if not causes, yet then as the pillars of the same, and therfore they are suffered to liue disorderly, with­out any requiring of them to liue as beseemeth Christians. The Gifts which God hath given them, by which they ex­cell many, and are very serviceable to a Nation, seeme to beare th [...] out, in living in disobedience to the commande­ments of God. Yea, when a people being in some bondage, hath in time of that bondage cryed unto God to be delive­red, and in the time of such cryi [...]g▪ hath been diligent in re­sorting to Church, reading Gods word, as also in Prayer, and in using religious duties in their families, then, God in his Goodnesse delivering them, and granting them the bles­sings of Prosperity, even within a few yeares after, wicked­nesse [Page 69] abounds in that people, and nothing is done less, then that which was done before, and some little time after the deliverance. Then, even sinne against God, [...]eemes as the evi­dence of Gods blessings upon the land: for the most part of the people, doe not otherwise expresse or shew, th [...]ir liber­ty, wealth and prosperity, then by words or actions [...]ont [...]a­ry to Christian Religion. If prosperity increase, evill hou­ses increase withall, where as [...]n [...]afe cast [...]ls, men take libe [...]ty in all ungodlinesse. But what will be the end of this? What will be the issue of this forgetting the deliverances which God hath sent us? Surely a new plunging us into adversi­ties. Were it not that God hath a more graeious eye upon the good Lawes of Nations, and the intention and indea­vour of Governours to rule the people according to them; then he hath a revengefull hand to avenge upon Nations the frequent breach of his Commandements, it were not pos­sible that we should thus continue as hitherto we doe▪ with­out great and fearefull Visitations? But now if the wicked be accounted as the enemies of the Lands prosperity (in­as much as through th [...]m God is moved to anger against the land) and as for such ey [...]d with some measure of indigna­tion by Governours: And if they that feare God, and wa [...]k in the wayes of his commandements be accounted as the safety of the Land: and as for such be eyed with f [...]uour by Governours, and incouraged in their obedience; th [...]n sure­ly we shall both r [...]moue from us the judgements which hang over our heads, and also bring upon ou [...] I and mani­fold blessings▪ Therefore the Lord giue hearts to them that are in Authority, that every Pastor in his Pa [...]ish, every Of­ficer in his allotted portion, every King in his Kingdom, may in this indeavour to serue God, even in being a disliker and discourager of the wicked, and a lik [...]r and incourager of them who walk in the wayes of Gods commandem [...]nts. [Page 70] I grant, that any gift given to [...] wicked man, wherby he may be serviceable to the Church and Common-wealth; is not therfore not to be made use of because the party is wic­ked (for this were to suppresse the gift of God) but, that [...]or the wickednesse which such a one committeth, he may per­ceiue that he hath some disgrace or dishonour, which but for that he should not haue. For this would surely turne many from ungodlinesse, because most men seeking the fa­vour and good liking of those that are in Authority in eve [...]y Land, they will in the greater measure forbeare those things which they finde to disgrace th [...]m in their presence. As for those places where the chiefest Officers of Rule are them­selues vicious, and to please them many become vicious, they truely haue a fearefull judgement from God therein upon them; and therfore by prayer to God, Gods people there should seek of God his inclyning the hearts of those in Authority unto his Commandements. Many are the shining and profitable vertues of many very vicious Princes, neither may they be suppressed, or the Princes disobeyed in the exercise of them, (for God hath given them these Gifts, fitting them thereby more then others for the Offices they hold) but rather by prayer to God, and all meete and convenient meanes, their turning from such wickednesse as whereto they are inclyned, is to be sought. These things I thought fit here to touch at, that so Christian Kingdomes and Churches may be put in minde of those things, which very neerly concerne them: For verily, the breaking of Gods commandements will ever be found the secret cause of all the troubles of the whole world. Therefore though wee cannot thinke, to turne the unrighteous world in an instant to become Righteous; (for wicked men will ever be in the world) yet, let Governours make it their ayme, to disgrace the disobedient, and to grace the obedient: and [Page 71] surely the Lords commandements will then take much the more effect in every Nation. But now having thus written of these things, I thinke good to close up this writing with this Exhortation and Advise following.

To conclude, I having thus showne you, how to make the commandements of God easie, and even a delight unto you, it remaineth on your part to studie the commande­ments of the Lord, that so you may informe your selfe of them, least else they be to seek, when in your Conversation or Actions you haue need of their Direction; which that you may with the mo [...]e ease doe, it is good that you haue the commandements culled out, or collected together by themselues in a book, that so you may use to reade them of­ten by themselues, as some haue the book of the Psalmes for like purpose. This I advise unto, because by the ten com­mandements onely, (as they are usually proposed unto us to learne by heart) we cannot easily discover how they streatch to direct us, in most of the ordinary things of this life. Whereas if all, or the speciall of those things, which in the Scriptures we finde, either approved of by the Lord, or reproved, be gathered out of the Scriptures, then wee shall finde, that there is hardly any thing for which we shall not finde a direction▪ Therfore I wish that such a collection may be made, and this for the peoples sooner knowing the will of God in these divers particulars: and such collection being made, I exhort Gods people to allow unto themselues some times of purpose wherin to reade them, or heare them read, and then to meditate also upon them, that so they may be the better taken to heart to be observed, with which Ex­hortation and Avise, I close up this Treatise, least I should by further inlarging it make it tedious unto you.


IN the Epistle to the Reader, second page, line 16, for, sinnes, reede, sinne. Page, 2, line, 22. for, as having s [...]nse, read [...], as having a sense. Page, 6. line, 1 for. coll [...]ct, reade, to coll [...]ct. Page 23. lin [...] 7, [...], th [...]se▪ reade those: so, line, 29. and line 31. Page 31. line, 1. for o [...] of. Page 37. line 4. for are, reade is, and line 6, for wrong, reade of wrong. Page 39. line 18. for these, reade those. Page 46. line 11, for, aso, read [...] a [...] ­so. Page 46. l. 23. for, or, reade of. Page 56. lin [...] 10. for who, reade [...]. Page 59. line 29. for, thou shalt not make thee [...]o graven Image, reade, Thou shalt make thee no graven Image. Page 61. l. 20. for, patience, reade palenesse. Page 62. l. 8. for, discredit him, reade discredit him with­all. Pag. 6 [...] l. 2 [...] for, both reade but. Pag. 63. l. 1. for, wisely, reade, wistly.

Other [...] faults we passe by, d [...]suing the discrete Reader to helpe himselfe [...] them.

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